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National to maintain arts funding

Chris Finlayson MP
National Party Arts, Culture & Heritage Spokesman

15 July 2008

National to maintain arts funding

The National Party's Arts, Culture and Heritage policy, announced today, confirms that National will maintain current levels of arts funding, should it be in the position to form a government following the 2008 election.

"As I've travelled around New Zealand listening to those involved in arts, culture and heritage, the question I hear most often is, will National cut funding to the arts? I am pleased to announce today that the next National Government will be maintaining funding to this vibrant, creative, and dynamic sector at least at current levels," says National's Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesman, Chris Finlayson.

"While in these tighter economic times it is not appropriate to significantly grow funding, it would also be counter-productive to reduce funding.

"Our creative sector is a source of pride for New Zealanders and represents Kiwis and our country on the international stage, whether through movies like The Lord of the Rings, or the highly regarded New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It is essential we continue to support creative Kiwis and our creative sector."

National's approach is for intelligent intervention rather than constant interference. It is founded on the bedrock principles that National seeks to build opportunity for all, encourage ambition, and strengthen our communities.

"National is pledging to retain the Music Commission and maintain the commitment to Kiwi music through NZ On Air. Laid next to National's broadcasting policy, we also expect more opportunities for arts, culture and heritage-related programming on free-to-air television.

"Groups that I deal with are increasingly worried about the economic climate and what that will mean for the donations they survive on. That's why National has advocated policies to foster the culture of giving through charities tax changes and community group funding."

National recognises the importance of arts and culture and will support practical changes in legislative areas like the Copyright Act and updating the Film Commission Act. The Large Budget Screen Production Grant and the Screen Production Investment Fund will remain.

Mr Finlayson says National will also:

* Focus the Ministry of Culture and Heritage on its core responsibilities, and reform the Arts Council to improve service delivery.

* Improve the Creative Communities scheme and strengthen links between the Arts Council, local authorities, and iwi.

* Maintain the PACE scheme and help establish a creative-sector law centre. * Update the Historic Places Act.

* Support the National Portrait Gallery through the National Library.

* Support the reform of the Authors' Fund.

* Require Te Papa to improve the quality of service provided by the National Services Directorate.

* Require all state funding agencies to be far more focused on artists and their needs.

ENDS

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