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Government Splashes The Cash On Splashes Of Paint

“While vulnerable New Zealanders are desperate for shelter, the agency tasked with housing them is spending tens of thousands of dollars on artwork,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Kainga Ora is supposed to house people, not expensive carvings. We have people living in motels and cars and tenants whose houses aren’t up to standard. Instead of them, Kainga Ora is providing a home to expensive artwork.

“ACT can reveal that Kainga Ora has commissioned a carving for its Takanini office that cost $30,000. It has also commissioned artwork for its Hamilton office to the tune of $5,758.

“Labour used to say ‘you can’t live in a consent,’ well, Jacinda, I guess you can’t live in a carving either.

“Meanwhile the Ministry of Arts Culture and Heritage has decided the best way to support the arts is with its own taxpayer funded collection.

“Between 2019-2021 the Ministry spent over $45,000 on the design and installation of artwork throughout its building.

“The GCSB has spent $5760 on two pieces of artwork. ACT can neither confirm nor deny that it is a full-scale model of James Bond and his Aston Martin.

“Alarm bells are also ringing over the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management spending $5,612 on artwork.

“These might seem like small amounts to Megan Woods, Carmel Sepuloni, Andrew Little and Kris Faafoi who oversee the departments splashing the cash, but this money comes from hardworking Kiwis and it all adds up.

“New Zealanders have household budgets they need to manage; the Government should take the same care when managing its spending.

“The Government is running deficits while the economy is hot, what will it do when things cool down and we need stimulus? It’s time for this Government to take some responsibility and show taxpayers some respect.

“As a country, we deserve better.”

The Written Parliamentary Questions:

Portfolio: Housing (Hon Dr Megan Woods)
Question: How much, if any, has been spent on artwork or art installations by agencies the Minister is responsible for, by year between 2018-2021?
Reply: I am advised by Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development that there has been no spending on artwork or art installations since each agency's respective establishment in October 2018. Since Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities was established in October 2019, I am advised that 2020/21 it commissioned a whakairo (carving) for its Takanini office, at a cost of $30,000 (incl. GST). The whakairo was undertaken by a Ngāti Tamaoho kaumatua master carver. It pays tribute to the relationship between mana whenua, Kāinga Ora, and the local community. Kāinga Ora also commissioned artwork to be completed by two of its local customers, at a cost of $5,758 (incl. GST), for its Hamilton office.

Portfolio: GCSB (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: How much, if any, has been spent on artwork or art installations by agencies the Minister is responsible for, by year between 2018-2021?
Reply: The GCSB purchased two pieces of art in 2021, the costs of which are included in the table below. Year Amount 2021 $5760.87
29345 (2021)

Portfolio: Emergency Management (Acting - Hon Kris Faafoi)
Question: How much, if any, has been spent on artwork or art installations by agencies the Minister is responsible for, by year between 2018-2021?
Reply: I am advised that the former Ministry for Civil Defence & Emergency Management incurred costs of $5,612 in 2018 on artwork and art installations. The National Emergency Management Agency has not purchased any artwork or art installations for the requested time period.

Portfolio: Arts, Culture and Heritage (Hon Carmel Sepuloni)
Question: How much, if any, has been spent on artwork or art installations by agencies the Minister is responsible for, by year between 2018-2021?
Reply: I am advised that the Ministry for Culture & Heritage spent the following funds on the design and installation of 6 artworks spanning across 4 floors of its building. This cost also includes a repeated design throughout 8 meeting rooms. 2021: $28,884 (ex GST) 2020: $3,150 (ex GST) 2019: $7,650 (ex GST) 2018: Nil The other agencies I am responsible for as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage are Crown entities. The board of each Crown entity is responsible for the policies and operations of the Crown entity they govern. This includes how much is spent on artwork or art installations. Generally, this is not information that I receive as part of the regular reporting of any Crown entity. Creative New Zealand is a Crown entity within my portfolio that provides funding for arts projects, including the visual arts. For more information on funding awarded by Creative New Zealand, please see (
29287 (2021)

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