Prebble: the Art'ful dodger
Richard Prebble's determination to hide Act's real agenda came unravelled in a bizarre performance on National Radio's Arts Week programme, Labour spokesperson on cultural affairs Judith Tizard said today.
"Mr Prebble's attack on Paul Bushnell, one of the country's most respected arts journalists, was amazing enough. But his denial of Act's determination to end government funding to the arts, was even more extraordinary.
"Act MPs like Donna Awatera-Huata and Muriel Newman, and Mr Prebble's own press secretary and now candidate Kathryn Ashare have outlined Act's policy at forums around the country. Act sees no need for government support for the living arts and culture of New Zealand.
"But Mr Prebble has never been keen on the truth. He wants to bash Maoris, talk tough on crime, and demand tax reductions, while hiding the undeniable fact that Act's agenda would result in massive cuts in government spending - including all funding to the arts.
"His attempt today to claw back the situation through bullying and a temper tantrum will not wash with the public. Nor will the pathetic pronouncement post-interview that Act has no arts policy.
"What is clear is that Act has no understanding of
the economic and employment opportunities
that can be created by promoting New Zealand Art and Culture, nor how vital Government support is.
"Act wants to slash funding for the arts and National has announced a 'do-nothing hands-off' policy. Only a Labour-led Government will give New Zealand Art and Culture the support it needs to flourish in the new millennium," Judith Tizard said.