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Labour's arts policy - Heart of the nation

Labour
2000 web siteA well developed arts and cultural sector is integral to Labour's vision for New Zealand, Labour Leader Helen Clark said today.

Releasing Labour's arts and culture policy in Auckland today, Helen Clark said Labour in government would provide leadership for exciting and innovative arts and culture and creative industries.

"Culturally we are a very rich nation. We draw on the strong indigenous heritage of Maori, and on the diverse heritage of the many other peoples who make up this land. We display the traditional art and cultural forms of these diverse cultures to a high standard. From kapa haka groups to opera, ballet, theatre, and orchestras, to Pacific Island dance groups, there is a commitment to excellence.

"As Prime Minister and Minister of Arts and Culture, I plan to work with stakeholders in the sector to establish governmental structures and processes which work best in the interests of arts and culture.

"There will be approximately an additional $25 million over three years to cover the proposals in this policy. It is worth the investment.

"Not only will we see positive returns through a greater national pride and sense of cultural identity - but there are also significant economic benefits.

"Our arts allowances will provide support for up to a year to young people who have the drive and potential to establish themselves in cultural careers. In addition, up to six arts fellowships will be available each year for established artists to work on specific projects. Both these initiatives will play a big role in our aim to build a thriving cultural sector based on high standards

"New Zealand's cultural activity will be linked more closely with out trade and investment efforts and our industry development policies will provide incentives for new cultural enterprises to get off the ground.

"Labour will also establish a New Zealand Music Commission to increase the size of the domestic music industry and we are committed to the continued public ownership of Radio New Zealand and Television New Zealand.

"Arts and culture in the broadest sense have always played a critical role in defining us as a nation. That role is even more critical now in a world which is globalising fast. We are bombarded with the news, views, perspectives and stories of large and powerful nations.

"Like other small nations we will have to work hard to support those who express what is unique about us. But presently New Zealand lacks a clear cultural policy. Under Labour, that will change," Helen Clark said.

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