Buying Lotto is not an arts funding strategy

The Government must rethink the way the arts are funded after falling Lotto sales has left the sector with declining resources and increasingly vulnerable, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. 

“Our arts sector is in a sorry state when it is dependent on people buying Lotto tickets at a time when more and more people are gambling online and bypassing the Lottery Grants Board.

“So strong is the link that I am told that Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry recently told an arts audience to go and buy a Lotto ticket to support their sector. That is disgraceful from an increasingly arrogant Government. 

“These declining sales will leave Creative New Zealand with $11 million less this financial year than it had two years ago. This important organisation gets two-thirds of its funding from lottery grants. 

“Lottery Grants Board funding out strips Government funding for some arts organisations. If it dips, it represents more than just the loss of a sweetener.  This massive decline will literally result in community organisations being forced to shelve projects and cut back on their core activities. 

“The arts isn’t just a ‘nice to have’. An Infometrics report found the sector and related industries have a value add of $400 million across the arts related industries. 

“When Labour came to office in 1999 it was forced to develop a recovery package for the arts sector because it had been so run down by the former National government. Let’s fundamentally change the way we fund the arts before this is repeated,” Jacinda Ardern says.