No golden age for books

The ‘indefinite’ postponement of an initiative designed to encourage people to read Kiwi books will be a major blow to local authors, publishers and booksellers, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

News that the annual NZ Book Month event is likely to be canned this year follows hard on the heels of rumours that the New Zealand Book Awards are also in trouble and are unlikely to be held this year either.

“That is hardly indicative of a sector in good heart or good health. They need and deserve our support”
Labour recognised some time ago that Book Month was under threat, and made it part of our policy to work with the sector to guarantee it continues on an annual basis.

“With an ever-dwindling pool of private sponsors, it is time the Government stepped up its support as well, and not just to ensure the life of these two major events.

“That could include reviewing the public lending right for New Zealand Authors, which hasn’t been adjusted for some time, and working alongside sector groups such as the Book Industry Alliance and the Authors Society to re-establish a pan-literary group.

“New Zealanders are some of the most prolific readers, and our authors are world-renowned. We need to ensure events that encourage our love of literature don’t drop off the radar,” Jacinda Ardern says.