New Zealand Labour Party

Minister celebrates while arts organisations face cuts

Maggie Barry was full of self-congratulations for her small arts announcement in the budget, ignoring the pain that a large number of organisations are facing due to her inaction, says Arts, Culture, Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. 

“The Budget delivered a total of $2.9 million in 2016/17 for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Te Matatini Kapa Haka Aotearoa.

“This funding is welcome – at least two of these organisations were facing significant cost pressures from static funding, which affected their ability to tour and retain performers. 

“But the Minister has failed to advocate for other organisations – including Creative New Zealand. 

“A dip in lotteries funding mean Creative New Zealand are facing a roughly $11 million reduction in funding– that will mean up to 10% has to be sliced out of a number of arts organisations budgets this year. 

“I have spoken to a number of organisations in the sector who will be effected by these cuts – it will mean a loss of staff, fewer shows and exhibitions, and a loss of professional development. 

“These are organisations who use every dollar they receive to leverage extra support from other sources. They do a huge amount with very little, and make a big difference in our community. 

“In the wake of the budget, Maggie Barry posed for a selfie with Bill English, thanking him for his support of the arts. 

“The Minister might be celebrating, but I know many in the Arts community will not,” says Jacinda Ardern.