Holly Walker
How do we create a real golden age in the arts in NZ?

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson found himself fighting a losing battle on twitter last night as he tried to defend his hyperbolic claim that New Zealand was currently experiencing a “golden age” in the arts under his watch.

It started when Labour MP Grant Robertson tweeted about the underwhelming funding for the arts in Budget 2013, including cuts to public broadcasting, regional museums, and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Minister Finalyson tweeted back, calling Robertson “tragic” and making the “golden age” claim. Grant has blogged about the exchange here.

Twitter’s creative community leapt into action, resulting in a very amusing hashtag #goldenage highlighting just how far from the truth that claim really is. Finalyson responded by tweeting a long list of funding decisions and projects he has provided over which he said demonstrated the truth of his claim. True, there are some positive measures in there, but the twitter audience wasn’t buying it.

So is there a silver lining to the golden age debate? It got me thinking – with an eye to reviewing our Arts, Culture, and Heritage Policy – what would it take to create a real golden age for the arts in New Zealand? I asked for some ideas from tweeters, who had some great suggestions:

  • developer-proof Artists’ Reserves for inner city urban decay areas
  • support for NZ screen production, incl. documentaries. Talent development e.g. NZ scale version of nfb.ca
  • review of Creative New Zealand’s goals and objectives
  • art works commissioned or bought as a percentage of build cost for all public buildings
  • return of the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment scheme, with extra mentoring
  • arts apprenticeships
  • prime time arts documentaries; and
  • return of TVNZ7!

What do you think? What policies do you want to see to create a real golden age for the arts?

38 thoughts on “How do we create a real golden age in the arts in NZ?

  1. Everyone who wants to be an artist should be paid a living wage. The country needs artists. This way, we could get a lot more art, which could be sold. More artists would benefit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10 (-7)

  2. I have experienced the reality of this Government’s political influence on the arts community through my involvement in the governance of a regional public art gallery. The pressure put on local government through the ongoing austerity measures and the removal of the four well-beings has seen arts funding become a lower priority. Ensuring funding to pay for minimal staffing levels at our gallery is becoming problematic and it creates unreasonable uncertainty for employees when financial security is based on an annual lottery.

    We recently advertised for a new manager/curator and were inundated with applicants who were well qualified, hugely experienced and nationally regarded. The fact that they were prepared to work for a minimal salary just to ensure a job and some income means there are fewer jobs and opportunities for those who work in the arts sector.

    When you think of the $36 million being gifted to the America’s Cup Challenge, the millions spent on the Rugby World Cup and the willingness of Government MPs to be seen a major sporting events and compare that with their engagement with the arts, the disparity of support becomes obvious. This is definitely not a golden age for the arts!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4 (+5)

  3. spending on Arts (learning/participating or buying artswork) is the first thing to go when we tighten our belts…( I know this from personal experience)
    What’s the use for many of us to complain about small cuts here and there by govt when we let current govt sell all those most valuable assets and sign up the most costly TPPA which will cost Kiwis hundreds of billions for generations to come…what is the really urgent priority here in this country, I wonder

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  4. Why shoud the government be involved in funding the arts at all is the place I start, and I can’t think of a good reason!

    Yes, I enjoy theatre, opera, film, dance, ballet and many other forms of art. I expect to pay for the entertainment I receive from these pastimes, I don’t expect my blind neighbour to help pay for my entertainment.

    There are plenty of “rich” people aroud who can become patrons of the arts if see sufficient perceived value to themselves from doing so. Between them, and the viewing public, there should be enough fuding to pay for the arts without the government being expected to chip in too. Indeed, there is a good reason why the government should NOT subsidise the arts; the concept of equity, in other words if taxes subsidise the arts (which is entertainment for some,) why doesn’t it subsidise beer and strip-shows which are etertainment for others!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 (+3)

  5. Dave. You remind me of the school PTA in my kids primary school.

    I organised a yearly community activity which doubled as a fund raiser.

    To my mind the benefits to the community and children of a co-operative and fun day was a important as the funds raised.

    Sure enough everyone had a great time.

    But. It was soon canned, because it did not make enough money!

    If the Dave Stringers of this world have their way, nothing would exist unless it makes a profit. Including people!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6 (-3)

  6. Before you can distribute tax payers money to the “arts” and “artists” you need to define what art and artists are.

    I’m a creative artist working in metals, plastic and composites to create one off (or limited numbered runs) masterpieces that wow’s my customers because of its beauty, intricacy and exacting expression, its timeless essence, its outstanding colours, and its application to allow the public to fully appreciate the art should they purchase.

    Am I an artist? I think I am so can I get arts funding please.

    We are all “artists” to some degree or another so why separate funding for the open ended describable activity called “arts”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 (+8)

  7. Dave Stringer, I guess you could say the same about botanical gardens, public sculpture, public fireworks displays and anything else that adds to people’s quality of life. None provide a financial return or make economic sense, but our lives would less without them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 (0)

  8. Kerry and Sprout
    sadly, you didn’t read what I wrote.
    At no point did I say profits should be made from artistic ventures. Breaking even is fine with me, non-profit organisations are common and normal in our society. What I said was it is unreasonable for there to be a tight definition of “art” which qualifies for central government subsidy benefitting the few rather than the majority of society’s members.

    Kerry, if everyone who was involved in producing your community activity which doubled as a fund raiser had a great time, I must assume that they would continue to do it, irrespective of the money raised. As a result, I am surprised you didn’t carry on with the event outside the purview of the PTA and you, and your ‘staff’, continue to have fun. Why didn’t you?

    Sprout, botanical gardens, public sculptures, public fireworks displays, etc., are, in my experience, delivered by local government and available for free for all residents of the city in which they occur. I have no problem with these types of expenditures at all. Nor do I have a problem with local or central government subsidising events that have a significant economic return to the area – for instance, WOWArt brings thousands of visitors to Wellington, who spend ‘external’ money on accommodation, food, retail therapy, transport, parking, etc., etc., the multiple of the subsidy is significant and enables many ratepayers to benefit through increased revenues – a good investment of their property taxes. By comparison, a central goverment subsidy for a ballet company that performs only in major cities in New Zealand (and not too often at that,) is not, in my view, a good use of the taxes paid by workers in small towns and villages around the country.

    I love opera and ballet, and would pay more for the pleasure of seeing them than I do rather than have someone in Twizel make a contriution to funding my pleasure. Though maybe you agree we should provide a subsidy for their annual striptease show at the local RSA and make things equitable?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  9. Dave I did understand your argument and I guess I was looking at it from my art gallery perspective. I think you have chosen a poor example with your strip show because that appears to be an already sustainable industry (where supply meets demand) with no need of extra financial support. Your argument about the blind person having to pay extra for your visual entertainment is also a straw man because you could say the same about someone who doesn’t drive still contributing to roading. Tax generally goes to a central pool then is distributed around the various votes as needed, you could just as easily say that a visually disabled persons taxes all go to things they benefit from.

    You make ballet and opera sound elitist but my daughter attended ballet lessons for years with many other children from a range of backgrounds and any ballet production in Invercargill fills the theatre. Ballet dancers do not earn the salaries of rugby players and yet ballets do attract good audiences and our NZ ballet company regularly tours overseas and is well regarded.

    I think you would find that Government expenditure on ballet, opera or our national orchestra is actually very minimal in percentage terms and when you compare the spending to the $36 million gifted to an elite yachting race to the total budget of $11.5 million that Creative New Zealand has to support all the arts, it puts the spending in perspective.

    I think your initial question is still a valid one but it needs to be balanced with an understanding of what else our taxes go to. If we are spending too much on Ballet then we must be spending even more excessively elsewhere.

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  10. I thought I’d provide a link to our art gallery so that you can see what we manage to run on a total budget of around $170,000 a year. http://www.andersonparkgallery.co.nz

    Our provincial rugby union recently got into financial trouble and was bailed out by local fundholders. One of the debts they had was an outstanding alcohol bill of around $100,000. We struggled to get $40,000 to cover an extra staff member, increased heating and power costs and a slight pay rise for existing staff. The arts generally fight so much harder for the financial crumbs they receive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  11. Sprout

    Good on you for the Gallery, I wonder haow many visits per year you have to accommodate with that tiny budget of yours.

    Just a couple of points

    The strip show example was very much tongue in cheek :-) , and you made the key point yourself, supply and demand are in balance, so no subsidy is needed: however, if there were too many strip shows, and not enough paying audience members, would that make it right for central government to subsidise them? I think not.

    As for road funding. 50% of every dollar spent on fuel goes into the road fund (not, we are constantly assured, the general fund,) and so we have a user-pays system there. As far as I’m aware, it is only public transport that is subsidised, mainly by local government, but I guess the KiwiRail debacle suggests that there is a central government subsidy there as well that should, imho, be stopped.

    I guess you live in Dunedin, and the local RFU financial mess was indeed a mess, but there was no central government bail-out. The funds that were made available were from local people/companies who indeed bailed out a local form of entertainment that had been badly managed – their money, their choice.

    The ETNZ fuding? Well, NZ being involved in the 34th Americas Cup has so far brought in the region of $300 million in spending by foreign enterprises. This expenditure includes ALL the AC45 boats, all the wingsails, all of 2 boats and most of three more, the support of over 120 people from the PRADA team for two summers (food, accomodation, entertainment, travel, etc., etc., etc.,). All up I think it likely that NZ Inc has made a profit on that investment, and now, with the WAKA being in San Francisco and running trade events for the next four months for people fro all over the world to see what NZ has to offer, I expect that return on investment will be significantly greater.

    SPROUT we all see through our own prisms, but sometimes we need to stand back a bit and see things in a larger context. I try to do that here on Frogblog in order to learn more about Green Issues and what can be done to reduce the impact of HS on Gaia. I contribute thoughts because I think the site should be a place for an exchange of views. IMHO the Green parrty needs to abandon its deep commitment to socialism, and become a true centre party so that it can win votes for a green agenda: I hope you’ll forgive me for expressing that view.

    Happy Monday

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  12. Sprout.
    Why do you see the arts as competing for funds with other recreation. Before the user pays fanatics got in on the act we seemed capable of funding both.

    I don’t think that you can compare it to the America’s cup funding. That was actually industry support.

    Investment in an industry where New Zealand are world leaders, at least due in part to that funding.

    Keeps a lot of boat builders, composite manufacturers, crews, and other people employed. Rather more employment that an even greater subsidy to the Tiwai Point smelter allows.

    There seems to be a perception in some quarters that yachting is even more elitist than ballet.

    In fact to race yachts at the club level is cheaper than playing club rugby. And buying a centreboard yacht costs about the same as a ballet costume.

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  13. I was at a talk at the National Library last week, where all the speakers noted the huge upwelling on NZ art – particularly music and associated graphic arts – that occurred in the late 1970s and early 80s. The key funding mechanism for this seems to have been an adequate dole, which allowed artists tro focus on their work without a meddling state ‘picking winners’ (few of the people from that time – many of whom went on to be well-known in their respective fields – would have ever been funded as ‘artists’ by a government agency).

    “the Green parrty needs to abandon its deep commitment to socialism, and become a true centre party so that it can win votes for a green agenda”

    Ho ho, this old joke. Sorry John, there was a party like the one you mentioned and it sank without a trace after getting 0.26% of the vote. Just be straight up – you aren’t really interested in advancing the green agenda – you just don’t like socialism do you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 (+1)

  14. “abandon its deep commitment to socialism,”

    Another one that has the delusion that we can fight solve environmental problems without addressing social inequity.

    Who reckons all the costs of resolving the theft of the commons by the wealthy should be met by the poorer of us.

    Noting that all the Western economies where at their most successful when they were most socialist. The USA had a 91% tax on millionaires FFS.

    The best community good we could do would be a Guaranteed income.
    Which allows people to do things that add to the community, not just having to find ever more creative ways of ripping others off to make a living!

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  15. Kia Ora Holly,

    This is an important topic.I understand arts policy must be able to unite, and empower many sections of the New Zealand arts community. But I think a special place should be created in arts policy for those in our communities that do it very hard in these dofficult times. Times are hard and communities on the ground in Aotearoa are struggling. If policy in the arts is going to make a difference, it needs to be rooted in the actual aspirations, dreams, creativity, cultures, and talents of grassroots kiwis that struggle in this land.

    Some of the finest contemporary art has emerged from culturally and spiritually rich ( yet socio- economically poor) communities in the past-look at Hello Sailor and Herbs in Ponsonby in the 1970s, or Chaos emerging out of Takapuwahia Marae in Porirua in Wellington in the 1970s.
    This art has always returned back to grassroots communities to encourage, inspire, and feed local communities. Artists have seen needs, then worked with others collectively to empower their own communities.

    Fine Aotearoa reggae artists like Ama Rauhihi-Ness, Tigilau Ness, and Dilworth Karaka have not only produced outstanding art in their lives. These artists have also helped create artistic cultures for ordinary blue collar New Zealanders. Ama, Tigilau, Dilworth and many others have helped create festivals, sung at musical benefits, and performed to inspire those in political struggle on the Land March 1975, at Takaparawhau, during the Springbok Tour protests. At all times, these fine artists have not forgotten to serve grassroots communities. There are many other artists and cultural workers in Aotearoa that serve communities in the same way.

    Cultural workers like Will Ilolahia, Hugh Lynn, Taape O’Reilly, Denis O’Reilly have long experience in working at community level, and creating opportunities for communities to enjoy art. There are many other fine cultural workers that have understood the importance of art, artists, and culture for local communities. These people have wisdom to share regarding art and culture in Aotearoa.

    Why not go back to artists, and cultural workers with long experience in community service, and consult them regarding arts policy, and what communities need? What are community definitions of Art? How can policy help empower and build off talents and skills communities already possess in regards to developing art at community level? How can communities maintain some self determination, and autonomy operating in a policy framework? Community artists and workers may have questions and solutions of their own to add into the mix.

    The Green Party could also speak to grassroots youth, women, men, old people at community level to find out what community needs actually are- and how Arts policy might act to support, and empower the beautiful and necessary art emerging from these communities. What are community definitions of art? How does art operate at community level? How can artistic culture support and enhance community self worth and self esteem? Communities, whether Pakeha, Asian, Pasifika, Tangata Whenua, or other know the answers to these questions. The communities will also have their own ideas, projects, and talents to teach policy makers. Communities can teach policy makers about art and value at a community level- a very different definition of ‘value’ than one provided in Creative NZ funding forms.

    The Greens could also speak and work with people in the community that have set up community art spaces- like the art galleries in Otara, or Mangere Township for example. Curators and artists in these venues will have a sense of what community needs are, and also a valuable opinion on how arts policy could empower local communities that do it hard.

    Beautiful and socially valuable art will continue to emerge from such communities in difficult times- just like the music of Nina Simone and the Staples singers came out of black communities struggling during the civil rights era in the United States, or the BARTS programmes that emerged out of Harlem during the 1960s, led by Imamu Amiri Baraka. When communities have to struggle, their art is always beautiful.It is the same deal in Aotearoa. Art policy should support art, artists and communities that produce grand art out of hardship. Arts policy shouldn’t be about the wealthy few in this country, or about getting different groups fighting over arts funding scraps. If Arts policy is going to mean anything, let the policy uphold the mana and dignity of artists and communities in this land that have next to nothing.

    The aesthetics of art at a community level are dynamic, rich, and inspiring- as the artists, community workers, and community itself are.

    If the Green Party goes back to communities and artists at grassroots, blue collar levels in order to develop arts policy- relationships between artists, communities, and governments will be enriched and enhanced, in holistic forms. I am not saying arts policy should not also represent, or speak for those coming from privileged situations in Aotearoa. But if Aotearoa wants to lay claim to art that emerges from blue collar communities, arts policy needs to engage with artists and communities.

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  16. Oh Dear,
    here we go again, I have to defend my opinions against bias and Nelsonism.

    YES, we can pursue environmental solutions without creating social equality. THey are different issues and can be tackled separately.

    NO, you are wrong I am being straight up – I am really interested in advancing the green agenda, and – I don’t like socialism?

    Why don’t I like socialism? Because it creates a condition where there is no reason to strive for a better lifestyle and quality, it encourages people to sit and expect such things to come freely to them. The bottom line on that, IMHO is that you end up in a situation where the only money you have is money you print – why would anyone work if the value of their efforts is taken to give equal quality of life to those who don’t bother?

    As for the last point – PLEASE, define what you glibly refer to as “these commons”, the only “common” I knew was the one in the village where I grew up, a field called The Common because we ll had equal rights to its use, granted by the village squaire several centuries earlier!

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  17. Why I do not like our present type of capitalism.
    “Because it creates a condition where there is no reason to strive for a better lifestyle and quality, it encourages people to sit and expect such things to come freely to them.”
    Like the bankers, rentiers, the children of the rich and other non -working parasites.

    You are confusing socialism and Communism.

    Socialism does not preclude extra reward for extra effort.

    Socialism says that to get extra reward you have to have contributed more to society, unlike our present system where the most rewarded are those who steal from society most successfully.

    It is almost funny when someone living in a country where they owe their education, their job, their social status and often their very survival to our socialist system, saying they do not like socialism.

    Fondly imagining that in their favoured dog eat dog economic system they would have risen to the top through their own efforts.

    I always wonder why they do not vote with their feet and move to a country where there are no socialist policies, like Somalia or Columbia.

    The commons in this case are the entire world and it’s ecosystems. Now being destroyed and stolen by the greedy.

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  18. The commons in this case are our common environment and inheritance, which are being destroyed by the greedy, who have no moral right to do so.

    What you are really saying is that those who had no power to change things, and no share of the wealth made from degrading our environment, will have to bear the cost, while a few wealthy people carry on as usual.

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  19. “I am really interested in advancing the green agenda,”

    OK to be fair – I was making a hasty generalistation – the point I intended to make was that those who demand the Green Party drop its mildly socialist tendencies are not doing so because they want the betterment of the party. It’s clear that there are very few supporters of ‘capitalist environmentalism’ (even if we admit such a thing is possible) out there. For the current Green Party to adopt more ‘free-market’ capitalist policies would be electoral suicide, as the example of the Progressive Greens demonstrates.

    It was your comment that “the Green parrty needs to abandon its deep commitment to socialism, and become a true centre party so that it can win votes for a green agenda” which is sheer balderdash – you may be personally commited to an implausible green capitalist future, but to claim the Green Party will win votes by committing itself to such is obvious rubbish.

    BTW you don’t understand socialism, which is a very broad church. To say “why would anyone work if the value of their efforts is taken to give equal quality of life to those who don’t bother?” demonstrates an ignorance of the many possibilities within the socialist spectrum. It also demonstrates an ignorance of capitalism which depends heavily on unrewarded labour to survive.

    The commons at present include all the services, lands, oceans, the atmosphere, human knowledge and culture which the capitalists haven’t managed to turn into commodities, or which they don’t want and would rather have other people manage them, because they haven’t figured a way of making a buck out of them. The vast majority of the things we depend on for our quality of life, in other words.

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  20. You are confusing socialism and Communism.
    Socialism does not preclude extra reward for extra effort.

    Dave – Socialism (at least in the Marxist-Leninist view of political evolution) is a stepping stone toward Communism, a utopian theoretical state which is identifiable by its superabundance of material wealth.

    In Marx’ own words “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

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  21. Kerry and Dave, I don’t think that the Arts should compete with sport for funding but I do find it frustrating that there are double standards with regards to spending in different areas. I used our art gallery and Creative NZ as an example of how the money involved in the arts is actually peanuts in the big scheme of things. The Government bailed out a struggling private school for 400 wealthy students against the advice of the Ministry for $3.9 million more than a third of creative NZ total budget. The Arts gets a tenth of what it cost to implement the Novopay system for managing education salary payments.

    Tony’s comment supports the value of art in a cultural, social and spiritual sense that can’t be given a dollar value. However art uplifts people, inspires people, develops self worth, connects people and creates stronger communities. There probably is an economic value, indirectly, and government funding for a wide range of art activity may not always produce an immediate economic return but then again it may just help start the career of another Peter Jackson, Shane Cotton, Neil Finn or keep a potential criminal out of prison because learning to carve gave him a purpose that wouldn’t cost $91,000 a year to keep him locked up.

    When the money spent on the Arts is actually so small, overall, it probably brings us a greater return on our investment than we realise, therefore to quibble about whether we should spend it just seems petty to me. Arts are underfunded generally and it is more a case of what area should we underfund the most…

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  22. Sprout.

    I don’t doubt that arts are underfunded.
    Almost all community goods are underfunded these days.
    A natural consequence of heading towards a mean spirited, profit driven society.

    Both sports and arts add to our quality of life in the same ways.

    Personally I reckon a home built and designed, foiling moth, centreboard yacht, is a work of art.

    Those who reckon that NZ was dead in the 70′s were obviously not at the local sports field, boat ramps, art centre or in the suburbs gardening.

    More coffee shops and shopping malls does not fill the cultural gap left by the starving of community based recreation.

    I have the same problem with aspects of sport.
    Club level sports, where most of the community benefit comes from, are dependent on contesting for gambling funds. While millions are poured at a few high profile Olympic sports.

    Don’t even get me started on the NZRFU. Millions in ticket sales, government funding, ratepayer supplied stadiums and other help, and they reckon they were too broke to provide drainage for the kids fields, or support for a small local club.

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  23. Kerry, you really do have problems I think, is there some way I can help you get appropraie help?

    You suggest that bankers, rentiers, the children of the rich and other non-working parasites sit and expect such things as a better lifestyle and quality to come freely to them, yet fail to give examples, especially of non-working bankers.

    If my father is a multi-millionaire, I might find it hard to think of a better lifestyle and quality than I’ve had as his child, and if chooses to leave me sufficient funds to maintain that quality and style of life, how does that make me a parasite? perhaps some examples of where such situations exist would be a way of convincing me, in the meantime I will just point you to Stella McCartney, whose father has as much money as anyone I can imagine, and yet she competes in a cut-throat world and is successfull in her own right.

    As for rentiers, (for those wondering, Webster defines them as “a person who lives on income from property or securities”, I guess you don’t want a pension from the Cullen Fund, As that’s all held in property and securities. If someone choses to invest their savings in rental properties (like the Green Party Superannuation fund,) how have they become a parasite? The tradition of many working-class people in New Zealand is to use property appreciation as a means of enhancing their retirement savings, I can even give you the names of two electricians, a mechanic, a solo-mother and a nurse who are doing exactly that, as well as a few MPs.

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  24. Sprout
    re “Arts are underfunded generally and it is more a case of what area should we underfund the most”
    they are only underfunded if the people they seek to entertain do not provide sufficient revenue to cover the cost of provision. At that point the correct action is any one or combination of reducing costs, increasing prices or appealing to a larger audience withut cost increase. Why is this so hard to understand? If what was being provided met a genuine need people would be happy to pay for it.

    As an example, a survey of people leaving Te Papa in 2003 asked how much they woud be prepared to pay for the free experience they had just had, the average was $10.00. Te Papa in 2011, had operating costs of $46,123,000; commercial revenues and sponsorship of $16,598,000; it in the same year had 2,197,055 visitors, meaning the crown’s contribution was $23,574,000 or just $10.73 per visitor. Inflation of 7.3% does not seem unreasonable in the 8 years between survey and financial report (I just wish COL inflation had been so low). LESSON. People seem willing to pay the cost of this aspect of “art”, but no one asks them to, so they don’t.

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  25. “how does that make me a parasite?”

    What contribution to society did you make to earn it?

    In fact what contribution to society did most millionaires make?

    Key made his millions by money trading that cost all New Zealand 100′s of millions.

    Bankers lose 7 times more wealth for others than they make.

    We would be all better off without many of these people.

    Every dollar I have I earned through hard work and skill. How did you earn yours?

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  26. Only 3% of millionaires were entrepreneurs. People who earned their wealth through risk, talent and/or hard work.

    The rest mostly, either inherited it or made it by morally dubious means.

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  27. Kerry
    Oh dear, more lack of logic!

    your comment
    ““how does that make me a parasite?” What contribution to society did you make to earn it?””

    In the example quoted, I didn’t have to do anything to earn it, it was given to me by my father.

    So now, a question for you. What contribution to Society has the 19 year old DPB dependent, solo mother of two that I met last week, made?

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  28. Not to mention that as the hypothetical child of a millionaire you will grow up to use vastly more of societies resources and the natural environment than the mum on the DPB, even though the effort required from you is nil.

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  29. Oh dear Kerry

    I’m spending money, which means paying taxes (GST), as well as earning interest,which also incurrs taxes (income tax); therefore, I am making a contribution to society’s resources by helpind to fund things like education, health services, policing, defense, etc., etc., etc.. I may even be a patron of the arts (opera and ballet if it was me personally), again incresing the available societal resources.

    She is taking resources from society (DPB is a cost to the common tax fund) and making no inherent contribution to society, though the children we are paying to raise may, at some future time, do so.

    Now, about the natural enviroment my (hypothetical) millionaire’s child will consume more of – what exactly is (s)he consuming that the woman and her two children are not?

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  30. http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/a-bit-rich

    “While collecting salaries of between £500,000 and £10 million, leading City bankers to destroy £7 of social value for every pound in value they generate.”

    “For every £1 they are paid, childcare workers generate between £7 and £9.50 worth of benefits to society.”

    It would be cheaper for the rest of us to pay bankers, NOT to come to work.

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  31. You are a millionaire, and you pay tax? A rare beast.
    Millionaires pay less tax than their secretary.

    As are millionaire philanthropists.
    Less than 6% of millionaires money goes to philanthropy.

    Most of it goes to pushing up prices of assets, destroying wealth, and grabbing the wealth made by wage earners. Transferring more money from us to them. A net cost the rest of us, way in excess of the money your DPB mum gets..

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  32. I guess I could quote the Hudson Institute’s treatise on Social Value Added to counter your quoting neweconomics.com but to be honest, I’d rather drink a glass of good wine and contribute to a grape-picker’s societal participation.

    Good Night
    :-)

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  33. “In Marx’ own words “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.”

    Actually those weren’t Marx’s words.

    “What contribution to Society has the 19 year old DPB dependent, solo mother of two that I met last week, made?”

    What’s the point of this question? Since we don’t know who you are talking about, how are we supposed to know what contribution she has made?

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  34. Sam – Marx did use those words, although he did crib them from Louis Blanc, who probably cribbed them from the Bible, which was probably cribbed from the Greeks.

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  35. As far as the visual arts go in New Zealand and overseas, it’s a golden age for way to many people producing truckloads of work, but not a golden age for great art. I don’t think the government can help here, but a lot more serious criticism as opposed to art “boosterism” (as in “it’s all good”) might help. There is a notion that the visual arts is a charity where we should always be helping artists as a needy worthy cause. In fact, a lot more separating the wheat from the chaff would be useful.

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