The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the value of the Arts Continuity Grant, a COVID-19 response fund which has so far paid out $16 million in grants to a variety of questionable short-term arts projects.
Since March, Creative NZ has offered grants of up to $50,000 for ‘a short-term arts project, or the stage of a project, that can be delivered within a changed and evolving environment as a result of COVID-19.’
Many of the descriptions of these projects are, frankly, incomprehensible. It’s hard to see how bureaucrats in Creative NZ can make an objective judgment on which projects are worthy of funding, and which aren’t.
The resulting handouts speak for themselves. Creative NZ is fighting COVID-19 by spending taxpayer money on plays about menstrual cycles, Māori ‘healing theatre’, and ‘Indigenised Hypno-soundscapes’. That’s madness and it reflects terribly on the Minister of Arts Culture and Heritage – who happens to be Jacinda Ardern.
These grants are massively unfair to taxpayers, with the benefits skewed toward politically-connected Wellington weirdos. Handouts for fringe interest groups mean less money is available for tax relief that would reward productive work. . .
Here’s a selection of projects on which this money is being spent:
Every cent of money spent on these projects is borrowed, accruing interest (albeit rates are low) and must be repaid.
Does anyone, except perhaps the recipients, think this is the best use of borrowed money when the country is in recession and facing decades of deficits?
People who can’t get the health care they need, whose schools are in disrepair, and who care about worsening deprivation for far too many children won’t.