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.
637 projects have received taxpayer funding under the Arts Continuity Grant, including the following:
To research and write the first draft of a novel about male affection in hypermasculine spaces.
Fireplace Arts & Media
Towards the composition, recording and production of music inspired by the psychogeography of the West Coast.
To support the personnel costs and post-production editing for an art documentary based on Papua New Guinea tattoo practice and revival.
Towards one phase of illustrating a biography of Leonardo da Vinci.
Alison Foster, Catherine Cooper
Towards writing a children's picture book (text only) about sustainable community activist Helen Dew.
To create and develop an online publication, arts learning resources and musical content based on children's drag theatre show, The Glitter Garden.
To create a new series of collaborative quilts with my mother, textile artist Cynthia Johnson.
Towards intensive artistic research and development.
Towards the composition and instrumental arrangement of 10 songs for children, from ideas given by children.
Towards a live event watch party and livechat with fans online.
Towards writing poetry that explores indigeneity and love in the time of climate change.
Towards writing a novel about the collapse of democracy in an association of alpaca breeders.
Towards a dance concept video showcasing the impact Coronavirus has had on the New Zealand Chinese community.
Towards the development of a first draft of a play that explores the menstrual cycle.
To record and livestream a performance from Fat Freddy's Drop.
Khali Philip-Barbara, Te Kahureremoa Taumata
Towards an Indigenised Hypno-soundscape to take you to the imagined worlds of our Kōrero Pūrākau.
Towards development of a movement technique that guides and empowers the participants in becoming specialists in their own body.
Towards 3 x hour-long live-streamed electronic music performances with live visual animations, from a kitchen in Paekakariki.
Towards a wananga for Maori healing theatre practitioners.
New Zealand Comedy Trust
To examine what changes need to be made to better support a more diverse and sustainable comedy industry in Aotearoa.
Towards composing and recording ten original compositions inspired by emotions felt during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Towards development of a new body of work exploring modernism, feminism & queerness, with specific reference to the Otago region.
Towards revision and editing of a sailing memoir.
Towards a Māori, queer, young adult novel adaptation of Hamlet based on my innovative unproduced screenplay ‘Hamarete’.
Indigenous Design and Innovation Aotearoa
Towards designing new Māori typefaces for print and digital.
Towards the writing, arranging and preproduction of music that forms a song-cycle from the suburban labyrinth.
Update: Taxpayers' Union Campaigns Manager Louis Houlbrooke joined Sean Plunket on Magic Talk to discuss these grants. You can listen to the clip here.