We have acknowledged on previous occasions that the Point of Order Trough Monitor was not calibrated to pick up every example of dubiously spent public money.
But when our monitor misses examples of eyebrow-raising grants, investments, loans and what-have-you, other monitors and watchdogs are on the job. The Taxpayers’ Union for example.
The other day it drew attention to Creative NZ’s track record for funding some pretty odd art projects.
The Taxpayers’ Union has focused on the value of the Arts Continuity Grant, which it describes as a COVID-19 response fund which has so far paid out $16 million in grants to a variety of questionable short-term arts projects.
Many of the descriptions of the projects funded under this programme are described as “frankly, incomprehensible” and:
“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.”
Point of Order visited the Creative NZ website and learned that this continuity fund
“ … is offered to support 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. Projects can include the creation and/or presentation of new work. Existing projects submitted to our suspended funds can be reframed and resubmitted. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with weekly decision-making.”
Sums up to $50,000 have been on offer. Continue reading “Creativity blossoms in the shadow of the virus (with seed money from taxpayers who may not be aware of their generosity)”