Before we all get too excited by the National Party's new and improved Arts Policy, let us look carefully at it; a none too-difficult task, given its brevity.
For a start, is this the best they can do? A few hundred words, mostly composed in the dialect of cliché: why would a politician who uses stilted phrases like "as I've travelled around New Zealand listening to those involved in arts, culture and heritage," expect to be be trusted?
For a second start, is this the best they can do? All that travelling around the country, and this is all Chris Findlayson can muster, a policy and a PR statement entitled "National to maintain arts funding." That's it: a promise to maintain existing funding; like, wow. It not exactly a vision, is it? Nobody seems to be passionate about the arts in the National camp.
Instead, we get a few muttered blandishments, none of which join up into a policy. National will support the reform of the Authors' Fund but oppose resale Royalty rights for art: writers deserve to earn royalties on their works but painters do not; perfectly consistent, I sure you will agree. Of course, they are going to ensure funding agencies have "cultures of service" and support artists and art organisations, not the bureaucracy (note to Chris: the arts organisations are the bureaucracy) and they are going to review the Historic Places Act.
Hang on, what was that last one? Why review the Act which protects historic buildings? What's going on? Does National intend to make it easier for rich people to demolish or alter historic buildings? I think we should be told.
Here is a poem, by Denis Glover, set to music by Christopher Marshall.