One Question Quiz
Policy? What arts policy?
Policy? What arts policy?

PoliticsOctober 11, 2023

Election 2023: The arts, culture and heritage policies in two minutes

Policy? What arts policy?
Policy? What arts policy?

You won’t need much more than two minutes to get through the meagre arts policies on the table this election. See for more.

See more from our policy in two minutes series here.

Last week’s arts debate revealed the paucity of policies detailed by our political parties this election, with only two of the four represented parties having actual policies and commitments to bring to the table. Over a week later, just days out from the election, there is little more information to be gleaned on what a potential government might have in store for the arts, culture and heritage sector.

As of writing, neither National or New Zealand First have any policies on these topics. Act, Te Pāti Māori and New Zealand First did not attend the arts debate last week, while National’s arts, culture and heritage spokesperson Simon O’Connor admitted the party had not had the bandwidth to prepare them.

The arts, culture and heritage policies from the four parties that do have them are detailed below, in alphabetical order.


In a statement provided to arts and culture news site The Big Idea, the Act Party said it would like to see arts funding invested in a more diverse range of art for all New Zealanders. That would include recognising a variety of Asian cultures and especially those living in disadvantaged communities or isolated locations, with “value” being placed on projects which allow a wide range of communities to participate in the arts.

After meeting the needs of those communities, the party believes that arts funding applications should be tied to how much private philanthropy, corporate sponsorship or expected ticket sales they have, to ensure that supported arts are going to appeal to the public “as much as possible”. Act wants government funds currently directed to “large public sector payrolls” at culture agencies and screen production grants for “multinational corporations” directed instead to funding local artists, and would like to reform the ways arts and culture grants are run to avoid current bureaucracy.

In regards to arts education, Act wants an education system that supports “the diverse needs of children”, and for families to be able to choose to enrol their children in schools with strong arts opportunities. The party supports students studying arts at a tertiary level should they wish. 

Under Act, Creative New Zealand would not fund projects which promote or glorify violence or racism. (This appears to be a specific reference to Act leader David Seymour’s multiple criticisms of the work of award-winning poet Tusiata Avia.)

The Green Party

The Greens’ manifesto states that they would ensure better working conditions, more certainty and greater opportunities for Aotearoa’s artists and creatives. 

As mentioned during the arts debate, they support replacing arts funding from gambling revenue with stable investment indexed to inflation.

Outside of this, the party wishes to ensure that all publicly funded projects pay “at least” the living wage to artists, and expand paid artist residencies. This support would include providing stable funding for cultural organisations and events nationally, with long-term funding commitments for initiatives such as Te Matatini and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

The Greens also plan to ensure that there are a range of creative education and training opportunities to support and expand the local creative sector, including an increase of resources for student, community Māori and Pasifika media and radio. More broadly, they also support increased funding for “quality, non-commercial” public media that nurtures and promotes local talent, reflecting the “unique social and cultural diversity” of Aotearoa.

Finally, they also support the repatriation of taonga currently in galleries, museums and private collections overseas back to iwi, hapū and whānau Māori.


A re-elected Labour government would explore an Aotearoa arts strategy, invest in a permanent programme to support local artists to have sustainable careers, deliver the Erebus memorial and the St James refurbish, and continue to support nationwide and regional cultural entities such as Creative NZ, the NZ Film Commission and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. 

The party would consider funding iwi and hapū to protect and display taonga tūturu (protected objects that whakapapa to te ao Māori)

Te Pāti Māori

Te Pāti Māori would allocate $19 million to Te Matatini and $10 million to community, hapū and iwi development of kapa haka and similar art forms. It would also establish a $10 million research fund to better understand how toi Māori contributes to wellbeing.

The party wants to establish an independent toi Māori entity dedicated to the “protection and projection” of all toi Māori, at an estimated cost of $57m. This entity would sit on the Lottery Grants Board and receive equal funding to Creative NZ.

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