NZSO should be axed

Axing the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is one of four options being put forward in the face of falling ticket sales for performances.

The Culture and Heritage Ministry today released a new discussion paper looking at the future of orchestras in New Zealand, amid concerns that falling ticket sales and rising Government funding were making the sector unsustainable.

New Zealand has four regional orchestras, in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Southland, as well the national touring orchestra.

The paper reviewed growing concerns about falling audience numbers for orchestral performances, which have dropped from 645,746 in 2007 to 434,811 in 2010.

The minimum taxpayer subsidy for some liberal elite wanker to go to the NZSO is $160. That’s the minimum for someone in the expensive seats. Cheap seats the subsidy is a lot higher.

National gets all het up about welfare bludgers but we never seem to get around to stopping the arts and culture welfare, where those who can afford the most keep sticking their bludging hands out.

It beats me how we can pay $160 a ticket for the liberal elite wankocracy to indulge their passion, yet we can’t find $160 to give poor school kids books and other school materials that may give a poor kid a chance of making it good.

If there was a market for live music people wouldn’t need a $160 a seat subsidy to go. And Brian Rudman’s theatre would pay its own way rather than going on the bludge.


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  • le sphincter

    Trouble is the Minister of Arts and Culture is  yours truely Chris Finlayson,  who would also be one of the last high art queens around. No Andrew Sullivan beer bellies here

    • gazzaw

      Are you serious l’arsehole? Fucken Clarke subsidised anything remotely related to the arts. Are we still paying welfare to unemployable ‘artists’? Taxpayer funded hip hop tour to the US anyone? Clarke on the Wearable Arts catwalk – how much did that cost he taxpayer?

      It’s not going to happen so this is all academic. I agree with you re Finlayson but don’t forget Clarke’s misspent millions on the arts either.

      • maninblack

        yes we still support unemployable artists!! its unbelivable..

      • le sphincter

        Gee you like reliving the past… but is was subsidised  before Clark came along.

        And we see now a racing track in Pukekohe is getting government money ( as well as the councils) .
        The pot cant call the kettle black

      • gazzaw

        Merely pointing out that Finlayson isn’t the last living arts queen around l’arsehole – the queen bee is alive and well in NYC.

      • Neil

        Thought some idiot here would bring that up – we’re the world champions at Hip Hop dance – and it was a lot cheaper than paying to subsidise the friggin’ America’s Cup continuing saga…

  • nasska

    Can the wretched things!  At best they are welfare for culture vultures & had it not been for Dear Leader’s interventions over the dark nine years up to 2008 they may have died a natural death.  If ACDC devotees can fork out full price for their  music so can a bunch of pretentious classical music lovers.

    Ditto for concert radio..

    • Liberty

      Wasn’t Clark was a  ACDC devotees ?

  • Damibott

    Our success in arts represents the wealth of that society. Obviously the conservatives have made NZ poor and stole all the wealth. Now the people of NZ can’t play a song for a dime

  • ben

    Usual sloppy fairfax journalism, the regional orchestra Southern Symphonia is based in Dunedin not Southland!, just because something has a “south” in front of it does not automatically make it Southland and anyone who has spent more than a day in Invercargill would no what a laughable thought Southland being the base for a regional orchestra would be.

    • Sarrs

      Oh yea, because Dunedin is such a cultural hotspot…well the bits of it that students haven’t destroyed. What’s laughable is your misplaced judgement, way to keep those parochial Dunedin vs Invercargill fires alive – that’s really productive. 

  • petal

    I felt the same way about the tax payer supporting the Rugby World Cup.

    • Pin

      Slightly different Petal !!.  We had thousands of foreign visitors coming to NZ to not only watch rugby but to see the country…AND SPEND MONEY….what the phuck do the plonkers who go to a recital spend….perhaps a meal and visit to the chemist for ear plugs!  I for one don’t want to subsidize them to the tune of $165 a time….Do you?

      • Liberty

        There is no difference
        between Rugby an listening to music.

        It is only entertainment.
        An entertainment is not the responsibility of the state.

        One of the few things Labour
        did right was remove farm subsidies the other was increase

        Day light saving  but I digress.

        So why should the
        entertainment industry receive subsidies ?

        NZ on Air  should be scrapped   along with any other Art an Fart  subsidies.

    • Guest

      Taxpayer support for sports generally (local cricket, rugby and soccer clubs for example) and for  Maori cultural events dwarfs the meagre support the arts get.  I am guessing the demographic that benefits from arts support (ie people like me – high income white middle class) don’t get a great  deal of other benefits from their tax dollar.

  • Alloytoo

    I’d rather we cut welfare to subsidize the arts.

  • Dublej

    Public library’s are parasite favourites…the poor ratepayers being forced to subsidies the reading habits of the middle classes…..

    • Polish_pride

      Yes we should just get rid of all Libraries…. – Banging my head against a wall at the world of planet stupid.  

      • For once we are in agreement!

      • Neil

        They don’t even recognise sarcasm here PP….lol!!!

  • le sphincter

    Finlayson says closure is ‘unthinkable’, and  while he is Queen it will remain a jewel in the crown, or something.
    Now the next big project is to get John Key to read a book,  but apparently  his kids at school  do that allready so no need for him to bother. After all reading his ministerial papers can only lead to mischief which can   be blamed on the Labour party, as we know they have people  who read lots

    • Euan Rt

      You referring to porn I expect?

    • Johnbronkhorst


      • Johnbronkhorst

        Irrelevant PRATT

      • le sphincter

        ITs not irrelevant. Finlayson has stated  , closure will not happen.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Why are we subsidising Team NZ so a bunch of millionaire yachtsmen can float around the world???

    • Exactly – and when was the last time they won…..oh that’s right….1995! Yet how much money have we given them in the 17 years since? Millions & millions….my guess it amounts to far more than what has been handed out to the NZSO.

      If you are going to talk about elitism, yachting is right up there. It has always been & will always be a rich mans sport. 

      The only time we should fund things like rugby (e.g. enable its thuggery side effects) & yachting is when the cups are held here. For the 20 years in between those times they should be on their own.

    • patriot

      Didnt the GST and Tax take from the 2 Auckland defences of the Americas  Cup , exceed the $30m ‘invested in Team NZ .

      From what i recall — there was a return on investment on the Americas Cup — Viaduct Basin was created by Sir Peter Blake’s call for a grand base for the Challenging yacht syndicates  .

      The marine industry got a big economic injection and worldwide TV of the event as well …..  By my numbers , NZ got a good return , not to mention the tourism exposure overseas .

      NZSO gets nothing like the Americas Cup in TV exposure .

      Maori water rights is the joke of the year — after our money again . … ever heard of maori rain clouds  causing maori water  ?

  • Phar Lap

     I recall when Lie-bour took over the treasury benches in 1999 ,the first thing Clark did was to allocate 185 Million dollars to the arts.Seems she was so taken with her involvement ,she even got involved with a painting, that became even more famous than her.

    • jonno1

      Yes, I remember that too, although I thought it was “only” $80m. And it was either on day one or was pretty darn close to it. Up to that moment I was prepared to give HC the benefit of the doubt, so that charitable view didn’t last long. 

  • chwaga

    “Public library’s are parasite favourites…the poor ratepayers being forced to subsidies the reading habits of the middle classes…..”

    When I go to the public library, and it is quite often, the people that I see there do not appear to be middle class, on the contrary they are the young mothers of all races with children but predominantly Maori and Polynesian , the elderly and what appear to be those that cannot afford to buy books  

    • Alloytoo

      “those that cannot afford to buy books ”

      Yup, the middle class.

  • maninblack

    why should the govt subsidise anything..

    If something cannot pay its own way then it shouldnt exist.

    • Euan Rt

      like healthcare? education? 

      • le sphincter

        Privately owned broadband cables.!
         Its about $900 per  gate they pass comes from the government.  But  the fibres then become  privately owned property

  • Johnbronkhorst

    They are a luxury and not strictly necessary to the well being of the economy. But I never buy a ticket, so it will be sad to see an institution disappear, they need to be relevant and need to find a business model that may attract people like me to PAY to go see them. Perhaps we could give them 6 more months to come up with a 3 year business model (help them too) that will achieve this…otherwise….you’re gone!!

  • I knew that the NZSO got funding but didn’t realise that it equated to $160 per ticket – is that right?

    I dont really know what the correct solution is, but as an avid lover of classical music – preferably when combined with dancing (especially ballet), I definitely think that we need to keep enough talent here so we have an international quality orchestra.

    How that works & how much we should be funding it I dont know, but I think young NZers should continue to have the option of obtain a degree in musicianship & then having a career here. 

    Likewise though I would like to see more funding for talent like Parris Goebel who founded ReQuest. 

    So if something has to give I would like all things rugby to be the first on the chopping block – grown men running up & down a field is not a skill & further, it is a sport that seems to bring out the worst in many men. Football in NZ on the other hand, doesnt seem to generate the same antagonism and requires a lot more skill to play.

    And as for comments regarding the library – good God, while the internet has its uses, a library can never be replaced. It is a fantastic way to hone research skills & read many books that you would otherwise not read; not everyone has the ability to have an entire room dedicated to housing books! For many centres, the local library is the hub of the community and if it gets kids away from the TV, computer & those damn games then it is always money well spent!

    • jonno1

      Heh, I’ve been to enough ballet “starring” one or other of my grand-daughters to last a lifetime, but I know I’ll be back (sigh).

    • Polish_pride

      I can’t think of any solutions under the current system either….. :)

  • parorchestia

     Besides all the good arguments advanced by others against subsidies there is also an argument that they allow artists to disengage from their communities and become self-indulgent. Subsidies and welfare payments allow them to practise “arts for arts sake.” What a con. Because of these stupid policies we get unreadable poetry, daft installations, unlistenable “modern” music and other aberrations that would not be tolerated in a saner world.

  • Phronesis

    As Bob Jones writes today, a little knowledge of history is always useful. All the great art of the renaissance was funded by patrons. A good example today is that Gibbs bloke with all the sculptures or the Art collection donated to Gore of all places by some rich foreigner. Of course socialists think that it is the Governments role to tax the rich dry and let bureaucrats decide what is worthy.

    • Mediaan

      Art collection in Gore was donated by a New Zealander. Expatriate psychologist Dr John Money, who worked in the States and at a high, some say political, level.

      He was associated with the treatment (I use the term widely) of Janet Frame, our most eminent writer, maybe challenged by Katherine Mansfield. Certainly our most eminent modern writer.

      Janet Frame was the one that New Zealand clod psychiatrists (different from psychologists) were going to cut in the brain to make her a vegetable, because she was “different”. Pre-frontal lobotomies, then fashionable.

  • Pingback: Robbie Ellis » The NZSO ain’t getting axed (ditto APO, VWO, CSO & SS)()

  • Orangestud

    Yet, another disgraceful attack on European culture.  

  • Mediaan

    I see no reason to sit and watch an orchestra.

    Music is to be listened to.

    I regard concerts as social events for people who wish to either meet other serious music lovers or appear to be cultured. The latter are useful in donations.


    If we narrow our offerings, as a nation, in culture, how are we going to get the cream of world technical and other fields here to either visit or settle?

  • unitedtribes

    Just passed this by my wife. She said Whaleoil is bull shit. Its not a subsidy to  liberal elite wankers its a subsidy to the musicians who couldnt exist otherwise. Just the same as they subsidize footy fields all over the country. She said you have to take it in an overall context to evaluate were the money is spent. Are Rugby players more deserving to Musicians. Hard for to argue this one. Help!

  • Pukakidon

    We are a first world country that needs to foster culture and art.   In the scheme of things $160 mil is not much to pay to foster and promote aspiring young people into the finer things in life.  I have seen a number of young people who have come from poor backgrounds aspire to play in the orchestra or become an artist.  The orchestra also provides scores to television, movies and all other sorts of things.  

    lthough I don’t really participate in the arts, theatre or orchestra as often as I would like, I support all in this country to have some sort of subsidised entertainment.   I don’t really attend motor racing but it interests some in our country and I support some subsidy to that as well. Horses for courses. 

    Lets not lower ourselves to the nasty Labourite belief, of shit on the rich, cultured or educated.