Hungry kids or ponces in tutus? Which ones do you want to save, Jacinda?

Jacinda Ardern is back into relentless finger wagging mode:

The embattled Royal New Zealand Ballet will be asked to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the new year as dancers continue to exit, stage left.

Ardern, who holds the ministerial responsibility for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said she had become concerned about the lack of New Zealand dancers in the national ballet company and fewer local shows for New Zealand’s regions.

The biennial Tutus on Tour used to bring top quality ballet shows to almost 50 regional towns in New Zealand. But in 2018, Tutus will tour only seven regional towns – which ballet lovers say will create problems at the grassroots of ballet.

Whakatane is one of the shows that has been cut, and local dance instructor Susan Nel said the tour made a big difference to her students.

“It might not have got me any more customers, but all the girls were able to watch the show and were all very inspired,” she said. “It really made a difference.

“It would be fantastic for them to come again or even stop by so the girls could see the dancers.”

About 17 of the company’s 36 dancers have left or are leaving after the arrival of new American artistic director Patricia Parker. Only four New Zealanders remain in the company, and not one of the 2017 graduates of the New Zealand School of Dance has a contract next year.

Ardern told Stuff: “The Royal New Zealand Ballet has noted that it needs to work harder in a number of areas and I view their willingness to acknowledge this and put plans in place as a constructive step towards resolving outstanding issues. 

“I have made my expectations of the board clear, particularly in relation to developing pathways for New Zealand dancers and in ensuring a strong New Zealand voice in the company’s work. 

“I am positive the board has heard those messages and is responding to them. I know the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is working closely with the board and I intend to meet with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in the new year to discuss progress.”

Here’s an idea. Just bin the ballet and use the funds to fund Kids Can.

After all the reason Jacinda Ardern gave for being involved in politics was to eliminate child poverddy. What better way than to take the subsidised lifestyle of some elite arts luvvies and donate it to kids in need.

With the state’s limited resources something has to give, and it may as well be ballet. The government doesn’t fund morris dancing, or line dancing, nor do they fund V8 car racing to assist bogans with their cultural identity.

Time for the elitism in arts funding to end. We don’t need a Concert programme, a Symphony Orchestra or a Ballet company, Royal or not. Not while there are children living in poverty. These are the sacrifices that are needed until child poverty is ended.

Time for Jacinda Ardern to make a sensible choice rather than protect the jobs of some entitled tutu wearers.

 

-Fairfax


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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