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What Creatives Need to Know Before Voting

The election is upon us - and The Big Idea has put together a guide to make sure you know how your vote impacts the arts sector.


What happens in this country in the next three years will be decided in the next two days.

Saturday 17 October's Election is shaping as a crucial one - no matter which way the results fall. How New Zealand forges its path forward post-COVID-19 will have potential repercussions for years to come.

Many New Zealanders have already cast their vote - but if you're still undecided or are just a traditionalist and like doing it on the day itself.

The Big Idea has been posing the question in the lead up to the election of where the arts stand in the political spectrum - and what matters most to Aotearoa's creative community.

We're laying out some of the highlights and key findings here to help you make an informed decision, whichever way you choose to vote.

The election forum

Last month, spokespeople from Labour, National and the Greens fronted to talk about Shaping the Future of the Arts, Culture and Creative Sector at Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi's election forum.  Carmel Sepuloni, Jonathan Young and Chlöe Swarbrick were put under the blowtorch by excellent broadcaster Miriama Kamo - you can watch below - even if you skip through to the closing statements. 

You can also read all about it Mark Amery's comprehensive review here - highlighting some of the key conversations and questioning what is left unsaid.

The Policies

As covered by Mark Amery in this week's Lowdown, some of the missing policy detail has been filled out. Here are the major parties policies that have been clearly outlined. You'll note that Labour is missing from this list. They have stuck true to their original statement and haven't produced a specific policy outline, instead pointing to their funding plans (covered further in this article).

Green's Arts Culture and Heritage Policy

National's Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy

New Zealand First's Arts Culture and Heritage Policy

The Ngā Toi Advocacy Network has written a letter on the key sector issues, and potential responses for consideration by each political party.  The letter is available here.


It's been a watershed year for Arts funding - delivered in the most dramatic of ways. The Labour-led Government has made several huge funding calls involving the arts - including the initial $95 million package, closely followed by the $175m Arts and Music recovery package - and the further three new funds totalling $150m between them.

Here's a handy guide to understanding the new funds, while the whole saga is nicely broken down by Kate Powell in the form of a TV mini-series plot.

Creative community feedback and opinion

While hearing from politicians and administrators is important - The Big Idea canvassed those who are directly affected - creatives, artists and arts organisations of Aotearoa.

Our Arts Voices series spoke to representatives from a range of fields and from different genders and backgrounds - we asked them, what matters most to you in this election?

You can check both the first and second set of opinions out for yourself.


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Want to know where to vote - click here for Electrol Commission details.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

16 Oct 2020

The Big Idea Editor