Monday, August 25, 2014


The Act Party don't have a culture policy as such. Of the 19 policy areas outlined on their website none include culture or heritage. A search for the word ‘culture’ brings up zip unless you count the “nation’s commercial culture” or “business culture”. And ‘art’? Just a 2012 comment by Rodney Hide that he was pleased the new Wellington Mayor had a “special interest in Wellington's arts and culture scene.” Good to know but not much help. As for the Act budget, not a cent art-wise, unless you're in the film industry where you're promised just under $52 million as part of economic development.

On the other hand, when it comes to throwing a few metaphors around about the good life and Act’s ideal New Zealand, art is dragged on over and put to work. This is thanks to deep-pocketed Act supporter and super collector Alan Gibbs. Act leader Jamie Whyte kicks off the party’s advertising campaign with a brisk walk across the Gibbs' farm. The talk is all “This is a good country” but the walk is more about expensive art via Zhan Wang, Leon van den Eijkel, Bernar Vernet and Anish Kapoor with a couple of giraffes thrown in for emphasis. You can watch the complete ad here.

Image: Jamie Whyte and his wife promote art in Act's TV advert (Thanks S)