An opinion piece from the editors of the Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand) on Tuesday (8/11) makes the case for expanding the New Zealand government’s direct support for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. “There has been no increase in its grant since 2008, which was set at about $13.4 million. The result has been a savage cut in real terms. Now the politicians will have to make a choice between paying more or getting less. Without an increase in the grant, the orchestra is likely to have to cut services—the orchestra is mandated by law to tour extensively and bring classical music to the people—or perhaps quality. It’s not clear why the Government has squeezed the NZSO so quite so hard. It’s never stated it reasons openly.… Some might claim that subsidies for symphony orchestras throw taxpayers’ money at the middle class. In practice, however, there has never really been a major backlash against funding for the NZSO.… And the orchestras itself has gained the respect of New Zealanders, and the affection of a substantial minority, because of its very high quality.… The country would be a much poorer place without it, but the Government risks sabotaging the institution by unthinking parsimony.”

Posted August 12, 2015