The Literary Achievement Awards

August 23rd, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Bronwyn Torrie at the Dom Post reports:

A literary dame, an internationally published poet and a celebrated historian have been recognised for their impact on New Zealand’s literary landscape.

Dame Fiona Kidman, Peter Bland and James Belich received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement at Premier House in Wellington last night. Each receives $60,000.

Established in 2003, the annual awards recognise writers who have made significant contributions to non-fiction, poetry and fiction.

I happened to be at the awards last night, and it was lovely to see the awards presented to some of our literary giants.

Two of the awards were presented by Arts Minister , and one by Opposition Arts Spokesperson Steve Chadwick. I thought it was a nice touch, to share the presenting duties.

The funniest moment of the night was when Finlayson was making his introductory remarks, and greeting the various MPs, Ambassadors and other VIPs there. He saw Justice Joseph Williams in the audience and quipped “Good to see here, I presume he is here as his recent judgements are a finalist for the literary fiction award“.

It’s a rare sight to see the Attorney-General dissing a High Court Judge. Lots of laughter, including I suspect from Justice Williams.

Tags: ,

66 Responses to “The Literary Achievement Awards”

  1. KiwiGreg (3,170 comments) says:

    So they gave away $180,000 of taxpayers’ money for what exactly? Would these folk not have written but for the prospect of such awards? Are they ocntracted to write something else as a result (with the first 460k of royalties going back to the state)?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Kiwigreg: I agree with you, but I believe the answer to your question is: “because the PM is more electable by giving other people’s money away”. Standard theory of regulation: taxpayers are a large, amorphus bunch, too large to organise. Authors are a small, organised group with some political clout. So: set up a prize, take Group A’s money and have the PM hand that money over to Group B. Watch Group B cheer and vote accordingly, or at least protest a little bit less next time they disagree with you.

    Rinse and repeat until your government is running a $300 million/week deficit. Then rinse and repeat some more until default. That is the road to serfdom.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    Well said Kiwigreg
    This sort of instituted snobbery pisses me off, it is all well and good for the luvvies and this government to go on about welfare and having to cut costs but when you see them piss away 180k of our money on crap like this it just shows that they are not serious.

    How the hell can anybody make a “significant contribution” to poetry?, it is only significant if enough people buy the poetry, receiving tax payer money to write crap that nobody wants to read is hardly significant.

    It is the same with the non fiction and fiction awards, let them write what they want, if enough people like their work then they will make a tidy sum, if not then they should be in other work.

    It is not my job as a tax payer to fund these bloody luvvie parasites, nor is it my job to fund the recreational activities of the arty set or their Minister Finlayson.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    Excellent prize. It’s a good thing to recognise and encourage excellence in the arts, science, sports etc. Well done to the recipients.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    Give me one good reason why these people deserve tax payer funding and I will agree with you.

    Or are you just trolling?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Yes mikenmild: name one thing about authors and their contribution to happiness and the welfare of the population that a plumber or mechanic or pilot does not justify. People of sufficient skill in all of the occupations, in arts or science or anything else, are rewarded without any need for lump sum gifts of other people’s money.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    big bruv
    To recognise and encourage excellence.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    mikenmild Here’s a fun quote on the nobility of voting to have other people’s money spent on your favourite artist, scientist, the poor, and other causes in general:

    It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

    People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

    I don’t believe the majority always knows what’s best for everyone. The fact that the majority thinks they have a way to get something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don’t want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, I don’t believe you really know jack. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up against the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid.

    Source.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    “To recognise and encourage excellence.”

    Fail!

    The market (people who pay for non fiction, fiction and poetry) recognise “excellence”, this is just a bunch of middle class wankers giving away my money to people who do not produce anything that the public wants to buy.

    Have another go Mike, see if you can come up with one good reason.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Stephen Stratford (45 comments) says:

    David, I was there too and yes it was a very amusing moment. (Sorry I didn’t see you – would have come over to say hi but was probably busy talking to a bookie hottie.)

    For other commenters here who wish to turn this into a party-political issue: these awards were instituted by the previous Labour government and I believe were Helen Clark’s idea. I was amazed that National continued them – there are very very few potential votes in it for them from writers, who almost all dress to the left.

    Certainly the issue of whether the arts should be funded always deserves discussion, but it’s not a party issue at all.

    I’d also point out that two of the winners last night, Fiona Kidman and Jamie Belich, cannot be criticised for “not produc[ing] anything that the public wants to buy” because they have written quite a few best-sellers between them. The poet, Peter Bland, is one of our best and also, for what it’s worth, is one of our best-regarded in England.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Elaycee (4,299 comments) says:

    “To recognise and encourage excellence….”

    This from the same person who screams at the prospect of excellent teachers being paid more than their non performing counterparts…

    Go figure.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    Stephen

    If Bellich and Kidman have written “quite a few best-sellers between them” (a claim I find hard to believe) then they are even less in need of tax payer handouts.

    I note that you did not claim that Brand is a “best selling” poet, he may well be “best-regarded” but that does not mean that he has any right to my money.

    This remains middle class wankery of the highest order, I have not seen anybody (apart from you) talk about it being party political issue.

    This sort of rubbish just has to stop.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    I think these awards are a wonderful thing!

    Here’s why:

    The people honored are demonstrably *not* “run-of-the-mill” authors. They are, all three; successful fiction, poetry and non-fiction writers/chroniclers. More than successful, their contributions to knowledge, debate, insight and enjoyment have been judged extremely stellar. And that “judging” was not by a committee convened just for this particular “gong”…. rather these three lumiaries of the Arts in NZ have been judged by the community at large (who have bought their books in greater numbers than usual) as well as the boffins that hand out these awards, who have decided in their ivory towers – now THAT is an unusual and uneasy alliance. But when it happens it is beautiful.

    Now, to get back to Kiwiblog’s more usual political stance: for those of you that bemoan the “brain drain”, and also those concerned about “tall Poppy Syndrome” … this type of reward can being to halt the first and if we all get behind it as a nation, can start to diminish the latter.

    Just think about it – utopian idea though it may be

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Stephen Stratford (45 comments) says:

    @BigBruv 5:48, “If Bellich and Kidman have written “quite a few best-sellers between them” (a claim I find hard to believe) then they are even less in need of tax payer handouts.”

    Not really. A best-seller can take two years or more to write. The royalties on even a best-seller – unless it’s spectacularly successful and goes international and is made into a movie, e.g. Mr Pip – seldom amount to what even a low-paying regular job would have brought in over that time. You’d be better off stacking shelves in a supermarket.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Daigotsu (450 comments) says:

    “or those of you that bemoan the “brain drain”, and also those concerned about “tall Poppy Syndrome” … this type of reward can being to halt the first and if we all get behind it as a nation, can start to diminish the latter. ”

    When I complain about the brain drain I am most certainly not concerned about NZ losing all of our beardy leftist academics to the rest of the world. They can drain right the fuck off as far as I’m concerned.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Pharmachick: nobody is knocking these folks for being successful, at all. Forget tall poppy. The question is why hard earned cash is being taken of people, many of whom earn $13/hour, and then given to people who are already rewarded in exact proportion to the degree of pleasure and insight and enjoyment they give to people who choose to buy their works and/or support them in any other way. Which, by the way, is how it works for all of us outside the arts and science sectors. These awards almost certainly do not encourage excellence (the likelihood of winning is so low ex ante nobody would enter the profession for the award) and really just hand money over to people who, by all accounts, have already been rewarded through sales and are held in high esteem. They absolutely deserve those rewards and good luck to them. But to then bang another x00,000 of other people’s money so that Smile and Wave gets another thousand votes come election time is frivolous and an insult.

    Stephen Stratford: it is entirely unsurprising that National has continued something Labour started. In fact that is true for nearly everything Labour started. National is squarely aiming to appeal to the left, and it is succeeding. Apparently those of us who like radical things like, you know, freedom and liberty and all that can get f*cked.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Daigotsu: absolutely. Unfortunately its the sandal wearing bearded happy clappers who don’t drain but who stay and vote. The movers and the shakers are all in Sydney and London.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    Daigotsu –

    what about the next Stephen King?

    Before you go all “not a real example” on me: Mr. King is an ex-laundromat working, English Teaching (high school), Semi-employed part time English lecturer that was justabout skint when he got the first royalty cheque for selling Carrie.

    I would say NZ should be **awfully** concerned about losing future Stephen Kings.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    Presumably they don’t have awards like these in Sydney and London where the ‘movers and shakers’ are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Stephen Stratford (31) Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Not really. A best-seller can take two years or more to write. The royalties on even a best-seller – unless it’s spectacularly successful and goes international and is made into a movie, e.g. Mr Pip – seldom amount to what even a low-paying regular job would have brought in over that time. You’d be better off stacking shelves in a supermarket.

    So that then proves the theory. They ain’t best sellers but just sellers and like the rest of us in business they should have to earn their way. My company doesn’t get handouts for being good at what we do. Our customers appreciate it and pay us for the effort. They recommend us to others. Can we get a big bonus on that from some trumped up excuse for a benefit party.
    This is the intelligencie struggling to survive because their labours fail to earn them the living they want.

    Why should my staff be taxed to pay for these handouts.
    They have their own choices about who they would like to support.

    Bob Jones once pointed out that the Army,Air force and the Navy didn’t need to run raffles for their funds but schools did (and still do) but we can treat these people with grants that could be better spent by the people who pay for the grants.

    Mindless, selfish vote buying liberalism. Theft from the taxpayer and if any of them had any principles at all they would refuse the money. But lefties and the like never have any principles.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Stephen Stratford @6:12: right, so they get smaller rewards if they entertain x000 people and larger rewards by going international if they entertain xx000 people. What is the problem with this?

    It is wrong to say a) the reward encouraged or was required for the work to be made. Good luck to any author who writes a book hoping for a prize at the end of it; or b) the author is entitled to compensation beyond that which he can derive from sales of his work. His work’s value is finite and an excellent measure of that is his or her ability to convince people to part with their hard earned cash to enjoy it. An exceptionally poor measure of that is the ability of an author to convince officials or judges to give them a wad of other people’s money.

    If you want to argue these authors are really really good in a way that isn’t reflected in their ability to convince people to buy their work – then firstly, how do you know that? Second, if you’re that convinced then feel free to donate your own time and money to these good people, and please leave mine alone. And if you think I’m being greedy, you’re wrong. Because a consistent application of the principle that unseen, unmeasured value deserves wads of other people’s money as reward would see absolutely everyone get a slice of that action.

    Please do not pretend that when a politician in election year hands over taxpayer money it is because the recipient is deserving. If they are it is a matter of good luck.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    @ben:

    1) Firstly you are being thoroughly classist by stating ” The question is why hard earned cash is being taken of [sic] people, many of whom earn $13/hour, and then given to people who are already rewarded in exact proportion to the degree of pleasure and insight and enjoyment they give to people who choose to buy their works and/or support them in any other way”
    … in reply: what makes you think the $13/hr people haven’t or don’t read/approve/admire the writers that were awarded? The premise that your statement is predicated upon is that “poor people” (in your definition those are “people on $13/hr) “don’t appreciate the arts”. Bollocks to you! I know that my great grandmother lived through the depression on pennies and what they could scrpae up on a semi-working farm in Taranaki … and my Great Grandmother LOVED Dickens and Shakespeare!

    2)”They absolutely deserve those rewards and good luck to them. ” … internal contradiction eh wot?!?! If they deserve them … well then why are your begrudging them the prizes?

    3) “These awards almost certainly do not encourage excellence (the likelihood of winning is so low ex ante nobody would enter the profession for the award)” Okay, now I am LAUGHING! Sorry ben, but nobody I know, or have ever known goes/has gone into the arts or sciences on the likelihood they will win a prize! Prizes recognize achievement and excellence – people don’t go into their careers to win one – I’m willing to bet you didn’t go into your career “outside arts and sciences” to win a prize.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Well fair does mate. How the hell those three can get a bloody award escapes me?

    None of them are real authors. They never culled deer, hunted a Croc, got pissed a lot and beat the missus, or frightened the shit out of Scotty.

    Bloody effete leftie tossers I’d say! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5aw-PGqhZM

    Now that IS fucken kulture mate! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Daigotsu (450 comments) says:

    Pharma, great example.

    I don’t think Stephen King needed any bullshit award from President Carter to start writing. He just wrote, and because he was bloody got at it, he succeeded. And by “succeeded” I mean he sold novels! Not he wrote crap that was “well-regarded” by other writers of crap who’ve somehow managed to swindle their way into some position of dubious lefty-academic “authority” with the collusion of socialist politicians and cowardly academics.

    It’s a shame King is an Obama supporter but that momentary retardation doesn’t mean he’s not a real businessman to be admired.

    Belich et al are not even in the same league as King.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Pharmachick – the next Stephen King needs exactly $0 of taxpayer’s money. The next Stephen King needs to work on developing their skills and testing their work in the market. Handouts in advance of fine work destroys this test, and destroys work incentives and encourages, at the margin, all the non-Stephen Kings into the market (result: warehouses of crap, as witnessed in Europe). And handouts after fine work is made is a waste of money – Stephen King ain’t short of funds.

    Stephen King got to be Stephen King without any handouts. His secret is to write books that convince people to buy them in huge numbers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    Pharma

    Can you explain to the rest of us why we should have to fund “the arts” at all?

    If, as you say these three are talented then surely their work should be able to fund their lifestyles.

    What right do they (and the arts in general) have to put their hands out for tax payer dollars?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    @daigotsu … but Stephen King won the (not unconsiderable) award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award (2003)
    http://www.nationalbook.org/nbaacceptspeech_sking.html

    Perhaps Howard Bloom’s reaction (ivory-tower-sucked-a-lemon-extraordinaire) is more your style:
    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/09/24/dumbing_down_american_readers/

    ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Pharma @6:56

    @ben:

    1) Firstly you are being thoroughly classist by stating ” The question is why hard earned cash is being taken of [sic] people, many of whom earn $13/hour, and then given to people who are already rewarded in exact proportion to the degree of pleasure and insight and enjoyment they give to people who choose to buy their works and/or support them in any other way”

    … in reply: what makes you think the $13/hr people haven’t or don’t read/approve/admire the writers that were awarded? The premise that your statement is predicated upon is that “poor people” (in your definition those are “people on $13/hr) “don’t appreciate the arts”. Bollocks to you! I know that my great grandmother lived through the depression on pennies and what they could scrpae up on a semi-working farm in Taranaki … and my Great Grandmother LOVED Dickens and Shakespeare!

    Complete NONSENSE. That is NOT the premise of the argument. I have no doubt whatsoever people on $13/hour enjoy literature. These awards are taking money in part off the poor and giving them to the better off, a regressive tax. Like subsidising opera. And those on $13/hour who have bought the works are being asked to pay twice. What is your argument in support of that? Regressive taxes are not cool.

    2)”They absolutely deserve those rewards and good luck to them. ” … internal contradiction eh wot?!?! If they deserve them … well then why are your begrudging them the prizes?

    Read the post. I address that point. And wipe the foam from your mouth.

    3) “These awards almost certainly do not encourage excellence (the likelihood of winning is so low ex ante nobody would enter the profession for the award)” Okay, now I am LAUGHING! Sorry ben, but nobody I know, or have ever known goes/has gone into the arts or sciences on the likelihood they will win a prize! Prizes recognize achievement and excellence – people don’t go into their careers to win one – I’m willing to bet you didn’t go into your career “outside arts and sciences” to win a prize.

    You are simply repeating my point. The fact that we agree is evident in the passage you quote. Are you reading this? Again, calm down. The argument was made that an award encourages such work. It does not, and you seem to agree even though, somehow, you also misunderstand.

    Oh and thanks for the ‘sic’, real helpful in blog comments where good spelling is what counts.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    big bruv,

    mine might be a fundamental difference to yours, but I swear I’m not trying to be antagonistic: I simply believe that an educated populace is a better populace. And where we give awards for achievement in industrialisation and engineering and science and agriculture and … we also ought to give awards for achievement in Arts. It’s just part of recognising those in our society that walk different paths excellently. (Is excellently a word?)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Scott Hamilton (279 comments) says:

    It’s a bit of a worry to hear about distinguished New Zealand writers and scholars hobnobbing with the country’s political and legal elite, but reassuring to find that venerable forum of the people, the Kiwiblog comments thread, full of hostility towards them.

    Where a plumber or electrician relies on popularity, seeking as many customers as possible, the true writer and the true intellectual should always be more interested in bewildering and angering his or her contemporaries. Socrates was put to death by his fellow Athenians for telling them home truths; numerous other great thinkers have suffered persecution for being out of tune with their times.

    Any good writer should be alarmed by the thought of enjoying the esteem of his or her contemporaries. Writers who are adored by their own generations tend to be forgotten by future generations. Like Enid Blyton and Captain WE Johns before them, Stephen King and Wilbur Smith will fade from popularity in a few decades.

    Many of the greatest writers have never been and never will be bestsellers, but remain in print perennially, influencing a minority of each new generation and finding their way into popular consciousness by indirect paths. James Joyce has never been and never will be a bestselling author, but it is hard to disentangle his crowded and strange books from modern Irish consciousness. Despite or because of the fact that he exiled himself from his native land and saw his books banned there for decades, Joyce has become as much of an Irish icon as Guiness beer.

    If we pick up any anthology of English poetry we can find the names of numerous writers who worked and died in disgrace or in obscurity. Blake and Hopkins were virtually unknown to their peers; Byron, Shelley, and Wilde were objects of contempt. Frank Sargeson, who virtually invented modern Pakeha literature, was persecuted by the state for his sexuality, lived for long periods on the dole and on his vegetable garden, and left a couple of dollars in his bank account.

    The hostility at Kiwiblog to Belich, Kidman, and Bland suggests that, in spite of a bit of (well-deserved) public money and a few handshakes from unctuous politicians and judges, New Zealand writers remain healthily unpopular with many of their contemporaries.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    bigbruv @5.13pm: “The market (people who pay for non fiction, fiction and poetry) recognise “excellence”.

    To use your expression – fail!

    One look at the tabloid rubbish in bookstores, on tv, on radio confirms that the market definitely does not reward artistic excellence.

    Having said that it would be nice if a business or two could sponsor these awards (good PR for them) rather than the taxpayer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    @ben …
    1) oh yes of course.. if you are low income (in your statements “$13/hr”)) then you have every right to the benefits of great literature, science, social policy etc, including the fostering of such endeavours … just so long as you, personally, don’t have to contribute to it . Nice one ben. Riiiight, if one is a poorer person in society, why should one contribute at all?

    2) ??

    3) I absolutely admit that for #3 if what you SAID in your reply is what you meant in your original post then I had it 180 degrees bass-ackwards. The thing is that I think we agree that other than the absolute losers (that are assured of “ewhat stars they are” by their Uni Profs… and that is a minute number), most don’t go into these writing professions (or any profession) for the prizes … so why are we throwing brickbats at the winners?

    Cheers

    Pertaining to the [sic{ thing, yes I apologise... I absolutely know that my own posts occasionally have spelling mistakes in them (especially when I'm typing fats) ... you might not believe me but my "[sic]” was more to show I was quoting you than being rude.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    bc: there is no reason why my taxes your fund your snobbery. So the paperbacks in stores and on Amazon are not to your taste. That is not a reason to require Joe Q Taxpayer to start handing out other people’s money to an author you like but nobody or only a few people are willing to buy. The author may not be writing for a mass audience, and had no expectation of making large amounts of money. Good luck to them. The author may have been trying to reach a mass audience, but missed. Good luck to them too on their next effort. Neither case justifies taxpayers money, especially when it will not encourage the production of such works.

    What is excellence if it is not able to convince more than a few hundred people to part with their money voluntarily? Sounds a lot like non-excellence to me.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    Pharma

    “I simply believe that an educated populace is a better populace.”

    Bingo!, there it is, the usual line of those highly educated people (and Pharma is undoubtedly one who is highly educated) who try and justify tax payer funding for middle class wankery (I don’t care if wankery is a word or not, it is the right one to use in this case)

    Of course if “the arts” actually educated the populace then your argument would hold water Pharma, the simple fact of the matter (and one that you know is true) is that the “populace” are never going to go within a hundred miles of a poetry reading, the Ballet or the Opera.

    The “populace” is not interested in that crap, the “populace” will buy a book when it is a good one (almost always written by overseas authors), they will purchase music when it is something they like (almost always written by an overseas artist) and they will almost never buy poetry at all.

    What you want, and what you support is tax payer subsidised entertainment, the type of entertainment that most do not enjoy. I have no problem with what you want to watch or read, all power to you as far as that goes but I am buggered if I should be forced to fund your entertainment choices.

    If “the arts” are as strong as you suggest then surely they do not need my money, the middle classes can pay for it or they can die, take your choice but please stop telling me that I should fund it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Good to see , we need literature meaning written by New Zealanders ( just not another bloody cook book) as a country and it needs to be encouraged –

    How good a countrys literature is a gauge on how free its citizens are, there was nothing out of Soviet Russia and nothing out of Germany that was readable whilst the dictators were in charge.

    The fact is we are too small a market for a reasonable living to be made for most, Kidman may get by on royalties alone but I doubt whether Bland or Belich could ( I believe he is still a lecturer?)

    There are several authors who make really top dough in New Zealand. but no one has heard of them as they write for Mills and Boon, Sarah kate Lynch is another who sells world wide

    Even in big markets niche authors rely on grants and awards -so New Zealand is no different.

    Didn’t Montana use to sponsor something like this?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Pharmachick: that’s right. I’ll contribute to the causes and to the products I like instead. Other people will choose what they like. And authors and engineers and so on will understand what they need to make. That is not greedy or selfish. That is the process by which we ask other people in society what to produce more of, and how we ask other people what not to produce. They are free of course to ignore those signals and produce anyway. But there is no value in government taking other people’s money and handing it out to their political allies, which is what is happening here. And there is certainly nothing noble in that, especially where the government is funding those prizes in part by taking it off the poor.

    Again: what is your justification for a regressive tax? Because that is what this is.

    On 2: I think it is perfectly clear.

    On 3: fair enough. But as I said, nobody here is throwing brickbats at the winners. They have been rewarded in proportion to the pleasure they bring to others already. So has Stephen King. If additional rewards are due then, please, offer those voluntarily (make a donation, get businesses to sponsor, whatever) not by simply taking it off people at the point of a gun and in the process helping whoever’s in government get another term in office. Which is what is going on. Not inspiring, or good for the country.

    None of this is any disrespect to the authors.

    Unrelatedly: Why is there a video of David Cunliffe on my screen right below this text box, talking about asset sales?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    Dear bruv,

    I’m happy to pay for my own entertainment – thats why I go to the movies.

    I don’t think that minority pastimes; such as opera etc, ought to be paid for by general taxation. That’s an abomination.

    However, I am also very happy to have true luminaries given awards for their excellence. Perhaps the problem here is that these awards were not given out to people with sufficiently “true excellence” that they warranted these awards … e.g. I doubt many would have begrudged Sir Ed an award as a NZ ambassdor and for excellence in climbing/mountaineering/adventuring. (Likely Ed would’ve taken the award in name and turned the money down or given it to charity … but I digress).

    Perhaps my point has been badly expressed all along … I support awards for truly great and exceptional NZers. I felt that the list of literary awards encompassed excellent writers – although I would admit none arise to the level of truly great or “iconic’ NZers (the latter being a whole ‘nother thing entirely).

    Maybe that’s why some of you are upset – and on that account I can agree, we ought not to give awards to “good enough” NZers, but for the truly great ones and who cares if the “truly great ones” are writers or mountain climbers? Hmmmm…. perhaps you all (“negative voices”) have a point here … perhaps these “excellent” writers weren’t “excellent enough”? It is a thought provoking argument, I have to admit and I too could name more well known and beloved NZ writers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay: we HAVE this literature already. What does a one off $60k to each of these authors achieve, other than to increase the deficit? If you’re that convinced these authors deserve it then give them your own money, or go buy their books. A free society leaves its citizens free to make those choices. An un-free society coerces its citizens into funding prizes to the politically connected.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. gravedodger (1,510 comments) says:

    So now the” literati” have made such a ringing endorsement of these three”iconic” towering examples of contemporary New Zealand literature, what about the poor bastard who came 4th I guess he/she can just go back to their hovel and turn on the gas fire but don’t light it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Ben

    The awarding of this cash will enable them to write more , its not a work scheme in the hope that they may write something, and its certainly better value than student bloody loans so 19 year olds can go on the piss.

    I buy books, I pay tax, no problem with a percentage being used here. If you want to hear money being wasted listen to bFM at the moment, there are grants out there for people who may create something, thats the difference, these three have proved themselves.

    Did the site just crash 5 minutes ago? All other sites worked fine except here

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Daigotsu (450 comments) says:

    I would say the ill-informed bleatings of traitors like Belich actually makes the NZ public, on agregate, slightly less educated.

    But of course self-important elitist leftists like pharma don’t see any difference between indoctrinating somebody into the mental illness that passes for their political philosophy and education. Sad really. If it wasn’t so fucking dangerous.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    Yes, it crashed, just as I was suggesting to gravedodger that the 4th placegetter is sure to get one of the awards next year!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    Daigotsu

    Care to enlighten us on the nature of Belich’s ‘treason’?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    I’m a world class blog commenter, known throughout the Internets for my informative and witty contributions. Unfortunately there is no money to be made in blog commenting, even if you slave away for minutes every day and pay attention to spelling and grammar. The obvious way for society to recognise my excellence is for the government to institute a Prime Minister’s Award For Kick Ass Commenting. A cabinet minister, an opposition minion, and a judge could come along to the awards ceremony. I’d get to eat dozens of sausage rolls and drink a bottle of wine or two over the course of the evening. Then a representative of the taxpayer could give me $60k and I’d make a drunken speech before I fell off the podium.

    If you’re lucky, then two of you might win a Kick Ass Award as well. So don’t take yourself out of the running by complaining that taxpayers might prefer to spend their own money rather than giving it to me.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    davidp
    You are bloody good no argument, but no dosh until you have proved you can make it on your own .

    Then when you have found a constituency I will do my utmost to see you get shitloads because I will have had my judgement confirmed by others and this will show I am not pissing money away on a work scheme for a fantasist.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    @ daigotsu …
    LOL,
    there’s nothing quite like an answer (7:08 p.m.) that one cannot [or are too lazy to] rebut for bringing out “ye olde” ad hominem attacks.

    Oh wait, clearly my having an opposing view to you (vis: giving out awards for writing) as well as using correct diction and grammar (if not always correct spelling) means that I am “elitist”, have “mental illness” and I am “indoctrinating” people. Nice daigotsu, good to see you debate the issues and not the person.

    FWIW I’m not a big personal fan of Belich either .. but at least I can admit that his writings, thoughts and views have had a great deal of influence on this country’s political and social landscape in recent times. Belich’s contributions may be for better or for worse and will be up for debate here and elsewhere for a long time, but there is one thing I do know:

    When you run out of logical arguments against me (or anyone else) and resort to nasty name-calling you benefit nobody, least of all your own position.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    davidp

    You should start a political party with that as one of your policies.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Is there any chance of an award for an jaundiced, old, sheep shagger, with a talent for applying a limited range of smiley faces at the most inopportune moments? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    Yes, of course Johnboy .. I’d vote for that…. I’d even pay $5 on top of my taxes for it ;-)

    PS found out it was not possible to donate to the new teaching initiative, so gave money to CCS instead in the aftermath of WO vs. the Duck.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Blessed be the generous Pharmachick for one day a bus may hit them and render them wheelchair jockeys! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    Or Kiwiblog commenters

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    If you want to save folks from that fate you should have given generously to the Mental Health Foundation.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Scott Hamilton (279 comments) says:

    ‘there was nothing out of Soviet Russia’

    Steady on comrade! What about Mandelstam, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Akhmatova, Yevtushenko, Bulgakov…

    There was an extraordinary outpouring of writing in the Soviet Union, despite or because of the fact that, after the early ’20s at least, writers who showed an independent spirit were persecuted.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Pharmachick (228 comments) says:

    LOL Johnboy … gotta say, Julian Robertson’s new teaching scheme might be the ONLY time I was tempted to donate to teaching in NZ – since it wouldn’t go to the redskis. But since they’re not accepting donations just yet, and all the rest of us “losers” (i.e. were betting on Cam) were donating to CCS… I thought it was appropriate. Only Cactus, it seems; got truly screwed by that bet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Scott Hamilton (279 comments) says:

    ‘the ill-informed bleatings of traitors like Belich’

    Let me guess: a traitor and a Marxist?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    I’m with Big Bruv.

    If you want to reward authors, artists or whatever, go for it.

    Give them a medal or get sponsorship and give them cash.

    No way should they get tax money!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    “Only Cactus, it seems; got truly screwed by that bet.”

    Never met the lovely lady but I truly believe she is a net giver (as opposed to receiver) of good screwings! :)

    This little episode was just an aberration!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Scott Hamilton@8.55

    Yes but the writers wern’t free it wasn’t sanctioned or acceptable to the government and certainly not supported by the government

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    MT Tinman @9 01

    Yea but Bruv’s been just a tad negative lately, just a tad, I don’t particuarly care about rugby, but to actively hope the All Blacks loose is ‘strange’.

    Lots of things shouldn’t get money but if the only writing that was encouraged in NZ was cook books we would be even sadder than we are sometimes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. gravedodger (1,510 comments) says:

    Nice that thats sorted Minenmild, I could have lain awake all night worrying.
    Tinman 09 01 your’e on to it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. KiwiGreg (3,170 comments) says:

    I get the amount is chickenshit compared with overall government spending and waste. I’m also opposed to government funding of any of the arts, sports, Rugby World Cup and indeed pretty much anything else which should survive or fall on its own merits. I have never understood the logic of the taxpayer subsidising my ticket when I see the NZSO but not when I go to see Neil Diamond, other than the inverse popularity of the thing being subsidised.

    I think this however symbolically shows a government out of touch. It’s (we) financing a massive deficit and its dishing out our money in this fashion for zero measurable benefit to taxpayers (I’m sure those who went had a lovely time and the folks getting the checks will be super happy).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Anyway the question remains why government needs to be in the business of handing out awards, and why those awards need to come with other people’s money when both recognition and money can be organised by industry itself, which is the usual case in most industries. All the arguments presented here are nonsense. Nobody, or almost nobody, is arguing the authors are not deserving of rewards. The question is why taxpayers money is being so needlessly and frivolously spent this way when the industry is perfectly capable of recognising and rewarding its own. Pauleastbay’s main argument seems to that what these authors write is so well suited to his personal tastes, and so superior to what other people prefer, that this justifies a taxpayer subsidy. Usual leftist nonsense which, of course, argued consistently would see everything get a subsidy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Pharmachick said…
    I think these awards are a wonderful thing!

    Here’s why:

    The people honored are demonstrably *not* “run-of-the-mill” authors. They are, all three; successful fiction, poetry and non-fiction writers/chroniclers. More than successful, their contributions to knowledge, debate, insight and enjoyment have been judged extremely stellar. And that “judging” was not by a committee convened just for this particular “gong”…. rather these three lumiaries of the Arts in NZ have been judged by the community at large (who have bought their books in greater numbers than usual) as well as the boffins that hand out these awards, who have decided in their ivory towers – now THAT is an unusual and uneasy alliance. But when it happens it is beautiful.

    And the highest honor for academic awards the Nobel Prize is taxpayer privately funded? So, why can’t they do the same here. I’m all for recognizing achievements in literature, but it should be privately funded.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. georgie c (2 comments) says:

    Does Lotto count as private funding?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    Yes, pretty much all Creative NZ money comes from Lotto.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. georgie c (2 comments) says:

    Thanks mikenmild.
    So, my Lotto ticket purchasing helped pay for the award – not my taxes.
    And Google tells me that anyone can nominate someone – so it is a community award.
    Nice. I’ll be voting for Ian Mune next year :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.