The Vodafone Music Awards

November 14th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Readers will be aware of the 2012 Vodafone Music Awards, where cheered on by Labour MP, the ban Homebrew referred to the Prime Minister as a cunt, and said he should suck their dicks.

Now we have free speech in this country and Homebrew are entitled to say that.

RIANZ, who organise the Music Awards, are entitled to invite them to perform despite knowing that the band hate John Key (they have said so in public many times, and one of their songs is directed at him). Just as Labour invite Homebrew to play at fundraisers for them, so RIANZ is free to invite them. If I was RIANZ though, I wouldn’t be expecting their advocacy on industry issues to be particularly successful in the future. Free speech has consequences after all.

Likewise Vodafone is perfectly free to associate its brand with an event which more often than not turns into a diatribe against National Party Prime Ministers and Leaders. Vodafone is a private company and can do what it wants.

So the Vodafone NZ Music Awards is a private event for RIANZ and Vodafone. They can have as many “entertainers” as they want getting up and calling the Prime Minister a cunt who needs to suck dick.

Except for one thing. It is not an entirely private event.

You and me – the taxpayers of New Zealand, have spent $1.001 million on subsidising the Music Awards over the last seven years. NZ on Air gave $125,000 to the 2012 Awards.

In response to my OIA, NZ on Air have said that their level of sponsorship has been reducing as the Music Awards have been gaining other sponsors and they face pressure on their own funds.

I suggest that the sponsorship should reduce to zero. I don’t want a cent of my taxes going on the Awards. Let RIANZ and Vodafone spend as much of their own money as they want on it.

The $125,000 NZ on Air could save, would fund an extra six episodes of Q+A.

A taxpayer funded organisation should not be sponsoring an Awards Night that consistently is boorish and partisan in nature. It’s simple.

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