October 3, 2023

‘Give me a break’: Gower sends Bridge into meltdown after suggesting arts sector should get more money

Patrick Gower and Trish Sherson on AM.

Creative New Zealand has announced it will be getting a $22 million cash injection to support established arts and cultural festivals. 

Yet none of that money will be going to Te Matatini – arguably New Zealand’s biggest cultural festival which draws in an international audience and takes place at Eden Park in a couple of weeks. 

In the past year, the Government gave the NZ Symphony Orchestra nearly $20 million.

Creative NZ itself got nearly $17m before the $22m boost, while the Royal New Zealand Ballet got $8m. Te Matanini got just less than $3m.

Newshub journalist Patrick Gower said the funding should be equitable – and there should be more of it.

“I think the solution is to fund all of [the arts sector] more,” he said, appearing on AM’s panel. 

“Te Matatini – kapa haka – is going to be the dance that binds this country together for centuries to come, we cannot fund that enough.”

Gower said he didn’t see the arts sector as a funding issue.

“I personally love ballet, I love the symphony orchestra as well – every time I see that I don’t look at that and think, ‘How much money are we spending on this stuff?’ I look at that and think, ‘Thank you to these wonderful directors, dancers [and] artists that have put this stuff on.

“If it causes inflation, it causes inflation of my soul.”

Responding to Gower’s comments, a humoured AM host Ryan Bridge said he was “struggling” with his colleague’s view.

“So what if the cost of your bread goes up $2 a bloody loaf? I’m going to go watch the ballet,” Bridge quipped. “Give me a break.”

Earlier in the show Bridge said he thought Te Matatini should get more funding. 

Watch AM’s panel with Gower and political commentator Trish Sherson above. 


Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes