Cooking the books
Tim Hazledine (NZB, December 2005) believes “cookbooks, textbooks, sporting books and so on” should be excluded from government funding of literature, on the basis that these genres are “unworthy of further public encouragement”. Wine books in recent years – competing against histories and biographies – have won a string of literary prizes, including the 2003 Montana Medal for Non-fiction. Would Hazledine condemn wine books to the same fate as cookbooks? If so, why? If not, why not?
OK for Canada
I am writing in response to the delightfully written, whimsical opinion piece by economist Tim Hazledine (NZB, December 2005). No doubt Creative New Zealand will respond by trying to defend what it sees as the integrity of its current funding schemes. I shall be interested to see. However, more importantly, what Tim Hazledine is suggesting as an alternative by way of block grants from Creative New Zealand for our book publishers is a flawed suggestion. I note he says this is what Canada is currently doing. It may be OK for Canada. However, New Zealand’s existence as a trading nation is dependent in large measure on fair rules for international trade. New Zealand has been a well-respected supporter of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in pushing for better rules for international trade, and for better compliance with those rules. An important part of New Zealand’s negotiating position is to push for the elimination of all producer subsidies being paid by other nations to their farmers and manufacturers. If we were to follow Tim Hazledine’s advice, then our negotiating stance inside the WTO would be compromised. In short, New Zealand has far more to lose than Canada if the WTO system were to collapse (as well it might). We have to “walk the talk” even if other nations who are members of WTO do not.