Rudman wants subsidies

After several weeks of talking sense on a number of issues Brian ?where?s my theatre? Rudman has returned to his favourite hobby horse, making the rest of us subsidise the his passions. His rant about the bludgers at TVNZ having to fend for themselves is enough to make you wonder if granny Herald shouldn?t change him from op-ed writer to government relations man so he can do some concerted bludging on behalf of granny.

A few days ago I unearthed a box of video tapes I’d recorded from TVNZ in better times. There was Maxim Shostakovich conducting the NZSO in his father’s famous 5th Symphony, and Dame Joan Sutherland live from the Michael Fowler Centre – concerts from one of the first Wellington International Arts Festival. There was a concert from Covent Garden starring New Zealanders celebrating the 1990 sesquicentennial. There were documentaries on important issues that lasted longer than five minutes. There were current affairs shows where newsmakers were grilled. There were local performers like the Limbs Dance company. Those were the days when TVNZ took its public broadcaster role seriously. Today, the only glimmer of this public service ethic comes from Maori TV.

What is really difficult to understand is how the fuck the rest of us who pay for TVNZ get any value out of some Ruskie waving a conductors batton. Or some Australian sheila belting out a few numbers for the edification of the few at the expense of the masses is public service. It isn’t. Nor was the Limbs dance company. If there was a market for this stuff it would still be on TV. And it probably is, on the arts channel, because that?s where it belongs, on the arts channel where you pay to get it if you want it.

Rudman highlights something that liberal elite usually forget. The rest of us want the government to provide core services. Like good quality basic education, a reasonable health service and roads. Yes roads, not some stupid public transport system advocated by the liberal elite who would never use it. We don?t want to fund white, middle aged, comfortably off people to go to an irrelevant show in a white elephant of a theatre that we have had to pay for too.

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