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Source: Taxpayers Union

In the lead up to the 2020 general election, Newsroom was awarded $21,150 “towards commissioning weekly NZ book reviews, short stories and poems” as part of Creative NZ’s “Arts Continuity” COVID-19 response fund which has so far doled out $16 million to various short-term art projects.A series of these poems were targeted at political party leaders, and were penned by writer Victor Billot – a former trade union official and former co-leader of the socialist Alliance party.Mr Billot makes his view of right-of-centre politicians clear in his taxpayer-funded writings.On Judith Collins, Mr Billot writes:“But when the Queen first speaks, Lady Judith just cackles.F-bombs and eye rolls, head high verbal tacklesWhen Her Kindness speaks again, JC says look at me!And spins her head round in circles, demonically”An attempted satire of David Seymour reads:“But now fascism is casting a shadow over our fair land.Queen Cindy’s one party state is close at handTo despots I proclaim; I have no time for your treaty!On principle I REFUSE to holiday on Matariki” Meanwhile, a poem addressed to Jacinda Ardern merely encourages her to push harder for her political agenda:“The kind of kindness we need to seenow must go beyond reassuring speech.It must extend both breadth and reach.That’s what we need J.A. to deliverThose houses she mentioned, those fresh blue rivers.”The poem concludes with “So please get moving: fortune favours the bold”.Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “Mr Billot is entitled to write childish screeds about politicians he doesn’t like, and Newsroom is welcome to publish them – but taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for it.”“This is yet another example of Creative NZ using its funding to support political propaganda. The agency, which claims to support the arts for the benefit of all New Zealanders, recently also gave money to The Spinoff to agitate for entrenched Maori electoral wards.”“The Newsroom poems are especially egregious in that they were published in the lead-up to an election. At the very least, Creative NZ needs to review its grants approval process to ensure it is funding a range of political perspectives, or simply not funding political material at all.”