It can seem quite hard to find a quiet space away from the conversation around the upcoming election. You have probably seen the signs, read the news, or seen the interviews on social media. There are more and more stories around the policies, politicians and parties all aiming to serve the community as representatives of the views of the people.
And ultimately this is a very important thing to remember. The people we vote for are the people who will be representing the voices of the community at the decision making tables. In this capacity, it really needs to be about the policies and the things that will be done if someone gets into office. So if you are wondering about how to vote, and why it is important, then have a think about the things that are important to you and try to find information about the policies each party has and how that might impact the things you care about.
Those things might be education, community wellbeing, access to resources, healthcare, the environment, housing, mental health, or perhaps even arts, culture and creativity. Government has the potential to make substantial contributions in all of these areas, and will be guided by what they understand that the public are looking for. Our taxes go towards the delivery of services and support that should ultimately help people in our communities thrive.
So, if you happen to be passionate about arts, culture and creativity in your community, then you might be interested in what the different parties are planning to do in that area. Voting is an important part of civic engagement. Even if you are only focussed on a singular issue, placing your vote in a way that might lead to positive impacts for your area of interest is a good pathway into making sense of this process.
Find a friend and talk about things that are important to you and encourage each other to vote. There is real value in engaging in the democratic process and seeing that as a pathway for meaningful change in our local communities, as well as being an essential part of addressing issues, services, needs and priorities.
If you are wondering about the connection between the government and arts, culture and creativity in your community, some of the ways this will have an impact is in:
- Funding for creative activities
- Investment in creative infrastructure and creative spaces
- Policies for fair pay, copyright and resale
- Cultural organisations, creative activities, museums, films, games, and contributions to the broader creative ecosystem
- Connections to arts education
- Accessible creativity in local communities
- Potential for support for arts and mental health
- Artist residencies
- And more.
And beyond the artistic focus, the government makes decisions that impact how you live, work, play, learn and connect each day. These decisions have an influence on our ability to live well, but also to improve the quality of life for all New Zealanders.
We want to see arts, culture and creativity in our communities that builds upon a strengths-based pathway for meaningful change that recognises the awesome mahi that is taking place in our communities. We want our elected officials to understand the value and impact of the creative ecosystem, and see how thriving communities connect through flax roots creativity that empowers people from birth onwards. We want to help to inspire the next iteration of our government officials to see, understand, value and connect with the creative communities that they represent.
Democracy is at its best when the voices of the people are heard. But this means ensuring you engage in the process, understand the policies and outcomes, and take the opportunity to vote.
In an era of increasing sameness around the world, it is vital that we support the sharing of our local stories through the richness of the many cultures and artforms that can be found in our region. Because of this, having a government that supports local creative activity, production and participation is especially important. Arts, culture and creativity have important value for communities – cultural value, economic value, social value, and beyond.
We can use our votes in this election for politicians and parties who understand the connection between wellbeing and creativity. We can share our support for the strengths of creative activity taking place in our communities. We can vote to support a thriving creative ecosystem.
Arts, culture, and creativity is vital infrastructure for healthy, vibrant people and communities. Like other community infrastructure such as transport and schools, arts and culture needs the same support. Arts, culture and creativity are the pipes of community infrastructure. Everyone should be able to experience and benefit from the art, culture and creativity that is all around us.
If we vote with this in mind, we can encourage the people we elect to represent us in government to work together to put artists and creativity at the centre of efforts to improve our shared wellbeing. A key part of this effort is to create more investment, more accessible infrastructure, and to explore how we value and invest in a system of equitable support to sustain artists’ careers. All of us can help create this future by letting our politicians know that we’d support them making changes to support artists. To support access to arts, culture and creativity of all types for all communities. When our artists and creative enablers get the right support, more of us can be healthy, connected and thriving.