The Taxpayers' Union says Kiwis have done more than enough to support under-fire author Eleanor Catton, who received upward of $50,000 in funding over the last few years.

Figures from Creative NZ, the Arts Council of New Zealand, revealed that the Man Booker prize-winner had been given a number of grants towards her work.

Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams obtained the figures after comments by Catton at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India last week about her treatment by New Zealanders after her global success with second novel The Luminaries.

"In addition to the usual government support of students, Ms Catton has received special Creative NZ funding amounting to tens of thousands for her artistic endeavours," Mr Williams said.


"Far from not supporting the arts, it appears that taxpayers have been rather generous. Despite The Luminaries being a commercial success, taxpayers still paid for the book to be translated into three languages.

"If that's not generous support, what is?"

Mr Williams noted the following grants received by Catton:

$9,000: Writers Bursary for living expenses while writing The Luminaries
$5,000: Arts Grant to appear at the Vancouver International Writers Festival

$28,750: Arts Grant - to the University of Canterbury to support the Ursula Bethell Residency 2011 for creative writing.

She was also given $9,500 in international travel funding to assist her attending writers festivals in Perth, Edinburgh and Canada and Adelaide; a further $7,500 in translation grants was made to overseas publishers to have Catton's first novel The Rehearsal translated to Spanish, and The Luminaries into Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese.

"We say again, if Ms Catton isn't thankful for the support by the New Zealand Government while she wrote The Luminaries, maybe she should use some of the substantial royalties to pay the money back," said Mr Williams.