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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That New Zealand National Library and Archives New Zealand issue ...

Both the Labour Party and the Green Party think that amalgamating the National Library (together with the iconic Alexander Turnbull Library) and Archives New Zealand into the Department of Internal Affairs is a terrible idea.

The Government in March announced the two bodies would be integrated into the Department of Internal Affairs to save between $3 million and $9m, and assured critics the independence of their statutory roles would be protected.

Labour MP Grant Robertson strongly disagrees, saying it will undermine the independence and influence of both the Library and the Archives.

"The result of the bill will see the chief archivist and national librarian as third tier-managers who are not part of the leadership team at (the Department of Internal Affairs), with no guaranteed access to ministers," he says.

"All of this is being done for limited savings. The Government was not able to tell the select committee how much would be saved, or offer any real justification for the merger," he said.

"Labour will continue to oppose these aspects of the bill."
The Green Party said the change could have a disastrous effect on both the National Library and Archives NZ.
"We share some submitters' concerns that this process has been driven out of an ideological motivation to reduce the number of governmental departments rather than a desire for good archival or library outcomes," the party said.
"Sharing technology and digitisation, bureaucratic efficiencies and cost savings were presented as arguments in favour of proceeding with this bill.

"No evidence or robust analysis why this particular and very disruptive structural solution was needed to achieve essentially financial and technological policy aims was presented.
"The Green Party believes this is a retrograde step."

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