Numbers Tell the Story!

(Updated after second and different OIA response from Archives NZ)

 In 2010 Cabinet approved a proposal to incorporate Archives New Zealand and the National Library into the Department of Internal Affairs.  It was justified on essentially financial grounds.

It was claimed that the incorporation would lead to:

  • the futureproofing of both entities
  • lower corporate overheads
  • the achievement of cost savings and economies of scale.

Once implemented, the incorporation was said to be part of the “wider machinery of government changes to improve the performance and service delivery of public sector agencies.”

So, what happened?  The financial numbers tell the depressing story.

Over the period 2013 — 2018:

  • Vote Internal Affairs INCREASED 12.4%
  • Total National Library budget DECLINED 9%
  • National Library overheads INCREASED 25.7%, and together with Depreciation and Capital Charge they account for 51.9% of the total National Library budget
  • Monies under the control of the Turnbull Librarian DECLINED 9.7%
  • Total Archives New Zealand budget DECLINED 1.4%
  • Archives overheads INCREASED 279% and together with Depreciation and the Capital Charge, account for 67.4% of the total Archives budget
  • Secretary of Internal Affairs remuneration INCREASED 49%
  • According to Stats New Zealand, average NZ weekly earnings INCREASED 18%.

It is clear that lower overheads have not been achieved.  Declining expenditure, it can be argued, is evidence of deliberate under-funding, not the achievement of cost efficiencies, or proper support for important legally mandated roles.

The Internal Affairs CEO has eight Deputy Secretaries assisting him as part of the Executive Leadership Team, which does not include the National Librarian or Chief Archivist.

Dr D.M. Gilling FCA  FCPA

11 December, 2018

Follow the Money SCOOP Wellington

 

 

Follow the money: the Archives, the Library and the Dept of Internal Affairs

November 25, 2018 

Photo credit: Jacob Pollock

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Don Gilling

At the height of the Watergate scandal, when the story had seemed to stall, Deep Throat told Bob Woodward that to understand what was going on he needed to “Follow the Money.” In similar vein, if we are to understand the experience of Archives New Zealand and the National and Turnbull Libraries under the control of the Department of Internal Affairs, it helps to follow the money.

In 2010 Cabinet approved a proposal to incorporate Archives New Zealand and the National Library (which includes the Turnbull Library) into the Department of Internal Affairs. It was justified on essentially financial grounds. It was claimed that the incorporation would enable the futureproofing of both entities by placing them on a much larger corporate platform, which would lead to lower corporate overheads. More importantly, the Cabinet Paper that advocated the incorporation promised that the statutory functions of both agencies together with appropriate financial safeguards as to their independence would be maintained even while cost savings and economies of scale would be achieved.

Amongst those safeguards was the promise, in June 2010, by the Minister responsible for the three agencies, that separate Budget Votes and Ministerial roles would continue.

Within a year of the incorporation these financial transparency safeguards were dispensed with. The consequence is that information on the expenditure of Archives and the National and Turnbull libraries is no longer separately disclosed in the Internal Affairs Annual Report, but is lumped together with other areas of spending and buried within different categories of output.

The Watergate Special Prosecutor had to go to Court to obtain the tapes that would reveal Nixon’s guilt; I had to use the Official information Act to obtain the evidence necessary to evaluate the incorporation of the Archives and Library into Internal Affairs. What I found was this:

  1. Before the incorporation into Internal Affairs, the National Library’s total Annual Operating Expenditure was $72 million. But by 2018 it had dropped to $62.7 million. Over the period 2013 —2018, it has DECLINED 9.0%, in sharp contrast to the 12.4% INCREASE in Vote Internal Affairs since 2013. Meanwhile, consumer prices — an indication of the underlying cost rises from inflation — ROSE 12.9%.
  2. Over the same period, Centrally Managed Costs, which are imposed on the Library by Internal Affairs, and which include property costs, ICT costs, and Corporate Support, INCREASED by 25.7%, with the yearly remuneration of the CEO of Internal Affairs INCREASING by 49%.

The claim, therefore, that incorporation would lead to lower overheads has certainly not been borne out. The importance of central costs is shown by the fact that in 2018 these costs accounted for 42.3% of the total Annual Operating Expenditure of the National Library.

  1. In contrast, the operating expense of the National Library (i.e the funds under the control of the National Librarian, which do not include Internal Affairs’ centrally imposed costs) amounted to $30.1 million in 2018. Over the period 2013 — 2018 this DECLINED by 24.8%.
  2. In 2018, the Capital Charge levied on the National Library, together with Depreciation and the allocation of central costs, accounted for 51.9% of the Library’s total expenditure.

The Capital Charge is a central cost levied by The Treasury on all government agencies for the use of assets. It is designed to encourage efficiency in the use of assets and/or the divestment of assets not essential to the operations of the agencies. This makes no sense, of course, in the case of Libraries and Archives, whose purpose is to collect, protect, preserve and build up their asset base. Illogically, it is applied to the National Library and the Archives.

  1. The Turnbull’s Annual Operating Expenditure, excluding the allocation of central costs which are borne by the National Library as a whole, amounted to $6.5 million in 2018. Over the period 2013 — 2018 this expenditure has DECLINED by 9.7%.
  2. The smaller sum of monies under the direct control of the Turnbull Librarian, have DECLINED by 3.6% over the period 2013 — 2018.
  3. In 2013, spending on the Turnbull made up 10.2% of the Government’s Budget Vote for the National Library. But by 2018, the Turnbull’s share of the National Library cake had dropped to 9.8%.
  4. Archives New Zealand have also suffered from declining budgets. Between 2013 and 2018, the Operating Expenditure component of the Archives budget DECLINED 18.7%, while the monies under the direct control of the Chief Archivist DECLINED by nearly 30%. Further stress on the Archives budget has come from the INCREASE in Corporate overheads of 279% over the period 2013 — 2019.

In the case of the Libraries the significance of Centrally Managed Costs, and particularly the inclusion therein of Corporate Support (whatever that may mean), lends considerable weight and support to the following points made in the Friends of the Turnbull Library’s submission to the Ministerial Review Group looking at whether to remove both Libraries and Archives from under the Internal Affairs umbrella:

(14) Recent pronouncements by both Minister and Senior DIA managers have suggested that a continuation of the present legal and structural arrangements is necessary because the DIA “needs the money.” This is disturbing since it implies that monies have been, and may in the future, be transferred, by various creative accounting means such as overhead re-allocations, away from the Libraries to other DIA functions and activities in possible breach of the Public Finance Act.

Alternatively, the argument may be simply that the DIA needs a bigger budget and more business units in order to spread the corporate overhead more widely. But this raises the real possibility that Libraries are, in effect, paying for the overhead generated by say Passports or Dog Control. The absence of a clear and specific appropriation for Libraries, therefore, means that there is insufficient transparency, as well as no public assurance, or safeguards, as to the financial independence and finances of the National and Turnbull Libraries.

On a broader canvas, the following comment made by the Turnbull Librarian, in his submission to the Ministerial Review Group, is particularly pertinent:

Operational resourcing — ongoing operational funding cuts over the last several years have left the National Library, and the Turnbull within it, severely weakened and demoralised. These are now manifesting in staff cuts and service closures. This is an area of immediate concern, and rates as the most urgent challenge.

These comments are also echoed in the National Librarian’s submission when he says

“After seven years of financial pressure and staff reductions, stakeholders and staff of the Library now strongly believe that, despite the Library’s best efforts, we are failing to perform properly in each of our three statutory roles.”

Following the money, therefore, shows that the central promises of 2010 have not been kept. Declining expenditure is evidence of deliberate under-funding, not the achievement of cost efficiencies. The Libraries and the Archives have not been “futureproofed”, statutory functions are increasingly at significant risk, and important safeguards have faded away.

Resourcing them properly, and turning the National and Turnbull Libraries into an Autonomous Crown Entity, under the control of an independent Board of Trustees, would go a long way to restoring necessary safeguards and public trust. The new legal status would also allow the public, in effect, to shape, build and ultimately control our documentary heritage and taonga, for the benefit of current and future generations of New Zealanders.

And making the Chief Archivist an Officer of Parliament would give them sufficient authority to fully control and shape proper archival processes and support their constitutional role as the keeper of the public record.

This article was first published in the Briefing Papers and is reprinted with permission.

  Dr Donald Gilling has taught at Universities in Australia, England and New Zealand, and for nine years was Professor of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waikato. He holds Fellowships in both Professional Accounting Bodies in Australasia and is the author of over 90 papers in academic and professional journals, covering topics in public finance, accounting and auditing, and the economics of education. He has acted as an expert witness in a number of applications for Judicial Review of the operations and decision making of government and public bodies. He has been a member of the committee of the Friends of the Turnbull Library for nearly 20 years.

 

Independence for the National Library and Archives NZ?

In mid 2018 the Government called for submissions on the current status and future of “National Archival and Library Institutions” (NALI). The Friends of Turnbull Library immediately submitted that the National Library of New Zealand (along with the Alexander Turnbull Library) needs independence to do its job properly. At present it is under the control of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) where it is a subset of Information and Knowledge Services. The absence of a clear and specific appropriation for both Archives and Libraries means that there is insufficient transparency as well as a lack of public assurance and safeguards for the financial independence and finances of the National and Turnbull Libraries and for Archives New Zealand. For the full NALI submission see here.

Recent further research has been carried out to show the increasingly dismal state of Library finances. See Follow the Money.

And see also The Numbers Tell the Story.

The Government is planning to make an announcement in the New Year.

 

Treasures of Turnbull Library inspire two writers

Two well-known writers are co-recipients of 2019 Friends of Turnbull Library Research Grants.

Wellington writer and broadcaster Nick Bollinger receives a research grant to assist his latest project, eventually to be published as an illustrated book chronicling the development of the counterculture in New Zealand during the years 1960-1975. Bollinger will be drawing on the rich and diverse collections of the Turnbull Library to trace the roots of countercultural ideas, how they evolved and how they affected New Zealand society.

Bollinger is presenter and producer of The Sampler for RNZ, and is the author of the acclaimed Goneville: a memoir, published by Awa Press in 2016. He says the term “counterculture” originated in the 1960s and became widely used to identify a range of groups and individuals broadly sharing a belief in an alternative society. “From Baxter’s poetry to the music of Blerta, from Roger Donaldson to Tim Shadbolt, the counterculture has had a profound and lasting impact on New Zealand culture.”

Wellington historian Dr Vincent O’Malley – whose fine book The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000, was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2016 – receives a research grant to assist him to continue work on a book on the New Zealand Wars aimed at secondary school students as well as a general market.

Dr O’Malley says that his project “takes us to the heart of the series of conflicts that profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation’s history.” His new book will focus on a number of quite lengthy first-hand accounts (manuscripts held in the Alexander Turnbull Library) from Māori and Pākehā who either fought in or witnessed the wars that ravaged New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. From Heni Te Kiri Karamu’s narrative of her remarkable exploits as a wahine toa, through to Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky’s colourful account of his time in the Forest Rangers and beyond, these stories will resonate with New Zealanders who are now acknowledging the need to remember, embrace and own our past.

Winners of Smart Alex Competition announced

We are delighted to announce all the award-winning entries in this year’s Smart Alex creative writing competition.

In the Yr 11-13 category, the winner is: CHARLOTTE BOYLE of Cashmere High School, Christchurch (“Crotchety crochet”); and runner-up is: LIA HORSLEY OF Hastings Girls High School (“Bȃc sī”).

In the Yr 9-10 category, the winner is: KRISTEN ROXBURGH of Selwyn College, Auckland (“Right side up”); and runner-up is: EARINA SAVINELLI of Whakatane High School, Whakatane (“The Haircut”)

Our thanks to all those who entered this year’s inaugural SMART ALEX Competition.

Years 9-10 Smart Alex winners Yr 9-10

Years 11-13 Smart Alex winners Yr 11-13

Congratulations to all these wonderful achievers, and remember to look out for next year’s competition in 2019.

Call for papers: TURNBULL LIBRARY RECORD

Contributions are now invited for the 2019 issue of the Turnbull Library Record.

The Turnbull Library Record is a journal in the humanities, published yearly by the Alexander Turnbull Library in association with the Friends of the Turnbull Library. It is the longest-running humanities journal in New Zealand. It publishes information relating to the activities of the Library, as well as articles covering a wide range of research, with special emphasis on the societies and cultures of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Its purpose is to increase knowledge of the Library’s collections by showing their scope and richness, and the ways researchers are using them.

Articles or pictorial essays should be between 2,000–5,000 words in length. Contributions that have not been previously published are welcome and, before acceptance, will be independently refereed. Articles should have a scholarly underpinning and be written in a lively and accessible manner for an informed but not specialist readership.

The Editorial Board reserves the right to decline to publish an article, whether solicited or unsolicited.

The deadline for submitting articles is Friday 2 November 2018. Publication is scheduled for August 2019.

For more information, to propose an idea or to submit an article, please contact the Managing Editor, Fiona Oliver (fiona.oliver@dia.govt.nz).

Information about past issues of the Turnbull Library Record can be found at: www.turnbullfriends.org.nz/about-us/publications

Turnbull Centenary 2018-2020 Essay

AIM: To create new knowledge about Alexander Turnbull, and to publicise his legacy during the anniversary years 2018-2020.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library (FoTL) is now calling for Expressions of Interest in submitting an essay on any aspect of the life and/or collecting role of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull, who donated his personal collection of about 55,000 books and other items relating to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to the nation in 1918. This generous bequest became the nucleus of the Alexander Turnbull Library, an internationally renowned research library which opened its doors to the public in 1920.

At the discretion of the Friends of Turnbull Library, the expressions of interest will be assessed and entrants will be advised of the terms and conditions. The original concept of an essay competition may be modified to provide research funding to one or more selected entrants.

GUIDELINES:

  • We expect the final essay(s) will achieve a high academic level of accessible scholarship, providing a new perspective on the life and achievements of Alexander Turnbull.
  • Entries may be non-fiction or creative writing.
  • By entering the competition entrants agree to FoTL terms and conditions regarding subsequent publication of your essay and FoTL publicity requirements.
  • The awarding of research funding will be decided by a panel selected by FoTL and the decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • Open to anyone (no age limit).
  • Word length: is expected not to exceed 5000 words.

RESEARCH FUNDING (OR PRIZE MONEY IF A COMPETITION IS CONFIRMED):

Up to $15,000 to be allocated or shared at the complete discretion of the Friends of Turnbull Library.

DEADLINES: Expressions of interest (research proposals) must be received by Friday 29 June 2018.

Following confirmation of the acceptance of a research proposal, essays must be received by FoTL on or before 1 September 2019. Results announced 15 November 2019.  Successful entries may be published in Turnbull Library Record in 2020.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Alexander Turnbull (1868-1918) was born in Wellington, the sixth of seven children, and was educated in Wellington and then in England. As a young man Alex joined the family’s prosperous “general commission business”, involving importing, shipping and insurance, occupying two warehouses and an office on Customhouse Quay. His growing passion for collecting books began when he was 17, and quickly focussed on anything published in or about New Zealand. At times he was buying about 700 books per year, and his interests widened to include all the “South Sea Islands” of the Pacific. When he died, shortly before his fiftieth birthday, he had amassed about 55,000 books, along with drawings, prints, paintings, maps and manuscripts; and this was the collection he gifted to the nation to form “the nucleus of a New Zealand National Collection”. It was welcomed as “the most generous bequest to the people of New Zealand ever made by a New Zealander.”

E.H. McCormick’s excellent 1974 biography of Alexander Turnbull is meticulously researched and rich with archival detail, but there are various dimensions of this driven and generous man which might produce a fascinating essay. Turnbull’s first racing yacht, the narrow and beautiful gaff rigged cutter Rona, is moored at Chaffers Marina. Turnbull’s history as a sportsman and sailor has been documented by his own account of sailing in Queen Charlotte Sound. What is Turnbull’s history as a sailor? Before he became a dedicated book hound Turnbull was a laddish man about town – what kind of person was he? He came from a close family but his relationship with his sisters, especially the younger one Sissy, seems to have been a bit puritanical – what was he like as a brother and son? Why did Turnbull himself never marry and is the obvious explanation the right one? What was he like as a businessman and how did the business support the ferocious bookbuying? Towards the end of his life Turnbull succumbed to drug addiction, about which McCormick is clear but discreet. What was the incidence of drug use in Wellington at this time and how would Turnbull have acquired his supplies? Who were his close friends?

An essay on these, or any other aspects of this remarkable but essentially private man would add to our knowledge and understanding of Turnbull’s life and passions.

Further information about Alex and the Alexander Turnbull Library is on www.turnbullfriends.org

Enquiries and Expressions of Interest to: fergiehill@xtra.co.nz

Preserving the past to enlighten the future

The Friends of the Turnbull Library Inc

PO Box 12186, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand

ESSAY COMPETITION: CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is pleased to announce an essay competition with prizes totalling $15,000 to celebrate the anniversaries of the generous bequest of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull’s library to the nation in 2018, and the subsequent opening of the Alexander Turnbull Library in 2020.

We are now inviting expressions of interest in submitting an essay on any aspect of Alexander Turnbull’s life and/or his role as a collector.

Essays should be between 3,000–5,000 words in length, and must not have been previously published. We expect they will have a scholarly underpinning and be written in a lively and accessible manner for an informed but not specialist readership.

Turnbull’s personal collection, of some 55,000 books and other items relating to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, formed the basis of the Turnbull Library which has subsequently grown steadily to become the internationally renowned research library it is today, serving all those with interests in the fields of historical, literary, cultural and genealogical studies.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is an incorporated society established in 1939. The essay competition assists our aims to promote public interest in the Alexander Turnbull Library, and to encourage research and use of Library materials to create new knowledge.

The deadline for expressions of interest in entering the essay competition is 29 June 2018. Subsequent completed essays must be submitted (by email or by post) by 1 September 2019.

Enquiries and Expressions of Interest should be emailed to editor@turnbullfriends.org.nz or fergiehill@xtra.co.nz

Turnbull’s treasures inspire two very different projects

Vincent O’Malley

Angela Lassig

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is delighted to announce that two research grants will be awarded in 2018.

Wellington historian Dr Vincent O’Malley – whose fine book The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000, was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2016 – receives a research grant to assist him to begin work on a book on the New Zealand Wars aimed at secondary school students as well as a general market.

Dr O’Malley says that his project “takes us to the heart of the series of conflicts that profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation’s history.” The new book will focus on a number of quite lengthy first-hand accounts (manuscripts held in the Alexander Turnbull Library) from Māori and Pākehā who either fought in or witnessed the wars that ravaged New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. From Heni Te Kiri Karamu’s narrative of her remarkable exploits as a wahine toa, through to Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky’s colourful account of his time in the Forest Rangers and beyond, these stories will resonate with New Zealanders who are now acknowledging the need to remember, embrace and own our past.

Auckland dress historian Angela Lassig receives a research grant towards the publication of an illustrated book on the history of women’s dress in nineteenth century New Zealand. Ms Lassig has drawn almost all her material from the rich and diverse collections of the Turnbull Library. She will be making use of letters and diaries, cartoons and advertisements, sketchbooks and photographs, to create an accessible social history for the study and enjoyment of New Zealand women’s dress and textile heritage. Images will be accompanied by detailed descriptions of the women, their clothing, their social circumstances and additional information such as about the dressmakers and drapery shops that may have been available to women at the time.

These grants bring the total number of projects assisted by the Friends of the Turnbull Library to fifteen, since the first grant was awarded to Philip Norman in 2004 for his biography of Douglas Lilburn. Six biographies have been awarded research grants and a very diverse range of other projects ranging from a survey of ecclesiastical architecture (2006) to a history of rugby league (2017).

Significant bequests have created the research fund, but Rachel Underwood, president of the Friends of the Turnbull Library, says there are always many more applicants than can possibly be funded. “The vast collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library – a world-class research library that attracts scholars from around the globe – provide fertile soil for many diverse research projects. We would love to be able to support more researchers with larger grants,” Mrs Underwood said. “We encourage people who might be able to make donations or to set up bequests to come and talk to us about how they could help.”

New book on women’s work in WWI

Jane Tolerton is an experienced historian and a lively story teller. Her two books on Ettie Rout have been immensely popular.

Now she has written a well-researched account of New Zealand women’s work overseas in the First World War, including gripping stories of heroic women such as Ida Malone (wife of Col. William Malone), Dr Grace Russell, and Kitty Mair (daughter of Gilbert Mair).

At her public talk to the Friends of Turnbull Library on 9 November, about 150 people – including some descendants of the women she has written about – turned up to be entertained and enlightened.

Jane Tolerton

“Make Her Praises Heard Afar: New Zealand women overseas in World War One” has been published by Booklovers Books.