(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