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Te Papa Not Underfunded - Nats

Media Statement
Rt Hon Simon Upton
Opposition Spokesperson on Culture & Heritage

Te Papa - For the Record

“Helen Clark’s suggestion that the last National Government breached the Fiscal Responsibility Act in providing a letter of comfort to Te Papa is seriously wide of the mark.

“From the day Te Papa opened, it was acknowledged that Te Papa’s final funding level had yet to be determined.

“There was never any secret about the fact that there was a gap between income from all sources and running costs. But until final sponsorship levels and running costs were known, the extent of the gap remained uncertain.

“The previous Government agreed there would be a full review of the Museum’s financing in the current financial year with any increased funding addressed in the 2000/2001 budget.

“Just prior to the General Election, Te Papa approached the Government seeking closure on the funding gap and pointing out that if additional funds were not assured, prudent financial management required it to start to wind down the institution to a lower level of activity.

“The Government did not accede to the funding request. To have done so on the eve of a General Election after the pre-election disclosure of the Government’s books would most certainly have breached the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“ Instead, the Government did the responsible thing. It indicated that Te Papa’s request had to be considered as part of the normal budget round, but that the Government would stand behind the Museum if it chose to maintain its operations pending the conclusion of the budget round.

“In short, the funding gap has been on the record ever since Te Papa opened, as has been the requirement for a full review of funding by the end of the current financial year.”


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