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Fortyseven-year-old law in for shakeup

1 September 2004

Fortyseven-year-old law in for shakeup

Legislation to improve the accountability of government institutions and meet the recordkeeping challenges of electronic information technology has been introduced in Parliament by the Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Marian Hobbs.

The Public Records Bill will repeal the Archives Act 1957 and the document and archive provisions of the Local Government Act 1974.

"It reflects the changes in technology, legislation and recordkeeping practices that have occurred in the last half century," Marian Hobbs said. "Public records provide evidence of government activities and are a key component of ensuring public accountability.They enhance democracy by informing citizens about issues, decision-making processes and results. They also contribute to who we are as a nation by recording peoples' experiences with government.

"The growth in e-mail and the Internet has created a new set of challenges, including the erosion of administrative recordkeeping practices and the increasing complexity of recording business transactions. The bill addresses this by establishing recordkeeping requirements for public offices and local authorities."

The bill aims to: Promote accountability between the Crown, public and government agencies Enhance public confidence in the integrity of public records Enhance and promote the nation's heritage Encourage the partnership and goodwill envisaged by the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to public records.

Proposed changes include: A new emphasis on agencies making and keeping records Clear definition of which organisations are covered by the legislation, and the scope of the records covered Establishment of an Archives Council, to provide independent advice to the minister

ENDS

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