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Government digital archives $10 million blowout

Grant ROBERTSON

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesperson                        

11 December 2013                                            MEDIA STATEMENT

Government digital archives $10 million blowout

National’s flagship programme to implement a government-wide digital archive system is in chaos, with a projected $10 million budget blowout and a delay of up to five years, papers obtained by Labour’s Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Grant Robertson reveal.

“With some fanfare, the Government allocated $12 million in 2010 for this programme. Three years on very little has been achieved, the cost has almost doubled and the programme is in crisis.

“The project manager is forecasting a ‘financial blowout’ of between $8.3 and $10.8 million.

“This is a debacle and is costing the taxpayers of New Zealand dearly.

“Department of Internal Affairs officials confirmed at select committee today that Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain has been briefed throughout the programme. Why did he allow the programme to continue with such a lack of focus and budgetary discipline?

“A review of the programme indicates failure on almost every level. A large number of staff have resigned and morale is low because of ‘uncertainty’ over its future. There has been ‘poor’ communication, ‘unsatisfactory’ documentation, ‘loosely directed’ resources and contractors who have no ‘formal reporting’ process.

“It is a shambles and there is no new archive system in sight.

“The understanding of key issues among the leadership team at the Department of Internal Affairs is described as ‘low’ and there is a ‘lack of organisational support or understanding of the importance of the programme’.

“This is exactly the warning that was sounded when the National Government decided to merge Archives New Zealand into Internal Affairs.  The important constitutional and archival role has been compromised by a merger that was never properly justified.

“The National Government’s record with IT projects is terrible with yet another project blow out.

“The Government must get this programme back under control and reassure taxpayers their money is being well spent,” Grant Robertson says.

Note: papers are available on request

ENDS

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