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Govt. Involvement in Culture And Heritage Sectors

Enhancement Of Government’s Involvement In The Cultural And Heritage Sector -
Some Relevant Questions And Answers.

1 What are the changes that are being made?

The Culture and Heritage portfolio is being expanded to include responsibility for heritage policy and cultural broadcasting policy. It will also include responsibility for the National Library, which currently reports to the Minister of Education.

The Minister for Culture and Heritage will be responsible for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and New Zealand On Air.

A new Ministry for Culture and Heritage will be created. This new Ministry will perform all functions currently undertaken by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and will take over relevant policy responsibilities from the Departments of Internal Affairs and Conservation, and the Ministry of Commerce.

The Heritage Group of the Department of Internal Affairs – which comprises the National Archives, the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Historical Branch and Heritage Property – will now report to the Minister for Culture and Heritage, although this group will stay within the Internal Affairs structure.

2 Haven't these changes already been made?

The changes come into effect on 1 September this year. However, they were foreshadowed by the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 June that the Minister of Cultural Affairs would become the Minister for Culture and Heritage.

3 Why are the changes being made?

Government’s involvement in the cultural and heritage sector has been highly fragmented. No one Minister has had an overview of the sector as a whole. And where cultural and heritage functions have been located in a different portfolio, they have tended to lose out to the main focus of that portfolio.

4 So what is different now?

Government now has a coherent overview of the sector. Its cultural and heritage decisions can be made in the context of that overview.

The Minister for Culture and Heritage will be able to take a ‘big picture’ approach to cultural policy development.

5 What does this mean for the cultural and heritage sector?

The changes represent an upgrading of the priority given to the sector by Government. The changes create a strong platform for Government’s further thinking about how it can most effectively support cultural and heritage activities.

6 Is this then, the 'super' Ministry idea already talked about?

References to a 'super' Ministry are incorrect. There will be no changes to the operation of any organisations outside central government departments, although the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and New Zealand On Air – along with the National Library and National Archives – will be reporting to a different Minister.

The real difference is in the way Government is thinking about its involvement in the cultural and heritage sector. The quality of advice that the changes will help bring about will make a difference to the lives of all New Zealanders.

But because the changes are focussed at the portfolio and departmental level, there will not be any disruption to the operation of agencies working in the cultural and heritage sector.

7 How can Government be upgrading the priority of culture and heritage if the Minister is still outside Cabinet?

The personal ranking of any Minister does not reflect the priority of a portfolio.

The ability of a Minister to be effective is not determined simply by whether he or she is inside Cabinet – this very significant enhancement of the portfolio has occurred at a time when the Minister has in fact been outside Cabinet.

8 What do the changes mean with regard to Government's involvement in the culture and heritage sector?

With an enhanced portfolio and Ministry, the Government is in a position to rigorously examine whether the range of ways it involves itself in the cultural and heritage sector is delivering the best outcomes for New Zealanders. For the first time Government has the opportunity to ask some serious questions about the effectiveness of this involvement.

9 What is the effect of these changes on the National Library?

The National Library is a key cultural institution. It is appropriate for the National Library to be responsible to the Minister for Culture and Heritage. However, the change will not affect the operation of the Library and the linkages it has with organisations in the education sector will be unaffected.

Government does intend to undertake a review of the National Library later in the current financial year. The review will establish the best possible institutional arrangements for the Library, and will consider the option of Crown entity status. No further decisions have been made yet about the review process.

10 What about the National Archives?

National Archives remains part of the Heritage Group within the Department of Internal Affairs, but from 1 September this year the Minister for Culture and Heritage will be Minister responsible for the National Archives – and all other parts of the Heritage Group. It is fitting for National Archives to report to the Minister for Culture and Heritage, as it is in this portfolio that Government locates its support for collections of national importance.

Government intends to undertake a review of the National Archives, to establish the best possible institutional arrangements, later in the current financial year. As with the review of the National Library, the possibility of Crown entity status will be on the table.

11 Is Government intending to turn the National Archives and the National Library into a single Crown entity?

No. The objective is to establish the best possible institutional arrangements for both the National Archives and the National Library, and the Government does not have an agenda with respect to either of these reviews. The Government recognises that there are very important issues to bear in mind in relation to both these organisations. For example, the National Archives holds material that is of both constitutional and cultural importance. This has clear implications for the range of institutional options that might appropriately be considered. However, the Government has not dismissed any possibilities at this stage.

12 What about New Zealand On Air?

There will be no change to the operation of New Zealand On Air – it will simply be responsible to a different Minister. Government has already indicated that New Zealand On Air’s level of funding will be maintained.

13 Will the Minister for Culture and Heritage be responsible for all broadcasting issues?

The Minister for Culture and Heritage will be responsible for cultural broadcasting issues, and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage will be giving advice on these matters. Other communications matters – such as spectrum management and the maintenance of broadcasting standards – will continue to be the responsibility of the Minister of Communications, who is advised by the Ministry of Commerce. The Ministers and ministries will liaise closely with each other, to ensure that appropriate linkages are maintained.

14 What about Te Mangai Paho?

Te Mangai Paho will continue to be responsible to the Minister of Communications. A review by Te Puni Kokiri, due to be completed later in this financial year, will consider issues associated with Government’s involvement in Maori culture.

15 So are there any changes now in relation to Government’s involvement in Maori culture?

At this time there are no changes. Both Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (like its predecessor the Ministry of Cultural Affairs) will have an involvement with Maori cultural issues, as will Crown entities like Creative New Zealand and Te Papa.

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