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Put National Archives Restructuring On Hold

29 July 1999


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, wants the current restructuring of the National Archives to be put on hold.

The Government has announced that National Archives is to be transferred from the Department of Internal Affairs to the new Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

However, Mr Dunne says the move is premature, and is more about lessening the accountability of National Archives.

"There are presently two appeals before the Court of Appeal regarding the way in the Secretary for Internal Affairs has discharged his current responsibility for the National Archives, including a possible breach of the Public Finance Act."

"Those appeals are set down for hearing on 22 September 1999."

"The Court's decisions on them will have marked bearing on the future role and structure of the National Archives."

"Yet by announcing now that administrative responsibility for National Archives is to shift from Internal Affairs to the new Ministry, the Government is effectively attempting to cut the ground out from under these appeals."

"This is a gross affront to proper notions of accountability and looks like the Government is trying to sweep the current problems within National Archives under the carpet," he says.

Mr Dunne says that in order to protect the rights of the appellants and to observe accepted notions of constitutional and administrative propriety the Government should put a hold on any further changes to the structure of National Archives until after the Court of Appeal cases have been dealt with.

"To do anything less would be to arrogantly thumb its nose at due legal process," he says.

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