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Libraries to lose funding with changes to Local Govt Act

Libraries set to lose vital funding with proposed changes to Local Government Act

Libraries may miss out on vital funding for new building projects if proposed changes to the Local Government Act come in to effect, says the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA).

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 3) presented to Parliament last week proposes a new definition of the community infrastructures able to benefit from development contributions under Clause 49 Section 197. These include community halls, play equipment and public toilets but may no longer encompass libraries.

LIANZA Immediate Past President Heather Lamond says the proposed changes have the potential to impact communities across New Zealand.

“Narrowing the definition of what can be financed by development contributions could hit at the heart of new community library developments. This funding often builds new facilities for communities that are already underserved and removing the funding will only amplify the issue”.

“With an ever growing population comes the need for the development and upgrading of core community services including libraries. Libraries are already under huge budgetary constraints and the removal of contributions would be yet another blow. We will be watching the progression of the bill with interest to ensure that New Zealanders are not denied their right to library services.”

The Kiwis Count survey 2012, carried out by the State Services Commission, showed New Zealanders were visiting public libraries more often and rated their service higher than any other public service.

“With research showing the high rate of library usage and the importance of library services in the community, it is alarming to see libraries omitted as recipients of such important funding” says Ms Lamond.

“We eagerly await the Call for Submissions from the Select Committee and the opportunity to advocate for the communities our libraries serve”.

ENDS

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