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Chief Archivist releases report on Managing Text Messages

Chief Archivist releases report on Managing Text Messages under the Public Records Act 2005

Chief Archivist Marilyn Little today released the report of her review into the Prime Minister’s recordkeeping practices in regard to text messages.

The decision to carry out the review arose from a request by James Shaw MP in November last year, to investigate whether the deletion of text messages constituted a breach of the Public Records Act 2005.

While the review focussed on whether the Prime Minister had appropriate advice and support, the Prime Minister’s current practice and the nature of most text messages make it likely that public records were generally disposed of correctly.

The report includes the Chief Archivist’s actions and recommendations for improvements to the recordkeeping advice and support for all Ministers. Work is already underway to implement these and, given the nature of most text messages, current practices will be largely unaffected.

The review highlighted that text messages can be public records and that Ministers are considered public offices under the Act.

The review also found that the Prime Minister was not advised of his full responsibilities under the Public Records Act and that the advice and support provided to all Ministers was inadequate.

A full copy of the report is available from the Archives New Zealand website link below. The Chief Archivist will be making no further public comment.



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