Archivists say they are waiting "in the dark" and are
increasingly worried about a lack of information and
consultation over moves to restructure Archives New Zealand.
Archives and Records Association (Aranz) president Joanna
Newman, of Wellington, said it was a "huge concern" that
details were still not available about Government proposals
to merge Archives New Zealand and the National Library into
the Department of Internal Affairs.
Archivists say that when Archives NZ was removed from the
Internal Affairs Department and established as a separate
department in 2000, this was in keeping with international
Archives NZ has the overall responsibility for government
record-keeping and community archives.
Ms Newman said maintaining the independence of the country's
national archives and of the chief archivist was vital in
ensuring Government accountability to New Zealanders over
Undermining that independence would constitute "a significant
action against our democracy", she warned.
A proposal to return Archives NZ to Internal Affairs was to
have been discussed by Cabinet on Monday.
However, a spokesman at the office of State Services
Commission Minister Tony Ryall said the matter would be
considered further before it went to Cabinet.
Aranz Otago-Southland branch chairman John Timmins, of
Dunedin, said he was disappointed about the lack of
consultation with archivists and user groups, such as
"It seems to be a fait accompli and now we have to wait in
the dark ... which is not the best way of working in a
"I'm definitely disappointed at Aranz being cut out of the
process and very apprehensive about the final outcome."
Labour's State Services spokesman, Grant Robertson, said
maintaining an independent national archives system was "an
important part of the democratic process".
"I think it's a tragedy to turn back the clock."
Gaining some further efficiencies through payroll or human
resources arrangements could be considered but parliamentary
reviews had shown that Archives NZ was already "an extremely
efficient organisation", he said.