The New Zealand Society of Authors has strong reservations about the proposed merger of Archives New Zealand and the National Library into the Department of Internal Affairs.
”This is obviously a cost cutting exercise on behalf of the government, and the Society questions the validity of such a move especially when it is clear that no significant savings will be achieved in the short term” CEO Maggie Tarver said.
Tony Simpson, President of the Society, comments “Research facilities are not only important to historians and writers of historical fiction, but also to the protection of New Zealand history. It is crucial that the integrity of New Zealand ’s research facilities be maintained and we are concerned that through this merger Archives New Zealand will lose its autonomy which would jeopardise its objectives with serious consequences for freedom of speech.”
“It is important that this government is wary of neglecting and underfunding our past records” Mr Simpson added.
“And it is vital that independent transparency be maintained for Archives. It is also of concern that the government is proposing such a move without public consultation, a move that puts our history at risk. “
Last year the Society lobbied for the ongoing provision of free access to libraries under the Local Government Bill, and now it is speaking out again on behalf of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library to ensure their ongoing protection. ‘We will continue to speak out on behalf of libraries as long as it is needed’ Mr Simpson added.
The New Zealand Society of Authors calls on the government to abandon this proposed merger.