Cul­tural re­view raises con­cerns

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

Auck­land Coun­cil is spend­ing $250,000 on a re­view to en­sure Auck­land’s cul­tural cen­tres grow to­gether, but not ev­ery­one’s con­vinced it will work.

Each year the coun­cil puts $61 mil­lion into Auck­land’s most im­por­tant cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the Auck­land War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum, the Auck­land Art Gallery, the Mu­seum of Trans­port and Tech­nol­ogy (Mo­tat), the New Zealand Mar­itime Mu­seum and the Star­dome.

Now, it’s look­ing for greater co­her­ence be­tween the in­sti­tu­tions, which are worth more than $1 bil­lion com­bined, and it will do that through an in­de­pen­dent re­view.

Coun­cil­lor Mike Lee said coun­cil’s track record of re­views was not re­as­sur­ing.

‘‘Auck­land Coun­cil, more than most, should ap­pre­ci­ate that amal­ga­mat­ing dif­fer­ent bodies into one big or­gan­i­sa­tion does not guar­an­tee ef­fi­ciency or bet­ter ser­vice to the pub­lic,’’ Lee said.

He was es­pe­cially con­cerned with the spe­cial le­gal sta­tus of the Auck­land War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum, and said it might lead to what Auck­land Li­braries ex­pe­ri­enced through its Fit for the Fu­ture re­struc­ture.

Auck­land Li­braries’ re­view, which re­al­lo­cated re­sources to pre­pare for a dig­i­tally fo­cused fu­ture, was out­lined last month.

It led to 74 vol­un­tary re­dun­dan­cies and forced 700 staff mem­bers to reap­ply for their jobs.

En­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­nity com­mit­tee chair Penny Hulse said the li­braries re­struc­ture and cul­tural as­sets re­view were com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

She said the cul­tural as­sets re­view would open up pos­si­bil­i­ties like shar­ing tick­ets and premises, mak­ing it eas­ier for peo­ple to go be­tween the or­gan­i­sa­tions.

It had been dis­cussed since 2015 when coun­cil adopted the Auck­land’s Arts and cul­ture Strate­gic Ac­tion Plan, which aimed to cre­ate a cul­tur­ally rich and cre­ative city, she said.

Hulse said it would make the coun­cil’s re­la­tion­ship with the or­gan­i­sa­tions clearer.

‘‘It’s about strength­en­ing them,’’ Hulse said.

In the meet­ing on Tues­day mayor Phil Goff said it didn’t make sense to have the in­sti­tu­tions work­ing un­der dif­fer­ent laws, dif­fer­ent fund­ing ar­range­ments and dif­fer­ent forms of re­port­ing.

The coun­cil’s re­view is aim­ing to be done by the end of 2017.

CATRIN OWEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Coun­cil­lor Mike Lee is con­cerned about an up­com­ing Auck­land Coun­cil cul­tural as­sets re­view.

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