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