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Council releases discussion document on cultural heritage sector

Published: 19 October 2018

Auckland Council today released a discussion document which looks at its $61 million investment in five major arts and culture heritage institutions across the city.

An independent review of the cultural heritage sector carried out by Stafford Strategy examines funding and governance arrangements for the five major cultural heritage institutions that are wholly, or in large part, funded by the council – Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT), New Zealand Maritime Museum and the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium.

“The cultural sector holds some of our city’s and country’s most prized possessions. We invest a large amount of public money in them and want the sector to work together to ensure future generations enjoy the full benefits of our museums and galleries,” says Mayor Phil Goff.

“The discussion document concludes that the funding, governance and accountability arrangements for the institutions predate the amalgamation of Auckland and are no longer fit for purpose.

“As well as the five major institutions, dozens of other organisations make up the city’s rich cultural tapestry, and collectively involve funding from the city of over $85 million a year.  

“It is important that we have a coherent and consistent system of governance and funding that ensures our city’s most iconic institutions are getting the best from the large investment the council makes in this important area,” Phil Goff says.

The discussion paper outlines a number of options which will be the basis for consultation with the major institutions, mana whenua, other cultural organisations, the public and ultimately government.

 “The Stafford review is a basis for discussion rather than the council’s preferred outcome. A consultation process which will now take place will help us make our decision," says Mayor Goff.

“We will take whatever time is needed to seek to co-design a solution with the institutions, which have cooperated constructively, to deliver a strong and enduring future for Auckland’s cultural institutions.

“Greater cooperation between the institutions on issues such as storage of collections and marketing would deliver better outcomes for the institutions themselves and it would also mean ratepayers get better value for money."

Mayor Goff says, "Current expenditure arrangements require mandatory funding by the council, but without matching accountability arrangements. We need a structure which ensures responsiveness and accountability to give Aucklanders confidence about the outcomes delivered.

“We also need an overview of funding arrangements across the sector to ensure that funding between institutions is equitable.

“The next stage of the review will involve the council, institutions, mana whenua and stakeholders working together to tackle the issues with a view to identifying and implementing agreed changes to the sector."

While the focus of the review was on these five major institutions, regard will also be given to the range of other organisations which are part of our city’s rich cultural tapestry.

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