Written By: - Date published: 7:32 am, July 7th, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: accountability, culture, heritage, history, national, public services - Tags: Archives New Zealand, Internal Affairs, IT super platform, National Library
For some time now National has been quietly making plans to subsume Archives New Zealand and the National Library within the Department of Internal Affairs. That’s a dangerous plan for all sorts of constitutional and accountability reasons that can’t be justified by any imaginary, vague and as yet uncosted “synergies and efficiencies”. But let’s face it, Key’s government has never demonstrated much respect for the constitutional instruments of our democracy, and god knows this is one government that would stand to benefit from imperfect historical records of its time in power.
But if that doesn’t sound foolhardy enough, it turns out this grand utopian merger is based on the development of a new IT “super platform” to carry all the records of Archives NZ, the National Library and the Department of Internal Affairs. If the history of NZ’s Think Big projects, let alone IT Think Big projects, are anything to go by, we should be heading for a right royal mess. Not a mess that’s contained in just one government department, but a mess that stands to screw access to the records of DIA, National Library and Archives NZ all at once, possibly irreparably.
That is both a sad and dangerous thing for our history and democracy, especially when its an ideologically based decision wrapped in a very thin imaginary veneer of false economies of scale. The fact is that like the “Super City”, the new “IT Super Platform” for our national records and documentary taonga is of unknown and likely dubious benefit, while the likelihood and consequences of its failure are huge. This will be another mess National creates that will take decades to clean up afterwards, at enormous cost and enormous, avoidable loss.
Not only is it irresponsible and penny-wise pound-foolish naivetÃ©, it’s also outright vandalism.
So, are there any MPs out there with enough foresight to appreciate the implications of this folly?