NZHPT restructure: branch committees disestablished, oh but we’ll keep the 23,000 membership

Press Release by New Zealand Government at 4:06 pm, 27 Jan 2010

Preliminary findings of the 2009 review of the New Zealand Historic Places Act will help to focus the Historic Places Trust on its significant regulatory responsibilities while providing opportunities for more effective advocacy in local communities, Arts Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson announced today.

The National Party arts, culture and heritage policy during the 2008 election campaign promised a review of the Historic Places Act. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is undertaking the review and the Government is considering changes to the way the New Zealand Historic Places Trust operates, as well as archaeological consenting processes.

“The Government intends for the Historic Places Trust to focus on its important regulatory role while allowing for better advocacy in local communities,” Mr Finlayson said.

“The Trust has been a Crown entity since 2005, and exercises significant regulatory powers to effectively protect and preserve heritage sites on behalf of the Crown, which contributes around 80% of its funding.”

The review confirmed the Trust will remain a mass membership organisation providing access to heritage sites and education (the Trust currently has about 23,000 subscriber members, who contribute around 5% of its funding). However, the new arrangement would clarify the respective roles of the Trust and its membership.

Under the proposals local branch committees, which are involved in advocacy by members, would be disestablished. The Trust will discuss with branch committees ways in which new arrangements might be put in place for local heritage advocacy.

“Separating the local advocacy interests of branch committees from the regulatory functions of the Trust along the lines of the British model means better outcomes for both,” Mr Finlayson said. “For example, local activists will not be constrained by having to work within the priority-setting framework of a Crown entity.”

The size of the Trust’s national board would be reduced from nine members to eight. All members of the new board would be appointed by Government. Currently, three positions are elected by the wider membership of the Trust. The preliminary review concluded that this change would clear up confused accountabilities on the board.

Letters have been sent to all members and branch committee chairs advising them of the proposed changes, and meetings will be held with committees across the country to discuss and present the changes.



Listen to the Minister’s interview:

### Radio New Zealand National Thurs, 28 Jan 2010 at 06:42AM
Historic Places Trust branch committees may be disestablished
The Government is backing a proposal to scrap the local branch committees of the Historic Places Trust.
Audio Ogg Vorbis MP3 (duration: 4:02)

Note: The members of NZHPT branch committees are elected by their local membership.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

Disclaimer: Elizabeth Kerr is a former NZHPT Otago Branch Chair (2000-08). Elizabeth is no longer a subscription member of the Trust. She left the Trust to pursue her interest, fostered during her time with the Trust, from 1998, in heritage matters for Dunedin City.

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