75 years of working for writers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday 26th August 2009
Society of Authors calls the public to take action on the Local Government Bill
The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) is calling for the public to put pressure on the Government to ensure
that free public access to community facilities be maintained.
The Society has written to the Hon Rodney Hide voicing our concerns at reports of the proposed law changes to Local
Government allowing councils to strip local spending back to core services (defined as transport, water services and
public heath and safety). The proposed changes to the Act puts at jeopardy libraries and art galleries, potentially
removing the right of free access to these community facilities from the very people the local councils were designed to
support. Unfortunately a reply from Mr Hide has not been received to date, but have received full support from the
Progressive, Green and the Labour Parties.
The Society is urging members of the public to contact their Local Members of Parliament to request that they take into
consideration the need for community facilities to remain part of Local Government for the community good, and that the
proposed Local Government Act is amended accordingly.
‘We need the public to pressure the Government to give us assurances that these vital community facilities remain under
the control of Local Government ensuring continued free access to libraries and art galleries’ says Maggie Tarver, CEO
of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.). ‘It’s no good giving verbal assurances. We need it written into
Local Government Act to ensure that these services remain available to the public in the long term. This is not just
about Auckland’s proposed Super City – it’s about every library in every city in New Zealand.” The Local Government Act
2002 (as at 1 July 2009) states that the purpose of local government is to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the
future It also states that If a local authority or a council-controlled organisation provides a library for public use, the residents in that
district or region are entitled to join the library free of charge.
We urge the Government to ensure that it remains a requirement of local government to be responsible for the social and
cultural wellbeing of its community, and to provide free public access to community facilities. We reject any changes to
the Local Government Act that allows any local governing body to commercialise such facilities.