Manatū Taonga/Ministry for Culture and Heritage
Media Release, July 30, 2012
Discussion Document Released
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has today released a discussion document that canvases the benefits and risks of
introducing legislation to protect New Zealand museums borrowing objects from overseas.
The discussion document has been developed following several high-profile cases overseas in which legal claims have been
made on objects loaned between museums. These claims usually centre on ownership disputes.
While there have not been any claims of this nature lodged in New Zealand courts, the discussion document notes that in
the wake of recent claims, international lenders are seeking stronger legal protection against such claims.
This protection is generally known as Immunity From Seizure (IFS) and has been introduced or is being considered in an
increasing number of countries, including Australia.
The key question posed in the discussion paper is whether New Zealand should introduce IFS legislation.
It looks at whether, without the legislation, New Zealand will miss out on opportunities to hold major international
exhibitions and how New Zealand’s reputation could be damaged if legal claims were made on objects on loan here.
The paper also notes some potential risks of introducing IFS legislation. In particular, it could be seen as preventing
legitimate claims on objects.
Other issues considered in the discussion document include what types of institutions should be covered by the
legislation, whether special provision should be made for Māoriobjects and how IFS legislation would work alongside the
Protected Objects Act.
Submissions on this discussion document close on Monday, September 24, 2012. Submitters are welcome to make additional
comments or raise issues not discussed in the paper.
The discussion document and instructions on how to make a submission are available at www.mch.govt.nz/immunity-seizure