11 Jan 2019

Te Papa seeks more govt money to safeguard infrastructure

6:46 pm on 11 January 2019

Te Papa is warning the government that a lack of funding for infrastructure may put the public, staff, and its collections at risk.

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Photo: Supplied

Museum of New Zealand-Te Papa Tongarewa issued the warning as part of its statement of performance expectations for the financial year.

The document, given to the government mid-last year, said the museum could not afford to do upgrades to its infrastructure without more government assistance.

In 2015 the National government approved $40 million in funding to be spent over four years to fix core infrastructure that had not been looked after properly in the first 15 years of its existence.

Last year the museum put in two budget bids, one for $10m per year for four years starting 2019-20, and one for $17m over three years from 2018-19, to design and build a new home for the animal collections, which are stored in an earthquake prone building.

The museum said without more money to go towards maintenance, there could be risks to visitors, staff, and collections, from the failure of things like air conditioning, ventilation, and water-tightness.

Te Papa spokesperson Kate Camp said the museum appreciated the $40 million that had been received from government over those four years for maintenance as it had enabled it to address priority building and facilities work. However, there was still more to do.

"Our priorities over the next five years are work on our fire systems, seismic work, lifts, lighting, and bathrooms.

"If funding for maintenance were not received we would prioritise those capital works that are needed to ensure safety for visitors and staff."

Te Papa had worked with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage during 2019 on the plan, and future funding requirements, which was subject to decisions by ministers.

The ministry said it actively engaged with Te Papa on risks and issues as they came up. As funding for Te Papa was under ongoing consideration by ministers, it was unable to comment further.

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