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16 Feb 2010
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CREATIVE NZ GOVERNANCE STREAMLINED  

Creative New Zealand's four governing bodies will be streamlined into a single board to improve its effectiveness and to free up resources that would be better directed to artists, under a proposal announced today by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson.

A review of Creative New Zealand's governing legislation was promised in the National Party's arts culture and heritage policy in the 2008 election, which was informed partly by Mr Finlayson's first hand experience as Chair of the Arts Board from 1998 to 2001.

"A streamlined unitary board requires fewer resources, and frees staff to focus on what is important - artists, arts organisations and arts development," Mr Finlayson said.

The review of the Arts Council (also known as Creative New Zealand) has recommended the creation of a single board responsible for policy, strategy and funding allocation, replacing the current more unwieldy division of responsibilities between four separate councils and committees including the Arts Council, the Arts Board, Te Waka Toi and the Pacific Arts Committee.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage, working with Creative New Zealand, Te Puni Kôkiri and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, carried out the review, as well as targeted consultation with the arts sector.

The proposed streamlined board would have up to thirteen members, including a minimum of four members with knowledge of Mâori arts and at least two with knowledge of Pacific arts.

"The new arrangement guarantees that issues involving Mâori and Pacific arts are represented at the top table for decision-making, which under the current cumbersome structure is not the case," Mr Finlayson said.

"Along with the arts sector, which has voiced concerns for years about Creative New Zealand's governance structure, I am looking forward to the improvements in service, focus and efficiency these changes will allow," Mr Finlayson said.

It is estimated that the governance reforms will reduce the number of board and committee members from 28 to 13, and will result in direct cost savings of approximately $200,000 per annum. Mr Finlayson said the benefits of freeing staff up to concentrate on core responsibilities to the arts sector, rather than servicing bureaucracy, would be even more significant.

Mr Finlayson said he hoped legislation would be introduced this year to enact the changes.

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