The Chief Archivist has decided to review recordkeeping practices of the Prime Minister in regard to text messages which may/may not be considered public records between the period November 2008 and November 2014 in relation to a request about a possible breach of the Public Records Act 2005 (the Act).
The Recordkeeping Review terms of reference are as follows:
Based on statements relating to the deletion of text messages made by the Prime Minister in the House of Representatives on 27 November 2014, James Shaw MP requested an investigation regarding what he considers to be a potential breach of the Public Records Act 2005. The request was to cover the period that the Prime Minister has been in office, and whether there has been any change in his practices over time. Mr Shaw has also asked for the Chief Archivist to provide direction and guidelines on the deletion or retention of text messages.
The review will examine:
- Any recordkeeping policies and procedures for managing text messages, supplied by relevant public offices during the period concerned;
- Whether the requirements of the Act have been met;
- The application of existing authorised disposal schedules;
- The adequacy of advice or guidance provided to the Prime Minister; and
- Any other matters the Chief Archivist considers appropriate to review.
The use of private mobile phones and devices and personal text messages on ministerial phones and devices are explicitly excluded from the scope of this review.
Under s31(a) of the Act, the Chief Archivist may give notice in writing directing the administrative head of a public office to report on any specified aspect of its recordkeeping practice.
4. Contact for enquiries
The Chief Archivist will not comment while the review is underway, but will publish a final report when the review is complete.
The new Chief Archivist and General Manager of Archives New Zealand is to be Marilyn Little. The appointment follows the resignation of the previous Chief Archivist, Greg Goulding.
Marilyn Little is currently the Internal Affairs General Manager Policy. She previously worked for the Office of the Auditor-General and the Department of Labour in senior roles. The appointment, for one year, was announced today by Internal Affairs Deputy Chief Executive (Information and Knowledge Services) Sue Powell.
"I recommended the appointment to the Chief Executive based on an assessment of Archives New Zealand's immediate needs and the availability of strong managers within the wider department. This is one of the strengths of the placement of Archives New Zealand within a larger organisation: transitions in management can be much smoother because of the wide pool of talent.
"Marilyn has been a leader in the development of Strategic Information Management policy across the department, and is also a strong people manager. She has built a team of more than ninety people into one of the most effective policy teams in government. In Archives we are moving on to the implementation of the review of government record-keeping standards which will mean a new way of working for central government agencies, local government, and tertiary institutions. Marilyn's background and skills, combined with Archives existing in-depth technical expertise expertise, will be a powerful combination".
Marilyn Little takes up her appointment on 17 February. Her priorities will be to meet staff and stakeholders, implement the outcomes of the record-keeping review and ensure initiatives for better management of, and access to, archives are progressed effectively.
Media Contact: Sandra Bennett
Communications Account Manager, Information and Knowledge Services
The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
Phone 64 4 495 6024 mobile 64 027 839 1606