New Zealand's National Archives: an analysis of machinery of government reform and resistance, 1994-1999.

by Molineaux, Julienne

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis analyses the impact of the1990s new public management reforms in New Zealand on one particular agency, the National Archives. It explores the unique combination of features that enabled this small low-profile agency and its stakeholders to stymie some of the machinery of government reforms that were proposed. This thesis is a qualitative study that draws on material from primary and secondary sources, with a heavy reliance on official documents. It chronicles the lack of value placed on the archives’ administrative, constitutional and heritage functions by successive politicians and senior public servants. The thesis compares the values of the reformers, who had interests that were not specific to the Archives, and the values of the archiving professionals and their stakeholders, whose perspective was agency and policy-specific. The main reform time periods are 1994-2001, and 2005. While the clash between the two sets of values during this time is analysed chronologically, the thesis provides historical background prior to the reform period. The perspectives of various actors are told in their own words, where possible. This study illustrates the tensions between the need to co-ordinate the wider public sector with the peculiarities of a specific policy area. It also demonstrates the tensions between the highly theoretical and ideological nature of the public sector management reforms in New Zealand from the mid-1980s, and the values of one group of professionals that were not compatible with these reforms. While the policies of the reformers evolved over time, the values of the archivists were more static. These static values contributed to consistency in their preferred model of organisational design and placement within the public sector. Ironically the outdated legislation archivists complained about for decades and low political priority the policy area received, bestowed crucial protection against public sector management reforms that were contrary to international archival trends. Following a change in political leadership, the stable of professional values of the archive were adopted, removing archives from the policy change agenda.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Tim Tenbensel; Professor Andrew Sharp; Dr. Jennifer Curtin

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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