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Government storage facility project in Levin axed

A plan to build a storage facility to house some of New Zealand’s heritage items has been scrapped, despite $12 million being spent on the project.

The Department of Internal Affairs announced in 2020 it had bought land in Levin to build a storage facility to house the growing collections of the National Library of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

The construction was subject to further funding decisions, but was scheduled for completion in 2025.

Now Stuff can reveal the project had been cancelled because it was not funded.

A spokesperson for the Department of Internal Affairs said it received funding through Budget 2020 to find a site for the building and it purchased land on Enterprise Drive, part of a growing industrial area.

The funding covered the land purchase and design of the plans, which were completed in October 2022. That cost $12.1 million, including $4.9m for the site.

“The economic and fiscal situation is considerably different to when the design of the regional facility was commissioned,” the spokesperson said.

“As the department was not successful in securing further funding for the construction and operations of the facility, and does not expect to in the current climate, the work has been stopped.”

The spokesperson said digital technological advances had allowed Archives New Zealand and the National Library to reduce the demand for physical storage solutions by using digital collections.

“To support this transition, both institutions are considering new ways of operating together to maximise their shared property footprint and to develop shared digital capabilities that will improve long-term efficiency and improve access to their collections for New Zealanders.”

The spokesperson said there was enough space for the existing physical collections of Archives New Zealand and the National Library.

“To meet future demands and the expectations of New Zealanders, we are looking at how we collect, how much we collect and in what format, which will determine our future physical and digital storage requirements.

“Ensuring we have resilient, fit-for-purpose storage facilities that serve the whole country is a priority.”

Some items were being stored at other facilities, particularly those that needed specialist storage or access arrangements.

The spokeperson said the material was being kept at the department’s own buildings and other institutions across New Zealand.

The site in Levin was fenced and the site maintained, but no other physical work had been done.

No discussions had been held about the property’s future.

“It is expected that community and iwi engagement will be undertaken prior to any options being considered.”

The new building was supposed to store low-use documentary material, including digitised collection items, as well as audio-visual material, government records, books, microfilm and films.

- Manawatu Standard : Read the original article here