Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa
Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa

Questions for political parties

Before the General Elections, LIANZA wrote to all currently registered political parties seeking their views on issues that affect the library and information management sector and New Zealand citizens.

LIANZA sent a copy of our questions to each of the following parties:

The New Zealand National Party

New Zealand First Party

ACT New Zealand

New Zealand Labour Party

The Alliance

The New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit

The Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

Legalise Cannabis Party

Māori Party

Mana Party

Conservative Party of New Zealand

United Future New Zealand

Focus New Zealand

Internet Party

Community Digital Hubs – Libraries helping to Bridge the Digital Divide

Despite ranking 8th in the OECD for internet accessibility a recent study shows there are 9% of kiwis who don’t currently access the internet[1] and that 5% of New Zealanders have never accessed the internet[2] at all.

Those groups most likely to have no internet access are Maori and Pacific Islanders, and those who live in rural communities[3].

34% of New Zealanders have still not accessed public services online, with 83% of New Zealanders feeling that if access were made simpler it would remove barriers to access[4]

Public libraries are playing a pivotal role in the provision of internet access to disadvantaged groups.  In the year ending June 30, 2013 95% of public libraries offered some form of free internet access, with over 7 million internet sessions provided to the public[5].  Librarians are also key in developing digital literacy in the community, supporting and upskilling individuals in this area.

Question 1:  How will your party support the important role that public libraries play as community digital hubs including the provision of internet access?

Question 2:  How will your party ensure New Zealanders are digitally literate?  Do you support the roles that libraries are playing in meeting this need?

Question 3:  How will your party ensure that schools and public libraries have ongoing access to quality, low-cost internet access?

 Access to Research

There is a growing international movement for free and open access to publicly funded research including data with many international central governments and individual funding bodies insisting that all funded research be made freely available.

Increasing access to taxpayer-funded research benefits not only the researchers, institutions and nation but society as a whole through; raising the profile and maximising the impact and sharing of research, an increased return on investment for funding agencies, allowing businesses to innovate and produce new knowledge and an increase in public engagement.

In New Zealand, while some institutions are realising the value of open access and are moving towards implementing open access policies, the New Zealand government has not yet announced a position on open access research.

Question 4: What is your party’s position on ensuring that all publicly funded research, including data is accessible to all New Zealanders?

 The Important Role of the School Librarian

There is a large body of research that demonstrates that quality school library programs, with a school librarian who is engaged in the learning process, can drive significant improvement in the reading and writing abilities of students[6].  The role of the school librarian is critical in supporting information and digital literacy, and evolving in the 21st century into that of a media specialist. 

Question 5:  Does your party support the presence of a school librarian in schools?  What steps will your party take to ensure that all students have access to appropriately qualified school librarians?


Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada have all recently moved to modernize their copyright legislation.  A comprehensive review of New Zealand copyright legislation has yet to occur.   Copyright law is critical to society for two reasons – as a means of protecting intellectual property, but also in ensuring fair use for educational and creative purposes.  Despite the update to our act in 2008 to address the growing challenges to copyright created by our increasingly digital society, New Zealand copyright law is not fit for purpose in the digital age.

Question 6:  What approach does your party plan to take to the review and updating of New Zealand copyright legislation? In what timeframe will you complete a review of the Act?

 The importance of a strong National Library

The National Library of New Zealand plays a key role in the preservation of this country’s culture and heritage by collecting New Zealand's documentary taonga in words, sounds and pictures, by connecting New Zealanders to resources through knowledge networks and helping New Zealanders working together to turn knowledge into value[7].

As well as administering New Zealand’s legal deposit scheme and providing digital access to New Zealand’s cultural heritage, the National Library has a key purpose to supplement and further the work of other libraries in New Zealand[8].  It does this by contributing significantly to key initiatives such as taking the lead on delivering internet access to the public through the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa and providing whole of country services such as EPIC, Any Questions and Te Puna.

In 2011 the National Library of NZ and Archives NZ were restructured to become a part of the Department of Internal Affairs.  In 2012 VOTE National Library was rolled into a single VOTE Internal Affairs which also covers Internal Affairs, Community and Voluntary Sector, Emergency Management, Local Government, Ministerial Services, National Archives, and Racing[9].  There is now no separate Annual Report issued by the National Library and it no longer reports separately to a Select Committee.  

The Library and Information Advisory Commission (LIAC) advises the Minister on Library and Information matters including Mātauranga Maori.  It is not, however, charged with monitoring the National Library to ensure it meets requirements under the Act.

Question 7:  How will your party ensure that the National Library is appropriately funded to meet its role as a leading cultural and heritage institution, a critical enabler of the educational and research communities of New Zealand; and as a leader in the information and knowledge sector for the country?

 Pay Equity

Despite 80% of all librarian roles requiring a LIS qualification[10] librarians are still significantly underpaid in comparison with equivalent professional roles.  Even within local government librarian salaries are up to 8% lower than other equivalent roles, with this discrepancy increasing to 14% in managerial positions.

Question 9:  What is your party’s position on creating pay equity for the Library and Information sector?

Question 10: Will you address the discrepancy of School Librarians being classified as Support rather than Core Staff in schools?

[1] Kiwis Count Channel Report 2013, Retrieved from on June 20, 2014.

[2] Gibson, A., Miller, M., Smith, P., Bell, A., Crothers, C., 2013.  The Internet in New Zealand, 2013.  Retrieved from on June 20, 2014.

[3] Gibson et al, ibid.

[4] Kiwis Count, ibid.

[5] NZ Public Library Statistics, Retrieved from on June 20, 2014.

[6] Kachel, D.E., & Lance, K.C.  (2013)  Latest study: A full-time school librarian makes a significant difference in boosting student achievement.  School Librarian Journal.   Retrieved from on June 23, 2014.

[7] The National Library of New Zealand, Retrieved from

[8] National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003  url

[9] Stone, L., 2013.  LIANZA Careers Survey Report.  Retrieved from June 23, 2014

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