Labour is calling for a ‘please explain’ from Arts and Culture Minister Chris Finlayson in the wake of the sudden resignation of Te Papa’s chief executive and allegations the museum is in financial strife.
“The problems at Te Papa haven’t just happened overnight,” Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“There was a massive restructure last year and a new chairman appointed. Now we have the chief executive leaving within a fortnight.
“Chris Finlayson received financial review documents at the beginning of February. If the board was doing its duty, he must have known how serious the situation had become before then.”
Te Papa staff had also approached Wellington Central Labour MP, Grant Robertson, with concerns around safety, claiming that on some days there was not enough staff on duty to safely evacuate the building in an emergency, she said.
“Te Papa is a national treasure. For it to be in such a dire situation suggests the Government has completely dropped the ball.
“Mr Finlayson needs to spell out exactly what state ‘our place’ is in and what he intends to do to ensure its survival,” Jacinda Ardern said.