Ministry for Culture and Heritage reining in spending after extra funding ends

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage building in Wellington.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage building in Wellington. Photo credit: Google Maps

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is pulling back from its wide-ranging work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government in the last Budget identified $4 billion of savings and told ministers to rein in their agencies.

The ministry Manatū Taonga said its extra funding to support the arts, culture, heritage and broadcasting through COVID, was now over.

In response to RNZ queries about possible programme or job cuts, Manatū Taonga organisational performance deputy chief executive Sarah Hardy, said in statement that these "programmes were time-limited and have now concluded".

"We are transitioning back to our core funding and functions."

It has embarked on rapid-fire staff consultations as part of redesigning its operating model, with input from external consultants.

In a total spend of $10 million on contractors and consultants in 2022, it paid out rates as low as $35/hour and up to $2000/day for the Erebus Memorial site project leader. Many contracts were about $800-$1200/day.

"While financial transition will be one of the factors shaping the design work of the operating model, it's not the main reason," Hardy said.

The main driver was to make the ministry "purposeful" and "strategy-led".