Hundreds of documents briefing new Government ministers on key policies have been released. Herald journalists have been analysing the Briefings to Incoming Ministers (Bims). Here we look at Internal Affairs.

The government body charged with storing and protecting the nation's treasures and documents says pressures are at "critical" levels and its ability to function is "compromised".

In a briefing released today to incoming Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin, who has responsibility for the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand, the ministry warned of imminent crisis.

While not quantified, the briefing said additional capital expenditure is "necessary".


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Briefings to incoming ministers: The highlights

The Archives NZ Building in Wellington in November last year following the earthquakes. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Archives NZ Building in Wellington in November last year following the earthquakes. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Current storage facilties in Wellington are said to be near capacity and also below earthquake standards.

"Critical infrastructure issues are compromising our ability to effectively preserve our documentary heritage, and to ensure ongoing access," the briefing said.

"Pressure on storage capacity is at critical levels; Archives NZ has temporarily suspended physical transfers to its Wellington repository."

Archives NZ's space in Wellington was scheduled to run out within the current term of government, in 2020, with the National Library hitting a similar limit in 2030.

The two institutions are said to hold "the physical and digital record of the nation's memory for all New Zealand".

Its collection - described as "irreplaceable taonga" - is said in the briefing to be valued in excess of $1.6 billion and includes an original of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The briefing said the previous government had set aside $10.1 million to plan for increasing storage capacity and facility resilience, and notes Martin will need to make a decision on how to proceed.

The extent of capital expenditure required to resolve the crisis was not disclosed in the briefing, with Martin invited to a briefing where she would be provided "information about the infrastructure issues that have been identified and the choices that may be available regarding any additional investment which is necessary."

Read the full briefing here