7 Mar 2014

Te Ara job cuts disappointing: PSA

8:20 am on 7 March 2014

The Public Service Association is urging the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to reassess its decision to cut the number of staff working on Te Ara, the online New Zealand encyclopedia.

The ministry says the website's staff will be reduced from 17 to four in October as the site, started in 2002, moves out of the development phase.

PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says the scale down is extremely disappointing and the quality of the site may erode.

She says history does not come to an end and Te Ara will be hard pressed to keep up to date with a reduction in staff.

"History doesn't end this week or next week, and we need to know that one of our primary sources of written history is going to be maintained and, sadly, that is not going to be the case any more."

The ministry says it's committed to the site and plans to create four positions later in the year, which will involve maintaining all of its websites.

Ministry spokesperson Janine Faulknor says the website, which received more than five million visits in 2013, will start a new phase.

Ms Faulknor says the ministry is committed to keeping the site maintained, which will involve revising and updating content, but won't be as big a job as the initial build.

All Te Ara staff contracts were fixed-term.