• Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, visited the historic Stone Store at Kerikeri today and announced major funding for joint venture projects to restore New Zealand's privately owned historic places.

"We will be establishing a half million dollar financial incentive fund to assist the owners to protect and conserve such properties," Mr Bolger said. "In the future neither Government nor the owners will act alone - we will do so in partnership."

He went on to point out the importance of New Zealand's historic places.

"They give us a sense of national and local identity, and a link with our nation's past. They also provide opportunities for tourism and revitalising local communities. While their safekeeping and enhancement create new jobs.

"Most historic places are now in private hands. And there is often a gap between the market value of privately owned heritage buildings and the benefit associated with their retention.

Mr Bolger also said that "this new funding can be seen as a first step towards restructuring the Historic Places Trust, to put it on a far firmer financial footing for the future.

The second announcement the Prime Minister made was the appointment of Dame Catherine Tizard as the new Chairperson of the Historic Places Trust.

"I know Dame Catherine will bring the same energy and enthusiasm to this task as she did to the role of Governor-General," Mr Bolger said. "I know therefore that the future of our historic places will be in good hands."

"She will be looking at the possibility of restructuring the Trust so that it becomes a partnership with private enterprise, as in Britain."

In making this announcement Mr Bolger thanked the outgoing Chair, Professor Tim Beaglehole, who has served the Trust for six and a half years.