Immunity from Seizure for Cultural Objects on Loan

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has released a discussion paper on Immunity from Seizure for Cultural Objects on Loan. The paper looks at the benefits and risks of introducing legislation to protect New Zealand museums borrowing objects from overseas.

Immunity-from-seizure (IFS) legislation protects cultural objects borrowed from overseas against legal claims. It provides overseas lenders with an assurance that objects will be returned to them at the end of the loan period. The key question posed in the discussion paper is whether New Zealand should introduce IFS legislation. It looks at whether, without the legislation, New Zealand will miss out on opportunities to hold major international exhibitions and how New Zealand’s reputation could be damaged if legal claims were made on objects on loan here. The paper also notes some potential risks of introducing IFS legislation. In particular, it could be seen as preventing legitimate claims on objects.

Other issues considered in the discussion document include what types of institutions should be covered by the legislation, whether special provision should be made for Māori objects and how IFS legislation would work alongside the Protected Objects Act.

The paper is available on the Ministry’s website at www.mch.govt.nz/immunity-seizure. The closing date for submissions on the discussion paper is Monday 24 September 2012.