Simon calls for museum in Tauranga

Simon Bridges calls on local councils and corporates to apply for museum funding.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says applications for the second round of funding to support regional cultural amenities is now open.

And Tauranga MP Simon Bridges has seized on this opportunity to get stuck into the Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty and regional councils and corporates to support his call for a museum for Tauranga.

“Millions have gone to Whanganui, Nelson, Whakatane, and even Gore last year and these are all centres that are far smaller than us,” says Simon.

“Whanganui, for example, would be under half Tauranga's size and received a $10 million grant from the Government for the Sarjeant Gallery that will bring in both domestic and international tourists to their city.

“I'm sure we can obtain money from this museum fund. But it requires a number of players to step up on this.”

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless says it's great the Government has funds available for heritage projects such as a museum.

“Like many things though, big issues to grapple with if Tauranga is to have a museum are not only the initial capital costs but the ongoing operational costs that need to be met every year.”

But Simon says the council has previously, with less generous funding from government, made decisions to build a museum.

“But at the moment [the councils] seems to be taking their time on this.”

The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund replaced the former Regional Museums Policy and will have $12 million available for Round 2, subject to the calibre of applications received.

 “It will support a range of important regional institutions, which may be struggling to get capital,” says Maggie.

“Applications will be considered for building projects, renovations and additions to venues such as theatres and opera houses, museums, galleries, heritage buildings with collections, and whare taonga.”

Simon believes the Bay of Plenty Regional Council also has to step up.

“This museum, this cultural centre won't be just for Tauranga, but will be regionally significant and we know at the moment regional council has significant funding coming in through their asset ownership of the port, a Tauranga-based facility.

“Our corporates are also enjoying the best times they've ever had, and the best conditions they've ever had in New Zealand.

“They can afford to be good corporate citizens on this. In doing good for the community, they'll also be doing good for their businesses building support for their operations for the long term.”

Doug Leeder, chair of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, says the council predominantly has responsibility for dealing with environmental issues, with the primary focus around soil, water and air.

“Funding museums is not something regional councils generally would get involved in.

“We, as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council have several funds that community groups especially can tap into and I'm referring to people such as the estuary care groups, again you can see the environmental focus as opposed to a museum, which we fund. Most of those people are volunteers and I think it's important that their efforts are actually recognised in terms of trying to support them as much as we can.

“Also, I understand the debate about the museum for Tauranga has been ongoing for some time.

“And Tauranga City Council has had numerous engagements with their community over this. They are best placed to talk about the opportunities and the challenges. Those organisations such as gambling organisations that put money back into the community I think in this instance are better suited for the likes of applications to go to in the first instance.”

The funding the council receives via the Port of Tauranga directly reduces the amount of general rates paid across the whole region.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council doesn't directly receive a dividend payment from the Port of Tauranga. It receives an annual dividend directly from Quayside Holdings Limited, who are the entity that own a majority shareholding in the Port, and therefore receive a dividend from them.

The dividend received by Council from Quayside Holdings is $20.8 million in 2016/17.

This funding is put into a pot called "general funds".

This also includes other investment interest receipts that provides another $9 million that effectively reduces general rates in 2016/17.

Hypothetically, if this $20 million dividend was not received, general rates would need to double across the whole region. This is because council also raises $20 million in general rates in 2016/17.

The average regional council rates (in the Tauranga area) is $165 (for the year).

It is a different average amount in each of the Region's territorial authorities.

At Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Mayor Garry Webber is appreciative of the funding made available by Government, but with reservations.

“I'm not really in support of where Simon is coming from,” says Garry. “But in terms of the Government initiative of making the funds available, I suppose we've got to be happy for any pennies that fall from heaven in this day and age.  

“Traditionally, it's the other way where central Government impose regulations on us and we have to bear the cost so it's great to see some money coming back the other way. And I think whether it's Western Bay or Tauranga City, if we've got a genuine cause that we believe should be funding then we really have to get into it.

“And yes the Tauranga museum and Tauranga Art Gallery would be logical applicants as would be The Elms, but from Western Bay's perspective, we've got our own museum in Katikati. Like all art galleries and museums, they are resource hungry, and funding from anywhere is appreciated. So we wouldn't stand in anyone's way applying to the fund but I wouldn't be surprised if nationwide it was oversubscribed.”

Civic Amenities Group chair Paul Adams believes Tauranga City Council needs to make a decision.

"I was grateful for the help and support that our Tauranga MP, Hon Simon Bridges gave to CAG when we obtained a commitment from Government to contribute a third of the capital cost of a new CBD museum,” says Paul.

“TCC has procrastinated in making a timely decision on the CBD revitalisation, and so the offer from Government has not been taken up. Instead the Government has provided funds to other towns, and Whanganui has just been gifted $10m for its museum.

“TCC needs to stop procrastinating,” says Paul, “make a decision on CBD projects, and sort out where funding is coming from.

"I think the National Government offer to help fund some of the civic amenities such as a museum, can be resurrected, but TCC needs to make a firm decision now, and show the courage required in creating CBD civic amenities that our City desperately needs, as the fifth largest city in NZ, but currently having the worst CBD and lacking civic amenities that smaller cities and towns already proudly own and use to attract visitors and residents into the heart of the CBD.”  Currently, Tauranga City Council pays to store much of the museum collection in a warehouse.

“I think it would be better for council to contribute that same amount to a museum if it eventuated,” says Greg. “But the issue of funding the rest of the costs remains.”

“So we need to know the cost of both building and running a museum, and how much of that the Government can contribute. Then we need to know where the rest of the money will come from.”

Simon is optimistic regional council will support the museum.

“A number of people over the last few years have been sceptical of a massively expensive palace that no one visits,” says Simon.

“We don't need to make that mistake. We can do a reasonable job cost-effectively and many hands will make light work.”

Last year 71 per cent of Tauranga respondents to a poll commissioned by the MP gave a resounding ‘Yes' to the plan for a museum.

“If we don't act, the opportunity will be lost and the money will go elsewhere,” says Simon.

“I understand Rotorua is wanting more funding for cultural amenities.

“My view is that that funding should come here. It will be a very short-sighted bunch of leaders if we think we can keep on dithering.

“There's no point in mucking about on these things,” says Simon. “We've got to do the right thing.

“We're a 130,000 person city now. Every other city of 50,000 let alone 100,000 has a museum. I appreciate there's a lot of people who prefer the speedway or getting out on the water to being indoors in a museum.

“I get that, but it's still important that cities have these things and there are a lot of people who would deeply value it.

“It would be a real drawcard for the region and an amenity that brings people in as we try and foster our growing tourism offering.”

The RCHF is a contestable fund of last resort. Applicants have to show they have already secured funding from local government and philanthropic contributions on the ‘one-third, one-third, one-third' principle.”

Current recipients:

  •   •  $368,000 towards Hamilton's Meteor Theatre redevelopment;

  •   •  $1.5 million towards Whakatane's Museum and Research Centre redevelopment;

  •   •  $10 million to Whanganui's Sarjeant Gallery - tagged towards the redevelopment and seismic strengthening of its heritage-listed Queen's Park building;

  •   •  $400,000 to the Whanganui Museum for its redevelopment;

  •   •  $1.5 million towards the restoration of the Nelson School of Music's auditorium;

  •   •  $110,000 towards Gore's Eastern Southland Gallery project to establish a Muka Studio Wing for its arts centre.

The second round closes March 10 with successful applicants announced within a few months.


Cultural deprivation,

Posted on 13-02-2017 12:49 | By R. Bell

pretty well sums up Tauranga. Modern museums coupled with tourists need to enjoy local differences make for a good argument, for Simon. With the right vision anything is possible, It won't be found in negative, self interest. There are four possible funding options, all exploit Tauranga City, why not give some back? The comments below reflect the usual " cultural poverty" we expect from the usual culprits, most of whom can well afford a little charity. Robin Bell.

We seem to be...

Posted on 10-02-2017 13:33 | By morepork

... getting by without a museum, at the moment. There are no reported deaths from "culture deprivation". But, it is a controversial subject and, given Simon's official portfolio, he is right to be involved in it. He has taken a position and I suppose, for a politician, that's better than sitting on the fence. However, this is an issue that could cost a LOT of money and there are other calls on the resources we do have. (Frankly, we can't afford it...) Most of us have to decide what we can afford and our priorities reflect that, and how badly we want something. In this case, the desire to have it needs to be properly assessed and not just dictated by an "elite". Time for a proper (and binding) referendum, with a review in 5 years, if it turns out the vote is "No".

Tauranga Museum?

Posted on 07-02-2017 21:17 | By phoenix

You can have the Black Hole Money Pit one in Katikati, Just for shifting it There.

Why talk down to us?

Posted on 05-02-2017 09:25 | By astex

There's no point in mucking about on these things, says Simon. We've got to do the right thing." Why is what YOU say the "right thing"? Why is YOUR way the "right way"? As far as the taxpayers are concerned we ARE doing the "right thing". NOTHING!

simon is out of touch with the people

Posted on 05-02-2017 09:12 | By ow

museum running costs will be 1-2 million a yearWould tommy kapai be able to make better use of that same money for helping the homeless ?I know which would be better for tauranga !

Heres a thought

Posted on 05-02-2017 07:11 | By fletch

How about sticking it in Baycourt, we already pay for that.


Posted on 05-02-2017 06:52 | By nerak

Jitter and Maccka, wholeheartedly with your comments. I'm sure many would espouse the idea that Bridges and Adams between them fund any museum 100%. Adams certainly wouldn't flinch on such funding. Thousands of museums globally are in dire straits, creating massive drain on rate/taxpayers. Why should the already battered and drained Tauranga ratepayers be expected to fund a sinking ship before it has even launched? There are far bigger priorities here than a museum, which is a want of the few, not a need.

It is the OPEX that ratepaters struggle with, give us the roads we deserve, you've promised

Posted on 04-02-2017 22:37 | By Murray.Guy

Simon, give our city toll free and a reasonable highway network and let the residents decide on museum options. An election bribe, a grant to assist the capital cost to construct is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing, as those who think thorough reality understand it is the on-going, in perpetuity, 'operational expenses' which balloon out year after year and a burden on the ratepayer.

No Museum

Posted on 04-02-2017 21:59 | By Taffy

What is it with these people and the bleeding museum.Simon if you want to give Tauranga something significant give us the money your mate John and you promised back in 2008 to 4 lane Turrett Rd/15th Ave.As for Paul Adams and his CAG cronies just put your own money up and build it yourselves.I don,t a monkeys if you make mega $ from it just as long it doesn,t cost me anything .One thing I would have thought you would have been so busy with your housing purchase on behalf of the IHC Trust to be worried about a museum.One thing for sure you are never going to be the BOP equivalent (In my opinion) to the USA,s Bill Gates or Warren Buffett even though you might like to think so.

No Not Again.

Posted on 04-02-2017 21:13 | By sangrae

How many more times do we have to put up with this nonsense the Mayor is the only one with some sense obviously Mr Adams has got into simple Simons ear do they not understand Tauranga ratepayers do not want a Museum where and who are the 71% that Mr Bridges has polled we were not asked as were the majority of Tauranga residents think again aAdams and Bridges put YOUR MONEY where your mouths are.

Decide with your votr

Posted on 04-02-2017 19:22 | By Kenworthlogger

People of Tauranga its election year and we can decide with our vote. Want a museum vote for Simon. Dont want the white elephant then vote for someone else.....

And another

Posted on 04-02-2017 19:10 | By Merlin

And another photo op, photo op, photo op.What can I dream up for next weeks photo thinks Simon so he is not forgotten.

The Museum

Posted on 04-02-2017 16:42 | By surfsup

How sad that our local MP is so out of touch with the reality of living in the city he is supposed to represent. We have people struggling to pay rents, living in third world conditions, traffic going from bad to worse, turret road redevelopment passed onto council and Simon thinks a museum is top of the list. Can anybody tell me what he has achieved for Tauranga since becoming our MP.


Posted on 04-02-2017 16:16 | By groutby

....are you hearing this?... and do you actually relate to the taxpayer?....if a small number of people want a museum, then great! it, fund it and enjoy the profits....oh...I forgot..there aren't any...oh well..back to the ratepayer..again!...

It's Election Year Again.

Posted on 04-02-2017 15:01 | By Jitter

Simon Bridges is just touting for votes and does't care if a museum will just become an ongoing increasing debt for ratepayers. Paul Adams is all out for Paul Adams and doesn't give a stuff really about Tauranga. All his named projects so far will eventually become large ongoing costs to ratepayers.

here we go again

Posted on 04-02-2017 15:00 | By old trucker

Simple Simon putting his nose in where it is not wanted,you have just had a FAT payrise, so you pay for it, There are plenty of empty shops and spaces downtown that would suit, To Captain Sensible, it is probably already signed off, (maybe) by outgoing whats his name,(Crosby) and to answer By iknow, Nelson built one and the Locals said they did not want one, then got it,its a WHITE ELEPHANT,there is probably not a lot to see probably junk from the past,Immm wonder who owns the building its stored in, (could someone find out,as we could all go there and have a look,im sure it would not be exciting,anyway AGREE with all above,Sunlive is No1 for News,Thankyou, 10-4 out.

Big Deal

Posted on 04-02-2017 14:31 | By CC8

All the "Big Talk" by all the "BIG NOTERS" won't make a museum work. We had a museum, but the bureaucrats couldn't run it they declared it to be a white Elephant and put all the toys in the closet, so they could forget about it for a while. IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY AND RESCOURCES. Tourists don't come to Tauranga for museums and art galleries.What happened to the things Bob Owens ( previous mayor) gave to the Historic Village? The Taioma ... declared dead and dangerous so scupperd at sea!! The Ford Model A 4 door sedan? Last time it was seen the school at the village was using it, and it was getting tatty and not running well...but then again how many people know how to drive one properly? Is it gone completely or rusting away in somebody's carport?


Posted on 04-02-2017 14:30 | By roseh

Simon don't you think the rates are bad enough,with out another burden being added to them.But then on your income you wouldn't notice the extra.Try owning a house and making ends meet on a single super.Don't need a Museum.Unless of course you are going to finance the on going costs?

The 'Paul Adams' Museum?

Posted on 04-02-2017 13:08 | By Mackka

Paul Adams already owns 'half' of Tauranga - what is to stop Mr Adams sponsoring a museum for the people of Tauranga, who have treated him so well. We might even then consent to it being called the "Paul Adams' museum. That is something for you to consider Mr Adams! A legacy!


Posted on 04-02-2017 12:55 | By rastus

Many would have seen the news item that many of the UKs museums are suffering continual reductions in visitor numbers - it is possible that this is due to wide study availability of ancient artifacts on the web. The most important thing for Tauranga residents to be aware of is that this being election year, the present Government will be hell bent on buying (some may say bribing) a museum commitment to bolster its chances later in the year - Our Mayor is right on the button - its not just a matter of the initial cost but the ongoing cost of operation. The Mayor rightly so, is concerned that this cost will become a fait accompli' cost to the ratepayers - So please think again and don't get carried away with Bridge's political rhetoric.

Here a question

Posted on 04-02-2017 12:41 | By astex

Simon, you keep mentioning all the other places that have a museum but ....... can you name one place where their museum has not become an ongoing drain on the ratepayers?


Posted on 04-02-2017 12:40 | By PaulM

I do not see that the Ratepayers/Taxpayers, of which I am one, should put any money into this White Elephant - most Museums are like our current Art Gallery a blight on Ratepayers.The only visitors are busloads of school children which make up the numbers.The cost of running it and its large staff will fall back on the Ratepayer in the end. If local Iwi and their supporters want a Museum let them pay for it.


Posted on 04-02-2017 12:14 | By Captain Sensible

Simon could be an exhibit in this museum in a display as to how democracy and common sense have been taken away from rate/tax payers and an elite few now decide for us. The rate payers do not want a museum as we are taxed to death in this country. No. No. No.

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