Mayoral change of mind restores funding

The $4 million visitor centre as currently envisaged. Supplied photo.

A change in the mayoral vote means the original $4 million funding request for a new Mount Maunganui visitor centre is restored to the Annual Plan.

Two weeks ago councillors slashed the council contribution back to $2.5 million in a measure won by one vote.

However, Tourism BOP sought a review of the decision, wanting the original $4 million restored.

Chair of the council's city transformation committee Larry Baldock presented a notice of motion to the council seeking a review of the decision. The councillors today voted 6:5 to increase the funding back up to $4,026,000. The original vote to reduce the funding was by 5:6.

He's had “heaps of people” contacting him with all different opinions about it, says Mayor Greg Brownless, speaking outside the meeting.

“Ranging from all extremes from a tent, which is virtually what they have got now - to something far more lavish than has even been proposed.

“I don't want to prejudice the chances of Tourism Bay of Plenty getting some government funding, I just want to make sure that in the end what we get is value for money.”

Today's decision provides for funding of $500,000 in the 2017/18 Annual Plan, with half of that coming from the economic development rate and half from the general rate.

The balance of $3,526,000, with a potential funding mix of 70 per cent economic development rate and 30 per cent general rate, will be included in the draft 2018/19 Long-Term Plan. The proposed funding mix will be subject to further consultation as part of that Long-Term Plan process. This does not have an impact on the planned rates increase for next year.

“This facility will be an important part of the way visitors see our tourism business. Providing a purpose built Visitor Information Centre that is of a high quality which show our visitors the value we place on them,” says Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout.

Tourism BOP CEO Kristin Dunne says visitor and cruise numbers in Tauranga are now growing ahead of national averages and a purpose-built Visitor Information Centre will reinforce the city's reputation as a leading tourism destination.

"Tourism Bay of Plenty is looking forward to continuing to work with Tauranga City Council on this important project,” says Kristin.

“A new fit-for-purpose visitor centre will be an asset to the region and allow us to welcome and service approximately 500,000 visitors to the facility each year. With over three million visitors per annum and over 99 cruise ships forecast next season, we need a large facility that can safely and warmly welcome our guests, tell the stories of tangata whenua, promote local businesses and be pride of place for the Bay of Plenty.”

Visitors are spending $2.5 million in the Bay of Plenty region each day, says Kristin.

Chairman of the economic development and investment committee Max Mason says tourism is a crucial and rapidly growing economic sector for the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand. Visitor spending in the Bay of Plenty to February 2017 was estimated to be $939 million with an additional $40 million from the cruise industry.

"Tourism is New Zealand's largest industry which is growing rapidly and we need to future proof for growth in Tauranga,” says Max. “Many major tourism centres worldwide have high quality, multi-purpose visitor information centres and the symbol is synonymous globally. We are excited about the opportunity to now have the same in Tauranga and believe it will be a significant addition to our tourism offering.”

The council has extended the terms of reference of its Technical Advisory Group to include a review of the Visitor Centre Options Appraisal (Dec 2015) and the Jasmax concept design options along with the associated Rider Levett Bucknall estimates and Kingston Quantity Survey report, as well as any other relevant information.

“The TAG will undertake a value engineering exercise which analyses the requirements of the project for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest total costs over the life of the project,” says Larry. “At the same time, the council and Tourism BOP will continue to investigate external funding opportunities, with the intent of securing the additional funding needed to deliver the ‘iconic' Visitor Information Centre.”


@ Taffy

Posted on 19-07-2017 18:39 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The other nearby Councils dont contribute they simply benefit and TCC ratepayers end up with the bills, a really great setup indeed. Worse the TBOP makes huge losses, stiffles tourism (although TBOP thinks of itself as a wonder to behold) simply operates a monpoly, bullies any operator out of business that refuses to allow them to click teh ticket and control all. The results are clear and available, but not from TBOP or TCC. Example: Rotorua has lots of Tourist and no TBOP, is that evidence? The paralell is unaviodable.


Posted on 30-06-2017 17:29 | By Taffy

Whilst I agree with most of your comments ,I am not in favour of a Commissioner because if you think the rate increase this year is high the first thing they would is increase rates to get debt down don,t think that is the solution.Yes we need to get rid 4or5 of these overspending councillors.I think the main problem is Tourism BOP whilst everything seems to revolve around Tauranga.How much do all these other places contribute ie Whatatane,Rotorua, rest of Wbop.Can someone enlighten us on the financial setup.We send bus loads over the hill to Hobbitville who benefits?Maybe it should be a separate Tourism Tauranga Just my thoughts


Posted on 30-06-2017 12:28 | By kellbell

The comments here are damning and so they should be.It is the first time I've seen readers agree en masse that what has happened here is completely wrong and unacceptable -apart of course from the complete putting down of the Tourism Bay of Plenty decision over its new non event obscenely expensive logo.The common factor here is TBOP. We should never put or allow the power of decision making to get into the hands of those who pay no price for stuffing things up on a regular basis.The major fault here however lies with TCC voters who in 2016 despite all the warning signs, past performances and track records elected at least 4 or 5 Councillors who regularly facilitate and promote this sort of financial mayhem.Get rid of them and don't let them back - quickest way to achieve that is the appointment of Commissioners


Posted on 29-06-2017 17:07 | By CONDOR

@waiknot Well the mayor changed his mind because he was almost certainly got at probably by the motion maker in more senses than one.Clearly he lacks guts, want to be friends with everyone and fall out with no one and that doesn't work - he is not his own man is weak kneed and that is extremely worrying for the financial well being of Tauranga and you will see thinking ratepayers have lost faith.Woftam.

Please MAYOR and COUNCILLORS, Look at other cities for who provides the Structures,

Posted on 29-06-2017 13:56 | By Watcher 1

Our Mayor and ALL Councillors should look and take note of who is providing the welcome structures for Cruise Ship passengers?, and its NOT single Councils but the PORTS Authorities themselves on Port Owned land so, A FURTHER NOTICE OF MOTION IS REQUIRED TO AMEND todays decision again.Look at Auckland, a converted Wharf Shed on Ports Lands, NOT total Council Funded, Look at other Ports, 2 say 40' Containers running parallel with a fabric covered roof between. The container sides open out where store holders sell their wares and the I site operates out of all owned by Ports on Ports land. I many cases these are dismantled and stored away in the off seasons and NOT a $5 mil cost. These open fronted containers could be moved and used for shows, Surf carnivals etc, transported to the ASB arena etc, Come on Council, save ratepayers $$

Next question

Posted on 29-06-2017 13:28 | By overit

What will happen to the trees?


Posted on 29-06-2017 13:08 | By phoenix

So the tauranga mayor caves in to threats like a weak-kneed ninny and hands another debt to the ratepayers. Voted in on a promise to curtail spending.Well done to keeping that promise brownless.

The usual suspects

Posted on 29-06-2017 12:43 | By rastus

All cities are run at the expense of their ratepayer funded bottomless pits by select groups of enlightened people - when something- anything goes against their wishes then the people in control are spoken to and will do as they are told - happens everywhere whether you and I like it or not. Yes our Mayor initially made the right decision and then someone (the unknown) has had a word in his ear advising him of the error of his ways. Don't believe me, just follow politics for a day and observe - its not rocket science !

Could the Mayor

Posted on 29-06-2017 11:29 | By waiknot

Please explain what has changed in the last 2 weeks. Why has he changed his mind.

i site

Posted on 29-06-2017 10:34 | By surfsup

Can someone please tell me what I am obviously missing . The I-site will be at the mount, fully understand that, it will be a huge cost to the ratepayers of Tauranga, fully understand that, now this where I come unstuck: what exactly does Tauranga have other than the beautiful beach and the Mount that will have tourists by the thousands staying and spending their money. I'm scratching my head at what we have to keep I suspect older tourists here and spending $$$$$$.I'm sure somebody from the Council, Tourism B.O.P or some other enlightened person will tell me what I have been missing for the past 30 years.


Posted on 29-06-2017 10:33 | By CONDOR

That ain't a Mayoral change of mind it is a bloody brainfade of epic proportions.LOL


Posted on 29-06-2017 10:24 | By Watcher 1

Tourism states its a $4 mill spend for the Region Tourism and Cruise Ship passengers so why should it NOT be a REGIONAL COUNCIL spend as they represent the whole BOP Region and area of benefit.As a cruise ship client myself with over 200 nights cruising many ports around the world its the PORT who collects the Cruise ship berthing fees and on who's land the facility is normally built on so, I ask as to why our Regional Council who also represents the areas of benefit eg, Rotorua, Whakatane is NOT stepping in?.Only 8 weeks ago I visited Sydney with 3000 passengers, the ship anchored out on the water and we were ALL tendered in on small craft, NO $4-5 million welcoming centre even in Sydney, just dropped off at the jetty under the harbour bridge and we made our various ways from there.

Hang your heads in shame toadies

Posted on 29-06-2017 09:59 | By ROCCO

So the fiscal fools have won the day and fully promoted the option sort by the non performing TBOP a standing joke which contributes little if anything to anything - looks lot the result of too many headbutts and Mayor Brownless it is now obvious as feared you are a wibble wobbler and don't have the fortitude to stand up to pressure.A month only elapsed and you have changed your mind and frankly no one can or should have faith in anyone that acts in this manner.

Sincere Thanks

Posted on 29-06-2017 09:49 | By Taffy

Mr Mayor on your gutless decision to reverse your original decision,so much for reigning in the spending!What was the deciding factor the pathetic whinging and threats of Des Hammond or just upsetting the likes of the spenders in council.By the way don,t forget to repay the interest and loan on your borrowing of $2million plus on your donation to the Papamoa Surf club,the lights at Bay Oval .new hockey astro turf pitch and so it goes on,Just remember RouteK debt started at $30m and finished at $62m thanks to no repayments even interest over 8 years .Haven,t you learnt how to live within your means.

Is this a Public Information Site or

Posted on 28-06-2017 20:15 | By Angela (Mt Maunganui)

a Tauranga ratepayer funded Cruise Passenger Terminal serving all Bay of Plenty? Same old words, promises of positive outcomes, more Tauranga ratepayer funding and total lack of accountability. I expected a flip-flop, and sadly this may mark the beginning of the end for many tourism enterprises that will be excluded or sidelined as TBOP use this facility to put their own money collection and ego above all else. Being involved in retail, it will just be a matter of time before this new isite incorporates a substantial on-site retail & souvenir shop as a means to generate income. Many Mount retailers have not thought this through and will end up competing with the very organisation they helped fund. Tour operators will also be subjected to heightened levels of favouritism and membership demands dictated by this dysfunctional organisation. This has always been all about monetising cruise ship passengers!


Posted on 28-06-2017 19:31 | By Capt_Kaveman

people you should be listening to are the born locals forget the rest


Posted on 28-06-2017 19:10 | By dumbkof2

for that sort of money they should include a museum

i site

Posted on 28-06-2017 19:07 | By dumbkof2

absolutely discusting. once again tcc wasting our money. cant see why they cant build something for half that

here we go again

Posted on 28-06-2017 19:05 | By old trucker

Thanks Mr mayor, you said you would rein in spending, BUT you have given in to these people who want more,GROW a PAIR, and say NO, NO means NO,my thoughts only on this ,No1 is Sunlive for News, Thankyou, 10-4 out.

Blah, blah,blah

Posted on 28-06-2017 18:23 | By overit

The modern world of nice to haves. All show.

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