Bridges still wants museum to go ahead

Tauranga MP and National Party leader Simon Bridges still wants the city to have a museum. File photo.

Tauranga MP and National Party leader Simon Bridges says he’s disappointed with the results of the museum referendum, but still intends to push for its construction if returned to government in 2020.

Early results released yesterday show 40.6 per cent of voters are in favour of a museum for Tauranga, compared to 59.6 per cent opposed.

“I’m disappointed because I think a museum would have been great,” says Simon. “I think the council overreached by putting forward proposals that on some estimates were close to the $100 million mark. A museum would be acceptable only at a more modest financial amount.”

He says he’s always thought the museum could be a ‘$20 million job’, which would be ‘hard to argue with’. Most of the funds could come from central government and private investors.

“I think this will be a wakeup call for the councillors, in particular Mr Baldock, because they pushed the boat out far too much – beyond what ratepayers would clearly tolerate.”

He says a modest museum would require putting it in the CBD on Willow Street, as Cliff Road would be ‘too expensive’.

“Cliff Road is a heritage site with a burial area, which would add significant costs and complexity. We also need to continue drawing locals and tourists to the CBD.”

If National returns to government in 2020, Simon says a museum for Tauranga could be on the table again.

“I was clear while in government and now outside it that a museum in Tauranga is something we would support financially. Many hands make light work, so with a bit of ratepayer funding, a bit of private funding, and a significant dollop from the beehive, it would not be difficult to achieve a $20 million museum.”

City Transformation committee chair Larry Baldock says his personal view is that 59.4 per cent of a roughly 30 per cent turnout is not an accurate reflection of what the city’s residents want.

“I always felt the referendum was a bad idea at this time, during a by-election and in the middle of a Long Term Plan process. I believe a referendum at a triennial council election would yield a clearer result.

“It’s unfortunate the silent majority don’t vote on candidates or issues, because we don’t know what they really want.”

He blames misinformation to a degree for potentially influencing the outcome of the referendum.

“It wasn’t helpful one candidate had signs saying the museum was $55 million when we had capped the council contribution at $15 million. The museum could have been anything from a $30-$50 million museum, depending on external funding. But the ratepayers would not have been paying more than $15 million.”

He believes a second, binding referendum would be worth doing at the next election, with voters given clearer information.

“At normal elections you get close to 40 per cent turnout. And we noticed in this referendum the online component added around five per cent, and I’m interested to see how the people who voted online cast their vote.”

Larry says the results of the referendum will be discussed at the next meeting of the City Transformation committee on Monday.


Mooga, you have a point,

Posted on 06-05-2018 10:21 | By R. Bell

but a museum caters to a far different market than the environment, which is important but not the only reason people visit. Remember Tauranga weather just like Tauranga itself is over rated, and I’m not talking of rates demands. If you genuinely wish to educate people on environmental issues a MODERN museum is the ideal place to start. Robin Bell.

Miss-understanding leads to

Posted on 06-05-2018 08:50 | By R. Bell

miss-calculation leads to miss adventure. The inevitable result of of constant inane criticism of all representative authority. Even the usually reasonable morepork is prepared to ignore the facts, in the face of unrelenting disrespect touted by those with a larger agenda.Wake up, there is a bigger game in town.A simple answer to the problem, amalgamate the Katikati museum with Tauranga and reduce the city ratepayer contribution accordingly. Neither can then be called a millstone. Robin Bell.

Tauranga is a museum

Posted on 04-05-2018 09:59 | By Mooga

Tauranga is the Museum. It has an ingrained culture and physical environment genuinely from the 1950s. For this reason the museum will fail and confirm the perspective from youth/tourist that without sun/beach you never go there. Museums the way we know them are/will be redundant in the future with only the diverse, online and creative surviving. Statistics and general knowledge indicate that the reason why people live and visit the area is because of the outdoors. Resource should be targeting on improving or providing more in these areas which become an attraction and make the way of living for residents better. The museum $ would go a long way into developing Environmental sustainability, publicly improved Technology, Nightlife, local economy or something interesting like a surf/snow park. A visit to some recent comedy shows in Tauranga was a real honest way of seeing an alternate perspective of the area, almost embarrass

Hi Doff

Posted on 03-05-2018 19:30 | By P Double

Note your comment regarding Katikati museum. Do you know that even with commercial sponsorship it costs the WBOP ratepayers $46 for each paying visitor to the Katikati museum! It is, as many predicted, a millstone.


Posted on 03-05-2018 19:20 | By sobeit

Makes a good joke when Museum philes write in that Tauranga won’t be a real city until we get amenities ( Museums ?) that real cities have. Seeing Tauranga is the fastest growing city in NZ could it be that those pouring in ,creating unprecedented infrastructure problems, have come here to escape those amenities and the associated costs ,usually in their rates ? The day that giving money to bureaucrats and politicians to provide solutions,actually works ,will be when the sun rises in the west.


Posted on 03-05-2018 19:12 | By comfortablynumb

What part of almost 60% not in favour does Bridges not understand?


Posted on 03-05-2018 18:05 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Obviously Larry just hates the result, not what he wants to hear so hence discounting it only because he personally dislikes it all... and trying to cast it aside so as he can try and self justify a desired answer to do what he wants regardless of voters providing a clear answer dispite the deperate attempts to spend millions of ratepayers monies to try and justify it regardless. (edited)

You would think that....

Posted on 03-05-2018 16:51 | By NZAdventurer

someone of integrity would accept the results of a democratic process rather than offering excusses with a total lack of personal accountability.


Posted on 03-05-2018 12:08 | By penguin

Bridges seems to suffer from ’’lack of reality’’ syndrome. National lost the election but Bridges seems to think they won. The majority of respondents in the by-election voted no to a museum and yet Bridges has difficulty comprehending that fact.

Larry, you're sums are skewed

Posted on 03-05-2018 11:48 | By Happyday

If Larry thinks 59.4% of a 30% turnout is not an accurate reflection of what the residents of Tauranga want, then neither is 40.6% an accurate reflection either. Obviously 70% of residents don’t care either way and couldn’t be bothered to vote so they can be discounted. That leaves 59.4% with a resounding "NO". You have two ears and one mouth Larry, so shut up and listen if you want to be reelected. And that goes for Simon too.

And the next scandal is

Posted on 03-05-2018 11:18 | By Accountable

The Council staff are presently spending $260,000.00 on the old Council buildings concrete slab in Willow Street. They apparently have entered a contract with The Big Little Markets who will lease the area off Council for a measly one dollar a year rental and rates free. This is the same area the staff turned down Councillor Curach’s idea for additional parking. This slab will be removed when Council commence the rebuild. The CBD is already struggling and it sure as hell doesn’t need any outside competition particularly when it is being heavily subsidised by the Council. The stall holders will also stretch the already chocka parking which is very much a double whamy for the existing CBD businesses. This is really the ultimate scandal.

@ dumbkof2

Posted on 03-05-2018 10:22 | By MISS ADVENTURE

You cant until the bronze plaque name seekers are removed from Council, when that happens the shift will move away from looking to spend $50 million of ratepayers money so as to have a place to affix a name tag.

@ Lizzie Bennet

Posted on 03-05-2018 10:20 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Seems you are a dreamer, perhaps you should get your feet back on the ground. The reason the CBD is dying is because (primarily) of TCC’s wasted time and money thrown haplessly and wildly at nonesense things and items that only drag the place down. That then results in furtehr and hieghtened spending more/faster under the complete dillusion that its all a good thing when actually the opposite is true. Hence when you grasp that you will then understand why a Museum is simply a part of a bigegr TCC creted mess that si killing off the city and CBD. That the actual CBD infection is TCC.


Posted on 03-05-2018 09:40 | By penguin

Bridges seems to suffer from ’’lack of reality’’ syndrome. National lost the election but Bridges seems to think they won. The majority of respondents in the by-election voted no to a museum and yet Bridges has difficulty comprehending that fact.


Posted on 03-05-2018 09:39 | By penguin

Bridges seems to suffer from ’’lack of reality’’ syndrome. National lost the election but Bridges seems to think they won. The majority of respondents in the by-election voted no to a museum and yet Bridges has difficulty comprehending that fact.


Posted on 03-05-2018 08:19 | By dumbkof2

can we please bury this thing once and for all the people have spoken. tcc, baldock and bridges please take note

Dumb voters

Posted on 03-05-2018 08:08 | By Micky Mouse

Larry, you are inferring that the 60% of the 30% that voted voted the wrong way. You should give us more credit than that, we can read and write just like you and just like you we can make our own decisions we are not dumb. Once this city is in a stronger financial position try again, but dont presume you can override those that have spoken just because you didnt get it your own way - give it a rest.


Posted on 03-05-2018 08:02 | By

Check out how much New Plymouth ratepayers are having to come up with the cover losses on the Len Lye’s got all the shine on the outside but the dark stuff is under cover!!!

@ Lizzie Bennet

Posted on 03-05-2018 07:33 | By P0INT BLANK

Good to see you have your priorities right! I’d rather see my rates dollars going towards sorting out roading so it doesn’t take me 45 mins to get to work from Welcome Bay to the Mount. Shame on you!

Let’s make democracy a farce

Posted on 03-05-2018 07:13 | By Angels

The people that say not to listen to the voters should move to China etc. if you don,t respect the majority, please move.We the people expect to be treated democratically not treated like the days a few rich decided and the majority paid for their stupidity.Pull your heads out of your shady sides.The people voted and the majority, WINGet over it you few losers.

He would wouldn't he?

Posted on 02-05-2018 21:08 | By The Sage

He is looking to buy votes.

City Status Means City Facilities

Posted on 02-05-2018 19:48 | By Mommatum

Im also disappointed with this result. Far too many people cannot see past the cost, when a big part of achieving city status through population growth is also growing the kind of facilities that a city has to offer and on the cultural side Tauranga is definitely lagging behind. A museum is only one such facility, and the roading arguejent falls flat when you consider that a big part of the problem here is the over reliance on cars which naturally causes congestion. So come on Tauranga people stop being parochial and embrace change. We are no longer a provincial town anymore, but that is how we will continue to come across if we do not learn to think outside the square and accept the changes (including cost) that come with city status.

no museum is a democratic decision

Posted on 02-05-2018 19:45 | By Captain Sensible

Put ’democracy’ in the museum, because if we get one, then democracy is history.

Reality Strikes

Posted on 02-05-2018 19:25 | By sobeit

Thanks Simon for the offer on the capital cost of a museum. Where’s your offer on annual operational costs ?Oh that’s right,the ratepayers pay that. Dressed up how you like as Larry and his ilk do and you’re in for a huge rates rise as the museum empire expands. Say 5% to start with. Once it’s up and running it would make the Art Gallery look like an investment. Those that want a Museum,abbout 10000 out of 130000 should pay for it Mr. McKinlay ?

Lizzie Bennet

Posted on 02-05-2018 19:01 | By waiknot

When you clearly struggle to understand how the democratic process works it becomes difficult to take your comments seriously. To assist you, the vote reflects the views of 100% of the voters. Clearly approx 70% just dont care. And I struggle to see those who dont care queuing or paying to visit the museum. Those who lost in this referendum remind of those national voters who still struggle to understand they lost that election as well.


Posted on 02-05-2018 18:44 | By Maori_boi

Bridges wants a museum ... what a joke... bloody hell fix Tauranga roads problems...

Listen to the punters

Posted on 02-05-2018 18:38 | By Brian Porter

What part of 60% that do not want a museum, you have trouble understanding Mr Bridges, perhaps its time to get a real job.

So I gather..

Posted on 02-05-2018 18:31 | By Me again

Lizzie Bennet you are prepared to pay through the nose for a building.. sorry museum, that 5-10 years down the track will be ghost home to so call artifacts from Tauranga and surrounding areas. Do we not have other pressing issues that most of us see as PRIORITIES for our city. Because simon has lost his way with the gasfields and other dream muses, he blab on about this. Spoilt child syndrome.


Posted on 02-05-2018 17:44 | By Taniwha0

Simon walk away ,you are digging a hole for yourself.

Dreamer Bridges

Posted on 02-05-2018 17:34 | By alderest

Lizzie, the reason central Tauranga has become depressing is because for years the council has been ignoring issues and the retailers are moving out into more affordable areas which provide free parking etc.The wealthy seem to want more and more money spent on what they want, to bad about the homeless, struggling families trying to make ends meet. Council needs to be fixing the roads, drains, and sorting out the quality of their staff e.g. the Bella Vista saga, which is going to cost the rate payers millions.How about the council publishing a list to let the public know what actually is in storage for a museum, apart from Mary Dillons pink dress. Mr Bridges we need a museum in Tauranga like we need a hole in the head, which I presume is your problem as you don’t seem to be hearing our voice.

A cultural desert: Shame!

Posted on 02-05-2018 16:39 | By doff

It is a disgrace that we have councillors with absolutely no vision or backbone to push for the cultural amenities that this city needs to attract people here. Those who have done their homework know that the museum doesn’t need to be an overpriced palace but a safe repository for the Taonga of Tauranga Moana. Nor does the ratepayer need to be burdened with the touted costs when there are people and businesses just waiting to invest in such an amenity.Look at Katikati, look at Whakatane. Both have well curated museums that tell the story of the area.Shame!


Posted on 02-05-2018 16:25 | By Lizzie Bennet

I think 60 percent of the thirty percent that bothered to vote is a very sad figure. How can this be seen as democracy in action.Please Simon push for a museum, there are many of us out here who want to lift the sad state of central Tauranga out of the doldrums. Tauranga has a vibrant history and why shouldn’t it be told. Our kiddies are missing out on education, our visitors cannot see our history and no one want to visit the depressing village that central Tauranga has become.

Of Course Bridges wants it

Posted on 02-05-2018 16:12 | By nerak

he’s probably already dreamed up which wing will bear his name. What part of ’we don’t want it’ do neither he or Baldock understand? Neither of them have ever bothered to listen to anyone but themselves. As Happyday has said, let him pay for it, or he could gather up the other like minded dreamers and they could pool their dosh. The results of the pool would no doubt build a splendid museum, with plenty of spaces for name plaques.

No if TCC involved

Posted on 02-05-2018 15:05 | By Really

No one has any confidence in TCC and would rather not have one than a huge expensive mess.

Yes To A Cheaper Option

Posted on 02-05-2018 15:01 | By Gaz

Agree with Simon - this would be a great cultural and tourist asset for Tauranga, but TCC just went crazy board their big spending idea. Build it, but with a common sense ratepayers budget view.

Not a museum... but...

Posted on 02-05-2018 14:24 | By jed

Where is our wide wooden boardwalk running from the mount main beach, all the way down to papamoa east. That would be so awesome. I find small town provincial museums boring as they don’t have the resources to put on world class displays.

More important issues

Posted on 02-05-2018 14:23 | By Smithie

Fix the road congestion and get everyone into the city in a safe timely manner then look at waste management, sort this out first then look at a museum.

At the next election....

Posted on 02-05-2018 14:13 | By waiknot

There will be a binding vote on what the voters think of Mr Baldock and his museum.

Not surprising

Posted on 02-05-2018 13:32 | By The Sage

Another reason not to vote for Simon Bridges, not that I needed another reason. Forget the museum, unless it is going to be something like Te Papa and people will come from all over the country and pay to see it.


Posted on 02-05-2018 13:30 | By stephennel

Could someone please take the time to explain the basic principles of a democracy to the honourable leader of the opposition?

He must be joking

Posted on 02-05-2018 13:14 | By Happyday

If Simon Bridges wants a museum, I suggest he pays for it. 60% of us don’t want or need one, we can’t afford the rates now let alone having to pay for a museum too. This just shows how far removed he is from the average family in the Tauranga region.

If it must go ahead

Posted on 02-05-2018 13:06 | By Corwen

why not build it on the site of the closed Gate Pa Bowling Club.Historical site, plenty of parking, and it owed by the council.


Posted on 02-05-2018 12:43 | By phoenix

Get out your biggest marker pen and put a line through this project,until you have fixed the roading issues in the BOP. Katikati museum debacle should give you a clue,these grandiose ideas don’t work.

Simon Bridges and the museum

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:42 | By joan king

Its all very well saying we need a museum which I am sure would be nice for the tourists who visit BUT a large majority of people feel that if you keep wanting to grow the city at the fast speed it is currently going at then money must be spent on the core services not the fancy stuff. I am sure if you said to people would you prefer your $15 million dollars of rate payers money to be spent on a museum or for instance the roading you would get a totally different answer. You just cannot keep issuing building permits in Tauranga and growing at this incredible pace if you cannot afford to pay for the standard core services that it requires first.

30% turnout not accurate?

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:41 | By gincat

30% turnout with 59.4 against still trumps just 81 people polled to make original council decision to build a museum.New palace and new library more to be money sucked out from hard working ratepayers pocket

Yes Yes Yes

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:38 | By Lvdw

Mr Bridges, you are simply repeating what the majority of ratepayers have already said and seem to want. That is yes, they want a Museum, but no, they don’t want to pay that much for it or have it ever so grandiose, and no, the do not want it on Cliff road.....So now, could someone come up with a solution that the RATEPAYERS want and not one that the council want, or is that too much to ask for? Oh wait, that is going to cost another couple of hundred thousand for consultants - again.

@Larry Baldock

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:35 | By morepork

You overreached and the Ratepayers wouldn’t wear it. Don’t pretend it was a "bad" referendum and doesn’t reflect the "silent majority". If the silent majority remain silent, they get what they deserve. Perhaps there should be another referendum at election time (after you’ve had another chance to spin the data...) but anything that requires a significant contribution from the Ratepayers will be fiercely resisted. The point that seems to have been missed is that we are not happy with a Council that won’t live within its means and is saddling future generations with massive debt because "that’s what everybody does". An "affordable" museum would probably be acceptable, but the Council needs to show they are taking steps to address the debt, first. If it is such a good idea why can’t it be publicly funded?

Not good enough

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:32 | By Peaches

Simon Bridges you need to get the idea in your head that almost 60% of Tauranga people do not want a Museum, move on man! get a desent project that people are crying out for, not one almost no one wants, and if you want it so bad you pay for it out of your personal pocket see how much you want it then aye.

Now ,We know you don,t listen to the majority

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:32 | By Angels

With that in mind we must be sure not to give you the majority in 2020.,as you have no respect to the electorate or their wishes. We will remind you and the nation of this in the future.

Yeah Right

Posted on 02-05-2018 12:30 | By Told you

Hasnt Simon heard of democracy it means people have a right to choose with out been put down for their choice same applies in politics.

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