Deputy Mayor proposes museum referendum

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout wants to poll every voter in the city on whether they want a museum for Tauranga. File photo.

Tauranga's Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout is pushing for a referendum to be added to the upcoming council by-election as a way of encouraging broader community feedback on the museum issue.

He says the matter ‘has been a contentious one in Tauranga for at least two decades but there has never been a city-wide plebiscite'.

“It's something that fall under the category of discretionary spending. We have to spend money on water and roads, but not museums. The size of the investment and ongoing operational expenditure means it is worth getting people's thoughts on the matter.”

He says a referendum on its own could cost ‘up to $150,000', but he thinks the upcoming by-election is a great opportunity to ‘piggyback' the referendum on.

Electoral officer Warwick Lampp has advised the council that a referendum could he held in conjunction with the by-election, if councillors resolve to proceed at today's council meeting.

He says the estimated cost to combine a referendum with the by-election is up to $45,000, depending on the final number of candidates.

“We're still waiting for clarification on the actual costs,” says Kelvin. “That in itself is not an insignificant amount to spend. But when you put in the context of the overall investment in the museum, it's not a relatively large cost.”

He says the plan is to have one concise question, preferably ‘Do you support the museum proposed by the Tauranga City Council in its 2018/28 Draft Long Term Plan? Yes/No'.

“If you have more than one question, the costs can blow out. It's about getting the wording of the question very clear, and making sure it isn't a leading question to try and get a particular answer.”

Councillors will vote on whether to combine the upcoming by-election with a referendum on the museum at a meeting in chambers this afternoon.


Half way there

Posted on 21-02-2018 11:38 | By LindaMax

At least the suggestion of a referendum is on the right track. But it needs to be binding. And the councillors need to listen to the people! We cannot afford the grandiose scheme proposed, especially when other issues such as parking, traffic, water supply etc etc need planning and funding!

@If Only.

Posted on 20-02-2018 16:49 | By morepork

Well said. I support your Democratic position on this; it SHOULD be decided by a BINDING (agree with nerak) referendum. The real reaction from the "naysayers" is not necessarily anti-museum per se, it is anti Rates being increased to support it, when many Ratepayers will probably never attend it. The benefits of having a museum, need to be balanced against the costs of getting one, and maybe other options to finance it need to be examined. The results of this referendum should be binding for 10 years.

Ok, so make sure that the referendum

Posted on 20-02-2018 15:00 | By earlybird

also includes the estimated cost of building the museum and the estimated cost per annum of running the museum and what exactly that will add to each and everyones rates per annum. A Yes / No choice with no supporting information will not give people the information they need for an informed decision.


Posted on 20-02-2018 14:36 | By dumbkof2

deputy mayor wants a job after the next election

Sorry Captain Sensible

Posted on 20-02-2018 13:38 | By Centurion

Council's survey was over a very small sample of 400. And I am cynical enough to believe that they were 'selected'. Bottom line is that any referendum will be non-binding, even if a great majority are against it, Council can still proceed to waste lots of (i)ratepayer money and take their chances at the next election. Museum versus transportation (Turret Road etc)? Pick the sensible option.


Posted on 20-02-2018 13:35 | By

Tauranga is sadly lacking in services compared to smaller cities and a museum is on the list. A museum retells our history and heritage. The rate this council puts decisions in the too hard basket and flip flops is why we are not making any progress in many areas.

Ask the right question

Posted on 20-02-2018 13:20 | By waiknot

Make sure the financial implications are spelt out for the voters.


Posted on 20-02-2018 13:02 | By ray y

How does the cost of adding a referendum to the by-election depend on the number of candidates ?The cost should be the same regardless of whether there are two or fifty candidates.

@ tgacentral

Posted on 20-02-2018 12:57 | By groutby

....if indeed we have already had 'surveys' as you say, then the conclusion will had been decided. The only 'survey' I can recall was I think of 400 local museumites via telephone, and I din't know if we got clear actual result out of that one!..Hardly a legitimate or conclusive 'survey'. It will be interesting to see if the councillors have the intestinal fortitude to take it 'to the people', which is, after all supposed to be their job...let's hope so....

What about the cost??

Posted on 20-02-2018 12:57 | By Gaz

Good idea to have referendum, but what about the question. Suggest, that the museum is favoured by most, but, we, as in ratepayers, cannot afford to be asked to pay up to 10% more rates because of some grand ideas on trying to do large city type museum. Yes do a museum, with some forward thinking, but there needs to be some reality thinking with regard the costs!


Posted on 20-02-2018 11:11 | By Told you

Will be 70% against 30% for. WE HAVE NO MONEY.

'Yes' vote

Posted on 20-02-2018 10:40 | By If only

Great idea. Hopefully the silent majority come out in support of a museum !. Maybe then the nay sayers will shut up for awhile and even support the democratic decision (doubt it though as it seems you all like to have a good moan on most things). Likewise if the vote is No, I will acknowledge and support that decision.

Just build it already

Posted on 20-02-2018 10:30 | By tgacentral

We need a museum, past surveys have demonstrated the people want a museum so it's time to get on and build it!


Posted on 20-02-2018 09:58 | By Captain Sensible

But TCC did their own survey where 99% were in favour of the musueum. Surely a referendum will not differ so much so as to prove their "survey" was wrong?

There is one crucial word missing

Posted on 20-02-2018 09:43 | By nerak

and that is BINDING


Posted on 20-02-2018 08:39 | By Angels

Thank heavens someone is listening to the public.The dreamer on council will get a huge eye opener when they get the results.We should make them more accountable on a great number of their spending dreams.they are the most erresponsible council in decades.


Posted on 20-02-2018 08:14 | By dumbkof2

at last we have a councilor who has listened to the people. this is not his idea. we have been asking for a poll to be added to the byelection for weeks

Very sensible!

Posted on 20-02-2018 07:55 | By simple.really

And if the majority of rate payers say "NO" ... will the museum be scrapped? About time democracy ruled on this.

How sensible!

Posted on 20-02-2018 07:03 | By spoilerfactory

What a good idea, what is the chance it will happen? They know what the result will be and they dont want to hear it.

Get it done

Posted on 20-02-2018 06:52 | By maildrop

At last someone is listening and understands.

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