Making the ‘right decision’ on museum

Mayor Greg Brownless believes the upcoming museum referendum will help determine what the ‘right investment decision’ is for the community. File photo.

A referendum on whether the community supports a museum will be held in conjunction with the upcoming Tauranga City Council by-election, and Mayor Greg Brownless believes the result will give councillors the confidence to make the right investment decision.

The decision to hold a referendum was driven by elected members who want to get a picture of community perspectives on a museum.

Following the loss of Councillor Gail McIntosh, there is now a by-election process taking place to fill the vacancy for an At Large councillor. Elected members would like to run a referendum on the museum as part of this process.

Mayor Greg Brownless says referenda are a great tool to enable democratic local decision-making and action.

“We know that there is a lot of interest in a proposal for a museum, and this is one way to be able to get a picture of what the community wants as we go into the Long Term Plan 2018–2028 investment decision,” he says.

The non-binding referendum would seek to understand support for museum investment, and would be separate to the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 consultation taking place from March 16 to April 16.

“With a public referendum on museum investment, as well as our thorough consultation on the museum through the Long Term Plan, we will have the confidence to make the right investment decision for our community.”

The timing of the referendum will be the same as the by-election. Papers will be received and voting will be open from April 9 until 12pm on May 1.

Further details about the process for the referendum will be shared shortly.


Foot in your mouth, maildrop.

Posted on 23-02-2018 08:11 | By R. Bell

So you claim the younger generations have a sense of entitlement. Really? Do you refer to the two athletes who just won Olympic medals? Or the myriads of young who leave Tauranga each year to seek employment elsewhere? Or the myriads of young couples now expected to save a small fortune to pay for a retirement, paid by the state for their parents and grandies, whilst having to also save a small fortune to build a home for their family? Your use of out of date irrelevant insults is pathetic. Robin Bell.


Posted on 22-02-2018 17:09 | By R. Bell

Have you? NO. Generally younger people are not as set in their ways. I can hope can't I. The estimated increase in rates for a museum was given at approx $60 per annum. Most people spend more on ice cream or newspapers.Bring on the museum I say. Keep up the insults maildrop ( or is that "Richard") Robin Bell.

Nail in the head Robin

Posted on 22-02-2018 16:52 | By maildrop

The younger generation with their sense of entitlement and first world issues have no idea what struggle is. Easy to vote yes for things that cost YOU nothing. Of course they're not free for ratepayers. I'm not sure why you think younger people would find a museum more attractive than older people? Or why and how you've concluded its a generational divide? Have you done a demographic survey? No

Tightfisted Oldies???

Posted on 22-02-2018 15:42 | By Happyday

Have some respect Robin Bell. The "tightfisted oldies" you talk about are the ones who are just not able to pay an increase in rates; why can't you understand that? Many are struggling to make ends meet already so to increase the rates could make them despair. This council is already in huge debt, so why make it worse.


Posted on 22-02-2018 15:30 | By simple.really

What use is a non binding refurendum as usual they will ignor it and do what they want anyway. The myseum should stay in the long term plan and money spent on roads and ifrastructure badly needed all over the district some roads are in a disgracefull state.

You are confused Raewyn,

Posted on 22-02-2018 12:49 | By R. Bell

Council are there to represent ALL citizens. Ratepayers obviously are important, but make up less than half of the total population. This poll will ask all citizens of voting age to give an opinion. Personally I hope the younger generations will overrule the tightfisted oldies. We live in hope. Robin Bell.


Posted on 22-02-2018 09:43 | By Raewyn

When a council is elected they are there to represent the majority of the Ratepayers so why would they not make a referendum binding

out of office

Posted on 22-02-2018 08:36 | By dumbkof2

looks like there will be a new council at the next election. remember the one over the water

when is no no or dont you understand words

Posted on 21-02-2018 23:22 | By linds675

i thought this got no no so many times and councillors got canned so it didnt happen how many times can the people say no getting ridiculous no means no dress in a suit and all of a sudden how about a museum will be great every body says so not?!!! and the rates go up and up art gallery they said will be self funding after a 1 million dollr plus investment still not making money or self surrporting in any way with ratepayers paying every year next no no next stop now :(

It can't be binding

Posted on 21-02-2018 20:24 | By Sg1nz

Since the Museum is already in the Long Term Plan for consultation, I believe it would be illegal to have a binding referendum on that point prior to this consultation process. So I think this allows the councillors to understand the needs of the community, without relying on the consultation alone.

What a Farce!

Posted on 21-02-2018 17:22 | By Maryfaith

Making the 'right investment decision' on museum. This non-binding referendum is to appease the masses, but you can be sure the council's 'right decision' has already been made and nothing on earth will change that! If they ignore the majority it will be criminal!

Referendum and its pitfalls.

Posted on 21-02-2018 17:14 | By R. Bell

Switzerland is the most prolific user of referendum. As late as the 1980s women were denied the vote in one canton by the male majority. Central gov'nt had to alter the wording of the constitution to overrule that example. We must have elected control to even out the extremes of political and social fanaticism.Nothing to do with activism, nothing evil, just simple common sense. Robin Bell.

‘Fishing’ Not Democracy

Posted on 21-02-2018 16:45 | By Mommatum

While I am in favour of a museum (as a city we need a range of city facilities including cultural ones) what is the point of a non binding referendum? If referenda are to be cost effective or meaningful they need to be binding. After all why should the community be bothered to participate if its already a given that what we say isnt going to mean anything in the end? That isnt democracy its fishing.

Robin Bell

Posted on 21-02-2018 16:42 | By maildrop

One minute you advocate activism, protest and positive action, the next you say everyone must let elected members have final say even if the people vote no! I suppose your view of democracy changes depending on the issue and who's griping eh? P.s. it's YOU'RE damned if you do.....when will you learn?


Posted on 21-02-2018 16:26 | By rastus

R Bell has misread some comments - If the majority vote 'yes' then that is the democratic decision and council should act on that 'If' however the vote is 'NO' then also the democratic thing for council to do is also accept that ratepayers decision. Therefore the vote should be binding so that it adheres to the simple/ uncomplicated/honourable and honest outcome!

So what your saying,

Posted on 21-02-2018 15:28 | By R. Bell

rastus and the rest, is if a yes vote is uninformed and fiscally irresponsible, but a majority, then Council must be bound by it. How dumb is that? Your damned if you do, and damned if you don't in this crazy city. Robin Bell.

Non-binding = Gutless!

Posted on 21-02-2018 14:57 | By GrahamTGA

A majority NO vote by 'hook or by crook' could still become a YES from council, what with more spin and behind the scenes manoeuvring by the pro-museum clan. I am NOT for a museum until we have addressed other priorities, and can afford to do a 100% great job on what would need to be a sustainable, constantly evolving attraction of a very high standard. Instead, I suspect it may well end up as some debt hole and token half effort that has to be supported by busloads of school children to make it look like a success. I am however, fully prepared to accept a Yes vote should this happen and will stop all my criticism and get behind things if the majority really want this to happen. Why will council not commit up front to doing the same? Makes you think, does it not?


Posted on 21-02-2018 14:42 | By dumbkof2

might as well forget the referendom. this blind in one eye and cant see out the other council will go ahead with this white elephant regardless

How about

Posted on 21-02-2018 13:12 | By A Thought

How about spending a bit on footpaths and roads the are in dire need of attention instead.

How about

Posted on 21-02-2018 13:10 | By A Thought

How about spending a bit more on fixing the footpaths and roads.

Referendum on museum?

Posted on 21-02-2018 12:59 | By Val.M

Waste of time if non binding! They will still go ahead with it if that is what THEY want regardless of majority wants! But who will pay for in that case? Our rates already getting too high!


Posted on 21-02-2018 12:51 | By rastus

There is no doubt in my mind that any democratically elected officers have a moral obligation to accept any further referendum as binding (they do when its their position under a voting result) and any other decision is not only evil but completely stupid - why would you put your people to the cost of asking their opinion and then ignore that opinion - If council go against the wishes of the ratepayers then I believe that a case of law should be applied to them, because they would just be confirming that democracy is dead.

The purpose of this referendum,

Posted on 21-02-2018 12:49 | By R. Bell

is to judge public opinion. Good leadership by T.C.C. Every citizen has a right to an opinion, informed or not. The final decision must and will rest with elected members.As it should. Robin Bell.

Non Binding

Posted on 21-02-2018 12:27 | By Told you

What are the TCC afraid of, why non binding? just a waste of time otherwise.

Thomas the Tank

Posted on 21-02-2018 12:27 | By stephennel

The mayor keeps on saying "investment" decision, as if it is a done deal. The "non binding" referendum leaves it open to ignore democracy.

Mr Mayor

Posted on 21-02-2018 12:24 | By maildrop

Sounds to me like you are already preparing to ignore the result even if a majority don't want it. Typical.

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