Museum referendum claims denied

Graeme Purches is questioning the legality of the museum referendum. Photo: Supplied.

A claim Tauranga City Council’s museum referendum is void because of sitting councillors’ support for a particular local body by-election candidate is being denied.

Councillors Steve Morris and Rick Curach endorsed candidate, now councillor, John Robson for the council seat.

In his submission to the Long Term Plan this week, former mayoral candidate Graeme Purches says the council has no option but to ignore the outcome of the museum referendum.

“I had always thought that councillors in a democracy were supposed to ask constituents what they thought, not to tell them what they should think,” says Graeme.

“In fact my very recent re-reading of the relevant Act for legal reasons, tells me councillors are required by statute to in effect use their eyes and ears before their pen or their mouth, in matters of democracy.

“Because of all that I ask and respectfully suggest the council legally has no option but to ignore the overall referendum result.”

Steve Morris says not only is Graeme wrong according to the Bill of Rights Act that guarantees freedom of speech in New Zealand, he’s wrong according to the Electoral Officer as well.

In a letter to candidates, electoral Officer Warwick Lampp says there is nothing inappropriate about Steve Morris’ pre-election comments.

“I see this type of activity in most by-elections, where another elected member or mayor endorses a candidate, its standard practice,” says the letter provided to SunLive from Steve. “He can say anything he likes about all or any candidates, as can anyone.”

The view that free speech is illegal, particularly in an election of all times, is the antithesis of democracy, says Steve.

“While stopping people from exercising their view might have won some support in 1930s Germany, it doesn’t fit well with modern New Zealand.”

Graeme says the referendum does show the number of people wanting a museum significantly exceeds the combined voters for the two top polling candidates in the by election, and that votes for a museum on Cliff Road far exceeded those for the alternative.

Since the electorate kicked out the $23m museum on a pier in 2011, the focus moved to the Cliff Road site.

The council set up a trust and initially agreed to pay for the geotech studies to determine of the $12-14m building would be built there. This was later withdrawn.

The recommendation to council advised that the operational expenses of the previous Cliff Road proposal wouldn’t be any more than the council was spending on the museum collection’s storage at $450,000 per year.

“In the past two decades tens of millions of dollars of financial, physical, cultural and educational wealth generating opportunity for our region has been flushed down the toilet of a non-existent museum by successive councils,” says Graeme.

“If we act quickly we can stem the tide. Our young people need to be able to properly experience and understand the history and the generations of achievements by forebears in the place in which they live and at the same time develop a growing sense of pride and belonging.

“A museum is not a complete answer to re-inventing Tauranga’s future, but it is a vital and key part of the puzzle.”


@ betelgeuse

Posted on 11-06-2018 18:18 | By Crash test dummies

A dead-duck, you merely have not realised it as yet, let me know when you catch up with reality.

Culture at last

Posted on 23-05-2018 22:19 | By betelgeuse

Great news.A bit more along the long road to having a fantastic Museum on Cliff Rd.The process certainly takes time and Im sure that I recall all this starting more than ten years ago.Always with something new or exciting some people seem to have a mindset that if it costs money we dont want it! These naysayers I think enjoy there roll in life trying to tell others what they should like or not.I just wish they would get on and enjoy a bit of life instead of worrying themselves to death supposedly on my behalf. Remember the bridges,Route K,Takitimu,Tolls Eastern link,Strand Development etc? seems that nobody wanted any of them either ,said they would be too expensive as well.Glad no one them either

sabotage democracy

Posted on 22-05-2018 08:05 | By Captain Sensible

All the people that voted ’No’ museum and figured there was no need to vote on the location as they had already voted no....well you will be disappointed to learn that your votes were not counted, as to be valid, all voting papers required three ticks. A deliberate attempt by TCC to sabotage democracy to get the result they wanted.

Ms P

Posted on 21-05-2018 20:01 | By Pania

We should MARCH against this blatant display of disregard for public vote/voice! Remember the farce of the water meters? And then the referendum... 84% against vs 16% for....What did they do? Passed it in favor of....Then, within a month or two of people being so conservative with their water because they were now paying for it, they announced that "They didn’t anticipate that the public would be so good at conserving water and that they would now have to raise the price per cm2 to compensate for the enormous cost of installation" (Once a billing system in place.....) They will say and do and manipulate % figures to try to baffle inattentive half interested people. Wake up Tauranga! Money for this proposed "Museum" needs to go toward fixing the stupidly ridiculous ever worsening traffic catastrophe!!It’s sickening to me that we are at their disposal.

Not using the frontal lobe!

Posted on 21-05-2018 19:53 | By

A MUSEUM is not vital, it is not a key, it is not a puzzle it is outstandingly clear.... that a majority of those who voted [and likely those that didn’t] DO NOT WANT nor can WE AFFORD a pretty museum funded by debt....ask New Plymouth how many visitors and how much the very dramatic LEN LYE centre is costing and losing there....

What is your problem

Posted on 21-05-2018 18:29 | By Brian Porter

The electoral officer Warwick Lampp said all’s good.... it was a democrat vote, if you don’t like or can’t accept the official results, then you have a problem.

What a ridiculous comment

Posted on 21-05-2018 17:16 | By Calm down

"Graeme says the referendum does show the number of people wanting a museum significantly exceeds the combined voters for the two top polling candidates in the by election". Of course it does, there was something like 20 candidates. Whereas there was 2 option for would you like a museum, yes and no.

Claptrap alert

Posted on 21-05-2018 16:27 | By maildrop

"Re-inventing Tauranga’s future". What on earth are you on about man? That sounds like PR marketing buzz feed claptrap. Or more commonly known as bull$hit. It reminds me of Councillor Baldock’s election slogan, "more democracy, less bureaucracy". Some people are full of it.

2 bird one stone

Posted on 21-05-2018 15:41 | By hapukafin

Earlybird,a great idea.Then we will see who controls the purse strings.It can be promoted at Mein Fuhrer demonstration march.

Remember these peoples names

Posted on 21-05-2018 15:30 | By NZer

And when it come time for re election voters of Tauranga give these men the boot. Clearly they are never going to listen to what people want so lets vote them out at the next election.....

Dear Graeme

Posted on 21-05-2018 14:16 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Please take serious heed of the raft of obvious comments below. They are right and you are SOOOOO WRONG! a serious soul search is needed by you, I suggest also that you go do some research also on democracy, what it means etc. The questin has been asked and the public have spoken, decision made, accept it and move on... I dont mind where you "move on to" but would prefer it was elsewhere.

Ignore it at your peril TCC

Posted on 21-05-2018 14:08 | By earlybird

I would suggest that everyone that voted NO for a museum withhold their rates payment if TCC choose to ignore our wishes. That’ll make them blink!!

I think it's time ...

Posted on 21-05-2018 14:02 | By Mein Fuhrer

... for a big "No Museum" protest march through town.

Really Graeme?

Posted on 21-05-2018 13:29 | By nerak

You must have the same set of rigged dice your mate Larry has. You know, the set which will finally come up with the answer you want. Nice try, now go sulk somewhere else.


Posted on 21-05-2018 13:20 | By P Double

The answer is no! The majority do not want a ratepayer funded museum. Just what part of that is not clear?

Museum money

Posted on 21-05-2018 13:18 | By overit

There will be no money for a museum by the time this Bella Vista saga is settled.


Posted on 21-05-2018 12:39 | By rastus

Why would a (IMHO) normally logical man suggest that Tauranga’s future needs reinventing? I suggest that Graeme should do a bit of soul searching here - he must realize that his smoke and mirror tactics are not valid. The basic understanding of democracy is very plain and simple and the people have spoken - does he really believe that museum voters were in any way influenced by his alleged illegal pre election campaigning - I sincerely hope that he does not because Graeme we are just not that stupid!

sour note

Posted on 21-05-2018 12:38 | By hapukafin

The ratepayers have spoken for the second time.WE DONT WANT A MUSEUM ,particulaly one supported by rates.Each vote submitted in the referendum was done by individuals without a councillor standing over them.It appears that some councillors dont believe in freedom of speech and is hell bent in wasting rate payers money to get their way.It is only democratic for the council to accept this referendum.

What a waste of money

Posted on 21-05-2018 12:20 | By The Sage

As most of us realise it is business as usual and the Council will go ahead and spend the rate payers money regardless of what we think. Mistake after mistake keeps getting made by the Council. Meantime the Mayor seems to avoid saying anything about this and the Bella Vista Debacle.


Posted on 21-05-2018 12:15 | By -rob-

I can not believe this current council. There blatant disregard for voters wishes is beyond understanding. The people voted they need listen or be prepared to find a new job.

What Next?

Posted on 21-05-2018 12:12 | By maildrop

Another sore loser who cannot accept the result. These people are basically saying the electorate is stupid. They give people no credit at all for coming to a decision on their own. Twisting and turning and concocting all sorts of weird theories. He talks about democracy and asking constituents what they think, then he says ignore the result. I am far more intelligent than you mate. Which is why I voted NO. Clear off.

No democracy in Tauranga

Posted on 21-05-2018 12:09 | By Angels

What gives with a few thinking they are above the majority.It is a disgrace that the vote is not being respected more. The referendum should have been a binding one to stop this craziness.We are back to the Middle Ages that a few want the majority to pay for their far fetched wants.That is why we have democracy now to stop this middle age thinking a few rich have it all their way.Thank heavens


Posted on 21-05-2018 12:07 | By dumbkof2

seems like all these museum lovers are really clutching at straws. will try anything.the people have spoken just bury it, and move on

Dear Graeme

Posted on 21-05-2018 11:59 | By MISS ADVENTURE

I am not sure what referendum results you are looking at, but the real one says "NO" to a Museum. Please catch up and read/see how it actually is rather than a desired result like Larry also wants.

So out of touch

Posted on 21-05-2018 11:43 | By comfortablynumb

Another sour grapes individual who doesnt understand the meaning of democracy !

What now.

Posted on 21-05-2018 11:41 | By Marshal

This kind of carry on would make people regret moving to Tauranga. In itself not a bad thing..lolWhy not declare Tauranga a dictatorship, the council could then just stomp all over the democratic process and do what ever it liked.. I think Tauranga is being run by Big Ego’s instead of intelligent minds..Could some one ring the bell to wake them up..!!


Posted on 21-05-2018 11:40 | By Merlin

What part of NO do people not understand.Grow up.

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