No go on Tauranga museum

People at the meeting in Tauranga this afternoon. Photos: Andrew Campbell

Tauranga City Council has voted against having a museum in the city.

In the Long Term Plan deliberations this afternoon, councillors voted seven to four against the museum.

An amendment from Councillor John Robson which attempted to widen the location options and reduce the up-front cost, was also voted down.

The recommendation was for the city council to make a $15 million contribution towards the museum over three years, with another $5m in access improvements to Cliff Road.

Councillors voting in favour of a museum are councillors Larry Baldock, Terry Molloy, Max Mason and Kelvin Clout.

Those voting against are Mayor Greg Brownless, and councillors Rick Curach, Bill Grainger, Steve Morris, Catherine Stewart, John Robson, and Leanne Brown.

Museum advocate and city transformation committee chair Larry Baldock says he’s so committed to a museum that he will happily commit to a binding referendum on the subject for the 2019 local body elections.

 “Make it a binding referendum because referenda that are not binding are a bit of a waste of paper,” says Larry. “I’m confident 40 per cent support would grow to over 50 by the time they got their head around the real facts.

“Because referenda that are held when there isn’t real facts, when there is confusion, simply give a confusing result.

“Sure as God made little green apples we will be back here again and we will have wasted what is now more than a million dollars on this process that was instituted. And that bothers me a great deal. This is not the way we should govern this city.”

The museum vote came after a decision earlier to cap the city rates, keeping the increase at 3.8 per cent, down from the 9.7 per cent consulted on.

The decision sets city rates back to a two per cent increase plus CPI after growth, a measure the council has worked with for the past two trienniums.

Councillor Leanne Brown said the rates cap influenced her vote. Steve Morris and Bill Grainger said the council had to pay attention to the non-binding referendum result.

Steve says the issue will not go away.

“It will be here in three, four years’ time. I think we were all surprised by over 40 per cent in favour of the museum. I don’t think that’s the high water mark,” says Steve.

He argued that approving $15m for the museum would alienate the community which would remember in 16 months’ time.

Steve Morris and John Robson say they personally favour a museum. John says the referendum result is clouded by there not being required background information provided.

“I want a museum here but the irony for me is so many of the museum proponents haven’t learned from recent history,” says John.

The 2007 vote against the waterfront museum was an example of what happens if you reach for the stars in a way that is not reasonable.

“You will get nothing.”

If the ask is reasonable there is a better chance of getting it, says John.

The majority want a museum, but when asked for a $55m museum, reservations begin to be expressed.

“If you want to sell it, if you want a museum or a place to tell your story, temper your ambition. Why the word iconic?

“Why does it have to be iconic. Why can’t it just be a place to tell our story?”

Kelvin Clout says the $55 million museum was overstretched and damaged the museum case.

The $15 million is much more reasonable.

“I was very surprised that 41 per cent were in favour. To me that gave a lot of confidence,” says Kelvin. “I’m going to represent the 41 per cent who put their hand up - at potential risk to my own future.”

There was a large and vocal public gallery which applauded those in favour of the museum and made their feelings known when councillors spoke against it.

Many of those 770 museum supporters made intelligent, impassioned presentations to council during the LTP submissions process, says Larry.

They were imploring councillors to show leadership by providing the leadership to take our city forward, says Larry.

“Tangata whenua leaders representing thousands, Bruce Farthing, Dr Kelly on behalf of the Museum trust, The Elms, Taonga Tauranga, Mainstreet Tauranga and many, many, others.

“Perhaps the most impressive were Louis and Sam, 16-year-old students who told us that if their age group had been able to participate in the referendum the result could have been very different. Their voices should be heard as it is for their generation that we build this city.”

Regarding going forward with the museum, he thinks it will be wise to admit there is still some work to be done in communicating accurately across the community what the real costs will be and how the museum will be delivered and managed once built.

“When you read the comments of many who submitted in oppositions it is clear many of them based their opposition on information that was wrong,” says Larry.

“I believe it would be a mistake for us to try and cobble together any complicated budget-cutting resolutions or cheap solutions today. In my view council should not be the main agency in delivering the museum ultimately. I believe now is the time to indicate our support with the capped amount of $15 million. We should not ignore the controversy by rushing ahead with plans now. We should take time now to work with tangata whenua and the community where many capable museum enthusiasts may be prepared to partner with us and take more of the lead in the project.”

“My motion asks that you resolve to leave the $15m in the long term plan that we, by a vast majority, agreed to consult on in December.

“It need not cost ratepayers any further expenditure in the coming year. Any expenditure in years two and three would be dealt with by Annual Plans that had community support.”


@ The Sage

Posted on 30-05-2018 16:17 | By Crash test dummies

Yes, common sense has prevailed in the end, but we are looking at some $10-12 million spending on "creative" and propaganda to date on this in the last 10-years simply to wet the appetite of a few demanding misfits. As otehrs have suggested, dont forget the names of those in this and who still resist the desires of the majority (around 88%) of the electorate who dont want it... EVER! next job is deal to the four who obviously take no heed of the voters/ratepayers here.

You must be joking Robson

Posted on 30-05-2018 16:09 | By sobeit

When I made a post yesterday I was unaware that John Robson had moved a reduced ratepayer contribution to get the Museum underway. This is the same guy who has just got elected on a No Museum plank. They must be joking read his signs pledging anti museum if he got elected. Tell the majority what they need to hear to get their vote.Then follow your own agenda. Well John you are on your way out again in 18 months along with Larry,Terry,Max and Kelvin. He only voted against once the writing was on the wall .You can fool some of the people John but no more.


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

Iconic (in this sense) means a $55M ego trip John. There are SO many issues that are far more pressing in our city than having an OTT museum. Museum yes, $55M - no thanks, no matter which way you slice that pie.

Nasty nzer,

Posted on 30-05-2018 09:51 | By R. Bell

just wait and see, we will get a museum, as ALL great cities have. The threats against the political future of Larry and other council supporters shows how nasty you people can be, best summed up by your preference for anything but an addition to cultural progress. As my mum used to say "patience is truly a virtue" Something unknown to most commenters here. I’m off now to do a bit of hook slinging. Robin Bell.

Could Have Been Bitter Court Battle

Posted on 30-05-2018 09:45 | By fifthwheeler

Pleased the result has been sensible against a Cliff Rd museum. This would have been an expensive court battle if the decision has gone the other way. Time to get rid of some snakes in the grass now. Thanks to those who faught the unified battle.

So NO only meanswait a while???

Posted on 29-05-2018 22:14 | By Chapsmate

So NO only means wait a while??? Yet again, councilors follow their own agenda, regardless of what is good for the community


Posted on 29-05-2018 20:48 | By ##Common Sense

Woohoo!!! The people have been heard!! Please fix our roads!!

Representing the ratepayers

Posted on 29-05-2018 20:35 | By Really

Well done to Greg Brownless, Rick Curach, Bill Grainger, Steve Morris, Catherine Stewart, John Robson, and Leanne Brown who voted how the ratepayers they represent asked them to irrespective of their personal views. If the council want to take it any further they will need some more credible options or get someone else to do it.


Posted on 29-05-2018 20:18 | By The Caveman

YOU can be assured that you current council mob - Greg Brownless, Rick Curach, Bill Grainger, Steve Morris, Catherine Stewart, John Robson, and Leanne Brown - WILL try again to get their way !!! Watch this space.................................

Mind readers

Posted on 29-05-2018 19:54 | By maildrop

Just listen to the numbskulls with their crystal ball gazing. They prattle on about people being confused, in favour if not for the cost, not knowing the facts and on and on. They think they’re so clever and the electorate is thick. No is No, it was dead simple to understand. It looks like the only one who gives the electorate any respect and credit is Bill Grainger. The rest think "they know better". Such arrogance. Clearout needed.


Posted on 29-05-2018 19:39 | By maildrop

He can’t let it go can he?! Never mind, the electorate will be letting him go. And quite a few others. They just don’t get it.

55 Million no way

Posted on 29-05-2018 19:27 | By myview

When I visit towns, cities NZ or overseas one of the first things I head for is a museum but our city cannot afford to throw anywhere near 55 million at one. Lets have one modest in design and size and in a building that the cost of does not strip funds from more essential projects.

Lets try again

Posted on 29-05-2018 18:39 | By CC8

Yes, lets have a new referendum...on whether we want Larry Baldock on the council at all! ....Oh that’s right, it’s called an election , and thank goodness, there is one coming up in 18 months

Larry Is a Slow Learner

Posted on 29-05-2018 17:42 | By tabatha

Larry, I know and I think others do to, all you want is to have your name on a heritage to Tauranga. If you want a museum do not restrict where. We had a great one and some clowns mucked it up, and from memory it was council workers.

You've lost my vote.

Posted on 29-05-2018 17:38 | By cssr

Greg Brownless, Rick Curach, Bill Grainger, Steve Morris, Catherine Stewart, John Robson, and Leanne Brown, what a boring bunch. Where’s you progressive thinking and ambition? You don’t have any for this city. To many negative people have got into your ear. Shame on you.

Remember those names people

Posted on 29-05-2018 17:33 | By The Sage

Larry Baldock, Max Mason, Kelvin Clout and Terry Molloy should not be elected as Councillors in the next elections, especially Larry Baldock. I am pleased common sense eventually prevailed.

What Larry wants

Posted on 29-05-2018 17:31 | By P Double

is to continue to have referendum after referendum until he gets the result he wants. Time to leave it alone now!!

Fantastic news...

Posted on 29-05-2018 17:27 | By Steffi Mueller

The majority said NO to a museum and finally somebody got the message. Larry just forget it!!!!

@ Tassie

Posted on 29-05-2018 16:46 | By Crash test dummies

Yes but at a costs of millions yet again for the same result as before.

It's not over

Posted on 29-05-2018 16:24 | By sobeit

Don’t worry people. The Museum mob will keep bleating . They know they only have to succeed once !. To keep them at bay remember who voted for a museum in the face of an overwhelming referendum majority against a museum Larry , Terry, no doubt and another couple of elected members who apparently are there to represent their own agenda and not the people who elected them


Posted on 29-05-2018 16:18 | By mlangdon

Common sense has prevailed at last so leave it alone Larry and lets get on with spending money where it is needed like roads and transport infrastructure etc.

There you go Bell

Posted on 29-05-2018 16:13 | By NZer

Just goes to show how out of touch with reality you really are. Now go and sling your hook somewhere else....


Posted on 29-05-2018 15:58 | By rastus

I am pleasantly surprised that democracy has won the day despite the protagonists smoke and mirrors campaign - and I would be carful Larry since I think you may well have made a terminal mistake!


Posted on 29-05-2018 15:49 | By P0INT BLANK

Now leave it alone Larry!

Thanks Goodness

Posted on 29-05-2018 15:44 | By Tassie

someone has had some sense at last!!

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