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Caution On Funding Regional Attractions


NEWS RELEASE

from Hutt City Council

29 November 2002

CAUTION ON FUNDING REGIONAL ATTRACTIONS

The recent call for regional local authorities to contribute towards the funding of Te Papa 'because of the benefits it brings' deserves serious discussion but raises a wider set of issues, said Hutt City Mayor John Terris.

"There is no doubt that Te Papa brings in a substantial number of tourists and visitors to the Wellington region - and they may well decide to visit other attractions in the region, but calling for us to provide funding for what is a national museum could be the thin end of the wedge that encourages central government to reduce its funding in the expectation that local government will pick up the shortfall," said Mayor Terris.

"We have seen a similar situation develop over the issue of Police numbers, where central government is consistently under funding the Police to the point where local authorities are being forced to pick up the slack to provide a safe and secure environment for our residents."

"We also have a nationally renowned art and design institution in Hutt City, The Dowse, and our ratepayers currently fund that when we know that a substantial proportion of visitors are from out of town."

"I am concerned that central government may see an opportunity to effectively double dip by taxing citizens to provide services on the one hand and on the other providing inadequate resources to do the job properly, which then requires ratepayers to fork out again."

"Ultimately, any decision about new funding would be made during the Annual Plan process and only after residents had had a chance to have their say on the issue," said Mayor Terris.

ENDS

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