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Museum Commercialism 'Crass'

Museum Commercialism 'Crass'

A World War II bomber pilot has made a heartfelt plea to retain the name of the Auckland region's largest and most used museum as the 'Auckland War Memorial Museum'.

A meeting of the North Shore City Council heard an appeal by Harry Corrin, DFM, to keep the museum's name, as it was built as the region's memorial to those who died in two world wars and in various conflicts since.

The Forrest Hill octogenarian is also railing against the possibility of the enlarged museum - a war memorial - being used after hours as an entertainment venue, and is concerned at the morality and the 'crass commercialism' that may prevail.

Mr Corrin's deputation to the council was considered as a part of a debate concerning how the region's councils' compulsory levies should be assessed and paid.

Mayor of North Shore City, George Wood, says his council sympathised with Mr Corrin's concerns.

"We're also concerned with the continued emphasis on commercial activities at the War Memorial Museum, particularly those that could be in conflict with the war memorial. We want to remind the museum's electoral college that the museum is a war memorial both in name and by tradition," says Mr Wood.

North Shore City councillors Julia Parfitt and Paula Gillon represent the city on the museum's electoral college.

The college for this year has been considering what is the appropriate level of levy increase on the various councils for forthcoming years, as a $53.2m upgrade of the museum is proposed.

"Initially a total levy, for the 04/05 financial year of $17m, a 21 per cent increase on the current year, was proposed. However, this received a cool response form its electoral college, which has recommended that the starting level for funding be the rate of inflation plus depreciation.

It also recommended closer liaison with local authorities, which have a legal obligation to fund the museum; about levy requests, and recommended that the museum introduces charges for parking and other services.

The council's two museum electoral college members were delegated to put forward the council's views.

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