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Auckland City keen to reduce red tape for public

Auckland City keen to reduce red tape for public artworks

The Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee last week called for changes to regulatory processes so that public artworks can be more easily installed around the city.

‘The city has generous benefactors wanting to donate valuable sculptures to the city. Sadly, some of these may never see the light of day in our public spaces because of the restrictive and lengthy consent and compliance process. Quite frankly it’s frustrating,” says Councillor Penny Sefuiva, chair of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee.

Auckland City Sculpture Trust was established to "promote art in Auckland city for the benefit of the people through the commissioning, acquisition and installation of artworks." The city is committed to working with the trust to identify appropriate sites, and assist with compliance and subsequent installation.

The regulatory requirements for installing public artworks depends on the intended location, as sites can be subject to resource consent, development or overlay controls. The artwork itself must also comply with the Building Act.

“I acknowledge that legislation is there for a good reason and that artworks must be installed safely, but the likes of sculptures were simply not considered when the regulations were first established," she says.

The committee has asked council officers to prepare a report for the April meeting to recommend changes to the District Plan, relevant legislation and consent processes, which would reduce the present barriers to installing artwork in public spaces. Officers will also look at how other New Zealand cities achieve their public artwork objectives.

Auckland City will work closely with the Auckland Sculpture Trust to ‘bundle’ together potential sculpture sites when applying for resource consents to make the process more efficient.

“We need to try to adjust the regulations we can control to be a more ‘artwork-friendly’ city. If we don’t act soon we will risk losing some wonderful assets for our city,’ says Mrs Sefuiva.

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