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Reduced loan for Sanctuary after debate

6 November 2008
Reduced loan for Sanctuary after debate
Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast stressed the need for “leadership and discipline” in controlling Council spending during a debate today over increased funding for the Karori Sanctuary.
Mayor Prendergast successfully argued, at a meeting of the Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee, the Sanctuary be given a $1.9 million loan extension by the Council - $600,000 less than the $2.5 million it sought. The decision also recognises that the Sanctuary Trust is applying for a $600,000 grant from the Lotteries Commission.
The Trust also sought $900,000 in operational funding, spread over two years. The committee agreed to provide the funds.
“While we all agree the Sanctuary is a great asset for Wellington, for environmental education, tourism and for the long-term wellbeing of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna, there is also a need for the Council to show leadership and discipline in controlling spending," Mayor Prendergast said.
Her stance was supported by Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, the Council’s Environment Portfolio Leader, who said: “The Sanctuary is a leading New Zealand conservation attraction and its ongoing success will justify this investment. However we can’t justify increasing rates in these critical economic times.”
Councillors agreed to cut $500,000 from the Council’s environmental budgets in both 2009/10 and 2010/11 to compensate for the increased operational funding for the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary Trust sought the extra funding to cover cost overruns and delays relating to the construction of a visitor centre. The delays and increased costs partly relate to geotechnical problems encountered on the steep site of the visitor centre.
The Council committee agreed today that an independent review be held over the circumstances relating to the delays and cost increases. The review, which would have a wide brief, would also look at the Sanctuary’s governance arrangements.

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