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Whangarei ratepayers charged $91,000 for art junket

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has revealed that the Whangarei Arts Museum Trust spent $91,168 – including business class flights to Dubai – for 11 people to visit Vienna and see a Hundertwasser painting.

Taxpayers’ Union researcher Tabitha Lorck says “In total, Whangarei Art Museum Trust - a Council CCO - spent $71,308 flying 11 people return to Vienna via Auckland, and $19,860 was spent on accommodation.”

“Whangarei Council's purpose for the trip was to ‘gain an insight of what is involved in the realisation of a Hundertwasser creation and construction, and to strengthen relationships with our partners abroad.’ If this was a simple fact-finding mission why were 11 people required and why did they travel business class? Better to call it what it is, a junket.”

“Councils should be focused on core services – like roads, water, and rubbish – not international art trips for 11 people. Whangarei ratepayers deserve better.”

The full official information response is available at www.taxpayers.org.nz/hundertwasser.

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