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$2.2 million for Carter Observatory redevelopment

18 December 2006 Media Statement

$2.2 million for Carter Observatory redevelopment

The government will provide $2.2 million to support the redevelopment of Wellington's Carter Observatory, Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

"The Carter Observatory is an important cultural and scientific asset for Wellington," Steve Maharey said. "The Labour-led government is highly supportive of plans to upgrade the facility as it transitions to an independent trust.

"The funding will support the Board's plans to develop Carter into a state-of-the-art observatory offering both educational and tourist facilities.

"The new-look observatory will include a larger planetarium with new technology and new exhibition spaces, and will continue to give visitors the chance to interact with real astronomers."

The government will contribute operating funding of $1.5 million (GST exclusive) in 2006/07 and $700,000 (GST exclusive) in 2007/08 to support the redevelopment.

Ongoing support will come from Wellington City Council, which has agreed to provide annual funding of $300,000 for the next ten years. This will comprise $150,000 for operating funding and $150,000 to service a loan required for the redevelopment.

Carter has operated as a statutory entity since 1938, but the government is looking to repeal this legislation as it moves to operate as an independent entity, which provides education and tourism opportunities for Wellington.

"While the Carter Observatory no longer fills the role of a National observatory it continues to be important to the Wellington region. I welcome the support from Wellington City Council for ongoing funding of the Observatory," Steve Maharey said.

Wellington City Council’s Economy Portfolio Leader Councillor John Morrison says Carter Observatory’s redevelopment plans will provide the city with another important attraction for Wellingtonians and visitors.

“The plans are very exciting,” he says. “A visit to the observatory will be a whole new experience."

ENDS


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