Te Papa funding backtrack

KATIE CHAPMAN
WELLINGTON REPORTER
Last updated 16:43 14/06/2012
te papa

BACKTRACK: The council's proposal to slash Te Papa's funding from $2.25 million to $1m has been revised to $2m.

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Wellington City Council has back-tracked on plans to more than halve Te Papa's annual grant.

Councillors spent 90 minutes debating funding for the national museum this afternoon, during the third day of a strategy and policy committee meeting to finalise its long-term plan.

The council had proposed to slash funding to Te Papa from $2.25 million to $1m, but public backlash saw council officers revise the suggestion to $2m this week.

However, councillors instead agreed with an amendment by Ray Ahipene-Mercer to return the funding to the original amount.

"Te Papa anchors the culture capital status," he said.

The proposed cut had proved to be a bad public relations exercise for the the council, he said.

"The restoration of the complete financial package was the responsible vote," he said after the meeting.

Ian McKinnon agreed with restoring the amount, labelling it "niggly" to return it to $2m.

"It's a bit like a parent giving a child 50p pocket money and cutting it back to 48p."

However, many councillors said it had been a worthwhile exercise mooting the funding cut, because it meant the council had clarified its relationship with Te Papa. The councillors also agreed to seek a report from Te Papa each year on how the funding would be spent.

"We have sharpened up the relationship and sharpened up the transparency," Jo Coughlan said.

Paul Eagle raised concerns about the council suggesting radical changes to encourage public feedback, given the produced Eco-City plan was also abandoned yesterday.

"We're developing a bit of an evil behaviour pattern."

Te Papa chief executive Michael Houlihan said he was satisfied with the outcome.

He understood why the council had considered a cut, and agreed with councillors that the resulting conversations had helped strengthen the relationship.

"It's also made us reflect on some of the ways we can work in supporting Wellington."

The long-term plan debate is continuing.

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