The price of admission? Go figure.

The Southland Museum and Art Gallery is looking at a $10 entry charge for visitors from out of Southland.
Robyn Edie

The Southland Museum and Art Gallery is looking at a $10 entry charge for visitors from out of Southland.

EDITORIAL:  So is it fair to charge adults from outside Southland a $10 entry fee to the Southland Museum and Art Gallery?

Possibly, yes. Potentially, anyway.

But there's a second question. Is it wise? 

Just because you can justifiably do something doesn't mean that it's necessarily a good idea.

READ MORE:  Museum wants to set entry fee

That's a distinction needs to be held in mind when people have their say on the proposal in the Invercargill City Council's draft annual plan.

A fee needs to be carefully calibrated against the experience that the museum offers. You can't simply work back from the basis of how much money you reckon you need.

We all need to bear in mind that the museum has lately been running over-budget, and that the Invercargill City Council failed to persuade the Southland and Gore district councils to address this through a $15-per-household boost to the regional heritage rate they collectively take in. 

Also to be factored into our reaction must be be that the character of the museum must change when its art collection moves off-site to be part of a new combined public collection in downtown Invercargill. The museum has in recent years been the focus for development proposals including a kakaporium-tuatarium.

And, sure, there's  a clear message from the developers of the Southland Regional Development Strategy that province lays on so much that is free, or as near as dammit, for tourists that it acts as a deterrent to attracting interest from the tourism industry looking for commissionable attractions.

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Against this background, a $10 fee for visitors mightn't seem eye-watering.

On balance, that's pretty much how wee see it too, but only after lingering a tad uncomfortably over the that figure and wondering whether it isn't too much.

Bear in mind that as things stand that, in contrast to Milford and Fiordland's tourism hotspots, the greater proportion of visitors to the rest of Southland are our our fellow Kiwis. 

They know a good museum when they encounter one, and it's far from unknown for museums to charge for entry.

But  Kiwis, even in recreational mode, also know the value of a buck.

Another interesting issue is how best to differentiate free-admission Southland adults from visitors.

Gone are the days when we might just have checked them for rolled Rs.

So do the gatekeepers just go on people's say-so?

Or require proof of address?

Or council-issued cards that say "I'm not from away"?



 - Stuff


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