The Hundertwasser corporate welfare fail

Radio NZ report:

Whangārei’s acclaimed, but controversial, Hundertwasser Art Centrecould run out of money by October 2025 – which means ratepayers may have to stump up to keep it open.

That is despite an undertaking during the long-running campaign to build the centre that it would pay its own way rather than rely on council funding.

It cost around $33 million and got over half of that from taxpayers as corporate welfare. They said they expected it to attract 450,000 visitors a year.

The trust’s half-yearly report, presented to Whangārei district councillors last month, showed the centre had 19,800 paying visitors in the second half of 2023 – a sharp drop from the 37,000 in the first four months after the doors opened.

So they are likely to get 40,000 visitors over a year, less than 10% of what was claimed. I don’t know why government keeps falling for these fantastical claims of patronage that never eventuate.

Reduced admission fees and shop sales led to a half-year loss by the Hundertwasser Art Centre of $765,000.

So a possible annual loss of $1.5 million. There are 30,000 households in Whangarei so each household will have to subsidise it on average by $50.

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