$1.5M boost to Whangarei’s Hundertwasser project

21 Feb 2017, 12:11 PM

The Northland Regional Council (NRC) is to make a $1.5 million contribution to Whangarei’s $16.25M Hundertwasser Art Centre (HAC).

Councillors agreed today to provide $1.5M from the council’s Investment and Growth Reserve (IGR).

Chairman Bill Shepherd says the IGR contains commercial income that has been set aside to support economic development and the $1.7M the council currently contributes to it annually is consulted on through the NRC’s Long Term and Annual Plans.

Councillors had already agreed to allocate more than $1.6M to three other projects this financial year via the IGR:

  • $832,000 for ‘Extension 350’, a  project aiming to lift the performance and profitability of 350 Northland farms over several years;
  • $400,000 for the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park;
  • $400,000 for Maungatapere Berries; a modern hydroponic-based berry production initiative.

Councillors had now collectively agreed to fund the Whangarei HAC project too, in large part due to the positive economic impact it would have on the region.

“The development of the Whangarei HAC will add to the positive economic contributions these other IGR-funded projects are already making, or will make in future.  The HAC will complement the Twin Coast Tourist Discovery revitalisation project – also funded via the IGR – as well as having strong linkages with other Hundertwasser projects across Northland.”

Councillor Shepherd says HAC’s backers had already secured millions of dollars funding from other sources including $4.1M from the Whangarei District Council, $4M from central government, $2.7M from charitable trusts, pledges and donations, $1.8M from community trust Foundation North and $0.5M from the Lottery Grants Board.

However, that had still left a shortfall of $3.5M, of which the regional council had today agreed to fund $1.5M.

Councillor Shepherd says under the terms of today’s agreement, the regional council would pay the money out over two financial years to match the HAC’s scheduled construction period.

Councillor Shepherd says at a personal level, he’s pleased to see the regional council supporting projects identified in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, which aims to reinvigorate the North’s economy to benefit the whole region.