Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Council Arts Plan A Costly Performance

Auckland Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas said the $348,000 cost ratepayers have provided for the 64 page Auckland Arts and Culture Action Plan highlight’s the ‘performance’ problem at the heart of the Mayor’s leadership of Auckland Council.

“It took almost 3 years to develop, included significant research and survey work and extensive consultation and engagement, but it’s “action plan” includes pages of statements of the obvious with few hard measures.”

“There was no reference to the cost involved in preparing the Action Plan when it was signed off by council in October. This is because the Mayor doesn’t insist council officers think about the planning work council does as an investment, and he doesn’t tie council spending to a specific return.”

Thomas said he knows art can play an important role in Auckland’s economy and culture, but the Mayor has council poorly focused.

“As a regulator and public space owner, council should be making it easier for private and community groups to create and establish vibrant expressions of art in Auckland, but too often it takes too long, is too costly and doesn’t bring enough people along with it.”

Thomas attended a meeting of the Mayor’s Pacific People’s Advisory Panel in November where members expressed concern about the Plan’s lack of focus on Pasifika issues.

“This confused council focus has been apparent with other art projects including the Mayor’s plan to spend $900,000 of ratepayers money on the estimated $3M WWI memorial at the Auckland War Museum.”

“Another example of the improvement needed in how council works has been the debacle over the sculpture planned for Queens Wharf. First mooted in April 2015, generous private donors have had to watch from the sidelines as council argues with itself and the Auckland community how to proceed with this project.”

Thomas said as Mayor he will reduce the cost of council planning, improve the organisation’s effectiveness and build stronger private and comm


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