Why is 10 The Magic Number?

10 “regional amenities” in Auckland have a privileged status. They were part of a pre-amalgamation deal with the then warring councils of Auckland to agree a funding approach to groups that generally provided a benefit outside their city or district boundaries. The 10 organisations comprise 6 “arts and culture” groups (including the Maritime Museum and the Auckland Festival) and 4 “safety and rescue” bodies (including the Rescue Helicopter and the Coastguard Northern Region).

You might ask what about the War Museum in the Domain or the Auckland Art Gallery or Motat or the Zoo or the Arts Regional Trust or Auckland Land Search and Rescue? Well, that would just be the start.

A wide range of cultural, rescue and other organisations exist in Auckland which, while based in one geographic area, benefit others. In 2008, the then Labour Government agreed to legislation to provide an indefinite funding mechanism where all councils contributed to the costs of just ‘the 10′ (all they could agree on I imagine) – rather than each domestic council (mainly Auckland City Council) bearing an unfair share. It’s a shame that then National party opposition’s proposal of a sunset clause wasn’t inserted. And also a shame that the National Government’s Auckland Council transitional legislation didn’t establish this.

So with no deadline to sort out this “legacy” issue, at the four and half year mark of Auckland Council a proposal has surfaced to try and make funding for again just ‘the 10′ fairer.

But it ignores the other unfair or indeed inexplicable funding arrangements across Auckland’s other arts, culture or safety organisations eg. Motat (not one of ‘the ten’) gets around 250,000 visitors and receives $12m from council; yet Stardome Observatory (one of ‘the ten’) has 135,000 visitors but receives only $1.3M council funding. An issue like this is exactly what Auckland Council was set up to solve.

I have commented previously about the Mayor’s lack of leadership on Auckland Stadiums Strategy. He is at least consistent.

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