While almost everyone else is encouraging the Wellington City Council to cut its spending in order to control the rates, one national organisation is campaigning in the opposite direction.
Te Papa is annoyed by the council’s decision to reduce its annual grant from $2.25m to $1m. It has responded by launching a campaign which threatens that Wellington “could miss out” if the grant is reduced.
The poster in the lobby of the national museum is a part of the campaign, which is branded “save our services.” It wants people to tell the city council not to cut its grant. The museum is arguing that the funding cut will mean “reduced services to Wellington ratepayers.” But it’s vague about what services would be reduced. Its website lists only four possibilities:
Charges to use Discovery Centres
Increases in charges for StoryPlace
Fewer free exhibitions
Fewer new exhibitions
The museum is also claiming that ‘$59m is spent by tourists in Wellington businesses because of Te Papa’ and that it ‘adds $91.3 million every year to Wellington City’s economy.’ Which is playing the council at its own game, as the council is similarly in the habit of claiming economic benefits for the activities which it pays for. Te Papa isn’t, however, explaining how the loss of $1.25m would make tourists spend less money, or how it would result in the annual total of 1.3million visitors being reduced. And though it says it sustains employment equal to almost 1500 jobs, it doesn’t say whether it intends to fire some of its staff when the council grant starts shrinking.
The campaign has been given a place on Te Papa’s website, where the online response doesn’t show any surge of anger about the grant being cut. The first (and only) comment on the website gives this advice to the museum about how to save money:
Cut some administration costs – endless reviews paying out thousands of dollars to consultants is a waste of money that could be used to run the place. I know this from experience, as I worked there, and was restructured out of a job for these reasons, so I’m not simply creating scenarios from my imagination. This is a real issue, which is rampant at all levels of public institutions in NZ. Te Papa could do well to use its prominence to buck the trend, and channel its funding to more productive ends.
Te Papa has also taken the campaign to its twitter account where it gives HUGE THANKS to the twitterers who have responded. But the responses are weird and irrelevant – here are some examples of “what you said” on the national museum’s twitter account:
What you getting into this weekend?
I’m athletic and I like my guy athletic.
Throwing strikes is the key to success
What a freakin semester
She be lying uglass LOL
In other words, there’s no proof online that anyone wants to tell city councillors to cancel their savings of $1.25m per year. But there is proof that Te Papa has some strange followers on Twitter.