Wellington Scoop

Aquarium “must not be a repeat of Zealandia;” warning about council involvement

Press Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
A marine centre of the scope being proposed for Wellington’s south coast would be a very welcome addition to the city’s tourist attractions, says Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley. “This looks to be a stunning project and would add a further dimension to what the city has to offer.

“Estimates by the Wellington Marine Conservation Trust of 250,000 visitors a year would put it right up there behind Te Papa, and with many of those likely to be from out of town, it deserves the full support of the council and business.

“But the council does need to carefully consider its involvement. The last thing we want is a repeat of Zealandia, where the council has had to stump up more and more ratepayer money to keep it going.

“There is already talk of council grant money being available for the aquarium, as well as the council providing the land, which it owns, but there must be caution around deeper involvement.

“The council should get alongside the trust as a facilitator of this project as a potentially great asset for the city, but I know that business ratepayers would be very unhappy if it got itself into some sort of ownership position where it had to dip into its pocket to prop up the aquarium in tough times.”