They head south
My concerns are ...
Why would people go into the building and pay an entrance fee when they can see it all from the outside for no charge as they drive straight past? Where are all these "paying visitors" with caravans and boats on the back of their vehicles and/or the tourist buses going to park?
How can the gallery generate enough money to pay the "estimated" 300 staff wages?
Why would it be a good idea for our grandchildren to still be paying for this in years to come when a drive along any road right now is interrupted by dodging potholes? The local roads are in very poor condition and need money spent on them.
The reality is that tourists arrive at Auckland Airport and head south.
- Patricia McRae, Whangarei
Roads a priority
I am definitely not in favour of the Hundertwasser.
Our council can't afford it and nor can the rate payers. The money would be better spent on making our roads and footpaths safer and the noxious weeds on the by pass and around town eradicated.
The Hundertwasser doesn't blend in with our Town Basin, it would look out of place, a mound of abstract colours and shapes that doesn't go with the area. It would block the beautiful view of the river, boats and the back drop of houses on Mt Parihaka.
We have a beautiful Town Basin with a nautical theme, please keep it that way. We were given the opportunity to have this art creation in our town years ago and it was declined, it was given to Kawkawa.
It is their attraction, leave it there. When we can afford it let's be creative and create something different for Whangarei to lure the tourists to our great city. We could have a sky rail/gondola where people could come and ride above the tree tops, to the top of Mt Parihaka, take a look at the wonderful view of Whangarei and the surrounding areas then Sky Rail or walk back down the many tracks, through the bush, (a great walk) to the Town Basin, enjoy a meal at one of the wonderful restaurants and then go to the markets. That's what I call a great day out not visiting some overseas monstrosity.
- B Kay, Whangarei
I find it quite amusing that some of your letter writers, are against the Hundertwasser Art Centre, but have other ideas on what we could spend the $8 million dollars on.
I would like to point out to those people that the $8 million dollars doesn't actually exist.
It will only exist if the next council decide to "borrow" it to pay for the HAC.
It will really come down to the voters as to whether we make it exist or not.
Voting for a candidate that supports the HAC project, is voting for a candidate who not only doesn't care that ratepayers are already $160 million in debt, but actually want to add more millions of debt for you the ratepayer to pay off. If it does end up existing, then you can expect large rate rises for many years to come. Somebody will have to pay for it, so it might as well be you. The choice is yours really. Vote carefully.
- Gary Price, Parua Bay
Blot on the area
My view on all matters to do with the WDC is that It should deal with its own business, which is the infrastructure of the Whangarei District area, ie roads and footpaths, water reticulation and storage, sewerage, waste removal/recycling and public transport.
Whangarei itself is, and always has been, a service town and the businesses that carry out those services are very good at what they do, including the ones that provide service to international clients. This is not a tourist trap. The beaches are miles away, as is the only place a tourist ship could reach, off Marsden Point.
Perhaps the promoters of the Hundertwasser could build it at Ruakaka? (if those residents want it!)
Personally, I feel that the proposed Hundertwasser building would be a blot on what could be developed into a very nice area, the Town Basin. For those that want it, put up the money yourselves, don't ask all ratepayers (39,000 approx) to pay for your pipe dreams.
While on that tack, the finance wizard at WDC quoted a while ago that our debt is OK for the 80,000 approx of population of the district, but seems to forget that less than half of those pay rates! So, should the acceptable debt then be half of what it is?
Put the $8 million put aside for the folly, back into fixing the rest of the infrastructure and turn the wasting-away ex-NRC building (10 years empty!) into an art centre and use the existing ones for something else.
- M Burrell, Whangarei
A money gamble
Do we really think 200 or more tourist will travel every day for two hours to visit Hundertwasser, spend at least three hours viewing then go spending in our tourist-friendly shopping centre? Do you really think that they may stay overnight? It is more likely that they will return to Auckland or go further north. Do we really think it will be built for $13 million?
Very few buildings come in on budget. It has been said that it will be paid off in three years, with such potential why aren't the local businesses in on this? It is said that art works provided by the Hundertwasser Foundation (which is a non-profit Foundation in Vienna.) Is a "non profit foundation" the same thing as a charity? This is a gamble with ratepayers' money; can we really justify that in light of other outstanding expenditure?
- Brian Moon, Whangarei
Look at the facts
Some of the candidates speaking at the election meetings are making statements that can only be described as bizarre when speaking of financial matters.
Lets look at a few facts:
 To date the Hundertwasser has cost us, the rate payers, $736,000,00. [figures obtained under The Official Information Act]
All but one of the sitting councillors endorsed the Long Term District Plan, that contains the HAC. Now they are saying they are against the project. The majority of submissions on this matter said no.
WEDG, made up of about 20 business people, (key word about) are saying they have about $3 million towards this controversial project. We must question if they have the "hard cash"or is this simply "pledged"money.
If this is indeed "pledged"money what guarantees have the ratepayers got that the amount will be honoured. Or has this money been lodged in an account.
It is my contention, people who put up this amount of money have something to gain.
 Hotel and cruise ships.
Anyone who has been a passenger on a cruise ship will know, it's a floating hotel. Passengers do not stay ashore overnight in hotels, they pay huge money for on-board accommodation. So one must question why all this talk about hotels?
 Museums. Te Papa makes no money, it is bailed out by ratepayers and tax-payers.
Why should the HAC be any different?
 The past and sitting council has a culture of secrecy, a culture of big spends.
There has been no openness, Ratepayers have been informed after the event,.ie: the $200,000 gift plus the $100,000 loan to the Whangarei Racing Club. As we all know this was done in a closed session.
Should the council be propping up any private business ventures? I think not.
We really do need a change of governance.
- Brian J Craig, Whangarei
It's crunch time
The Hundertwasser controversy - a solution to please everyone
More letters to the editor both for and against. Double page spreads in the Whangarei Report trying to generate enthusiasm from a generally uninterested population. And never the twain shall meet.
But a suggestion for the pro camp. If it is going to be so profitable.
If we are going to need a multi-storey hotel to cater for the flood of visitors. If there is going to be a queue of cruise ships at Marsden Point with thousands of passengers wanting to pay the entrance fee to see this marvel of architecture. Then what a chance for all of you entrepreneurs. Why don't all of you Hundertwasser supporters raise the finance or invest your savings and build it along with the hotel.
We are always being told these days that private enterprise runs businesses so much better than the public sector. Here's your chance to prove it. Just think what a killing you could make! Live in luxury for the rest of your lives on the profits. I promise not to be jealous as you drive down in your Rolls to collect your dividends.
So how about putting your money were your mouths are and you take the risk. I can't afford to pay extra rates to keep it going if it turns out that your profit estimates are too optimistic.
One final thing. You are quite welcome to accuse me of being a "stick in the mud" or even call me a "latter day Luddite", but to the lady who wrote in last week from Maunu who accused the anti camp of bigotry, I suggest that you get yourself a dictionary and look up the meaning of words before you use them.
- Daniel Coates, Whangarei