The budget for a 10-metre high sculpture at the southern entrance to Rotorua has dropped.

It will now cost an estimated $500,000, not the $570,000 initially expected.

Council approval was given to prioritise council's "percent for art" budget to provide an underwrite for construction of the sculpture if external funding or sponsorship to cover a current shortfall cannot be found.


The idea of an organisation such as a trust stepping in and paying for the entire sculpture so ratepayers' money didn't need to be used was also raised.

Rotorua Lakes Council has decided a community survey regarding gambling will go ahead.

The independent survey of 300 people, expected to cost $17,530, was proposed as part of a review of the council's pokie machines policy.

Councillor Trevor Maxwell declared a conflict of interest and withdrew from the discussion.

Results from the survey are due back mid-February and will be followed by a community consultation process.

Consultation for Easter trading, on the Sunday only, will go ahead next month, with the decision due by the end of February.

Councillor Tania Tapsell has raised concerns that there is not enough mention that Easter Sunday is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Other concerns raised were around worker rights.

Both these issues will be covered by the consultation process.


Rotorua will have to wait a couple more weeks to find out which Rotorua Lakes Councillors are set to be named portfolio leaders.

The portfolio leaders, and their deputies, will be discussed at a meeting on December 15.

However, the committee structure for the council committees has been confirmed.

Merepeka Raukawa Tait will be the chairwoman of the strategy, policy and finance committee with Charles Sturt the chairman of the operations and monitoring committee.

One representative from each of the two community boards will be on each committee and will have voting rights.


The Rotorua Lakes Council has begun its meeting this morning paying tribute to former colleagues Mita Mohi and Fred Whata, who both died recently.

Yesterday's death of Bay of Plenty Regional councillor Awanui Black was also mentioned with sadness.

The full council meeting got underway at 9.30am with an agenda of items including the proposed Hemo Gorge sculpture, an Easter trading policy, a review of the pokies policy, a councillors code of conduct and the council committee composition.