Welcome to Tauranga - the city where roads take priority over everything else.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it sure feels that way to a die-hard museum supporter like myself.

It wasn't unexpected that the city-wide referendum would go against spending $20 million of ratepayer funds towards building a museum in the city.

For some reason, there's a perception in this city that museums are unused wastes of space.


I'm guessing that's because the people who think this way don't visit museums themselves and therefore think no one does, a pretty selfish way of looking at things from my point of view.

The other point people like to make is that a museum would be nice, but roads should be fixed first.

As if the council can only do one thing at a time and can't start a new project until the first is completed.

For this reason, what was surprising to me was the comparative lack of outcry against the council's call to spend $35m on a new CBD library.

To be clear, I'm not against this. Libraries, like museums, are fantastic community hubs filled with scores of information for a hungry mind.

But why was there such an outcry at the possibility of spending $20m on a museum, but barely an eyelid batted at $35m on something we've already got three of?

There was even less fuss made about the huge investment into cycleways - up to $100m. Five times the amount the council was looking at spending on a museum.

I'm glad to see investment in anything that will improve our traffic issues, but it didn't have to come at the expense of a museum.


It didn't have to be this way, Tauranga. We could have had both.

With all the other spending that's been agreed on, a museum would have been a drop in the bucket.