Napier's Mayor is confident the city's aquarium won't close by the end of 2022, but won't rule out closure as a future option after the Government confirmed it will not contribute funding to the new $77 million aquarium.
The council has been pushing the Government almost half of the funding required for "Project Shapeshifter", which proposed to demolish the existing National Aquarium building for a new facility.
Napier City Council will now consider other options for the aquarium's future over the next year and community consultation will take place next year.
In 2019 the Project Shapeshifter business case was put forward and Napier City Council proposed to contribute $10 million, hoping the Government would fund $35m, with the rest coming from other funding providers.
The existing building would have been demolished and a new National Aquarium and Oceans Centre built.
Wise said the Central Government decision was "disappointing".
"We are the National Aquarium of New Zealand and we know for example the likes of Te Papa receive significant support from Central Government, the museum in Rotorua has just received grant funding ... and yet we're told that there was no funding available for us."
Wise said she did not receive any reasoning as to why the project didn't receive the funding.
In 2019 it was reported that the aquarium has approximately three to five years' operating life left and could close as early as the end of 2022, but Wise said yesterday this "is not even a potential eventuality".
"We've got $8 million in the long-term plan over the next few years to ensure that we can maintain the facility and keep the wildlife that are there, the sea life that are there, safe.
"Closure at the end of 2022 is absolutely not even on the cards."
However, she would not rule out closure being an option in future.
"I wouldn't be able to say [closure] is not an option at all, I think it is something we have to consider."
But she did not think at this point it would be a decision supported by the council and community without "some pretty significant evidence" to suggest it is the best option.
A council spokesperson said no specific repairs are needed but the current aquarium requires ongoing maintenance to meet the required standards and expectations for animal welfare.
Napier City councillor Ronda Chrystal, who has a background in tourism, said it would "be a shame" to see the aquarium close and while "some locals think it's not because it's always been there", it is an attraction for Napier's visitors.
She said Project Shapeshifter was an "amazing project" but was not something the council could do without Government funding or by philanthropists with a large amount of money to give.
The aquarium has been doing really well since the Covid-19 lockdown last year, "way better than expected," she said.
A council spokesperson said the aquarium has annual funding targets in the council's rating policy which are 60 per cent met by fees and charges and 40 per cent met through rates.
The aquarium meets the targets each year and as at March 31 had a revenue of $2.5 million for the first three quarters of 2020/21, which is similar to previous years.
Chrystal said she would like to see "a bit of a revamp" to keep the aquarium going, not on a grand scale like Project Shapeshifter, but to have something that is "worthwhile for people paying to come see".