I had a chuckle over the results of the Hundertwasser Art Centre survey.
I'm not belittling it - in fact I think it's probably the most accurate survey Whangarei has had. There were great lengths gone to by the survey company (and you'd want them to, given the cost involved) regarding the demographics of the participants.
The result - 31 per cent hate the idea of the proposed centre, 22 per cent don't like it. Eleven per cent would love it here!
Seventeen per cent like the idea, and 13 per cent are yeah-nah ... and in the "don't care, sorry what were you asking ... Hunter who?"
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Why did I chuckle? Because I think if you surveyed Whangarei residents on any new development requiring the spending of ratepayer funding, you'd get the same result. In other words, my view is it tells us more about the attitude of the average Whangarei ratepayer than it does about this particular project.
Regardless, a good politician will use this survey to suit their own particular argument. If I was in the negative camp, I'd be saying 72 per cent don't want it. If I was in the positive camp, I'd be saying opinion was split, that is, 53 per cent don't want it - the rest are not opposed.
If we had a pre-construction survey on the Northland Sports Stadium which was one of the last big projects like this to split local opinion - I reckon we'd have a similar result.
The HAC survey hasn't provided a definitive answer.
Which is good, because if it did, then we wouldn't need politicians - we'd just need bureacrats surveying the city each time we needed to spend public funds, and then following the letter of the survey's law. We'd get nothing done.
So the debate will continue.
Personally, I'm still waiting to see detail of the ongoing costs that opponents keep scaremongering with. Mainly because it's important detail that could potentially change my mind on the project. Show me the money, I say. Opponents would probably say the same thing when it comes to paying for the centre's construction, - there you go, something we all agree on!