The chairman of the Hundertwasser Foundation in Vienna has lashed out at alleged attempts to misrepresent the foundation's support for the Town Basin proposal.
In a stream of colourful vitriol, Joram Harel suggests that "opportunistic, self-centred and short-sighted politicians" are trying to undermine the latest attempt to get a Hundertwasser building at the nominated site in Whangarei.
Mr Harel said comments he wrote to a "concerned Whangarei citizen" have been taken out of context and are now being circulated publicly for political gain by opponents to Prosper Northland's Hundertwasser Wairau Maori Arts Centre.
Far from withdrawing its backing, the foundation is fully informed about the initiative and fully supports it - but no longer has a relationship with Whangarei District Council, Mr Harel said.
Councillor Greg Martin's name appears on top of the email exchanges that have been circulated to other parties in what Prosper Northland's spokesman Ian Reeves calls a blatant attempt to discredit the group's proposal.
Mr Martin said when he himself received a copy of the emails in question he merely passed them on to other council members and parties to keep them informed. He said he was not responsible for what happened to them next. It began with Whangarei resident Norma Smith writing to the Hundertwasser Non Profit Foundation on March 25, asking why the arts centre could only be built on the Town Basin site. Ms Smith said the proposal had caused wide division among the people of Whangarei, and ratepayers did not want to pay for it.
She asked the foundation to confirm whether it had withdrawn from the "HAC project for Whangarei".
Mr Harel replied the same day that the "valid, legal agreement" - where the foundation had "offered the unique, exclusive art centre at no cost, as a gift to the people of Whangarei" - had been terminated by the council. "We have nothing to do with it any more".
Since his first email became public, and he believes wrongly interpreted, Mr Harel has come back strongly in an open letter, saying he had been referring only to the foundation's former relationship with the council.
"I replied that we have nothing to do with these agreements and offers any more after the one-sided breach and cancelling of valid contracts by the council. Do not be fooled by opportunistic, self-centred and short-sighted politicians and unfounded false facts. If the council fails to take responsibility for your better future, you must do it yourself."