Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is proposing to boost funding to the financially struggling Auckland Art Gallery by about $2 million a year.

Goff today said the art gallery is a critical asset to the city and is proposing a $20m funding boost in the council's 10-year budget.

The move follows growing concerns about the gallery's operating budget being progressively cut from $12m in 2012 to $6.9m.

Last week, Aucklanders were asked to join a high-profile campaign to stave off the financial crisis facing the city's 125-year-old art gallery.

Save Our Gallery, which counts art lovers and gallery patrons Dame Jenny Gibbs and Chartwell Trust's Sue Gardiner among its founders, launched pART to raise awareness of the gallery's financial situation.

It has attracted 2000 supporters so far, including comedienne Michelle A'Court and fashion designer Karen Walker.

Save Our Gallery has released a series of images for Auckland Art Gallery lovers to take a selfie with and share on social media using the hashtag #saveourgallery.
Save Our Gallery has released a series of images for Auckland Art Gallery lovers to take a selfie with and share on social media using the hashtag #saveourgallery.

The group issued a statement, saying it's wonderful that Goff has acknowledged the underfunding of the gallery and is now engaging with calls to restore its operating budget.


"His announcement of a proposed $2m per year for the next ten years is a positive step in response to this underfunding which currently sees the gallery with an operating budget of $6.9m per annum. As any decision around the Long Term Plan requires the support of the majority of councillors, we think it remains important for the public who love the gallery to continue to publicly express their support for it."

Goff said the council was short of funding and the first priority had to be infrastructure to address congestion, poor water quality and the housing shortage.

"However, we cannot neglect the things which also make out city great to live in.

"I asked Auckland Art Gallery to make changes that would allow it to raise more revenue for itself. The gallery has agreed to do this and the $20 charge for international visitors could raise over a million dollars a year when it settles in.

"Around 60 per cent of visitors to the gallery are international visitors and I don't expect them to be subsidised by Auckland residents and ratepayers. Auckland Art Gallery is now operating in line with what most art institutes around the world do and what has been operating in the Auckland Museum for several years.

"I've talked to a number of councillors who tell me they support increased funding for the gallery. If the council adopts my proposal, this will go a long way to help ensure the gallery can be what it needs to be for Auckland."

The mayor's recommendation will be considered as part of the council's 10-year budget (2018-2028), which is being consulted with the public in March and will be agreed upon in May this year.

"The gallery has also benefited from philanthropists such as Julian and Josie Robertson and the efforts of passionate fundraisers such as Dame Jenny Gibbs.

"Auckland needs the art gallery to thrive and add vibrancy to it for us to be considered a world-class city. Its buildings are among the most beautiful in the city and its permanent collection and exhibitions are world class," said Goff.

Funding for the Auckland Art Gallery is provided by the council through its Regional Facilities Auckland organisation.