Surely there is a better way of commemorating former Auckland Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson than by erecting a boring, static, bronze statue in Aotea Square. Two things Robbie was not - boring or static.

My vote is for a nice bubbly fountain instead.

The statue project is being led by local politician Mike Lee and political historian Graham Bush. They want to mark Robbie's contribution to the city; as a campaigner in the 1950s against releasing the city's sewage into the Waitemata Harbour, as a city councillor, as mayor for 18 years, and chairman and member of sundry other boards and bodies.

Their plan is to hire British-based sculptor Anthony Stones, whose statuary includes Lord Freyberg in Freyberg Place, Peter Fraser in Wellington, Jean Batten at Auckland International Airport and Captain Cook in Gisborne.

The work will cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

Of whose money? The official report talks ominously and vaguely about "funding options from a range of public and private sources, including Watercare, Auckland Regional Council and public donations."

This doesn't include transport, insurance, installation, maintenance and other incidental costs.

If we do find the money, the Robbie statue will be the first erected in honour of a past mayor. Well almost. The Father of Auckland, Sir John Logan Campbell, does have a combined statue and fountain in his honour at Cornwall Park and he was briefly mayor from April to July 1901.

But the statue has nothing to do with that fleeting moment as mayor. It was about his generosity as a benefactor.

Logan Campbell is one of few prominent people so honoured.

Sir George Grey is another, along with a recent addition - war hero Lord Freyberg. A rather eccentric likeness of Kiri Te Kanawa by sculptor Terry Stringer exists within the Aotea Centre. Queen Victoria and Robbie Burns also have statues.

Lord Auckland, who never set foot in the city that bears his name, turned up a few years ago, as I recall, an uninvited refugee from Calcutta, or was it Bombay? He'd once lorded it over that part of the world but in post-colonial times the locals had no further use for his image and kindly thought of us. We thought it churlish to say no so provided a home in a flower bed outside the city administration building.

The reality is, we Aucklanders are not big on erecting graven images of our heroes and betters. Our tall-poppy creed decrees we keep them honest and in place during their lifetimes. So it doesn't make much sense to throw up a statue glorifying them once any risk of them becoming big-headed has passed.

We prefer naming places after our worthies instead. There's Campbell Park, Hugh Watt Drive and Dove-Myer Robinson Park - once known as the Parnell Rose Gardens.

If Dr Bush and others want another memorial to Robbie - and can find the money to pay for it - who am I to object? But Anthony Stones' heroic-realism seems such a product of 19th century imperialism. Robbie was a stirrer and an anti-Establishment troublemaker. That was his appeal. To lock up that spirit in bronze seems wrong.

Why not a busy, chaotic, water fountain instead? Saving the waters of the Waitemata from sewage got Robbie into politics. Modernising Auckland's drainage and water supply were key triumphs of his career. So a fountain is appropriate.

It would also improve the city, something that Robbie would surely have approved of. The recent Britomart redesign contest proved that Aucklanders like decorative water features. A Robbie fountain would be a good start.

It would also make use of an asset we're soon going to have a surplus of. Waikato River water.