The Government has turned down an application for funding for a centre in Whangarei devoted to the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Whangarei District Council applied for $4 million from the Regional Museums Capital Fund for the project launched in February by the city's mayor, Stan Semenoff.
Associate Arts Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard says the Hundertwasser project doesn't meet the criteria at this stage.
She says the council needs to raise more funds and do more planning, as well as complete a design and get resource consent.
Ms Tizard says plans to develop the Whangarei Museum might meet the criteria, but the museum would also have to raise more money before applying to Government.
Meanwhile, the future of the Whangarei Heritage Museum is in doubt, after a council decision to review its funding.
The museum board launched plans this week for a $9 million makeover of its old buildings.
But Whangarei's mayor, Stan Semenoff, is upset by the board's plan to apply for a capital grant from the ASB Community Trust.
Mr Semenoff says Whangarei's priority for charitable funding should be the Hundertwasser project.