25 Feb 2014

Move to scuttle Hundertwasser project

10:10 am on 25 February 2014

A group of Whangarei councillors is taking action to scuttle the Northland city's controversial Hundertwasser gallery.

The council has had the project on its books for years based on a design by the late Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, best known locally for the toilets he built that put Kawakawa on the tourist map.

The council was planning to build the colourful gallery if it could raise the last $3 million it needs from charities. However, a majority of eight councillors have filed a notice of motion for next week's council meeting to have the project deleted from the annual plan.

Mayor Sheryl Mai says they should not be jumping the gun because the council is expecting to soon hear if the Lotteries Board will help with the funding. She says members of the public should have their say.

"Of the $13 million project we've got $12 million in place. So it's just that balance of funding that's required to be able to take it to our community and decide whether or not we then go ahead."

Councillor Phil Halse, who strongly supports the project, says it's time the council made a decision and moved on. He says the motion to scrap it may yet be amended - but it will at least have the effect of forcing a debate and decision.

The Hundertwasser public toilets opened in 1998.

The Hundertwasser public toilets opened in 1998. Photo: PHOTO NZ