I’m pleased to announce that Napier’s beleaguered Museum, Theatre, Gallery’s (“MTG”) problems have apparently all gone away!
You’ll be excused for not noticing the change as, while publicised, it did seem to be done all hush-hush.
I’ve previously mentioned the wildly inaccurate consultant’s visitor number calculations, woeful storage capacity issues, over-priced entry fees, staff restructures, job losses and all the associated bad press and public opinion that go with it, but before these problems could “go gentle into that quiet night”, there was one final financial flaw to face – Napier City Council announced recently that the facility’s operating costs were expected to be $500,000 more than budgeted.
Half a million dollars!
That’s TWO Dibble sculptures worth! 😉
While a fair bit of that budget blow-out is from continuingly lack-lustre visitor numbers, a fair amount would also result from the workforce restructure NCC instituted last year and pay-outs for redundancies and the like.
But we needn’t worry about that money any more – It’s all been fixed financially, after Napier City Council’s Finance Committee (Which actually includes ALL COUNCILLORS) elected to retire MTG’s debt of $5,000,000. You read right – not just this year’s blowout of $500,000, but the WHOLE debt of FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!
The money – YOUR RATEPAYER MONEY – was re-distributed from the proceeds of land sales in Parklands.
The council’s spin team evidently decided that a clean slate was required – All the bad decisions, big debts and former staff have gone and everyone can start afresh with no memory of the past.
So it isn’t too surprising to find our local paper, The Hawke’s Bay Today, appeared to give almost too-glowing coverage of MTG’s new director Laura Vodanovich’s appointment, arrival and first few days in office.
The paper has even given the new director her own column in their weekend edition.
That’s an awful lot of support for someone who’s barely been in the job long enough to get their chair warm, let alone turn MTG’s fortunes (literally and figuratively) around. I don’t remember Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins being accorded such support.
I wonder what the turn-around time is these days between pandering and being on the endangered species list?