Message board erected in Rotorua highlighting monumental waste
New Zealanders approaching the Hemo Gorge roundabout from the south will from today be greeted by an electronic message board warning motorists of the 12-metre 3D-printed monument to Government waste at the Te Hemo Gorge roundabout, where State Highway 5 meets State Highway 30.
The sign reads MONUMENTAL WASTE AHEAD / COST: $743,000 / AND COUNTING, and is an initiative of the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, installed by volunteers from the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers (RDRR).
Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, "This monument to waste was installed three years behind schedule and $240,000 over budget. But we understand the final bill will be even higher, once the costs of the botched installation are counted."
"The final product looks nothing like the grand concept drawings - in fact, ratepayers and taxpayers can barely see the sculpture because it's been erected below road level!"
"Sometimes the best antidote to government waste is sunlight. We're glad to expose to holiday period travelers how Rotorua District Lakes Council and the New Zealand Transport Authority have squandered public money while so many households struggle to make ends meet, and roads need basic maintenance."
“The monument looks a bit like flames going up into the air. It takes little imagination to see it’s taxpayer and ratepayer money going up in smoke.”
RDRR spokesman and local councillor Reynold Macpherson says, "The Council can't seriously expect ratepayers to tolerate year after year of rate hikes when we've now literally got a monument showing how that money is wasted. This ill-advised public art project risks putting our town on the map for all the wrong reasons."
Video of the sign in action can be viewed here, and an image of the site is here.
The Hemo Gorge sculpture was nominated in the local government category of the 2020 Jonesie Waste Awards.