Wellingtonians Lumped with the Bill for Exorbitant Heritage Pet Projects
Responding to Wellington city’s earthquake-strengthening crisis, which sees the city on track to upgrade just 20% of vulnerable buildings, Taxpayers’ Union Policy Adviser, James Ross, said:
“Hundreds of millions of dollars are being burnt upgrading earthquake-prone buildings, whether the owners want to keep the building or not. Heritage status binds the hands of owners, giving them no choice but to sink unbelievable amounts of capital into non-profitable projects.
“In dozens of cases, the owner is Wellington City Council itself. For just one example, a town hall described as of “dubious merit both historically and architecturally” is draining up to $329 million of ratepayers’ money on a gold-plated revamp at a time where billions in savings are needed to repair years of negligence to critical water infrastructure.
“Neither private owners nor cash-strapped ratepayers should be forced into exorbitant vanity projects such as these against their will. Councils must have the ability to de-list heritage buildings where preserving these is not in the public interest.”