Central Otago Mirror - - BUILDING & HOME RENOVATION -

A day out with the kids can be fun. It can also be ex­pen­sive.

For­tu­nately for Auck­land fam­i­lies, they of­ten get quite a bit of help foot­ing the bill... from ratepay­ers.

We’ve all had now our rates ‘‘ex­plainer’’ let­ters from Auck­land Coun­cil, so we can see that in the year to the end of June 2018, ‘‘parks, com­mu­nity and life­style’’ will cost $578 mil­lion, while another $189m will be spent on ‘‘eco­nomic and cul­tural de­vel­op­ment’’.

Hav­ing chil­dren, I reckon I’ve en­joyed a de­cent chunk of ratepayer sub­sidi­s­a­tion when it comes to days out, in­clud­ing to Auck­land’s ‘‘big six’’ ratepay­er­sub­sidised at­trac­tions.

They are Auck­land War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum, Auck­land Zoo, Star­dome, MOTAT (Mu­seum of Trans­port and Tech­nol­ogy), Auck­land Art Gallery, and the Mar­itime Mu­seum.

Com­bined, they got just over $57m from ratepay­ers in the 12 months to the end of June, fig­ures Get value for money for your rates Use the parks, beaches, walks, and sub­sidised ameni­ties

Pack lunch, and a wa­ter bot­tle.

sent to me by Paul Brewer from Re­gional Fa­cil­i­ties Auck­land showed.

These in­sti­tu­tions play an im­por­tant part in city life, and store amaz­ing na­tional trea­sures, but the op­er­a­tional fund­ing per vis­i­tor can be high.

For a fam­ily of four vis­it­ing the zoo, tick­ets cost $76. Okay, an­i­mals cost a bit to look af­ter, and the zoo is great, even if it doesn’t pos­sess a gi­ant anteater, or a camel. Fund­ing in 2016/17 was $2.9m, or $4.25 for each of the 683,031 vis­i­tors. The to­tal cost for the fam­ily of four of $93. Vis­i­tors pay the lion’s share.

The Mar­itime Mu­seum (160,000 vis­its, fund­ing $2.1m) is free to Auck­lan­ders, so the to­tal cost of $52.50 is paid by ratepay­ers, un­less you want a trip on the har­bour in a her­itage scow, or are from else­where.

At Star­dome (159,519 vis­i­tors, fund­ing of $1.4m), the to­tal cost was $35.10 with ratepayer fund­ing of around $8.78 per vis­i­tor and ticket price of $6.

At Auck­land Art Gallery (521,402 vis­i­tors, fund­ing of $7.9m) has free en­try to ev­ery­one. The to­tal cost for a fam­ily of four is $60.60, or $15.15 each, but it’s all paid for by ratepay­ers.

En­try for Auck­lan­ders is also free at the War Me­mo­rial Mu­seum (890,500 vis­its), which is funded by a levy on coun­cil rates. It was $29.8m in the past fi­nan­cial year, Brewer told me, which is $33.46 per vis­i­tor, mak­ing the to­tal cost $133.86 for a fam­ily of four.

Motat (270,000 vis­i­tors, $13.1m fund­ing) is also funded by a levy on rates which added up to per vis­i­tor fund­ing of $48.50 or $194 per fam­ily of four. Add to that the fam­ily pass ticket price of $45, and the cost is a rather im­pres­sive $239.

As a high-cul­ture buff, I love the mu­seum, and the art gallery, and even a land-lub­ber like me can’t imag­ine a City of Sails with­out a mar­itime mu­seum, but I find sums ratepay­ers are putting in per vis­i­tor quite high.

I reckon rais­ing two young chil­dren means I am a net re­cip­i­ent of sub­si­dies from other house­holds. Hav­ing got the ac­tual fig­ures, I’ll be mak­ing more use of the big six, to get more value for my rates.

But be­ware. The rule of daytrip­ping is take wa­ter and food with you, or you risk dou­bling the cost of your trip. There’s no ratepayer sub­si­dies for your food bill.

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