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.