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Source: Taxpayers Union

18 FEBRUARY 2021FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWellington Mayor Andy Foster’s proposal to sell half of the Council’s ownership of the earthquake-prone central library is a welcome step in the right direction, but should be taken further, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.Union spokesman and Wellington ratepayer Louis Houlbrooke says, “The political sensitivities of Wellington City Councillors make them too conflicted to sensibly manager property. The safest path for ratepayers is for the Council to divest itself from its white elephants like the central library. Selling the library building and its site would allow a private developer to make a rational judgment on whether to strengthen the building or clear the site and build something new.”“A full sale of the property would net the Councils tens of millions, and save $180 million in planned strengthening works. That would make a big difference for ratepayers currently facing a decade of nasty rate hikes.”“The solution to Councillors’ library woes is right under their nose. The temporary pop-up library programme is working well, and can simply be made permanent. With libraries shifting toward digital services, there is less of a need to have everything under one roof in a grand central building owned by Council. Crucially, property rental for pop-ups can be scaled up or down depending on the Council’s financial situation and demand for library services.”“While Andy Foster is in the mood for privatisation, he should also look at the Convention Centre currently under construction. This could be sold and rented by the Council on an as-needed basis.”