Taxpayer-funded $550k sculpture in Kerikeri labelled a waste by critics

Source: 1News

A little over half a million dollars of taxpayer money gifted to the Kerikeri community to build a sculpture has been labelled a waste of money by some.

The $550,000 grant is one of many shovel-ready projects that will be funded by the Provincial Growth Fund.

“It's a sculpture that's trying to make people more aware about climate change,” its creator Chris Booth told 1 NEWS.

Boulders on the artwork will shift in angle depending on how the country is doing.

However, not everyone in the local community is happy with its price tag.

“There are so many other things that the money could be put towards,” one person said.

“I don’t see how it would give any value to the town or to the community,” said another.

To meet the requirements of the Provincial Growth Fund the application must demonstrate overall value, which can include environmental and community benefits.

The project won't create any new full-time jobs but will require contractors.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says any work is welcome right now.

“Contract work means keeping people in jobs,” he said.

“Firms are struggling with uncertainty in the Bay of Islands after Covid-19 and the importance of this relatively small project - when you consider the millions that have been allocated to the north - is it will give employment to firms.”