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Wgtn spending more for 'fish' movie museum

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/08/2016

Wellington city councillors have unanimously decided to pour a further $16 million into getting a flasher "fish" building for its new movie museum.

They voted behind closed doors to spend $150m on Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor's Movie Museum and Convention Centre, rather than another design, which it had consulted on, which would have cost $135m.

The extra cost comes from "the aspirational facade design" and other design elements with the councillors claiming the project will attract secondary investment and increase the rating base.

"The operational costs over the first 10 years will be similar ... however the benefits will be far greater," said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

"It will be truly spectacular and globally recognisable. International visitors will take selfies in front of this spectacular building, which will attract even more people to our city. We're creating the heritage of tomorrow."

The councillors say construction will deliver a $44m boost to the Wellington economy and ongoing annual benefits of $38m in GDP, she says.

The hope is many of the 300,000 tourists who visit Matamata's Hobbiton - many from overseas - will be tempted to drive nearly 500km further to visit the museum.

The museum's project director George Hickton says they are still designing and working out costings for the content and fit-out of the project.

"When we get to the end of that phase, we hope to share more about the vision for the museum interior of what will be a dynamic new building."

Early indications were that the museum would cost $30 to $40 to visit.

The museum is one of several big ticket items the council is considering spending cash on, including an airport runway extension, a tech hub and a large-scale performance arena.

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