Dunedin City Council to spend $8000 on Ed Sheeran street art

Dunedin City Council has attracted criticism for spending $8000 on a street mural of Ed Sheeran.

Sheeran's set to perform down south over Easter, and to celebrate, the council's marketing arm has commissioned a local artist to paint a picture of the international popstar.

"We deemed that this is going to be an appropriate use of some of that money for us," Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie says.

Dunedin is known for its street art, which encourages people to explore the city by foot. But most pieces have been funded by building owners or private donations.

The Taxpayers' Union says that's the issue.

"The council could have found a private sponsor for this kind of thing," communications officer Louis Houlbrooke told Newshub.

"There's no reason that ratepayers should have to fork out to promote the tour of an international popstar."

Mr Houlbrooke says it reflects a culture of waste, as the council is planning rates hikes of almost 7 percent.

But Mr Christie says it could encourage visitors to promote the city on social media.

"We want them to engage with more than just the concert," he says.

"We want them to be sending their images hopefully with the Ed Sheeran street art all around the world.

"If we can get Ed taking a photo with this street art we'd be pretty pleased."

The abstract design has been approved by Sheeran's promoters and will feature the singer and his body art.

The street art is due to be completed by early next week.

Sheeran will perform in Auckland and Dunedin later this month.