Information Centres
Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 3:27PM
Bill Barclay

A related matter concerns the future of the five information centres that draw some $250,000 of ratepayer funding between them, and not on a particularly logical basis. The infighting over access to resources has been unseemly over the years, but the ability of staff to stir up local support has protected them from attempts to cut them down to size, or rationalise their operations or allocations.

Most have supplemented their funding with other related activities – even to the extent of selling souvenirs, but principally by acting as agent for accomodation, bus lines, the AA and Transport New Zealand. Administration has been patchy at best, to downright scary. 

Mayor Glenn Leach has been flying a kite (again!) recently regarding the need to return the centres to total local control, and by inference, local funding. This would be in accordance with the new local control philosophy being promoted by Whangamata Board Chair Keith Johnston.

But as with numerous attempts made by past administrations to achieve this end, he seems to have run into some problems, not the least of which surround just how local funding (through separate local rating) would be accepted, particularly in the Tairua/Pauanui, and Coromandel Wards, which are currently subsidised by the other wards in regard to this activity.

The Pauanui Information Centre in particular is really a community advice bureau for most of the year, but its existence is jealously guarded by the Pauanui R & R which complains bitterly at the level of rate income from their town not being reflected in their level of services – a moot point!

Mayor Leach has toned down the rhetoric, and may be having second thoughts about kicking the sacred cow into touch. Time will tell, but I suspect that the Centres in twelve months will substantially resemble those of today, with the same shaky finances, and parochial support. 




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