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"Co-ordinate," or Die!

An interesting front page item on last Friday’s HH relating to a meeting at 5.30pm on 15 October called by Karl Edmonds (Totally Thames business group) and Mark Skelding (Transition Town Thames) to discuss better co-ordination of efforts to improve the Town. GBD is the venue.

The most interesting aspect of the story (by-lined by Cameron Massey) apart from stating that “the aim of the meeting was look at how community-organised events can be better funded by Council” relates to the following quote from Skelding:

“We’re concerned and disappointed at the significant sums of public money being directed at private events on private property.”

This clearly relates to the decision of the TCDC Unelected Economic Development Committee to throw a lazy $40k of ratepayer funding in the direction of multi-millionaire Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Rally, a matter that has been the subject of several posts on this blog.

Knowing how supportive our Mainstream Media (MSM) - HH and Coro FM are of our Mayor, and the reluctance to publish anything that may be construed as criticism, it is surprising, but encouraging that this reference made its way through the editing process.  But you may be sure that Leach will be keeping a very close watch on this meeting in order to make sure that adverse comment is responded to immediately in order to dampen down any build-up of concern amongst his support base.

There has already been a widespread reaction in the Whitianga area, and more is sure to emerge as the details of this outrageous piece of pork-barrel politics becomes more widely known.

The events surrounding the establishment of this Committee, completely outside the purview of Council, but with a $100,000 of rates to spend on any one project should normally invite  close examination by one of the oversight agencies, but they remain toothless. And the manner in which this $40,000 Millen Leadfoot Rally allocation was conceived merely exacerbates the situation.   

Despite some question marks over Skelding’s previous foray’s into community activism through the aegis of Transition Town Thames, this attempt  at getting better co-ordination on matters that directly affect this town in conjunction with Totally Thames appears well based. It should therefore attract wide support amongst a range of community groups.

However, the stated need to obtain “better funding of community organised events” needs to be tempered by the knowledge that such funding by TCDC has expanded substantially over recent years and in the life of this present Council. Next Monday, our Community Board will deal with applications totalling $37,745 for the $15,000 Community Events Fund, and $108,612 of applications for grants from the $25,000 Community Grants Fund.

Complaints about this level of funding will be easily deflected by the Mayor, and as well offer him an excellent opportunity to obfuscate on the $40,000 Major Events Grant to Mr Millen handled exclusively by the Unelected Economic Development Committee. He will also no doubt remind attendees that this funding comes from the pockets of rate-payers, and emphasize the need for prudence.  

Leach has already claimed in the ‘Informer’ that the Millen event “overwhelmingly” met the criteria set down for such events by Council, thus completely avoiding the issue surrounding the allocation to a private event on a private property – apparently not spelled out in the criteria. It is not “irrelevant” as he apparently blithely claimed at the Whitianga Community Board.

Opposition appears to be building to this allocation to Mr Millen’s Leadfoot petrol-head event that in all likelihood would have remained secret having passed through the UEDC in the absence of any discussion regarding its intended use. It was simply accompanied by a Report signed off by Ben Day indicating that it “complied with all the criteria.” I know this because I was the only outsider who attended, and reported on the meeting.




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Reader Comments (1)

The Leadfoot Rally funding has caused something of a stir already as you commented Bill.
One can only hope that news of this funding chicanery spreads far and wide so that there is a ground-swell of concern generated.
There are a number of Thames charitable groups who struggle to find funding sources for local events, who, having heard of the Leadfoot funding fiasco, are aghast that the inequity of TCDC event funding goes largely un-noticed.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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