Major Event Fund
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 4:33PM
Bill Barclay

With this very late presser, our Council announces that applications for the second round of the Major Event Fund allocation is open, and closes in one week! It is interesting that Gary Towler has become the spokesperson on these matters following his apparent appointment as the "Economic Development Head" - clearly Day is being distanced from this role, and groomed at a higher level as Deputy Chief Executive. It has obviously come out in response to recent discourse on the Millen Leadfoot petrol-head Festival -

"We are investing in an event that will promote the Coromandel on the world stage, not because of the fame of the organisers," he added.

Note that Mr Towler is very careful not to exacerbate that situation by detailing the $40,000, though he details the amounts allocated to all other previous applicants. Nor are any details provided regarding the manner in which the $40,000 is to be used. The remainder of the presser is a mixture of flannel and justification - i.e.

"We are no longer the one stop soft touch," says Mr Towler.

and: "Events do not need to be run on council property."

The latter is clearly to forestall complaints regarding the use of the $40,000 on the Millen property - as if this is in any way comparable with Thames Mindsports being held in hotels and halls.

Why the sudden need to open and close new applications for $45,000 that "has been made available"?

The level of disquiet in the community over the operation of the Unelected Economic Development Committee has obviously got through thick skins of some of the people who run our Council. The setting up and operation of these funds is a common source of concern in many councils, but was previously kept under a very tight rein by our Council. 

It is most concerning that they now appear to be falling into the category of 'slush' funds where staff have far too great a say on how they are administered. Just look at the "Related Information" down the right hand column of the presser. And as we have have seen, the potential for political patronage is just too great. 

It is interesting to note that the Ombudsman has this very day notified me that he intends to undertake the investigation I requested some months ago into the allocation of $20,000 made to Guru Digital earlier this year, apparently contrary to the intent and wording of the actual Council resolution. 

Many of the related activities of this current Council  need close examination. The sheer arrogance and hubris that has been evident for far too long needs to be brought out into the daylight, and bad habits nipped in the bud!

"All power corrupts ..............................!"



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