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Friday
Aug012014

Economic Development Committee

Ben Day's Operation Report to the Committee at its meeting on 18 July contained some pearlers that bear repeating here.

In relation to the Thames Timber receivership, he notes that:

"Thames Coromandel District Council already has rates remissions available for residents struggling with rates, and the Mayor is investigating a hardship fund for both Thames Timber staff and residents affected by the June storm."

That as far as I am aware is the first mention of these two possibilities. Watch this space, because the level of financial commitment being built up around this Council is beginning to become a real concern. 

Then:

"Business Grants

Council approved the Economic Development Committee to administer the 2014/15 Business Grant process and also retrospectively approved the 2013/14 awarding of the business grant." 

 

What this indicates is that Mr Day realised that the 2013/14 allocation was illegal inasmuch as it was made as the result of his decision alone, and that the grant to Guru Digital was never approved at the time by Council, was in fact illegal, and required a "retrospective approval."

 

I have had no reply to date to my letter to the Ombudsman dated 8 July 2014, but it would seem that we have the answer we required without his/her intervention. 

 

Then:

 

"Leadfoot Festival

Thames Coromandel District Council staff and members of the Economic Development committee have been working closely with the Millen's during May/June in order that the event is structured securely and its future as an international event is possible"

 

That appears to provide proof of the direct involvement of Council staff in this private Festival. At the risk of being accused of being 'anti-development', I will state here and now that in my view this involvement is  inappropriate, unfair and unjustified.

 

And:

 

"The Economic Development Programme Manager position was re advertised in mid-June. This is the third attempt at recruiting the 'right person'. Closing date is the 4 July 2014 with interviews on the 10 and 11 July 2014.   

The opportunity exists for additional operational support to be recruited should the Economic Development Programme Manager position be filled under budget. If this is possible the focus will be on events management support, research administration and developing community partnerships".

 

The expansion of this bureaucracy proceeds apace, and Mr Day's need for "additional operational support" appears limitless. Where will all end?

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

How is it that "Economic Development" is not about the creation of jobs.
From Wikipedia..
Economic development is the sustained, concerted actions of policy makers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area. Economic development can also be referred to as the quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy. Such actions can involve multiple areas including development of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives. Economic development differs from economic growth. Whereas economic development is a policy intervention endeavor with aims of economic and social well-being of people, economic growth is a phenomenon of market productivity and rise in GDP. Consequently, as economist Amartya Sen points out: “economic growth is one aspect of the process of economic development.”

All the items considered under "Economic Development" appear to be events rather than something that might employ a redundant timber mill worker, or attract someone here to start a business.
The TCDC facebook page is getting more and more comments from residents who want the council to do things to encourage EMPLOYMENT and the "Economic Development Committee" appear to be as far away from the accepted definition as it is possible to be. Our elected representatives and the staff they employ seem to have created some kind of Doomsday Cult. In this region where the biggest industry is dope growing, simply determined by who has the newest vehicles, is mortgage free, under 50, and has limited visible means of support, we have an untapped resource of local entrepreneurs who may do better at coming up with ideas that will create jobs.

If, as you say, the rates have been kept down by cutting out or defering long term projects, and maybe some borrowing, they could be halved by getting back to basics, getting rid of the layers of bureaucracy, and becoming a unitary authority, with a single layer elected council. No handouts to wealthy "mates".

August 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHippie of the North

'Hippie' makes some good points, especially around the notion that the E.D.C. needs to spend a little more time developing options that provide opportunities for long term employment.
The creation of 'events' is a good way to bring in some 'outside' money to the area, and so, on that basis, does deserve further work.
But, the health of an area depends, I think, on a balance in the age demographic, so that we need to spend time developing employment and business models that provide opportunities for young people to 'flow in at the bottom' as it were; that is, to get a start in employment. Typically this start is often provided by small and medium sized enterprises and the TCDC does not seem to want to grapple with how this support might look. Kopu is a good example, in as as much as it is a great little industrial area that provides manufacturing and service jobs that allow for some youth employment - but, if you talk with people who know what goes on in Kopu, as far as TCDC intervention is concerned, you might discover, that TCDC is anything but helpful. TCDC would do well to consider how best it could help our bigger industries; for example, Thames Timber [bit late maybe now], Kopine and Carter Holt Harvey, to keep their competitive edge and extend the opportunities for youth to go into apprenticeships. Lobbying our local M.P. and central government for relevant change to protect local industry might be a start. If Ben and the E.D.C. had a regular S.M.E. / industry forum to ventilate issues and strategies, then some kind of strategy might emerge. Has the E.D.C. talked with Thames main street business and discovered the very frail nature of business revenues I wonder? Maybe TCDC / E.D.C. also need to dwell on the changing ethnic demographic of business ownership in Thames and the Peninsula are reflect on any implications this might have for future employment opportunities.
I am doubtful that we will see anything useful emerge from the current crop of incumbents, as they seem to know so much more than the rest of us....

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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