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Friday
Aug012014

Leadfoot Festival Gets Rate-payer Funding

An event called the Leadfoot Festival is to get rate-payer funding in the form of a $50,000 Major Event grant made through the Economic Development Committee on 18 July.

This will no doubt require Council endorsement - or will it? On the basis that this Committee has being given the ability to spend up to $100,000 at any one time, it is questionable whether Council has any say in the matter. This may become clearer at the next Council Meeting on 13 August. 

Quite apart from the appropriateness of this Committee having the ability to spend our rates in this manner, one would have question the propriety of funding being provided for what is a limited entry event on the private property of Rod Millen at Hahei.

It is quite likely of course that this event will constitute a boon for local Hahei business, but when the event is advertised as being accessible by only a limited number of public through the issuing of invitations along with tickets, one has to question whether the allocation of such a proportion of our Events budget for such a purpose is either fair or appropriate to all rate-payers. And surely that is the most important criteria that should concern this Committee.

It is impossible to discover the purpose of the Grant because the applications have been deemed to be “commercially sensitive” – a now frequent designation that may need to be tested through the Office of the Ombudsman. One thing is certain, Mr Rod Millen has the final say on whom, and who may not attend the event. The media application appears to require more information than is required for a passport, so you get the message that this is a very exclusive event.

And woe betide anyone trying to bring so much as a sandwich through the gates. Stall holders appear very well catered for while the names of any beneficiaries of the event, if any, appear absent. Also, just who is responsible for Health and Safety arrangements – in other words, is it an event sanctioned and supervised by MotorSport NZ? If not (and there is no mention of the event on its website calendar), is our Council incurring any liability through its role as a public sponsor? I trust that all these issues have been thoroughly examined by our unelected Economic Development Committee.

It it interesting to note that Council was anxious to secure Rod Millen’s permission to run a part of Leach’s Cathedral Cove Walkway over a section of his property, permission for which he had, at least until recently, been unwilling to grant. It will be interesting to see whether this impasse has now been broken, not that any connection with this grant is suggested or implied.   

It would appear that a number of other applicants were left at the starting gate, but not our Thames Mind-sports Event which received $5,000 - it is clear that this event ran at a substantial loss last year, and it would be interesting to know just how it is proposed to change this situation around. I wonder whether our high powered Committee brought its undoubted business skills to bear on that problem, or is it just regarded as a cheap sop to keep Thames on side?

Applicants for the funding were:

Targa NZ

Thames Art Society

Thunder Beach

Scallop Festival

Spirit of Coromandel

NZ Water Ski- Twin Rivers

Surf 2 Firth

Mindsports

WetnWild

Thames Heritage Event Trust

Thames Valley Swim Academy

Hot Water Brewing

Leadfoot Festival

I have requested further information regarding the allocations - unless there are further ‘confidential’ designations, I will post it as soon as I get it.  

 

 


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