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Destination Coromandel (Not Hauraki!)

Something that has been flying under the radar for far too long is the final decision by Hauraki District Council regarding its continued participation in the operation of Destination Coromandel. Readers will be aware of the flagging of its intention to discontinue the relationship from my November post on the matter - Quid Pro Quo (2).

This followed an outburst of mutual antagonism at a previous meeting of the Economic Development Committee in which John Tregidga made quite clear that he would brook no criticism from Leach or anyone else regarding the state of the Hauraki Rail Trail accounts, and implementation of Audit Office recommendations. The notification of its intent to review the DC relationship followed shortly after, but nothing else has occurred since.

But the paper to be delivered by Benjamin Day at Tuesday's meeting of the EDC gives an indication oif the acceptance of the fact that the withdrawal is a fait accompli. Day indicates in that report on the Thames Information Centre Funding Agreement that:

"Hauraki District Council has not confirmed their funding of DC through their LTP process to date."

If Mr Day was unable to establish as of 15 May (the date of his Report) exactly what was in the Hauraki DC LTP, then he is simply incapable of doing his job. That document is required to be available to the public, and all he has to do is look it up on the net, or even, horror of horrors - ask for it!

Both the draft agreements submitted for Thames and Whitianga Information Centres make no mention of Hauraki's involvement, and would appear a clear acceptance of the inevitable withdrawal of Huaraki from the current arrangement. 

The net result will be that our Council will be required to cough up at least an additional $150,000 (Hauraki's share of the current cost) to enable Destination Coromandel to operate. I trust that this additional impost has been allowed for in our LTP and Annual Plan, because it is quite significant. 

What is even more significant is that Hauraki will inevitably be running its own tourism promotion, and that will be unlikely to include any promotion relating to the Peninsula. The question that remains to be answered relates to the just what changes have been signalled by Destination Coromandel in relation to its own planning for the next and following years to take account of this change, or is it fondly proceeding in the understanding that Hauraki will remain part of the mix after 30 June.  

It may be time for a re-think all round, but the very nature of the current relationship with DC means that TCDC may well be the last to know, with reporting requirements having being reduced to an annual report. 

In fact, we currently know very little of the workings of this Council Controlled Company since its advent with Leach's 'coup' in 2011. I have no doubt that all is well, and that there has been a financial turnaround since it replaced Tourism Coromandel,  but up to date audited accounts would constitute a reassurance. 

Perhaps the Economic Development Committee will get an update on Tuesday, along with an analysis of the effect of Hauraki's putative withdrawal. That would be nice, but don't hold your breath! 




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