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EDC Meeting Today

The Meeting commenced with Leach in the chair - Brent Page was off somewhere. One can only assume that his $1,100 plus meeting fee is forsaken in these circumstances. This is something that will need to be checked when the costs of this Committee are examined in due course. Remember these 'outsiders' are not on annual remuneration like elected members - they get paid a 'meeting fee.'

Then the DC Board Members who was removed at the last DC Meeting - Graham Osborne and Brent Page, and Leigh Hopper who was likewise dumped from the EDC were presented with framed certificates recognising their “outstanding” contributions. I can’t speak for the DC effort, but for the life of me I cannot understand what Hopper’s contribution was – I certainly did not observe anything of note.

There followed ‘hilarious banter' between Hopper & Leach about it recognising his ‘conflict of interest,’ or similar. I can’t say that I could see the joke, but everyone else dutifully laughed! The meeting that followed comprised mainly the usual Leach self-promotion, and back- slapping routine, aided and abetted by his ‘right-hand man’ Day who made it perfectly clear that the Major Event Funding program was entirely of his making – where you read “staff” in the recommendations, it really means Day in other words. The message is – “You better suck up to me if you want anything from Major Event Funding.”

Leach will no doubt deplore my criticising staff who have no way of replying, but Day literally sets himself up for criticism through over-use of the personal pronoun, so he will just have to grin and bear it.

The allocations were as follows:

       Illume Festival (Coromandel) Yr 1 - $15k, Yr 2 - $10k

       Brits on the Beach (Whagamata) Yr 1 - $12.5k, Yr 2 - $10k

       Steam Punk (Thames) Yr 1 - $15k, Yr 2 $10k

       Thunder Beach (Whitianga & All Over) – Yr 1 $10k, Yr 2 - $7k

       Hotwater Brewing Co. (Hahei) - $6k

       Mindsports (Thames) – Yr 1 – $15k, Yr 2 - $10k

       This totals some $68.5k in Year 1 – Balance $53k which will be allocated after a second round later   this year. Year 2 allocations were $103,000 – leaving $47,000)

Complaints from round the table, ignored as it turned out, concerned the fact that not enough / too many events were being funded, too much / too little funding was provided to each event. It was suggested that some of the ‘winners’ have been around for too long and have become reliant on the funding, just like the Scollop Festival was previously. But most wanted “more significant” allocations in one hit, and those allocated the dosh then left to “sink or swim,” or at least that was the message I got from all the input.

The motion was adopted without any changes.

Several organisations will have their ‘noses out of joint’ including the Mercury Bay Art Escape, and Music Festival, the Thames Heritage Festival, the Pohutakawa Festival, and Coast to Coast Run. You will notice the familiar names. I guess the Steam Punk crew will be excited to have beaten out the Heritage Festival that has been around for some time, and probably won’t survive without Council funding. Even Rex Simpson’s and Mark Skelding's names on the Application did not help them.

They all have another bite of the cherry later in the year, but I suspect that only one will ‘get-up’ based on the ‘instructions’ that appeared to be given today to Day. 

What staggers me, despite Day's "scoring" system designed  to assist the decision process, is the casual manner in which this group go about distributing our rates to a few privileged groups for what are mainly 'fun' activities, from which in many cases individual promoters obtain substantial financial benefit.We heard that Day had "visited the micro-brewery at Hahei yesterday to check out its bona fides," or words to that effect. They were given $6,000 to run a "brewers festival" to which twelve other brewers have said they will attend. What on earth has this to do with our Council.

The justification for these allocations which are now increasing by 25% a year, certainly since this Council came to office relates to the "overall economic benefit to the District." I simply do not accept that this is 'core' business in which our Council should be involved, particularly given the potential for favouritism, and/or corrupt behaviour by either staff or this Committee as the scam grows. 

Youth Employment     

Graham Christian made an interesting obvservation concerning the efforts that have been made in regard to youth unemployment - it appears that his management team have made a substantial input into this initiative, and that this is really paying off with a substantial increase in Maori youth in particular entering the workforce,. and taking on more responsibility. This is all good news and while I deplore the obvious 'conflict of interest' concerning his role on the this Committee, it does appear that this initiative may well have foundered without his input.

Public Excluded

Then for some reason, they went straight into “Public Excluded” for the items listed in the previous post, followed by a “workshop” (Public Excluded again) for submissions from Barry Brickell, and a bunch of people from Coromandel. Search me what it was all about, but I guess his Wharf Railway idea would be a good guess – everything associated with the Coromandel Harbour project has to be kept secret in case word slips out that may upset rate-payers - all very tiresome and childish.



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