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Council Meeting 24 January



As I indicated earlier, I was away for the meeting on the 24th, but my good friends Robert Jeffares and Rob Plummer attended on my behalf to report the outcomes - particularly on the Gulf Forum proposals.

I had expected more oipen discussion following my earlier meeting with Mayor Goudie, but that was not to be the case - they came out of a closed workshop and simply passed the motion that had been earlier prepared. Wsate of time really for Robert in particular, but he had to attend to get the atmosphere.

Here is the motion:

  1. "Receives the 'Hauraki Gulf Report - Governance review' report, dated 11 January 2016.
  2. Does not support governance changes for the Hauraki Gulf Forum, and the consequent actions required to support those changes.
  3. Supports the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan, called Seachange, to be used as an information tool only to inform the strategic action functions of the Forum going forward and that any moves to change its status as a statutory document triggers a full resource management consultative process."

Here is Robert's Report:

"The council meeting today was tame bland boring and brief. It had been in workshop for 2 hours before the meeting and came out with a statement saying they did not support the Hauraki Gulf Forum Governance changes.

They do support the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan, called Seachange, which is sort of the status quo.

But there was no mention of why, and that’s what happens when you workshop the question before you debate it.

It's called 'behind closed doors' and while they may be wanting to keep plans for any attempt to kneecap the Hauraki Gulf Forum Governance changes under wraps, we at least need to know how and why they arrived at this unanimous decision, which is a rewrite of what was originally proposed.

Not a word on the proposed Hauraki Settlement.

There was more information on the cycle trail because we now have accounts which tell us that all the money being provided by the TCDC and 2 neighbour councils is being spent, and that revenue, little that there is, is largely being given to the Principal Trail Operator with a small amount being applied to maintenance of the existing trail.

There was more information in this report than council has had in the past 6 years, the job having been given to Greg Hampton Area manager for Thames.

Unsurprisingly revenue from businesses who profit from additional trade created by the rail trail is zero. Commissions from bookings for accommodation made through the rail trail website are significant but may not represent all bookings made by Rail Trail users.

 A manager has been appointed to the Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust which has been set up to provide governance for the rail trail on behalf of the three councils. The Principal Trail Operator will be reviewed in March of this year. Funding to extend the trail to Kaiaua will be applied for.

Councillor Tony Brljeviich keeps asking why we [TCDC] are paying 1/3 of the running costs when we have the smallest portion of the rail trail in TCDC territory. (Good questioin!) He forgets that he voted for TCDC to contribute 1/3 of the running costs to maintain the trail which will in time reach to Kaiaua; on the basis that lots of cycle trail patrons would stop and shop in Thames, and patronise local accommodation and restaurants. (Debateable!)

Just how much additional revenue has been created by the rail trail is hard to determine. No one is going to admit they have sold more pies and coffee in case they get a visit from someone demanding a commission on sales.

TCDC is yet to consider the idea of a targeted rate on businesses who might profit from the additional trade to fund it's $1 million capital contribution and the ongoing $30,000 a year share of costs to operate the trail."

THe Motion is significant, but I cannot determine just where it goes from here - the lack of support from the Council will not determine the outcome of the recommended action at the meeting of the Forum on 20 February.

Mayor Sandara had earlier indicated to me that she intended that the entire Council attend that meeting in Auckland in order to give emphasis to the motion, and ensure that all members of the Forum fully understand the depth of feeling on the Peninsula.

I wonder if that will stiill be the case? It should be.



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