Words ‘very little’ help: sports hall

Concrete support is wanted to keep the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT...
Concrete support is wanted to keep the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Dunedin city councillors were united in their desire to keep the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in the city at a meeting on Tuesday.

However, hall of fame chairman Stuart McLauchlan said the council’s resolutions would do ‘‘very little’’ to help keep the beleaguered attraction in Dunedin.

Mayor Aaron Hawkins had put forward a motion on the meeting’s agenda that stated the council’s support for the hall of fame in four ways.

First, there was a statement that the council supported keeping the hall of fame in Dunedin.

Second, an endorsement of any applications the trust might make to get funding from external sources.

Third, a pledge to provide council representation for any community-led steering group working on redevelopment or relocation of the attraction.

Finally, a pledge to consider future funding requests made through future annual or long-term planning processes.

Mr McLauchlan said the fourth of those measures was the only one of potential use in the future; the others had been rendered of limited use after a public-excluded council meeting earlier this month.

At that meeting the council voted unanimously not to express interest in continuing to host the hall of fame at a council facility, and Mr McLauchlan said his focus was now on the proposals that had been received.

‘‘We have a process, and to honour the process we need to see that through to the end.’’

In introducing his motion, Mr Hawkins said it would be helpful for councillors to have the opportunity to make many of the comments made in the previous private meeting in a public forum and ‘‘to have council’s desire for the facility in some shape or form to remain here in Dunedin as a matter of public record as a resolution of council’’.

Cr Marie Laufiso thanked the mayor for bringing the motion, and wanted to caution Sir Ian Taylor for comments he had made in an advertisement he ran in the Otago Daily Times on September 18.

The advertisement referred to the events in the public-excluded meeting and said, ‘‘I had assumed, incorrectly it appears, that councillors paid by our rates, would take voting seriously enough to either turn up to vote, or at least ensure their absent vote was recorded’’.

Cr Laufiso said she was the only person not at the meeting in question, and her absence was down to her attendance at a tangi.

‘‘In the future please give a thought to why people are not present to exercise their democratic [duties].’’

Speaking after the meeting, Sir Ian said when he had written the advertisement he did not know that Cr Laufiso was the only councillor who had been absent.

He apologised unreservedly to the councillor for any hurt caused, and had been attempting to call her to apologise personally.

andrew.marshall@odt.co.nz

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