Events fund, panel move spurs advice

Vanessa van Uden
Vanessa van Uden
A decision to create a $375,000 council events fund and a panel to consider applications prompted Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden to remind councillors they served the entire district, not separate townships within it.

The council this week resolved to adopt the events strategy funding and action plan 2013-17, which will guide funding and be overseen by a funding panel of the mayor, a councillor, the chief executive or the director of the chief executive's office depending on availability, plus the chief executive of Destination Queenstown, who would also be representing the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association, and the general manager of Lake Wanaka Tourism.

An independent executive from out of the district, for example, someone who represented major New Zealand events, would be appointed as an adviser when the event was of national significance, or receiving national funding.

The funding panel will consider applications for amounts less than $30,000. Applications for sums more than $30,000 will be considered by the panel and its recommendation tabled for the council to decide upon.

The events office will deliver a six-monthly ''post-event evaluation report'' for the council's consideration, addressing the events strategy's six goals.

The condition that community events be ''unique to region'' and have ''recognition and involvement by the community'' was removed from the draft plan to allow for potential applications for Chinese New Year festivities.

The events funding and action plan and funding panel model would be reviewed in 12 months, it was resolved.

Before the resolution was passed, Cr Lyal Cox told councillors he was not comfortable with the lack of elected members on the funding panel, given the large amount of public money and interest in the panel's decisions.

His concern was echoed by Cr Cath Gilmour.

Cr Cox recommended the mayor be joined on the panel by a councillor from Wanaka.

Council events facilitator Simon Green said extra panellists were not added to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Council communications manager Meaghan Miller, who on July 1 becomes the director of the office of the chief executive, which covers events, said opinion from the events sector could be sought to guide the panel.

Mr Green assured councillors if the panel model did not work, ''we can change it''.

However, Cr Cox moved for an amendment requiring a Wanaka councillor to sit on the panel.

Ms van Uden asked why it had to be a councillor from Wanaka.

''I am the mayor of the entire district and I hate to tell all of you, you signed up to represent the entire district and we need to do a bit of growing up,'' she told councillors.

''Funding comes from the district and we need to stop thinking of ourselves as Wanaka, Arrowtown and Queenstown.''

Cr Leigh Overton said he would also agree ''in an ideal world, but the perception is quite different''.

Ms van Uden said: ''Until we stand up to that perception, we will condone it and it will continue.''

The amendment proposed by Cr Cox was lost.


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