Leggett and his deputy disagree over festival

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013

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Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett and his deputy have fallen out about whether $50,000 is enough to run a festival in the city.

The Creekfest health festival was denied a $27,000 grant application in December by the Mana Community Grants Foundation, which has supported the festival since 2006.

That left about $50,000 to run the March 9 event through grants from Porirua City Council, Capital & Coast District Health Board, and other contributors.

Deputy mayor Liz Kelly, who is executive officer of Porirua Healthlinks Trust, which organises Creekfest, said that was not enough, and the event would have to be postponed until much later in the year.

But Mr Leggett said $50,000 was plenty, and has organised for a smaller event to take place on March 23 to tie in with the Cannons Creek weekend market.

"I have not bought the fact that Creekfest wasn't able to be run this year," he said. "The organisers have over $50,000 to run the event, and most people in Porirua think that's a good amount of money."

Instead, local community groups and health providers would hold stalls to celebrate the community and offer free health checks, Mr Leggett said.

"It will effectively be Creekfest, but will be more localised - $130,000 to run Creekfest and bringing in national entertainers and massive stages isn't needed."

When told of Mr Leggett's plans, Ms Kelly said it was a little late for him to be trying to "save the day".

"The mayor has never been in touch with the trust since it became clear Creekfest was at risk. He has not spoken to me as the facilitator or as a councillor, so how genuine is his concern that this event goes ahead? I'm just gutted that he's trying to turn this around to make it look like we've done a crap job."

Cassius Kuseta, of Regional Public Health, said it was disappointing that the event had become a political football.

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