KPB's Nash fights on, but funds gone

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 11:00 27/11/2012

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Keep Porirua Beautiful has had its sole source of funding withdrawn but the organisation's chairman is vowing to fight on.

Hayden Nash spoke to Porirua City Council's committee last week, outlining its history and projects, with particular emphasis on the recent months. Since taking over in July, he has been at odds with fellow committee members over the future direction of KPB, which carries out beautification activities with volunteers around the city.

The organisation's sole paid employee, co-ordinator John Poppleton, was sacked in July, locks were changed and meetings erupted into shouting matches.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful national chairwoman Iris Donoghue was at a committee meeting in September and said the situation was untenable because of the "conflict" she witnessed.

At a council committee meeting on November 22, Mr Nash said KPB needed good governance. Annual reports had been "copied" each year and the most recent was issued more than 270 days late. Among other problems, was expenditure not being properly documented.

"A myriad of issues have come to light since the co-ordinator was dismissed but we [Mr Nash and fellow committee member Sharli-Jo Solomon] have created a new trust to take us forward. We are still looking to do maintenance along State Highway 1, the clean-ups and other activities, and continue our relationship with the council.

"We are chomping at the bit to get going again but we're unable to do this without certainty around our funding."

The council unanimously agreed to withdraw its annual funding of $40,000 to the agency. A report to councillors outlined concerns with the "significant problems" and "fragmentation" that existed within KPB. It recommended the remaining funding be directed towards KPB's national body, who would, in turn, allocate the money to Conservation Volunteers NZ (CVNZ).

Mayor Nick Leggett said he understood Mr Nash's disappointment, but the council had a responsibility to ratepayers.

"Things have become fraught but there is a way for council to secure the right outcomes in this area. Giving the funding to Keep New Zealand Beautiful is the only action we can take. The new trust will take time to bed itself in so I'm in favour of this step."

Ms Donoghue told councillors CVNZ, a not-for-profit organisation which delivers conservation programmes, would be employing a co-ordinator to take charge of local clean-up activities.

She believed, in time, Mr Nash and KPB would take over the mantle again.

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