New Year's parties to have new organiser

The New Year’s Eve celebrations in Picton last year.

The New Year’s Eve celebrations in Picton last year.

Go Marlborough has bowed out of organising this year's New Year's Eve parties in Marlborough.

The events company has run Ignite Marlborough in Picton and Blenheim for the past six years but director Duncan Mackenzie cited family commitments for not renewing their contract with the Marlborough District Council.

The council's community and finance committee meeting today will debate the contract and format for future New Year's Eve celebrations.

Council support services manager Dean Heiford recommends in a report to the committee that the 2015 contract be put out to tender for a new contractor to organise the parties with the same format and budget. The main focus of celebrations had been in Picton, with a smaller event in Blenheim.

The council provided $25,000 a year from the festivals and events budget, with $5000 tagged for the Blenheim fireworks display.

Port Marlborough provided $20,000 for Picton, with other sponsors providing in-kind services and products.

Mackenzie said he chose family commitments over running the event.

"I want to spend my New Year's Eve with my family rather than racing around," he said. "Over the last six years we have established a pretty successful formula. Now it's time to pass the baton on." Go Marlborough's decision to walk away from the annual event was not about funding, Mackenzie said.

The funding was adequate for the level of celebrations but if there was an opportunity for more cash in the kitty, it could be bigger and better, he said.

It was no secret Go Marlborough advocated a single New Year's Eve party on alternate years in Picton and Blenheim, Mackenzie said.

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"The council have always been very clear that they wanted two venues at different locations that have different requirements. They are the primary funders alongside Port Marlborough. If I didn't like those rules I would have said I wasn't prepared to work under those conditions."

He had no idea about a replacement, but he would be on hand to ensure the smooth transition to a new contractor.

It wasn't the end of Go Marlborough and they would continue to concentrate on their recreation-based events, Mackenzie said.

His highlight was the fact the celebrations were always trouble-free and they sourced everything from Marlborough, from the entertainment to the lighting.

"I would like to think that the council will carry on with it and keep visitors and the local community entertained."

In 2014, more than 2000 people attended the Blenheim celebrations and 9000 saw in the New Year at the Picton party.

 - The Marlborough Express


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