Proposed changes to the way tourism services are delivered in Kaikoura got the thumbs up last week from one of the two parties set to merge.
At a special general meeting on Thursday evening, members of Kaikoura Information Tourism Incorporated (KITI) voted to amend the organisation's constitution in order to move the merger forward.
All that remains is for the Kaikoura District Council to accept the new constitution and agree to proceed with the new model, which will see funding for the tourism part of council's current tourism and economic development committee go to Information Tourism.
A new position will be created with a focus on improving marketing of Kaikoura, as well as a focus on an events strategy, ideally to bring in visitors in the shoulder season.
It has not yet been decided what proportion of the council committee's budget will be allocated to tourism and how much will remain for economic development, but it is likely a new committee may be formed to concentrate on economic development.
At last week's tourism and development committee meeting, held the day before the Information Tourism special meeting, concern was raised about runanga representation on the new Information Tourism executive board.
The runanga has representation on the council committee but there will be no representation as of right on the board.
Te Runanga o Kaikoura chairman Sir Mark Solomon has written to the council to ask them to address the issue of representation.
A review conducted by Dr Dominic Moran of Moran Tourism, which has been the catalyst for the merger proposal, recommended the new structure be made up of three appointees from council, three from Information Tourism and two community appointees which could be from local iwi, Department of Conservation or the local business community.
The runanga is concerned about this composition as it implies iwi participation is an optional choice which undermines the legislative relationship that the runanga, crown and council share, as outlined by Sir Mark in the letter.
While the subject was raised at the Information Tourism meeting, any decision on runanga representation will need to come from council, as this is where the representation currently lies. Council is due to meet today.
If council decides not to address the issue of runanga representation, the only way the runanga will be represented is if it becomes a paid member of Information Tourism, or takes one of the council-appointed positions.
- Kaikoura Star
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