King gets a hurry-up on A2B funding answers

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2014
Peter Kett campaign
Invercargill City Councillor Peter Kett

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The heat went on the Invercargill city's chief executive after councillors lashed out at the lack of information about the Auckland to Bluff Yacht Race.

At last night's council meeting, Councillor Peter Kett, who is also chairman of the events committee, said he had been demanding a report from council chief executive Richard King into where the $115,000 of ratepayer money the council sank into the event had gone but had never been given one.

The beleaguered race has sucked up council funding as well as $100,000 of government funding, money neither organisation will get back despite the uncertain future of the event.

Originally scheduled for February 2014, the race was postponed because of lack of entries.

Kett said he was constantly questioned by members of the public about the future of the race, wanting to know where their money had gone.

"I have continued to ask Mr King for reports stating where our money has gone ... I would like to see where our money has gone."

But Kett said he had not been given a financial report.

Councillor Karen Arnold said she also had correspondence with King about getting a report into the council funding.

"Today I have been advised by Mr King that he has got a pile of information ... and I am welcome to look into it, but I have assured Mr King that that is not adequate and that I would like a report and an answer to my questions, an inquiry, on behalf of the people."

King assured her she would be given a report next week.

Councillor Alan Dennis said the council had always agreed to give "seed funding" and it was not guaranteed if the race would ever eventuate.

"It was seeding money, so there was no guarantee that it was going to be successful."

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the situation was similar to having a feasibility study and the race had faced many hurdles in trying to get off the ground.

"Like any event there a lot of feasibility studies go on."

But Arnold lashed back and said reports on feasibility studies were always compiled.

"If the A2B Yacht Race has sort of turned into a feasibility study, then one would expect a feasibility report to eventuate from that."

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