Invercargill's 'emerging' events fund could get $50K boost from city council

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.

New and upcoming Invercargill events funding could receive a $50,000 injection from the Invercargill City Council.

The council has two events funds - the iconic events funding for established city events, and the creation and promotion events fund for unforeseen event opportunities. 

Despite the iconic event fund's balance slipping to -$45,000 in 2015-16, and the council's chief executive calling for a funding lift, it is the alternative fund which would receive the boost in the draft plan. 

The draft plan document says the council proposes to increase funding to the emerging events fund by $50,000 to $150,000. 

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Each year the two funds receive an annual allocation of $100,000. 

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt said opportunities were presenting themselves to the city council all the time, for events they had never even thought of. 

Recently the Ultimate Waterman had approached the council regarding a potential event in Invercargill, Shadbolt said. 

"We have not had a multi-aquatic event like this, and it would use our Olympic swimming pool." 

The event would have massive exposure, he said. 

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The World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, held last week, brought guests from 32 countries to Invercargill, he said. 

"The shearing was like the Olympic Games." 

Everyone had commented on the city's "fantastic facilities", he said. 

"[It] brought a lot of pride to the local people, that we are attracting international events," Shadbolt said. 

"Especially to hoteliers and business, it's really given the city an economic boost as well." 

The tourism industry was growing. The council could not compete with Queenstown, but had competitive facilities, he said. 

The emerging events fund may be getting the funding lift because many events covered by the iconic events fund were already doing well financially, he said.

"Events like the Burt Munro Challenge and the oyster festival have done way better financially than we ever imagined possible."

As long as those events had the security of the council to back them, those established events were in a "healthy financial state", Shadbolt said.

Council director of finance and corporate services Dean Johnston said it seemed Invercargill was becoming a more attractive place for events. 

Nitro Circus, held at Rugby Park this month, was popular with children. 

"What I like is that it's events that appeal to a range of people." 

If an imbalance between the two event funds were to occur, the council was able to transfer money between the two, he said. 

Council chief executive Richard King said recent spending had indicated the fund needed an extra $50,000 a year. 

"Goodbye Pork Pie was really successful. Now we need to turn our head to how we can capitalise on that." 

It might be that an annual Goodbye Pork Pie rally was established in the city, King said. 

The draft annual plan, released last week, proposes a rates increase of 4.7 per cent. 

The consultation document is provided to allow the public to have their say. Residents are invited to submit on their preferred options, provide additional feedback or comment. 

A rates increase of 4.7 would mean, for a residential property with a rateable value of $215,000, a rates increase of $86.71 in 2017. 

Last year's rates increased 2.3 per cent. 

 - Stuff

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