Councils reviewing Venture agreement

Representatives from the region's councils met yesterday to discuss the partnership with Venture Southland.

A combined workshop was held to discuss the heads of agreement, which is up for review at the end of this month.

The agreement sets out the partnership of the shared services model and the expectations and obligations of Venture.

Venture Southland was formed in June 2001, when the agreement was signed by the Invercargill City Council, the Southland District Council and the Gore District Council for a five-year period.

The councils were committed to Venture Southland and its "valuable work" but indicated some changes could be made regarding cost effectiveness and efficiency.

Speaking before the workshop, city council chief executive Richard King said each council would make a formal agreement about any changes at the workshop.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt believed his council wanted to make changes to the agreement.

District council chief executive David Adamson said over time the way Venture operated had evolved and the agreement would reflect this.

"It is about the way they do business not about the business," Mr Adamson said.

He expected a new agreement would run for four years to fit in with the planning cycle of local government.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks believed Venture was going in the right direction and he supported its valuable work.

Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson said the agreement deadline was the end of this month but could flow into April.

He had already received a letter of 12-month intent from the Southland District Council, setting out what it would like Venture to do.

"The review is highly important," Mr Casson said.

"Council commitment to maintain the agreement will give us clear direction and support to move into the future."

Council representation at Venture Southland meetings had been sliding, with some failing to even send an apology, he said.

An extensive meeting on Monday last week, attended by The Southland Times, almost did not meet quorum because there was no Invercargill City Council representation until Mr Shadbolt showed up late.

It was important to attend because representatives had to report back to their respective councils about what was happening for decisions such as the review to be made, Mr Casson said.


The Southland Times