Trusts, councils are accountable

Last updated 10:32 13/05/2014

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OPINION: As part of Invercargill City Council's 2012-22 (Draft) Long Term Plan, one question seeking a response was whether the people of Invercargill should take over ownership and operation of Rugby Park.

I recall something in excess of 70 per cent of submitters answering No.

The council's summary of responses read:''Many submitters suggested that ownership and operation of Rugby Park Stadium was outside of the council's core responsibilities and something council should not be involved in''.

As a result of this ''guidance'', the council ''decided not to take over ownership of Rugby Park Stadium and not to provide financial assistance to the Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust''.

Which is why, I believe, despite all the to-ing and fro-ing taking place over the past few months and the soothing comments made, this question will not be asked again.

Why would you if you didn't like the answer first time?

I find it reprehensible that your reporter has been frustrated in her efforts to inform the public in what form this ''rescue'' attempt is likely to take, and at what cost, to the ratepayer.

Playing the confidentiality card doesn't impress me, the community trusts and council are accountable to the people so we surely have a democratic right to know what is being planned, spent or committed to behind closed doors. Excluding our elected representative is a further example of this exclusive mind-set.

We should also beware of the ''it won't cost the ratepayers anything because it is a loan from Holdco'' spin. Holdco is not a community trust and any spare money it has should be applied to rate reduction.

ALAN SWALLOW
Invercargill

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