OPINION: At a meet the candidates meeting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals on September 19, I criticised the Invercargill City Council and its trading companies for undertaking work that could be done by the private sector.
I criticised Venture Southland for the same reason because Venture then takes its focus off the reason for its existence - economic growth for Southland.
I said the council has just decided to award the Vibrant Invercargill contract to Venture. Vibrant is funded by rates from inner-city businesses. So, on your behalf, the council awards a contract for work that could be done by the private sector to an organisation that it has an interest in, that competes against those who fund it, which will result in that organisation taking its eyes even further off the ball.
I also criticised the council and its trading companies for making so many decisions in secret.
After the meeting, Cr Boniface told me privately that the council had made the Vibrant decision two days earlier and that the meeting was held in-committee.
It was ironic that he was annoyed that ratepayers found out about a secret decision involving ratepayers. Cr Boniface then said that I was wrong about Venture being awarded the contract.
That being the case, I invite him to put the record straight.
Disclosure: I understand the Chamber of Commerce Southland made a bid for the Vibrant contract. I am a member of the chamber. I am not now the president or a board member of the chamber.
Dave Rohan is a candidate for the Invercargill City Council - Editor
Cr Neil Boniface replies: Councillors have for some time wanted to see more events in the inner city and better co-ordinated promotion with city centre businesses and retailers.
The council's Planning Department carried out an independent survey of building owners and retailers and the overwhelming response was they wanted better communication directly with council.
Council then asked for submissions from interested parties, including Vibrant Invercargill, the Chamber of Commerce and Venture Southland - each of which made a presentation about how they would provide these services going forward, if chosen.
Council voted to from July 1, 2014, change the service provider from Vibrant Invercargill to another, which could be a council staff member, with the involvement of Venture Southland. This still has to be negotiated.
Employment issues were involved, which is why the issue was discussed in committee.
It is common decency that where employment issues are concerned that people are notified about the result before they read about it in the newspaper, or hear it at a public meeting.
- The Southland Times