Ending of tourism trust cost $100,000

Last updated 05:00 22/12/2012

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The winding down of the Mackenzie's tourism body has cost more than $100,000.

Figures released to the Herald under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act reveal that since the Mackenzie District Council decided to disband the tourism trust in June, payments to the former trustees and staff have totalled $66,782, with about $40,135 in other expenses, including power bills for properties, travel costs and other arrears.

The Mackenzie Tourism and Development Trust was a council-controlled organisation promoting tourism.

The council funded it about $215,000-250,000 per year and has since outsourced the role to Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism at the same rate for the next financial year. The trust managed information centres at Twizel, Tekapo and by Lake Pukaki but private businesses have since taken them over.

Retired lawyer Kerry Nolan and chartered accountant Adair Craik have been asked to wind down the trust.

"We came into it on July 1. By that stage, the trust had ceased to exist, no-one was any longer employed at it. It is probably no secret that accounts had not been properly filed for a couple of years," Mr Nolan said.

The figures provided to the Herald did not give a break-down. Mr Nolan's statement said payments for positions that were declared redundant were made to staff "strictly in accordance with their contractual entitlements as included in their respective employment contracts".

Mr Nolan confirmed a former employee took a personal grievance claim against the trust and, with the assistance of a mediator, a "confidential settlement" was reached. Mr Nolan would not confirm the former staff member's identity, citing privacy concerns.

"We're making a last call for any owed monies. After that we will liaise with the council and the tax department as to whether anything else will be needed."

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- The Timaru Herald

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