Councillors Cleared for Voting on Events Attraction Fund
Office of the Auditor-General Clears Councillors for Voting on Events Attraction Fund
Dunedin, 15 February 2013 – Dunedin City Councillors Richard Thomson and Kate Wilson will be able to discuss and vote on the proposed Events Attraction Fund as part of upcoming 2013/14 Draft Annual Plan decisions.
The Office of the Auditor-General has advised that the Councillors can take part in those decisions. The advice follows a request from the Councillors to clarify the position.
The issue surfaced at a Pre-Draft Annual Plan meeting in January when Councillors were discussing a proposal to include a $400,000 Events Attraction Fund in the Draft Annual Plan for consultation. The fund would be used to help attract major events to the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
During the debate, Crs Thomson and Wilson declared an interest as their businesses had benefited from the first major event that was held at the Stadium – the Elton John concert in November 2011.
The Office of the Auditor-General was responding to a request made on behalf of the Councillors by DCC Governance Manager Sandy Graham. That request was for advice on whether Councillors who have business interests (retail and hospitality) in Dunedin were precluded from participating and voting on the creation of an Events Attraction Fund.
In a letter, Assistant Auditor-General, Legal, Nicola White says while Councillors Thomson and Wilson acknowledged receiving an indirect financial benefit from the concert, they are affected in a similar way to the public in Dunedin.
“On those grounds it is our view that they are not prohibited from participating in the decisions or voting on the creation of an Events Attraction Fund.”
An economic impact study on the economic effect of the Elton John concert estimated an economic benefit to Dunedin of about $14.9 million. The study recognised a large group of people who derived an economic benefit, whether direct or indirect, from the concert.