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C&R Slash Community Events Funding

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Wednesday 11 March 2009

C&R Slash Community Events Funding

At today’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee of the Auckland City Council, the Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors resolved that the successful Grey Lynn Park Festival, the Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Streetfest and the Highland Games in Three Kings Reserve no longer receive any Council funding.

To take the place of these community events, an entirely new competitive mountain biking and running race with about 1500 participants due to take place on Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands is to receive a grant greater than the combined grants of these three well-attended free community events.

City Vision Councillor Cathy Casey moved that the Grey Lynn Park Festival, Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Streetfest and the Highland Games be part of Council’s calendar of sponsored events and receive Council support and resourcing. The amendment was voted down by all the C&R councillors present (Cr Moyle, Cr Lister, Cr Millar, Cr Mulholland) and independent councillor Bill Christian.

Councillor Casey said, “I am very disappointed that funding for these much loved and popular free events has been ditched. The Highland Games represent Auckland’s proud Scottish heritage just as the Council funded Lantern Festival, Diwali and Pasifika reflect vital parts of Auckland’s culture. The Grey Lynn Festival and the Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Streetfest annually draw over 50,000 participants each from across the city but were nevertheless voted down by local Western Bays councillor Greg Moyle and local Eastern Bays councillor Toni Miller.”

City Vision Councillor Glenda Fryer who strongly supported Councillor Casey’s amendment said, “Council officers reported to the committee that existing Council supported events like these have a greater than 85% satisfaction rating and C&R councillors should have voted today to continue to provide Council recognition and support. They are enjoyed by over 100,000 Aucklanders each year and are vital in a time of economic stringency. Funding for a new mountain bike event should have been delayed until ratepayers and the Council can better afford it.

Councillor Richard Northey who attended the committee said, “I came along to argue passionately that the Grey Lynn Festival, the Mission Bay Jazz and Blues Streetfest and the Highland Games are exactly the much loved free community events that must continue in these economically uncertain times. They required only a small amount of Council funding to ensure that they continue. These community cultural activities are what give Auckland its heart and soul and make this city such a great place to live. I am disappointed that politically inspired bizarre set of priorities is putting these free community events under real threat.”

ENDS


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