June 10th, 2010

ohfuck

Somewhat disjointed thingy about the council and the Rugby World Cup

An idea of the spending from the Wellington City Council on the Rugby World Cup. $500,000 to go on a scultpture and the lease of a wharewaka to be the centrepiece of the 'World Cup Village'. 50,000 visitors expected.

I could not find accurate information on how much the council spends to host the Sevens, which attracts approximately 45,000 people.

In fact, it's quite difficult to find any real info on how much the council spends on these events. I did find this, which proposes WCC spending $3,157,000 on 'events attraction and support'. If anyone else wants to find better figures, I'd be grateful.

Meanwhile, it seems the council is saying they have to tighten their belts, cutting spending on websites for community groups and increasing rates, all the while with its fingers crossed behind its back while it drools over the possibility of an 'iconic sculpture for the Rugby World Cup'.

Anyway, what this is actually about is the Cuba St Carnival, which gets 150,000 people out and about in Wellington for a weekend every couple of years, which has consistently grown in popularity since I've been here (coming 9 years), and which has been cancelled for 2011 because the council doesn't want to fund it. You'll note in that article that council representatives say "The Rugby World Cup has been budgeted completely separately from community events and major events. It is absolutely not drawing Council funding from any other events in the city."

And here, our esteemed mayor is quoted as saying ""We basically said no, we weren't prepared to do that, because we couldn't justify that increase in rates."

So let me get this straight. The Cuba St Carnival asked for the same amount of money that the council is spending on a sculpture and hire of a building for the Rugby World Cup. The council said no, which puts the future of the event in jeapordy, citing that they could not justify increasing rates for this event, and stating categorically that the Rugby World Cup is budgeted separately from other events. Meanwhile, this 'separate budgeting' allows what I consider to be frivolous spending, while community websites languish awaiting funding that isn't there because the council is 'tightening its belt.' Right, I get it.

So what about that annual plan then? The one in which Kerry is quoted as saying it " will enable the Council to continue to provide existing high-quality services at current levels, make the most of the Rugby World Cup and invest in the city's future.". O.o So that's where the money's coming from folks. The rates increase. Apparently the Rugby World Cup is enough to justify a rates increase but the Cuba St Carnival is not.

Hmm..

I have to wonder, is this constant channelling of funding towards large, mainstream-appealing events and away from smaller, community-focused and unique/alternative events, actually doing us any good? Wellington's point of difference is our diverse culture. So do we really want to atrophy that culture through lack of funding while big and normative events get bigger and more normative?

I think it's time for a new mayor.