25 Jun 2012

Councils worried about events under new bill

8:49 am on 25 June 2012

The future of council-funded events may be in jeopardy if a new bill before parliament becomes law.

The Local Government Amendment Bill aims to make councils more productive, competitive and focussed on core public roles to keep rates affordable, but debt low.

The bill has passed its first reading and is now at committee stage.

But councils throughout the country are confused about what impact it will have.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown believes the bill may be telling councils to step back from running major events.

She says this would be a bad move for Wellington as it builds its identity on events such as the IRB Rugby Sevens and the International Arts Festival.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt agrees events are the life-blood of a healthy community.

He says Invercargill's population was in decline, before a number of council-run events were introduced and the city revitalised.

New Plymouth is hosting the WOMAD world music festival in March next year.

Mayor Harry Duynhoven says his council often co-funds events with private companies.

Mr Duynhoven says each event that requires funding from his council has to have an detailed business case.

Submissions on the bill close on 26 July.