World cup wel­come in jeop­ardy

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

When vis­i­tors start arriving in Auck­land for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, there may not be peo­ple ready to wel­come them on the city streets.

The fate of the City Am­bas­sador pro­gramme, which was re­cently handed over to Heart of the City by the Auck­land City Coun­cil, will rest with the new Auck­land Coun­cil.

The city de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee ap­proved a one-off grant to fund part of the pro­gramme un­til the coun­cil is dis- solved next Oc­to­ber, but af­ter that the new coun­cil will de­cide whether to con­trib­ute to fund­ing.

Coun­cil­lors were sur­prised to hear about the pro­gramme be­ing handed over and at its Septem­ber meet­ing the com­mit­tee asked of­fi­cers to find ways of con­tribut­ing fund­ing to the pro­gramme.

In a re­port to the com­mit­tee, coun­cil of­fi­cers ac­knowl­edged a “break­down in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with elected of­fi­cials” over plans to ter­mi­nate the pro­gramme and hand it over to Heart of the City. Of­fi­cers came back to last Thurs­day’s meet­ing with a rec­om­men­da­tion to pro­vide $75,000 to cover costs from Novem­ber 1 this year to Oc­to­ber 31 next year.

Coun­cil­lor Leila Boyle moved an amend­ment that an­other $75,000 be pro­vided an­nu­ally in the an­nual plan di­rec­tion set­ting, sub­ject to a re­view at the end of the Rugby World Cup.

The idea was sup­ported by coun­cil­lor Mark Don­nelly.

“If we don’t carry it on, we risk killing it.”

He said by in­clud­ing it in the an­nual plan di­rec­tion set­ting, the Auck­land Coun­cil would have the pro­gramme in the bud­get and could de­cide whether or not to keep fund­ing it.

He said the pro­gramme al­ready had sys­tems and pro­cesses in place that would help with plan­ning and vol­un­teers for the world cup and it would make sense to keep them in place, “rather than rein­vent­ing the wheel”.

Heart of the City project man­ager Michele Dodds said the am­bas- sador pro­gramme cost $200,000 a year to run and the or­gan­i­sa­tion funded half of it.

“It only cov­ers wages and a uni­form and a lit­tle bit of over­head.”

She said Heart of the City would not want to carry the full cost of the pro­gramme and would look for a part­ner.

Coun­cil­lor Cathy Casey sug­gested fur­ther fund­ing for the City Am­bas­sador pro­gramme could be taken out of the $250,000 world cup bud­get for civic wine and cheese for host­ing guests.

Both coun­cil­lors Toni Mil­lar and Graeme Mul­hol­land sup­ported the pro­gramme con­tin­u­ing.

They talked about the ben­e­fits of hav­ing tourists greeted and as­sisted around the city.

“There’s noth­ing nicer than go­ing to a city and find­ing some­one with a friendly face and a cou­ple of brochures,” said Mr Mul­hol­land.

The com­mit­tee en­dorsed the $75,000 grant and re­solved that fu­ture fund­ing be con­sid­ered in the an­nual plan di­rec­tion set­ting.

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