Councils exit Venture Southland deal
Two of the three Southland councils that fund Venture Southland are withdrawing from the VS agreement, while the third has never discussed doing so.
The Gore and Southland district councils have given notice that they will be withdrawing from the agreement from February 1, 2019 to support the establishment of the Southland Regional Development Agency.
But the Invercargill City Council director of finance and corporate services Dean Johnson said the ICC would not be withdrawing from the agreement and it had never been discussed at council.
The SRDA proposal aims to form an organisation that will bring together local government, iwi, and community and business interests to lead regional social and economic development opportunities.
VS was established in 2001 and is a joint initiative of the Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District Councils, and is responsible for the region’s economic and community development initiatives.
It is funded from contributions from the councils and the Community Trust of Southland.
VC chief executive Paul Casson said in 2014 the entities that run VS agreed to continue VS as it currently was, and entered into a new agreement until June 30 2017, unless any party gave eighteen months prior written notice of termination to the other parties, or unless the parties agreed to a lesser notice period.
‘‘VS has approximately 38 staff across the region. The intention of the SRDA and consultation document is to include all VS within the new agency.
‘‘If a new entity is formed the board and chief executive will determine the appropriate staffing and resources required to meet the key requirements and critical steps for regional development in Southland.’’
SDC chief executive staff Steve Ruru said exiting the agreement with VS needed to occur, as consultation for the SRDA was underway.
‘‘Even if the SRDA proposal doesn’t go ahead we would want to renegotiate a new agreement anyway. The current agreement doesn’t have the priorities as SoRDS [Southland Regional Development Strategy] because it was put together in 2014 and the focuses have changed since then.
GDC chief executive Stephen Parry said the decision was made to withdraw from the agreement because the GDC is committed to pursuing a region-wide solution to the way provincial development activities are supported.
Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson.
SDC Chief Executive Steve Ruru.