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.

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