Deputy Mayor Votes To Ditch Pasifika Festival

Published: Fri 13 Feb 2009 11:11 AM
Deputy Mayor Votes To Ditch Pasifika Festival
Deputy Mayor David Hay stunned members of the council’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee today when he spoke and voted against a funding package to rescue the Pasifika Festival. The City Council, through this Committee, had to make an urgent decision as to whether to cancel or bailout the Pasifika festival after a pullout by major sponsors, principally government department and crown agencies, had led to a $355,000 shortfall in funding. He also recorded his vote against the majority decision not to cancel the Pasifika festival
In his speech, Cr Hay said that he was against funding an event which was costing almost $2 a head per participant.
City Vision Labour Leader who attended the meeting but had no vote says:
"Deputy Mayor Hay tried hard to persuade the committee that our iconic Pasifika Festival was not worth further council investment. This is the same man who has consistently moved and voted for a $66 million spend-up on the Rugby World Cup. The World Cup is another exciting iconic event for Auckland but it is one which will cost Auckland City more than $200 per spectator and visitor, compared to just $2 each for keeping Pasifika. “
Committee member Cr Cathy Casey who voted in favour of the rescue package says she was horrified at Cr Hay’s attempt to ditch the festival.
“What was clear to me was that the Deputy Mayor of Auckland City does not understand the importance of the Pasifika Festival to the Pacific population in Auckland and to this city’s reputation as the First City of the Pacific. It is a free festival enjoyed by over a quarter of a million people. For him to suggest that as a council we allow the plug to be pulled is an insult to the thousands of volunteers who work hard to make this one of the best and brightest events in this city, indeed in this country”.
Committee member Glenda Fryer who also supported the additional funding says
"The Committee was told that the Chairman Cr Moyle had phoned MP and Auckland City Councillor Sam Lotu-Inga in desperation only to learn that there was nothing Sam could do because 'Gerry Brownlee ordered all Government Departments to halt their discretionary spending, including their sponsorship of the Pasifika Festival'. Last week John Key proudly sat on the stage of the Lantern Festival and proclaimed it to be one of Auckland's top events. This week by pulling the plug on Pasifika sponsorship, his Government is telling Pacific People in New Zealand that they are not valued."

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