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Councillor knocks Auckland Pride sponsorship

Thu 14 Jun 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Orakei Councillor Cameron Brewer An outspoken Auckland Councillor is questioning why ratepayers need to be involved in the funding of the Auckland Pride Festival, asking why "stretched suburban ratepayers" need to be involved at all. Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has approved $100,000 in sponsorship for the two-week festival and parade, which will be held in February 2013. Orakei Councillor Cameron Brewer says that while overall he thinks the festival is going to be positive for a lot of people, support organisations, and businesses, but he struggles with the concept of ratepayers being called upon. "I don't think that aspect of it was actually necessary nor helpful, as it is already upsetting some Aucklanders facing rates rises this year," he says. "$100,000 is not a huge amount in the council's overall budget. But if it's set to be such a huge economic success why do stretched suburban ratepayers even need to be involved in the first place? "Given the strength of the ‘pink dollar' and the success of the likes of the Gay Business Association, organisers should not have expected ratepayers to fork out particularly given how many other core council business budgets are being cut at the moment. Brewer is the former Chair of the Newmarket Business Association and as an elected member, now chairs Auckland Council's Business Advisory Panel. He believes the private sector and local business associations could've covered the total funding. “The problem is when you involve rates, you instantly lose some public buy-in,” he says. “What's more, if it the event comes under financial pressure in future years, it suddenly becomes the council's problem to fix as Auckland City found out in 2001.” Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse disagrees, saying the Auckland Pride Festival is more than an economic opportunity for Auckland. "It is an important celebration of our gay community," she says. "We celebrate and recognise the diversity and vibrancy of Auckland's communities throughout the year. Auckland Council helps fund an array of festivals, like Pasifika and the Auckland Lantern Festival, and I am delighted as a council we are supporting the Auckland Pride Festival." "For the 40,000 people in Auckland who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex, this is a chance for them, their friends and family and the wider community to celebrate their contribution to the city and most importantly have some fun." Hulse adds she is looking forward to the Festival and is happy to support it every step of the way.      

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 14th June 2012 - 11:20am

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