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Pageant promoters await 'naked walk'

Fri 15 Dec 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

‘You have so got it wrong - so start walking girlfriend!' says Jonathan Smith, Director/Creator of Queen of the Whole Universe, in response to a radio presenter's promise to do a naked street walk if proved wrong about the pageant's profits. Lexie Matheson, co-host of Auckland Planet FM's weekly LGBT radio show, promised a nude walk down a busy shopping street if pageant organisors can prove they raised ‘more than $10,000' for the AIDS Foundation. Smith responds, “The success of the event was due to a combination of generous community volunteers, corporate sponsorship and tight budgeting. The show is operated under a strict risk management policy with the option of pulling the show at any stage should the risk become too great.” Smith states emphatically “the amount raised after all costs were deducted was $26362.25 plus GST. My budget is totally transparent and agreed in consultation with NZAF management who manage all financial income'. NZAF do not fund this event however they do carry a small short-term financial risk pending the arrival of the first sponsor's cheque.” Matheson also challenged alleged additional costs, including flights and accommodation for guests at the show. Smith says guest judge MP Charles Chauvel was attending in an official capacity representing the Prime Minister, therefore his travel and accommodation is part of his parliamentary duties. The NZAF Chair is separately funded for his organisational responsibilities to represent NZAF at key events, he explains. Smith concludes: “It appears that Matheson has been beating her drum for three years but has not been asking the right people. I invite Matheson to check the facts with the NZAF Director and report back truthfully to her radio audience and the wider community. “We look forward to her promise to get her frock off when she struts naked down Broadway, but let's hope for a warm day!” The Executive Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Rachael Le Mesurier, also defended the fundraiser. She makes it clear that the NZAF considers “Queen of the Whole Universe” to be “a wonderful opportunity, providing much-needed money and we are very grateful to all the volunteers and Eventimento for all their hard work. “We can confirm the $26,362.25 figure reported by Jonathan Smith as the profit raised by the Queen of the Whole Universe pageant, and returned to NZAF. This figure is a combination of sponsorship and ticket sales, less money outlayed by NZAF for staging the event. “On top of that,” she continues, “there's the intangible good which we can never put a dollar value to - the tremendous goodwill generated by this community event, which sees hundreds of people coming together to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS at a time when the message has never been more important.”     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 15th December 2006 - 12:00pm

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