WE SAY …. Arrangements which smack of an old boys’ network influence are not something the Waipā District Council – particularly its media shy senior economic development manager – should be a party to.
For that reason, the council and its Te Awamutu Community Board should step away from the Who are We branding exercise, now.
Legal advice from Local Government New Zealand has encouraged the Te Awamutu Community Board to enable exclusive content about a survey to be provided first to a media competing with The Te Awamutu News.
Board chair Ange Holt told last week’s meeting she had received advice from the LGNZ’s principal policy advisor Mike Reid relating to the release of information about a survey called Who Are We Te Awamutu.
The survey followed her comments late last year – reported only by the Te Awamutu News – about the community’s identity and whether the Rosetown moniker was still relevant or should be added to.
Acting chamber of commerce chief Shane Walsh and Te Awamutu Courier editor Dean Taylor last month negotiated a deal which would see information about the survey provided exclusively to the NZME owned Te Awamutu Courier.
The Courier and The News publish on the same day.
The appropriateness of the arrangement – and the fact there was no authority to make it – was questioned by Board members who were made aware of it for the first time in Ange Holt’s March report. Last week testy discussions over the survey and the release of information continued at another Board meeting – where Ms Holt said she had been advised the arrangement was appropriate.
The Who Are We Te Awamutu survey is being promoted as a Community Board-Chamber of Commerce initiative for the Te Awamutu district to be involved in shaping the community’s image.
The working group set up for it, revealed in last week’s Community Board agenda, is Ange Holt, Councillor Lou Brown, Shane Walsh, Waipā District Council business development manager Steve Tritt, Bill Harris and Maria Heslop.
Following last Tuesday’s meeting, what appeared to be a provided report on the survey appeared in the Courier.
The News then asked chamber chair Maria Heslop for Shane Walsh’s contact details. She declined, saying she did not like a previous story written by The News, but undertook to ask Mr Walsh if he would be happy for his contact details to be made available.
Good Local Media is not a member of the Te Awamutu Chamber – despite efforts by owner David Mackenzie to join.