Dannevirke: Board fights over croquet funds

By Christine McKay

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Tim Delaney.
Tim Delaney.

Debate surrounding the allocation of funds from the Dannevirke Community Board's general assistance scheme became heated on Monday afternoon.

While there was agreement to pay the $407 requested by the Dannevirke Art Society for a folding table and chairs, with board member Tim Delaney agreeing the society had a community focus for the benefit of the community, it was a different story when a decision was required on an application for $700 from Rangatira Croquet Club for the purchase of fertiliser and line marking paint for lawn maintenance.

"When we are considering the granting of funds, I ask a very simple question - who is it for?," Mr Delaney told the Dannevirke News following the meeting.

"If the primary intended beneficiary is the wider community - the people of our town and district - then I am all in favour of granting as much as we are able. But if the primary intended beneficiary is you and/or the members of your organisation or fellow enthusiasts, then I have to say no."

Mr Delaney said he's heard the argument that clubs and organisations put on events or engage in projects for their members or fellow enthusiasts which bring a corollary benefit to the community, through the business they bring, but he is not swayed. "That's because we (community board) won't know where to draw the line," he said.

"As a corollary of their intended enterprise, our local businesses attract custom to Dannevirke from out of town, tour buses stop in Dannevirke for visits to the loo and so, the businesses around the bus stop get more custom. Our local kennel association (of which I am president) attracts hundreds of dog show people to town overnight and that brings custom to town. But we hold dog shows for our own benefit, not to bring business to town - although it does - big time."

Carole Isaacson, Tararua District Council's representative on the community board, said she believed the croquet club did benefit all the community.

"We know what you think," she told Mr Delaney.

"But we spend hours promoting our district and this facility is there for all of us to use."

The argument in the meeting became heated and later Mr Delaney told the Dannevirke News requests of this type were different. "Weddings, baptisms, and other reunions of family and friends also bring custom to town," he said.

"Our restaurants, petrol stations and motels, hair dressers, etc all benefit, but they are not the intended beneficiary.

"I would not be happy if our volunteer firefighters got less in funding from our community board because our kennel association got a grant for ground hire and that's why our kennel association doesn't apply for funds.

"So, I will continue to ask who is it for when grants are requested. And I will stick to my principles."

Richard Taylor, council's governance manager said the request did fulfil the community board's criteria.

"They want the funds to maintain a facility," he said.

The Dannevirke Community Board donated $600 to Rangatira Croquet Club, along with $8000 to the Dannevirke Volunteer Fire Brigade to help build a new water tanker shed.

"This is clearly for the benefit of the wider community. I propose giving them half of what they requested ($8989), but I'd be happy if we gave them the lot," Mr Delaney said.

Mrs Isaacson said she wanted the fire brigade to be given all they'd asked for.

"I want them to be there if my house burns down," she said.

The community board had $18,454.42 available for allocation with the six applications the lowest number Mr Taylor can remember.

From the $16,256.06 requested, grants of $14,285.26 were made, including $800 to Norsewood Lions to continue pathways through Anzac Reserve, $4000 to the Akitio Recreational Sports Club to help purchase chairs and $478 to Te Wananga o Tamaki Nui A Rua for the hire of the town hall for their annual kapa haka festival.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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