Review over show's $170k loss

By Sophie Price

5 comments
Cynthia Bowers, chairman, Horse of the Year Hawke's Bay Ltd, and Dave Mee, event director, HOY, pictured earlier this year.
Cynthia Bowers, chairman, Horse of the Year Hawke's Bay Ltd, and Dave Mee, event director, HOY, pictured earlier this year.

Hastings council will obtain an independent review into the $170,000 loss made by Horse of the Year.

Mayor Lawrence Yule said the assessment would look at the capitalisation of the company and will contain a review of the governance, losses and what made up those losses.

"We hope to get all that information back to provide some advice as to what the council should do going forward in terms of how we might support the show," he said.

The six figure loss prompted Councillor Wayne Bradshaw to call for Cynthia Bowers' resignation as HOY board chair.

However, Ms Bowers said she would not do so unless the shareholders asked her to.

She acknowledged that while she believed she and the board had performed well in their roles, it did not detract from the fact that there was a loss this year.

"I don't think I have done anything wrong in terms of my chairmanship, I am satisfied with all of the decisions that my board made," she said.

Ms Bowers said she welcomed the independent review - which would look at the board.

"If the review shows that we have any shortcomings well so be it, there will be issues that need to be fixed," she said.

Mr Yule said the event had a history of making small profits and large losses, noting that in 2008 HOY made a $220,000 loss.

HOY's event manager David Mee of SMC put the first year loss down to many reasons.

He said there were areas, such as the expensive stable clean out, that SMC saw as significant, but would not cost it again next year.

Mr Mee said SMC would look at trimming costs by working out what the "essential elements" were of the show, and work on increasing sponsorship revenue.

Today he is asking the council to more than double their investment in the show by asking councillors to grant HOY $150,000 at the annual plan public submission hearings.

"It not a donation, it is not asking them for a handout or help," he said.

"It is saying if you value this event you need to invest in it and you need to invest in it so that it doesn't get brought down by financial difficulties."

Mr Yule said as HOY was fantastic for the district, the region and equestrian sport - what he was asking people to think about as part of the assessment was how the event could be made financially successful.

"And at that point once we have got that info from an independent review then we will be able to make some judgments."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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