$133k spent on replacing soggy bunting

RWC 2011 flags on Ponsonby Rd, Auckland, destroyed by high winds.  Picture /  Richard Robinson
RWC 2011 flags on Ponsonby Rd, Auckland, destroyed by high winds. Picture / Richard Robinson

Auckland Council paid more than $133,000 to replace soggy and ripped Rugby World Cup bunting after its cardboard-like material broke up in the wind and rain.

Figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act reveal the council paid $52,382 to replace damaged bunting, and a further $63,911 in removal and installation costs.

With GST included the total paid is $133,736 - although the council said as an expenditure the GST-excluded figure of $116,293 was more accurate.

Other councils used a bunting supplier chosen by cup organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011, and received bunting made of flag material which stood up to the wet and wind.

But Auckland Council chose its own supplier, Lineset Design & Print, which used a PVC-coated, cardboard-like material.

The council-controlled organisation Auckland 2011 sold and supplied bunting to business associations for its adopt-a-second-team programme.

A total of 4813m of bunting was sold on to business associations at purchase price. But the bunting badly disintegrated in bad weather and its soggy remains were strewn around many suburban centres, causing its urgent replacement.

The council would not reveal the total spent on bunting, or details of the different prices offered in tenders, citing commercial sensitivity.

It said the replacement bill of $116,293 excluding GST was within the overall RWC 2011 budget.

A spokesman for Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development said almost all of the original bunting was replaced with a more weather-resistant product in time for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Asked if there were concerns that cardboard-based bunting was suitable for outdoor use, he said standard Auckland Council procurement policies and procedures were followed.

It was still to be resolved what costs Lineset might bear in terms of the replacement bunting.

Lineset chief executive John Jepson said the bunting was the sole item in the company's range that it sourced from China, which was done mainly for reasons of delivery time.

The Chinese supplier claimed an unseasonable cold snap, experienced before the tournament but while the bunting was in New Zealand, was responsible for the resulting damage.

Mr Jepson said the material was meant to last at least six weeks in Auckland's weather, and his company would not be using the supplier again.

The company helped the council replace some of the damaged bunting and had lost money over the contract.

"It's very awkward for a smaller company to try and get [the Chinese suppliers] to see anything.

"Especially when they've already been paid."

Shane Brown, director of Flagz Group, which made the bunting sold to the public and provided to councils across New Zealand, said its flag material had held up in all weather.

"Some of our Rugby World Cup bunting is still up. What's that? Four or five months after the event, so that's a testimony to the quality of it."

Mr Brown has been in the flag-making business for 35 years and said he was surprised Auckland 2011 had chosen a cardboard-based material to be hung outside.

QUALITY ISSUE

- Auckland Council spent $133,000 to replace soggy and ripped Rugby World Cup bunting.
- 4813m of bunting was sold to businesses.
- The cardboard-based product disintegrated in wet and windy weather.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 29 Jul 2014 04:28:21 Processing Time: 773ms