Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Shore wants its share of the party fun

Ex-mayor says Super City is depriving his district of its fair quota of popular music, movie and food events.

Devonport's popular food and wine festival has been cancelled. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Devonport's popular food and wine festival has been cancelled. Photo / Steven McNicholl

The North Shore is losing popular events, like the Devonport Food and Wine Festival and Wag 'n Walk Day, and getting fewer free outdoor movies and music events, says former mayor Andrew Williams.

Cities such as Dunedin, Tauranga and Napier/Hastings that were half the size of the North Shore (population 250,000) had more to offer, he said.

Devonport's food and wine festival had been cancelled, the Wag 'n Walk Day at Milford Beach that draws 1300 dogs a year had been relocated to Auckland Domain, screenings from Movies in Parks had dropped from 14 in 2008 to five this year and Music in Parks had nosedived over the same period to just three out of 31 held across Auckland, the former mayor said.

Mr Williams, now a New Zealand First MP and longtime critic of the Super City model, said the North Shore was "clearly being short-changed compared to the days when we were our own master".

His comments come after this month's stunning weekend of the NRL Nines, Eminen concert and Lantern Festival - all held in the former Auckland City area.

North Shore ward councillor George Wood said there were a lot of events on the Shore, but one school of thought was that the area was contributing a lot in rates but getting less. He questioned how spending $10 million over five years on the rugby league nines benefited North Shore residents.

The other North Shore councillor, Chris Darby, said the events environment had changed under the Super City from a top-down approach at council level to funding being directed through local boards.

"Some events have gone and others have taken their place ... I'm confident we are still seeing a really good allocation of events and funding to go with them," Mr Darby said.

He said the lack of commercial viability contributed to the loss of the Devonport Food and Wine Festival despite ongoing public funding. The owner of the Wag 'n Walk event moved it to the Domain to boost the event, but the Devonport Dog Parade was growing in its place.

One contractor, who provided event services to the former North Shore City Council, said his business had lost about $40,000 worth of work a year from the "drought" of events on the Shore.

The Auckland Council refused to answer questions about events on the North Shore. Said public affairs and media manager Glyn Walters: "I gather Chris Darby has responded so will leave it there."

Lost events on the Shore

*Devonport Food and Wine Festival
*Wag 'n Walk Day
*Movies in Parks - gone from 14 to five
*Music in Parks - gone from 10 sessions to three

*Information provided by former mayor Andrew Williams, MP.

- NZ Herald

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