Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Night market loss claims denied

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Claims the Rotorua night market is running at a loss have been rubbished by the Rotorua Lakes Council. Photo/File
Claims the Rotorua night market is running at a loss have been rubbished by the Rotorua Lakes Council. Photo/File

Rotorua district councillor Karen Hunt has quashed claims the Rotorua Night Market is running at a loss and is being propped up by ratepayer funds.

Accusations the night market was losing between $1500 and $2000 a week and was running a loss of between $70,000 and $78,000 a year were made on social media in late January and early February.

The Rotorua Daily Post also received at least three letters to the editor making the same claims.

Councillor Rob Kent raised the topic at a meeting of the Rotorua Lakes Council's operations and monitoring committee last week, saying he had received an email about the issue.

The claims were rubbished by Ms Hunt who said the allegations were "mischief making" and the market was "cost neutral" even though it had made a small profit since opening in 2010.

The manager of the council's chief executive office, Craig Tiriana, said at the meeting he had heard the allegations and financial staff were investigating the claims.

Rotorua Lakes Council says claims the Rotorua Night Market is making a loss are not true.
Rotorua Lakes Council says claims the Rotorua Night Market is making a loss are not true.


At the same meeting, the council's strategy and partnerships group manager Jean-Paul Gaston, said around $20,000 had been made from the Night Market and that money had been re-invested into the recent extension of the market.

"The intention is to keep the market cost-neutral," he said.

Ms Hunt, the council's Inner City Revitalisation portfolio leader, said the highly successful market had never cost the council any money since it was set up in partnership with electricity company Unison.

"Any money spent was re-couped from stall holders," she said.

"This has been deemed to be the most successful night market in the country, everyone else is looking to us to see how we do it. It's just mischief-making saying it's running at a loss."

When interviewed after the meeting, Mr Kent said he was satisfied with the response.

A candidate for this year's council elections and member of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group, Rosemary MacKenzie, told the Rotorua Daily Post the information she had received, which prompted her to write a letter to this paper, came from someone close to the council and was "someone I could trust".

"It was an issue raised with me and that's why I wrote the letter. As for the others, I have no idea where they got their information."

- Additional reporting Pippa Brown

Rotorua Night Market:

* Opened in 2010 in partnership with the Rotorua Lakes Council and Unison

* Runs every Thursday on Tutanekai St between Haupapa and Hinemoa Sts

* Claims have been made it is running at a loss

* Council finance staff to investigate

* Allegations have been rubbished by councillors

- Rotorua Daily Post

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