Polynesian Spa fee increase deferred

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PHOTO/FILE
PHOTO/FILE

A request to increase prices at Polynesian Spa has been put off - with Rotorua Lakes Council asking for more information before it makes a final decision.

The spa's management had asked for a price increase to help re-coup a recent $2 million investment.

Any increase in charges must be approved by the council, as it owns the lease over the land the spa is on.

In a somewhat disjointed meeting of the council's Strategy, Policy and Finance committee yesterday councillors held the discussion behind closed doors to allow the spa's accountant to reveal commercially sensitive information.

After the meeting, councillor Charles Sturt told the Rotorua Daily Post the council had decided not to grant the spa owner's request to increase charges for both locals and visitors, instead asking them for more information.

The price increase would be re-debated at the next committee meeting in August, Mr Sturt said.

During the meeting the council's chief executive Geoff Williams defended the decision to discuss the issue confidentially.

"The information intended to be provided today, the financial information that backs up the recommended changes, some of it is confidential to the operator and they won't be able to provide that to you in a public session.

"More importantly...there is the potential for an unintended impact on the reputation of the Poly Spa of a public debate on a proposal for an increase in price that may leave the council exposed if it is later observed the reputation damage resulted in a financial loss for the organisation," Mr Williams said.

"I can clearly see we are jumping the gun," meeting chairwoman Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said.

But, councillors Mike McVicker, Charles Sturt and Glenys Searancke said they did not think it should be discussed confidentially.

They said there was nothing commercially sensitive in the agenda item and the spa had no competition in the city that would cause it any concern.

However, Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board representative Ana Morrison said she had a long list of questions she would like to ask and it would be best to do that privately.

"It would be prudent to get full disclosure...it's safer for the business of the Polynesian pools," she said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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