20 March 2019

Media: The Mud
Topic: Meetings with lobbyists

Enquiry

I would like to inquire of the Rotorua Lakes Council which business representatives/lobbyists Council staff and councillors have met in the past or are engaged with meeting.  I am particularly interest, but not exclusively, in lobbyists on behalf of companies or other groups interested in engaging with or applying to the Council - for example, introducing scooters to Rotorua; the development of Mudtopia; and the Aquatic Centre. Note, this query is not exclusively for those examples but includes the wider range of council work and activities.

This follows the revelations that the Lime scooter introduction in Auckland came after substantial lobbying from Mike Williams.  This raised questions as to how much lobbying influenced decision-making in local bodies.  

As I noted in my query, those examples given were only a sample of the kind of activities that opened themselves to "lobbying" in the broadest sense and were just that, examples, rather than being specific.  "Engaging" and "applying" are self-explanatory in that agencies and companies "meet" with council to put their case for the introduction of activities in Rotorua.  See the link: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12206865

The Lime experience, while in Auckland, offers an opportunity to more closely examine the process and protocols that the Rotorua council has around formal and informal meetings with lobbyists and/or those promoting the commercial interests of companies operating or wanting to operate in Rotorua.  Hence, a simple question is: What protocols does the Rotorua Lakes Council have for staff and councillors when meeting lobbyists and/or those promoting commercial and other interests wanting to operate in Rotorua or otherwise engage with RLC?

Response

You mentioned the Aquatic Centre management and delivery of Mudtopia – these were both initiated by Council (ie partnership concept for AC management and concept of Mudtopia) and were put out to market.

From Manager CE Office, Craig Tiriana:

Business people Council staff meet with seek information and guidance rather than lobbying the organisation. They may be looking to undertake a development and will meet with consenting staff to discuss or assist them with the process to ensure they meet all requirements and it goes as smoothly as possible. Those considering establishing a business in Rotorua will seek information about the likes of consenting and/or District Plan requirements, the local lifestyle, availability of land or premises, the local economy, local growth projections and/or the job market/availability of staff they may require.

Council is also sometimes approached by organisations or individuals with an idea or an initiative for which they would like support.

We do not keep a record of these meetings and they are often commercially sensitive so we’re unable to provide a list of names as you requested.

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Media: RotoruaNOW/SunLive
Topic: Christchurch tragedy and leaking of confidential information

Enquiry

First, any further Rotorua response to the Chch tragedy?

Second, how near is RLC to finding the culprit who leaked to RDRR website several weeks ago confidential information? The matter was discussed in open meeting, relating to why the Hemo Gorge installation was delayed.

Response

RotoruaNow will have received info sent out yesterday regarding Friday’s vigil at the lakefront – if you haven’t yet seen it you’ll find it HERE on Council’s website and there will be further communications on this.

Regarding your second question, there is no update on this.

Page reviewed: 27 Mar 2019 5:08pm