Letter to the Editor | Your opinion matters


Are you an owner or an occupier/tenant of a commercially rated property in the North West (Riverhead, Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku, Helensville, Parakai, Kaukapakapa)?

Did you know that you pay a targeted rate, a membership levy, to North West Country Inc, which is a business association, a Business Improvement District (BID) governed by Auckland Council BID Policy.  Did you know that the AGM was held on 3rd October at Kaukapakapa?

Notification of the AGM’s has, for some years, been buried in newsletters emailed to members. Many ‘members’ are not registered, or do not read the newsletters regularly, certainly not to the end. Consequently almost no members are present at AGM’s.

Did you know that whilst you pay a mandated membership levy, you have no membership recognition or rights without filling out a registration form?  Did you know that at the AGM questions/discussion were specifically banned by the Chair at the commencement of the meeting?

Did you know that at the AGM the Constitution was changed to reduce the elected representation on the executive committee? Now each township requires only one representative. Previously it was 3 each for Kumeu/Huapai and Helensville. Currently Helensville has just one, a real estate agent. Where is representation for retail, industrial, service, professional or hospitality?

Did you know that almost half of the levies collected has always gone to pay for management of the organisation? Did you know this is to increase to more than half next year?

Did you know that the Big Little Local event in Helensville, 11th November, is being funded by the BID this year? Whilst it is the sort of event the BID could/should be facilitating, it is significantly promotional for the business organising it. The owner of that business is on the executive committee of the BID. Do your representatives not understand conflict of interest? There was a specific item on the AGM Agenda for declaring any conflicts of interest. None were declared. I only found out about the funding of this event because I suggested to the BID Chair, subsequent to the AGM, that it was the sort of event the BID should be providing.

The event is a fundraiser for a local charity. So your hard earned $’s are contributing to promotion of someone else’s business and a charity, albeit a very worthwhile charity. Did you know of the opportunity available to you to promote your business at this event?

Did you know that a sizeable chunk of the levies is now being spent on a business hub – leasing a place for the board to meet etc., including fit out, furniture, security etc.?

What have you got for your contributions?

Across the 10 years the BID has existed, I have been forced to contribute around $20,000. A Christmas tree (relatively recent) in Helensville is the only tangible outcome.

Holly Southernwood  021 488 427  holly@figg.nz


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