Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Whangarei Council strike again

The Whangarei council has a reputation as being an officious, unreasonable and petty collection of small-minded bureaucrats as ever was assembled in New Zealand, and now I have witnessed them in action, and concur that they are worthy of that reputation!

As a performer in the recent, highly successful Jazz and blues festival held there, I listened with a feeling of deja vu to tales of their petty bureaucracy and aloof attitudes as dealt out to the volunteers organising the event

This is exactly the same treatment the Tauranga council gave the organisers of their festival for over 25 years before realising that it would not go away (even after their best efforts to destroy it) and finally decided to co-operate and get behind it, and now it is the longest-running jazz festival in the southern hemisphere, and brings in more revenue to the city than any other event, and whats more it doesn't cost the council (or should I say ratepayers) a cent!

In Whangarei for over a decade now, a bunch of dedicated volunteers have been made to jump hurdles and wade through endless energy and money-draining bureacracy to put on an event that brings hundreds of people to the area (in off-peak times and during a recession) - all with money in their pockets - to spend at local restaurants, cafes, bars and accommodation.

Next year, do the people that pay your wages a favour! Try co-operating with festival organisers, failing that, just get out of the way, cut the red-tape, remove the hurdles from their path and let them get on with delivering a festival the city can be proud of.

Whatever you do, please do not mistake this suggestion for "interfering or trying to say how it should be run!" You are a council - not an entertainment agency - you will just make things worse! Leave it to the people to whom it matters, and are passionate about the music.

Not that I speak for the festival committee, but I shouldn't be surprised if they would be happy for you to "stick" the miserly amount of funding you donated as a token of appeasement." It would be worth more than the paltry sum you gave them to not have to deal with you and your stifling bureaucracy!

Then, in a few years, when the festival is a huge success gaining international participation and recognition, you will be able to take all the credit for it - just like the Tauranga council did!

I would like to thank all the sponsors, the venues, the organisers, and all the people they employed - sound technicians, security, extra bar and waiting staff, etc, and give a big boooo to your council.

If this was an assessment of your performance I would give you an F-.

Please try harder next time!

It will take more than petty, dogmatic bureaucracy to kill the spirit and dedication of true music lovers - Amen to that.


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