Nature Coast sold short

Tim Wilson reports

Recent reports on the performance of Nature Coast Enterprise seem to be selling them well short of true value.

A recent McDermott Miller report commissioned by KCDC was presented as very unflattering and seems particularly critical of the structure of Nature Coast’s contractual arrangements with Council, who are a primary funder.

It is also ethically questionable that the report was supplied to the media before Nature Coast had even received a copy.

It has been suggested KCDC is looking at a cost-cutting exercise and Nature Coast might be an easy target for them.

So how does the emotive response square up with reality. Not particularly well as it happens.

KCNews contacted many businesses who were quite fulsome in their praise of the work Nature Coast is doing and a number of comments were made about how significant a loss it would be to see Nature Coast axed.

The McDermott Miller criticism regarding the Nature Coast’s contractual relationship with Council is hard to fathom given that two KCDC councillors Tony Lester and Hilary Wooding, as well as Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy, are also on the Nature Coast Board.

In the last year Nature Coast has spent $1.6million promoting the district while KCDC has provided $450,000 of that.

Many local businesses consider it would be a foolish move for KCDC to axe its funding of Nature Coast which has developed a significant base since it began in 2004. The organisation is frequently praised for the effectiveness of its marketing strategies and the competency of its staff. The Nature Coast website is a superb local resource and there is a great deal of institutional knowledge that has been built up in the past seven years.

It would be ironic if the brakes went on just as Nature Coast gets up to speed.

The McDermott Miller report does highlight Nature Coast’s effectiveness in providing networking opportunities for businesses. However the overall negative report needs far closer examination. Given that McDermott Miller are in the same business and if Nature Coast didn’t exist they might be in line to consult for KCDC, also raises some eyebrows and a few more questions. One wonders if Pak ‘n Save could fairly assess the merits of Countdown?