Holiday or Promotion?

The NZ Herald has a story about what looks and smells like  junket to San Francisco for ATEED staff:

Auckland ratepayers paid some of the costs for 3 News presenter Hilary Barry to attend the America’s Cup as part of a $220,114 spend-up in San Francisco by the council’s tourism and economic arm.

A total of 11 staff from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) and seven other people were covered by the bill, including Barry, opera singer Pene Pati and several businessmen.

A spokeswoman for MediaWorks, Rachel Lorimer, said as part of Barry’s news coverage of the Cup, the network let her MC an event for Ateed. In lieu of the usual fee, Ateed helped with her travel expenses.

Ms Lorimer said the financial details of the agreement were commercially sensitive but small in comparison to the network’s total cost of covering the Cup.

She said 3 News filmed at the Auckland event where Barry was the MC, interviewing Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall for a story. 

Ateed chief executive Brett O’Riley said the three months of the Cup were an unprecedented opportunity to promote exports and investment in California, one of Ateed’s three key markets.

So how much did ATEED spend on this  “unprecedented opportunity to promote exports”?

America’s Cup costs

• Travel/accommodation: $99,520
• Events and hostings: $54,703
• Project management: $24,656
• Promotion: $15,048
• Meals and miscellaneous: $6,437
• Costs still to be billed: $19,750
• Total cost: $220,114

Right, just $15,000, which I will bet was a single swanky dinner that achieved SFA. Meanwhile ATEED pats itself on the back for pulling off a freebie holiday disguised as work.

I’ll be that Ateed chief executive Brett O’Riley and 10 other staff: Bruce Gadd, Darryn Grant, Suzanne McKinnon, Patrick McVeigh, David Caselli, Grant Jenkins, Pam Ford, Steffan Panoho, Anna Hayward, Jennifer Clamp are all sniggering about their “unprecedented opportunity to promote exports”.

It looks like the only thing exported was great wads of cash to US hotel chains and restaurants.


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  • James

    And by paying the media’s expenses they can also avoid journalists looking too closely at their spending. Sounds great; the only problem is that they forgot that WhaleOil isn’t a journalist!

    • OrphanIsland

      Crazy dogs barking in the night M8! ….. Shuuuut Up !

    • patrickstarr

      A good question for Brian Rudman would be if he has ever been the guest of Mark Ford/Watercare on a ratepayer funded charter superyacht to view the Americas cup when it was held in Auckland?

  • Dick Brown

    The ‘unprecedented’ part can be explained away due to the unique nature of the sporting event in question.

    Still a load of condescending nonsense of course but it will pull the wool over the intended eyes.

  • steve and monique

    If only the Horrid were as outraged about Lennie, he’s been wasting ratepayers dosh for years on all sorts of junkets i’ll bet. No wonder TV3 is rooted, they should have put their share of costs into sorting their shit out instead of relegating decent programmes to graveyard shifts and keeping dipshits like Campbell on. It seems Mike McRoberts is away covering a story more than he is in the studio and now this. It’s not like their junkets provide a more accuarately detailed story, they will always cover what they want to and leave out the rest, for a more dramatic effect.

  • patrickstarr

    Council committees have been known to sit for hours and squabble over $5k budgets

    If each officer was individually required to report before council, and substantiate the $ benefit to Aucklands economy you’d see them disappear.

  • Cowgirl

    So by far and away the biggest expense was getting people there and having them stay there. So I would have thought the fewer people that went, the better.

    • BJ

      I’d expect to see a written report from each of them on their return to NZ and now reporting of benefits received as a result of that jaunt

      • Cowgirl

        That would be nice, but what we want seldom factors into the thinking of Auckland Council these days

  • Dr Wang

    Hillary Barry was the TV3 ghoul who rushed off to South Africa waiting for Mandela to die (he’s still ticking along), then she rushed off to SanFransisco to watch NZ lift the Americas Cup (cursed by her premature gloating, that turned to custard)…see the pattern here?

    Better plan would be to put the bimbo airhead out to pasture – she is way past her use-by date.

    • PsychoKea

      HB = socialist trougher

    • He just died!

      • Cowgirl

        Yeah I know – Hillary must be so bummed she wasn’t there for it.

  • richard.b

    Do we know who they met?
    Are discussions on going?
    As a direct result of this visit, has an Auckland business exported anything to San Fran?
    Or was it just a junket?

    • Cyber Billy

      “has an Auckland business exported anything to San Fran?”
      There has been one or two in the past however once Mr Town becomes CEO of Auckland Council and the EY report is released, Auckland Council may very well be in a position to initiate their first export

  • conwaycaptain

    Nothing but a Banyan and a Jolly for the girls and boys wrapped up as a marketing initiative.

  • GazzW

    I would like to see those airfares detailed. The column states that Premium economy fares were only utilised when there was no other choice. I wonder exactly how hard they tried to locate a cheaper alternative. Sure, there are only a couple f direct flights a week to San Fran and regular economy tickets could have been hard to come by but with fourteen flights a week to Los Angeles that would not have been a problem. All else failing ATEED has the services of a senior Air New Zealand executive who I am sure could have pulled the necessary strings to clear the required seats. Hiow many actually travelled in economy??

    $99,500 for 11 persons air travel and accommodation equates to $9k per person. Come on – who’s kidding who here??

    • Sounds like business class to me!

    • PsychoKea

      Yes Premium economy if Business Class wasn’t available !

  • Arran Hunt

    Will they be promoting exports in Brazil next year?

  • redeye

    That councils even have a Tourism arm gives me the screaming shits.

    We have a central government Department of Tourism with a taxpayer funded budget of around $160 million. Surely tourism isn’t a core council activity?

    Each council will have their own Dept. of Trade and Industry next. Or am I too late?

    • GazzW

      Of all of the industries tourism offers the best troughing opportunities by a country mile, just ask Len. Air travel, hotels, restaurants, upgrades, freebies, ‘conferences’ – it’s a bureaucrats dream. ATEED will never go away particularly when the overheads are funded by the ratepayer. It’s like your mother-in-law, once she’s got her feet under your table she’s there forever.

  • LesleyNZ

    Promote exports? What a rort. What troughing party they must have had at the expense of us ratepayers! Ateed needs to be disbanded. All Ateed likes to do is spend money with no accountability. Does Ateed think us ratepayers are stupid?

    • GazzW

      Well, aren’t we Lesley? ATEED grew and grew like a giant mushroom out of Tourism Auckland.

  • Hang on, that looks like news? Amirite? Amirite?

  • Steve (North Shore)

    I am supprised at the amount of $220K. Surely this is wrong. A figure of 4 times the amount is realistic from the Auckland City Council.
    It is only Ratepayers money