An independent review of Claudelands’ Business Plan will see Council setting more realistic financial and business targets which better reflect the reality of operating the city’s prime convention, exhibition and events facility.
The report by Horwath HTL received this week, was commissioned last December by Council once it became aware of budget shortfalls at Claudelands. It will be discussed by Council at next week’s (9 February) meeting when the draft 2012 10-Year Plan is considered.
It highlights that Claudelands’ 2009 Strategic Business Plan was unrealistic in the forecasts made for future business, revenue, pricing and operating costs which were used in the 2009 10-Year Plan. As a result of this report, and work already undertaken since November by staff and a Councillor working party, Council will at Thursday’s meeting be considering realistic financial projections for the future performance of the events centre. Budget impact on the current financial year will be addressed at the March Finance and Monitoring Committee meeting.
Chief Executive Barry Harris says: “This report gives us a clear and independent view of what we believed to be the case – that the financial performance expectations for Claudelands are wrong. We need to get them right, and focus on driving a successful facility that creates economic opportunity for our city.”
“The report does raise significant questions around the overly optimistic figures used in the 2009 10-Year Plan, and as I have only just received this report, will need some time to investigate these and other issues raised. I will report back to Council at a future meeting.”
“I am confident that with the changes made to Council’s business planning and financial and reporting processes, both prior to and following the Audit NZ report into the V8s, that we have substantially improved the rigour around how we now conduct our business within Council. These changes enabled us to quickly identify the likely shortfalls and to respond immediately.
“The start-up period for any new business is difficult, however the events, conferences, exhibitions and shows which have been held already and which are being booked at Claudelands into the next three years show steady growth in revenue. That coupled with the business generator flow-on effect these events bring to the local economy make Claudelands a valuable future asset for our city.”