March 12, 2018

ATEED staff paid to entertain media, superyacht owners at tennis

ASB ClassicThe Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance can reveal that ATEED hosted 76 ‘stakeholders’ at the 2018 ASB Classic. The high-flying guests were given free tickets, and across 10 days were wined and dined by 18 ATEED staff on the taxpayer dollar.

Guests included two councillors (Penny Hulse and Richard Hills,) two new investor migrants, an unnamed ‘superyacht owner’, and high-flyers from banks, SkyCity, Callaghan Innovation, the NZ Cruise Association, and more.

The total cost of hosting came to $4,467.21, but presumably far more significant were the wages paid to the ATEED staff to hobnob.

This expense is in addition to ATEED’s sponsorship of the event itself. The total sponsorship hasn’t yet been made public, but we know they gave $175,000 to event organisers in previous years.

We say ATEED staff are paid large salaries to serve ratepayers, not schmooze corporates at the tennis.

ATEED seems to think ‘economic development’ is about paying bureaucrats to grease up to chief execs and journalists. But Auckland ratepayers might see things differently.

You don’t pay your rates so the Council can shout superyacht owners tickets to the tennis. Even the fringe ratepayer-subsidised youth outfit The Spinoff had three staff get tickets. This is exactly the sort of nonsense wasteful spending Phil Goff promised to cut.

Next year ATEED should just flog off their spare tickets on TradeMe – or perhaps shout some ordinary ratepayers.

Full list of ATEED guests:

Client/stakeholder organisation Number of attendees
Investor or talent attraction stakeholder
New investor migrant 2
Stern Yokohama Higashi Co Ltd 1
Private housing consultant 1
Innovation stakeholder  
Fonterra 1
Callaghan Innovation 1
Tourism operator  
Matakana Estate 1
Keppel Cove Marina 1
Jet Tour 1
Superyacht owner 1
Tourism stakeholder  
Pango Entertainment 1
Tuwharetoa 1
South Pacific Pictures 1
Johnson & Laird 1
Ngai Tahu 1
Christchurch Airport 1
Air New Zealand 1
NZ Cruise Association 3
Business growth  
EKO360 2
Brisbane Marketing 1
Holland Partner Group 2
Fairfax 2
The Newsroom 3
Newshub 3
Bauer Media 2
The Spinoff 3
Freelance 1
Major events partner  
Te Wananga o Aotearoa 2
NZ Warriors 2
Orange Productions 1
Ticketek 1
NZ Breakers 1
Business events partner  
SkyCity 3
Auckland Advocate Alliance 5
The Production & Music Agency 2
International education  
Broadspectrum 1
Education NZ 2
TOTAL clients/stakeholders 73
Elected members 2
Guest of elected member 1
Total 76

The full ATEED response given to the Ratepayers' Alliance is here: