In my dealings with people and organisations, I like to get a win-win situation.
If something benefits both myself and another party then it is a good outcome - everyone is happy.
Nowadays, partnerships are important as few operations are large enough to go it alone so, keeping in mind the win-win situation, I've had a bit of a squiz at the City Partner programme involving Tauranga City Council.
According to the council website, the "City Partnership Programme is a relationship-based programme where the council and city stakeholders work together collaboratively to get things done for the benefit of the community".
Tautologies and bureaucratese aside, it means the council working with businesses and community organisations to build a better city. I like that thought.
To quote council again: "Essentially, a formal long-term relationship is established between council and a partner organisation. Each City Partner agrees to make an ongoing investment in the community. The programme then prioritises projects that need assistance and matches City Partners with projects they most want to be associated with."
Looks like a win-win to me.
And again: "The City Partners generally provide goods, services, cash, or a mix of these. They get involved because they want to be part of Tauranga City's future and it makes good business sense to do so." Quite right. Hooray in fact. It's a great idea if it can reduce costs for council and, thereby, ratepayers. I sent emails to the mayor and councillors asking them: a) if they had any concerns about City Partners and b) did they support the continuation of the City Partners programme? I asked for Yes or No answers.
I got responses from eight of them - thank you all - but not from Bill Faulkner, Bill Grainger or Larry Baldock. Of the eight responses I had only three Nos to the first question, with five saying they had concerns. For the second question there were six Yesses, a No and one councillor who couldn't decide Yes or No.
There seem to be three different types of City Partners - those who put money in, those who get money out and those who have payments both ways.
As I said, the programme looks good, although it seems to be shrouded in secrecy. I asked the council last month for figures about how much City Partners give to the city and how much they get in return. I was told I would need to apply for it under the Official Information Act. I was also told there could be a charge to get the information I wanted.
Okay, so how much? I was told it would take eight hours of staff time - at $78 an hour (incl GST) after the first hour - and I'd be up for $546 (incl GST). Crikey, don't council staff get paid well at $78 an hour - or $162,000 a year - I thought.
Needless to say, I don't have a spare $546 (incl GST) and so I'll just have to let you know the figures I have from Tauranga council accounts from 2007 to 2009.
Those who put money in include Comvita and Westpac, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. And the community groups that also contributed during those years included Bay Trust for a total of $790,000, Lion Foundation ($240,000), the Perry Foundation ($1.15 million), Pub Charity ($760,000) and Rotary ($251,161). Of the organisations that only received money from Tauranga, the biggest by far - six times more in fact - was the Western Bay of Plenty District Council. The third group of organisations involved in City Partners were those that gave the council money or services and also received business back from council.
The commercial wing of Bay of Plenty Times features. The business side of the company gave the council $183,000 worth of services and the council paid it $478,882. Another media organisation, Media Works, earned $258,856 from council, but did not give anything.
I'll not bore you with the smaller amounts - there were 14 businesses under seven figures - so we'll just look at some of those getting more than $1 million from council. The figures in brackets was the total paid to them.
Arbor Care paid $20,240 ($2,552,636); BECA Carter $78,750 ($3,838,679); Cooney Lees Morgan $32,500 ($1,692,935); Downer EDI Works $49,000 ($32,750,179); Fulton Hogan $52,152 ($13,553,279); Gardenart $66,174 ($1,893,523); HEB Contractors $50,000 ($5,614,816); Marathon Visual Media $33,747 ($1,485,948); OPUS International $122,138 ($9,962,743); Simpson Grierson $30,000 ($3,305,122); Telecom $20,000 ($1,173,794).
I will continue to try to save up $546 (incl GST) to get the 2010, 2011 and 2012 figures, as I reckon City Partners are on to a winner.