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A new Ōtaki and Te Horo business association is to be properly established after weeks of conflict involving the Ōtaki Community Board, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Elevate Ōtaki chair Adrian Gregory.

A meeting of the district’s business people has been called at the Railway Hotel on Tuesday, March 19, to determine the next steps to build on what mayor Janet Holborow says was “excellent work undertaken by Elevate Ōtaki”.

Ōtaki chair Adrian Gregory

Adrian says the meeting will be a good starting point for creating a sustainable and innovative business association for the area.

“I’m sure there will be strong representation from our local businesses so we can continue to promote all that our town and its surrounds have to offer, which will generate benefits to both our businesses and the community as a whole.”

Elevate Ōtaki was set up un 2018 with funding from Waka Kotahi and then KCDC to support Ōtaki during and after construction of the new expressway.

The mayor says Elevate ran numerous successful community projects to prepare and promote Ōtaki for the road changes, including developing a new retail strategy.

“Now that work is winding up, we’re looking at the best way to reallocate the remaining funding so it can continue to benefit Ōtaki and support businesses in the area.”

After year-long discussions, Adrian Gregory and KCDC agreed at a meeting in December to use about half of Elevate’s residual funds to establish the association. That sum – about $49,000 – would be used to implement a retail strategy that Elevate had commissioned in 2022 and released in December of that year. The process of transitioning was agreed, with Adrian to take a lead role, supported by KCDC and Ōtaki Community Board (OCB) chair Cam Butler.

However, the process got snagged when some members of the ŌCB decided to begin the process without informing Adrian, or inviting him to meetings.

The Ōtaki Community Board, from left Ōtaki Ward councillor Shelly Warwick, Jackie Elliott, chair Cam Butler, Chris Papps and deputy chair Simon Black.

Ōtaki Ward councillor Shelly Warwick – who also sits on the community board – invited selected businesses to a meeting earlier this year to discuss a new business group. Also attending were fellow board members Simon Black  and Jackie Elliott.

ŌCB chair Cam Butler was overseas at the time but aware the meeting had been called. ŌCB member Christine Papps, who also sits on the Elevate board, was not told about the meeting, nor invited.

The meeting appointed a chair, secretary and treasurer. ŌCB deputy chair Simon Black was tasked with drawing up a draft constitution.

Asked why Adrian had not been consulted, Shelly told Ōtaki Today in a statement: “Elevate was disestablished by KCDC resolution late last year, therefore it no longer exists. I am unaware of any former members of Elevate being interested in the startup of the new community business network.”

In fact, Elevate has not been disestablished and Adrian was clearly interested in any moves to start a business group.

Shelly said any “negative sentiment  about our intentions is just an unnecessary  distraction”.

On hearing about the meeting that had been held, Adrian immediately contacted council officers and mayor Janet Holborow.

“I was assured by them that the proper process of establishing the business association was not being followed, and the meeting should not have happened without my involvement,” Adrian says. “I was assured that whoever was behind the meetings would be told they had no authority and should stop their activities immediately.”

However, a second meeting was scheduled, but it was later cancelled.

KCDC group manager strategy and growth Kris Pervan confirmed to Ōtaki Today that Adrian should have been involved.

“Council resolved in December 2023 to disestablish Elevate Ōtaki with the expectation that a new community-driven Ōtaki and Te Horo business association would be formed,” she said. “It was expected that Adrian Gregory would be involved in the process for continuity and it was agreed that the chairs of the Ōtaki Community Board and Elevate Ōtaki would work together to facilitate the establishment of a business association.”

She acknowledged that the council was aware that an initial business meeting to establish a business association had been organised.

“Adrian Gregory contacted and wrote to council expressing concerns about the meeting.”

She did not say what action the council took to ensure its expectations were met.

One business person who attended the meeting told Ōtaki Today they were “shocked” to hear that the organisers had no mandate to call meetings. They said they attended in good faith as the ward councillor and community board members were involved.

Then in early March, an advertisement appeared in the Ōtaki Mail advising of a hui of the “Ōtaki and Te Horo Business Network” on March 19. It didn't say who might have authorised it – it had not reference to, nor branding, of KCDC, Elevate Ōtaki or the community board. An RSVP was to a gmail address.

The meeting had not been called by Adrian and the first he knew of it was when he saw the advertisement.

“It undermined the process that was intended to establish a business association entirely independent of political interference.”

Adrian told the council that under the circumstances he was considering what further role he had in the process.

By Friday, March 8, KCDC issued a statement to Ōtaki Today. It didn't address the conflict, but included statements from the mayor, Adrian and Shelly making it clear the process was progressing as it should have. It confirmed a meeting would be still be held on March 19. Kāpiti Economic Development Kotahitanga Board chair Neil MacKay would lead the discussion and outline the next steps to establish a new business association.

ŌCB chair Cam Butler says he has apologised to Adrian.

“In trying to keep both sides happy I made the mistake of allowing the work that was going on to advance too far without Adrian’s involvement . . . The current situation is close to how it should have been as we have recently taken steps to halt the work being done behind the scenes.”




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Behind-scenes manoeuvres snag business association setup


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