Council ups funding for Horse of the Year

By Nicki Harper

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Despite the rain, last year's Horse of the Year was a success leading to the Hastings District Council committing more funding for next year's event. Photo / Duncan Brown
Despite the rain, last year's Horse of the Year was a success leading to the Hastings District Council committing more funding for next year's event. Photo / Duncan Brown

Next year's Horse of the Year Show has the backing of the Hastings District Council, which has increased its support of the event by $30,000 for next year.

That would bring the total to $150,000 contributed by Hastings district ratepayers, but was less than HOY organisers had asked for, said Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule.

Initially, they had asked for $40,000 extra for next year, followed by a $60,000 increase the following year and $90,000 extra the year after that, he said.

These figures, however, would come back to the council as part of its Long Term Plan discussions next year.

Mr Yule said he understood councillors made a fairly unanimous decision to increase the funding, on the back of a successful event held this year.

"We need to realise we are in a competitive space - if we do not support this someone else will take it off us."

He said the event, which was the single largest held in the district, brought substantial benefits.

He noted that a lot more local people attended this year's show and that overall it was in a "much better space" than it had been.

"Even some of the detractors are now saying we need to get in behind it - this year's event was so much better despite the weather and the councillors said it needs ongoing support."

Horse of the Year Hawke's Bay (HOYHB) board chairwoman Cynthia Bowers said the board had not yet had formal confirmation of the additional funding so was unable to comment until that time.

Last month the board noted it looked likely to have made a small profit from this year's event, but she said the formal figures on that would not be available until an audit was completed on August 31.

The Hastings District Council had committed to $120,000 annual sponsorship, but in July last year agreed to give HOYHB a one-off cash grant of $170,000 to provide the company with cash flow and reduce the risk around some of the event's costs.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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