Karāpiro contract delayed

Karāpiro site manager Liz Stolwyk, left, at the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission Participatory Dragon Boat Festival in April with competitors Wan Ling Chin, left, and Wan Fang Chin.

A contract to provide onsite management at Lake Karāpiro has been delayed four months because the timeframes are too tight.

Waipā District Council, which owns the venue, had hoped to have a new contract in place by July 1.

GL Events Ltd, a company owned by deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk and her husband Andrew Reymer, has provided the service for 19 years and is into the last year of a six-year contract.

Ken Morris

Deputy chief executive Ken Morris told The News the council had hoped to go to the market in April.

“As staff worked through the process it became evident that the timeframes were becoming too tight to ensure it would be done well.”

The contract extension requires approval from the Office of the Auditor-General because of Stolwyk’s conflict of interest.

“The delays are unfortunate and not ideal,” she said.

The company employs eight full timers and several casual staff for large events.

The uncertainty had “concerned” many of her staff.

“In an ideal world I would have liked to give (them) certainty.”

Stolwyk said she would much rather see a more robust process used than to rush anything.

Morris said the tender would now go out in June to ensure sufficient timeframes for document preparation, tender bids, and awarding of the new contract.

Karāpiro is arguably one of Waikato’s jewels but certainly a Waipā success story, said Stolwyk.

“Personally, I’ve thought for a very long time, we’ve flown below the radar.”

The venue delivers world class events 11 months of the year.

“The benefits are absolutely massive.”

The national waka ama championships, as an example, generates $6 million in annual benefits to the region, she said.

The first event under the extended contract will be the North Island Secondary School cycling championships starting on July 1.

That provides $4 million of benefit in the middle of winter.

“Plus, we’re flat out all year round with our conference venue.”

Stolwyk’s involvement with Karāpiro Domain predates her election as a councillor in 2016. Each term she has declared her conflict of interest and obtained approval from the Office of the Auditor General to continue her involvement.

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