New Mardi Gras board elections took a leaf out of Federal politics on Saturday when vote counting was unable to be completed before the closing time of the AGM.

Instead, results will be announced by the New Mardi Gras Ltd. company secretary on Monday.

Approximately 85 people turned up for the AGM to hear the outgoing board explain the company’s financial situation and what had lead to a loss of $575,627.

Outgoing Co-Chair Nick Parker told members the board had been faced with two options for the 2010 Mardi Gras season; an “investment focus” which would have meant greater expenditure but cheaper ticketing and a continuation of the standard people had come to expect from Mardi Gras; or a “short term” focus which would have saved money but resulted in a mediocre festival and higher ticket prices, and long term damaged the Mardi Gras brand.

Parker called Sleaze Ball, “the fundraiser that didn’t”, noting attendance had been trending down for years, and said the event needed to change if it was going to survive.

Harbour Party on the other hand had been a good earner and had the potential to become an internationally recognised event in its own right.

Funds expended on the Spencer Tunick event at the Sydney Opera House were said to be justified as New Mardi Gras had had the publicity value of the event independently calculated at $10 million dollars, with the event potentially having been heard about by nearly half a billion people around the world.

During questions, a number of members spoke of the stress that this year’s compact festival had put on volunteers, particularly those on the medical team.

Outgoing Co-Chair Steph Sands said that the a two week festival had been an exceptional outcome, and plans for 2011 were looking at adding an additional 4 days to spread events over.

Members voted on a number of motions and items of business at the AGM

A motion to introduce “rolling membership”, as opposed to having membership ending on the same day of the year for all members regardless of when they joined was passed, while a motion requiring GLTBI centric messages in parade entries was defeated after member Anthony Hillis spoke against its wording while supporting its general goals, fearing that many popular satirical and political parade entries would have fallen outside that terminology.

A business item asking that New Mardi Gras explore alternative corporate structures to protect the company’s tax exempt status and minimise creditor access to NMG intellectual property failed, with the board explaining that it was already in the process of looking at these.

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