In spite of their spin the Horowhenua District Council is not enabling “democratic local decision making”… they’ve just issued a liquor license that Shannon locals didn’t want!

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Cr Ross Campbell conducted a street poll regarding a proposed liquor license … the results were not in favour of the license however the DC went ahead and issued one anyway! How’s that for listening to your people?

For those who don’t know Shannon, it is a beautiful, small town on State Highway 57 between Palmerston North and Levin in the lower North Island. Recently it featured in the news media following the filming by Horowhenua District Councillor Ross Campbell, of HDC’s pollution of the local waterways. You can read about these events that saw Cr Campbell trespassed, at this link. 

More recently, Cr Campbell conducted a street poll to air the proposal by Council of issuing another liquor license in the town.  Shannon already has two off license outlets and five licensed outlets, and the public voted an overwhelming 309 to 3 against. Now that is a clear message from constituents to at the very least hold off, and at most to conduct a proper survey of the town.

But no, the HDC Licensing Chair-person Councilor Ross Brannigan and Committee and obviously the Police thought otherwise and granted yet another license!

Disappointed with this outcome, Cr Campbell, who has fought hard for his community, commented that he thought the Police would have been more supportive of locals’ wishes especially with this issue.

Now, I’ve noticed for some time now, as have many others, that DCs seem to not really be listening to what their constituents say. The official spin if you like on their websites tends to sound very democratic but in practice, in reality, as can be seen from all of the above, they are everything but democratic. A former Cr, Mrs Anne Hunt, recently went public and divulged the persuasive measures that HDC take with their own, coercing them to deny the facts about certain issues. Something is clearly not right with local government in NZ, the HDC being no exception. Here for instance, to illustrate, is some of their spin, quoted from HDC’s own website (our emphases):


Council’s Functions, Responsibilities and Activities

The purpose of the Horowhenua District Council is to enable democratic local decision making to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well being of the Horowhenua District in the present and for the future.   

In meeting its purpose, the Horowhenua District Council has a variety of roles:

  • Facilitating solutions to local needs
  • Advocacy on behalf of the local community with central government,  other local authorities and other agencies
  • Management of local infrastructure including network infrastructure (eg roading, water supply, waste disposal, libraries, parks and recreational facilities)
  • Environmental management planning for the current and future needs of the local district.

So there is a discrepancy right there in the first paragraph:

…to enable democratic local decision making to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well being of the Horowhenua District

In this instance, clearly demonstrated by Cr Campbell, they are not enabling democratic local decision making. Locals commenting on social media clearly reflected that they neither needed nor wanted more liquor outlets so HDC is neither consulting nor listening to locals and … facilitating solutions to local needs. (Their own words).

man-shan
Shannon already has two off license liquor outlets and five licensed … the public voted overwhelmingly against a new license [photo credit: nzhistory.net.nz]
So who needs more liquor outlets? … no prizes for guessing that one … the liquor companies of course.

So the question that needs to be asked here is …  why is a supposedly responsible DC favoring the wishes of the liquor industry, over the people who voted them in?

Hopefully the locals will be phoning those who made this decision on their behalf .. (in particular Cr Ross Brannigan in case you missed it) to ask them “why”?  Why are they contradicting their own policy statements?

We need to be speaking up about these matters  … our silence is interpreted as consent.

The contact details for all councilors and others who are serving you the rate payers, can be found on the respective Council websites. And remember, elections are coming up soon … be sure to vote, and vote for those who are genuinely for changing the current status quo.

In addition, consider registering your opposition to the way these decisions are made by filling in a form at the Citizens Government Corruption Watchdog Commission. This is easy to do, and the site is a NZ one. 

HDC contact details can be found HERE at this link.

Shannon will be entering the “Keep NZ Beautiful”competition this spring. Good luck to them!

 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

 

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4 thoughts on “In spite of their spin the Horowhenua District Council is not enabling “democratic local decision making”… they’ve just issued a liquor license that Shannon locals didn’t want!”

  1. The Shannon Community Appeal hearing date has been made and a judge and media will be coming from out of town for this public hearing. The public are welcome to attend this hearing:

    Date of Appeal: Thursday 10 November
    Time: 10.00am
    Where: Levin District Court
    Courtroom 2
    9 Bristol Street
    Levin

    Please support the Shannon Community and Horowhenua District in this Appeal process.

    How can your help:

    • Contact your Local Representative on council to become apart of the DLC committee & question why the current procedures in DLC hearings are not in accordance to the Sale and Supply Liquor Act 2012.

    • Request HDC to start the Draft Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) which can help prevent saturation of off-licenses occurring in socially deprived communities such as Shannon and partake with a submission to protect Shannon Community and other communities in Horowhenua at a Policy level.

    • Attend the Appeal for support.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for pointing this out Arthur. It’s a reminder for me to read more of the Act. Penny Bright the Ak activist, have you heard of her? She has refused to pay her rates for a long time on the justification that the Cncl are not being transparent. She cites some 200 odd things Cncl should be doing (responsibilities) as opposed to one or two responsibilities of rate payers. Am thinking also, Michael Feyen raised the question of the cost of the new land to water treatment plant’s very high cost & how come? Is that info (presumably) not available to the public? If so an OIA request would be in order?

    Like

  3. Section 14.1.a.1 of the Local Government Act states that Local Government entities must conduct their business in an “open, transparent and democratically accountable” manner.
    The Horowhenua District Council is constantly in breach of this statutary fundamental requirement.
    It’s not a difficult law to understand. If they can’t get this right, there’s very little hope of them getting annything right – or, for that matter, any corporate will for them to do so.

    Like

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