If you attended the protest outside the Horowhenua District Council building on Wednesday 7 Dec (2016) and particularly if you stayed and listened to the events at the Council’s meeting, then you will have heard the new Mayor’s speech. You would also have heard the revelations presented by former Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt. Mainstream media have mentioned neither.
If you weren’t there you will only have heard mainstream’s take by now. Herald’s provided the damning conclusions & comments from a Massey University expert on the mechanics of Local Government. They have already cast the new Mayor as a ‘lame duck mayor’, ‘dead in the water’ through his supposedly poor and inexperienced choices, that is, exercising his democratic right using the ‘dumb ass’ LG law to select a Deputy without consulting the other nine Councilors who don’t support him anyway. They’d already made that clear early in the piece by announcing they were rolling his Deputy, no explanation offered. There was even pre-election mention in social media by a relative of one councilor of the likely outcome if the now current Mayor got elected. He’d be a “Nigel no mates” it was said, if half the Council weren’t also replaced by councilors of like mind. Already a foregone conclusion? This is not a simple personality clash as media would have you believe.
Mayor Feyen has acknowledged the law is an ass, and former Cr of nine years, Mrs Anne Hunt pointed out in her speech just how it was made that way. The Local Govt Act gave Mayors the option of choosing their own Deputy when Len Brown in Auckland became Mayor. It was never intended for all Councils. And it clearly doesn’t work.
Since mainstream is not going to highlight it for you, here is Mayor Feyen’s speech anyway. It followed a glowing report on the Economic Development Committee, and was interrupted by Cr Judd just as he was about to reveal how he and Cr Campbell had been treated for the past three years. Cr Judd had to be told three times to sit down and be quiet. You can head to the DC’s Facebook page and listen to it all for yourself. The Mayor’s speech is in Part 1. Below is the transcript.
Mayor Feyen speaks:
This is a difficult situation and I believe it’s been brought about, and you would understand how this has all come about if you had actually been Cr Feyen or Cr Campbell, where everything that you describe, talking about corruption, that everything many have described …
… we simply weren’t accorded any democratic rights in the last three years. We had our access keys taken from us, we were dumped off committees with no explanation, people saw us constantly having derogatory comments thrown at us by the past mayor, we were always interrupted when we asked questions, when we asked questions in writing we seldom got an answer.
We had to ask the questions in council & that’s what people saw. There was no true democracy leading up to these elections & that is something that I want to bring back into this council where people if they ask for speaking rights they get them. That’s why we’re getting people in here, that’s why people are coming back into council, because they’re seeing that there’s a chance for community to actually participate. It’s been a really difficult road, we’ve got Cr Judd who has come back on the scene, & we have two new Crs.
It’s a paradigm shift that the two Crs that asked all the questions, the public want us in & now here we sit as mayor and DM because they want a change, they’re actually sick and tired of the half truths that are published in the paper.
With the pressure that’s put on the media, .. that’s gone, there is no pressure on the media now & now we’re getting letters to the editor in the paper where we’re actually getting the full story out there. As a new mayor, I knew it was going to be difficult, the minute I saw the results because I’ve had to put up with three years of being … point of order (Cr Judd interrupts) … no there’s no point of order I’m going to carry on speaking …. can you please take a seat and let me finish Cr Judd … I’m asking you to stay seated … thank you, thank you … I AM speaking to the matter in front of me , it’s quite interesting that every single Cr brought up the past in relating their story to Cr Campbell & I am bringing people into the context of what this is all about … (unclear from the recording at this point) … would give me the time of day during my time in council , that’s the truth of it.
This is crucial background information for understanding why the Mayor has made the choices he has. He was effectively hamstrung. And yet, again, mainstream has made no mention of it whatsoever. Curious isn’t it?
Add to this the revelations made by Mrs Anne Hunt. During her terms of nine years she endured similar to that described by Mayor Feyen and Cr Campbell … basically she too was kept out of the loop. Mrs Hunt explains in her speech she was given information indicating ‘they’ would “make her life hell” should she become the Mayor in the 2010 election. She goes on to explain that this was not just about Michael Feyen or Ross Campbell.
“… this was not just about Michael Feyen or Ross Campbell … what has happened she said, would happen to anybody who unseated Mayor Duffy…”
She described how for nine years as a councilor she’d been under pressure to sing from the same song sheet. Read at the link of a Code of Conduct incident obtained under the Official Information Act describing Mayor Duffy’s alleged intimidating behavior. You can listen to Mrs Hunt’s speech on the HDC website also, it too is in Part 1.
So, it’s a little rich that we have Cr Wanden and other Crs in their speeches stressing openness, communication, respect and trust. What astounds me most is that all the councilors who would have observed the bullying behavior described that went on for three years (and beyond) said or did nothing to stop it. We can’t conclude they didn’t know, otherwise jaws should have dropped when the truth was told right there that Wednesday. Jaws didn’t drop however, it’s business as usual, and mainstream is saying nothing, zip, zilch.
And finally, aside from all of that, neither has there been any mention of opening the books. Or why the same nine who voted the Deputy Mayor out promptly voted against opening the books, first meeting after the installation of Mayor Feyen. You really have to wonder why. If it is all so squeaky clean they should be proud to show us the books.
All that debt, $68 million! With a CE on a $250K salary. Doesn’t make sense does it?
On a very bright note however, since the elections Foxton now has two outlets to fill containers with filtered water. The former Mayor insisted the water was fine … it is not and hasn’t been for as long as some folks who live there can remember. We will soon however have a largely unwanted street do up worth $1.5 million. Flash streets are more important than healthy water it would seem.
Do read our Local Government Watch pages at the menu, and note these goings on are by no means confined to the Horowhenua. Your country Kiwis is not what it used to be. If you watch the video of the gentleman whom Rodney Council took to the cleaners, he relates how an ex Scotland Yard official now in NZ has described your country as one of the most corrupt in the world. Thing is, Kiwis are so trusting and blind they’ve convinced themselves it is one of the least corrupt. For more light reading check out Mainstream Media on how your reading material is carefully filtered.
Note: Cr Campbell declined to reply to the criticism against him. By visiting our Local Government Watch pages (Horowhenua) you can learn more about his historical querying of excessive Council debt, his genuine concerns regarding the Economic Development Committee and his efforts at exposing the pollution of his ward’s waterways by negligent Council practices.