Category Archives: community housing

Massive rates rises predicted in Horowhenua that will subsidise land developers reaping potential profits of over $100 million

This investigative article about the Horowhenua district is from journalist Veronica Harrod. Read her bio at the end of the article. She raises points which are puzzling people NZ wide, and lifts the curtain somewhat to let you see what is going on in meetings you are not entitled to attend. (From this site’s perspective, please check out our Agenda 21/2030 in NZ and our Local Govt Watch pages. Also search Agenda 21/2030 in categories to left of page). I read an interesting article at the LG’s website recently about consultation (raised at the end of this article).  It certainly does indicate (& in the context of quite a bit of jest, taking the proverbial pee as it were) that the decision’s already been made when you are ‘consulted’.
EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

Massive Rates Rises Predicted in Horowhenua that will Subsidise Land Developers Reaping Potential Profits of over $100 Million

by Veronica Harrod

Horowhenua land developers and investors will reap at least $100 million profit from not having to pay development contributions towards essential infrastructure costs that council seems intent to load onto existing ratepayers who could face massive, crippling rates increases.

The majority of councils in the country charge development contributions because the policy is regarded as the only effective, fair and equitable way to reduce the impact of expensive infrastructure costs on existing ratepayers.

The Horowhenua District Council scrapped development contributions in 2015 but, judging by the extent of land development planned behind closed doors by land developers and council since 2008, it would be unconscionable if council did not re-introduce the levy on land developers.

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Exponential rates rises have historically been used by council’s as a sure fire way to free up land for development by confiscating land from ratepayers who can’t afford high rate increases which will directly have an impact on a large number of home and land owners in the district living on fixed or low incomes.

If the council does not include development contributions in the 2018-2038 Long Term Plan (LTP) the profits made by land developers will be unsustainable and grossly unfair to existing residents.

The $100 million profit projections are based on a conservative estimate of $15,000 per new build if development contributions were charged including a minimum of 2100 new house builds in Levin alone totalling $31.5 million contained in a council’s 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.

Land developer and deputy mayor Wayne Bishop’s 500 house build in Kimberley Road has financially benefited by approximately $750,000. Cr Bishop also has four other land developments which means he has personally financially benefited by at least one million dollars by not having to pay development contributions.

He declared a conflict of interest at the eleventh hour only when a vote was taken by council to stop charging development contributions. During all the debates he sat at the council table which may have affected councillors ability to speak freely against council intention to stop collecting development contributions. It is also only since his election to council that council has proceeded with such a massive scale of land development.

Also included in the profit estimates is the potential affect of relaxing urban housing density rules to allow for sub-division and building of two houses on one house lot which council is deliberating on now. Neighbours would not have to be consulted on increased urban density plans due to changes to the Resource Management Act made by the National led government early this year that favours land developers. Potential profits also include proposed land developments in other parts of the district contained in separate reports available at http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/…/Plans-Strategies/Horowhenua…

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The HDC scrapped development contributions in 2015

Evidence council is determined to pursue a land growth agenda is also contained in the council report on relaxing urban density rules which negligently and deliberately omitted to include any environmental and cultural costs of land development even though all the new builds would connect to the existing infrastructure, and even though there is evidence of environmental and cultural costs documented in past council reports including the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.

Cr Neville Gimblet and council’s chief executive David Clapperton have made comments recently alluding to the scale of land development and the expectation existing ratepayers would pay for them. Mr Clapperton said in a recent newspaper article, “I see some huge opportunities for the Horowhenua that have never been seen before, probably in the last three generations. And I’m adamnant that I want to be part of that journey.”

His comments were made despite consultation on the 20 year Long Term Plan only just starting indicating he is a central, local cog in the wheel of a land development agenda that has captured the council to such an extent democracy itself is being deliberately undermined by the very organisation that is supposed to uphold democratic principles.

Cr Gimblett alluded to the impact of the high cost of replacing essential infrastructure on existing ratepayers in a newspaper column when he said he was “surprised no-one commented on the $2.8 million of unfunded depreciation in the financial report.” Depreciation is a method used to account for future costs of essential infrastructure by acknowledging wear and tear and need for replacement over time.

“While depreciation is not a cash item so has little impact today, it is a key feature of sustainable long term planning and ultimately your rates,” he stated before warning ratepayers that, “Officers and elected members are currently involved in multiple workshops to prepare for the next Long Term Plan, where we will be mindful of this financial constraint hanging over our heads.”

If Cr Gimblet is so “mindful of the financial constraints” then it would stand to reason he supports the reintroduction of development contributions as this levy on land developers would not only immediately solve the problem of funding depreciation costs but also potentially provide enough money to ensure state of the art essential infrastructure designs were built and maintained. Nevertheless he didn’t mention re-introducing development contributions he only mentioned the cost to existing ratepayers.

The democratically elected mayor Michael Feyen has been effectively sidelined because he is viewed as a threat to this cabal of unrestrained and unrestricted land developers and their investors as during the last local body elections he said he was going to make environmental concerns and Lake Horowhenua a priority.

No matter who Mayor Feyen subsequently turned to in seeking redress to reign in the power of an unelected chief executive David Clapperton not one minister of the last National led government would lift a finger to assist him. Local Government New Zealand would not assist him either.

Mr Clapperton also has the support of nine out of ten councillors, excluding Cr Ross Campbell, who are rewarded handsomely for their backing by favourable treatment in appointments to committees and other council led opportunities.

Local National Party MP Nathan Guy has also refused to take action to restore democracy in Horowhenua but, as a recent article in a local newspaper stated, Mr Guy has got the largest property and land portfolio of all acting Government ministers including an extensive amount of Horowhenua rural land, a family home, two rental properties, interests in 13 commercial properties and a Wellington property.

Land developer and investor interest in developing housing subdivisions on at least 550 hectares in the north east of Levin, that extends across Mr Guy’s rural property interests, may also be using their influence with the now acting Government to ensure the highway of national significance is built to the west of Levin instead of the East of Levin. Cr Bishop has certainly stated a preference the new highway be built to the west of Levin.

As if it’s not enough that local Maori and residents of Hokio on the west of Levin have to endure the Levin Sewage Treatment Plant, the landfill, the infamous smelly “pot” behind the landfill and a polluted Lake Horowhenua now moves are afoot to ensure the new highway won’t get in the way of land developers and their investor interest in the East of Levin.

The excessive profit margins land developers and their investors will potentially make helps to explain the increasing interest major land and property developers, that have previously only operated in Auckland and Wellington, now have in Horowhenua.

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Horowhenua’s community housing sold for a fire sale price of  $5.25 million

The first sign the district saw of this burgeoning interest was the purchase of the council owned pensioner housing and 1.1 hectare of bare land by land and property developer Willis Bond in a publicly excluded deal with council for a fire sale price of $5.25 million. Anecdotal evidence is Willis Bond owners the McGuinness brothers count now acting Attorney General Chris Finlayson as a friend.

As Attorney General Mr Finlayson administers the Crown Law office that relentlessly pursues criminal charges against Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki Philip Taueki who continues to give voice to inconvenient truths about Lake Horowhenua ownership and pollution by the council and regional council. Other state agencies have also demonstrated a partisan approach in matters to do with Mr Taueki.

In her recently published e-book “Man of Convictions” Anne Hunt* says Horowhenua District Council waived all fees and granted the consent to decommission the buildings and disconnect the water from Mr Taueki’s residence six days after several men and six or seven police arrived at his place one morning and began sledgehammering and dismantling the building and power to the building. They also attempted to turn his water supply off then too.

When Mr Taueki, “complained to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about the way the Horowhenua District Council as a building consent authority handled this matter…initially the Ministry expressed concern, but ultimately decided to take no action. The Tenancy Tribunal was equally dismissive.”

Mr Taueki is under constant threat of arrest and imprisonment and, although it is illegal to turn the water supply off to his residence at Lake Horowhenua, the council continues to do so and not one state agency intervenes on his behalf even though he has been left without a water supply for over eight months.

He has been beaten up, shot at, threatened with murder, thrown in jail, forced to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and denied physical access to the very lake he is kaitiaki and one of the owners of by numerous trespass orders.

He is currently facing a retrial of one of the trespass notices he has been acquitted of twice after Crown Law, an office administered by Mr Finlayson, appealed an acquittal of the charge and the appeal was granted by a judge. His case has been delayed until January 2018 because the Crown did not disclose information to defence lawyer Michael Bott when the retrial began last month in Levin District Court.

Allegations of bias by the Courts against Mr Taueki has also been made by Hunt who writes that Mr Finlayson has been responsible for appointing, “all bar one of the six Supreme Court judges, all ten Court of Appeal judges and 75% of the High Court judges….in a process without any statutory constraints or regulations.”

Despite the fact “Man of Convictions” is written by a local resident and respected journalist, author and former Horowhenua district councillor Anne Hunt about the horrendous experiences and treatment of a Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki whose ancestor is the renowned paramount chief of Mua-Upoko neither of the two local newspapers have expressed any interest in interviewing her.

Openly flouting media independence on council reporting the Fairfax owned Horowhenua Mail has now employed council’s former communications officer Kelvin Teixeira which does not bode well for impartial reporting of council communications Mr Teixeira has helped develop and carry out on behalf of the council.

But it is the Crown’s lack of actions to date that disturbingly suggest a collusion with a Horowhenua land development agenda even though it is destined to greatly increase pollution levels to Lake Horowhenua. The Lake Accord, set up to rehabilitate the health of the lake, remains silent about the impact an exponential increase of new builds connected to the existing insufficient and ageing infrastructure will have on Lake Horowhenua.

Hunt says, “Levin’s stormwater system is a major source of phosphorous, and it is this chemical that is the major cause of the cyanobacteria that has plagued the lake in recent years, making it lethal for children. In his 2012 report, Dr Max Gibbs referred to research that 80% of the lake’s phosphorous chemical content comes from the town’s stormwater system.”

“A report prepared for the Horowhenua District Council by Dr Chris Tanner, a principal scientist from NIWA (the Crown Research Institute) commented on the ‘significant

potential health effects from these drain flows,’ without even considering ‘potential toxicity issues with other contaminants such as metals or organics in the discharge from this drain’ she quoted from Dr Tanner’s report.

An apparently deliberate refusal to reintroduce development contributions is essentially undemocratic because it put the interests of the few above the many and makes a mockery of the consultation process of a LTP residents and ratepayers will be bound by for the next twenty years.

Even though council has been having workshop meetings about priorities of the LTP one public consultation held at Te Takere last week had no information at all about the council’s intentions which gives the public little to respond to. There were two councillors, a desk and a lot of free pens but no substance about what council has been discussing in publicly excluded workshops about council’s LTP priorities which makes it a faux consultation on one of the most important issues facing ratepayers today.

Although it might be confusing to understand why the council would refuse to reintroduce the levy on land developers one powerful reason for doing so is it appears the council is prepared to drive out existing residents by imposing unsustainable rates rises in favour of new residents who are regarded as more desirable.

The emphasis on making the district attractive to new residents is highlighted in communications from council on the LTP consultations which promotes the concept of making the district attractive for “those that are moving here” and concerns already exist about the statement by council in a two page newspaper feature, “…all submissions will be considered by elected members and the plan adjusted as they see fit.”

One has to wonder whether the LTP has already been pre-determined if councillors are only going to adjust the LTP “as they see fit.”

(*NOTE: you can download and read Anne Hunt’s ebook at the link provided.)

Veronica Harrod is a qualified journalist with a Master of Communications specialising in traditional and new media content. Investigating and reporting on political, economic and legislative trends that negatively impact on the day to day lives of people is one of her main areas of interest. Lifestyle content she is interested in includes celebrating our own especially the tireless work community advocates do as civil citizens participating in democracy to keep those in power on their toes. In a media age dominated by a multi billion dollar communications and public relations industry paid to manipulate information to protect and advance the interests of the few over the many there have to be journalists who are impervious to the all pervasive influencial role they have over local and central government and corporate interests.

For more information on Veronica’s professional qualifications see her Facebook page.


 

WHAT CAN WE DO? The current elected Mayor campaigned on more transparency & more public inclusion. In light of that do your best to attend the HDC meetings in Levin, hear what is happening & get speaking rights to express to Council matters that affect you. The meetings are held 6 weekly and dates are found on the HDC website, FB page or by phoning them.

Further articles on HDC can be found here: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/horowhenua/

 

 

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Hocking off the family silver: Horowhenua’s Community Housing gone 27 Nov 2017 … Agenda 2030

Selling we’re told to Sisters of Compassion, the front company by all appearances, for the property developer Willis & Bond. Remember the original announcement? The company that was set up one week before the negotiations? Then all but gifted. Read the articles to date on topic here.

Be aware Kiwis, the current establishment (Government/corporation, and LG) are full steam ahead with Agenda 21 now known as Agenda 2030. Our DCs are the trojan horses for this plan. The UN plan is for ultimately, global governance, one world government or new world order call it what you will. They’re one and the same and it is not conspiracy. Selling off your assets is merely a part of that plan. If you care to research it Agenda 21/2030 is well documented and dissected by those who have worked with it (see here also). At the NZ page you can read the pdf download by Dr Naomi Jacobs who wrote an article specifically referencing this topic as it applied to the Kaipara District Council.

“I decided to write the book following my initial shock in reading the New Zealand Herald, November 3, 2012, article, ‘Kaipara rates rebellion grows,’ about the huge, extortionate property rates/tax increases being imposed by Kaipara District Council on ratepayers in New Zealand.

After an extensive study of Marxism/Socialism/Communism over many years – upon reading the article, it immediately became plain to me that what was happening to Kaipara citizens and ratepayers was not only unique to New Zealand – but was part of a global plot now taking place in all countries planned many years ago by the British Fabian Society.

Basically, I believe, Kaipara District Council is being insidiously used as a “test case …”   Dr Naomi Jacobs

Read her intro letter here:  January 2013 Letter Naomi Jacobs (pdf)
Go to this link to download her ebook

It cannot be denied that your country’s assets have been on the auctioneer’s block fro decades now (going by the fire sale prices)  & community housing is disappearing fast (43 K homeless! – unprecedented!). The Nats have land banked thousands of Housing NZ homes since 2012. DCs are also selling off their pensioner housing. It’s about privatization & removing your sovereignty… by increments.

“We are at present working discreetly, with all our might, to wrest this mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local nation states of the world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands.”
Arnold Toynbee – International Affairs, p.809, November 1931

Why else are we in obscene debt, both DCs and Central Govt? They are all corporations listed on the respective website registers (Dun & Bradstreet, SEC Washington). Remember the borrower is servant to the lender.

“All around the world, increasingly “socialist” central/local governments and councils, in collusion with the international bankers who fund them, are frantically getting deeper and deeper into unsustainable debt – or worse, are going bankrupt. Harsh austerity measures are being implemented, with drastic cuts in spending, privatization of assets and huge, onerous increases in rates and taxes on property owners  – Is all this happening just by chance – or is it a deliberate plot?  Is it a global phenomenon? Who is responsible? Where will all this eventually end? Using the small country of New Zealand in the South Pacific as an example, this account attempts to unmask exactly why all this is happening, and provides some unique answers how it may be stopped.”
Dr Naomi Jacobs

They’ve been announcing the new world order aka global governance since the early ’90s (Helen Clarke’s been working on it) . Mainstream media reminded us of it’s imminence again during the recent hurricane devastation in the US (Sept/Oct 2017) in case you missed it.

The signature of Agenda 2030 is so ‘sustainable development’. Tell me please what is sustainable about $70 million debt for a small district like Horowhenua? What is sustainable about half a trillion dollars debt for a small country like NZ? What is sustainable about the obscene pollution  we now have? (see here also). And this ‘sustainable’ drivel that is all over the pertinent websites has been practice/policy since the ’90s! It clearly is lip service only going by our current status. Child poverty, highest teen suicide, struggling health care systems, homelessness & unemployment.

OK, I’m painting the larger picture here for those who care to look at it and to look at where we are headed. Some of course will simply see these sales as not that significant and Agenda 21 as conspiracy. I wish it was. I see it as a sign unfortunately, of worse to come.

The pdf on the sale of Horowhenua’s community housing is attached for you to download & read here at this link … HDC sale of pensioner housing

 

Horowhenua council takes millions less than the market value for pensioner housing

“Regardless of how much it sold for, the purpose of the sale was not to make a profit, but to make sure a “sustainable” service was put in place for the council’s existing tennants, Clapperton said. “ ….. yeah right! And that nice word again that all Agenda 2030 ICLEI councils bandy around… “sustainable”… like HDC’s sustainable environmental practices (spraying/discharging sewage over everywhere & into the waterways with impunity).. and “Compassion Horowhenua” (that is really the front company for WILLIS & BOND THE PROPERTY DEVELOPER) is going to build more housing for pensioners (only for 12 years mind)… words escape me. How dumb they must think we all are. Or is it because if you tell porkies long enough everyone will believe you?
EnvirowatchRangitikei

from Stuff.co.nz

The Horowhenua District Council was looking to reap a market-value sale price on its pensioner housing, but sold it for millions less.

A document obtained by Stuff reveals the rateable value of the council’s 115 pensioner housing units is $9.2 million.

But, it sold to Compassion Horowhenua for $5.5 million, Stuff confirmed in June.

The document – a proposal about what the council calls a “community housing transfer” – says the council aimed to “receive a fair market value on sale”.

READ MORE:
* Horowhenua Council confirms contentious pensioner housing sale largely a done deal
* Horowhenua council-owned pensioner housing sells for $5.5 million
* Horowhenua community housing transfer discussed behind closed doors
* Horowhenua pensioners worried new housing providers will hike rent

The council would not confirm how much the housing sold for, but conceded the sale price was less than $7.19 million, the units’ book value.

Council chief executive David Clapperton said the Compassion Housing bid provided the best value for money offer and met its aspirations for ongoing management of the units.

Rateable values are set every three years by Quotable Value.

The book value, made by independent valuers, took into consideration the average age of the portfolio and that 50-60 per cent of the stock would have to be replaced over the next 20-25, years at an estimated cost of $4.3 million, Clapperton said.

Until the sale was complete, possibly by September 30, information about the deal would remain confidential, he said.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/94637899/horowhenua-council-takes-millions-less-than-it-wanted-for-pensioner-housing

HDC’s agreement with the buyer of the community housing expires in 12 years, it is not long term

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HDC Pensioner Housing sold for the song of $5.2 mill

So the suspicions of many of us were not unfounded, highlighted here by Labour Party’s Rob McCann. Those services promised for the life of the pensioner housing tenants’ contracts may likely come unwrapped & get tossed in the recycle bin in 12 years time. We were assured that their current contracts with HDC would continue, and yet the agreement with the property developer cum community housing provider we’re told actually has an end date & HDC isn’t highlighting that. The tenants who were ‘consulted’

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Tenants were consulted ‘vigorously’ over a free dinner

vigorously (over a free dinner) are currently of the understanding things won’t be changing. But all the warm, fuzzy spin about the long term wrap around services are likely just that. Spin. They were sugar coating the bitter pill of privatization methinks. Funny isn’t it? Privatization (aka selling off the family silver) was always sold to us as such a good thing.  Like the Emperor’s new clothes. But we all know it’s not & that’s especially illustrated by the fact that they surround it with smoke and mirrors.  In this case they threw the one dissenting voice off the housing committee to allow for ‘true’ democracy to occur.  (That was the Mayor who it seems isn’t allowed to exercise his democratic right to disagree with them). Then they conducted everything in private secret-squirrel style. ‘Nothing to see here’.

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‘Compassion Horowhenua’, sugar coating the bitter pill of privatization?

Alternatively they coat the sell-off plans with sugar by including terms like ‘wrap around services’, ‘social commitment’, ‘inclusiveness’, ‘affordability’, ‘sustainability’ (that Agenda 21 buzz word again), ‘compassion’, ‘specialist support’ and so on. Some of us though don’t fall for that. The older folks among us can sniff a rodent five miles away. They remember how it used to be (full employment, all housed, healthy kids, very little poverty) but lived through the era when Rogernomics drove us down the promised path of prosperity that now sees us featuring in UNICEF’s hall-of-shame stats. Highest teen suicide rate in the world? Well done NZ.  And welcome to the new fuzzy world of global citizenship and global governance. Joining any dots folks? It’s simply not adding up.
EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 


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Horowhenua District Council being economic with the truth

From Scoop Media

Horowhenua District Council being economic with the truth on housing sales

 

“This is privatisation of public assets. Simply put, it is an asset sale, and the manner of the sale almost beggars belief,” says Mr McCann.


“Horowhenua District Council’s sale of pensioner flats has left many important questions unanswered”, says Otaki’s Labour candidate, Rob McCann, who is adamantly opposed to the sale.

“The Council has opted not to point out to the public that the agreement with the new providers expires in just 12 years. That is, quite simply, unbelievable.
“One of the community’s major concerns was to ensure that the dwellings would remain as Pensioner Housing stock. And yet, here it is in writing, that the agreement lasts only for twelve years. That is stunning, and makes a mockery of the council talking about the “best fit” and “solution” for the community. The deal allows for a future where there is no guarantee that these Pensioner Flats even remain as community housing.”

Mr McCann says the Council has also opted not to highlight that only 105 of the 115 houses are covered by the social housing purpose. “What will happen to the other ten? And there is little mention of the 1.1 hectares of land plot that is part of the sale. Will this be given to the property developers?”

Astoundingly, there is simply no guarantee that the housing will even remain as ‘Pensioner Housing’, given CE David Clapperton’s reference to it merely as ‘Community Housing’, as reported in the Horowhenua Chronicle.

“This is privatisation of public assets. Simply put, it is an asset sale, and the manner of the sale almost beggars belief,” says Mr McCann.

“The Council outlined the sale of the Pensioner flats at a press conference without even inviting the Mayor. This is extraordinary. Whether you agree with his stance on various issues or not, to exclude the Mayor just because he opposes the sale is simply another example of a flawed sale process conducted by this council.

“It seems that the council has opted to continue to ‘spin the sale’ to the public, rather than reveal all the details, and it was therefore disappointing to see a local front page story without a number of pertinent facts,” says Mr McCann.

“I understand that the press conference was hastily called once details of the sale were leaked, especially the information that the prospective purchasers – and ultimate owners of the land and housing stock – are property developers, not social housing providers,” said Mr McCann.

“There is a clear housing crisis in this country, and decisions such as this represent a transfer of wealth from the community to the private sector. This does nothing to avert the housing crisis”.

Mr McCann says that Horowhenua District Council must answer these questions and also discontinue this appalling process.

© Scoop Media

Horowhenua Housing Sale Update from Radio NZ

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Thanks to At the Nua on FB for this link to an update from Radio NZ

Listen at the link. Further updates at the weekend. For previous info see our last week’s posts at the right side of the page or search HDC in ‘categories’ or the search box.

Outcry as Horowhenua confirms sale of pensioners units

A Horowhenua Group has presented 2,300+ signatures to HDC opposing the community housing sale & raise many unanswered questions about this secret deal

Further to our previous article on this topic, this information is quoted with permission from the Facebook page of the Horowhenua District Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association. It speaks to some of the questions people have been asking in the past few days since the sale of Horowhenua’s community housing, and raises many more. I find it concerning there was only ONE councillor on a publicly excluded council panel evaluating pensioner housing proposals. Read the other concerns they raise.
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link to the fb page is at the end of the article. Any emphases in the article are mine.
NOTE: further updates on this issue, unless they warrant a further article, will be added as an update at the end of the article at this link.
EnvirowatchHorowhenua

Horowhenua District Council mayor Michael Feyen accepts the petition from one of the organisers Christine Moriarty and petition supporters in council chambers.

“The sale must be halted and HUG will fight to the end to stop this sale from proceeding. Watch this space” Andrea Smyth, spokesperson

A Horowhenua group that presented a petition to district mayor Michael Feyen signed by 2300 in ten days by people objecting to the sale of their dedicated pensioner housing vows to fight on to prevent what they call the stripping out of a significant asset in a questionable land deal.

As well as 115 units spread throughout the district the pensioner housing portfolio also includes one point one hectare of land in Levin and is estimated to be worth in real terms at least $26 million.

The petition was organised by a group against the pensioner housing sale called Horowhenua United Group (HUG) which includes Horowhenua District Ratepayers and Residents Assoc Inc, the MuaUpoko Co-operative Society, Labour Party and NZ First.

Councillor Jo Mason who chairs council’s wellbeing committee, and was the only councillor on a publicly excluded council panel evaluating pensioner housing proposals, was invited to accept the petition too but her only response to HUG was a text that said, “Got your message-will call when I am free.” She never did call back.

HUG spokesperson Andrea Smythe said further action may include legal action to argue in favour of setting up a Trust, instead of selling, one of the options which seventy people who attended a community organised public meeting recently voted in favour of.

Details of the sale of the pensioner housing have been leaking like a sieve ever since land developer and Cr Wayne Bishop emerged from a publicly excluded council meeting on the sale last Tuesday to announce the pensioner housing asset had been sold.

Since then questions and speculations have been running rife including that a community housing provider will lease the land and the land has been sold separately. But the most damaging claim of all is that certain unnamed council officers and councillors have set up a company to buy the land.

Ms Smythe, “We have a right to know whether this is true and if it is true is it even legal? Can council officers and councillors set up a company arrangement to benefit financially and personally from the sale of a significant publicly owned asset?

“Can the title to an asset we have been told by chief executive David Clapperton all along will be bought by a stage one community housing provider be split up like this? If this is all true we are feeling greatly deceived by our own council especially if it eventuates that some council officers and councillors will be financially benefiting by millions of dollars from the sale.

“Especially when shareholders are very angry about the proposed sale and furthermore have been denied access to the details of the sale agreement partly by the very same council officers and councillors who are said to be involved in setting up a business structure to buy the land the pensioner housing is built on.

Also, if this is all true [and it’s bad enough if it is] does this therefore questionable sale still fall within the mandate of being considered a community housing provider in a legal and statutory sense if the community provider leases the land and doesn’t own it?”

“Community housing providers are eligible for tax and Government financial benefits but will the landowners, if they are a separate entity, also be eligible for Government discounts? Or will the new landowners charge leases based on indirectly financially benefiting from Government tax and other financial incentives provided by the Government to the community housing provider?

“All this does is raise further concerns about what kind of deal has been done and whether it is true the land will be leased to a community housing provider already publicly named as the Sisters of Compassion.

“We have grave concerns whether this sale agreement conforms with expected practice in the provision of community housing services. What would happen if the leases go up and then these increases are passed on to the tenants? How would that be fulfilling the community housing contract?

“And if it is true the Sisters of Compassion will be leasing the land to provide the community housing services how long will the terms of the lease be? Is this a thinly disguised attempt to landbank a valuable housing portfolio so the landowners can make a profit at a later date? Who is the person or company who are buying a significant amount of land locally if the land is being sold as a separate entity? Do the new owners include council representatives?

“Perhaps the plan is to landbank the asset until further down the legislative track when land developers may be able to register as community housing providers to secure financial benefits through tax and other Government incentives. There are far more questions than answers though surrounding this significant ratepayer and resident asset that houses our most vulnerable elderly residents which makes this sale untenable. And we want answers to these serious concerns,” she said.

If attempts at stopping the sale fails HUG would also like to know what plans council has for the money from the sale of the pensioner housing portfolio as, “I am sure the ratepayers and residents would like to know whether there is any profits from the sale and what will happen with the profits. Will the money be set aside in a separate account?” said Ms Smythe.

One of the criticisms leveled at council by internationally recognised financial organisation Standard and Poor’s in a recent credit rating report was the council did not have enough “cash assets” so HUG wants to know what will happen with cash assets from this sale?

“Will the cash assets from the fire sale of this valuable asset, that will never be able to be replaced, just be absorbed into council’s general income stream to disappear forever from public scrutiny? Will our rates decrease so the ratepayers and residents, the shareholders of this significant asset, see a real return too on their asset? Is council even proposing they do this? No, they are not, but the shareholders should get to financially benefit too if the sale does proceed. So, what will happen to any cash profits from the sale,” Ms Smythe said.

The group says the way decisions have been made on this important local matter contravenes at least council’s own draft significance and engagement policy and the spirit and intention of the Local Official Government and Meetings Act to behave with openess and transparency not to mention perceived claims of fraudulent behaviour in the event it is true council officers and councillors are involved in the land sale.

“We have seen this council hold secret meetings under the cloak of ‘commercial confidentiality’ far too frequently and with little cause which is why we don’t trust this sale process or even recognise council’s mandate to sell this significant taonga on our behalf,” said Ms Smythe

“The sale must be halted and HUG will fight to the end to stop this sale from proceeding. Watch this space,” she said.

HUG spokesperson Andrea Smythe
contact: media contact 027 2443211 for more information

Image: Horowhenua District Council mayor Michael Feyen accepts the petition from one of the organisers Christine Moriarty and petition supporters in council chambers.

Horowhenua District Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc

 

For further information regarding HDC visit our Horowhenua page under ‘Local Govt Watch’ at the main menu.

Why did a large property developer register a company called ‘Compassion Horowhenua’ a week before Horowhenua’s community housing sold? (Includes updates)

 NOTE: Due to the unfolding nature of this topic, check back regularly for further updates which will be included at the end of this article. Thank you.

You may be aware that the Horowhenua’s pensioner houses have been sold as of last week. The announcement came shortly after the secret meeting precluded by the public allowed section when it was clear any last ditch attempts by the Mayor to delay the sale or even the decision to sell were squashed (all at the above link). We have been given eight weeks to hear who bought them but have been reassured that the new owners will be providing wrap around services far superior to what HDC have offered. We were also told they had to sell because of the financial logistics. Not viable. Too much debt. You can read the details of that in the various news reports.

Today, At the Nua, a Horowhenua FB page, posted a very pertinent and intriguing question. It appears someone has been doing a bit of research around the sale of the housing & come up with some interesting information … here is a quote from the page:

“Why on 16 May 2017 has a Wellington Developer, Willis Bond & Co, registered several new companies like “Compassion Horowhenua” and “WB Horowhenua”- so who is BEHIND the companies looking to acquire the community houses?

The councillors have led us to believe that the new owner is the “Sisters of Compassion” but are they just a “front” for a property investment by this Wellington Developer?”

I’ve had a search myself around the companies register and found the following (which by the way is obviously publicly accessible and not private confidential knowledge). It is certainly interesting that these businesses were registered just one week before the highly secretive sale. Nobody will argue they have been secretive. The Mayor was taken off the committee for the sale (due to said conflict of interest, he’s always opposed the sale for very good reasons) and the establishment have discussed the entire affair behind closed doors. HDC has also declined to open the books. (For further info on the goings on at HDC see the Horowhenua sub page under our Local Govt Watch pages).  And watch this space because hopefully there will be some explanations forthcoming on this. And in eight weeks hopefully we are going to hear what price the houses went for.

 

UPDATES
31 May 2017

It’s been confirmed that the sale was/is to the property developer. This information is from At the Nua on FB :

http://willisbond.co.nz/

“Confirmed – Wellington Property Development company Willis Bond & Co is behind offer to purchase Horowhenua Community Housing.

This company will be the OWNER of the Community Housing NOT Sisters of Compassion as we have been led to believe…”

In addition read our latest article taken from FB with permission and posted by the Horowhenua Ratepayers and Residents Assn. at their page:
A Horowhenua Group has presented 2,300+ signatures to HDC opposing the community housing sale & raise many unanswered questions about this secret deal (

EnvirowatchRangitikei

Horowhenua’s pensioner flats have been sold, and yes they did consult tenants … over a nice free lunch

Amidst public outcry from the gallery at HDC’s pre, public-allowed portion of the meeting, the decision was made for the sale of the flats. Read details in the article attached. These flats have been the subject of much controversy as like dominoes the Horowhenua DC follows many other districts who have sold (out). More evidence of the great divide as we drift (or is it slide rapidly?) from a caring benevolent society to one that considers the profit motive only. We’re told often that these sales are to pay down debt yet read the rationale behind debt in the LG article below. They justify debt as being perfectly normal. The new norm. Same rationale the government/corporation use for selling the state housing yet the HC was running at a profit!

And the ‘consultation’ with tenants for the sale of these flats took place over a Council-purchased dinner for heaven’s sakes. Does that not tell you something? And I’ve been told by one outspoken tenant he was shut down very quickly when he voiced any dissent over the sale. Consultation by Councils are a sham, period. Go to this link and see for yourself what their definition of consultation actually is. It is not taken from the Webster’s nor any other dictionary in case you didn’t realize this. This is from the LG magazine written in quite a humourous tone so you’d be forgiven for thinking they are taking the proverbial pee. You can read the entire article at this link.

Copy of consult 4.png

So you can see why people are banging their heads on brick walls. Does it occur to you to ask, why have Council or the LG folk not come forward and explained this difference of meaning to the public? Seems logical doesn’t it? Yet they seem to prefer to keep us in the dark or banging our heads, all for the want of a simple explanation. We dutifully turn up at their sham consultation meetings thinking they are taking our opinions into account. May as well stay home by the fire and save your energy.

Anyway, read what happened over the secret squirrel meeting HDC then proceeded to after the public outcry and the hamstrung Mayor tried and failed to stall the sale. The majority in Council love secret squirrel meetings, they don’t want the public to know what’s really going on. Same as they won’t open the books as was requested long ago. It gets easier to see why a Mayor who is pushing for transparency & public involvement is being ostracized. He is the complete antithesis of what has been going on there. By the way, if you haven’t already, check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the menu. You’ll be surprized. NZ’s become very corrupt as also have our DCs. This is on account of Agenda 21/2030, the UN plan for ‘sustainable’ development that is everything but sustainable. Check out those pages as well if you want to understand what is behind all of this change in tack.
EnvirowatchRangitikei


Watch NZH Local Focus: Sold! Horowhenua’s pensioner housing gone

There was anger in the public gallery as Horowhenua District Council voted to sell off 115 pensioner houses across Levin and Foxton.

Nine Councillors ignored the Mayor’s motion to stall the sale process.

He wanted the Finance and Risk Committee look at the sale and for councillors to get a briefing on it.

“This has just gone straight to in committee, with only one councillor involved in the evaluation of the whole proposal, in terms of those that put in expressions of interest. Remember council voted me out of that committee because I had a conflict of interest Because I’ve been vocal in my manifesto to get elected, I had said I wanted to retain pensioner housing,” says Mayor of Horowhenua Michael Feyen.

READ MORE

Horowhenua residents ‘stonewalled’ by council in battle to keep pensioner housing

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen wants more public consultation before council-owned pensioner housing is potentially sold off.

Horowhenua residents feel “stonewalled” by their council after the planned sale of pensioner housing was discussed behind closed doors.

The Horowhenua District Council was on Tuesday evening considering an evaluation panel’s recommendation over the potential transfer of 115 council-owned pensioner flats in Levin and Foxton, as well as 1 hectare of residential development land in Levin.

Councillors debated their options behind closed doors and some residents, as well as mayor Michael Feyen, were not happy.

READ MORE

http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/92899408/horowhenua-residents-stonewalled-by-council-in-battle-to-keep-pensioner-housing