Category Archives: HDC

No vindication in KPMG report for Horowhenua council under fire for snooping

From stuff.co.nz

When a certain report was released this week, it was accompanied by fanfare.

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton thanked his supporters for standing by him.

There were strong hints he felt vindicated – that the measures he took to protect staff from abuse were almost justified.

After a torrid time in recent weeks, statements were issued that were designed to cast the council in a better light.

READ MORE:
* Horowhenua District Council releases peer review
* Political horror in Horowhenua
* Editorial: Horowhenua councillors derelict in their duty
* Editorial: Review into Horowhenua email audit should be released in full, without delay

The facts, however, are just as damning as they were before, if not more so.

We still have a chief executive who screened some emails that were either confidential or of no relevance to his staff. KPMG’s report – reviewing the work of an auditor who raised concerns about practices he considered “extremely high risk” – changes none of that.

Apart from not supporting his contentions with documents, the main criticism of the internal auditor is that he went beyond the call of duty. He did what his terms of reference suggested he might do – he flagged “any other issues” that could pose a risk to the council.

KPMG noted the auditor commented on things he was not really employed to look at. If he noticed things that didn’t have much to do with sensitive expenditure, he could have simply told senior management, for example.

Ironically, KPMG then offered its own view on this “out of scope” material – that the council should stop intercepting emails and it should come up with better ways to protect staff from abuse.

That means two auditors in a row were not comfortable with the council’s approach.

KPMG’s report also sheds light on who was behind the expansion of the council’s email-interception practices into contentious territory. When Brendan Duffy was mayor, he “arranged” for councillors Michael Feyen and Ross Campbell’s emails into the council to be vetted. In 2015, Duffy said messages from the two councillors were unacceptable, so their emails would be screened for the rest of the term.

Feyen would later become a mayoralty candidate – a rival to Duffy – but it would seem it occurred to nobody at this point that the policy should be reviewed.

The council has now quietly conceded defeat, abandoning its controversial practices. But if Clapperton is to carry on leading the council, there is only one appropriate response to KPMG’s report – contrition.

 – Stuff

SOURCE:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/opinion/95670991/no-vindication-in-kpmg-report-for-horowhenua-council-under-fire-for-snooping

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HDC & the emails, is it a case of, “Deny everything Baldrick”?

As this debacle ticks along, the majority of HDC Councillors it seems are in full support of CEO Clapperton concerning the Horowhenua email monitoring. (If you’re not up to speed with that an internal audit recently revealed that the CE had been monitoring & diverting emails and blocking some senders, to the outrage surprisingly, of mainstream. Read about the issue here and here). Nobody is even advocating an audit to reassure the public all’s well. After all, what’s to hide and wouldn’t an audit put it all to rest? The said emails we were told recently by an elected Councillor were only monitored to protect staff from abuse (without their or the senders’ knowledge). One mainstream editorial comments that “One of the more troubling things about the … email-snooping fiasco is that councillors have had some knowledge of it for years.” Whatever happened to word-blocking software? Instead HDC assigns the task to a $250K salaried CEO. There was only a handful of emails we have also been told, which seems to somehow make it more legit. Plus, not all emails have been intercepted. The Council (not specifically the CE I note) did apologize subsequently regarding the number of emails monitored (not ALL) as reported by mainstream however it appears now to be leaning more towards general denial. These said Councillors are the same ones who mysteriously could not make it to the council meeting just two days after the leak of this disturbing issue to media (the first missed meeting in six years we were told) where it was rumoured the said internal audit report could be tabled in which case the public would get to read it. These are also the same Councillors who declined to open the financial books to the public. Who think it’s perfectly fine for non elected members to advise elected members how to vote (could three whistle blowers on that really be wrong? see also here.) Who also are totally fine with all but gifting the public owned housing assets to a private developer’s front company, cheap it appears, because they may need repairs in twenty odd years. Caring people indeed. The public of course had no say whatsoever in that on account of it all being conducted in secret and the one person who was not, indeed has never been, in favour of the sale, was thrown off the housing committee early in the piece so much for democracy. We only want people on our committee who are in agreement with our agenda. This is fascist people and not the first time it’s happened. The Mayor did try to highlight that at the rolling-of-his-deputy occasion however was rudely interrupted by a Councillor. Interesting, especially given neither mainstream nor anybody else aside from myself has ever made any mention of it. And we can all now guess  of course why the sale negotiations were conducted in secret. The public would have been outraged at the fire sale price and the clever Compassion Horowhenua front company. They sign and seal it, announce it to the public then batten down the hatches until it all blows over knowing there is nothing we can do about it.

The level of intelligence these people think we the public have is quite low … so low it’s laughable and the current email issue reminds me of Blackadder’s well known phrase “deny everything Baldrick”, here in the video clip I was fortunate enough to find still. Have a good laugh and ponder on the fact that surprisingly, mainstream media is not being so sympathetic this round. I’m a little suspicious on that but we will see what transpires in due course.

Here’s a link to another two and a half minute clip (the one below is cropped to half a minute).

There are more links to the story within this article. Search our LG Watch pages at the main menu for historical matters. Further articles can also be found by using categories to the left, or the search box. At the Nua FB page also has a good up to date chronology of mainstream media’s coverage of this issue.
EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

Complaint made to Privacy Commissioner over Horowhenua email interception

From Stuff.co.nz

A Horowhenua woman has laid a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner after discovering the district council’s chief executive was intercepting her emails.

A draft audit report on the Horowhenua District Council revealed this month that incoming and outgoing emails from people on a “blacklist” had been intercepted by chief executive David Clapperton.

Once the emails were intercepted, Clapperton could then either block or redirect them, or let them continue to their intended destinations, the report showed.

Horowhenua resident Christine Toms said she laid a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner on Monday after being outraged to discover she was on the “blacklist”. .

READ MORE:
* Councillors stand by under-fire chief executive embroiled in email snooping revelations
* Concerns raised about email interception at Horowhenua District Council
* Editorial: Clapperton’s position is untenable
* Legal questions about ‘astonishing’ email interceptions

“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. This is quite serious stuff.”

By initially failing to communicate that her emails were being intercepted, the council was not meeting her expectations as a ratepayer, Toms said.

Toms, who was previously mayor Michael Feyen’s interim secretary outside of the council, said she should have the right to directly communicate to council staff and Feyen.

She said she had also filed a complaint with the Ombudsman’s office in the hope the council’s practices would be investigated.

Toms thinks Clapperton should stand down during an inquiry into the matter.

READ MORE

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/95090468/complaint-made-to-privacy-commissioner-over-horowhenua-email-tampering

Chief executives don’t support intercepting emails – unlike Horowhenua council’s boss

 

From Stuff.co.nz

Chief executives from councils in the lower North Island see no reason for intercepting emails – a practice Horowhenua District Council’s boss uses to “protect” his staff.

In an audit report, Horowhenua council chief executive David Clapperton was shown to be intercepting emails from members of the public, Horowhenua’s mayor and councillors.

He would block emails, redirect them, or let them continue to their intended destinations, which he said was “necessary to protect my employees so they can carry out their roles safely without undue interference, inappropriate criticism and racist slurs”.

In some cases, the council did not inform people that their emails were being intercepted, according to multiple sources.

READ MORE:
Complaint made to Privacy Commissioner over Horowhenua email interception
Councillors stand by under-fire chief executive embroiled in email snooping revelations
Concerns raised about email interception at Horowhenua District Council
Editorial: Clapperton’s position is untenable
Legal questions about ‘astonishing’ email interceptions
Councillors stand by under-fire chief executive embroiled in email snooping revelations

Some emails that were sent by residents to councillors – not the council – were among those intercepted by Clapperton.

Chief executives from Manawatu and Tararua district councils, and Horizons Regional Council, said there was no reason to intercept emails at their councils.

READ MORE

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/95172391/chief-executives-dont-support-intercepting-emails–unlike-horowhenua-councils-boss

Horowhenua DC’s intercepting politicians’ email a ‘constitutional outrage’ says legal expert

FROM Stuff.co.nz

A council’s interception of politicians’ emails is a “constitutional outrage”, a legal expert says.

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton screened emails to both staff and councillors, a leaked draft audit shows, and there are calls for him to step aside as the matter is investigated.

Victoria University senior lecturer in law Dean Knight said serious alarm bells should ring if it was proven there were practices that obstructed communication between elected politicians and the constituents they were accountable to.

“It’s just astonishing. If it’s the case that the chief executive has been intercepting and/or censoring emails to councillors – especially without their knowledge or consent – I think it’s a real worry.

READ MORE

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/94896547/intercepting-politicians-email-a-constitutional-outrage

Call for an internal audit of Horowhenua DC regarding the monitoring of emails by CE Clapperton

Further to this unfolding issue and the monitoring of emails, amidst calls from many for a forensic audit, nine Councillors are sticking by the CE in his actions. I personally find this of concern that none of those are encouraging an audit. If there is nothing to hide and all is above board there should be no problem at all with an audit. This is not rocket science. If your kid refuses to turn out his pockets you know something’s up. In this instance should HDC not welcome the opportunity to prove their innocence? Not so in this case.
Remember people, this is a council that last year refused to open the financial books … this current breach of privacy is more than just HDC, it is a further erosion of our already compromised privacy. They are relying on you to let this slide under the radar unnoticed.

Labour’s Robb McCann has called for an internal audit (Horowhenua District Ratepayers’ & Residents’ Assn Inc.  FB page)

QUOTE:

“Rob McCann
Media Release
21 July 2017

Labour’s McCann applauds Ombudsman Enquiry

Otaki Labour candidate Rob McCann says the information sharing censorship controversy led to his writing to the Office of the Ombudsman.

“In the interests of ensuring that the Horowhenua District Council is operating in a fully democratic manner, and that full and frank information sharing rather than censorship is occurring, I wrote to the Office of the Ombudsman. I have asked them to investigate what seem to be practices that prevent the free flow of information such as the email blacklisting and interception of emails. I argued those practices could lead to an environment where councilors, and or staff, were not able to make free and informed decisions.”

Mr McCann says if that is the case, decisions such as the one to sell the Pensioner Flats (in what has been described as a fire sale to a property developer for a term of only twelve years), should be put on hold, until the community can be assured the HDC is acting in a democratic manner.

“This issue should not be about personalities. It is about democracy, and if we’ve learned anything from the Trump administration in America, it is that when people have something to hide, they try to prevent investigations. People with nothing to worry about would welcome the opportunity to assure the public that all is well, and build public confidence.

“I applaud the Ombudsman’s Office for agreeing to take a preliminary look at this issue. They informed me they have requested the Internal Audit from HDC.”

Mr McCann says this is the audit, that council has refused to release, citing that it is out of scope and full of errors.
“It seems clear that rather than deal with the substantive issues raised in the audit, the council have asked for a peer review and refused to table the document at council. There are allegations that the council has already received the KPMG peer review but are unhappy with aspects of that report.”

The purpose of audits is to ensure that if something is wrong, the issue is brought to light and then fixed. Mr McCann says in this instance it is quite clear that there are practices that are undemocratic. “Whether or not a there has been actual abuse of power, the system put in place and defended by the HDC Chief Executive, has the potential to facilitate and normalise illegal activities. That must not continue and an investigation by an organisation such as the Ombudsman’s office is the best place to start when the council is not willing to do the job itself.”

Here is a list of other headlines to date:

Mayor angry after audit reveals council blocking emails  
Horowhenua CEO confirms vetting of some emails to politicians Councillors stand by under-fire chief executive embroiled in email snooping revelations
Concerns raised about email interception at Horowhenua District Council
Editorial: Clapperton’s position is untenable
Legal questions about ‘astonishing’ email interceptions
Horowhenua mayor urges council boss to stand aside
CE email vetting may fall foul of Privacy Act

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

CE email vetting may fall foul of Privacy Act reports mainstream

As the ‘debate’ rages on social media about the perceived rights and wrongs of interfering in email communications without the participants’ knowledge, the privacy commissioner has commented. The CE in question has claimed he’s done nothing legally wrong as the Council own the emails. Have a read. There are many articles from mainstream now calling the CE’s actions into question as the issue gets too big to sweep under the rug as they generally tend to do. Whistle blowers have uncovered a variety of questionable issues with the HDC in recent months & years with little outrage from folk least of all mainstream. In fact I’ve noticed they take the side of the establishment, ever so subtly. Here’s hoping there will be a forensic audit on this, and that the report that highlighted this issue be released to the public in the meantime. Once tabled at a council meeting it is then open for the public to read. Unfortunately six Councillors advised they wouldn’t be at Wednesday’s meeting so with no quorum it was postponed. It would have been tabled there I believe. It becomes harder and harder to defend this council in any way, well those who hold the power of vote that is. In the meantime there’s the usual hate fest going on against the perceived whistleblower, except this time the newspaper in question has publicly stated the mayor did not leak the information to them.
EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

From Horowhenua Chronicle

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By Adam Shelton

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton’s view, as reported this week, on email privacy and ownership is misconceived, says the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Mr Clapperton, commenting earlier this week on the controversy surrounding his interception of other people’s emails, said he had not breached privacy in any way in his communications practices.

“Emails addressed to an @horowhenua.govt.nz email address are the property of the Horowhenua District Council as is outlined in the electronic communication policy,” he said.

READ MORE

 

Petition for the instant removal of the CEO and deputy mayor of HDC

Horowhenua has hit the news recently with monitoring & blacklisting of emails by the CE of the District Council. This is a sign of the ever growing corruption within district councils NZ wide. It has to be confronted & stopped. This is the stuff of totalitarian states, not tiny rural NZ. Our council like many is already in $70 odd million debt. This is not the scene of yester year our parents & grandparents built. Let’s clean out the rot!

Sign this and share if you agree CE Clapperton & DM Bishop should go. We need transparency & honesty in council … this crossing of the ethical lines of snooping into emails by the unintended recipient is simply NOT acceptable in my opinion. Please consider and sign!
EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

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THE PETITION

“Can we have safety and democracy if a CEO is to have more authority than the elected local Mayor. please support by voting to remove CEO and Deputy mayor. Both of whom have publicly supported the method of supreme censorship and authority over members of the press, councillors, the mayor and members of the public. It is vital to show just how many people regard freedom to speak and the role it has played in the freedom and safety of all and the importance it has to transparent government and safe communities, free from oppression and corruption even here in NZ.

Horowhenua has its fair share of vulnerable families.  A safe, fair community is paramount to support them moving forward.

I do not condone the abuse of council staff, councillors or the public but this spin by CEO and Bishop does not meet the threshold to establish blocking free communication as acceptable. The true narrative is clear that the safety of staff and all individuals is threatened by absolute authority.  democracy and common law must prevail.”

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO SIGN

(If the link becomes broken go to Change.org and find the petition there)

 

What’s worse: the Council CEO surreptitiously blocking email or LGNZ giving it the ‘excellence’ seal?

A headline on the recent monitoring, blacklisting and diverting of emails by the CE of Horowhenua District Council that came to light in a recent audit. Do attend the HDC’s meeting tomorrow Wednesday 19th July 2017 if you can and support the Mayor who is intending to speak on these events.
EnvirowatchRangitikei

From livenews.co.nz

The details reported by Radio New Zealand this morning about an audit report alleging Horowhenua District Council CEO, David Clapperton, has been surreptitiously monitoring and blocking emails sent to elected officials are made even worse by the fact that Local Government New Zealand’s ‘Excellence Program’ gave the Council a ‘competent’ mark for ‘listening and responding’ in an assessment released only last week.

“It is very clear that Mr Clapperton’s head needs to roll if this serious misconduct is true”, says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union. “We understand that the Mayor and other elected officials have had to engage their own lawyers to obtain information through the CEO. That is unheard of.”

“Questions also need to be asked of LGNZ about why this Council was given a pass rating only last week for ‘listening and responding’ despite the Council having received this disturbing audit report in March. If blocking ratepayers from contacting elected officials is okay, what the heck does a council need to do to fail LGNZ’s assessments?”

READ MORE

https://livenews.co.nz/2017/07/17/whats-worse-the-council-ceo-surreptitiously-blocking-email-or-lgnz-giving-it-the-excellence-seal/

An audit reveals the CE of Horowhenua DC has been methodically intercepting, monitoring & blacklisting people’s emails

This is what happens in totalitarian régimes isn’t it? Not small towns in rural NZ? Well apparently it is. Have a listen to the audio and watch this space. Phone your local councilor if you live in the Horowhenua and ask to have the audit report tabled at the next Council meeting.

If you’re new to these goings on, go to our Local govt watch pages at the main menu. There is much corruption now within district councils … look particularly at the Horowhenua page in there.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201851289