Category Archives: HDC

Draconian media policy adopted by Horowhenua District Council

by Veronica Harrod

Horowhenua District Council has adopted a media policy that refuses to recognise media questions unless the questions are from, “a news media organisation registered by the New Zealand Companies Office.”

“Any further enquiries that are not for a news media organisation registered by the New Zealand Companies Office will be treated as Official Information Requests,” said council’s communications advisor Trish Hayward. The council also wants to know what news organisations the information is being provided to and what the deadline is.

Dr Gavin Ellis, author of ‘Complacent Nation’, a book that explores the erosion of New Zealanders’ right to know said, “The council is bound by the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act’s principle of availability that states information should be made available unless there is a good reason for withholding it.”

“Nothing in the Act gives council the right to withhold information on the grounds that a publication and deadline are not given by the information seeker. I believe that, if the council refuses to supply information to a freelancer for that reason, there are good grounds for a complaint to the Ombudsman. It is useful for council officers to know the deadline to which a journalist is working but that is in order to expedite the flow of information, not to stem it,” said Dr Ellis.

The council’s media policy was adopted after questions were asked about how council was fulfilling its legislative requirement to consult on a very important 20 year 2018-2038 Long Term Plan (LTP).

This is the first time the district has been presented with a draft 20 year plan, all previous one’s have been ten year plans. Council has signalled an intention to rate the small communities of Waitarere, Hokio, Ohau, Manakau and Waikawa $106 million for new water and waste water systems due to “new growth.”

New growth that has been created by land and property developers who haven’t contributed one cent towards essential infrastructure since council voted to cancel contributions in 2015. Since then there has been an explosion of land and property development in Horowhenua.

There will only be three days before submissions on the draft 2018-2038 LTP close on 26 March if the council wait 21 days under the OIA to answer the questions.

Council has been asked (1) why public consultations are being held at the Levin Aquatic Centre instead of Te Takere that is regarded as the centre of the community? (2) Whether council has more responsibility to ensure ratepayers are fully informed considering an intention to raise $106 million for new water and waste water infrastructure in “new growth” areas? (3) why it is acceptable land and property developers haven’t contributed one cent to essential infrastructure in “growth areas” yet ratepayers are expected to pay? (4) How much does the infrastructure rate equates to in dollar terms for each affected area? (5) Given the complexity of the draft 20 year LTP whether public consultations should include more than four relatively obscure public meetings? (6) What has council been doing to consult residents that need assistance to understand the draft LTP implications (7) Why has the council called the 20 year LTP, “Consultation in preparation of 2018-2038 Long Term Plan” instead of a draft document? (8) Why has the council decided to hold so few consultations and none at Te Takere? What was the rationale behind that decision? (9) Why doesn’t council doesn’t visit marae, associations and groups around the district and tell them how they will be directly affected? (10) Wouldn’t travelling to Marae be an effective way to consult with Maori ratepayers? (11) Why is a public meeting on the Otaki to Levin North expressway considered important enough to be held at Te Takere but not the district’s LTP? (12) Why only one month for consultation on a complex and lengthy document? (13) Why is council running so many consultations simultaneous taking into consideration residents have busy lives and, unlike the council staff, are already juggling many responsibilities and obligations? (14) Does the council think the consultation process on a number of important documents simultaneously would meet the standards of the Office of the Auditor General if a governance complaint was made? (15) The draft LTP states “Look out for upcoming consultations that are outside the consultation on the LTP. The outcomes from these may result in future changes to the LTP.” Shouldn’t the LTP be informing the other consultations not the other way around?

Why an Inquiry needs to be held into the business interests of Horowhenua District Council

A further illustration of how democracy in NZ has become a mere illusion. From Veronica Harrod.

Commentary; Why an Inquiry needs to be held into the business interests of Horowhenua District Council and other matters

Here’s a little story that demonstrates how and why communications is used as a weapon by Horowhenua District Council to drive strategies and plans that favour the financial interests of a small group of businessmen on the economic development board.

A communications strategy to assist the economic development board members secure outcomes favourable to their business interests was identified as one of six priorities by a council Growth Response Team comprising the Chief Executive Officer David Clapperton, Economic Development Manager Shanon Grainger and council in 2016.

Priorities include (1) Reviewing the Horowhenua Development/Growth Plan (2) Developing the Levin Town Centre Plan (3) Developing a Horowhenua Traffic Management Plan in support of the Horowhenua Development/Growth Plan and Levin Town Centre Plan (4) Investigating and establishing an Investment vehicle to drive the plans forward (5) Developing a Horowhenua 2030 Strategic Plan and developing a Communications Strategy to support the above initiatives.

The public are being “consulted” on all these plans and strategies now and council has voted to support the establishment of an Investment Trust initially comprising economic development board members which council’s chief executive David Clapperton will “assist” for the first two years. Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop voted against mayor Michael Feyen also being involved in the establishment of the trust.

Make no mistake. These plans and strategies the community are being consulted on now are entirely dedicated to advancing the interests of the economic development board. Up to 40 percent of public assets owned by council may be sold to finance the board’s new lethal toy which the Investment Trust is. Perhaps the public would prefer any sale of public assets to write down increasing debt levels or set aside for essential infrastructure projects. All the projects the Trust want to drive rely on the council plans and strategies being favourable to their business interests. Which is why we are actually at what is referred to as a tipping point. Everything is converging that will cement the board’s control of the council and the community in a final and irrevocable way.

A communications strategy that refers to the Investment Trust as “by the people for the people” is nothing more than empty words simply because it is not true. Board chair Cameron Lewis used those words to describe the Trust’s activities which is a very effective communications strategy. What’s not to love about “by the people, for the people” right? But the Investment Trust is the board’s strategy and it advances the financial interests of board members.

Holding only four relatively obscure public meetings on the district’s first, very important, draft 20 year Long Term Plan is a deliberate communications strategy. Holding the only Levin public meeting at the Aquatic Centre instead of Te Takere is a deliberate communications strategy. Interestingly enough the council considers it important enough to hold a public meeting on the new expressway at Te Takere though. Which it is but so too, surely, is it important to hold public meetings on council’s draft documents at Te Takere too. No doubt the council and Otaki MP Nathan Guy intend on whipping up community opposition to the north eastern route because it extends across land and property development projects in the north east being driven by council and land developers and included in the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan which the community were not consulted on.

Isn’t Te Takere supposed to be the hub of the community and yet not one public meeting on council’s draft documents is being held at Te Takere. All of a sudden the Aquatic Centre has become the place where council holds public meetings. It would be bizarre nonsense if it was not able to be explained as a deliberate communications strategy. Not referring to the documents as “draft” plans is a deliberate communications strategy. In the public notices section of a community newspaper the draft 2018-2038 Long Term Plan is referred to as, “Consultation in preparation of 2018-2038 Long Term Plan.” It is not called a draft document which is very concerning.

Bombarding the public with, I have counted ten consultations so far running simultaneously, is a deliberate communications strategy. It ensures minimal public participation because the public is drowning in “consultation” documents. But the council and economic development board, when they are questioned, can turn around and say, “the public was consulted.” A complaint is being laid with the Office of the Auditor General on governance grounds.

If the public want to participate in a serious and considered way there are at least eight separate and complex documents on the 2018-2038 draft Long Term Plan alone. And that is just one draft document. Say each document is approximately 200 pages, and this is conservative, means having time, energy and capability to read approximately 2000 pages and understand complex financial information. Then after reading approximately 2000 pages the public then require the capacity to analyse the draft plans and strategies to understand the consequences of the impacts. After I read the draft Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040 Consultation document was available on the council’s website in the “have your say” section I went to download a copy. But it wasn’t available. The growth strategy replaces its predecessor the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan (HDP). The 2008 HDP is essential a land developers bible with 12 land development projects alone in the Levin section of the plan. Increasing urban density which the public are being “consulted” on now is recommended in the Implementation section of the 2008 HDP.

I say the word consultation in quote marks because overwhelming the public with plans and strategies and decisions can only impede not facilitate consultation. But this is a deliberate communications strategy too. The public generally think communications strategies are about informing the public. They are not. The most sophisticated communications strategy, which board member and former Satchi and Satchi head Antony Young no doubt knows a lot about, is all about manipulating communications to advance third party interests; in this case the third party interests are the economic development board’s financial interests.

But to continue with my own experience I phoned the council and asked the customer service representative who answered the phone where the growth strategy was. She looked for it and couldn’t find it. She sought assistance before telling me that the draft Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040 was within the web link to the draft 2018-2038 Long Term Plan!! A normal person would think well, that’s pretty stupid, isn’t it. Why is a totally unrelated draft document buried underneath another draft document on a separate matter? The answer is how communications is presented is also a deliberate communications strategy.

But when I went to the link I realised I had simply been fobbed off because the draft strategy document wasn’t there either. So I phoned the council again and asked to speak to council’s communications advisor Trish Hayward and she spent some time away from the phone before coming back to me and saying a group manager had not signed it off which is why it wasn’t available. But, I said, there is a public notice saying it is available. This kind of communications behaviour is a deliberate communications strategy.

All the plans and strategies the public are being consulted on now represent the apex of the economic development board’s plan to secure their own financial interests which is why a report will be submitted to appropriate government representatives and agencies calling for an Inquiry into the business interests of Horowhenua District Council and other matters.

The argument in favour of holding an Inquiry is based on the Western Australia 1991 Commission of Inquiry into the business interests of the state government. Perth premier Brian Burke and other government representatives engaged in business dealings with several prominent businessmen including Alan Bond, who was the most well known. These dealings resulted in a loss of public money, estimated at a minimum of $600 million and the insolvency of several large corporations [source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WA_Inc].

The main and primary results of a Royal Commission that was subsequently set up to investigate the Commercial Activities of Government and Other Matters found state politicians were using their own version of our Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act inappropriately and, as it transpired, illegally to hold meetings in private to plan and scheme business deals that resulted in the loss of public funds. The Commission of Inquiry was only set up due to the actions of strong public advocacy by the activist group, People for Fair and Open Government.

This out-of-control juggernaut must be stopped in its tracks which is also why council chief executive David Clapperton should not be reappointed to the role of council chief executive. He is compromised by his close relationship with the board and his own conflict of interest. In November 2016 he set up a land development company with his wife Catherine Whitehouse which contravenes his contract with the council. He did not declare his conflict of interest for three months. When he did the council public notice did not state the general nature of the matter that would be discussed, as required by law, and the former chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee deputy mayor and land developer Wayne Bishop allowed him to declare the conflict of interest in a publicly excluded session of council on the grounds of “commercial sensitivity” without informing the public why that part of the meeting would be publicly excluded. Which he is required to do under the Local Government Act.

We are talking about the professional behaviour of key figures within council including Mr Clapperton and Cr Bishop. Suffice to say Cr Bishop is no longer the chair of that particular committee which, one would hope, means democracy does work except it doesn’t and it isn’t. Not in Horowhenua. The Horowhenua people don’t know what democracy looks like anymore much less what it feels like. No wonder there is a high rate of ill-health in the district. Mayor Feyen, who is also on the MidCentral District Health Board, was quoted in a local newspaper saying, “research was needed to help understand why the district’s people suffered a high incidence of health issues.” The pressures of living under a regime where the ratepayer is effectively held hostage by a council that funnels public money into private business and takes no notice of the community’s preferences is not healthy. Democracy has been eroded by the council and key figures within council that are acting on behalf of a small group of businessmen and their financial interests across Investment, construction and land development industries. The Investment Trust explicitly says council, Government and private equity will fund projects. Yes, projects that directly financially benefit board members interests. It is time to hold an Inquiry before the Trust and the economic development board convince the Government to pump economic development funds into the Trust under the guise of economic development.

RELATED:
WA Inc was a political scandal in Western Australia. In the 1980s, the state government, which was led for much of the period by premier Brian Burke, engaged in business dealings with several prominent businessmen, including Alan Bond, Laurie Connell, Dallas Dempster, John Roberts, and Warren Anderson. These dealings resulted in a loss of public money, estimated at a minimum of $600 million and the insolvency of several large corporations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WA_Inc

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.

You can find more of Veronica’s articles by entering her name in the search box.

Local councils slammed for failing to supply information

This has just happened in the Horowhenua with their District Council. Info request denied regarding their Economic Development Board.  Quite a lot going on there at the moment, to read more go to investigative journalist Veronica Harrod’s page. Her articles are frequently on the Horowhenua District Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc page where you can keep up to speed with happenings & ongoing discussions Council wise in the Horowhenua.

From RadioNZ

The chief ombudsman says local democracy is being undermined as councils fail to meet obligations to release public information.

Peter Boshier said councils are not meeting their responsibilities under the Local Government Official Information and Meeting Act and that some councils seem to resent having to be held accountable.

“The performance of many councils is disappointing. Local government is absolutely fundamental to democracy, and in that respect the need for accountability and supply of information is just as strong as it is with central government, and yet many local councils don’t see it that way.

READ MORE

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/350849/local-councils-slammed-for-failing-to-supply-information

HDC’s master plan revealed … they’re about to sell off more of Horowhenua’s assets

A benign sounding partnership/Trust is to be formed to sell more of Horowhenua’s assets, outlined here in another of Veronica Harrod’s  excellent articles. If you watch a video I featured a few months back at the time the sales were first announced, you’ll see what ‘Public Private Partnerships’ are really about. Joan Veon (in the video) studied governmental changes world wide during the ’90s when she worked with the UN. She attended a conference hosted by Al Gore proposing changes to government in which the tax payer citizens were referred to as ‘customers’. She traveled internationally & later lectured on these topics. She sheds a whole lot of light on the smoke and mirrors going on in local councils right now that have their origins in plans made more than two decades ago. The plan is rolling out in plain sight if you care to look below the surface rhetoric. The smoke & mirrors apply particularly with regard to the sale of assets. The video is a short watch (13 mins) and well worth the time.  Note also, when I added Joan Veon’s video in the Facebook comments below Veronica’s original posting of her article, it was immediately removed by Facebook as spam. Now doesn’t that tell you something? If you’re really interested get hold of Joan’s book called The Sustainable Prince (she mentions it at the end of the video) in which she explains the public private partnerships plus the ‘sustainable’ scam. (Witness our now trashed waterways under the ‘sustainable development’ lie). And finally, of course the new Government will support this. I will be very surprised if they don’t.   EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

Horowhenua District Council’s Master Plan revealed

By Veronica Harrod

The most damning evidence to date that Horowhenua residents live in ‘tail wags the dog’ political environment is the district council’s proposed sponsorship of a “Charitable Community Trust” dedicated to rolling out a Master Plan initiated by the economic development board.

The 49 page “HDC-Project-Lift-Master-Plan-FINAL” contains a time line which states, “On 12 April, 2016 Horowhenua Economic Development Board introduced [the Master Plan] concept and on 13 April 2016 [former] Mayor Brendan Duffy and chief executive David Clapperton [held a] discussion on the role of Horowhenua District Council and related ownership, leadership, and governance of the project.”

Full support pledged from the council includes providing $259,400 of funding and in-kind support such as “lending venues for labs and gifting people’s time and expertise” but up to $500,000 was being sought from central Government.

So, how do the aims and objectives of the Master Plan tie in with council’s intention to sponsor the establishment of a Charitable Community Trust and what is it the proposed Trust intends to do?

According to a report titled, “Community Trust for Horowhenua: Supporting Information for the Council Strategy Committee” presented on 8 November 2017 by economic development manager Shanon Grainger the Trust would own,”in part or wholly, or in any other arrangement, a series of limited liability investment companies (or activities) [that would] operate on standard commercial terms governed by a commercial board of directors using a mix of private equity, bank-sourced debt and possibly Council assets or equity.”

External Opportunities listed include, “ensuring that local businesses and community initiatives benefit from the Otaki to North of Levin Expressway project” and, “local projects such as the Levin Town Centre, the provision of better water infrastructure and resources, the freeing up of land for residential, commercial and industrial construction.”

The council report says the first priority of the Trust “up to July 2018” is to roll out the next phase of the Master Plan. This includes obtaining, “Central Government approval of the proposals set out in the Master Plan; recruitment of appropriate experts…and contract a provider to deliver the [Master Plan].”

The Master Plan specialises in what is referred to as, “solutions for older people…through the development of fit-for-purpose products, services and environments – for example…planning opportunities like Levin/Taitoko’s spatial plan and housing redevelopment [and] shopping precincts that are easy to get around.”

“We will develop business cases to attract funding and investment [for] solutions requiring significant public and private investment…We anticipate the balance of public to private investment.”

Whether the new Government will support the Master Plan concept is unknown at this stage, but the political uncertainty presents a potential liability which has not been considered.

Although the Master Plan refers to older people in Horowhenua as “stakeholders” older people and organisations representing older people, including Greypower Horowhenua, were excluded from involvement in a deal that saw council sell land last year for the development of a new medical centre in Levin.

In a newspaper column councillor Neville Gimblett referred to the deal between council, the former Government and private enterprise as, “an example of the growth coming to Levin as private enterprise gains the confidence to make major investment in our community…away from the unsettling glare of public commentary.”

At a FCB meeting on 18 September 2017 council’s chief executive David Clapperton said one project of the Master Plan,”is the establishment of a new purpose-built medical centre,which will bring a number of key services and specialists to Levin and Horowhenua. As Horowhenua’s economy continues to expand, it can be anticipated that further large scale projects like the medical centre will flow into our district.

Seed funding would be provided to the proposed Trust through the sale of up to 40 percent of publicly owned assets by council but regarded as surplus to requirements.

Mr Clapperton said in a council press release published on 8 November last year, “we’ve acquired property for a variety of reasons…Some of it is useful to our community and some of it not so much.”

A key initiative of council’s economic development strategy 2014-2017 developed under Mr Duffy’s reign as mayor also includes rationalisation of council owned properties but refers to the intention to rationalise property as “an aligned Property Assets Strategy.”

Mr Grainger spoke more plainly in his report to council when he stated, “Over the years HDC has acquired a large portfolio of property for a variety of reasons – some helpful; some less so. The result is that, at present, HDC has approximately 40% more property than is required…In addition, a variety of property is leased or rented on a sub-optimal basis and thus represents a risky and inefficient investment.”

He went on to outline the “advantages” of the trust entering a joint arrangement with the council to develop a “disposal programme” of council owned property deemed excess to requirements. Mr Clapperton also spoke of council’s intention to “dispose” of public assets through a sale to the “Trust” at the December 11, 2017 Foxton Community Board meeting when he stated it was, “council’s intention to dispose of a number of properties which have been identified as non-core, with the goal of the portfolio being core only by 2028.”

The disposal of council property regarded as surplus would be, “executed using expertise retained by the Trust through (i) Transfer to the Trust at agreed rates; and/or (ii) Sold into the open market by value maximising means (auction, private treaty, etc).”

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.

You can find more of Veronica’s articles by entering her name in the search box.

Search for more articles on Councils by using ‘categories’.

RELATED

Privatisation in NZ, a Kiwi speaks

Horowhenua Council Considers selling off large amounts of Council property by way of public private partnerships

Official Information Act request refused by Horowhenua District Council

By Veronica Harrod

An Official Information Act request for the minutes of economic development board meetings held in 2016 and 2017 has been refused by Horowhenua District Council.
In response to the request council’s chief executive David Clapperton said, “The Horowhenua Economic Development Board is not a committee of the Horowhenua District Council. Council is not required to hold and does not possess copies of Horowhenua Economic Development Board meeting minutes. We are therefore unable to provide the information you have requested.”
Profiles of the nine members of the economic development board featured on the council website include three councillors. Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop who is also deputy chair of the economic development board, and councillors Barry Judd and Piri-Hira Tukapua.
Board chairperson Cameron Lewis is rumoured to be standing as mayor at the next local body elections. He has been asked to confirm whether this information is true and his response will be published once confirmation or denial has been received.
Other members on the board include men regarded as “captains of industry” Andy Wynne, Antony Young, Evan Kroll, Larry Ellison and Ron Turk.
The request was made because of concerns the board is having an undue and unmandated amount of influence and control over decisions made by council.
Horowhenua’s economic development three year strategy (2014-2017) states it is, “a ten year vision to guide three year outcomes, priorities, actions and initiatives” that was developed, “with business as well as the council, regional council, central government and council’s key partners.”
The strategy also states an intention to take, “economic development…to the centre of council’s actions.”
After the Official Information Act (OIA) request was received the council removed the profiles of board members from its website in the first instance.
When asked to comment on why this had been done council’s communications advisor Trish Hayward said, “Council is in the process of updating the information, layout and photographs on the Horowhenua Economic Development Board page of our website. The page has been temporarily deactivated while the update is carried out. We expect the update to be complete, and the page to be reactivated, early this year.”
The profiles and page featuring board members has been activated again.
The OIA request has been referred to the Office of the Ombudsman to determine whether council is required to release the minutes of board meetings for 2016 and 2017.

Click on the heading below to go to HDC’s website featuring the board members …

Horowhenua Economic Development Board (Members)


Note: I do recall clearly in the council meeting where the Mayor’s chosen deputy was demoted, shortly after his election. One of the reasons given for his demotion at the time in that public-allowed meeting was because he had spoken out about his concerns regarding these non-elected people who were members of the above board, having access to council/business information ahead of their potential competitors. The board members were named one by one at the time & those present were told that these people provided employment for the Horowhenua. Since that time one of those employers has shifted operations to Vietnam with a loss of 30 local jobs. You can read about that here:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11857632

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 



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 about Veronica’s professional qualifications see her Facebook page.

Why is HDC allowing the felling of a protected Totara tree on a formerly Council-owned Foxton property, by the new owners Willis & Bond / Compassion Horowhenua? (amended article)

The original article posted earlier stated that the tree was a Kauri … apologies, it is in fact a Totara, but still a protected species. This is the original with amendments.

The Totara in question is on a property now owned by Willis & Bond / Compassion Horowhenua Housing. They are the new owners of Johnston Street community housing that was formerly Council owned. The tree to the right of the fence in the photo is to be cut back, that one is on Council property (Seaview Gardens). However the other tree to the left is to be felled. This native Totara is not currently listed as a ‘notable tree’, the only thing I understand that could prevent its being felled.  The by-laws apparently have recently changed in the Horowhenua preventing the species from being protected there. So how is this a forward move? Felling a protected native species? Have local iwi been consulted on this? Here we have the usual UN ‘sustainable’ spin that balances sustainable economies with sustainable environments … guess which one wins out, every time?

Copy of Jan 2018 015

It should in my opinion be cut back (for easier ongoing maintenance of the buildings if that is what is required) … but not felled. That is very backward thinking.

The following article reflects the direction Councils are taking in their professions of Treaty Partnership with regard to native trees. Their websites tend to pay lip service only to the Treaty. It is described in the article how the Auckland Council failed to support a rāhui placed on the Waitakere Forest to protect Kauri, another protected species.

“The council’s Environment and Community Committee chose to reject the rāhui request made byTe Kawarau-a-Maki, deciding instead to close only high-risk and medium-risk tracks.”

Read the article: Why aren’t people listening? Māori scientists on why rāhui are important

So it would appear the Horowhenua District Council is moving in a similar direction? With recent by-law changes the protected species is now set for the chop.

Note: I have requested of Council today (5th Feb) that the tree be made ‘notable’. They’ve referred my request to a ‘Strategic Planner’ to respond. Please consider requesting the same by sending an email to:

CustomerServices@horowhenua.govt.nz

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

Horowhenua: a political environment where the tail wags the dog … the steady erosion of democracy in Aotearoa

By Veronica Harrod
January 15

Horowhenua: a political environment where the tail wags the dog

“…the majority of Horowhenua residents are increasingly finding themselves caught in a ‘tail wagging the dog’ political environment where the economic development board is the tail determining the direction and decisions of council which is the dog and not a very friendly dog at that.”

Four days after an Official Information Act request was made for the 2016 and 2017 Horowhenua District Council economic development board minutes the council removed information about the economic development board from its website.
Council’s communications advisor Trish Hayward said, “Council is in the process of updating the information, layout and photographs on the Horowhenua Economic Development Board page of our website. The page has been temporarily deactivated while the update is carried out. We expect the update to be complete, and the page to be reactivated, early this year.”

Former mayor Brendan Duffy led the charge to bring the economic development board’s predecessor Enterprise Horowhenua back under council control and Mr Duffy features prominently in Horowhenua’s economic development 2014-2017 strategy which is referred to as, “a ten year vision to guide three year outcomes, priorities, actions and initiatives..”
The council document states the strategy was developed “with business as well as the council, regional council, central government and our key partners.” The intention of council to take, “an active role…by leading the development of this strategy, and committing to its priority actions” was signed off by Mr Duffy despite the fact residents were not consulted.
A key initiative of the strategy to, “review council’s development contributions policy to support Horowhenua’s economic development agenda” is indicative of the amount of influence the strategy has over the direction and decisions council makes that reverberates today.
Two other key initiatives which resonate today include an intention to, “create opportunities to ‘catalyse’ economic development through an aligned property assets strategy” which is one of the main reasons the economic development board wants to set up a Trust and, “Identify and develop mechanisms to help create a more business-friendly culture within Council.”
Council employs an economic development manager Shanon Grainger, a growth response project manager Daniel Haigh and has recently appointed a “customer and development enabler” Melissa Hanson, a role that council says in a press release has been created specifically to, “provide a more personalised service to valued business customers.”
On development contributions council didn’t just review contributions land developers used to make toward essential infrastructure (including water and waste water) it canned them in 2015 further enabling the roll out of a plethora of land development projects many of which are outlined in the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.

The public was not consulted on the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan either, instead publicly excluded workshops were held with land developers.

This means two very influential documents created by the few (and, arguably, for the few) are having a disproportionate amount of power and influence over decisions made by council. The fact both documents continue to be so influential today indicates main players inside council remain determined to continue an agenda the public have been excluded from commenting on or being consulted about as is required under the Local Government Act.

Instead the majority of Horowhenua residents are increasingly finding themselves caught in a ‘tail wagging the dog’ political environment where the economic development board is the tail determining the direction and decisions of council which is the dog and not a very friendly dog at that.

The strategy states an intention to take, “economic development…to the centre of council’s actions” but the economic development board does not have a mandate to do so because it isn’t bound by the Local Government Act, or its legal requirement to consult or be transparent and accountable in its actions and motivations.

WHO ARE THE MAIN PLAYERS?

So who are the main players in this tail wagging the dog political environment? The shadows who prefer to maintain secrecy about decisions they are making as a board to such an extent that council clearly agreed to remove information about them from the council website.
The only public face is economic development board chair Cameron Lewis, a director on the board of local asparagus grower Tendertips. He is often quoted in council press releases extolling “growth” happening in the district despite the fact the majority of “growth” indicators are forecasted, estimated and expected not growth in real or actual terms. But the “growth” rhetoric advances the land development agenda of council which is why it is so convenient.
Second cab off the rank is economic development board deputy chair Wayne Bishop who has multi-million dollar land and property development interests across New Zealand and in Horowhenua.
It appears to be his job to ensure the economic development strategy gains momentum around the council table which he is clearly very effective at doing as his appointment to the role of deputy mayor confirms. He essentially has eight of the ten councillors on-side and troubleshoots for the board when required which he is also very effective at doing.
Although he is in public office he is projected to financially benefit by the cancellation of development contributions by at least $2 million based on estimated figures of $15,000 per new build including $750,000 from the projected 500 house sub-division Speldhurst Country Estate in Kimberley Road alone.
Although those standing for public office are not supposed to financially benefit from political decisions – doing so has a name we are not allowed to publicly state for some reason- yet this behaviour is not only tolerated but condoned.
Also on the board is Levana chief executive Andy Wynne, advertising and digital media executive Antony Young who formerly worked as Asia regional director for Saatchi & Saatchi, Horowhenua district councillor and Horowhenua Learning Centre operations manager Barry Judd, engineering company Stevensons Group managing director Evan Kroll, Ellison Group investment company managing director Larry Ellison of Foxton, Horowhenua councillor Piri-Hira Tukapua and managing director of Turk’s Poultry in Foxton Ron Turk.
While deputy chair of the board and council’s deputy mayor Wayne Bishop appears to be the economic development board’s inside man controlling governance issues council’s chief executive David Clapperton appears to act as the economic development board’s inside man controlling operational and management issues. The fractious and obstructive relationship he has with mayor Feyen who was democratically elected in local body elections in 2016 indicates he remains committed to the task he’s been delegated.
But a political environment where the tail wags the dog makes Horowhenua look more like it is governed by an oligarchy – where the few have taken control of an organisation – rather than a democracy which is why this increasingly out of control juggernaut needs to be challenged at the highest levels.

 



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.


RELATED:

The Horowhenua DC’s Economic Development Committee that looks not unlike insider trading

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

Council to restart controversial email screening

Did they ever stop one would have to wonder? I attended the last pre-Christmas council meeting, the controversial one where they tried unsuccessfully to unseat the elected mayor, and former Councilor Anne Hunt told us her emails are being both intercepted and shared with third parties. On the strength of that she uses the recipients’ private email addresses. Such is the ongoing privacy debacle (or lack thereof) that’s happening planet wide. If you were inclined to the conspiratorial you’d call it Big Brother. But then ‘conspiracy theory’ was invented by those who want to deflect you from the real issue, they actually are spying on your every move online. It’s all recorded… to protect you from ‘terrorists’ of course. I was recently cited the latest amendments to the banking fraternity’s fine print saying I’d have to send my photo ID (you know that drivers license cum photo ID that you must carry with you, if you drive ie all the time). I had to send it because of the latest terrorist modifications to the fine print. Perhaps they fear they are going to blow up the banks? Or the ATMs? Anyway, the Council being the topic here, we now know it’s official that spying, I mean watching out for Council staff’s safety, means your communications will be perused by somebody there and it is going to be an ongoing practice for now.  EnvirowatchHorowhenua


Council to restart controversial email screening

From the NZ Herald

Controversial email screening looks set to be restarted by Horowhenua District Council despite ongoing investigations into the practice.

A Finance and Risk committee recommended adopting a new version of the policy, altered to exclude elected councillors from having their emails vetted, but otherwise very similar to the previous policy, according to report-writer and HDC Corporate Services group manager Mark Lester.

The previous policy, where the council’s chief executive had emails from people on a “blacklist” redirected to himself personally, landed the council in hot water after it was picked up by an audit and labelled as an “extreme risk” that could breach privacy laws and damage the council’s reputation.

The council commissioned a peer review of the original audit, which then claimed no conclusion could be drawn over the practice due to a lack of working papers from the auditor.

Later statements from the council slammed the auditor as having not done his job properly.

A public outcry resulted in complaints to the Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner’s office, who are investigating.

Mayor Michael Feyen, who had his emails vetted for up to three years, said he abstained from voting on adopting the new policy because he believed the council should wait for the results of the investigations.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/horowhenua-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503788&objectid=11926574

Why the media silence on Horowhenua DC’s decision for no Maori ward, when Horowhenua has a high Maori population?

When the Forest Falls Silent

By Veronica Harrod

On November 29 there was a public notice in local community paper Horowhenua Chronicle which stated, “the [Horowhenua district] council has decided not to establish a Maori Ward within the Horowhenua District.”
However, almost two weeks later [and yes I am only counting working days] this is the only public statement that has been made to date.
I have waited in vain for what comprises our local media to at least do a cursory interview of council, councillors and local iwi representatives on this decision but all that reigns is silence like Bambi has died in the forest.
As a journalist I am becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of coverage of important local issues that appears to have become the new normal here in communities like Horowhenua and, no doubt, the rest of the country too.
Local community newspapers including the NZME owned Horowhenua Chronicle and the Fairfax owned The Horowhenua Mail appear to have almost completely abdicated any responsibility to investigate and report independently and impartially, without fear or favour, news in the public interest.
This is not “field of dreams” stuff this was actually what journalists used to do; even journalists who worked for small time papers.
In fact publishing news in the public interest now appears to be regarded as a rather quaint, old fashioned notion out of touch with the commercial realities of media in a digital age.
The owners and shareholders of major media corporates may be concerned with the bottom line but the media has always had an important editorial role to take on those in power and hold them to account for their decisions and actions.
I am sure the major media companies would say this role still is important to them. No doubt NZME and Fairfax are arguing this very rational in support of their continuing fight to be allowed to merge; that merging won’t affect their editorial independence or the diversity of voices represented in their traditional and new media platforms.
Bullshit. Readers and those who work or, increasingly, used to work in what comprises the media landscape in this country rarely see news being published without fear or favour anymore and this is the case in an environment where they still are separate entities.
Which begs the question: how much worse is the editorial environment going to be if NZME and Fairfax do win their legal challenge and are given permission to merge? Well, considering the trajectory, the signs are very worrying.
I mean who are these major media companies actually working for? Their own commercial and economic survival alone or for what their survival represents?
If the answer to that question is the latter, what their survival represents, and it represented a return to a respect for those good old fashioned values of an independent editorial that reports without fear or favour, well, I would support a merger.
But it appears all they actually care about is their economic and commercial survival and largely, as communities like ours see unfolding on a day by day basis, at the cost of the communities they are supposed to be representing!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a new media girl from way back having completed my Master of Communications on the impact the convergence of Information Technology and Communications on the media in the Year 2000.
I even started a new media company and showcased early new media video content online in the hope of getting a new media site started locally. I still think fondly of Richard Naylor who started the first broadband network in Wellington and gave me free space on his server to upload digital video clips to.
In other words I sought to apply my knowledge locally but, despite hearing all about how respected innovation and knowledge is, my attempts fell on deaf ears.
Still, that aside, as a new media girl I also love the interactive nature of the new media environment, and letters to the editor represent the best interactive model available to the traditional media.
I still believe there should be a letters to the editor page because letters to the editor facilitate debate and facilitating debate should be a core role of the media for two fundamental and enduring reasons: it is good for democracy and it is good for promoting a diversity of voices.
Except our Fairfax owned Horowhenua Mail doesn’t even have a letters to the editor page, for crying out loud, and it is starting to look largely like neither does the NZME Horowhenua Chronicle. Except NZME is smarter, or perhaps it is a joint approach to pull the wool over our eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised.
The NZME approach is to spend all the space in the letters to the editor page writing how they want letters to the editor except they then refuse to publish anything critical of the very agencies they should be asking hard questions of.
It is almost like what these small, almost imperceptible, changes represent is an expectation NZME and Fairfax will eventually win their court case challenging the Commerce Commission decision they should not be allowed to merge.
When we wonder why there is such a low turnout at local body elections, or why the same councillors keep getting voted in despite clear evidence they are not serving the community, we have a serious problem and (unfortunately) the local media have become part of that problem.
For a long time now both NZME and Fairfax appear far more concerned with entertaining the masses; almost as if distracting communities from the real issues is the goal. It is a bloody travesty.
We get asked by outsiders, what is going on at your council? This is the role the media used to play. Explaining what is going on, exposing the shortcomings, the falsehoods, the vested interests; sifting the truth from the public relations campaigns the communications gurus working for the local council get paid handsomely to devise. 
But instead of reading about issues that matter to the community without fear or favour, such as why the council decided not to establish a Maori Ward in a community with a high population of Maori, we listen as the forest falls silent.

 

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.

 

Shot at, assaulted, arrested, thrown in jail, drugged, car destroyed, home sledgehammered – something is very wrong with NZ’s justice system – (a must read book review)

A Book, “Man of Convictions” by Anne Hunt
Reviewed by Veronica Harrod

This is a book I’ve only part read but will be completing as soon as I have time. The little I’ve read is a shocking eye opener and indicative of the fact that something is terribly wrong with our justice system. Not the country I grew up in that is for sure.  EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

Lake Horo 1200.JPG
Lake Horowhenua of which Philip Taueki is kaitiaki   [Photo: Pam Vernon]

Documented detail about Taueki’s battles as kaitiaki and the cost he has personally paid including being shot at, assaulted, arrested, thrown in jail; his car was destroyed beyond repair, his home by the lake was sledgehammered until only a shell remained, his much loved dogs were traumatised and he says he was “drugged against my will and without my knowledge.”

 

By Veronica Harrod

Anne Hunt, published by Potangotango Foundation, PO Box 664, Levin 5540, New Zealand, Man of Convictions: Taueki – a man, his tribe and their lake, http://annehunt.co.nz; 2017. 275pp. ISBN 978-0-473-40314-0 (PDF)

This is journalist Anne Hunt’s fourth non-fiction book and first e-book. “Man of Convictions” is referred to as “first published” and “V1.11” because Hunt will update the content with new information when it’s available. The author states she, “makes no apology for writing this book from the perspective of the Taueki family.” Hunt also makes background information available on her website including court documents and transcripts which supports the book’s content. She also includes information in the book about her own family history and extensive and enduring involvement in assisting Philip Taueki since 2010.

The e-book comprises 24 chapters on Levin resident Philip Taueki’s battles as a kaitiaki of Lake Horowhenua since his return from London in 2004 where he was working as an accountant “…for some time living in the prestigious neighbourhood of WC1 London where members of the Royal Family reside.”

But this isn’t a book about his impressive academic and professional achievements it is a book about how ugly everything can get when there is a lot at stake. Hunt describes in meticulous and documented detail about Taueki’s battles as kaitiaki and the cost he has personally paid including being shot at, assaulted, arrested, thrown in jail; his car was destroyed beyond repair, his home by the lake was sledgehammered until only a shell remained, his much loved dogs were traumatised and he says he was “drugged against my will and without my knowledge.” For the last nine months he has been left with no water supply to his residence after Horowhenua District Council illegally turned it off and he will face a retrial on a charge of trespssing on his own land in January 2018 even though he has been aquitted twice of the same charge in previous court cases.

The opening chapter traverses the history of MuaUpoko and Philip’s whakapapa to “an ariki by the name of Taueki, the renowned paramount chief” who signed “the Treaty of Waitangi” before launching in chapter after gruelling chapter of his numerous arrests, court cases and the role third parties have played including state and government organisations. The, no doubt, long fought for establishment approval he achieved in London stands in stark contrast to the scorn, ridicule and material deprivation he has experienced since returning to the community where he was born and raised. Many people in his home town of Levin refer to renowned paramount chief Taueki’s great great grandson Philip Taueki as “the Mad Maori who lived down by the lake.”

The book presents a disturbing picture of what people in positions of power and authority are prepared to do to maintain control over Lake Horowhenua even if it means lying under oath. At one court trial Judge Harvey asked former Horowhenua District Council mayor Brendan Duffy whether two buildings formerly tenanted by the yachting and rowing clubs had toilets and Mr Duffy answered “correct” even though, “On inspection they confirmed there were no toilets to be found.” Hunt has included quotes from court transcripts at every point in the book where the facts are likely to be disputed. What Mr Duffy said in court on oath is just one such example of her attention to detail. The behaviour of the local police also leaves a lot to be desired. One of many such instances is described when,”Constable Lionel Currie had certainly not picked a good time to claim he had served this trespass notice on Phil down at the lake. At that precise time, a whole team of councillors and candidates were erecting election hoardings in Levin, all prepared to testify that Phil was with us, hard at work digging holes in the stony ground.”

I would have liked to see Lake Horowhenua ownership information included as a separate paragraph in its own right because who the legal owners of Lake Horowhenua are is the crux of the issue Hunt writes about. Instead some of this important information is buried in other references. We know the lake is privately owned because Hunt writes, “A British certificate of title for the lake partition had been issued on 19 March 1899” but annoyingly doesn’t say who it was issued to except that “Mua-Upoko’s vast ancestral estate had therefore shrivelled from 52,000 acres in the whole Horowhenua Block to little more than a lake and some sandy acres along the shoreline.”

Also I would have liked to see mentioned in the book that of the 43 charges laid by Levin police against Phil Taueki 33 have been quashed, dropped or he was found not guilty of. That fact alone suggests something else apart from maintaining law and order was motivating the local police force.

That aside this e-book is essential reading for everyone who lives in Horowhenua, especially Levin, and those interested in reading about history, police injustices, legal cases and precedents, Maori, European/colonial world views and the long and convoluted history of the fight for control over Lake Horowhenua not least because it challenges long held assumptions. Horowhenua District Council officers, elected officials, journalists and media should also read this book.

The e-book is written in a straight-forward and easy to read style and the layout is easy to navigate. At the end of each chapter are notes which include a glossary of terms, names of relevant people, Maori to English translation of certain words, maps and points of interest that help to provide context and understanding. The way the information has been presented makes the timeline of events easy to follow which is important because there were so many arrests, so many charges, so many court cases against Philip Taueki which is why the book is called “Man of Convictions” available for free download at http://annehunt.co.nz/#

NOTE: for further articles by Veronica use the search box.

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.

 

“We are not in the land development game” …an intriguing tale of land and property interests owned by Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton

by Veronica Harrod

“We are not in the land development game,” said Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton in response to why he and his wife Catherine Whitehouse have their company Kai Tipu Ora Ltd listed under a “Land development or subdivision (excluding construction)” industry code.

He made the declaration in an exclusive interview after the company Mr Clapperton and his wife are sole directors of was publicly revealed for the first time in the commentary Horowhenua Horror Bout that appeared on the Kapiti Independent News media site recently.

Mr Clapperton said the reason why the company was classified under the land development/sub-division code was because he and his wife intended to set up an office on the property, and they were also going to subdivide the property to build accommodation for a family member.

“However the land is not going to be subdivided to build accommodation for a family member any longer,” he said.

In response to whether it was appropriate to have a company with an industry classification that bears little relevance to the services being provided by the company Mr Clapperton said, “In hindsight we wish we hadn’t but it was a mistake that can’t be changed. We have asked to change the classification” rather than de-register the company.

In answer to why the company structure was still necessary if the reason for establishing it was no longer being pursued he said, “We were advised to set up a company for tax requirements,” he said.

A Companies Office spokesperson refuted the statement that business industry classifications could not be changed. He said, “Business Industry Codes (BIC) are provided on a voluntary basis by the company, and are not verified by the Companies Office. A company is able to change its BIC without having to re-register as a company.”

The Horowhenua District Council rating database had no information on the address Mr Clapperton and his wife Catherine Whitehouse included in the director address details for their company Kai Tipu Ora Ltd listed with the Companies Office. A physical check for the correct address reveals that only an indent of the number listed as the directors’ and shareholders’ residential address remains on the letterbox outside the property, but not the number itself because the number has been removed from the letterbox.

The Companies Office spokesperson said, “The onus is on the board of directors of a company to ensure that all information provided to the Registrar of Companies is accurate. This includes a company’s address for service and a director’s (or shareholder’s) residential address. Providing false or misleading information to the Registrar is an offence under section 377 of the Companies Act 1993. The maximum penalty on conviction for this offence is a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment for a term of two years. You can find out more about our enforcement approach on our website, where you can also make a complaint if you have information concerning inaccurate information.”

Instead at the property number listed as the directors’ and shareholders’ address is a second letterbox which has been added to the north side of the driveway which has another street number. Increasing the layers of intrigue is the involvement of Horowhenua District Council which has listed the property in its rating database under the letterbox number that was added at a later date. A google earth map picture taken of the property clearly shows only one letterbox, the correct one, and now there are two letterboxes.

The Fairfield property information held on the local council’s rating database also conflicts with the Fairfield Road property information held on the Quotable Values (QV) database. Under the QV database the address for the same Fairfield Road property is listed under another street number again. Yes, keep up readers we now have three different street numbers for the same property. Suffice to say, if confusion is the aim, then Mr Clapperton and his wife have hit a home run.

Also refuting the statement made by Mr Clapperton that he and his wife were “not in the land development game” is the fact that both he and his wife own four land lots in total, three in the Horowhenua and one outside the district.

Mr Clapperton and his wife’s company Kai Tipu Ora Ltd are listed as the owners of the 1.4973 hectare residential property in Fairfield Road which has an RV of $750,000 yet sold for $1.3 million on 26 Oct 2016. Mr Clapperton and his wife are also listed as the owners of three other land lots including (a) a 4200 m2 (almost half a hectare) of vacant residential land in Ohau Terrace with a registered valuation (RV) of $226,000 where deputy mayor and land developer Wayne Bishop has his Ohau land development project (b) a 847 m2 lot at Himatangi Beach with a RV of $100,000 which was purchased for $32,000 on 24 October 2002 and, outside the district, 12.9 hectares in Rongotea Road, Kairanga which has a RV of $880,000 and was purchased on 12 Jun 2008 for $700,000.

Fairfield Road has seen an explosion in land development that corresponds with land development projects outlined in the Levin section of the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan. It is also where one of the biggest upgrades to the Levin stormwater system is taking place costing Horowhenua ratepayers a conservatively estimated $4.1 million.

According to the Ohau section of the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan (Part 9), Mr Clapperton’s 4200 hectare of bare land is situated in area 7 – Bishops Vineyard (Muhunoa East Road – south side) green belt residential zone. “This area is to the east of Ohau and has been an area experiencing a high degree of recent rural-residential development. The area is bordered by rural land to the north and east, Railway Terrace (residential development) to the west, and Muhunoa West Road (rural land) to the south. In the short term, new development would be serviced on-site, and in the long term connected to the Levin reticulated infrastructure networks.”

There have been 6 sales of residential vacant sites of land in Muhunoa East Road in the last 3 months including two others in Ohau Terraces on 25 September and 20 April.

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.

Horowhenua Council considers selling off large amounts of Council property by way of public private partnerships

EWR Note: 

Public Private Partnerships “…the players with the most money control the partnership…. the bottom line of Public Private Partnerships is to take control of the assets of Government”…    Joan Veon

Watch Joan Veon’s video explaining this at the link.

From the NZ Herald

Horowhenua District Council is preparing to possibly sell off large amounts of council property or shift it into an independent trust.

A proposed work programme has a project to be developed before July to sell property or transfer it to a yet-to-be-established economic development trust. The trust would be independent of HDC.

The work programme comes as part of an HDC report released last week that proposes establishing the trust. The trust’s creation is likely to be ratified by HDC next week
According to the report, from HDC’s economic development manager Shanon Grainger, HDC should only hold property required to deliver core services.

That report follows another from Mr Grainger in July saying HDC owned 40 percent too much property and should look to sell.

Excess property would fund the trust, HDC has said. It saw the trust as a move to boost the district’s economic performance.

The trust would look at setting up public private partnerships using private money and HDC assets transferred into the trust.

Last week’s report said the trust would invest mostly in areas where the market had not. It gave a truck park facility as an example.

READ MORE

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/horowhenua-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503788&objectid=11945141

RELATED:

PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ARE AN ARM OF THE WORLD’S GROWING CORPORATOCRACY & THEIR BOTTOM LINE IS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE ASSETS OF GOVERNMENT …    JOAN VEON

The Horowhenua DC’s Economic Development Committee that Looks Not Unlike Insider Trading

 

Joining the dots at Horowhenua District Council: What mainstream isn’t telling you

From kapitiindpendentnews.net.nz

Slugging it out in the Horowhenua

by Veronica Harrod

What is happening in the small neck of the woods called the Horowhenua is a power struggle between conflicting agendas.

On one side of the boxing ring stands Horowhenua District Council Mayor Michael Feyen, supported by councillor Ross Campbell holding the towel and the water bottle in the background.

On the other side of the boxing ring stands deputy mayor Wayne Bishop with his supporters; the eight remaining councillors (although there are signs the amount of blood being spilled is getting too much for some).


The ref is the CEO!

Unfortunately for Mayor Feyen the referee of the boxing match is council’s chief executive David Clapperton, which is why the result will always seem to be in Cr Bishop’s favour because both Cr Bishop and Mr Clapperton have mutually beneficial interests. Mayor Feyen alluded to the source of the power struggle in comments to the media when he said, “There seems to be much at stake for some in council…and that he had ‘severe concerns’ about conflicts of interest within the council.”

 

READ MORE

http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/horowhenua-horror-bout/#comment-706283

RELATED:

THE HOROWHENUA DC’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE THAT LOOKS NOT UNLIKE INSIDER TRADING

Horowhenua District Council illegally turned off & denied a resident water supply for 8 months

I believe the water has now been reinstated following news media reports on the situation. This is a story of undeniable harassment and intimidation that is shocking beyond belief. Anne Hunt’s book (link in the article) that exposes this debacle is available free for download. See also our Local Govt Watch / Horowhenua pages at the main menu.  EnvirowatchRangitikei

Horowhenua District Council illegally turned off resident’s water supply

by Veronica Harrod

Curiously media enquiries about why Horowhenua resident Philip Taueki’s water supply to the place where he lives beside Lake Horowhenua was illegally turned off eight months ago were answered by Lake Horowhenua Trust chairperson Matthew Sword.

But the letter from MidCentral District Health Board (MDHB) was not sent to Mr Sword it was sent to chief executive David Clapperton because council is the only agency with legislative powers governing water supply.

The letter sent to Mr Clapperton by MDHB public health services clinical director and medical officer of health Dr Rob Weir states, “There is clearly a dispute…I do not have a view on those matters other than to note that my understanding is that Mr Taueki continues to reside in the nursery buildings.”

“On one view it seems that the Lake Horowhenua Trust has requested that the Council disconnect the water supply to the nursery in order to induce Mr Taueki to leave the property. It seems clear that under both the Health Act and the Local Government Act any direction from Lake Horowhenua Trust to disconnect the water supply to the nursery building (regardless of whether it is the property owner or not) is illegal.”

“While a local authority may restrict water supply it must not create unsanitary conditions..Even where a person has committed an offence under the Local Government Act, a local authority is only entitled to restrict water supply rather than disconnecting the water supply.”

If Mr Taueki had not made a request under the Official Information Act for the release of the letter MDHB sent Mr Clapperon on August 30 he would still be ignorant of the fact his water supply had been illegally turned off.

Apart from a brief respite for less than one day Mr Taueki’s water supply remains turned off almost as if the council and Mr Sword want to create unsanitary conditions. Mr Sword is also the Lake Accord chair.

The Accord signed in 2013 to “rehabilitate and protect the health of the lake” comprises Horizons Regional Council, Horowhenua District Council, Horowhenua Lake Domain Board, the Department of Conservation and Lake Horowhenua Trust.

Yet two Lake Accord partners, Lake Horowhenua Trust and Horowhenua District Council, are colluding to act in a way that creates unsanitary conditions at very lake they have signed an accord to “rehabilitate and protect the health of.”

Horowhenua representatives on MDHB remain silent on the matter. Horowhenua representatives include deputy chair Brendan Duffy and Mayor Micheal Feyen. Mayor Feyen was elected to the board and Mr Duffy was appointed deputy chair by former health minister Jonathon Coleman following the 2016 local body elections when Mr Duffy was unseated by Mr Feyen after a 12 year reign.

The matter of Mr Taueki’s water supply being turned off was raised publicly for the first time in a written submission Anne Hunt made to Horowhenua District Council on the council’s draft dangerous and insanitary buildings policy in May 2017.

Included with her submission was a copy of an email Mr Clapperton sent Mrs Hunt on February 3 which stated, “Please don’t pass on the comment that council cut the water off as this would be incorrect. Council undertook the action based on instruction from the chair of the Lake Trust.”

Can all residents who fall foul of third party agencies that have undue influence with the council therefore expect their water supply to be turned off “based on instruction”?

The council has been complicit in numerous attempts to remove Mr Taueki from his residence at the lake which are documented in detail in Anne Hunt’s recently released e-book “Man of Conviction.” (download free pdf at the link).

Mrs Hunt writes that in 2013 several men arrived to demolish his residence with crowbars and mallets and disconnected his power. Six or seven police officers arrived with the men and immediately arrested, handcuffed and transported Mr Taueki to Levin police station and charged him with assault for trying to stop his power being disconnected without proper authorisation. All his possessions and his two much loved dogs traumatised by this and other threatening behaviour, that have since died, were still inside the building.

Although he managed to have his power reconnected two days later his power box was smashed and an unsuccessful attempt was made to disconnect his water supply.

It wasn’t until six days after the building was left a shell of its former self that an application was made with, “Horowhenua District Council to decommission the buildings and disconnect the water. The council waived all fees and granted the consent.

“Phil also 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,” Hunt says in her e-book.

When Mr Taueki attended a council meeting on the lake the former mayor, “Brendan Duffy refused to start the meeting until four police officers had arrived to escort Phil away in handcuffs. Phil was adamant he was not subject to any trespass order” which turned out to be true.

Levin police colluded with the council by lying on oath that a trespass notice had been served on Mr Taueki at a time when, “a whole team of councillors and candidates were erecting election hoardings in Levin, all prepared to testify that Phil was with us, hard at work digging holes in the stony ground,” said Hunt.

Doubts about the veracity of what Hunt, an author and journalist, says in the book will be reassured by the statement she makes at the start of the book, “If there are to be further battles in the courtroom, the author has taken the precaution of relying on legal privilege by reproducing copious extracts from court judgments, transcripts and evidence produced in court.”

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.

RELATED

EXPOSING THE POLLUTION OF YOUR WATERWAYS MAY WELL INCUR A VIOLENT BACKLASH AS TWO HOROWHENUA RESIDENTS FOUND OUT – THE ONGOING LIP SERVICE COUNCILS PAY TO IWI, THE RMA & ‘SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT’

Published on Mar 10, 2013

Our reporter Karley Hemopo heads to Lake Horowhenua to put a spotlight on property rights in a long standing dispute — so why is Māori freehold land being treated like Public land in the eyes of local authorities? In the meantime the lake is in the top 10 polluted lakes list in NZ so what is being done to address or reverse the significant pollution in the lake?

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 District Council boss ignores pleas to turn on water supply

Learn more about the historic interactions between the Horowhenua District Council and Mr Taueki (whose supply has been cut) by reading former HDC Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt’s recent book titled ‘Man of Convictions’  (free download). Also go to this link to see a report by Marae TV and here for a recent article about Mr Taueki being charged for trespassing on his own land. You may also like to check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu. Note Mr Taueki is frequently labeled ‘protester’ a word with clear overtones of dissidence … whereas, he is simply a man who is defending his own land. Since when was it a crime to defend one’s own property?
EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

From Radio NZ

A district council chief executive is keeping the water to a Māori land protester turned off despite health officials telling him it’s illegal.

David Clapperton, of Horowhenua District Council, is also resisting the demands from his own mayor, Michael Feyen – who he has had several run-ins with already – to turn the water back on.

Protester Phil Taueki has lived in a nursery building beside Lake Horowhenua for 13 years.

His long-running protest at the lake received a boost in June from a Waitangi Tribunal finding that the property rights of his iwi, Muaūpoko, were usurped at the lake and that the Crown was complicit in degrading the lake to the point that it was among the most polluted in New Zealand.

The water was cut off last November, and Mr Taueki said his attempts to reconnect it since he returned there at Easter have failed.

“Where does that leave a person like me?” he said.

He has been getting his water from an outside tap and using a bucket to flush the toilet.

When he tried to get the water reconnected in August, he was trespassed from the council offices in Levin. He has previously had at least 30 charges against him withdrawn, dismissed or quashed on appeal.

A letter released to Mr Taueki this week under the Official Information Act shows the region’s medical officer of health, Dr Rob Weir, told Mr Clapperton in late August that the council was not allowed to create an unsanitary situation, no matter what the circumstances.

READ MORE

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/340480/council-boss-ignores-pleas-to-turn-protester-s-water-on

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

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

 

nJfAdkMSyfXwoFB-800x450-noPad

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

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

The property developers who bought the Horowhenua community housing are getting “the deal of the century”

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Horowhenua’s pensioner housing sold (Photo Credit: Horowhenua DC)

As we’ve learned since this article below was published by Stuff, the HDC has not exactly highlighted that this deal that is long term and promises wrap around services actually expires in 12 years. This was pointed out by Rob McCann, Labour candidate for Otaki. Add the implications of that to the real deal they are getting and one could be forgiven for thinking they might be land banking, just like the Tamaki Regeneration (aka gentrification) company have. Especially when little mention’s been made to the public on the extra piece of land that goes with the housing (for later provision of possibly even more community housing we’re told). I’ve added comments below from FB’s At the Nua regarding the true bargain the buyers have – plus a copy of the details sent to current tenants of the housing. If all of this is true, Compassion Horowhenua, the company formed one week prior to the sale, will quite likely be laughing all the way to the bank. Well they likely will be in twelve years at any rate. I believe the Horowhenua public may have been thoroughly shafted….

tom scott dom post today date is 4 may 16

 

 

Horowhenua Council confirms contentious pensioner housing sale largely a done deal

Stuff.co.nz

The sale of Horowhenua’s council-owned pensioner housing may be all but a done deal, but it remains a bitter bone of contention in the district.

At a media briefing on Wednesday, the Horowhenua District Council officially announced the sale of its 115 pensioner housing units was expected to be finalised within the next five weeks.

READ MORE

“At the Nua” on FB comments:

” “But the council would not confirm the controversial $5.5 million price tag – well below the property portfolio’s rateable value of $7.19 million. It did, however, concede the sale price was less than that.”

Amongst many favourable aspects to the new owner in this deal…

Actually the sale price is $5.25m – the council are gifting $250k to the new owners for maintenance work on the units! Worse still the rateable value is actually over $9m ($7.19m is the “book value” after the units have been depreciated!). Then there’s a concession clearly given on the fact that someone estimates “a projected $4.3m cost to replace 50-60 per cent of the units in the next 25 years”… next 25 years… you’re kidding right? The transfer of the housing loan ($5.2m) means the new owners get the money free until 2029 – a free $5.2m loan for the next 12 years…”

Here is a link to the details given to tenants of the housing:

Horowhenua cty housing sale


 

 

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Put it all into context & it’s part of the current trend. World wide, government/corporations are selling off our precious public assets to private corporations. It’s part of the UN plan for global governance under Agenda 21/30. By increments over the past three decades they’ve been whittling away our sovereignty and now of course there’s little left of either. And we’re all knee deep in debt.  Key’s made open slather of it all and if the UN’s plan for global governance is a supposedly better system than what we had then we’d better all wake up fast because the evidence is not stacking up. Teen suicide, homelessness, poverty all on the rise while the wealthy are rolling in it. Can you not see something is really wrong with that picture?

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EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

 

 

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