Category Archives: Horowhenua District Council

At least $2.6 million ratepayer funds being spent because Horowhenua DC refuses to determine mana whenua

By Veronica Harrod

18 September, 2020

At least $2.6 million ratepayer funds being spent because Council refuses to determine mana whenua. Horowhenua District Council has committed at least $1.4 million ratepayer funding to Te Rūnanga o Raukawa and $814,500 to Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and the Muaūpoko Lands Trust in two separate agreements over Levin’s Waste Water Treatment Plant called The Pot. The agreements, worth a combined minimum total of $2.6 million, were signed by all parties prior to a decision by Manawatu Whanganui Regional Council hearing commissioners on June 2, 2020 to grant the Council a 25 year resource consent to continue storing and discharging treated waste water to The Pot, situated on ecologically and culturally important sand dunes about 4 kilometres west of Levin. In both agreements the Council says it, “takes no position in relation to who holds mana whenua, customary interests and rights, and/or rights of iwi/hapu over any area.” An Environment Ministry document titled ‘Guidelines for Consulting with Tangata Whenua under the Resource Management Act: An Update on Case Law’ states that although determining who holds mana whenua “can be a controversial issue” that “reasonable steps must be taken to identify the correct tangata whenua group. “It is the third agreement Council’s chief executive David Clapperton has signed with Te Rūnanga o Raukawa without the matter being discussed around the Council table – and the second known agreement signed by Larry Parr who is listed on Council’s webpage as chief executive officer for Te Rūnanga o Raukawa. Mr Clapperton also signed lucrative financial agreements with Te Rūnanga o Raukawa over Foxton’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Levin Landfill. The latest agreement was signed on behalf of Ngati Raukawa hapu including, “Ngati Kikopiri (Ngati Huia), Ngati Hikitanga and Ngati Pareraukawa. ”Ngati Raukawa hapu parties to the agreement include Pataka Moore, David Moore, Rachael Selby, Ngatokowaru Marae Committee and Ngati Kikopiri Mori Marae Committee Society in association with the Kikopiri Marae Reservation Trustees. Te Rūnanga o Raukawa, Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and Muaūpoko Lands Trust all agreed to:

1 Inform the regional council within 24 hours of signing the agreement, signed by Te Rūnanga o Raukawa on 5 March and MuaUpoko Tribal Authority on 16 April, “that their position on the Resource Consents have changed and they no longer oppose a 25-year term.”

2 Inform hearing commissioners deciding The Pot application the agreement entered into with the Council responds to, “their concerns, in particular kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and rangatiratanga.”

3 Support the Council in, “any further matters before the hearing commissioners or any appeals” including appeals by the Council if The Pot consent was refused or conditions were imposed which limited or negated the agreement.

4 “Not participate in any way (including supporting any other party) in any process relating to the resource consents being granted, including before the hearing commissioners.”

5 “Not take or be involved in any other proceedings against” the Council or “make complaints against” the Council, “in relation to the discharges at The Pot.”

6 Assist the Council, “to talk with other submitters to try and resolve issues before the hearing commissioners or on any appeal in a manner that achieves the outcomes of this Agreement.”

7 “Work together to identify, assess and, if appropriate, assist consenting potential new areas for irrigation of treated wastewater from the LWWTP on the ‘Tucker Block’ land adjacent to The Pot” owned by the Council.The Council also committed to work with MTA to negotiate and sign a Memorandum of Partnership, “as soon as reasonably practicable, but no later than 3 months from the commencement of this Agreement.”

The state of local governance today: Hear from an insider, former Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen speaks out

Those of you who’ve followed this site for more than a year will recall the term of former Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen. During his Mayoral term at the Horowhenua District Council he was, in his own words, nothing but stonewalled & neutered. (You can read some of the goings on from that council at the LG Watch pages, Horowhenua. See here also for articles on topic by journalist Veronica Harrod).

Almost a year out from ending that term, recently teaming with the NZPP, and highlighting for the public where he is coming from, he is speaking out in the first video on the state of local governance in NZ within the context of UN Agenda 2030 policies, an issue that the NZPP party is bringing to the forefront of discussion as we move toward election time. Even if you are not interested in the NZPP or any politics, have a listen and hear about how local governance operates since becoming corporatized. Michael also touches on other issues that percolate down from government (consultation, pollution, debt etc) and particularly on the corrupt state of affairs now. In the second video he speaks similarly about the DHBs. He is speaking from the unique view of an insider. Valuable information for moving forward. We are observing in this era, rapid changes and in a direction that most thinking citizens recognize is not right. We are witnessing daily the vanishing of more & more of our freedoms and particularly our democratic right to free speech. Time to turn the tide. EWR

Horowhenua’s former Mayor speaks on pollution in the region & why little is being done about it

A truthful commentary from Horowhenua’s ex Mayor Michael Feyen on the pollution issues regarding Lake Horowhenua & more importantly why they are not being properly addressed. Not an uncommon story in this era of neo lib economics. Michael is able to share from the unique standpoint of a former insider. Whilst mayor & prior to that a councilor, he was largely censored and silenced from speaking out on these important issues that DCs largely pay lip service to (see other links below). Very brief notes also below but do listen to the full commentary. About 22 minutes in length. EWR

  • HDC, DoC & Horizons have used the divide & rule concept with the guardians of Lake Horowhenua.
  • Sediment traps put in by council without consents.
  • Council cut off Phillip Taueki’s water for 700 days  (Phillip is an owner of the lake who  has lived there 14 years). (See here also). He has also beenvictimized by Police.
  • Court & a Judge’s conflict of interest.
  • Unfinished audit that should have been finalised before ex Mayor Feyen’s departure. No independent audit either. Unheard of for annual plan to not be signed off before elections. No audit at HDC for at least 12 years.
  • No confidence in DoC’s handling of the issue.
  • No confidence in the Lake Horowhenua Lake Domain Board.
  • Incestuous development system in town where ratepayers pay for infrastructure and developers don’t.
  • Hidden reasons as to why the lake is being left the way it is.
  • Similar pollution & other issues going on at the Foxton River Loop.
  • Priority given to the ‘edifices’ rather than the essential issues.
  • Treaty obligations.

RELATED: POLLUTING FOR PERSONAL PROFIT – HOW NZ’S WATERWAYS ARE TRASHED

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T SWIM IN THE MANAWATU, OR ANY NZ RIVER … THE POLLUTION OF OUR WATERWAYS FOR CORPORATE PROFIT

 

ARTICLE CITED:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117862596/activist-vows-lake-horowhenua-will-stay-closed?fbclid=IwAR325fd2acOkKBowSz_oIbX5CnbJvzjckUdS2L16SDuz0hRbe5HTtc8NpTo

An audit reveals that Horowhenua District Council made at least $1.5 million of unauthorised and undocumented payments to preferred projects

By Veronica Harrod

At least $1.5 million of unauthorised payments made by Council

Audit NZ and the Maori Land Court have both revealed evidence that Horowhenua District Council made at least $1.5 million of unauthorised and undocumented payments to preferred projects .

Audit New Zealand said there was no, “formal evidence of the existence” of $615,135 spent by the Council on the interior design of the nationally acclaimed Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom cultural and community centre in Foxton.

The Audit report for the year ended 30 June 2018 said, “The Council could not provide any supporting documentation, or signed contracts to corroborate the amounts recognised” as spent on interior design work.

The Dutch Connection Trust and Te Taitoa Maori o Te Awahou partnered with the Council in a “Dutch museum, library…Concept Plan for Foxton” first championed by Council in the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.

The project also received $500,000 from the Foxton Beach Freeholding Fund, held in trust by Council, and ratepayers continue to pay about $500,000 annually due to a short-fall in funding for the $8.6 million Foxton centre.

Council also made unauthorised payments of at least $980,000 to Lake Horowhenua Trust for projects championed by the Lake Accord widely recognised as being the brainchild of former mayor Brendan Duffy who is named deputy chair in the 2014-2016 Lake Accord strategy.

In total Lake Horowhenua Trust received $1.5 million from the Environment Ministry between 2014 and 2016 including $540,000 from the Fresh Start for Freshwater Fund and $980,000 from the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund for Lake Accord projects.

On 5 March this year the Maori Land Court in Levin heard former Lake Horowhenua Trust chair Matthew Sword say the trust “approached HDC about providing a cash flow” in advance of the $980,000 Te Mana o Te Wai Fund. Mr Sword is Lake Accord chair.

Mr Sword told the court the way it worked was as a “revolving ledger” where the Council would put money into a trust account and then, after a period of time, the “ledger would be reversed out to 0.”

Last November the court heard four subsidiary bank accounts set up by the trust and used by the Council to deposit the money into only avoided prosecution under anti-money laundering legislation because the trust’s primary account was opened before the legislation was introduced. The legislation requires the correct name of entities to be used on bank accounts.

Mr Sword chaired the trust until late last year when the appointment of all former trustees was quashed by the Maori Appellate Court due to a conflict of interest by Judge Doogan who made the appointments.

Lake Accord projects also received another $730,000 of ratepayer money from Horowhenua District Council and regional council ratepayers and “in-kind support” from the farming and agricultural sectors.

Lake Accord members include statutory bodies Horowhenua District Council, the Manawatu-Wanganui regional council Horizons, Lake Horowhenua Domain Board, the Conservation Department and Lake Horowhenua Trust. Meetings held by the Lake Accord are closed to the public.

Why is the Horowhenua DC declining MBIE’s free offer to look into their cracked building?

An interesting council meeting to say the least was held at Levin on Wednesday night in the Horowhenua (29th August 2018). As usual there’s been the same old predictable coverage from mainstream media, NZ journos faithful to their masters, the long arm of NZ’s new reigning corporatocracy.

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The Herald’s coverage, that featured a super king size photo of the deputy mayor (with the essential enlargeable-to-full-screen option) focused primarily on the FB hate speech issue raised by Mayor Feyen (twisted neatly at the meeting into a ‘pot calling the kettle black scenario’) & his alleged desire to be a dictator, with nary a whisper about the constant drones over the his house. (The Mayor even had proof but no it was passed right over).

The Herald did make mention, albeit brief, of the CE’s disinclination to “accept an offer from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to conduct further structural assessments of the council building” (the one the dodgy now defunct company with a multitude of their buildings now classified earthquake prone in their wake that HDC has always seemed hell bent on protecting, I mean why would you not go after a company that left you with a cracked basement?) … and the Herald failed to mention the offer was FREE. No charge at all, yet still a firm ‘NO THANKS’ from the HDC majority.

Wouldn’t it have been smarter from all angles, to accept the offer & the opportunity to prove themselves right?

Something looks very wrong with that picture doesn’t it?


You can watch a replay of the meeting at HDC’s website. I suggest you do if you’d like to hear all the detail that mainstream media didn’t offer.  Not many watch the live stream these days which is why the Mayor asked for it to be put back, unedited, onto Facebook where it was getting up to 4,000 views. No go for all the councilors bar one. They preferred the edited edition with a mere few hundred watching.

 

Will Horowhenua ratepayers be paying for new water systems?… a demand created by land developers whom Council have exempted from Development Contributions

Information on financial impacts of new water and waste water systems still not available: All ratepayers potentially impacted.

Horowhenua District Council has refused to answer a direct question on the expected financial impact on ratepayers if new water and waste water systems are installed in five targeted areas including Waitarere, Hokio, Ohau, Manakau and Levin.

In response to a question asking for the impact “in dollar terms” Mr Clapperton replied, “Page 18 of the Consultation Document [2018-2038 Long Term Plan] explains the annual increase in rates for all households in the district currently connected to water.

“Within the new infrastructure settlements rates would increase by more since they would begin to pay the Water Supply Targeted rate when they start to receive this service.”

The service is forecasted to be delivered between 2027 and 2036. Waitarere has a waste water system but no water system.

As if Mr Clapperton’s answer isn’t confusing enough page 18 of the consultation document contains a table which includes the expected rates increases in each targeted area which gives the impression only the rate where the ratepayer lives will be applied.

However, the consultation document also makes the statement, “This additional service would mean an increase…for ALL [emphasis mine] households in the Horowhenua District who are connected to water [and waste water] services.”

A resident living in one of the targeted areas said in a conversation she had with the council’s asset manager engineer Sarie Van der Walt, the LTP contact on infrastructure included in the consultation document, ratepayers would be charged all the rates increases in the targeted area; not just the rate increase for the area where they lived.

Combined the total amounts to an expected $646.70 annual increase in rates but this is still less than half the amount councillor Christine Mitchell said rates are likely to increase in Waikawa Beach if new water and waste water systems are built.

Cr Mitchell reportedly made the comment at the last Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association AGM in December 2017 which was included in the WBRA newsletter as a predicted $1500 annual increase. She has not responded to requests for comment.

The council has therefore been asked the same question again to provide dollar figures for the expected rates impact if council’s preferred option of installing new water and waste water systems is adopted by council.

If ALL ratepayers connected to water and waste water systems are affected this could also impact ratepayers in all the other areas including Levin, Foxton, Foxton Beach, Tokomaru and Shannon.

Existing ratepayers are concerned they are having to pay for a demand created by land developers who have not had to pay one cent towards essential infrastructure costs since council cancelled development contributions in 2015.

In answer to this inequity Mr Clapperton said, “Council will be looking at several options to assist with funding growth-related projects, Development Contributions being one of the options available.”

However in the consultation document council says it won’t be considering the reintroduction of development contributions paid by land developers towards essential infrastructure until year 2019-2020.

Submissions on the consultation 20 year Long Term Plan close on March 26. The same day as consultations on the 2040 draft Growth Plan and Earthquake prone buildings also closes.

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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

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

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

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

 

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

by Veronica Harrod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The HDC scrapped development contributions in 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

 

 

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

Horowhenua’s community housing all but gifted to the new ‘front’ company ‘Compassion Horowhenua’ (leaked)

The pensioner housing for the elderly in the Horowhenua has sold for the song of $5.5 million. “Information leaked to Stuff reveals the council is selling the pensioner units to a new company called Compassion Horowhenua for $5.5 million – a price some sources have labelled a bargain”. (Stuff) That will be the company we recently noted was formed ONE WEEK before the sale, fronting (?) for Willis & Bond, large property developers who surely wouldn’t need a bargain & will likely be laughing all the way to the bank right now. Stuff doesn’t say too much about the front company. This was a fire sale price indeed. Mayor Feyen was right about that. Still think they shouldn’t be opening the books at HDC?

I’ve heard estimates that the housing was actually worth around $25 million. There were 115 houses/units which equates to around a measly $47K per unit according to my rough calculations. Quite a bargain isn’t it?

So, councils have economic development committees (Cr Campbell was slammed last year for criticizing Horowhenua’s EDC ) … presumably they would have been involved in the sale, or at least consulted, managing the economic development of Horowhenua as they do & surely having their fingers on the pulse of property values? If it was them, then IMO they need to be sacked. All of them. Eight prominent businessmen, we were proudly told the day Cr Campbell was ousted as DM. Where are their skills, or the skills of whomever did sell them? (and of course we may never know since it was all behind closed doors). Not only that, we were promised they would sell to a community housing provider not a property developer. As we know they’ve gotten around that by signing the Sisters of Compassion up via their new company (‘Compassion Horowhenua’) to add the promised wrap-around service that’s yet to be defined (and surely, where are their ethics?) & I’m not holding my breath on that one. I suspect the Horowhenua Ratepayers Assn’s concerns about land banking could likely be correct.  In Tamaki (article soon to come on that), land banking has been occurring with many state homes sitting empty since 2012 … and we have 41K homeless in our country. Our government/corporation has NO SHAME. And as for this debacle. ‘Compassion Horowhenua’? They think we all came down in the last shower. And if this is true, they will get away with it because they can.

By the way, the article says they consulted vigorously. They consulted vigorously with the tenants over a free dinner, hardly ethical. And pensioners who opposed the idea were smartly shut down. At least that is what two pensioners have told me. (For further info from whistle blowers on HDC’s questionable goings on see our Horowhenua page under Local Govt Watch at the main menu).
EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

Council-owned pensioner housing sells for $5.5 million

The controversial sale of council-owned pensioner housing in Horowhenua includes measures to protect tenants, but not enough to satisfy opponents of the move.

Grey Power Horowhenua is worried the 115 pensioner units in Levin, Foxton and Shannon could soon be offered to other social housing users, instead of just pensioners, when ownership changes hands.

The sale has attracted widespread opposition because much of the wheeling and dealing has taken place behind closed council doors, although the Horowhenua District Council says it consulted rigorously.

Information leaked to Stuff reveals the council is selling the pensioner units to a new company called Compassion Horowhenua for $5.5 million – a price some sources have labelled a bargain.

The sale will be settled by September 30.

READ MORE

http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/93457559/councilowned-pensioner-housing-sells-for-55-million

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horowhenua District Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

UPDATES
31 May 2017

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

http://willisbond.co.nz/

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

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

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

EnvirowatchRangitikei

Why one Horowhenua District Councillor DOESN’T want the public present at Council meetings

If the H.D.C. was HONEST, UP-FRONT & RUN WITH “INTEGRITY”, there would simply be NO “REASON” to have to “vote” to have “the books” sealed, the building “consent” hidden, or anything else!

On Wednesday 26th April 2017, I heard a Councilor “plead his excuse” for why he doesn’t like the “Public” to be present at Council Meetings (you can listen to the live stream at HDC’s Facebook page).
“We open ourselves to litigation and law-suits, which will (in the end) be paid for by the Rate-payer”….

NOT if you’re HONEST, UP-FRONT & RUN WITH “INTEGRITY”!

In general, only “criminals” have need to have a genuine fear of the Police, and THAT Councilor who made the statement should know THAT better than most others who were present that night!

Michael Feyen is STILL the “people’s elect”; and it was because the constituents were tired of the Duffy “regime” that he was voted in.
The present “NINE” Councilors don’t realize the damage they are doing to their chance of ever being elected again, and that their future in Council is being carefully scrutinized by “Johnny Tucker-box” on the street!

Honesty WILL PREVAIL in the end, and ALL WILL BE REVEALED; it just takes time …. Meantime, Michael Feyen’s “popularity” on the street is INCREASING, as the “agendas” and behaviors of others is making them look less desirable in the Public Eye…. The people are becoming INTERESTED AGAIN – & THAT’S GOOD!

William McGregor


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On the topic from the NZ Herald (includes video)

Horowhenua council divided

Most Mayors get a welcome at their first council meeting.

But the controversial mayor of Horowhenua Michael Feyen says he’s been met only with hostility.

“I had on that first meeting three notices of motion, that were put in, to not open the books, to not relitigate whether we sell the pensioner housing and to not relook at the building. Now they were all platforms that I stood that people want to be looked at and so they all voted 9-2 in favour and yet three of those councillors as I said at the public meeting so it’s nothing new, I wondered how they could vote on such matters when we had never even had council briefings, we had never had anything,” says Mr Feyen.

The nine councillors who voted against Mayor Feyen say they are adamant they will support him, when his ideas are worth supporting.

READ MORE:

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/horowhenua-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503788&objectid=11841253

(Apologies for Herald’s grammar, they may need a new proofreader perhaps?)


So as we’ve reported before, Council doesn’t want the books opened (what are they hiding?) Now the public isn’t welcome (according to one Councilor at least). Openness and honesty are two things the current new Mayor emphasized in his campaign. No wonder the old regime want him out. (They do, in case you hadn’t heard there’s a petition going around to oust the people’s choice).  As William McGregor’s saying here, “if the H.D.C. was HONEST, UP-FRONT & RUN WITH “INTEGRITY”, there would simply be NO “REASON” to have to “vote” to have “the books” sealed, the building “consent” hidden, or anything else!” I wholeheartedly agree.

EnvirowatchRangitikei

Why the Foxton Cenotaph Must Stay Put

This important information from William McGregor concerns a matter currently the subject of public consultation … the North end of Foxton’s main street. Mr McGregor is Manawhenua.  He was born of this rohe (region) and is a Kaitiaki – (Guardian) of what his Tupuna (Ancestors) left behind.

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The cenotaph in Foxton’s main street, currently the subject of consultation by HDC


Kia ora mai tatou katoa ….

To say I am “passionate” about the Cenotaph at the Northern end of Main St. Foxton is an understatement, and here’s why ….

It is of VITAL importance to understand a few things first – there is a MAJOR difference in understanding when two (or more) “Cultures” merge, yet VERY FEW apply simple RESPECT to the fact that “we” ARE DIFFERENT in what we say/mean …. and therein lies the problem. Bear with me ….

To those of you who have read the “Fiftieth Jubilee” (1888 – 1938) of Te Awahou, you would note the mention of Ihakara Tukumaru as being the “Paramount Chief” of the locality, and, because of HIS “friendly & peaceful outlook”, that “European Settlement” was easy & rapid. (Paraphrasing)
In 1843, Rev. James Duncan settled over on Matakarapa (the land Te Rauparaha “tuku’d” (gifted) to Ihakara Tukumaru) and he stayed there until he moved across the river onto ANOTHER piece of “land” that Ihakara, (AND HIS PEOPLE) “gifted him”, in appreciation for the work he (Duncan) was doing for the local Maori on a Spiritual level.

Earliest records show there was a old “Native” Meeting house where the Cenotaph stands today.
It was replaced with a Church and that’s quite possibly because of Rev. James Duncan’s work with the Natives, in bringing “God” into their lives. We can only speculate ….
What we KNOW is that there was an ANCIENT “burial ground” there, that contained “Natives” BEFORE the Settlers arrived, and some of Te Awahou’s (Foxton’s) earliest Settlers were interred there …. Why? – BECAUSE THAT WAS the cemetery!
Avenue Road, Lady’s mile etc. WEREN’T EVEN “established” yet!

Here’s where you need to use your imagination ….
BEFORE the Settlers came to Aotearoa, the “Natives” DIDN’T bury their loved ones in “regimental lines” that you see today!
They buried them by trees, boulders, hills – where-ever the terrain allowed; there was NO “right way/wrong way” – that’s just how it was!
Now *NOTE –
When Settlers died, the “Undertaker” took the corpse away and attended the body and the funeral was held – DONE!
When “Maori” died, it’s as it is today – we sleep with the body, we cover it with cuddles/kisses – we loath when the three days are up; this is the FINAL ACT of our loved one’s “earth” journey …. their Spiritual journey BEGINS ….
These understandings of our “loved ones” FINAL JOURNEY is VASTLY DIFFERENT, and THAT’S O.K.! It is what it is! But, it needs to be acknowledged!

So, HERE’S MY POINT –
When Ihakara Tukumaru (and HIS PEOPLE) tuku’d that piece of whenua (land) to the PEOPLE OF TE AWAHOU, they KNEW who was buried there, they would have EXPECTED that the remains of both Maori AND Settlers alike to be RESPECTED as their FINAL RESTING PLACE!

I heard it said “But, when something is given as a “gift”, you have no say after that as to what happens to that “gift””!
I say “If it was a piece of whenua (land) “EXCESS TO NEED”, of NO CONSEQUENCE, then yes – walk away – it doesn’t have any significance to anyone”.
But that’s NOT THE CASE HERE – for (indeed) Ihakara HIMSELF is buried there! And so are other members of his Whanau – in fact, even some Immediates!

When the Cenotaph was put in place (1920) “koiwi” (human remains) were unsettled – it was an accident – it can be forgiven…. I believe it IS forgiven.

But, to go back and unsettle MORE koiwi – KNOWING that there are MANY over a VERY BIG AREA still there, is SACRILEGE; it is WANTON DESTRUCTION and (because it is known what is there) that “act” is NOT FORGIVABLE!

And FOR WHAT …. a few people’s VANITY?! WHY?!
The Cenotaph is a memorial to those who died for Te Awahou – and like my Tupuna, I say – LET THEM “REST IN PEACE”!
Ake, ake, ake – Amene.

William McGregor


Note:

I attended the first meeting and considering what’s being said here by Mr McGregor, nowhere did I see official acknowledgement of the fact that beneath that cenotaph is an urupa (cemetery) in spite of the fact that HDC claims to respect their relationship with Iwi and wahi tapu. You can read their official statement on that at their website. Here is a relevant excerpt from there:

Through its decision-making processes, Council recognises the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga.


Concerning the Consultation

Regarding this part of the street restructure, there has been one consultation meeting so far, led by a facilitator. Had the HDC had their way this cenotaph would likely have been moved already. Last year they arranged for a blessing of it prior to their street revamp plans and the original plan was to see it moved. However both tangata whenua and other local citizens of Foxton protested with a peaceful sit in to express their grievances. The final disbanding of that process happened following a meeting with protest leader William McGregor and other protest representatives, the CE of HDC and a Police mediator. A promise was made it was said to those present (which HDC now flatly deny – article to follow shortly on that) that no more work would be done either beyond Wharf Street or to the cenotaph without further public consultation and this has been the main bone of contention. Lack of proper consultation. Many folk simply want the street left as is, aside from a tidy up, and the $1.6 million spent on what they see as more urgent priorities like clean drinking water, opening the river loop and paying down the $68 million council debt which they know will inevitably hit their pockets in the form of raised rates. The next protest in March this year concerned all of these issues and the fact that HDC was said to be reneging on their word. There was a letter from three HDC Councillors circulated to all households the day the second protest started citing the original agreement between parties at the cenotaph protest claiming the promise was about the cenotaph only. It was signed by the CE. Who ever heard of the validity of an ‘agreement’ though, with the signature of only ONE party to the agreement on it? Imagine the Treaty of Waitangi with only Governor Hobson’s signature. Hardly credible is it?

The other thing is, none of those attendees of the said meeting ever received a copy! (Well not until they cleared their junk mail at the end of the day the March protest started that is).

On the note of consultation, as set out on the HDC website/info, consultation is defined as to:

  • Provide easy-to-understand summaries of proposals and plans
  • Identify who will be affected by decisions and encourage them to make their views known to the council 

In addition:

  • councils also must give reasons for their decisions and
  • Find out what all the practical options are for dealing with issues and carefully assess them

I have spoken with the facilitator & asked how many meetings there would be. There are three altogether, the first was for all parties including the public to contribute their ideas. The second is by invitation only (due I’m told, to numbers) and will concern key stakeholders. Stakeholders are the public, Iwi and business people from the main street. Certain property owners will be invited, I’m not sure about the renters of property. That was not too clear.

The second meeting will take place after all the comments are collated and we have no date yet for that. The third meeting will be public allowed, and excuse my cynicism but I’d say it will be all done and dusted by then. The decision that is. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

And who makes the final decision? Council does.  If you would like to contact the facilitator I’m sure HDC would enable that. If not contact us. And keep yourself up to date on meeting announcements by visiting HDC’s website regularly.

EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

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

Thought it timely for a reblog of this important article. Keeping up with the play I believe it may now be possible for the public to attend these meetings. Great news. You can find out the times, venue etc at the HDC website. (The article does refer to a protest etc which is obviously historic and the Deputy Mayor was rolled. Nevertheless the remainder of the content still remains pertinent for today).

Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch

“These business associates of the Mayor actually came to our table at Council the other night and addressed us and advised us to vote for the policies that would benefit them!”   Cr Ross Campbell

Last July it was brought to our attention by the currently-being-rolled Deputy Mayor (then) Councilor Ross Campbell, that a certain group within the HDC called the Economic Development Committee, was actually functioning in an advisory capacity to the district’s ELECTED representatives, the HDC Councilors. That economic group is comprised of:

EIGHT NON-ELECTED members of the business community … developers, retailers, manufacturers, contractors… and TWO ELECTED COUNCILORS, who in turn are advising ELECTED COUNCILORS how they should vote. 

hand-308486_1280 The Economic Development Committee is privy to information that the public isn’t

These people are privy to information that the public isn’t. Now this is not right, to have information that puts you at an advantage over your competitors…

View original post 1,026 more words

The Foxton Retailers Who DIDN’T Hear About HDC’s Update Meeting on the Street Upgrade & Why You Aren’t REALLY Being Consulted

Amid outcries that the public were consulted on the $1.6 million main street upgrade, we heard on the street today from a woman who had done some footwork of her own on the issue. Last October 2016 HDC hosted a consultation meeting with retailers at the Masonic premises in Foxton. It was by invitation. The day after that meeting she spoke to pretty much all of the retailers along the main street to ask if they’d received an invitation to the meeting the day before. Turns out she encountered more than eight people (representing eight shops) who knew nothing of the meeting and who never received an invitation. Now one or maybe two omissions would be understandable in light of an imperfect postal system or other human error, however eight is quite a lot to pass off under those reasons. With such a major spend up of $1.6 million, surely a follow up courtesy call to the mailed invitations would be standard procedure? And why did at least eight retailers not receive an invitation? A little shoddy don’t you think?


So what is the definition of consultation? 

consultation
kɒnsəlˈteɪʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1.  the action or process of formally consulting or discussing.
“they improved standards in consultation with consumer representatives”

synonyms:discussion, dialogue, discourse, debate, negotiation, conference,deliberation, “the recommendations include increased consultation with local people”.  SOURCE


 Are you being asked what you want? Or are you being told what is going to happen?

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Consultation: are you being asked what you want and listened to? Or are you being told at those meetings what is going to happen?

We are frequently nowadays being given the illusion we’ve been consulted and as we all know in the Horowhenua true consultation hasn’t REALLY been happening witness the current outcry about the street upgrade, and the above being one example of that.
Now, consider the REAL reason you’re not being consulted PROPERLY. The people of Chilmington Green in the UK have encountered similar to what NZ districts are encountering (download their pdf file about this). Districts world wide in fact have encountered the same. The real reason is contained the UN’s Agenda 21 plan. (You can read/watch more on that at these pages, be sure to check the Agenda 21 sub pages) on the site. This is about the UN plan for global governance (aka the new world order) spoken often about by world leaders since the early 1990s. It is:
An action plan implemented worldwide to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all energy, all education, all information, and all human beings in the world …. Rosa Koire

Agenda 21 / 2030

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I notice now, the local media is saying Council goings-on are being called a conspiracy by the public…  thing is, they want to dismiss any questioning of their activities as conspiratorial. In fact, Agenda 21 is anything but conspiratorial. It is a bona fide UN document available for download on their website link here (aka Global Governance … our ex Labour PM is working on it as we speak). Because it’s so very long very few will ever read it however we now have the benefit of hindsight as councils worldwide are implementing it (including NZ) and while it comes under the guise of the great ideal, ‘sustainable development’ (found all over our council websites)  … again with hindsight, we all know that what councils and central government are doing is far from sustainable. We know this is pure lip service. We can only swim in 40% of our waterways people. Read further on how Agenda 21 is affecting and will continue to affect you …
endagenda21

Go to our Agenda 21 pages including the sub page Agenda 21 in NZ and watch the videos also. Whistleblowers world wide have analyzed these plans with a fine tooth comb and you have the benefit of hearing what they’ve found, including what is happening now. Read our recent post on the Australian family who lost their farm to foreclosure. Listen to ex Australian politician Anne Bressington also on this.

EnvirowatchRangitikei & Horowhenua

 

As the Foxton Main Street Vigil Sets In – HDC Continue to Pay Lip Service to their Statements on Iwi Relationships

Folks from all around the Horowhenua gathered in the main street this week to express their disagreement once again with decisions that the Council have made that affect the public and not themselves. Need I repeat … the saga over folks wanting clean water and the Council wanting a street beautification that won’t particularly benefit them personally because they don’t even live in Foxton. They are in fact spending $1.6 million doing up the street to look like all the other main streets around the countryside, and meanwhile we bathe in chlorine and drink the same with the other contaminants contained therein. Slow poison from the cumulative effect or filter it at very great cost that few can afford. The street do up could wait or have a cheaper makeover in terms of new seal while more important matters are addressed like paying down the $68 million plus debt (other estimates are $100 mill) and fixing the water. What I have noticed at the protest is, of the many people who have stopped by and asked genuine questions, only a very few felt they’d been properly consulted and those who recall the more recent consultation meetings said they had been shut down. Those who could recall very early discussions, were back as far as 2010, when there was not a $68 million debt. This has changed now and there are different priorities. Debt & water.

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People beginning to gather for the second day of the protest in Foxton’s main street

The Council has reaffirmed their flip flop … Foxtonians received on Wednesday (the first day of the protest) a written letter from three members of Council pressing home in true DC fascist style (which is becoming the signature of Local Government dealings NZ wide … remember they’re corporations) that the street do up will be going ahead, AGAINST the promise also made to Mayor Feyen by the CE. (Hear Mayor Feyen speak about this here). Agenda 21 has seeped well into the councils now. Learn on our Govt Watch pages (main menu) how many folks have been ruined in more ways than one in their fights with local Councils. (You can read the the letter from the three Councillors at the following link: foxton-main-street-upgrade). Councils typically hold ‘consultation’ meetings, shut down the dissenters who don’t agree with the plan, tick the ‘consult’ box and plow ahead regardless. Contracts appear to go to certain people and other people complain they are not opened for public tendering.

Now the media reports that our new Mayor has been thrown off the committee that is looking at the community housing sales people don’t want (and he has always openly stated that he is against selling off the housing stock), so much for democratic representation. His anti-sale stance gets him removed from the committee? And Council is democratic? In his term as a councilor he and Cr Ross Campbell were put off committees with no reason given, he spoke about this as Mayor in the early Council meeting when Councillors removed Ross Campbell as his appointed Deputy.
(You can sign the stop the housing sale petition here). 

Remember also, HDC is in at least $70 million debt, a debt that has been regularly questioned with no answers, and has met with a blatant refusal to open the books to the public. So what’s to hide?

Watch this space because HDC are in for a long battle here. People will not be run rough shod over forever, and particularly not the people of the land, tangata whenua. Council appears on their website to be all for partnership. Read their fine sounding rhetoric… remember :

“The treaty is a partnership between Māori and the Crown, which requires the partners to act toward each other ‘reasonably and with the utmost good faith.’4  Treaty Principles – from the Waitangi Tribunal

Iwi Relationships

Horowhenua District Council recognises the importance and special position of tangata whenua within the region. 

Memorandum of Partnerships are becoming increasingly important as Council seeks closer and meaningful working relationships with the Maori community, to achieve effective consultation on a wide range of issues affecting our respective areas of governance.

Maori see people and the environment as closely inter-related and share with us a strong interest in maintaining and protecting the environment as well as developing the economic future of the area.

Through its decision-making processes, Council recognises the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga.

Council is committed to the continuing process of consultation with Maori in the District, and has worked with iwi on a number of collaborative projects including our prestigious Culture and Community Centre – Te Takeretanga o Kura-Hau-Po.
SOURCE

In reality however, and as we ‘speak’, this fine DC has plans to allow the spraying of human effluent (basically human sewage) all over a Māori burial ground … a wahi tapu at Matakarapa in Te Awahou. Now if anyone should head up to the local public cemetery with one of those septic tank vehicles full to the brim with sewage and empty it all over the graves there, what do you think would happen?

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Horowhenua District Council has broken its agreement with Foxton’s tangata whenua – another PROTEST

“The treaty is a partnership between Māori and the Crown, which requires the partners to act toward each other ‘reasonably and with the utmost good faith.’4  Treaty Principles – from the Waitangi Tribunal

In September last year a protest was staged by both Te Awahou (Foxton) tangata whenua and other local Foxton residents regarding the proposed moving of the cenotaph by the Horowhenua District Council (HDC). The cenotaph is placed over a urupa ( burial ground) and is a wahi tapu (sacred site). Following discussions, an agreement was made by HDC that there would be no more work on the main street beyond Wharf Street, or shifting of the cenotaph, until further consultation took place.

However:

“On February 27th the HDC advised that the CE (David Clapperton) has decided to go ahead, THIS WEDNESDAY, 1ST. MARCH 2017, WITHOUT the further dialogue that he PROMISED would take place WITH ALL PARTIES CONCERNED. This promise was made at the Cenotaph “gathering” last September IN FRONT of a Police Mediator, and it was on THAT PROMISE, we dismantled our camp at the Cenotaph.” 
William McGregor

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The main street how many locals want it to remain … wide not narrowed

Read the full information provided by Mr McGregor & quoted from his FB post:

“Well, the day is finally here – H.D.C. has decided that work on the Main Street “Re-construction” is about to re-commence, REGARDLESS of the Public out-cry for the more important things (like Drinkable water to ALL house-holds, a more “long-term” solution to the waste-water/sewerage which they intend to spray onto the land over the river on Matakarapa – pray there isn’t a Westerly wind; you’ll get the “drift” straight in the face in town 😦 – and retaining affordable housing for the “Elderly” of Foxton).
They would like you all to be EXTREMELY HAPPY with a Water-tower that glows different colours in the night, and two fill-your-own water “out-lets” – one in town, & one at the beach.
So now, the NEXT IMPORTANT priority on their books is to NARROW the Main Street, put “resting Islands in the middle of the road, and place “garden plots around the street to EMULATE all the OTHER towns in the district, DESPITE THE FACT that the MAJORITY of Foxtonians would rather leave the Main Street alone, and concentrate on the more IMPORTANT THINGS!
Else-where we have seen “written comments” from people who have lived in ALL those towns From Waikanae in the South to Whanganui in the West – Fielding/Palmerston North in the North to Ashhurst …. ALL of them are replicas of each other, and I’m sure would “cut off their left arm” to have the wide Main Street we have in Foxton!

I received a courtesy call from the Mayor (Michael Feyen) that the C.E. (David Clapperton) has decided to go ahead, THIS WEDNESDAY, 1ST. MARCH 2017, WITHOUT further dialogue that he PROMISED would take place WITH ALL PARTIES CONCERNED. This promise was made at the Cenotaph “gathering” last September IN FRONT of a Police Mediator, and it was on THAT PROMISE, we dismantled our camp at the Cenotaph.
I was warned at the time not to trust “his word”, and to (at least) get it down on paper; you were right Corney – I was too trusting.
It was mentioned that “we” had called on the “Nomads” to back us up; that they THREATENED workers at the Cenotaph.
That is a COMPLETE LIE! Those members of the Nomads who were present are Whanau, and their PROTEST was the same as ours; THIS IS THEIR TOWN TOO!
NO-ONE was EVER THREATENED – in any way, shape or form.
I ask ANY-ONE who feels they need to “stooped to THIS LEVEL of fabricating” to cease it IMMEDIATELY; you really need to “grow a pair” ….

So, I serve notice here that I, and ANYONE ELSE who wants to accompany me am NOT going to sit “idly by” – I am going to stand in the way of ANY WORK continuing until that PROMISE is FULFILLED.
I am passive; my intentions are non-violent as are those who choose to accompany me; my word is my bond – (unlike others I have met associated with this FIASCO)!

I am going to get EVERY “MEDIA” I can to cover this T.V./Paper/Radio – we live in a DEMOCRACY …. We have a DEMOCRATIC RIGHT to know WHY the majority is being IGNORED, and just WHO is BENEFITING from elevating this “cosmetic make-over” ahead of the BASIC RIGHTS for ALL HOUSE-HOLDS of the Te Awahou “Rohe”!

I also want a “Petition” showing those FOR, and those AGAINST this Main-Street “make-over” which I will take to the HIGHEST AUTHORITY IN THE LAND if necessary; NO “handful” of people should be able to hold a WHOLE TOWN TO RANSOM!

So, Nau mai, haere mai, haere, haere, haere ….
Come down & keep me company, help me with your say in the Petition, and ANY-ONE with ANY IDEAS please feel free to suggest them.
Unlike the H.D.C., “we” WILL listen …..
(And this Invitation is to EVERY-ONE; a Nomad “Patch” is NOT a reflection of how a person feels about their home town – you are ALL WELCOME – no prejudices here!)

I will be there around 5:00am – Wednesday 1ST March 2017″

Further details and updates on this can event can be found at both the Te Awahou – FOXTON – Aotearoa & Horowhenua Environmental Health Watch Facebook pages.



Recent History

The cenotaph is situated at the northern end of the town’s main street. The protest at the cenotaph last year was part of the proposed plans by HDC for a very controversial street revamp that many Foxton locals do not want. Two weeks ago Council representatives gave a presentation of their intended street plan at a public venue in Foxton which brought out again the ongoing opposition by the public that exists to the revamp. The street is unique in its width and locals want it to stay that way.

copy-of-foxton-drinking-water
Foxtonians are obliged to filter their own water or use the newly provided outlets to fill their own bottles

They would prefer that the intended $1.6 million spend on the street be spent on cleaning up the drinking water and opening up the river loop at Foxton where the water is stagnant and polluted.

the-pollution-of-the-manawatu-river-loop-at-foxton
Polluting the water at the Foxton river loop

at-the-manawatu-river-loop-at-foxton
The water at the Foxton Loop is unsafe

During last year’s protest, a meeting was organized at the Foxton Police Station between the protest leaders and  HDC’s CE David Clapperton. Then Councilor Michael Feyen (now the Mayor) was not permitted to attend. That meeting ended with the promise from the CE of no further work without further consultation with the public. That point was pressed home in Mayor Michael Feyen’s concluding address at HDC’s recent presentation. He continues to maintain his stance against the street narrowing.

Paying Lip Service to Treaty Principles

The Horowhenua District Council’s website does pay tribute to the ongoing important relationship between tangata whenua and the Crown, however in light of these events it is leaning somewhat towards lip service:

  • Maori see people and the environment as closely inter-related and share with us a strong interest in maintaining and protecting the environment
  • Horowhenua District Council recognises the importance and special position of tangata whenua within the region.
  • Council seeks closer and meaningful working relationships with the Maori community
  • Council is committed to the continuing process of consultation with Maori in the District
  • Council recognises the principals of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga

SOURCE: http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/Council/Iwi-Relationships

 RELATED:

Council to consult with iwi over Foxton cenotaph plans

Community up in arms over cenotaph move

What mainstream isn’t telling you about Horowhenua DC …”We were dumped off committees, access keys taken, derogatory remarks constantly thrown at us …”

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A large crowd of protesters gathered outside Horowhenua DC’s building to protest at the ousting of the new Deputy Mayor Ross Campbell


If you attended the protest outside the Horowhenua District Council building on Wednesday 7 Dec (2016) and particularly if you stayed and listened to the events at the Council’s meeting, then you will have heard the new Mayor’s speech. You would also have heard the revelations presented by former Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt. Mainstream media have mentioned neither. 

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If you weren’t there you will only have heard mainstream’s take by now. Herald’s provided the damning conclusions & comments from a Massey University expert on the mechanics of Local Government. They have already cast the new Mayor as a ‘lame duck mayor’, ‘dead in the water’ through his supposedly poor and inexperienced choices, that is, exercising his democratic right using the ‘dumb ass’ LG law to select a Deputy without consulting  the other nine Councilors who don’t support him anyway. They’d already made that clear early in the piece by announcing they were rolling his Deputy, no explanation offered. There was even pre-election mention in social media by a relative of one councilor of the likely outcome if the now current Mayor got elected. He’d be a “Nigel no mates” it was said, if half the Council weren’t also replaced by councilors of like mind. Already a foregone conclusion? This is not a simple personality clash as media would have you believe.

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Former Cr Mrs Anne Hunt revealed how she was similarly treated in her nine years as a councilor

Mayor Feyen has acknowledged the law is an ass, and former Cr of nine years, Mrs Anne Hunt pointed out in her speech just how it was made that way. The Local Govt Act gave Mayors the option of choosing their own Deputy when Len Brown in Auckland became Mayor. It was never intended for all Councils. And it clearly doesn’t work.

Since mainstream is not going to highlight it for you, here is Mayor Feyen’s speech anyway. It followed a glowing report on the Economic Development Committee, (that looks not unlike insider trading) and was interrupted by Cr Judd  just as he was about to reveal how he and Cr Campbell had been treated for the past three years. Cr Judd had to be told three times to sit down and be quiet. You can head to the DC’s Facebook page and listen to it all for yourself. The Mayor’s speech is in Part 1. Below is the transcript.

Mayor Feyen speaks:

This is a difficult situation and I believe it’s been brought about,  and you would understand how this has all come about if you had actually been Cr Feyen or Cr Campbell, where everything that you describe, talking about corruption, that everything many have described …

… we simply weren’t accorded any democratic rights in the last three years. We had our access keys taken from us, we were dumped off committees with no explanation, people saw us constantly having derogatory comments  thrown at us by the past mayor, we were always interrupted when we asked questions, when we asked questions in writing we seldom got an answer.

copy-of-protest-7-dec-2016-029We had to ask the questions  in council & that’s what people saw. There was no true democracy leading up to these elections & that is something that I want to bring back into this council where people if they ask for speaking rights they get them. That’s why we’re getting people in here, that’s why people are coming back into council, because they’re seeing that there’s a chance for community to actually participate. It’s been a really difficult road, we’ve got Cr Judd who has come back on the scene, & we have two new Crs.

It’s a paradigm shift that the two Crs that asked all the questions, the public want us in & now here we sit as mayor and DM because they want a change, they’re actually sick and tired  of the half truths that are published in the paper.

copy-of-protest-7-dec-2016-030With the pressure that’s put on the media, .. that’s gone, there is no pressure on the media now  & now we’re getting letters to the editor in the paper where we’re actually getting the full story out there. As a new mayor, I knew it was going to be difficult, the minute I saw the results because I’ve had to put up with three years of being … point of order (Cr Judd interrupts) … no there’s no point of order I’m going to carry on speaking …. can you please take a seat and let me finish Cr Judd … I’m asking you to stay seated … thank you, thank you … I AM speaking to the matter in front of me , it’s quite interesting that every single Cr brought up the past in relating their story to Cr Campbell & I am bringing people into the context of what this is all about … (unclear from the recording at this point) … would give me the time of day during my time in council , that’s the truth of it.

This is crucial background information for understanding why the Mayor has made the choices he has. He was effectively hamstrung. And yet, again, mainstream has made no mention of it whatsoever. Curious isn’t it?

Add to this the revelations made by Mrs Anne Hunt. During her terms of nine years she endured similar to that described by Mayor Feyen and Cr Campbell … basically she too was kept out of the loop.  Mrs Hunt explains in her speech she was given information indicating ‘they’ would “make her life hell” should she become the Mayor in the 2010 election. She goes on to explain that this was not just about Michael Feyen or Ross Campbell.

“… this was not just about Michael Feyen or Ross Campbell … what has happened she said, would happen to anybody who unseated Mayor Duffy…”

She described how for nine years as a councilor she’d been under pressure to sing from the same song sheet. Read at the link of a Code of Conduct incident obtained under the Official Information Act describing Mayor Duffy’s alleged intimidating behavior. You can listen to Mrs Hunt’s speech on the HDC website also, it too is in Part 1.

(Unfortunately this recording has now gone you may find it by searching HDC’s site or asking for the archives there).

So, it’s a little rich that we have Cr Wanden and other Crs in their speeches stressing openness, communication, respect and trust. What astounds me most is that all the councilors who would have observed the bullying behavior described that went on for three years (and beyond) said or did nothing to stop it. We can’t conclude they didn’t know, otherwise jaws should have dropped when the truth was told right there that Wednesday. Jaws didn’t drop however, it’s business as usual, and mainstream is saying nothing, zip, zilch. 

And finally, aside from all of that, neither has there been any mention of opening the books. Or why the same nine who voted the Deputy Mayor out promptly voted against opening the books, first meeting after the installation of Mayor Feyen. You really have to wonder why. If it is all so squeaky clean they should be proud to show us the books. 

All that debt, $68 million! With a CE on a $250K salary. Doesn’t make sense does it? 

12799392_662643160505914_110797418483588425_n.png
Foxton drinking water

On a very bright note however, since the elections Foxton now has two outlets to fill containers with filtered water. The former Mayor insisted the water was fine … it is not and hasn’t been for as long as some folks who live there can remember. We will soon however have a largely unwanted street do up worth $1.5 million. Flash streets are more important than healthy water it would seem. 

Do read our Local Government Watch pages at the menu, and note these goings on are by no means confined to the Horowhenua. Your country Kiwis is not what it used to be. If you watch the video of the gentleman whom Rodney Council took to the cleaners, he relates how an ex Scotland Yard official now in NZ has described your country as one of the most corrupt in the world. Thing is, Kiwis are so trusting and blind they’ve convinced themselves it is one of the least corrupt. For more light reading check out Mainstream Media on how your reading material is carefully filtered.

Note: Cr Campbell declined to reply to the criticism against him. By visiting our Local Government Watch pages (Horowhenua) you can learn more about his historical querying of excessive Council debt, his genuine concerns regarding the Economic Development Committee and his efforts at exposing the pollution of his ward’s waterways by negligent Council practices.

ALSO RELATED:
The illusion of democracy: Horowhenua District Council is rolling its new Deputy Mayor and won’t be opening the books … what’s to hide?

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

“These business associates of the Mayor actually came to our table at Council the other night and addressed us and advised us to vote for the policies that would benefit them!”   Cr Ross Campbell

Last July it was brought to our attention by the currently-being-rolled Deputy Mayor (then) Councilor Ross Campbell, that a certain group within the HDC called the Economic Development Committee, was actually functioning in an advisory capacity to the district’s ELECTED representatives, the HDC Councilors. That economic group is comprised of:

EIGHT NON-ELECTED members of the business community … developers, retailers, manufacturers, contractors… and TWO ELECTED COUNCILORS, who in turn are advising ELECTED COUNCILORS how they should vote. 

hand-308486_1280
The Economic Development Committee is privy to information that the public isn’t

These people are privy to information that the public isn’t. Now this is not right, to have information that puts you at an advantage over your competitors. This Councilor is about to be ousted from his position as Deputy because the Council doesn’t want him in that position. They have not given a reason why. Is this why?

Bear in mind also, this is the same Councilor who has constantly cautioned the Council about its fiscal mismanagement … Council is currently $100 million in debt. The (previous) Council has argued it’s $68 million however, why is that figure even acceptable? Why would even ONE million be acceptable? How is it a CE on a $250K salary, can allow a small town Council to sink into such obscene debt?

Listen carefully to what Cr Ross Campbell says. Read the transcript if you are unable to watch it. He has brought important information to the attention of you the voters.


If you cannot play this video, here is the transcript for you to read:

“My name is Ross Campbell and as most of you know I’m the District Councilor for the Miranui Ward which takes in Tokomaru & Shannon, Opiki, Akarua, Buckley & Mangaore and this lovely part of the district of Miranui.
I’ve got a few things that concern me when I’m in Council. One of them is these … we get a lot of information at Council … we get information from the NZTA you know, that’s the roading people; we get Government departments telling us all sorts of statistics and things, what they are likely to do and what they want to do. We get a lot of information from statistics of course, we get market trends, we get inquiries from overseas investments … we get information from Regional Councils, Health Boards and so it goes on … there’s a lot of information coming in. This information is meant to be used in briefings to councillors, to help them in their decisions, planning the district, and which way we want to go, if we want to go forward or we want to go sideways or whatever the case might be, and so we use this information to help us make decisions.

But this concern is something that I want to bring to you … it’s not always the case. Our mayor … some of you might not know this ,.. our mayor has formed a group of his closest business associates. They’re the people who he mixes with. And together with these
associates there are developers, there are retailers, there are manufacturers, contractors, who have been selected by him. They’ve formed themselves into what we call an Economic Development Committee. That’s what the Council calls it. You see all the information that we receive is passed on to this committee who are not elected people … they’ve not been elected to be there by you, who may be arguably your closest competitor in your business, and these people all get an unfair advantage over their closest rivals, and that rival could be you. Because of all this information coming in, they know where the trends are, they know the direction the council’s thinking. They are privy to information that gives them an advantage over others, especially at this time when we councillors are told often to be quiet about the different possibilities that may happen.

These business associates of the Mayor actually came to our table at Council the other night and addressed us and advised us to vote for the policies that would benefit them!

hands-1319624_1280

This handful of business associates that our Mayor has selected are receiving an advantage over their competitors, and it’s just not right. These folks have not been elected by you. They’ve never sworn allegiance to the district, and are being rewarded for their faithfulness to the Mayor. Go figure. What do you think? Just last week a decision was made to announce to the retailers in Levin as to where the road of national significance was going. But we wouldn’t announce it until February 2017.

As it was told to us by the Mayor we shouldn’t announce it before the election as the Mayor, because of this, could get skinned alive.

So just whose interests are we looking after? Folks, we must get out there and vote, and elect those you trust … not those who are there to furnish the Mayor’s ego and their own business pockets. That is one of my concerns and over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of the other concerns I have. They are concerns that I believe you need to know about … that we haven’t got a Council that’s working directly for you … we’ve got a Council that is working for the few.”


NOTE: If you would like to know the names of the seven business people from your community and their activities as part of the Committee, this has been summarized for you in video part one of the HDC meeting streamed on 7 December 2016  (on the HDC Facebook page).


That’s true Kiwi ‘democracy’ for you! Still, the Horowhenua voters who wanted change are not going to take all this lying down. 

There will be a protest against both the selling of the community housing, and the
rolling of the new Deputy Mayor Cr Ross Campbell … outside the HDC building at 126 Oxford Street in Levin on Wednesday 7th December 2016! A peaceful protest … but one that will send a clear message that those who voted for our current Mayor are not happy with what is happening. Please come and bring a placard if you can.

You will find updates or changes at the Facebook page, at the Nua on our own FB pages (links at right of page) and our petition page here (see menu). 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

The Illusion of Democracy – Horowhenua District Council is Rolling its new Deputy Mayor and Won’t be Opening The Books … What’s to Hide?

The recent Local Government elections saw Horowhenua District Council with a new Mayor, former Cr Michael Feyen who selected new Deputy Mayor, Ross Campbell. Perhaps indicative of HDC’s current stance, the powhiri and swearing in was only briefly featured on HDC’s web pages, clearly not ecstatic about the voters’ choice. And the announcement to roll the new deputy came two days ago when Mayor Feyen stated on his FB page he’d received an email stating that …

 “all … Councilors have decided now they do not want Cr Ross Campbell as the Deputy Mayor…”

Horowhenua’s new Mayor Michael Feyen speaks about the cool reception he’s been given as new Mayor & describes how no justification has been offered for rolling his Deputy (apologies for video quality).

This all comes as no surprise given the turbulent history we’ve seen with this Council. Both councilors were ostracized historically for their insistence on truth and openness in Council dealings. Mayor Feyen, when a councilor, regularly posted videos on line exposing the pollution of Horowhenua and Manawatu waterways by both Council’s and local industry’s shoddy practices, saying HDC was a “top drawer polluter”. (See that video here plus his filming of Landcorp’s negligent practices).
Cr Campbell was vilified for filming the discharge of raw sewage into Shannon’s waterways, earlier this year (all denied by Council), and was physically assaulted in 2004 in relation to similar activity.

2copy-of-anne.jpg
“Toe the line and deny any pollution by the HDC” the clear message given by HDC

His accomplice in his most recent capturing of evidence this year, was also physically assaulted and kicked, making headline news. For more info on those somewhat intriguing and surreal events go here. Basically, according to former Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt, the HDC has a culture of bullying Crs into denying Council’s role in polluting the waterways, that aside from telling its councilors how to vote. (See here also).

Other Issues

There are other issues these two have made known they are not happy about, like the relatively new council building that has large cracks in the basement. (CE Clapperton and the HDC establishment insist this is safe citing two prior reports done at the cost of some $135K). Mayor Feyen has ordered another independent inspection that he’s stated he is willing to resource himself if necessary. Then there’s the issue that HDC was instrumental in the decision to issue a third liquor license that Shannon locals did not want. More to come on that one. And the issue that HDC appear to not be consulting the public as thoroughly as they claim, witness the recent moving-of-the-Foxton cenotaph issue and the sale of the community housing stock. Finally, on the building cracks, HDC announced following the recent major quake on 13th November that there are no additional cracks … contrary to Mayor Feyen’s mention in his video update early on the morning after the quake that there were now more cracks. Perhaps quite aptly, as Alice in Wonderland would say, it’s all getting ‘curiouser and curiouser’. The new building was only opened in 2007, and it has large cracks in the basement … is this the new norm?


Note: this council, like many in NZ now, pay mere lip service to the nice sounding ‘sustainable development’ rhetoric that their websites are replete with, reflecting the UN’s forward thinking plan Agenda 21 which is not all that it seems. Under its watch NZ’s rivers have become 60 percent 14484651_1472593802754892_3596900895775183479_nunswimmable. Sustainable? Perhaps for corporate pockets but not for the environment. From the time councils were corporatised ie following Rogernomics in the late 1980s, they have masqueraded as democracies where in fact they are running on a business model (all registered at Dun and Bradstreet’s website). Right now, although the Mayor was voted in by the people, nevertheless the council appears to have him effectively hamstrung. At their first Council meeting following the election, the proposal to open the council’s books, and to not sell the community housing stock, were … as per usual … voted against by all except the Mayor and his new Deputy.


HDC has $100 Million Debt

As noted, Mayor Michael Feyen asked for Council’s books to be opened.(Read minutes at this link – opening-the-books-Horowhenua- DC November-2016)  Both he and Cr Campbell have been long time critics of the level of debt the Council is in (in spite of a supposedly well qualified CE who is paid the handsome salary of $250K + for his services). Indicative of the apparent power he holds perhaps? (By comparison the Mayor is paid only $99K).  Pre corporate take over we had a town clerk who was only moderately rewarded and he kept the council out of debt.
Prior to the election HDC’s regime was vehemently denying the level of debt the Council was in (said by them to be $68 million not $100 million). They’ve argued on a pinhead over that level which somewhat detracts from the real issue here. Why is $68 million or even $1 million debt acceptable? Whatever happened to the time-tested strategy of not spending what you don’t have, as Cr Campbell is pointing out in his video here? We all know that the borrower is servant to the lender. Back in 2014 when he tried to highlight the fiscal mismanagement of Council, he was told by the Mayor at the time that his question was “not liked” and he “wouldn’t be spoken to again!” A curious response.

Cr Ross Campbell recently describing one of his many attempts at reigning in the borrowing by HDC into exorbitant debt … this one was in 2014

So, here we have a responsible Cr trying repeatedly (wasn’t his first time) to steer the Council in more prudent directions, being told to pretty much ‘sit down and shut up’. And the Council has currently voted to not open the books. One would have to ask, are they hiding something? Perhaps it is the alleged ‘insider trading’ that Cr Campbell refers to in this video …

Cr Campbell speaks out about the former Mayor’s Economic Development Committee … one he called an ‘Economic Advantage Committee’, being comprised of non-elected members. Read the full transcript at this link. 

Our Mayor … some of you might not know this … our mayor has formed a group of his closest business associates. They’re the people who he mixes with. And together with these associates there are developers, there are retailers, there are manufacturers, contractors, who have been selected by him. They’ve formed themselves into what we call an Economic Development Committee. That’s what the Council calls it but I actually call it an Economic Advantage Committee … over their competitors  …   Cr Ross Campbell

Clearly this non-elected group has quite a lot to lose from hereon in with such environmentally friendly leadership in charge. No small wonder Cr Campbell is being rolled.

So, what do these two democratically elected, yet supposedly ‘renegade’ representatives of Horowhenua voters want for our district? … ah …

  • Clean drinking water
  • A clean Lake Horowhenua (chronically polluted by previous Councils to the extent it could now kill a small child if ingested)
  • a commuter train service from Levin to Wellington
  • the retention of Horowhenua’s affordable community housing for the elderly
  • no debt
  • clean recreational waterways
  • true partnership with iwi
  • the closure of the leachate leaking Levin Landfill
  • a stop to pollution of our waterways
  • opening of the Council books … honesty & transparency
  • more public participation at Council

Mayor Feyen remains hopeful and positive … in his own words he concludes:

” I’m very very positive and I know I’ve been voted in to make change, to look at fixing the water, to look at fixing Lake Horowhenua, to look at removing the dump, to looking at our books, to having governance lead this area, so this is commuter trains … everything I got voted in for … I’m definitely looking for public support… that’s what you voted for and I’ll continue working for those things while I’m here as the Mayor. It would most definitely be easier with my current Deputy Mayor so I’ll just see what life serves me up … just keeping you informed like I promised we would do”. 

Please do share this information. Like our new leaders we also want honesty and transparency. We want our Council to support the leadership chosen by the voters and move our district forward in true sustainable development … and not the kind that merely fattens corporate purses. We voted for change.

NOTE:

There will be a protest against the selling of the community housing, and the

rolling of the new Deputy Mayor Cr Ross Campbell … outside the HDC building at 126 Oxford Street in Levin on Wednesday 7th December! A peaceful protest … but one that will send a clear message that those who voted for our current Mayor are not happy with what is happening. Please come and bring a placard if you can.

You will find updates or changes at the Facebook page, at the Nua on our own FB pages and our petition page here (see menu). 

 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

Please Sign Our Petition to Stop the Sale of Horowhenua’s Community Housing

Stop the Sale of Horowhenua’s Community Housing

Campaign created by
Pam Vernon
EnvirowatchHorowhenua
Stop the Sale of Horowhenua's Community Housing

FROM THE NEW MAYOR, MICHAEL FEYEN who is in support of keeping our housing stock:“I support retaining community housing and obtaining the housing nz stock as well. HDC, iwi And Grey Power could form a trust or lease agreement:) HLC could conduct apprenticeships around building, plumbing, electrician, painters, etc to maintain and upgrade the increased housing stock. Great potential for HDC employment and community, with a business case:) I trust this petition gets support as it is vital for our districts future that we have affordable housing.”   

NOTE: In spite of his support the remainder of the Council is not in agreement on this.


THE PETITION
The Horowhenua District Council is tendering our stock of community housing for sale to an alternative community housing provider. Grey Power however, believes that provision of affordable housing must remain a core activity for central and local government…”The proposal to sell pensioner housing, a key determinant of community wellbeing, is a direct antithesis to community wellbeing”.

We also see the withdrawal of affordable housing for the elderly and disabled as a backward step especially in light of growing homelessness in our country. We believe that in the longer term, an alternative provider will place economic factors above caring for the elderly and therefore request that they halt the tendering of these properties for sale.

Why is this important?

In April this year the Horowhenua District Council announced it was tendering their stock of community housing for sale to an alternative community housing provider.

The justification given by councils NZ wide, including, Horowhenua, to cease providing housing, has been that Government withdrew its responsibility in this respect (including funding) some time back.

HDC insist they’ve identified that “the ‘most sustainable’ way forward for delivering pensioner housing was to transfer the stock and the responsibility to a housing provider that had the focus and resources to respond to the housing needs of the district.” At the same time they say they “… want to ensure that community housing in Horowhenua remains accessible and affordable, and is also connected to services that enhance social connectedness and wellbeing.”

Horowhenua’s Grey Power however, disagrees saying it is their belief that provision of affordable housing must remain a core activity for central and local government. “The proposal to sell pensioner housing, a key determinant of community wellbeing, is a direct antithesis to community wellbeing” they say, and “a council is in a position to see issues across its district and should have concerns about its constituency … a social housing provider will not have the same view.”

We also see the withdrawal of affordable housing for the elderly and disabled as a backward step. HDC state on their Positive Ageing Action Plan that “Horowhenua is a district that embraces its older residents as a highly valued integral part of the community”. We would like to see that plan include the option of the ongoing provision of affordable housing for the elderly, especially in the light of growing homelessness in our country. Handing over this responsibility to private and corporate interests is not going to guarantee they remain housed. A business will always strive to maximize profits and not to ensure the housing of the more vulnerable. It is simply not in their mandate. We therefore do not believe that any clause of sale that stipulates the needs of the elderly be considered will be effective, and that any such provision would eventually be discarded in favour of economic interests.

In line with their pledge to partnership, HDC have said that iwi and current tenants were consulted. Public feedback however is not confirming this. We would like to see some transparency on this pre sale history.

If you agree that the provision of community housing should remain a part of Council’s responsibility please sign our petition.

(1) Horowhenua District Council agrees to put pensioner housing on the market <http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/78903531/Horowhenua-District-Council-agrees-to-put-pensioner-housing-on-the-market>

(2) Iwi consulted on Horowhenua housing sell off
http://www.waateanews.com/Waatea+News.html?story_id=MTQxNTY=&v=173

(3) ‘Keep Council Houses’ <http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/keep-council-houses/>

(4) Government open to social housing options
<https://national.org.nz/news/2016-05-27-government-open-to-social-housing-options>

(5) Government, council seek interest from community housing providers in Horowhenua <https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/government-council-seek-interest-community-housing-providers-horowhenua-b-191828>

(6) Proposed social and affordable housing transfer in Horowhenua and Otaki <http://www.treasury.govt.nz/statesector/socialhousing/horowhenua-otaki-sht>

(7) Mayor Feyen wants to keep pensioner homes as income source
http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/86036270/mayor-feyen-wants-to-keep-pensioner-homes-as-income-source>


GO HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

PLEASE SHARE!

NOTE:
There will be a protest against the selling of the community housing, and the rolling of the new Deputy Mayor Cr Ross Campbell … outside the HDC building at 126 Oxford Street in Levin on Wednesday 7th December! A peaceful protest … but one that will send a clear message that those who voted for our current Mayor are not happy with what is happening. Please come and bring a placard if you can.

You will find updates or changes at the Facebook page, at the Nua , on our own FB pages and our petition page here. 


 

Horowhenua District Crs are Told How To Vote – a Cr Speaks Out

Revelations here from an honest Councilor who tries to represent the people who elected him! Cr Ross Campbell posted this video on his Facebook page recently.
Please folks, take care how you vote this coming LG election. Find Crs/representatives who stand for truth and integrity, these are the ones who will represent you democratically as they should. Help stop the growing corruption and lies in our District Councils.


Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy’s select Committee – is a non elected group that tells the elected councilors how to vote – says elected Councilor Ross Campbell of the Miranui Ward in the Horowhenua District, lower North Island. In this video he explains more and is expressing his concern about the way things are run. There is a  lack of democracy.

And if you would like further confirmation of this state of affairs within the HDC & other LGs, visit the Local Government Watch pages … there you can read about a former Cr Mrs Anne Hunt’s experience in being eye balled & told how to vote. This is happening people, in our Councils NZ wide… check out the other Councils that have also come to light. Rodney for instance.  I have heard personally of it happening in one other Council. Please read the Agenda 21/2030 pages for further information on why that is happening, and watch the video there by former Australian politician, Anne Bressington. (Search the sub pages to Agenda 21, Agenda 21/2030 in NZ also).

 

A word of endorsement from Councilor Michael Feyen … “Take the time to have a listen to Councillor Ross Campbell’s very good summation of what we are up against in this HDC District. If the Horowhenua wants to progress it won’t be under the current regime.”  Cr Feyen is standing this election for the Mayoralty.


Horowhenua Disrict Council and the non elected committee that is making decisions

TRANSCRIPT OF CR CAMPBELL’S VIDEO

“My name is Ross Campbell and as most of you know I’m the District Councilor for the Miranui Ward which takes in Tokomaru & Shannon, Opiki, Akarua, Buckley & Mangaore and this lovely part of the district of Miranui.
I’ve got a few things that concern me when I’m in Council. One of them is these … we get a lot of information at Council … we get information from the NZTA you know, that’s the roading people; we get Government departments telling us all sorts of statistics and things, what they are likely to do and what they want to do. We get a lot of information from statistics of course, we get market trends, we get inquiries from overseas investments … we get information from Regional Councils, Health Boards and so it goes on … there’s a lot of information coming in. This information is meant to be used in briefings to councilors, to help them in their decisions, planning the district, and which way we want to go, if we want to go forward or we want to go sideways or whatever the case might be, and so we use this information to help us make decisions. But this concern is something that I want to bring to you … it’s not always the case.

Our Mayor … some of you might not know this … our mayor has formed a group of his closest business associates. They’re the people who he mixes with. And together with these associates there are developers, there are retailers, there are manufacturers, contractors, who have been selected by him. They’ve formed themselves into what we call an Economic Development Committee. That’s what the Council calls it but I actually call it an Economic Advantage Committee … over their competitors.

You see all the information that we receive is passed on to this committee who are not elected people … they’ve not been elected to be there by you, who may be arguably your closest competitor in your business, and these people all get an unfair advantage over their closest rivals, and that rival could be you. Because of all this information coming in, they know where the trends are, they know the direction the council’s thinking. They are privy to information that gives them an advantage over others, especially at this time when we Councilors are told often to be quiet about the different possibilities that may happen. These business associates of the Mayor actually came to our table at Council the other night and addressed us and advised us to vote for the policies that would benefit them!

What is that? To me that’s insider trading. I call it that but you may call it something different. But I’m not allowed. This handful of business associates that our Mayor has selected are receiving an advantage over their competitors, and it’s just not right. These folks have not been elected by you. They’ve never sworn allegiance to the district, and are being rewarded for their faithfulness to the Mayor. Go figure.

What do you think? Just last week a decision was made to announce to the retailers in Levin as to where the road of national significance was going. But we wouldn’t announce it until February 2017. As it was told to us by the Mayor we shouldn’t announce it before the election as the Mayor, because of this, could get skinned alive. So just whose interests are we looking after? Folks, we must get out there and vote, and elect those you trust … not those who are there to furnish the Mayor’s ego and their own business pockets. That is one of my concerns and over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of the other concerns I have. They are concerns that I believe you need to know about … that we haven’t got a Council that’s working directly for you … we’ve got a Council that is working for the few.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/379684622115753/1051254511625424/?notif_t=group_activity&notif_id=1469332987202365

Please folks, take care how you vote this coming LG election. Find Crs/representatives who stand for truth and integrity, these are the ones who will represent you democratically as they should. Help stop the corruption and lies.

See our Agenda 21/30 pages for more info & links, &/or search categories for further related articles (at left of any page). 

Consider liking our FB pages (Horowhenua &/or Rangitikei &/or following our blog (right of any page) to help spread the word and expose corruption! Use the share buttons! 

Thank you!

EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

Horowhenua Mayor Has Instructed Councilors to Endorse a 100 Page Financial Report They Won’t Get to Read

This is familiar territory when it comes to the Horowhenua District Council. Earlier this year we had other whistle blowers telling us they were told how to vote. And here we have a further example. Would you purchase a house or business without reading ALL the financial & other reports relating to that purchase? Would you run a business (which is what our District Councils are … companies) without fully reading all the financial reports? Well, that is what the recipient of your rates folks is expecting you (your representatives, ie the said councilors) to do! Watch this space especially on October 5th!

Here is Cr Ross Campbell’s latest revelation:

“Yesterday all Councillors were asked to come to a Briefing regarding our “Financial Report” It started at 4.45pm and finished at approx 5 15pm. The Report we were told is, 100 pages long and we would not be given a hardcopy to look at but we were shown a selection of pieces from the report (about 6 pages) on a overhead screen, with a commentary from the Financial Manager.
The reason we would not receive a full copy to analyse was that it was 100+ pages. What is going on? Then the Mayor instructed us by saying that he expected us all to endorse this report at the next Council meeting on the 5th Oct which is the last one before the elections.What is going on here?
I have not seen this Report in its entirety and I am sure as ever not going to endorse it without seeing it in full.We the Councillors are meant to Govern and the Management are meant to provide ALL the Facts and figures surrounding the Finances to us to enable us to vote with confidence one way or the other.
I will keep you all Posted!!!”

Thank you to Cr Ross Campbell for properly representing us the people and for endeavouring to keep those entrusted with the public purse, transparent and honest. Like a democracy should be.

Check out your Council on Dun and Bradstreet Companies register online (or you can find it for yourself at this link here):

 

hdc on dun and bradstreet.png

 

Check out our Local Govt Watch pages (in the menu at top of page); & follow our Horowhenua FB page for further updates. Visit also our Agenda 21/2030 pages for further info on why our Councils are changing … are no longer democratic.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

Foxton Locals are Protesting – They’re Fed Up with the District Council’s Lack of Consultation Over Their Main Street

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Local people gathering on Monday for their peaceful protest concerning HDC’s lack of consultation with the community of Foxton

A Foxton tangata whenua representative, William McGregor, and other locals have organized a peaceful sit in at the town’s cenotaph. There is a lot of history behind this part of town which was the original Te Awahou settlement (Te Awahou is Foxton’s real name) . The local Horowhenua District Council has plans to move the cenotaph and do up the main street at the obscene cost of $1.6 million.

The people want the cenotaph to remain where it is. Council, in keeping with their plans, held a last minute blessing of the area last week in readiness for the moving day. This demonstrates the extent of their commitment to consultation. At that ceremony those officiating with regard to the blessing diplomatically acknowledged it was out of respect for those fallen in the wars and those buried there that they came.

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The last minute blessing organized by HDC last week

The Council is already in debt to the tune of $100+ million, according to two councilors, however Mayor Brendan Duffy claims the debt is only $68 million. Either figure, it is still too much and some wise spending is in order.

What the local people really want is clean water, however the Council claims the water if fine and the Mayor says on FB that he drinks it. It is in fact regularly a brown colour and is highly infused with chlorine, a known carcinogen. Chlorine of course is the sticking plaster for pollution that most DCs don’t want to spend money on cleaning up. Witness the fact we can no longer swim in 40% of our ‘clean green’ rivers.  The Horowhenua also has an horrific track record of disposing of its waste into the local waterways.

That aside, the point is, nobody (except a few shop owners apparently) wants the street to be narrowed with gardens replacing many parking spaces. Nevertheless, Council has already had contractors demolish the old Council building, old records and all. Antique books have been left lying in the rain where they fell.

So, the beef that locals have with the council is that people weren’t consulted. It’s said RSA was, however it turns out dozens of RSA members who’ve dropped by the protest claim they were not asked. They’ve also added photographs of the fallen soldiers onto the base of the cenotaph. I think Council are in for a rough ride and this is the price they pay for not consulting with the people they’re supposed to be working for.

A tent has been erected next to Ihakara Gardens for the protesters to stay in, and gifts of food and supplies have been pouring in from the public, including local businesses. They’re in for the long hall.

For as long as I’ve been following the lack of consultation issue over the street changes, our local representative in Council, Cr Michael Feyen, has said repeatedly he’s been left out of the consultation loop and in spite of requests has not been shown any plans for the street. Yesterday however, the HDC issued a press release replete with plans and history, and also denying the claims they’ve not consulted locals. The sit in organizers claim the details in the press release are simply not true. They are the tangata whenua and they know if they’ve been consulted or not. They haven’t. For further information on that visit Cr Michael Feyen’s FB page.

Although HDC’s website claims partnership & consultation with local iwi, it appears to be just lip service. This became evident with the Shannon waterways pollution & what ensued there. Little if any respect for tangata whenua.

Radio NZ has published an article on this … you can read it at this link.  

The latest news from Cr Feyen’s FB page at 5pm today is, Mayor Duffy and CEO Clapperton are at the site in discussions with the organizers. However, note, Foxton’s own District Councilor, their own representative, is not privy to that discussion. Not allowed.

So much for democracy & consultation. I rest my case. 

 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua


 

RELATED:

Foxton residents stage sit-in over cenotaph move

Community up in arms over cenotaph move

Horowhenua Environmental Health Watch

 

“I Don’t Like Your Question & I’m Never Speaking to You Again!” Mayor’s Reply to the Horowhenua District Councilor Who Questioned the $106+ million Debt

This is very bizarre. If a District Councilor asks about Council debt the logical response would surely be a discussion with questions answered would it not? Instead this Mayor launches into an ugly personal attack promising the Cr he’ll never be spoken to again. Times have surely changed. We’ve gone from responsible spending and balancing the books, to insane debt and no accountability. Cr Campbell was clearly looking for accountability. The man is a gentleman and not given to rude comments or aggressive behavior so the response he got was certainly uncalled for. Hear for yourself the vagaries of HDC.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

Published on Aug 31, 2016

NZ’s Horowhenua District Cncl is in debt to the tune of $106 million and climbing says one of their Councilors, Ross Campbell. In the video he asks about the debt and the Mayor responds with: “I don’t like your question and I’m never speaking to you again!”. Very bizarre happenings in this Council, all indicative of UN Agenda 21, 2030 practices. See the following links for further info on the Horowhenua District Council and Agenda 21/2030:

HOROWHENUA DISTRICT COUNCIL
https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpre…
AGENDA 21/2030
https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpre…
AGENDA 21/2030 IN NZ
https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpre…


RELATED:

HDC Councilors are Told How to Vote – a Councillor Speaks Out

In Spite of Their Spin the HDC is not Enabling  Democratic Local Decision Making – They’ve Just Issued a  Liquor License Locals Didn’t Want

See our Local Government Watch pages

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

Council corruption – two Horowhenua Councilors concerned that decisions are being co-opted by a select group of non-elected representatives of the business community – close associates of Mayor Duffy

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

The Horowhenua Dictrict Council’s Ross Campbell, elected representative of the Miranui

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Horowhenua District Councilor Ross Campbell: concerned about the co-opting of Council decision making by business interests

Ward, expresses his growing concern about the way things at the HDC are run, in particular, with whom important information is shared and the way decisions are being made.

Horowhenua Mayor Duffy has a select Committee of close business associates – a non-elected, hand picked business group with no sworn allegiance to the district, that tells the elected councilors how to vote. Cr Campbell is not alone in his concern.

michael-feyen-hdc-councillorFellow Councilor Michael Feyen of Foxton confirms what Cr Campbell is saying  … “Take the time to have a listen to Councillor Ross Campbell’s very good summation of what we are up against in this HDC District. If the Horowhenua wants to progress it won’t be under the current regime.” Both Cr Feyen and Cr Campbell speak out regularly about the polluting practices of local government. Cr Campbell was allegedly assaulted in 2004 for his active part in this.

 

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Former Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt describes how she and other councilors were coerced to vote ‘correctly’

Readers may also recall former Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt expressed identical concerns earlier this year describing how they were coerced to vote ‘correctly’ using bullying tactics.

Listen to Cr Campbell’s recent announcement from his Facebook page (the following is a transcript):

“My name is Ross Campbell and as most of you know I’m the District Councilor for the Miranui Ward which takes in Tokomaru & Shannon, Opiki, Buckley & Mangaore and this lovely part of the district of Miranui.
I’ve got a few things that concern me when I’m in Council. One of them is these … we get a lot of information at Council … we get information from the NZTA you know, that’s the roading people; we get Government departments telling us all sorts of statistics and things, what they are likely to do and what they want to do. We get a lot of information from statistics of course, we get market trends, we get inquiries from overseas investments … we get information from Regional Councils, Health Boards and so it goes on … there’s a lot of information coming in. This information is meant to be used in briefings to councillors, to help them in their decisions, planning the district, and which way we want to go, if we want to go forward or we want to go sideways or whatever the case might be, and so we use this information to help us make decisions. But this concern is something that I want to bring to you … it’s not always the case.

Our Mayor … some of you might not know this … our Mayor has formed a group of his closest business associates. They’re the people who he mixes with. And together with these associates there are developers, there are retailers, there are manufacturers, contractors, who have been selected by him. They’ve formed themselves into what we call an Economic Development Committee. That’s what the Council calls it but I actually call it an Economic Advantage Committee … over their competitors. You see all the information that we receive is passed on to this committee who are not elected people … they’ve not been elected to be there by you, who may be arguably your closest competitor in your business, and these people all get an unfair advantage over their closest rivals, and that rival could be you.

Because of all this information coming in, they know where the trends are, they know the direction the council’s thinking. They are privy to information that gives them an advantage over others, especially at this time when we councillors are told often to be quiet about the different possibilities that may happen.

These business associates of the Mayor actually came to our table at Council the other night and addressed us and advised us to vote for the policies that would benefit them!

What is that? To me that’s insider trading. I call it that but you may call it something different. But I’m not allowed.

This handful of business associates that our Mayor has selected are receiving an advantage over their competitors, and it’s just not right. These folks have not been elected by you. They’ve never sworn allegiance to the district, and are being rewarded for their faithfulness to the Mayor.

Go figure. What do you think? Just last week a decision was made to announce to the retailers in Levin as to where the road of national significance was going. But we wouldn’t announce it until February 2017. As it was told to us by the Mayor we shouldn’t announce it before the election as the Mayor, because of this, could get skinned alive. So just whose interests are we looking after? Folks, we must get out there and vote, and elect those you trust … not those who are there to furnish the Mayor’s ego and their own business pockets. That is one of my concerns and over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of the other concerns I have. They are concerns that I believe you need to know about … that we haven’t got a Council that’s working directly for you … we’ve got a Council that is working for the few.”

SOURCE:https://www.facebook.com/groups/37968…

 

Now, take a look at the mission statement if you like, of the Horowhenua District Council copied straight from their website:


Council’s Responsibilities and Activities

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

Council is made up of the Mayor and 10 Councillors (elected members). They are responsible for determining local policy and legislation, and defining the overall vision for the Horowhenua District. Council makes decisions on behalf of the ratepayers and residents.”

The Mayor’s Role

“The Mayor is elected by the District “as a whole”, and as one of the elected members, shares the same responsibilities as other members of Council.” Some of the Mayor’s roles that relate to Cr Campbell’s concerns [abbreviated] are:

  • Advocate on behalf of the community
  • Provide leadership and feedback to other elected members on teamwork and chairing committees.

Here is a link to the full pdf file Governance Statement 2014 – 2017 A Guide for the Community on Council Processes

Councils nowadays are fine in their rhetoric, or should I say spin?  What they are doing is regularly a very different matter. They should be making decisions DEMOCRATICALLY … on behalf of ratepayers and residents, and not on behalf of the Mayor’s close business associates!!

Horowhenua people, see what is going on in your District governance. Be sure to vote for change this October.  Vote for honesty and transparency.


Please help us expose the corruption and lies by our local governments by sharing this information! 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

Horowhenua Environmental Health Watch on FB

 

RELATED:

In Spite of their Spin the HDC is not Enabling Democratic Decision Making
Local Govt Watch
Agenda 21/30 in NZ

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Council’s Functions, Responsibilities and Activities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HDC contact details can be found HERE at this link.

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

 

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

 

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