Category Archives: Horowhenua District Council

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.

 

 

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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).
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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.
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link to the fb page is at the end of the article. Any emphases in the article are mine.
NOTE: further updates on this issue, unless they warrant a further article, will be added as an update at the end of the article at this link.
EnvirowatchHorowhenua

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horowhenua District Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

UPDATES
31 May 2017

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

http://willisbond.co.nz/

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

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

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

EnvirowatchRangitikei

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 Enviromental 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

what-is-agenda-21-endagenda21
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