Category Archives: Horowhenua

The Levin 1080 fire: Part 2 (Kapiti Independent)

A follow up-article from Kapiti Independent News on the 1080 fire in Levin. Part 1 is here.

We first reported on this event in Levin on Feb 22nd & again on March 8th. At the time it was being discussed on a Facebook 1080 forum, a man reported the health effects he had been experiencing. I did exchange words with him then, inquiring further of his experience however he stopped responding to my messages.   EnvirowatchRangitikei


By Mary Wood and Anne Hunt

Where a substantial amount of hazardous substances are stored, the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 state that it is the responsibility of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), to ensure that a full risk assessment is carried out by Fire & Emergency NZ.

Outcomes from these risk assessments include ensuring that

  • crucial signage is erected around the storage areas
  • safe drainage facilities are available to prevent contamination of waterways.

In theory, these formalised procedures are overseen by the local District Health Board’s Chief Medical Officer, who, in the event of a fire or other emergency such as an earthquake, assess the risks to nearby residents and workers from any toxic smoke and fumes and if necessary, instigate the pre-arranged evacuation plan.

READ MORE

https://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/1080-fire-part-2/

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Why are Horowhenua’s State-owned properties selling to private property developers for well below their Capital Value?

This is actually happening up & down NZ however this article by Veronica Harrod focuses on the Horowhenua. How is this fair given the pensioner housing sold at a loss of $1.86 million and the council wallows in burgeoning debt ($68 mill last time I looked) as are councils up and down the land. The new norm. Next of course will be rates rises to cover this debt & woe betide anybody who complains about that. Never mind the obvious mismanagement of funds on high by very well paid CEs everywhere. Our grandparents who helped accumulate these assets must be turning in their graves… EnvirowatchRangitikei


From Veronica Harrod

 

Land and development company owned by council deputy mayor Wayne Bishop purchased former Horowhenua Hospital site in 2014.

A land and property development company owned by Horowhenua District Council deputy mayor Wayne Bishop paid less than a quarter of the Capital Value for Levin’s former Horowhenua Hospital site in 2014.

According to the Quotable Values database the 4.92 hectare site listed as “Other-Health/Medical” which had a Capital Value of $3.8 million was sold to Wayne Bishop Investments Ltd on August 2014 for $968,000.

Cr Bishop also purchased the 48 hectare former Kimberley Hospital site on leasehold land in 2014 from MidCentral Health where he has been developing a staged “gated” 500 housing lifestyle development called Speldhurst Country Estate. In one year the RV of the former Kimberley Hospital site sky-rocketed from $3.8 million to $11.8 million.

Wayne Bishop Investments Ltd has made three other strategic land purchases adjacent to the former Horowhenua Hospital site including, in one instance, one he paid over six times the Registered Valuation (RV) for.

According to the Quotable Value database on 13 August 2014 Wayne Bishop Investments paid $968,000 for a residential-vacant lot in Hinemoa Street which had a RV of $165,000.

Two years later on September 1, 2016 Wayne Bishop Investments paid $1.2 million, double the RV of $520,000, for 2.33 hectares of land next to the former hospital site which means he owns 10.5 hectares of prime real estate land on Liverpool Street.

His company also purchased another 3.6 hectare block of land behind the former hospital site where Hinemoa Street and Awatea Street joins with Waimarie Park.

Last year the council voted in a publicly excluded council meeting to sell the council owned pensioner housing portfolio for a firesale price of $5.2 million to land and property developer Willis Bond which includes pensioner housing units at Waimarie Park.

An Audit NZ report for the Year ending 30 June 2017 presented to the public for the first time at the February 18 Finance, Audit and Risk committee revealed the council lost $1.86 million on the sale of the pensioner housing and 1.1 hectare of land to Willis Bond.

According to a leaked copy of the terms of sale Willis Bond are only required to retain the pensioner housing portfolio as community housing until 2029 but the public don’t know whether Cr Bishop has a conflict of interest or whether he declared a conflict of interest, because voting was done behind closed doors.

Cr Bishop has three land and development companies including Wayne Bishop Investments Ltd, Wayne Bishop Builder and Wayne Bishop that collectively own extensive land and property interests across New Zealand including Horowhenua.

After he was elected Cr Bishop openly stated in a media interview he would represent the “development community”, a euphemism for land and property developers, and revealed he had four Horowhenua land and property developments on the go.

He is now in an influential council position as deputy mayor and deputy chair of the council’s in-house economic development board, which has multi-million dollar vested interests in land and property development and construction industries.

Since he was elected to council in 2011, after securing 519 of 2189 votes, council has become increasingly involved in pushing a land and development agenda – including rolling out an extensive number of land and development projects – to such an extent the district is now referred to as the construction hub of the lower North Island.


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

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


RELATED:
Massive Rates Rises Predicted in Horowhenua that will Subsidize Land Developers Reaping Potential Profits of Over $100 Million
THE ILLUSION OF DEMOCRACY – HOROWHENUA DISTRICT COUNCIL IS ROLLING ITS NEW DEPUTY MAYOR AND WON’T BE OPENING THE BOOKS … WHAT’S TO HIDE?

NOTE: Cr Campbell was originally removed from his new post as DM because he had spoken out about conflicts of interest within council as I recall it at that meeting which was preceded by a public protest and also streamed.

Does Horowhenua District Council’s first 20 year Long Term Plan walk the talk on community outcomes?

Does Horowhenua District Council’s first 20 year Long Term Plan walk the talk on community outcomes?

The cheerful exterior of the Horowhenua District Council’s first 20 year Long Term Plan (LTP) consultation document contrasts markedly with the content inside.

The community is becoming increasingly distressed about council’s intention to impose skyrocketing annual rates increases of between $500 and $700 in urban areas and at least $2000 for rural residential and farms in the next ten to fifteen years to construct new water and waste water systems in five targeted areas.

Which is why it is questionable the council is committed to walking the talk on “community outcomes” included in the LTP which includes a “sense of place”, a “safe and supportive environment” that is “inclusive, connected [and gives the] opportunity to influence local outcomes and decisions.”

Despite new essential infrastructure being planned due to “new growth” council has stated in the LTP reintroducing Development Contributions, that land and property developers used to pay to help fund essential infrastructure costs, won’t be discussed until 2019-2020. Development Contributions were cancelled by council in 2015.

Council’s apparent refusal to reintroduce development contributions is despite an admission by council in the LTP on Horowhenua’s essential infrastructure that, “many of these assets are now reaching, or have already passed, the end of their expected life.”

The LTP states a preference to “progressively pay for more asset renewals from rates and operating surpluses” which raises the question of why council has also signalled an intention in the LTP to increase debt levels by 20 percent to $171 million. What is the increased debt paying for if not one of the most expensive costs of a council: essential infrastructure?

Also there are no operating surpluses as the LTP states, “Council has a history of budget deficits which, in the last LTP, we hoped to turn around by 2018-2019…we are now working to turn this around….by 2021-2022.”

This means ratepayers will be entirely and solely responsible for new asset renewals in the foreseeable future when an extensive number of land and property development projects, included in the council’s draft Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040, are due to be rolled out

From November 2017 to March 2018 urban residents connected to council water systems experienced water restrictions for three months but none of these areas are targeted for significant essential infrastructure improvements over the next twenty years.

The council also does not intend to develop new waste management solutions in Levin either despite being a Lake Accord partner committed to restoring heavily polluted waterways and Lake Horowhenua in an area of cultural and environmental significance.

Council has also indicated a preference to dispose of ALL community halls. In the LTP council makes the comment, “if selling them proves unsuccessful in some cases there may be no other option but to demolish derelict buildings.”

Submissions close on March 26 and hearings and deliberations will be carried out in May before the final 20 year LTP is adopted by council in July.


 

Audit NZ report of Horowhenua District Council highlights continuing concerns

Horowhenua District Council lost $1.86 million on the sale of the pensioner housing and 1.1 hectare of bare land to land and property dealer Willis Bond according to a recently released Audit NZ report.
The loss on the sale contradicts statements made by council’s chief executive David Clapperton in an April 5, 2017 Community Connections newsletter that, “There are..important criteria, including a realistic price offer.” A council Community Housing Transfer document also stated the aim was to “receive a fair market value on sale.”
The Audit NZ report for the Year ending 30 June 2017, presented to the February 18 Finance, Audit and Risk committee, noted “some of” Audit NZ’s “recommendations from last year’s reports to the council had been addressed, but there were still improvements required.”
The council was criticised on a number of fronts including presenting an incomplete set of draft accounts in “some areas” and “delays during the audit in receiving follow-up information especially in relation to [council owned land and property] revaluations and some service performance measure support” which impacted on “the timeliness and completion of audit work.”
Other concerns include a lack of controls over council’s expenditure system. “Although management has developed a report that may assist to mitigate the risks of unauthorised expenditure, without the one-up review there is still the risk of fraud and inefficiencies.”
“Recommendations have been made [by Audit NZ] in previous years to enhance the purchase order controls in the expenditure system to specifically require purchase orders to be approved on a one up basis. This would decrease the risk to the district council by providing a mechanism to prevent inappropriate expenditure being incurred.”
The Audit NZ report stated that previously manager’s were required to independently review or approve a purchase order but, “there is now no requirement for manager approval over the subsequent invoice.”
According to an updated council Delegations Register Mr Clapperton is authorised to spend up to $1 million on specified contracts for services.
In a ‘Review of Sensitive Expenditure Internal Audit’ 9 August 2017 report financial audit, tax, and advisory company KPMG said an alternative approach to the “one-up review” was required for the chief executive and the Mayor because “there is no more senior person.”
KPMG recommended, “the customer and community services group manager approve the chief executive’s sensitive expenditure and the chief executive approve the mayor’s sensitive spending and the mayor approve the customer and community service group manager’s sensitive spending.”
Although KPMG and Audit NZ have both expressed concerns about control over council spending the council told Audit NZ, “both last year and again this year, that there is no intention to following a one-up approval approach in the electronic purchase order system.”
“It is Council’s view that sufficient controls currently exist in the procurement process and the implementation of one up approval for purchase orders would neither be operationally efficient nor significantly lessen the risk.”
On conflict of interest matters the Audit NZ report stated, “more detail still needs to be included for handling of issues, breaches and their mitigations…for such areas as secondary employment.”
Audit NZ also found, “not all assets in the land and buildings asset class were revalued and there were assets that were revalued by the valuer that the District Council no longer owned.”
Audit NZ also found that, “Adjustments to the valuation information were difficult to follow and increased the audit time involved in reviewing the valuation work” and that, “The valuations assumed that useful lives of infrastructure assets had remained the same and no review was done against asset condition.”


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

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

Lake Horowhenua epitomises the New Zealand Government’s disdain for its indigenous people – both past and present

Lake Horowhenua epitomises the New Zealand Government’s disdain for its indigenous people – both past and present. Throughout the history of Aotearoa, Mua-Upoko has always been at the mercy of a Crown intent on suppressing the cultural and environmental concerns of the indigenous owners of this lake in order to enhance the recreational and economic pursuits of the Pakeha.
Most recently, it was the crux of a case appealed to the Supreme Court, a court supposedly attuned to the nuances of the Treaty of Waitangi. In effect, the Supreme Court has invalidated itself. And Parliament as well. By ceding sovereignty, the Chiefs of New Zealand were guaranteed by the Queen of England ‘full, exclusive and undisturbed possession’ of lands and other property they and their descendants individually or collectively possess.

The Crown’s jurisdiction, its authority to govern therefore rests upon compliance with the Treaty. Before all nations at the United Nations human rights hearing in Geneva on 30 January 2014, the Minister of Justice affirmed the Treaty of Waitangi to be New Zealand’s founding document. Without compliance, this Treaty disintegrates.

And so does governance by Parliament and jurisdiction from the courts.
In terms of ownership, Lake Horowhenua is unique. It is, and always has been owned by
Mua-Upoko; since 1886 in English title.
But there is more to the legend of the lake than constitutional matters of property rights.
Lake Horowhenua was purchased not in cash. It was bought in blood. Here on the artificial islands Mua-Upoko created for their own refuge, Te Rauparaha and his Ngati Toa
raiders stockaded men, women and children ‘killing some from day to day as required for food’. Concealed in clearings nearby, Taueki and the remnants of Mua-Upoko would hear their kin, across the silence of the lake; unable to rescue them if their tribe was to survive.
READ MORE

https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Fresh%20water/RegulationAndReform/hunt-a–g.pdf

Type ‘Horowhenua’ into the search box for further articles on the damning history of Lake Horowhenua. See also ‘categories’ (left of page) & our Local Govt Watch pages, Horowhenua. A must read also is the author’s book about the Lake called ‘Man of Convictions’.

Photo: Wikipedia

 

Official Information Act request refused by Horowhenua District Council

By Veronica Harrod

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

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

Horowhenua Economic Development Board (Members)


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

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

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 



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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

By Veronica Harrod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Horowhenua District Council illegally turned off resident’s water supply

by Veronica Harrod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Phil also complained to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about the way the Horowhenua District Council as a building consent authority handled this matter. Initially the Ministry expressed concern, but ultimately decided to take no action. The Tenancy Tribunal was equally dismissive,” Hunt says in her e-book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

From stuff.co.nz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 – Stuff

SOURCE:

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