Category Archives: Horowhenua

Horowhenua’s former Mayor Michael Feyen is in support of the NZ Public Party

Former Mayor Michael Feyen drew attention during his term to the same issues Billy Te Kahika and the NZ Public Party is now, namely UN Agenda 2030. He speaks from his experience as a recipient of the stonewalling and neutering he received, and like many NZers is concerned with the corporatization of NZ, our threatened democracy and the general direction our country is taking. Have a listen & consider hearing Billy speak in PN on July 2nd, 7pm at the Conference Center. EWR

Debt levels at Horowhenua District Council have spiralled to $99million

And they are nit picking over Mayor Feyen helping the local Brass Band pay their insurance among other worthy causes with nary a mention of the Raukawa payout aka bribe to allow them to spray human sewage over all of those pesky wahi tapu paying lip service to their Treaty partnership. And let’s not forget the gift of $1.86 mill to Willis & Bond property developers who purchased the pensioner housing at a fire sale price.

By Veronica Harrod

Debt levels at Horowhenua District Council have spiraled to $99million.

A Quarterly Treasury report by Council’s treasury advisors – Bancorp Treasury Services Limited – said, “As of Thursday 26 July, HDC has now got $99m in debt.”

The quarterly report also said Council’s net debt prediction in the Long Term Plan of $81 million by year end is based on the assumption of property sales of $7 million, new and improved asset purchases of $22 million and cash of $11 million by the end of 2018.

Also included in the Finance, Audit and Risk sub-committee agenda of 1 August was Council’s draft 12 month financial report to June 2018 which shows council spent $827,000 of a projected $956,000 budget on economic development projects that are not publicly detailed.

The draft 12 month report also serves as a stark reminder Council spends almost three times more on ‘economic development’ than ‘community development’ which had a forecasted budget of $361,000 compared with actual budget of $348,000.

SOURCE

Horowhenua’s Mayor Feyen sets the record straight on the Mayoral fund

The Mayoral fund expenditure has been called into question by the Horowhenua District Council. Here, Mayor Feyen sets the record straight on the points in question.

Mayor Feyen unseated former mayor, Brendan Duffy in the last election, campaigning on care, vision & open communication in HDC’s leadership, retaining the pensioner housing (now sold), affordable rates, reducing debt, staying within budget & clean water among other things. Unfortunately his vision is not shared by many of his colleagues. Thereby he has had a tough time of it as anybody who attends Council meetings or watches the live stream will witness to.

Please see our Local Govt Watch pages Horowhenua for info on all of that.

 

The Foxton Memorial Hall is set to be sold by the Horowhenua Council – locals are not happy

As is the growing case in many places now, Councils are selling off via public private partnerships, the public assets of their communities. Folk are not too happy about this one. Cr Campbell from Shannon is in the throes of trying to retain their memorial hall also, see his comments below to this topic:

“I think a Local Peoples Trust to manage the Foxton Hall could well solve the issue as they would be able to apply for grants to remedy the problems which I believe total about $270 000 approximately.
I have been busy securing our hall (Shannon) from sale but I do believe a partition seeking a stay on the sale of this important Building is worth the effort.
I can assure you both the Mayor and myself do not want this Hall sold or transferred to the “Horowhenua Trust” for sale.

If Foxton folk wish to retain theirs they will need to band together & utilize a similar plan.

The sale of your public assets by council … “away from the glare of public commentary”

THIS TELLS THE WHOLE STORY. The Master Plan was the brainchild of the council’s economic development board according to a timeline in the Master Plan document. Former mayor Brendan Duffy and Mr Clapperton confirmed support for the Master Plan one day after the concept was presented to them by the board, and “In a councillor column in a community newspaper last year Councillor Neville Gimblett said the medical centre land deal…

“….reinforced that effective growth is a partnership between council, central government and private enterprise….away from the unsettling glare of public commentary..” …. Cr Gimblett, HDC

AWAY FROM THE GLARE OF PUBLIC COMMENTARY? … REALLY?


New medical centre for Levin first project of Horowhenua NZ Trust

One of the first projects the recently established Horowhenua New Zealand Trust hopes to project lead is a new medical centre on public land Horowhenua District Council sold to BOHR Property Ltd late last year.

Council’s chief executive David Clapperton and council’s economic development manager Shanon Grainger have both publicly stated the medical centre project will be led by the Horowhenua NZ Trust.

At the FCB meeting on 18 September 2017 Mr Clapperton said “the new purpose-built medical centre” was a Master Plan project which he described as, “the product of years of collective effort” …before going on to say, “it can be anticipated that further large scale projects like the medical centre will flow into our district.”

In his council report on supporting the establishment of the Horowhenua NZ Trust Mr Grainger said the Trust’s role up to July 2018 is to roll out Project Lift including, “a series of modern process-designed projects” which are part of the, “Master Plan: Quality Care and Lifestyle for Older People.”

Six former Horowhenua District Council economic development board members have now been named as trustees in a recently filed Trust Deed including Cameron Lewis, Antony Young, Andrew Wynn, Ron Turk, Evan Kroll and Larry Ellison.

Concerns have been raised by residents about whether the community will benefit from an extensive number of land and property development, construction and infrastructure projects the charitable trust intends to initiate throughout the district.

The public were excluded from participating in the council sale of the now demolished 100 year old historic Jack Allen House in Durham Street, Levin to BOHR Property Ltd for a new medical centre.

Due to the secrecy around the sale of the Jack Allen House there is concern about how transparent council will be about an intention to transfer up to 40 percent of public assets to the Trust as “seed” funding.

In a councillor column in a community newspaper last year Councillor Neville Gimblett said the medical centre land deal, “reinforced that effective growth is a partnership between council, central government and private enterprise….away from the unsettling glare of public commentary.”

According to Companies Office information Levin Chartered Accountant Hamid & McHutchon Ltd of Queen Street holds 116 of a total of 120 shares “on behalf” of other un-named shareholders of BOHR Property Ltd and Hamid & McHutchon Ltd is not the “ultimate holding company.”

The two directors of BOHR Property Ltd including Bente Ongkiehong and Johannes Roberti own two shares each worth 1.67 percent.

The Master Plan was the brainchild of the council’s economic development board according to a timeline in the Master Plan document. Former mayor Brendan Duffy and Mr Clapperton confirmed support for the Master Plan one day after the concept was presented to them by the board.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1806/S00287/new-levin-medical-centre-first-horowhenua-nz-trust-project.htm

© Scoop Media

 

HDC is about to give millions in council assets to a new trust … to promote the economy we’re told

Last year we posted news that HDC were considering public private partnerships to dispose of council assets. They seem to think we all came down in the last shower. Here we have a CE saying “but it was not yet known how profits would be spent or invested… ” Seriously …  this is the person who we just heard paid local iwi secretly as per quote from Kapiti Independent News:

“Chief executive David Clapperton made the confidential agreement to provide at least $880,500 to Te Runanga o Raukawa on the proviso the Runanga withdraw its objection to council’s resource consent application to make discharges from the Foxton Waste Water Treatment Plant to Matakarapa Island”.

…& we’ve heard nary a whisper of that since it leaked out!… who also all but gifted $1.86 million of council assets (aka pensioner flats) to Willis & Bond property developers. (The auditor General’s fine with that we heard recently so I imagine it’s all go with the current giveaways as well). May as well say haere ra to this lot friends. The millions of dollars of assets I’m talking about, not the generous people who are giving them away. As we speak the community/memorial halls are up for grabs in Foxton & elsewhere. This looks distinctly like a land grab as eloquently described by the late Joan Veon who observed developments in the UN plans for so called ‘sustainable’ development that is clearly everything but sustainable … Public Private Partnerships ‘an arm of the world’s growing corporatocracy, the bottom line is to take control of the assets of government (links below). At the Agenda 21/30 pages (main menu, top of page) you can read NZer Dr Naomi Jacobs’ ebook on topic inspired by the rates hikes & property losses in Mangawhai.

Here is Stuff’s article:

Millions of dollars of council assets will be transferred into independent hands to help boost the Horowhenua economy.

The Horowhenua New Zealand Trust could be operating in the next month, chairman Cam Lewis said. It will own and manage property and assets given to it by the Horowhenua District Council, and promote the district as a place to do business.

The trust would benefit residents by increasing jobs in the district, but it was not yet known how profits would be spent or invested, he said.

Council staff said property to be transferred would only include “non-core properties”. The council owns almost $28 million in non-core property and more than $100m in assets.

READ MORE

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/104864000/millions-in-council-assets-to-be-given-to-new-trust-to-promote-economy

LINKS TO OUR PREVIOUS ARTICLES:

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/so-horowhenuas-community-housing-did-indeed-sell-for-a-song/

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/why-did-a-property-developer-register-a-company-called-compassion-horowhenua-a-week-before-horowhenuas-community-housing-sold/

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/horowhenua-council-considers-selling-off-large-amounts-of-council-property-by-way-of-public-private-partnerships/

http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/horowhenua-councils-secret-payout/#comment-718586

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/public-private-partnerships-are-an-arm-of-the-worlds-growing-corporatocracy-their-bottom-line-is-to-take-control-of-the-assets-of-government-joan-veon/

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/challenging-the-privatisation-and-divestment-of-public-land-assets-forced-upon-communities-against-their-will-re-takapuna-a-high-court-judicial-review-scheduled-for-august-on-8-grounds-re-the/

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/the-horowhenua-dcs-economic-development-committee-that-looks-not-unlike-insider-trading/

To look at the wider picture, as per Joan Veon’s video if you watched it, see our Agenda 21/30 pages (NZ in particular) at the main menu. This is a global trend with global governance in mind.

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/

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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Published on Mar 10, 2013

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

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

From stuff.co.nz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 – Stuff

SOURCE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Complaint made to Privacy Commissioner over Horowhenua email interception

From Stuff.co.nz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE

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

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

 

From Stuff.co.nz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE

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

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

FROM Stuff.co.nz

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

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

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

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

READ MORE

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

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

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

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

QUOTE:

“Rob McCann
Media Release
21 July 2017

Labour’s McCann applauds Ombudsman Enquiry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a list of other headlines to date:

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

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

CE email vetting may fall foul of Privacy Act reports mainstream

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

 

From Horowhenua Chronicle

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By Adam Shelton

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

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

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

READ MORE

 

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

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

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

 

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THE PETITION

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

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

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

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO SIGN

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

 

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

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

From livenews.co.nz

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

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

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

READ MORE

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

Mayor Feyen’s earthquake report is out, the HDC building does not appear 100% safe & what you should know about the company that designed it

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Horowhenua DC’s Mayor Michael Feyen

Horowhenua Mayor Feyen’s personally funded (to the tune of $25K) independent earthquake report was released yesterday, amidst much discussion on social media and by HDC establishment that the building is still safe! So, okay, it’s just safe enough but only under certain conditions and I look forward to reading the fine print on that. To get you up to speed, this building is only TEN years old, cost $10 million and has cracks in its basement! The new norm by all accounts. This is defending the indefensible. And it was designed by a company that “specialises in earthquake engineering and seismic design”. Now we have an independent report stating the building is rated ‘E’ only and will only achieve a ‘C’ if the Civil Defense are moved along. 

“The report, carried out by Structural Concepts, says if the civil defense headquarters stays put inside the council building, it should be considered earthquake-prone.

…there are “potential structural vulnerabilities”, including concerns about the roof. The report also states that the site on which the building stands consists of “unconsolidated to poorly consolidated mud, sand, gravel and peat”.” Stuff

The building needs remedial work to the tune of $30K. Remember this building is only 10 years old people.

“Mr Clapperton says expected costs of the remedial work, recommended by ISPS Consulting, to lengthen the life of the building have come in. The cost will be in the vicinity of $30,000 and will be covered within the existing maintenance budget.”  

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One of the cracks in HDC’s new $10 million building … the new norm

Remedial work? On a new building? Why are the designers and the construction company not under investigation? Why are they not being made to stump up with the remedial costs? Oh that’s right it’s the 21st Century when corporations and companies get away with all sorts incurring wee small taps on their wrists with wet bus tickets. Fines payable from their petty cash.

“A Stuff investigation has found 13 near-new buildings have structural weaknesses in Masterton, raising fears of systemic failings in the engineering industry. The design faults, which were not picked up by council, reduced five of the buildings’ seismic strength status to “earthquake prone”. 

Now the owner of two of the buildings is struggling to find anyone accountable for the costly errors.

So HDC’s current stance is basically ‘it’s safe as houses, no worries’. There is more however that they’re not highlighting in the discussions or on their website (including the $68 million debt nobody wants to talk about & they won’t open the books).

Firstly, this design company has recently been under scrutiny in the Wairarapa district:

“A Masterton community-owned trust is suing the engineers responsible for designing two of its buildings that were found not to meet the seismic design standard for new buildings. 

Masterton Trust Lands Trust has begun High Court action to recover the costs of remediating the buildings’ structural faults.

The company that undertook the structural design of the buildings, Kevin O’Connor & Associates, as well as consenting authority  Masterton District Council, and Spencer Holmes Ltd, which was engaged by the council, are all subject to the claim…

Trust general manager Andrew Croskery said costs of remediation work for 61 and 73 Dixon St were significant enough to warrant court action.  

“More work is needed to understand the full extent of these costs. If we decide to include the cost of remediating additional buildings in this claim, these costs could run into millions of dollars.”

“Council has sought advice from its liability insurers in the first instance. As a result of the court proceedings we are not at liberty to respond more fully other than to say that Lands Trust Masterton have kept us fully informed of their position throughout this process to date.”

“We will not be able to comment further until this matter is resolved.”

The trust is considering its options in relation to a further nine of its buildings, all of which were structurally designed by Kevin O’Connor & Associates.

Of these, four buildings have been assessed as not meeting the New Building Standard.

The remaining five buildings are undergoing detailed reviews by independent engineers after initial assessments identified potential structural design issues.

Overall the 11 buildings, built between 2003 and 2016, make up about 20 per cent of the value of the trust’s total property assets, owned on behalf of the Masterton community.

There’s that word again …  ‘remediation’! Read the whole article HERE.

The faulty design work was first discovered in Masterton when private developer Percy McFadzean commissioned a seismic review of a building he constructed in 2005 to be leased to ASB Bank.

The initial report found serious design flaws that made the new building earthquake prone — findings that were backed up by two more detailed reviews conducted by independent structural engineering firms.  SOURCE

Secondly, there are similar rumblings in Palmerston North.

“Investigations into the safety of building plans are underway after weaknesses were found in Masterton buildings designed by a Palmerston North firm. The Palmerston North City Council will ask independent experts to review a sample of engineering plans for city buildings by Kevin O’Connor and Associates.”   

Read the article HERE.

So while HDC appear to remain staunch supporters of the said company/ies and continue to maintain the building is safe (they’re filling up the cracks with epoxy resin folks) and a certain disgruntled section of the public are still trying hard to be rid of this Mayor who is a fly in their proverbial ointment … please do consider the obvious here. Would you really employ a company to design anything of yours with so many strikes against its name? Seriously?

So to recap, the $10 million HDC building was built to also accommodate Civil Defense emergencies, but hey, no worries we’ll just relocate them somewhere else! Christchurch ran their emergency earthquake operation out of the library, so what’s the problem? And speaking of Christchurch, remember the CTV building?

“The “six-story office building that collapsed and killed 115 people in New Zealand’s devastating earthquake … was poorly designed by an inexperienced engineer, inadequately constructed and should never have been issued a building permit, a government report has found.”

The report found several deficiencies in the CTV building’s engineering design and said the city council should never have issued the building a permit because the design did not comply with the standards at the time. The commission also concluded that there were problems with the building’s construction.”

“…the building had been issued a “green sticker” following a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in September 2010, signalling authorities had given it the thumbs-up for people to continue using it.

An investigation by The Associated Press last year found that inspection checks routinely used across the world to verify the safety of buildings following earthquakes fail to account for how well those buildings will withstand future quakes. The AP found that building occupants and public officials in Christchurch did not understand that a “green sticker” doesn’t mean the building has undergone a thorough analysis of its structural health, nor that it would stay intact during future quakes.”

Read the article HERE.

You could be forgiven for thinking our building industry and the standards it abides by is being run by cowboys. Seriously. Have they really learned anything here? This company “specialises in earthquake engineering and seismic design” amongst other things. Time for a serious overhaul and back to basics surely?

Watch this space and keep an eye on HDC’s FB page and this ongoing discussion. There are questions being asked there about the previous reports that need to be answered.

For more information on happenings in the Horowhenua district check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu and search ‘categories’ as well.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

RELATED LINKS:

Opportunist builders, dodgy steel and shonky standards create new building crisis ‘worse than leaky homes’

Falling through the cracks: experts warn of a wave of new buildings failing earthquake standards

 Resolved: Horowhenua council building is safe and Wayne Bishop is deputy mayor

Horowhenua mayor says he will fund report about building’s safety himself

Horowhenua mayor refuses to enter council building, claiming it unsafe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iwi Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

However:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Recent History

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

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Foxtonians are obliged to filter their own water or use the newly provided outlets to fill their own bottles

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

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Polluting the water at the Foxton river loop

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The water at the Foxton Loop is unsafe

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

Paying Lip Service to Treaty Principles

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

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

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

 RELATED:

Council to consult with iwi over Foxton cenotaph plans

Community up in arms over cenotaph move

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Mayor Feyen speaks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12799392_662643160505914_110797418483588425_n.png
Foxton drinking water

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

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

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

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

EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

 

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

Stop the Sale of Horowhenua’s Community Housing

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

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

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


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

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

Why is this important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GO HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

PLEASE SHARE!

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

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