Category Archives: Horowhenua

Why is Horowhenua’s Mayor Feyen constantly kept out of the HDC loop?

SHARE Constant lack of information provided to me as Mayor is par for the course in this HDC council. Regards.

See our LG Watch pages, main menu.

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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.