We followed the Grenfell Tower disaster (crime) for a time & have revisited it again recently with the anniversary this month. Many of those people are still not rehoused from that shameful gentrification debacle. If you visit the blogs of the Grenfell Action Group you’ll see as is common with these corporate coverups, a long standing battle with landlords/Councils etc over the lack of safety & the fire risk in that tower before & immediately prior to the disaster. I believe also from many reports on the ground that the numbers of fatalaties were also vastly under stated. People were also advised (as is apparently customary) to remain in their apartments, thereby more fatalities occurred. What a crime. Human life – the shameful ‘throw away’ mentality of those who ride on the backs of the poor. The cladding was the cheaper option … it saved money & lost lives. As for NZ, remember the CTV building in the Christchurch earthquake? Nobody has been held accountable for the many lives lost in that building and should have been. And we have similar inflammable fire risk cladding on our buildings? No worries, they have got that all covered we’re told….
Owners of the buildings have been told about the claddings but McCormick stressed the buildings were not necessarily dangerous to occupy because they had extensive fire protection measures such as sprinklers, alarms and escape routes.
Auckland Council has just released a list of 25 buildings with exterior aluminium composite claddings like the Grenfell Tower in London, where a fire last year killed more than 70 people.
But the council stressed the Auckland buildings with the flammable polyethylene cores in their claddings are not necessarily dangerous because they have other means of fire protection.
The huge Waitakere Stadium at Henderson, certain Auckland Hospital buildings in Grafton, Spark’s four-building campus in Victoria St, large residential blocks in the Viaduct and CBD, the huge PwC building on the city’s waterfront, TVNZ’s headquarters on Victoria St, Auckland University’s Owen Glenn Building and many apartment blocks appear on the list.
After a Herald official information request, the council named 116 buildings it said “appear to utilise ACP cladding to some extent”.
“In some cases the cladding material has a modified fire resistant core. Far fewer cases have cladding with a combustible polyethylene core,” said council building consents general manager Ian McCormick.
“The extent and use of ACP on the buildings varies considerably from the full facade, to decorative features only and many buildings examined did not contain ACP at all,” he said.
Owners of the buildings have been told about the claddings but McCormick stressed the buildings were not necessarily dangerous to occupy because they had extensive fire protection measures such as sprinklers, alarms and escape routes.
This is Agenda 21/30. To the casual eye it is nothing more than downsizing and practicality, and yes, in some cases that may be what’s wanted. Fair enough. I’m not saying every move toward tiny housing or closer living is this agenda. But in the overall larger picture, it is becoming a growing trend as this UN agenda kicks in. You owe it to yourself to read up on it. The big picture is that we will all be in the cities (google ‘smart cities’) in high rise and/or stack and pack housing. That is the plan. The Nats have sold off thousands of our state homes with large sections (prime real estate) under somewhat dodgy arrangements (follow Penny Bright’s work on Facebook) then plead ‘there’s no homelessness’ in the land of the free. Now we have the perfect ‘solution’ … tiny houses. In the city of course. Small towns were given the death knell decades ago via decisions at the beehive, not by the people. People who wanted to eat and have a house to live in had to move to where jobs were. The human settlement zones for Agenda 2030 are already there on the US maps in plain sight. The wild conservation zones will not be for us. It isn’t pretty. And of course some will think that this is wild conspiracy & I’d possibly agree if I hadn’t seen the UN plan or listened to those who have stumbled across this in the course of their work (see Rosa Koire’s work at our Agenda 21/30 pages). Another good listen on topic is the late Joan Veon. She doesn’t refer to this as Agenda 21 but she is talking of the same changes, particularly the privatisation of all your public assets. This is why they are all disappearing fast, via public private partnerships. Pensioner flats are going, council land also. You will find more of Joan’s videos on Youtube. She worked with the UN for a number of years and joined some dots with what was happening during the 1990s, the period during which Agenda 21 first appeared. See our Agenda 21/30 pages for more info on that. Hear the whistle blowers on it.
Erica and Stuart Wills should have been living the Kiwi dream. From the expansive deck of their renovated bungalow, they looked out over a 2.5 acre paradise in Kumeu, West Auckland. Chickens and sheep roamed as their young son hurtled around on his mini motorbike.
“It all looked beautiful,” Erica told Newshub. “But we’re sitting there exhausted because we’ve spent all day getting it to look like that. Roundup was our best friend.”
It was clear they needed to downsize – but no one expected them to do it so dramatically. Today, their brand new home is attached to their neighbours’, their backyard has shrunk to 180 square metres, and their view is a line of cookie cutter houses in progressive Hobsonville Point. Erica worried her farm-raised husband would feel claustrophobic. “I thought ‘oh my god he’s going to hate this’,” she said. “But he surprised me.”
The new government wants to see more Kiwis living this way. More compact housing is an obvious solution to Auckland’s housing shortfall, but it also plans to duplicate the model of quality and quantity in Hamilton, Tauranga and Queenstown, particularly targeting first-time buyers.
This investigative article about the Horowhenua district is from journalist Veronica Harrod. Read her bio at the end of the article. She raises points which are puzzling people NZ wide, and lifts the curtain somewhat to let you see what is going on in meetings you are not entitled to attend. (From this site’s perspective, please check out our Agenda 21/2030 in NZ and our Local Govt Watch pages. Also search Agenda 21/2030 in categories to left of page). I read an interesting article at the LG’s website recently about consultation (raised at the end of this article). It certainly does indicate (& in the context of quite a bit of jest, taking the proverbial pee as it were) that the decision’s already been made when you are ‘consulted’. EnvirowatchRangitikei
Massive Rates Rises Predicted in Horowhenua that will Subsidise Land Developers Reaping Potential Profits of over $100 Million
by Veronica Harrod
Horowhenua land developers and investors will reap at least $100 million profit from not having to pay development contributions towards essential infrastructure costs that council seems intent to load onto existing ratepayers who could face massive, crippling rates increases.
The majority of councils in the country charge development contributions because the policy is regarded as the only effective, fair and equitable way to reduce the impact of expensive infrastructure costs on existing ratepayers.
The Horowhenua District Council scrapped development contributions in 2015 but, judging by the extent of land development planned behind closed doors by land developers and council since 2008, it would be unconscionable if council did not re-introduce the levy on land developers.
Exponential rates rises have historically been used by council’s as a sure fire way to free up land for development by confiscating land from ratepayers who can’t afford high rate increases which will directly have an impact on a large number of home and land owners in the district living on fixed or low incomes.
If the council does not include development contributions in the 2018-2038 Long Term Plan (LTP) the profits made by land developers will be unsustainable and grossly unfair to existing residents.
The $100 million profit projections are based on a conservative estimate of $15,000 per new build if development contributions were charged including a minimum of 2100 new house builds in Levin alone totalling $31.5 million contained in a council’s 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.
Land developer and deputy mayor Wayne Bishop’s 500 house build in Kimberley Road has financially benefited by approximately $750,000. Cr Bishop also has four other land developments which means he has personally financially benefited by at least one million dollars by not having to pay development contributions.
He declared a conflict of interest at the eleventh hour only when a vote was taken by council to stop charging development contributions. During all the debates he sat at the council table which may have affected councillors ability to speak freely against council intention to stop collecting development contributions. It is also only since his election to council that council has proceeded with such a massive scale of land development.
Also included in the profit estimates is the potential affect of relaxing urban housing density rules to allow for sub-division and building of two houses on one house lot which council is deliberating on now. Neighbours would not have to be consulted on increased urban density plans due to changes to the Resource Management Act made by the National led government early this year that favours land developers. Potential profits also include proposed land developments in other parts of the district contained in separate reports available at http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/…/Plans-Strategies/Horowhenua…
Evidence council is determined to pursue a land growth agenda is also contained in the council report on relaxing urban density rules which negligently and deliberately omitted to include any environmental and cultural costs of land development even though all the new builds would connect to the existing infrastructure, and even though there is evidence of environmental and cultural costs documented in past council reports including the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.
Cr Neville Gimblet and council’s chief executive David Clapperton have made comments recently alluding to the scale of land development and the expectation existing ratepayers would pay for them. Mr Clapperton said in a recent newspaper article, “I see some huge opportunities for the Horowhenua that have never been seen before, probably in the last three generations. And I’m adamnant that I want to be part of that journey.”
His comments were made despite consultation on the 20 year Long Term Plan only just starting indicating he is a central, local cog in the wheel of a land development agenda that has captured the council to such an extent democracy itself is being deliberately undermined by the very organisation that is supposed to uphold democratic principles.
Cr Gimblett alluded to the impact of the high cost of replacing essential infrastructure on existing ratepayers in a newspaper column when he said he was “surprised no-one commented on the $2.8 million of unfunded depreciation in the financial report.” Depreciation is a method used to account for future costs of essential infrastructure by acknowledging wear and tear and need for replacement over time.
“While depreciation is not a cash item so has little impact today, it is a key feature of sustainable long term planning and ultimately your rates,” he stated before warning ratepayers that, “Officers and elected members are currently involved in multiple workshops to prepare for the next Long Term Plan, where we will be mindful of this financial constraint hanging over our heads.”
If Cr Gimblet is so “mindful of the financial constraints” then it would stand to reason he supports the reintroduction of development contributions as this levy on land developers would not only immediately solve the problem of funding depreciation costs but also potentially provide enough money to ensure state of the art essential infrastructure designs were built and maintained. Nevertheless he didn’t mention re-introducing development contributions he only mentioned the cost to existing ratepayers.
The democratically elected mayor Michael Feyen has been effectively sidelined because he is viewed as a threat to this cabal of unrestrained and unrestricted land developers and their investors as during the last local body elections he said he was going to make environmental concerns and Lake Horowhenua a priority.
No matter who Mayor Feyen subsequently turned to in seeking redress to reign in the power of an unelected chief executive David Clapperton not one minister of the last National led government would lift a finger to assist him. Local Government New Zealand would not assist him either.
Mr Clapperton also has the support of nine out of ten councillors, excluding Cr Ross Campbell, who are rewarded handsomely for their backing by favourable treatment in appointments to committees and other council led opportunities.
Local National Party MP Nathan Guy has also refused to take action to restore democracy in Horowhenua but, as a recent article in a local newspaper stated, Mr Guy has got the largest property and land portfolio of all acting Government ministers including an extensive amount of Horowhenua rural land, a family home, two rental properties, interests in 13 commercial properties and a Wellington property.
Land developer and investor interest in developing housing subdivisions on at least 550 hectares in the north east of Levin, that extends across Mr Guy’s rural property interests, may also be using their influence with the now acting Government to ensure the highway of national significance is built to the west of Levin instead of the East of Levin. Cr Bishop has certainly stated a preference the new highway be built to the west of Levin.
As if it’s not enough that local Maori and residents of Hokio on the west of Levin have to endure the Levin Sewage Treatment Plant, the landfill, the infamous smelly “pot” behind the landfill and a polluted Lake Horowhenua now moves are afoot to ensure the new highway won’t get in the way of land developers and their investor interest in the East of Levin.
The excessive profit margins land developers and their investors will potentially make helps to explain the increasing interest major land and property developers, that have previously only operated in Auckland and Wellington, now have in Horowhenua.
The first sign the district saw of this burgeoning interest was the purchase of the council owned pensioner housing and 1.1 hectare of bare land by land and property developer Willis Bond in a publicly excluded deal with council for a fire sale price of $5.25 million. Anecdotal evidence is Willis Bond owners the McGuinness brothers count now acting Attorney General Chris Finlayson as a friend.
As Attorney General Mr Finlayson administers the Crown Law office that relentlessly pursues criminal charges against Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki Philip Taueki who continues to give voice to inconvenient truths about Lake Horowhenua ownership and pollution by the council and regional council. Other state agencies have also demonstrated a partisan approach in matters to do with Mr Taueki.
In her recently published e-book “Man of Convictions” Anne Hunt* says Horowhenua District Council waived all fees and granted the consent to decommission the buildings and disconnect the water from Mr Taueki’s residence six days after several men and six or seven police arrived at his place one morning and began sledgehammering and dismantling the building and power to the building. They also attempted to turn his water supply off then too.
When Mr Taueki, “complained to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about the way the Horowhenua District Council as a building consent authority handled this matter…initially the Ministry expressed concern, but ultimately decided to take no action. The Tenancy Tribunal was equally dismissive.”
Mr Taueki is under constant threat of arrest and imprisonment and, although it is illegal to turn the water supply off to his residence at Lake Horowhenua, the council continues to do so and not one state agency intervenes on his behalf even though he has been left without a water supply for over eight months.
He has been beaten up, shot at, threatened with murder, thrown in jail, forced to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and denied physical access to the very lake he is kaitiaki and one of the owners of by numerous trespass orders.
He is currently facing a retrial of one of the trespass notices he has been acquitted of twice after Crown Law, an office administered by Mr Finlayson, appealed an acquittal of the charge and the appeal was granted by a judge. His case has been delayed until January 2018 because the Crown did not disclose information to defence lawyer Michael Bott when the retrial began last month in Levin District Court.
Allegations of bias by the Courts against Mr Taueki has also been made by Hunt who writes that Mr Finlayson has been responsible for appointing, “all bar one of the six Supreme Court judges, all ten Court of Appeal judges and 75% of the High Court judges….in a process without any statutory constraints or regulations.”
Despite the fact “Man of Convictions” is written by a local resident and respected journalist, author and former Horowhenua district councillor Anne Hunt about the horrendous experiences and treatment of a Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki whose ancestor is the renowned paramount chief of Mua-Upoko neither of the two local newspapers have expressed any interest in interviewing her.
Openly flouting media independence on council reporting the Fairfax owned Horowhenua Mail has now employed council’s former communications officer Kelvin Teixeira which does not bode well for impartial reporting of council communications Mr Teixeira has helped develop and carry out on behalf of the council.
But it is the Crown’s lack of actions to date that disturbingly suggest a collusion with a Horowhenua land development agenda even though it is destined to greatly increase pollution levels to Lake Horowhenua. The Lake Accord, set up to rehabilitate the health of the lake, remains silent about the impact an exponential increase of new builds connected to the existing insufficient and ageing infrastructure will have on Lake Horowhenua.
Hunt says, “Levin’s stormwater system is a major source of phosphorous, and it is this chemical that is the major cause of the cyanobacteria that has plagued the lake in recent years, making it lethal for children. In his 2012 report, Dr Max Gibbs referred to research that 80% of the lake’s phosphorous chemical content comes from the town’s stormwater system.”
“A report prepared for the Horowhenua District Council by Dr Chris Tanner, a principal scientist from NIWA (the Crown Research Institute) commented on the ‘significant
potential health effects from these drain flows,’ without even considering ‘potential toxicity issues with other contaminants such as metals or organics in the discharge from this drain’ she quoted from Dr Tanner’s report.
An apparently deliberate refusal to reintroduce development contributions is essentially undemocratic because it put the interests of the few above the many and makes a mockery of the consultation process of a LTP residents and ratepayers will be bound by for the next twenty years.
Even though council has been having workshop meetings about priorities of the LTP one public consultation held at Te Takere last week had no information at all about the council’s intentions which gives the public little to respond to. There were two councillors, a desk and a lot of free pens but no substance about what council has been discussing in publicly excluded workshops about council’s LTP priorities which makes it a faux consultation on one of the most important issues facing ratepayers today.
Although it might be confusing to understand why the council would refuse to reintroduce the levy on land developers one powerful reason for doing so is it appears the council is prepared to drive out existing residents by imposing unsustainable rates rises in favour of new residents who are regarded as more desirable.
The emphasis on making the district attractive to new residents is highlighted in communications from council on the LTP consultations which promotes the concept of making the district attractive for “those that are moving here” and concerns already exist about the statement by council in a two page newspaper feature, “…all submissions will be considered by elected members and the plan adjusted as they see fit.”
One has to wonder whether the LTP has already been pre-determined if councillors are only going to adjust the LTP “as they see fit.”
Veronica Harrod is a qualified journalist with a Master of Communications specialising in traditional and new media content. Investigating and reporting on political, economic and legislative trends that negatively impact on the day to day lives of people is one of her main areas of interest. Lifestyle content she is interested in includes celebrating our own especially the tireless work community advocates do as civil citizens participating in democracy to keep those in power on their toes. In a media age dominated by a multi billion dollar communications and public relations industry paid to manipulate information to protect and advance the interests of the few over the many there have to be journalists who are impervious to the all pervasive influencial role they have over local and central government and corporate interests.
For more information on Veronica’s professional qualifications see her Facebook page.
WHAT CAN WE DO? The current elected Mayor campaigned on more transparency & more public inclusion. In light of that do your best to attend the HDC meetings in Levin, hear what is happening & get speaking rights to express to Council matters that affect you. The meetings are held 6 weekly and dates are found on the HDC website, FB page or by phoning them.
TIME FOR AN INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO THE ‘TAMAKI SCAM’?
I think so.
Looking forward to an inquiry regarding how, on the watch of ‘financial helmsmen’ Bill English and Steven Joyce, a Crown Entity Company (Tamaki Regeneration Ltd) – with $1.6 billion of former Tamaki Housing NZ properties – was not listed under Sch 4A of the Public Finance Act, or Sch 2 of the Crown Entities Act?
Or listed as a company monitored by Treasury’s Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit?
“IMO, the essence of the ‘Tamaki Scam’ has been to use similar-sounding names for different companies, in order to disguise the real private property developer-driven GENTRIFICATION’ agenda, as ‘Regeneration’ of poorer communities.” ….. Penny Bright
This is, IMO, actually quite a big deal – in terms of NZ’s perceived status as ‘the least corrupt country in the world’?
100% Crown-owned ‘Crown Entity Company’ – Tamaki Regeneration Ltd, with $1.6 billion worth of former Housing NZ properties is not listed under Sch 4A of the Public Finance Act, or Sch 2 of the Crown Entities Act, or listed as a company monitored by Treasury’s Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit.
How ‘banana republic’ is THAT?
I have raised my concerns directly with:
The Office of the Auditor-General.
The office of the Attorney-General.
The office of the Solicitor-General.
The State Services Commission.
(My concerns are being addressed by all the above-mentioned.)
This 5 minute video where I explain the, IMO, ‘Tamaki Scam’ has now had over 169,000 views on facebook.
IMO, the essence of the ‘Tamaki Scam’ has been to use similar-sounding names for different companies, in order to disguise the real private property developer-driven GENTRIFICATION’ agenda, as ‘Regeneration’ of poorer communities.
“According to a Yale University report, New Zealand has the highest proportion of homeless people in the 34-member OECD, with nearly 1 per cent of the country’s population living on the streets or in emergency housing or shelters.
Auckland Council estimates there are nearly 23,000 homeless in the Super City alone.”
Neither Labour nor National are addressing this. Labour says it will build 100,000 more houses – instead of stopping the immigration influx which is contributing to the problem – all because they don’t want to be seen as xenophobic. National just says “Bring them all in ! Money, money, money.”
How can New Zealand manage an annual non-NZ citizen migration influx of 73,500 people per annum ( 2017 ) ?
In 2016 there was a gain of 72,000 non-NZ citizen migrants.
In 2015 it was 60,000.
That is like adding a city bigger than Nelson – EVERY YEAR !
“New Zealand’s population reached an estimated 4,727,000 in October 2016.
The population reached four million for the first time in 2003, assisted by growth in immigration.”
Posted in July this year, this is a well balanced overview of what is being done with the homeless in the US, and is there any truth about their disappearance into Fema shelters/camps/detention centers, call them what you will. In light of current events it’s a timely review. We have similar noises being made in NZ with concern at the homeless hanging out in front of people’s businesses and the move to make such activity illegal, along with feeding them. Disturbing trends in my opinion. Since when do we stop caring for those who have nowhere to live? My memory tells me, since neo-liberal economics arrived. I lived through the era when we all cared. Greed & the corporate modus operandi have changed all of that. Take note of where we may be headed. EnvirowatchRangitikei
Meet Darren and Cheri Birch of Palmerston North, who created a business building new houses to help alleviate increasing homelessness. These people are putting their money where their mouth is so to speak. Read Stuff’s article & see their interview, plus have a look at their website called https://www.homesforpeople.co.nz/ Brilliant. I know many are now living in WINZ’s very unaffordable & totally insane solution to homelessness … racking up debt living in their ’emergency housing’ … MOTELS! While elsewhere in the country hundreds of state homes are boarded up & empty, many landbanked by your current pretend government. EnvirowatchRangitikei
Darren Birch walks by the property on Limbrick St where he is building two Homes for People houses.
Manawatu’s Darren and Cheri Birch have done this.
The lack of affordable housing in New Zealand is something that really concerns them, as does the number of people without a place to call home.
Discussion turned into Homes for People, a Palmerston North-based response to the growing housing need in provincial New Zealand.
It took them five years, but an empty plot of land is about to become six homes.
And those homes, says Darren Birch, will be for people who need them.
“There are people in our community who others look down on for one reason or another and think ‘you should have helped yourself, you should have made better choices’.
“We are pragmatic about that perception and, for us, that is just an obstacle – it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.”
Homes for People allows a house to be bought through shared equity ownership.
In a nutshell:
* Someone who has been struggling to get on the housing ladder purchases the share of the home they can afford.
* The remainder is owned by Homes for People.
* The mortgage is proportionally smaller than is ordinarily needed to purchase the same property at market value.
Homes for People is a locally managed Housing Association:
Providing affordable homes for low income households
Helping fulfil the Kiwi dream though supported home ownership
Homes for People provides scalable and sustainable models for Kiwis to partner together to increase the accessibility of home ownership within our communities.
Homes for People also exists to develop and enhance social and affordable housing, for those in our community who need supported housing.
Do you have Expertise, Experience, Equity to contribute? (read more at the site)
Comment from Cheri:
If people go to our Homes for People page there is a place for them to sign up to our regular updates. We’ve now got some compact homes for sale if anyone wants to enquire. I expect they will go on Trademe this week.