Tag Archives: CE Clapperton

Horowhenua Council’s Secret Payout (Kapiti Independent)

From Kapiti Independent News

The Horowhenua Council’s Chief Executive confidentially agreed to provide nearly a million dollars to Te Runanga o Raukawa provided it did not object to a wastewater scheme.

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.

A leaked copy of the September 2017 draft agreement states that Te Runanga o Raukawa (TRoR), “will withdraw their submissions to Horizons [regional council and] the Environment Court in respect of proceedings within 5 working days of TRoR signing this agreement.”

Obligations for Rununga

The agreement also states TRoR will, “not participate in any way (including supporting any other party) in the Foxton Waste Water Treatment Plant (FWWTP) proceedings before the Environment Court in respect of proceedings..or any other regulatory or statutory proceedings related to the current proposal for the discharge of treated human wastewater from FWWTP to land at Matakarapa…”

The agreement defines Matakarapa Island as approximately, “364.3 hectares of land to the south west of Foxton township comprising several parcels of land in ownership of several entities.”

Councillor Ross Campbell said he attended a breakfast signing event for the agreement at Foxton’s Returned Services Association (RSA) on 29 September 2017 where he was told the agreement had been signed by Larry Parr on behalf of TRoR  and Mr Clapperton behind closed doors.

READ MORE

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

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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.

HDC’s master plan revealed … they’re about to sell off more of Horowhenua’s assets

A benign sounding partnership/Trust is to be formed to sell more of Horowhenua’s assets, outlined here in another of Veronica Harrod’s  excellent articles. If you watch a video I featured a few months back at the time the sales were first announced, you’ll see what ‘Public Private Partnerships’ are really about. Joan Veon (in the video) studied governmental changes world wide during the ’90s when she worked with the UN. She attended a conference hosted by Al Gore proposing changes to government in which the tax payer citizens were referred to as ‘customers’. She traveled internationally & later lectured on these topics. She sheds a whole lot of light on the smoke and mirrors going on in local councils right now that have their origins in plans made more than two decades ago. The plan is rolling out in plain sight if you care to look below the surface rhetoric. The smoke & mirrors apply particularly with regard to the sale of assets. The video is a short watch (13 mins) and well worth the time.  Note also, when I added Joan Veon’s video in the Facebook comments below Veronica’s original posting of her article, it was immediately removed by Facebook as spam. Now doesn’t that tell you something? If you’re really interested get hold of Joan’s book called The Sustainable Prince (she mentions it at the end of the video) in which she explains the public private partnerships plus the ‘sustainable’ scam. (Witness our now trashed waterways under the ‘sustainable development’ lie). And finally, of course the new Government will support this. I will be very surprised if they don’t.   EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

Horowhenua District Council’s Master Plan revealed

By Veronica Harrod

The most damning evidence to date that Horowhenua residents live in ‘tail wags the dog’ political environment is the district council’s proposed sponsorship of a “Charitable Community Trust” dedicated to rolling out a Master Plan initiated by the economic development board.

The 49 page “HDC-Project-Lift-Master-Plan-FINAL” contains a time line which states, “On 12 April, 2016 Horowhenua Economic Development Board introduced [the Master Plan] concept and on 13 April 2016 [former] Mayor Brendan Duffy and chief executive David Clapperton [held a] discussion on the role of Horowhenua District Council and related ownership, leadership, and governance of the project.”

Full support pledged from the council includes providing $259,400 of funding and in-kind support such as “lending venues for labs and gifting people’s time and expertise” but up to $500,000 was being sought from central Government.

So, how do the aims and objectives of the Master Plan tie in with council’s intention to sponsor the establishment of a Charitable Community Trust and what is it the proposed Trust intends to do?

According to a report titled, “Community Trust for Horowhenua: Supporting Information for the Council Strategy Committee” presented on 8 November 2017 by economic development manager Shanon Grainger the Trust would own,”in part or wholly, or in any other arrangement, a series of limited liability investment companies (or activities) [that would] operate on standard commercial terms governed by a commercial board of directors using a mix of private equity, bank-sourced debt and possibly Council assets or equity.”

External Opportunities listed include, “ensuring that local businesses and community initiatives benefit from the Otaki to North of Levin Expressway project” and, “local projects such as the Levin Town Centre, the provision of better water infrastructure and resources, the freeing up of land for residential, commercial and industrial construction.”

The council report says the first priority of the Trust “up to July 2018” is to roll out the next phase of the Master Plan. This includes obtaining, “Central Government approval of the proposals set out in the Master Plan; recruitment of appropriate experts…and contract a provider to deliver the [Master Plan].”

The Master Plan specialises in what is referred to as, “solutions for older people…through the development of fit-for-purpose products, services and environments – for example…planning opportunities like Levin/Taitoko’s spatial plan and housing redevelopment [and] shopping precincts that are easy to get around.”

“We will develop business cases to attract funding and investment [for] solutions requiring significant public and private investment…We anticipate the balance of public to private investment.”

Whether the new Government will support the Master Plan concept is unknown at this stage, but the political uncertainty presents a potential liability which has not been considered.

Although the Master Plan refers to older people in Horowhenua as “stakeholders” older people and organisations representing older people, including Greypower Horowhenua, were excluded from involvement in a deal that saw council sell land last year for the development of a new medical centre in Levin.

In a newspaper column councillor Neville Gimblett referred to the deal between council, the former Government and private enterprise as, “an example of the growth coming to Levin as private enterprise gains the confidence to make major investment in our community…away from the unsettling glare of public commentary.”

At a FCB meeting on 18 September 2017 council’s chief executive David Clapperton said one project of the Master Plan,”is the establishment of a new purpose-built medical centre,which will bring a number of key services and specialists to Levin and Horowhenua. As Horowhenua’s economy continues to expand, it can be anticipated that further large scale projects like the medical centre will flow into our district.

Seed funding would be provided to the proposed Trust through the sale of up to 40 percent of publicly owned assets by council but regarded as surplus to requirements.

Mr Clapperton said in a council press release published on 8 November last year, “we’ve acquired property for a variety of reasons…Some of it is useful to our community and some of it not so much.”

A key initiative of council’s economic development strategy 2014-2017 developed under Mr Duffy’s reign as mayor also includes rationalisation of council owned properties but refers to the intention to rationalise property as “an aligned Property Assets Strategy.”

Mr Grainger spoke more plainly in his report to council when he stated, “Over the years HDC has acquired a large portfolio of property for a variety of reasons – some helpful; some less so. The result is that, at present, HDC has approximately 40% more property than is required…In addition, a variety of property is leased or rented on a sub-optimal basis and thus represents a risky and inefficient investment.”

He went on to outline the “advantages” of the trust entering a joint arrangement with the council to develop a “disposal programme” of council owned property deemed excess to requirements. Mr Clapperton also spoke of council’s intention to “dispose” of public assets through a sale to the “Trust” at the December 11, 2017 Foxton Community Board meeting when he stated it was, “council’s intention to dispose of a number of properties which have been identified as non-core, with the goal of the portfolio being core only by 2028.”

The disposal of council property regarded as surplus would be, “executed using expertise retained by the Trust through (i) Transfer to the Trust at agreed rates; and/or (ii) Sold into the open market by value maximising means (auction, private treaty, etc).”

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.

You can find more of Veronica’s articles by entering her name in the search box.

Search for more articles on Councils by using ‘categories’.

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Horowhenua Council Considers selling off large amounts of Council property by way of public private partnerships

Council to restart controversial email screening

Did they ever stop one would have to wonder? I attended the last pre-Christmas council meeting, the controversial one where they tried unsuccessfully to unseat the elected mayor, and former Councilor Anne Hunt told us her emails are being both intercepted and shared with third parties. On the strength of that she uses the recipients’ private email addresses. Such is the ongoing privacy debacle (or lack thereof) that’s happening planet wide. If you were inclined to the conspiratorial you’d call it Big Brother. But then ‘conspiracy theory’ was invented by those who want to deflect you from the real issue, they actually are spying on your every move online. It’s all recorded… to protect you from ‘terrorists’ of course. I was recently cited the latest amendments to the banking fraternity’s fine print saying I’d have to send my photo ID (you know that drivers license cum photo ID that you must carry with you, if you drive ie all the time). I had to send it because of the latest terrorist modifications to the fine print. Perhaps they fear they are going to blow up the banks? Or the ATMs? Anyway, the Council being the topic here, we now know it’s official that spying, I mean watching out for Council staff’s safety, means your communications will be perused by somebody there and it is going to be an ongoing practice for now.  EnvirowatchHorowhenua


Council to restart controversial email screening

From the NZ Herald

Controversial email screening looks set to be restarted by Horowhenua District Council despite ongoing investigations into the practice.

A Finance and Risk committee recommended adopting a new version of the policy, altered to exclude elected councillors from having their emails vetted, but otherwise very similar to the previous policy, according to report-writer and HDC Corporate Services group manager Mark Lester.

The previous policy, where the council’s chief executive had emails from people on a “blacklist” redirected to himself personally, landed the council in hot water after it was picked up by an audit and labelled as an “extreme risk” that could breach privacy laws and damage the council’s reputation.

The council commissioned a peer review of the original audit, which then claimed no conclusion could be drawn over the practice due to a lack of working papers from the auditor.

Later statements from the council slammed the auditor as having not done his job properly.

A public outcry resulted in complaints to the Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner’s office, who are investigating.

Mayor Michael Feyen, who had his emails vetted for up to three years, said he abstained from voting on adopting the new policy because he believed the council should wait for the results of the investigations.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/horowhenua-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503788&objectid=11926574

Horowhenua District Council boss ignores pleas to turn on water supply

Learn more about the historic interactions between the Horowhenua District Council and Mr Taueki (whose supply has been cut) by reading former HDC Councilor Mrs Anne Hunt’s recent book titled ‘Man of Convictions’  (free download). Also go to this link to see a report by Marae TV and here for a recent article about Mr Taueki being charged for trespassing on his own land. You may also like to check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu. Note Mr Taueki is frequently labeled ‘protester’ a word with clear overtones of dissidence … whereas, he is simply a man who is defending his own land. Since when was it a crime to defend one’s own property?
EnvirowatchRangitikei

 

From Radio NZ

A district council chief executive is keeping the water to a Māori land protester turned off despite health officials telling him it’s illegal.

David Clapperton, of Horowhenua District Council, is also resisting the demands from his own mayor, Michael Feyen – who he has had several run-ins with already – to turn the water back on.

Protester Phil Taueki has lived in a nursery building beside Lake Horowhenua for 13 years.

His long-running protest at the lake received a boost in June from a Waitangi Tribunal finding that the property rights of his iwi, Muaūpoko, were usurped at the lake and that the Crown was complicit in degrading the lake to the point that it was among the most polluted in New Zealand.

The water was cut off last November, and Mr Taueki said his attempts to reconnect it since he returned there at Easter have failed.

“Where does that leave a person like me?” he said.

He has been getting his water from an outside tap and using a bucket to flush the toilet.

When he tried to get the water reconnected in August, he was trespassed from the council offices in Levin. He has previously had at least 30 charges against him withdrawn, dismissed or quashed on appeal.

A letter released to Mr Taueki this week under the Official Information Act shows the region’s medical officer of health, Dr Rob Weir, told Mr Clapperton in late August that the council was not allowed to create an unsanitary situation, no matter what the circumstances.

READ MORE

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/340480/council-boss-ignores-pleas-to-turn-protester-s-water-on

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

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

An audit reveals the CE of Horowhenua DC has been methodically intercepting, monitoring & blacklisting people’s emails

This is what happens in totalitarian régimes isn’t it? Not small towns in rural NZ? Well apparently it is. Have a listen to the audio and watch this space. Phone your local councilor if you live in the Horowhenua and ask to have the audit report tabled at the next Council meeting.

If you’re new to these goings on, go to our Local govt watch pages at the main menu. There is much corruption now within district councils … look particularly at the Horowhenua page in there.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201851289