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.
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Privatisation in NZ, a Kiwi speaks
Horowhenua Council Considers selling off large amounts of Council property by way of public private partnerships