Horowhenua’s former mayor Michael Feyen offers many insights into how local governance has operated since the 1989 LG Act, information that many of us are not aware of. Michael points out what needs to change and why … vital info for moving forwards. EWR
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Those of you who’ve followed this site for more than a year will recall the term of former Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen. During his Mayoral term at the Horowhenua District Council he was, in his own words, nothing but stonewalled & neutered. (You can read some of the goings on from that council at the LG Watch pages, Horowhenua. See here also for articles on topic by journalist Veronica Harrod).
Almost a year out from ending that term, recently teaming with the NZPP, and highlighting for the public where he is coming from, he is speaking out in the first video on the state of local governance in NZ within the context of UN Agenda 2030 policies, an issue that the NZPP party is bringing to the forefront of discussion as we move toward election time. Even if you are not interested in the NZPP or any politics, have a listen and hear about how local governance operates since becoming corporatized. Michael also touches on other issues that percolate down from government (consultation, pollution, debt etc) and particularly on the corrupt state of affairs now. In the second video he speaks similarly about the DHBs. He is speaking from the unique view of an insider. Valuable information for moving forward. We are observing in this era, rapid changes and in a direction that most thinking citizens recognize is not right. We are witnessing daily the vanishing of more & more of our freedoms and particularly our democratic right to free speech. Time to turn the tide. EWR
Horowhenua investigative journalist Veronica Harrod has been looking at apparent conflicts of interest within the Horowhenua District Council. At this link (from the website of the Office of the Auditor General) you will see the clear rules and guidelines around declaring conflicts of interest when representing your local Council. In brief:
“Under the Act, you cannot:
- enter into contracts with your local authority worth more than $25,000 in a financial year; or
- discuss or vote on matters before your authority in which you have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest, other than an interest in common with the public.”
READ MORE AT THE LINK.
Read Veronica’s article posted at her Facebook page:
15 January, 2020
New Levin Ward councillor Todd Isaacs already has a conflict of interest
Two councillors have a major financial stake in commercial property earmarked in the Levin Town Centre Strategy for development by Horowhenua District Council.
Fourth term councillor Wayne Bishop and new Levin Ward councillor Todd Isaacs are both directors and shareholders of property investment company Write Properties Ltd.
The 3032 square property, on the corner of Oxford Street and Queen Street West, purchased by Write Properties Ltd on 28 November 2014, is within an area referred to as, “a key east-west movement corridor” and “a new consolidated east-west town core” in the strategy adopted by the previous Council in November 2018.
Purchased for $900,000 five years ago the property now has a rateable value of $2.08 million.
Despite several references in the Levin Town Centre Strategy to developing new activities on the west side of town, where the property is, the Council minutes show that Cr Bishop did not declare a financial conflict of interest or remove himself from discussing or voting in favour of the Levin town strategy.
Office of the Auditor General advice says, “The Local Authorities (Members’ Interest) Act helps protect the integrity of local authority decision-making by ensuring that people are not affected by personal motives when they participate in local authority decision-making.”
New Levin Ward councillor Todd Isaacs said he didn’t tell voters in the October 2019 local body elections he has a financial interest in a major property earmarked for development by the Council because he, “didn’t have to.”
Whether the owners of the Queen Street West property will benefit from, “Opportunities for new activities and businesses to cluster around a transport hub located in the centre of town”, or whether the intention is to develop the Queen Street West site as the Horowhenua Integrated Transport Hub is not known at this stage.
Write Properties Ltd also owns a 1013 m2 property in the industrial sector of Levin at 33 Hokio Beach Road valued at $335,000 in 2016.
The other three shareholders of Write Properties Ltd are Corey Kennett, Justin Rangi and Callum Dunsmore.
New Horowhenua mayor Bernie Wanden also has a financial conflict of interest because he owns a business in Levin’s town centre, with his wife Sharon Wanden, that is built on land the Council sold to mayor Wanden’s wife, mother-in-law and sister-in-law for a firesale price in a controversial sale one month before the local body elections last year.
The land had a rateable value of $295,000 when it was sold to mayor Wanden’s wife and her relations for $230,000.
This represents a 28 percent discount. At the time of the sale the public were told by the Council the discount was only 15 percent.
The Council is contracting the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust to undertake all the extensive – and yet to be funded – land and property development projects included in the Levin Town Centre Strategy and the Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040.
New Levin Ward councillor Todd Isaacs is refusing to provide evidence he had election campaign flyers printed by Levin digital printer The Old Foundry.
Cr Isaacs stated on his signed Return of Electoral Donations and Expenses form that he paid $1174.73 to The Old Foundry for flyers and signs.
But when Horowhenua district councillor Isaacs was asked to produce a copy of the flyer he said he didn’t have any because, “I only did 2000 and they were all delivered.”
He did not respond to a request for information about where his flyers were delivered.
The final election results published by the electoral officer Warwick Lampp
on 16 October said Cr Isaacs received 1718 votes.
Local Levin man Ian Tate was appointed deputy electoral officer but the 60 year old, who had worked for the Council in a variety of roles for almost 30 years, died suddenly at home on 28 August.
Despite the Local Electoral Act 2001 stating candidates “must” take all reasonable steps to keep records of all candidate election expenses, Cr Isaacs has remained silent to a request for any evidence he had the campaign material printed.
The Act also says candidates, “must keep invoices and receipts for all election expenses of $50 or more for three years after returns are filed.”
When The Old Foundry owner Rex Vizible was phoned to confirm Cr Isaacs had spent “$1700 odd dollars for flyers and signs for Cr Isaacs” he said, “Yep, I can” even though Cr Isaacs had spent $1174 and not $1700.
Mr Vizible, also known as music producer Brett Stephen Taylor, was convicted and jailed for sexually assaulting a 29 year old male friend in an alcohol fuelled attack on 18 July, 2006.
The victim was quoted in a Stuff news article saying, “People really do need to know who this guy is…for the safety of the community as well.”
Deputy mayor Jo Mason also paid Mr Vizible’s business $1451.42 for campaign material.
Ratepayer funds have also been paid to Mr Vizible’s business by the Council and Foxton Community Board for The Foxton Godwits installation.
The Old Foundry website also includes glowing testimonials from Canvasland Ltd, Crowe Construction and Associates Ltd, the internationally known Swazi Apparel and Cr Piri-Hira Tukapua.
But Cr Piri-Hira Tukapua did not avail herself of Mr Vizible’s services at the last election.
Since enquiries for this news story began The Old Foundry has been busy deleting information from its website on 20 and 21 January including removing the names of other recommendations from real estate agent PGA Wrightson and Repco.
A photo of a large banner advertising The Old Foundry in Levin was also removed.
The advertising banner was erected above the 3032 square property, on the corner of Oxford Street and Queen Street West, owned by Write Properties Ltd.
Cr Isaacs and Cr Wayne Bishop are directors and shareholders of Write Properties Ltd.
The authorities need to go after the real criminals, the corporations that pack our food with sugar and chemicals, known to cause health issues. Instead they hound folk & make it increasingly more difficult for them to produce & sell a pure whole food that we have consumed since forever. As kids we would walk to the dairy with a billy can where they ladled it full from the big milk can. No probs. It was also fed free not so long ago to Kiwi school kids. It often sat for hours in the heat before being distributed at morning break. Funnily I don’t ever recall anybody either getting sick or dying from it yet we are being told, with no evidence, that many are getting sick from drinking it.
Yeah right. EWR
From the NZ Herald
An elderly Manakau couple have sought legal advice after a Government raid on their farm made them feel like drug dealers.
Their crime? Selling milk.
John and Phillippa Martin run a dairy farm in Manakau, south of Levin, that has been in the family for 103 years.
Two weeks ago four cars and six men swooped on their house during breakfast as part of a coordinated Ministry of Primary Industries raid on eight farms around New Zealand.
Their cowshed and house was searched. Investigators loaded all phones, electronic devices, files, financial records, delivery sheets and private agreements into plastic bags.
The men sifted through rubbish bins. Mr and Mrs Martin were required to hand over all their passwords. They were then read their rights.
“We wondered if we were farmers milking cows or gangs of drug dealers,” she said.
At 76, Martin said he’s farmed his entire life and has lived through massive changes to the dairy industry.
He, like many New Zealanders, had grown up drinking raw milk. He started in a wooden shed with 50 cows, milking six at a time. Now the herd numbers nearly 350.
“We started producing market milk and I can remember going down to the train station to load cream cans…tankers started collecting the milk in 1966,” he said.
They started selling raw milk 10 years ago in response to demand from people who wanted an authentic product, citing an increase in health and well-being from raw milk.
They set up a small bottling plant and formed MannaMilk, allowing them to distribute that milk to partners of the limited company.
Mrs Martin said less than 10 per cent of their daily production was distributed under partnership, or herd share, where essentially partners sourced milk from their own animals.
MannaMilk partners paid for the costs of animal husbandry and bottling the milk, with a majority living on the Kāpiti Coast, Wellington and Hutt Valley.
“People need and want real food – milk with its correct full cream, its protective bacteria, enzymes and high levels of vitamins and protein,” she said.
“What we should be raiding are soft drink vending machines and purveyors of high sugar energy drinks and fake foods loaded with chemicals.”
Many limited partnerships were formed after new regulations were introduced in 2015. She described the new rules as impossible, impractical, unreasonable, unrealistic and uneconomic.
“The guts of it is the MPI doesn’t want limited partnerships,” she said.
Mrs Martin had received massive support from partners and milk drinkers who emailed her in frustration at the shutdown. There were 215 emails on her inbox.
“We have had hundreds of emails from people who cannot tolerate shop-bought pasteurised milk telling us how disappointed, irate and angry they are,” she said.
An estimated 100,000 New Zealanders drank raw milk each week.
The Martin’s had received a notice last year detailing new rules around the distribution and had since engaged legal representation.
“Ideally we would place the bottles into the loving hands of the customer waiting at home by their doors, but that is totally unrealistic when people have jobs and lives,” she said.
Instead, they had chilled stations for shareholders to collect their milk. But the new rules amounted to hand-to-hand delivery.
Meanwhile, Manawatū farmer Cedric Backhouse had 25 cows he knew by name on an certified organic farm that solely provided raw milk for customers he also knew by name.
The raid effectively had shut down his business and source of income.
After 25 years, he had 300 partners. To hand deliver milk to them “would take all day and all night”, and the new testing and delivery regulations were over the top.
As his farm was certified organic he couldn’t have people turning up to the gate. It was a biosecurity risk.
Two weeks after the raid, he is still waiting for his phones to be returned.
He shuddered at the cost to taxpayers of the raid, which was a year in the planning. He believed MPI should work with raw milk providers to come up with workable solutions, rather than a raid their properties and shut down livelihoods.
Backhouse said the raid was “draconian” and worried it set a precedent.
“It was heavy-handed. It was beyond the pale,” he said.
“If they can do this to us every farmer in the country is vulnerable.”
He had sought a request under the Official Information Act for details around any illness related to raw milk consumption, as he suspected any complaints were “anecdotal, at best”.
“They should have said we would like to talk to you about it rather than a heavy hammer destroying your business and scaring you with prosecution,” he said.
He said if the raid was done a month or so earlier he could have raised calves with his herd to offset losses.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Primary Industries detailed reasons for the raid earlier this month.
MPI had directed unregistered milk suppliers across the country to stop selling their product until they complied the new rules.
MPI staff searched farms in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū, Horowhenua, Nelson, and Southland, following a year-long operation.
MPI’s manager of food compliance Melinda Sando said they wanted to gather evidence of and further investigate non-compliant sales.
“We believe that the suppliers we visited today are operating outside of the regulatory framework. By not adhering to the rules for selling raw drinking milk, they are putting consumer health at risk,” she said.
“There have been multiple instances in the past of people getting sick after drinking raw milk from some of these suppliers. We can’t let this continue.”
“Raw unpasteurised milk is a risky product as it hasn’t been heat-treated (pasteurised) to remove illness-causing bacteria including E. Coli, listeria and Campylobacter.”
“These types of bacteria most commonly cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, but occasionally some have been linked with more serious complications that include miscarriage, paralysis, meningitis and serious kidney problems in children. Raw milk may also be a source of tuberculosis (Tb).”
“We support consumer choice. We’re not saying people can’t drink raw unpasteurised milk.
“What we are saying is that when people do choose to drink raw unpasteurised milk, they’re able to make that choice with a degree of confidence that the milk they’re consuming is produced within the regulatory framework.”
“Purchasing from MPI-registered suppliers who are being audited regularly to ensure they are managing risks and testing regularly helps consumers reduce the risks if they choose to drink this product.”
“The suppliers need to stop selling unregulated product immediately and will only be able to resume selling once they have met all requirements to make them compliant.”
After a very unfriendly ‘farewell’ if you could call it that, Horowhenua’s former Mayor, Michael Feyen, speaks out about what is really happening inside your local councils.
Stonewalled from the outset, this Mayor, also a former councilor who blew the whistle on among other things pollution, and (now coming out for example, & curiously right after elections the issue of the cracks in the new HDC building that HDC declined to have examined at no cost). Add to that monitored & intercepted emails, a secret $1mill payout to one of the local Iwi, and exclusion from the pensioner housing sale planning committee. As many of us are aware democracy is fading into oblivion in NZ & we have the mere illusion only of the former status quo. This is a must listen on the machinations of both LGNZ (& govt?) from an insider. There will be more to come. See our LG Watch pages & search HDC in ‘categories’ for Horowhenua articles. EWR
So Horowhenua’s outgoing Mayor was given a short shift from his office before he even arrived back on Monday, post elections. Bear in mind he would not officially finish employment as Mayor until the following Friday (18th Oct 2019). All of his office contents were packed into boxes & left outside his office door. A continuation merely of the stonewalling treatment he had from day one into his term. In my opinion, a clear message to all whistle blowers. It took 3 weeks for him to be able to enter his office back in 2016 when elected, and just hours to be sent off, as you can hear in the video, with a rude farewell that is quite frankly unbelievably ignorant. These are the people leading your district Horowhenuans. Unelected CEs NZ wide on obscenely high salaries that indicate the power they hold, have a fascist like control of your councils people. They are meeting behind closed doors and enabling the sell of of your (once) publicly owned assets. Things changed back in 2002. Do peruse our LG Watch pages at the main menu for other goings on around the country. For Horowhenua search for ‘HDC’ in ‘categories’ at left of the page. EWR
“SHARE:). Still Mayor to Friday. Went to sort out my office with both personal and HDC documents. Everything had already been boxed and was outside my door. Going through my stuff is disgusting. Looking forward to a place of positivity. Regards”
NOTE: when this outgoing Mayor (his term ends Friday 18th Oct) shared his plans presented here with fellow Mayors at an LG conference media were keen to report on it however when it came to the crunch they all pulled. Mainstream is basically the long arm of the new corporate regime that is currently taking over all your community owned assets your forefathers acquired, using public private partnerships. This council announced plans to and is doing just that. As Joan Veon has told us, with those partnerships the parties with the most money are in control. Currently our council CEs are in control of what people still think are democratic. They are not. They meet for these asset ‘sales’ behind closed doors. Public excluded. “Effective growth is a partnership between council, central government and private enterprise….away from the unsettling glare of public commentary…” explains one HDC councilor regarding all of the public excluded meetings by which the assets are being sold. So here we have an ex Mayor who has devoted his term to showing that this modus operandi is simply in his opinion and the opinion of much of the NZ public just not right. Speaking truth however is not welcomed in a society that is proceeding under a corporate model where profits are more important than people. And so for now property development is the main vehicle for that and so councils are not what they once were. Corporations & companies are not democracies.
For further info see our Local Government Watch Horowhenua page. That has not been updated of late unfortunately, there is much more than is documented there. For more recent & all info see HDC in ‘categories. See also Cr Ross Campbell’s page on FB, the Mayor’s page (Michael Feyen) and Veronica Harrod’s also. Veronica is an investigative journalist who has researched quite extensively the activities of this Council.
Finally, check out the Rodney Council & the Mangawhai/Kaipara pages at the LG Govt watch section to see what has happened to other people who challenge the new system exposing corruption. It is not pretty. And so this Monday morning (14/10/19) on the heels of the local body election this particular Mayor when he went in to work to clear out his office having congratulated the new incoming Mayor, was greeted coolly by the exit committee, the CE and one of his colleagues. Not surprising given the stonewalling he has received for his entire term. His work, papers and other info had already been gone through, uninvited, packed into boxes and left outside his door. He said he was as good as told to piss off. This is the caliber of your local governance people. EWR.
Photo Credit: Horowhenua District Council
These videos are from the Mayor of Horowhenua, Michael Feyen. This is a ‘people’s Mayor’ who, like his former deputy Cr Ross Campbell, seems as much at home digging a haangi or drying dishes as he is wearing his mayoral chains. Just into his first term as Mayor however he had most of the councilors go public with a statement saying they supported not him but the CEO. For background to this situation read this article. His selected Deputy Mayor was unseated just hours into his term for speaking on social media about what looked like insider trading (and that hasn’t gone away, see Ross Campbell’s recent updates). This is all not surprising in light of the fact that these two have blown the whistle on quite a lot of things they saw as ‘not right’ in the course of their work in Council. Council pollution was another issue they highlighted. And so come this campaign the Mayor has had next to no coverage by media. Stone walled & neutered as he puts it himself, he has had a difficult uphill battle with a council that seems more intent on the business of property development than the interests both he & his former deputy would have liked to focus on. A keen supporter of retaining the Horowhenua community housing for instance, Mayor Feyen was removed from the housing committee because he had a conflict of interest! (ie he wanted to retain the housing … he had seen among other things opportunities for employment therein for the young people of the town, the same as his aspirations to pursue trapping of pests in lieu of the use of 1080 poison and of investing in the hemp growing industry). The list goes on, not a list shared largely by his colleagues. The housing sold for a song incidentally, to a property developer who then partnered with an established housing provider with promises to maintain the then status quo, however the contract ends in 2029 or thereabouts & just 18 months in they rents have already been raised.
“Effective growth is a partnership between council, central government and private enterprise….away from the unsettling glare of public commentary…” explains one HDC councilor regarding all of the public excluded meetings by which the assets are being sold. (See this article also). Developers are also exempt from paying development contributions to Council. And nowhere else in the country besides Horowhenua does a District Council have a CE and a Deputy Mayor who are both registered property developers.
Listen further to the Mayor’s latest update, expanding further on LG in NZ:
A highlighted issue with this election has been the difficulty involved in voting (see Veronica Harrod’s info). This was the same last election when many folk did not receive their voting papers and the voting info office was frequently either unmanned or closed. Curious isn’t it?
So amidst the LG so called ‘sustainable’ councils up and down our clean green land (not) we have a raft of property developers busy with their public private partnerships selling up all of the public assets for a song. Then there has been the ongoing escalating debts of Councils. That has been an issue in the Horowhenua as well … it’s ‘good debt’ we’re frequently told. Currently, right on election time, the Horowhenua CE is away on holiday and has been for several weeks. This is the CE who was intercepting the emails of his staff for ‘safety reasons’ it was touted. Who paid a secret payment to a local iwi without the Mayor’s knowledge. Mayor Feyen is himself a staunch supporter of true partnership with Tangata Whenua & honouring the principles of the Treaty. Currently the Council’s real commitment appears to be mainly lipservice.
Please have a listen to his videos anyway & peruse the info on our Local Government Watch Horowhenua page. That has not been updated of late unfortunately, there is much more than is documented there. For more recent & all info see HDC in ‘categories. See also Cr Ross Campbell’s page on FB, the Mayor’s page (Michael Feyen) and Veronica Harrod’s also. Veronica is an investigative journalist who has researched quite extensively the activities of this Council.