Tag Archives: Levin

Horowhenua DC’s apparent conflicts of interest

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.

todd isaacs

Photo of Queen Street West property in Levin Town Centre Strategy

INFO FOR COUNCILORS: https://oag.govt.nz/good-practice/conflicts-of-interest/for-councillors?fbclid=IwAR0uX9hr-YFVUJZ0oAu3vKvlZwwIlS047AzBCz9Vj1R72H49Cfbxba5-A4o

__________________________________________________________________________________

21 January

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 Horowhenua DC is seeking a 35 yr resource consent to continue discharging all of Levin’s treated waste water and other contaminants onto ecologically and culturally important coastal sand dunes

Surprized at this headline? It was discovered in 2018 that HDC’s CE David Clapperton had made a secret pay out of close to a million dollars to a local iwi on the proviso they withdrew their objection to another consent to do with discharge of treated waste water. If you check out our LG Watch pages (main menu) and Horowhenua you will read further interesting detail about pollution and the HDC. See this article in particular at this link (info from a former HDC councilor).

The article below here is from investigative journalist Veronica Harrod who has been shining a spotlight on many anomalies in the Horowhenua. EWR

The Pot thickens

3 February 2020

Horowhenua District Council is seeking a 35 year resource consent to continue discharging all of Levin’s treated waste water and other contaminants onto ecologically and culturally important coastal sand dunes four kilometres west of Levin.

In its application to regional council Manawatu Whanganui Regional Council the local council admits it didn’t do any, “direct consultation on the consent (and resulting effects of the activity)” during consultations on the Council’s 2018-2038 Long Term Plan.

The long term plan states, “For the first time, Council has created a 20 year Long Term Plan. We did this because our population is growing faster than it has for nearly a quarter of a century and this growth is expected to continue for the next 20 years.”

To accommodate, “future population and business growth” the Council wants to add another 20 hectares to the 40.5 hectares of The Pot that has been receiving treated waste water and other contaminants for the last 27 years.

The Pot is 110 hectares in total. Treated waste water and other contaminants are contained in a 7 hectare unlined “pond” prior to being sprayed over land.

Although stating, “It is envisaged that other properties can follow a similar procedure to receive wastewater for irrigation” in a discussion on alternative sites the Council admits it is already “a challenge” to obtain resource consents for irrigation to “other properties” during the summer months.

The Council’s applications also states, “The quality of the treated wastewater is well suited to land discharges and the land discharges are not causing more than minor adverse effects, so there is no driver for” upgrades at this stage.

However the Council’s Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040, “assumes that Levin will be a key focus area of growth in the future”, and over 570 hectares has been identified for housing.

On 17 August 2018 the Council announced in a press release that a Master Plan for 278 hectares was being created for a 2000 house sub-division east of Levin called Gladstone Green.

“Built over 20 years, it will eventually be home to 5000 people,” the Council press release said.

But the 2000 housing sub-division has become a 2500 housing sub-division in less than five months after mayor Bernie Wanden said the Government’s recently announced construction of the Otaki to North Levin expressway provided certainty for, “a proposal for 2500 homes in south east Levin.”

“We can expect more families to move here in search of a fantastic lifestyle,” he said.

Also, changes to the District Plan in September 2018 mean residential properties in Levin between 500 and 900 square metres can now be sub-divided to a minimum size of 250 square metres.

The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 policy on discharge of contaminants states: “Do not allow [the] discharge of treated human sewage to water in the coastal environment unless there has been adequate consideration of alternative methods, sites and routes for undertaking the discharge.”

The Council states its application, “relies on two discharge consents to operate which were granted by HRC [the regional council] in 1998.”

Next: What the community says in response to the Council’s resource consent application.

 

 

When are NZ authorities going to take toxic 1080 bait storage seriously?

WHEN IS NEW ZEALAND GOING TO TAKE TOXIC 1080 BAIT STORAGE SERIOUSLY?

By Carol Sawyer

With the recent revelations that a 1080 storage shed at Haast, South Westland, was invaded by floodwaters last month, it is surely well past time to look at this lax situation.

LEVIN, HOROWHENUA :

In Levin, in January, 2018, a building owned by the Horizons Regional Council, and used for 1080 bait storage, caught fire :

“Controversial pest control poison 1080 was stored in a Levin depot that was burgled and torched last week.

The fire tore through the Horizons Regional Council depot on Thursday night, destroying equipment and melting vehicles.”

Horizons Regional Council chief executive, Michael McCartney said “…all run-off associated with putting out the fire was contained onsite and there are no environmental or health concerns”!!!!

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm…

Yet the attached letter from Orillion, the NZ government-owned factory in Whanganui that manufactures 1080 baits, states clearly:

“The burning of products containing even low concentrations of sodium fluoroacetate (1080) may release toxic hydrogen fluoride gas of sufficiently high concentration to cause a danger to humans in the vicinity”.

4. ORILLION

See more here : https://www.facebook.com/…/a.245562502295…/845013939016569/…

WHITIANGA, COROMANDEL PENINSULA:

In Whitianga, in 2017, 23.7 tonnes of 1080 baits were stored by the Dept of Conservation at the back of the ‘Liquor King Building’ for 4 1/2 months. pending an aerial 1080 operation in the area. Locals were later informed that the district Fire Chief had been unaware of this. The Thames-Coromandel District Council was also reportedly unaware. The building was surrounded by two supermarkets and next door to a “Placemakers” store. Residential housing was just metres away, over the fence. On the evening of loading up, ( October 17, 2017 ), the air was thick with dust, which would have landed all over people’s lawns and vegetable gardens. The residents were not informed about what was going on.

BLENHEIM, MARLBOROUGH:

At Tua Marina, near Blenheim, up to 200 tonnes of 1080 poison baits are allowed to be stored at any one time at 121 Thomas Road, at Impact Storage Ltd ( appropriate name!), just a few kilometres from the local primary school and beside the Wairau River.
NB: 200 tonnes of 1080 baits contain enough pure 1080 to kill 4 million x 70 kg human beings and make another 4 million very ill indeed!

See more here : http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/concerns-about-storag…/…

and a dog’s death:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1705377442922345&set=a.794314170695348&type=3&theater

TE ANAU, FIORDLAND:

An old laundry building in Te Anau, 52 Caswell Road, is reportedly used for storing 1080 poison baits before aerial 1080 operations in Fiordland.

JJ Nolan’s Transport Ltd, of Haast has been seen unloading 1080 baits there. The building is at the entrance to Northern Southland Transport’s depot. Northern Southland Transport Ltd deliver 1080 baits to aerial 1080 operations.

I was told “DoC have a lease on the old launderette building in Caswell St. They have stored 1080 in the past. ‘Fiordland Jet’ rent it from DoC when it is not needed.”

On the other side of the building, at 48 Caswell Road is “Safer Parking” !!!

PORT NELSON:

Port Nelson, 45 Vickerman Street, Nelson.

‘JJ Nolan Transport Ltd’ again … unloading 1080 poison baits at Port Nelson, 24 September, 2014. Filmed by Glen Tomlinson :

https://www.facebook.com/glen.j.tomlin…/…/10205071659175912/

****************************************************

Nelson Mail report, 26 September, 2014, here :

http://www.stuff.co.nz/…/10…/Fears-raised-over-1080-storage…

“DoC spokeswoman Trish Grant said there were 73 tonnes of non-toxic bait and 150 tonnes of toxic bait in storage in the port industrial area.”!

150 tonnes of 1080 baits contain enough pure 1080 poison ( at 0.15% ) to kill over 3 million people, and make another 3 million seriously ill.
(LD50 is 0.5 – 2 mg per kg bodyweight)

*****************************************************

Merrick Allan’s eyewitness report on a ‘Solly’s’ freight truck being loaded at lunchtime, 13th October, 2014.

(It is important to note here that Sollys Freight has REFUSED to transport 1080 baits since 2014 ! The big drops in 2016 and 2017 for Kahurangi were carted by T Croft Ltd of Greymouth.)  :

  • “the ‘Anchor Bar and Grill Restaurant’ entrance is only 50 metres away from the loading site.
  • no barriers or notices, no health warnings, and loading and unloading being done with trucks no more than 10 metres from the public footpath.
  • no barriers, the gates were open
  • no police, anyone could just have wandered on in
  • the truck did have a toxic sign on front
  • the bags clearly stated on pallet wrap 1080 toxic
  • the loader-driver was wearing overalls only
  • stench of cinnamon drifting out on to the road

a DoC worker came out and asked what we were up to, as we had taken photos.
I commented that the practice was despicable, storing 1080 50 metres from a restaraunt/bar and loading it at lunch time. I was told by the female DoC worker, “It’s wrapped and sealed” i commented that must be why I can smell cinnamon, and poison…
I also asked “What is the antidote for 1080 ?” She replied “Water”!”

******************************************

And so it goes on… a disaster just waiting to happen. Or maybe it already has !!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SLIDE SHOW PHOTOS:

1. Horizons Regional Council Building, Levin. Fire tore through here in January,2018. 1080 baits were stored here. Photo NZ Herald – article here :https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=11980969&ref=twitter&fbclid=IwAR1N0gkJdU52BuOgBgAQZHCrSsB126M7bYZrC-AMtQSmtrBzVYqlPLejywI

2. WHITIANGA: The Liquor King Building. 20 Joan Gaskell Drive, in Whitianga’s CBD, where 23.7 tonnes of 1080 baits were stored for months pending an aerial 1080 operation in October, 2017..

3. Coromandel Peninsula : The Liquor King Building. 20 Joan Gaskell Drive, in Whitianga’s CBD, where 23.7 tonnes of 1080 baits were stored in the back for 4.5 months pending an aerial 1080 operation in October, 2017..

4. ORILLION DOCUMENT

5. 1080 bait storage shed belonging to JJ Nolan Transport Ltd, Okuru, Haast, South Westland, in a flood prone area. This shed is approximately 1,100 cu m, according to Richard Healey’s calculations, so can potentially hold hundreds of tonnes of 1080 baits. Photo – Joel Lund

6. OKURU, HAAST, SOUTH WESTLAND: 1080 bait storage shed belonging to JJ Nolan Transport Ltd, affected by floodwaters, March, 2019 – Okuru, Haast, South Westland

7. TUA MARINA, BLENHEIM: 1080 bait storage ( up to 200 tonnes at any one time ) at 121 Thomas Road, Tua Marina, Blenheim. Note proximity of Wairau River. The local primary school is just 3.2 kms away by road.

8. TE ANAU, Firodland – The old laundry building where 1080 poison baits are reportedly stored is 50 Caswell Road, Te Anau, ( with the red roof ). 52 Caswell Road is the Northern Southland Transport truck depot ( you can see the trucks moving around with their familiar brown and cream signature colours.) On the other side, at 48 Caswell Road is “Safer Parking”.

9. The old laundry building in Te Anau where 1080 poison baits are reportedly stored before aerial 1080 operations in Fiordland. When not being used for 1080 storage, DoC have dit out to Fiordland Jet

10. TE ANAU: “Safer Parking”, situated next door to the old laundry building that is reportedly used to store 1080 baits before aerial 1080 operations in Fiordland.

11. TE ANAU : The entrance to Northern Southland Transport Ltd’s yard, beside the old laundry building which is reportedly used to store 1080 baits before aerial 1080 operations

12. The old laundry building in Te Anau ( red roof ) where 1080 poison baits are reportedly stored before aerial 1080 operations in Fiordland. When not being used for 1080 storage, DoC have dit out to Fiordland Jet

13. PORT NELSON
A ‘Sollys’ truck being loaded with 1080 poison baits , 24 September, 2014, at AS Fiskevegn House, a blue-and-white warehouse over the road from the Anchor Restaurant. Photo – Merrick Allan. (NB: Sollys Transport have REFUSED to transport 1080 poison baits since 2014. The he big drops in 2016 and 2017 for Kahurangi were carted by T Croft Ltd.of Greymouth )

 

Horowhenua Mayor supports alternatives to 1080 (recent protest in Levin)

Note: if you find this video is not playing for you, please let me know. I’ve had someone say it isn’t already, however it is playing for me. Be keen to hear more feedback. May do an alternative upload, going by the recent hacks of videos.

Mayor of the Horowhenua Michael Feyen has expressed these sentiments previously as the Hikoi of a Poisoned Nation came through the Horowhenua last September. His own personal emphasis is on alternatives, namely trapping, as opposed to the extensive use of poisons.

Thanks to the people who protested, providing sensible information to the public so they can make INFORMED decisions about the effectiveness of 1080 regarding the conservation of our environment & wildlife.

Horowhenua DC does not deem it necessary to consult the public on the sale of Levin’s Focal Point Cinema

From Veronica Harrod

Focal Point Cinema to be sold to Horowhenua New Zealand Trust?

Horowhenua residents were told they would be consulted before public assets were sold or transferred to Horowhenua New Zealand Trust but that now looks unlikely.

The Horowhenua New Zealand Trust (HNZT) – a charitable trust – will take over responsibility for economic development from the Economic Development Board and plans to be involved in a number of projects including land and property development of public assets transferred or sold to the Trust as seed capital.

On 8 November last year chief executive David Clapperton said in a Council press release, “We will soon consult with the community about what property Council should retain. We also need to make sure the community understands that managing this property could include selling it if that is in the best interests of the community.”

Now he says, “The sale or assignment of property assets will not be…requiring community consultation unless the asset in question is deemed a strategic asset, involves an activity that will significantly affect capacity or cost to Council, or is a change to the Long Term Plan.”

“An asset, such as Focal Point Cinema, would not be deemed significant and would therefore not be consulted on should there be a proposal to sell or assign this building,” he said.

However, Council’s significance and engagement policy also states, “Matters…may have a high degree of significance where it is known that the decision will nevertheless generate a high degree of controversy. Council will make judgements on the level of support for those views when determining the significance of a decision.”

Furthermore no consultation will be required for the sale or transfer of 14 public assets in Levin and surrounding area, Foxton, Foxton Beach, Shannon and Depot House on Hokio Beach Road because Council voted to sell them in 2009 at a 5 August Council meeting.

Council’s property strategy states Council assets include 550 properties with a total rateable value, including land and buildings, of approximately $101 million as at 2014 including $28 million of non-core properties.

The strategy also states, “It is also important to understand that a classification of non-core does not automatically mean that the relevant property/facility should or can be disposed of as a range of other factors come into play.”

Non-core property includes commercial buildings and land, endowment property, forestry, motor camps, rental houses, rural leases and a “subdivision” category.

Under the Local Government Act if, “an asset has been unlawfully sold or otherwise disposed of by the local authority; or a liability has been unlawfully incurred by the local authority” the Auditor General may make recommendations to recover the loss or prevent further losses.

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/

“Lake Horowhenua is on private land – it should not be seen in this century to be the local sewer for everyone else’s rubbish and pollutants”

From Vernonica Harrod

A range of historic firsts have been taking place at Horowhenua Lake Domain Board meetings in Levin since new board chair Jenny Rowan took up the role earlier this year.

A former mayor of Kapiti Coast District Council Ms Rowan, who represents the Board on behalf of the Director General of the Department of Conservation, delivered an historic first when she made a verbal submission in response to Horowhenua District Council’s first 20 year Long Term Plan consultation document last week.

She said the Board, “has responsibilities for the Domain land, buildings, and the surface waters of the lake for recreational purposes, so has an interest in what water (mostly storm water) enters the lake.

She said Lake Horowhenua is, “on private land – it should not be seen in this century to be the local sewer for everyone else’s rubbish and pollutants. The responsibility surely lies with other private land owners to be managing their own properties in a way that protects the lake from their pollutants such as nitrates, heavy metals and sediment run off. We would expect the HDC to invest in educating industry and agricultural operators better on their obligations around runoff and farm management.”

Then there was another first when the Board chair stated an intention, “to have meetings at a venue he [Philip Taueki] can attend” as there is a trespass notice preventing Mr Taueki from entering the council building in Levin. This means he cannot attend Board meetings. Mr Taueki is the great great grandson of paramount chief Taueki who signed the Treaty of Waitangi, and he is an owner of Lake Horowhenua.

Ms Rowan also said the fact that water to Mr Taueki’s residence at Lake Horowhenua has been turned off raised questions about the “human rights and morality of the decision.” In a verbal submission to the Board former councillor Anne Hunt said Mr Taueki has lived in a residence with no water supply for over 500 days. Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton has refused to turn the water back on.

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen said he found the decision to turn the water off, “a breach of human rights…concerned about HDC taking the action it has and what it might lead to further down the track.”

Ms Rowan reiterated, “We need to have more conversations with Phillip. I am very committed to sorting this out. I find it unacceptable. He is down there. The Toby for the water is on Domain Board land. Need to think about this team,” she said to the other board members seated around the table. “We have a responsibility to turn that water on.”

 

 

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.

Expressway past Levin is a high stakes game to HDC’s in-house Economic Development Board

From Veronica Harrod

Expressway past Levin a high stakes game

The land and property development agenda of Horowhenua District Council and council’s in-house economic development board would implode if the New Zealand Transport Agency decides not to proceed with the expressway past Levin demonstrating just how high the stakes are.

Otaki electorate MP Nathan Guy, a National Party MP, brought along National Party leader Simon Bridges and new transport minister Jami-Lee Ross to the second Levin public meeting Mr Guy has held in the last six weeks pushing for the expressway to proceed. Mr Bridges was the transport minister under the former National led Government.

The motivations of Mr Guy, in particular, are questionable in light of council’s role in land and property development which is entirely based on a November 2015 New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report commissioned by the council and the board called, “Investment in transport infrastructure: Effects on economic and demographic outlook.”

A July 6, 2016 council agenda states, “The assessment determined that the Wellington National Corridor investment represents a ‘free hit’ to Horowhenua, and creates an opportunity for the district to target population growth, employment, and economic activity levels significantly higher than both otherwise and previously expected.”

Council’s chief executive David Clapperton and economic development manager Shanon Grainger have repeatedly used forcasted growth statistics included in the NZIER report as a justification for rolling out an explosion in the number of land and development projects across the district.

Without the economic justification’s provided for in the NZIER report difficult questions would be asked of council about its close and secretive relationship with the economic development board, whose members have multimillion dollar interests in land and development and construction industries.

Council draft and consultation documents that rely on the expressway proceeding include council’s 20 year Long Term Plan, the Horowhenua growth strategy 2040 and the yet-to-be released Levin Town Centre Plan.

According to the Quotable Values database Mr Guy also has a significant amount of land and property interests in the north east sector of Levin at Koputaroa, one of the preferred expressway routes, which equates to at least $6 million over eight separate lots. The sale date of two further purchases he made in this sector is withheld from the Quotable Value database so have not been included.

If the expressway does proceed this means Mr Guy could potentially financially benefit from the expressway either through the sale of land confiscated under the Public Works Act or land and property development projects on land he owns next to the expressway route.

The decision made by NZTA could be a game changer for Horowhenua with residents facing unsustainable rates rises due to land and property development and associated negative environmental effects from an explosion in new builds connecting to an essential infrastructure council’s LTP states is ageing and end of life.

According to council’s 20 year draft and consultation documents there are no plans by council to consult the community on an economic development strategy moving into the future even though the public were not consulted on the now expired 2014-2017 economic development strategy that continues to be applied by the council.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, suit
Photo, from left, Otaki MP Nathan Guy, former Prime Minister Bill English and former Horowhenua District Council mayor Brendan Duffy at an Electra After 5 event.

Findings and assessments from the NZIER report were presented at an “After 5” event on 24 March 2016.

Will Horowhenua ratepayers be paying for new water systems?… a demand created by land developers whom Council have exempted from Development Contributions

Information on financial impacts of new water and waste water systems still not available: All ratepayers potentially impacted.

Horowhenua District Council has refused to answer a direct question on the expected financial impact on ratepayers if new water and waste water systems are installed in five targeted areas including Waitarere, Hokio, Ohau, Manakau and Levin.

In response to a question asking for the impact “in dollar terms” Mr Clapperton replied, “Page 18 of the Consultation Document [2018-2038 Long Term Plan] explains the annual increase in rates for all households in the district currently connected to water.

“Within the new infrastructure settlements rates would increase by more since they would begin to pay the Water Supply Targeted rate when they start to receive this service.”

The service is forecasted to be delivered between 2027 and 2036. Waitarere has a waste water system but no water system.

As if Mr Clapperton’s answer isn’t confusing enough page 18 of the consultation document contains a table which includes the expected rates increases in each targeted area which gives the impression only the rate where the ratepayer lives will be applied.

However, the consultation document also makes the statement, “This additional service would mean an increase…for ALL [emphasis mine] households in the Horowhenua District who are connected to water [and waste water] services.”

A resident living in one of the targeted areas said in a conversation she had with the council’s asset manager engineer Sarie Van der Walt, the LTP contact on infrastructure included in the consultation document, ratepayers would be charged all the rates increases in the targeted area; not just the rate increase for the area where they lived.

Combined the total amounts to an expected $646.70 annual increase in rates but this is still less than half the amount councillor Christine Mitchell said rates are likely to increase in Waikawa Beach if new water and waste water systems are built.

Cr Mitchell reportedly made the comment at the last Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association AGM in December 2017 which was included in the WBRA newsletter as a predicted $1500 annual increase. She has not responded to requests for comment.

The council has therefore been asked the same question again to provide dollar figures for the expected rates impact if council’s preferred option of installing new water and waste water systems is adopted by council.

If ALL ratepayers connected to water and waste water systems are affected this could also impact ratepayers in all the other areas including Levin, Foxton, Foxton Beach, Tokomaru and Shannon.

Existing ratepayers are concerned they are having to pay for a demand created by land developers who have not had to pay one cent towards essential infrastructure costs since council cancelled development contributions in 2015.

In answer to this inequity Mr Clapperton said, “Council will be looking at several options to assist with funding growth-related projects, Development Contributions being one of the options available.”

However in the consultation document council says it won’t be considering the reintroduction of development contributions paid by land developers towards essential infrastructure until year 2019-2020.

Submissions on the consultation 20 year Long Term Plan close on March 26. The same day as consultations on the 2040 draft Growth Plan and Earthquake prone buildings also closes.

No automatic alt text available.

 

Watching our environment … our health … and corporations … exposing lies and corruption

%d bloggers like this: