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.