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.
Horowhenua District Council has adopted a media policy that refuses to recognise media questions unless the questions are from, “a news media organisation registered by the New Zealand Companies Office.”
“Any further enquiries that are not for a news media organisation registered by the New Zealand Companies Office will be treated as Official Information Requests,” said council’s communications advisor Trish Hayward. The council also wants to know what news organisations the information is being provided to and what the deadline is.
Dr Gavin Ellis, author of ‘Complacent Nation’, a book that explores the erosion of New Zealanders’ right to know said, “The council is bound by the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act’s principle of availability that states information should be made available unless there is a good reason for withholding it.”
“Nothing in the Act gives council the right to withhold information on the grounds that a publication and deadline are not given by the information seeker. I believe that, if the council refuses to supply information to a freelancer for that reason, there are good grounds for a complaint to the Ombudsman. It is useful for council officers to know the deadline to which a journalist is working but that is in order to expedite the flow of information, not to stem it,” said Dr Ellis.
The council’s media policy was adopted after questions were asked about how council was fulfilling its legislative requirement to consult on a very important 20 year 2018-2038 Long Term Plan (LTP).
This is the first time the district has been presented with a draft 20 year plan, all previous one’s have been ten year plans. Council has signalled an intention to rate the small communities of Waitarere, Hokio, Ohau, Manakau and Waikawa $106 million for new water and waste water systems due to “new growth.”
New growth that has been created by land and property developers who haven’t contributed one cent towards essential infrastructure since council voted to cancel contributions in 2015. Since then there has been an explosion of land and property development in Horowhenua.
There will only be three days before submissions on the draft 2018-2038 LTP close on 26 March if the council wait 21 days under the OIA to answer the questions.
Council has been asked (1) why public consultations are being held at the Levin Aquatic Centre instead of Te Takere that is regarded as the centre of the community? (2) Whether council has more responsibility to ensure ratepayers are fully informed considering an intention to raise $106 million for new water and waste water infrastructure in “new growth” areas? (3) why it is acceptable land and property developers haven’t contributed one cent to essential infrastructure in “growth areas” yet ratepayers are expected to pay? (4) How much does the infrastructure rate equates to in dollar terms for each affected area? (5) Given the complexity of the draft 20 year LTP whether public consultations should include more than four relatively obscure public meetings? (6) What has council been doing to consult residents that need assistance to understand the draft LTP implications (7) Why has the council called the 20 year LTP, “Consultation in preparation of 2018-2038 Long Term Plan” instead of a draft document? (8) Why has the council decided to hold so few consultations and none at Te Takere? What was the rationale behind that decision? (9) Why doesn’t council doesn’t visit marae, associations and groups around the district and tell them how they will be directly affected? (10) Wouldn’t travelling to Marae be an effective way to consult with Maori ratepayers? (11) Why is a public meeting on the Otaki to Levin North expressway considered important enough to be held at Te Takere but not the district’s LTP? (12) Why only one month for consultation on a complex and lengthy document? (13) Why is council running so many consultations simultaneous taking into consideration residents have busy lives and, unlike the council staff, are already juggling many responsibilities and obligations? (14) Does the council think the consultation process on a number of important documents simultaneously would meet the standards of the Office of the Auditor General if a governance complaint was made? (15) The draft LTP states “Look out for upcoming consultations that are outside the consultation on the LTP. The outcomes from these may result in future changes to the LTP.” Shouldn’t the LTP be informing the other consultations not the other way around?
In light of the current die-off happening at Waitarere & Hokio in the Horowhenua this week, see what has been happening to our oceans & shellfish stock NZ wide. The demise of these bottom feeders are, like the canary in the coal mine, the early warning signs of worse to come if preventive measures are not taken. Preventive however is not on any corporate radar unfortunately & it may well be too late now going by the information in this article at seafriends.org.nz EnvirowatchRangitikei
Never before have so few people done so much harm to the environment, and over such large areas and in such a short time period as here in New Zealand. – Dr Floor Anthoni
Some 40 years ago the toheroa was New Zealand’s most loved icon, not only unique to our country but also big, and one could catch and eat it. The toheroa (Paphies ventricosa) is a large clam that lives in wave-washed beaches along NZ’s west coast from Wellington to North Cape. In the late 1970s it became protected by a reduced harvest season of only two days per year. Then it became fully protected. It was expected that its populations would recover within a few years but they did not. Instead their numbers dwindled further until today, it remains economically extinct.
On left the native toheroa (Paphies ventricosa) (1) in the act of digging, and next to it the much smaller but similarly shaped tuatua (Paphies subtriangulatum) (2) and the small tawera or morning star (Tawera spissa), each having its place and depth on the beach. The toheroa is found from Ninety Mile beach down to Auckland, around Levin and a pocket in the very south of the South Island. It burrows at mid tide, the best place to be for abundant plankton. By comparison the tuatua is found between low and spring low tide. Tawera burrows well below low tide in calmer sandy bottoms. Both tuatua and toheroa are active burrowers, capable of keeping up with the turbulent sand under waves.
The scallop (Pecten novaezelandiae) is another NZ icon on the way out. Only twenty years ago, scallops were numerous and easy to gather but now entire scallop beds have disappeared (red marks on map) and some are not even recognizable. The shells have become small, stunted and empty of their delicious gonads (roe). The burrowed scallop photographed under water (picture below) has not reached legal size, even after ten years of growth. It takes normally 2-3 years to reach legal size. Its margins are stunted (blunted) and it has no content to eat.
New Zealanders did not realize that the toheroa was the first coal miner’s canary (whistle blower) to warn of something terrible happening to our seas. For if total protection could not save it, neither could marine reserves or any other fisheries regulation. It heralded the beginning of a new era, that of dying seas, culminating most likely in the extinction of Maui’s dolphin and the loss of most of our coastal fisheries.
This was the scene at Waitarere Beach in the North Island of NZ today (16th March 2017). The carnage extends from just south of Foxton, and south as far as Hokio. A local man from there we spoke to (Hokio is just further south of Waitarere) said he’s lived his whole life near this coastline (he is tangata whenua) and has never seen anything like it before. He said it began last Monday … the shellfish are dying en masse.
Pollution of the Waterways
This is becoming more frequent by the day as huge die offs of many different species of animal, bird and marine life … mysteriously (or so we’re supposed to believe) disappear. Knowing the state of our planet (for those who are observing it closely) and how trashed and polluted it is, it is not mysterious and not difficult to join a few dots as to the likely causes. Our ocean has been used for decades as a disposal bin for all manner of poisonous trash. The quick, cost effective way for corporations to operate with little accountability. We are seeing the end results now. Not rocket science at all. See for yourself videos of the ongoing pollution of this part of NZ’s coast here. DCs call it ‘sustainable development’.
The following video illustrates the pollution of Foxton Beach (just further north of Waitarere) via the Manawatu River (dubbed most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere, a river where Trenchmouth has been contracted). This was in 2012. Our rivers here are only 40% swimmable. The rest are not safe to do more than wade in.
Hokio Stream has become ‘an open sewer’ after years of polluting
A Horowhenua hapu says it has been heartbreaking to watch one of their streams become more and more polluted.
The Levin Landfill has this week been the subject of a hearing, with its effects on the nearby Hoiko Stream being put under the microscope.
The Horowhenua District Council, Horizons Regional Council and environmental group Neighbourhood Liaison Group have spent the week poring over the environmental effects of the landfill.
David Moore, a representative of the NLG and the Ngati Pareraukawa hapu, said the stream’s degradation had been a “tragedy”
The Levin Landfill does not need to meet modern environmental standards because it has already has consent, a council lawyer says.
Note well, that comment is from a council, like most throughout NZ, that purports to recognise “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga” (SOURCE) … and to operate “sustainably”. See our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu for further examples of LG complicity in pollution.
Explore the links provided here to see that this is now a global problem. If you search for yourself you will find many more.
Thousands of Dead Pipi Wash Up on Waihi Beach
Thousands of dead pipi have washed up on Waihi Beach in the Bay of Plenty, shocking the locals.
A video shot by resident Jeannette McCallum on Tuesday shows the sea of dead pipi lying on the beach.
Ms McCallum says she found the blanket of shellfish during a walk with her friend, and in some places the pipi were 20 centimetres deep.
“They were really thick around the stream that comes from the reservoir and onto the beach.”
Shellfish are found in the near-coastal zone, close to where people live. It stands to reason then that they will be the first to show that the sea is in a serious condition. Furthermore, shellfish cannot swim away temporarily to avoid occasional bad conditions. This article raises alarm about what has been happening and what will happen next. The consistent collapses of our shellfish stocks brings an important message. No longer can we say that we were not warned!
The elephant in the room nobody talks about in mainstream media & as we speak is killing fish stocks world wide. See the map six years on with what is flooding into the Pacific … how can we not factor in the pollution that this event has brought to our oceans?
“The nuclear disaster that has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.” READ MORE
Find further articles on Fukushima at ‘categories’ (left of page) & on the main menu.