Tag Archives: Wayne Bishop

The public have seen little accountability from the Horowhenua NZ Trust formed last year

From Veronica Harrod

Last month Horowhenua deputy mayor Wayne Bishop’s land and property development company was sold 2.7 hectares next to land earmarked for transfer to the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust.

On 2 November Wayne Bishop Investment Ltd purchased half a hectare of a former industrial site at 56-62 Cambridge Street South for $480,000 and 2.7 hectares of land behind it for $360,000. It is the first time the 2.7 hectare block has been sold.

The 2.7 hectare of land now owned by Cr Bishop’s company is directly beside 7.6 hectares of public land owned by Horowhenua District Council at 72 Cambridge Street South earmarked for sale in Council’s November 2015 Property Strategy.

Last year Council voted to establish what it referred to as an “economic development trust” called the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust (HNZT) and transfer up to 40 percent of public assets to the trust as “seed capital” which includes the 72 Cambridge Street South site.

The Cambridge Street acquisitions are in close proximity to three other land purchases by Cr Bishop’s land and property development company in Hinemoa and Liverpool Street totalling almost 12 hectares of prime real estate.

Almost one hectare in Hinemoa Street has a rateable value of just $165,000 but a Capital Value of $1.2 million.

The valuation of Cr Bishop’s Speldhurst development, being built in stages on the 48 hectare former Kimberley Hospital site, increased by 430 percent in 2016 from $3.8 million to $20.3 million. The site is still listed as “leasehold land” on Quotable Values database, “meaning someone else has a freehold interest in the property.”

Cr Bishop was deputy chair of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and six former board members are now all trustees of the HNZT.

Since six members of the EDB were named as trustees Council has removed all references to the EDB from its website although there has been no formal announcement the board has been dis-established.

On 18 October 2018, five months after HNZT was registered, a financial services company called The Horowhenua Company was established naming all but one trustee of HNZT as shareholders.

Former EDB chair and trustee of HNZT Cameron Lewis is a director and a shareholder of The Horowhenua Company.

The other shareholders include former EDB members and trustees of HNZT Antony Young, Evan Kroll, Larry Ellison and Ron Turk.

The majority of councillors voted in support of Council’s chief executive officer David Clapperton assisting the trust but voted against Mayor Michael Feyen being involved.

The author further comments:

The public have not been provided with any information since the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust was registered on 31 May. Has land already been sold or transferred to the trust? Council’s chief executive David Clapperton has made conflicting statements. He initially said the public would be consulted. But then he released information that stated the public did not have to be consulted on the sale of $28 million property because it was “non-core” property; not significant or “core” property. Has 72 Cambridge Street South already been transferred to the trust? What other property has been transferred? A Stuff article of 28 June [five months ago] states “the first group of properties are expected to be transferred in the next few months.” The public were assured the trust structure included accountability however the public have seen little of that. Instead it appears the public know little to nothing that is apparently being done on the community’s behalf as a charitable trust.

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Public remain in the dark about plans by Horowhenua District Council to transfer up to 40 percent of public assets to the yet to be legally registered property trust called Horowhenua NZ Trust

More excellent investigative reporting from Veronica Harrod

Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it superman? No, it’s a giant wrecking ball and its coming near you soon.

The public remain in the dark about plans by Horowhenua District Council to transfer up to 40 percent of public assets to the recently established property investment trust called Horowhenua NZ Trust.

The only item on the 6 June agenda to be discussed in a publicly excluded part of the meeting refers to “Legal Matters: Settlement Options – Historic Dispute” which, if this refers to the transfer of public assets, appears to be deliberately worded to hide council’s intention.

Council will discuss and vote on this item in a publicly excluded part of the meeting on the grounds, “The withholding of the information is necessary to enable the local authority to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations).”

One of the big problems residents have is how the commercial confidential clauses of the Local Government Act deny the public opportunities to be a part of discussions in the public interest. Also, the public don’t know how councillors vote on publicly excluded matters or whether councillors have undeclared conflicts of interest.

It is the only clause of the Local Government Act available to council’s, who may be motivated by self and vested interest rather than public interest, because it allows council’s to side-step obligations to be transparent and accountable.

But when council’s get into bed with land and property developers to the extent this council has then serious concerns about how the commercial confidentiality clause of the Local Government Act is being used are justified.

The most glaring example of this was the sale of the former council owned pensioner housing portfolio to one of the biggest land and property developers in the country Willis Bond for a firesale price of $5.2 million resulting in a loss of $1.86 million.

The Office of the Auditor General is making a determination on this matter and conflicts of interest but, to put it mildly, residents aren’t holding their breathe that an investigation of any real merit will be pursued.

In a report on supporting the establishment of the Horowhenua NZ Trust economic development manager Shanon Grainger stated, “The Trust operates through a Trust Deed in standard fashion. That Deed holds trustees to account, trustees operate under the standard legislation and case law applying to trustees. This is a high level of accountability with sanctions and remedies.”

But the public don’t know how the Trust will operate because the Trust has not been legally registered, there is no Trust deed to refer to and who the specific directors are still has not been announced.

Mr Grainger also said the Trust model was, “explicitly detached from local government so that local government politicians are not compromised, and investors are not compromised.”

Yet members of council’s in-house economic development board are Trust directors in the first instance and three councillors are on the board including deputy chair of the economic development board councillor Wayne Bishop who is also the deputy mayor.

Compounding concerns is the fact Cr Bishop has three land and property development companies, and an extensive and growing number of Horowhenua land and property development projects, and the Trust is being assisted by the council’s chief executive David Clapperton who established a company classified under the land development/subdivision category in November 2016.

These facts alone appear to contradict Mr Grainger’s comment the Trust is “explicitly detached from local government.”

Not only has the council publicly stated it intends on transferring up to 40 percent of assets to the Trust but an unknown amount of ratepayer funds that council spends on “economic development” will also be funnelled to the Trust.

The only public comment made about how much council spends on “economic development” was a vague statement made by Mr Clapperton the dollar amount was unknown because it is within the Representation and Community Leadership budget of $4.1 million annually!

Plans by the council and the yet-to-be legally registered Horowhenua NZ Trust move relentlessly forward even though the public are being consulted on a myriad of plans and strategies that, if adopted in their present form, will unleash an explosive number of land and development, demolition and construction projects across the district.

Clearly though this trend of council’s getting into bed with land and property developers is undergoing a 21st Century renaissance. Listen to what is happening at New Plymouth District Council: “The council wants to sell part of Peringa Reserve – including half of a public golf course – to housing developers for $35 million. Opponents say it is protected recreational space and should be kept. RNZ Taranaki reporter Robin Martin has more.

The New Plymouth district council has come under fire for describing a proposal to sell part of a coastal reserve as “land recycling”. The council wants to sell part of…
RADIONZ.CO.NZ
 
Note: As the additional link on New Plymouth shows, councils up & down the land are using the tried & true method of relieving you of your public assets your forbears worked to provide for succeeding generations. Public Private Partnerships. Listen to Joan Veon on that topic (see our Agenda 21/30 pages). Buying your assets for a song literally via the back door. This link  will take you to related examples of this in NZ including Joan Veon’s information. Let’s not forget these transfer of assets seem to be happening with no rhyme or reason as to their value, witness the transfer of Horowhenua’s pensioner flats to Willis & Bond property developers with front company Compassion Housing formed a week before the sale, at a loss of $1.86 million (ie sold that much below their true value, a right royal gift for W&B. Enjoy (if you can). EnvirowatchRangitikei

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.