Tag Archives: Kaipara District Council

Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech

Received.
Tue, 9 Sep 2014 at 8:53 a.m.

A SERIOUSLY GOOD READ from the MRRA Executive (Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc). The newsletter follows their public meeting at Mangawhai Gym on Sunday, 7 September 2014, to which New Zealand First’s Winston Peters gave an address.

Dunedin residents and ratepayers take heed.

[begins]

Another remarkable turnout in Mangawhai
This is the staunchest, toughest, fairest community in New Zealand. The solidarity you have exhibited in the face of vilification, lies, corruption, deceit, bullying and state-funded spin puts the Mangawhai people into a category that verges on martyrdom. And Sunday was proof if proof was needed that nobody is about to give up on the quest for justice.
Yesterday, 200 MRRA members and numerous members of the public turned out to hear some of the candidates for election this month talk about their policies. The MRRA had extended an invitation specifically asking the candidates to speak on local government, and what they would do in office to prevent a recurrence of what happened in Kaipara. Several parties didn’t show up, possibly because they did not have an answer to that question, and those parties that voted for the Validation Act that effectively stymied our application to the Court have to be assumed to be in favour of council law-breaking and mis-treatment of ratepayers, because they keep on rewarding it by passing retrospective legislation.

Most of those who sold us out didn’t show up
The Green candidate, David Clendon, defended the Green party’s stance by saying that if the Act hadn’t been passed the cost to the ratepayers would have been even greater. He may have believed that at the time, and that is one thing. To believe it still, after everything that has happened, demonstrates that the “Fairer Society” the Greens espouse is just another slogan to be taken with a grain of salt. However, David Clendon did have the courage to show up and take the lumps. The same cannot be said of National and Labour, the other two parties who sold us all down the river in 2013.

Can they be Trusted?
The Conservative Party’s Northland candidate promised to come to the meeting, then she phoned to say she wasn’t coming, but that Colin Craig (party leader) was coming instead. Then, on the morning of the meeting, we got a text saying he wasn’t coming either. Could people who behave like that be relied upon if they got into government? Did John Key tell him that he wouldn’t get a clear run at East Coast Bays if he fraternised with us? Where do the dirty tricks begin and end?

Those who did show up
The start-up local party led by Ken Rintoul (Focus New Zealand) sent a strong delegation along, and participated energetically in proceedings. ACT’s number 3 man, Robin Grieve likewise.

And those who answered the question posed
Only one candidate really responded to our call for information about their party’s local government policies. That was New Zealand First, represented by their leader Winston Peters. His full speech is reprinted below for those who were not present but are keen to hear what he said. In summary, he catalogued the litany of crime and wrong-doing that led to the Kaipara debacle, stated that central government had, through its persistent failure to heed the warnings, effectively (and possibly knowingly) let the whole catastrophe happen under its nose, and that it needed to make reparations.

Clive Boonham moved to tears!
A week previously, the National candidate convened his own meeting in the same venue and mustered about a third of our audience. His audience included a coterie of diehard supporters, at least one of them probably being paid by ratepayers to attend. At that meeting the candidate made the announcement that he had been in Bruce Rogan’s house and Bruce Rogan had said “Mike, if you will go after the auditor general I will hug you!”. I did once attend a meeting with Mike Sabin, at Helen Curreen’s house. When Mike made a characteristically motormouth claim that he was prepared to leave no Fairy tern unstoned in pursuit of the Auditor General, I think I responded that I would embrace any move to bring the culprits in this saga to justice. Mike is clearly in need of affection to have turned that response into an offer of man love. Why he assumed the Curreens’ place belonged to the Rogans is anyone’s guess, but perhaps he thought it didn’t much matter, because once the Validation Bill was passed all the houses would end up being owned by the banks anyway!
But the point of that little anecdote is that sometimes politicians’ speeches generate emotional responses in the audience. When Winston Peters finished speaking, the normally undemonstrative Clive Boonham rose to his feet (an event of greater significance in Clive’s case than for the ordinary citizen, owing to the distance involved in the rising), and said that the speech had brought tears to his eyes. That probably reflected the sentiment of quite a few others in the room – to hear, most of them for the first time, confirmation that we were not the villains in this piece, and to hear it from someone who just might be in a position to do something about it after the election, is very moving.

Two to Tango?
As he left the meeting Winston made it clear, with that famous disarming smile on his face, that he would study the returns from the Mangawhai polling booth very closely, and his commitment to go into bat for us would be directly linked to how hard we went to bat for him!! Sounds like a fair deal, perhaps? Rest assured that if we get shafted again in the Courts we are certainly going to need someone in the political system to be batting for us. Seriously though, SOMEBODY has to go into bat on behalf of the country’s ratepayers, and very soon.

GST on Rates
NZ First said GST should come off rates because rates are a tax and it is wrong to tax taxes. Focus NZ said that the GST on rates should not go to central government but should be used in the district in which it was collected. ACT said that under a government in which it was a part rates would not rise by more than the inflation rate, which would require regulation, which ACT said it was going to remove.
Most of the proceedings were videoed, and a sound recording was made of all the speeches and the exchanges afterwards.

Our Appeal of the High Court judgment
Clive Boonham addressed the meeting with a very clear explanation of the case at the Court of Appeal. He was concerned that it might have been a bit dry after all the hurly burly that went before. Nobody in the room thought that was the case at all.

Our case has three prongs:
● The true legal effect of the Validation Act
● The true legal meaning of the Protected Transaction Provisions of the LGA
● The breach of the Bill of Rights by the Commissioners in bringing their vindictive and vicious Bill to the House while our case was before the High Court.

The Rates Strike and the Bully Boys
The questions were asked “What should we do about withholding rates?”, and “What do we do if we are threatened with legal action?”
You are safe for now.
Nothing further can be added to your rates bill until the 20th November. If you are still not paying rates, hang on until we get some properly considered advice out to you about that, in good time for you to make a decision before any further penalties are applied.
If you are being sued and if you need help, we will help you.
If you are threatened with legal action and you would like help, get in touch with us. We believe that the council will have to climb some very steep hills to successfully sue any Kaipara ratepayer for non-payment of rates, and when the time comes we intend to be ready to provide a vigorous defence to anyone who is sued by this council.

Contest for YOU!
Lastly, on a lighter note, Tom Parsons made the observation that these commissioners call themselves the council, when they are not a council and are in reality nothing remotely like a council. Think of a more appropriate name for them and email it to mrra @ vodafone.co.nz We will publish the (printable!) results, and award a prize (Bennett’s chocolate fish) for the best entry.

Winston Peters’ Speech
Winston Peters spoke at the Meet the Candidates’ Meeting at the Mangawhai Gym today (Sunday the 7th of September 2014):

Posted at 3:07pm Sunday 07 Sep, 2014

There needs to be a corrective history of how this sorry saga came about.

• About 14 years ago the Beca group became head consultant for the Mangawhai sewerage project, it evaluated tenders, and awarded the tender to itself, receiving $675000 of ratepayers’ money to manage the bid process.

• The Beca group in association with the council’s chief executive officer Jack McKerchar settled on Simon Engineering from Australia as the preferred bidder.

• Simon Engineering had claimed experience in dozens of engineering projects in Australia like Mangawhai.

• Simon Engineering had no such experience other than a trailer park equivalent to a single subdivision in Mangawhai.

• Councillor Bruce Rogan sought a referral from one of Simon Engineering’s purported happy customers in Australia.

• This cautious request was attacked by Beca group project group leader Johnson and the Mayor and no information was forthcoming.

• In 2002 the local government amendment Act banned the concept of a 25 year old –build-own-operate-transfer project.

• Neither Beca or the chief executive observed the law change because the deal had already been secretly committed to.

• Councillor Rogan’s request that Simon Engineering be warned of exceeding its budget was ignored by the chief executive officer who later said that his failure to follow a council resolution was because it might have frightened the horses.

• Councillor Rogan directly advised Simon Engineering of the council resolution, which caused the company to bolt and financially go belly up.

• What remained of Simon Engineering’s skeletal remains morphed into a new creation Beca-Simon which promoted itself as a multinational infrastructure builder.

• So the project manager became the builder, or put it another way, had now organised a contract with himself.

• In time the contract ended up with Water Infrastructure Group now running the entire waste water system project.

• Quarterly reviews were denied the Kaipara councillors under threat of legal action.

• Some councillors were asking difficult questions of the relationship of Mr McKerchar and a council staff employee working on the planning for the sewerage scheme.

• The council employee transferred from the council to the Beca group who then contracted her back to provide services to the Kaipara council.

• Another sewerage scheme on the west coast of Kaipara went to the same contractors for $7 million despite the financial blow out on the Mangawhai scheme, or that another proposed tenderer at $5 million was warned off because of the affect that this tender might have on the roading contracts in the Kaipara district the following year.

• The Auditor-General was aware of the chief executive officer-council employee-cum Beca employee connection but she did not think it was relevant.

• Staff at the council lived in fear for their positions if they questioned decisions. And the chief executive officer, when appointed commissioners took over the council, was given a $240,000 handshake.

Ladies and gentlemen this is not the script for a novel or a bodice-ripping bestseller. This is a sorry litany of negligence, corruption and coverup.

The Simon Engineering connection puts one in mind of Novopay, another bunch of Aussie Ned Kellys, who took over our education payroll system despite having no experience in that business whatsoever. Costs have blown out to around $60 million, some teachers are still not getting paid despite the government picking up the skeletons of Novopay.

New Zealand First, as a result of extensive investigation, discussions, and analysis, opposed the Kaipara District Council (Validation of Rates and other Matters) Bill.

The National Party, Labour, Greens, Māori, ACT and United Future parties all supported it.

Hone Harawira, believing that New Zealand First was on to something, opposed it as well.

Illegalities in entering into loans are not mere technicalities or formalities but go to the heart of local government’s obligation to consult ratepayers before entering into large financial commitments.

Especially where the rates can be set to cover illegal loans.

In Kaipara’s case community consultation stopped at $34 million. But the scheme’s cost ended up being far more than double the price.

Contractors have taken large margins. The ANZ bank acquired the original loans at a 40%mark down, clearly having done some due diligence on the whole scheme. But that bank is insisting upon the full loan. Where Beca Group sits in this is a good question requiring answer. They were contracted to manage the project so why are they not taking a haircut as well.

But the key issue here is what is the responsibility of central government in this sorry mess. The auditor general’s office is a key agency in central government.

Retrospective legislation that is harmful to any party should be an abomination in a democracy.

In this instance, it was used as a device to brush incompetence and corruption under the carpet.

New Zealand First’s view is clear; inconvenient truths should not be buried but exposed to the cleansing light of public scrutiny.

Cover up – deny – and avoid scrutiny whilst the innocent suffer and the guilty walk away unscathed and fully paid.

How the Audit Office allowed five years of clean audits to go through on the Kaipara District Council while the sewerage scheme racked up so much debt is incredible, especially as some of you were voicing concerns early on.

How the Auditor General refused to consider many questionable matters, saying they were irrelevant, begs the question.

If that is not relevant what is?

The Auditor General’s office has a reputation for integrity but what went wrong here?

Was it that some the participants looked too big to be questioned?

However your political representatives in Parliament, from all parties, except New Zealand First and Mana, were no better.

They defended the Auditor General and take no responsibility for forgetting about you.

Former Prime Minister Norman Kirk once pointed out to MPs that it was not their job to defend the Government Department from the people; instead their role was to defend the people from the Department.

He was precisely right. So instead of defending you, 112 politicians rushed to defend the Audit Office, and they went further collectively sweeping all the wrongdoing under the carpet by voting for retrospective legislation.

The National government has wiped its hands of your problem, as have the other parties and there’s been no attempt to try and renegotiate the loans, to lessen the load, or step in do their duty by you.

There’s been no admission of the culpability of the Audit Office which should see Central Government pick up the bill for the bloated cost.

We are 13 days from an election and some of you want New Zealand First to declare its position on Coalitions now. I trust you now all understand what a betrayal of you it would be to enter pre-election Coalition arrangements without securing your interests in negotiations first. Or would you prefer someone who is ‘all tea and sympathy’ with no objective of backing it up.

National and its local MPs, past and present, should be ashamed of their underhand way of allowing the guilty to escape accountability and leaving you with the cost.

A similar matter is occurring under your eyes where the SuperGoldCard is concerned.

It has a free travel component which is under review in November, after the election.

We know the National Party wants to wind it back, although its annual cost would be a third of the Novopay debacle.

It benefits 630,000 Seniors.

Last night Minister Woodhouse on TV denied our allegations. Well, Mr Woodhouse, how do you explain the discussions between government and local body transport authorities being held behind closed doors as I speak.

Four years ago the master of Novopay was caught out on a similar denial. And now another Minister, Woodhouse, has been caught out doing the same.

With 13 days to go before the election you can vote for your political choice and remain with an albatross around your neck, or can you see with great clarity what you now must do.

Party vote New Zealand First because for you, more than probably any other group in New Zealand

It’s Common Sense
– See more at: http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/81874-winstons-speech.html

Bullet points from Clive’s address:
Appeal Process
We have been criticised by Robertson, Pooley and others, for appealing.
If we had won would the KDC have sucked it up like they are telling us to do, and not have appealed?
If we had won would KDC have immediately refunded all the illegal rates, pending appeal outcome?
Yeah RIGHT!

Grounds for Appeal
● Validation ACT – What did it really validate?
● The so-called Protected Transactions-
– What do they protect
– Who do they protect
– Who is responsible for honouring them?

● New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
– There was a breach (High Court said so)
– Who committed the breach? (we think it was the commissioners, who simply cannot commit breaches of the Bill of Rights Act)
– Are they accountable for that?

Funding
Sincere thanks to those who made financial contributions at the meeting and to those who continue to help out with funding. If you have donated to the cause please don’t feel any obligation to do so again, but for those who haven’t….? As we said at the meeting, the award of costs by the High Court will go a long way to funding the cost of the appeal(s).

Our bank account number is:-
38-9012-0318164-00 and our postal address for cheques is PO Box 225 Mangawhai 0540.

Please attach your membership number 2012047.
Thank you again to those who came along and made the meeting on Sunday such a success. It might not have been our biggest turnout ever, but it was a much bigger community turnout than most politicians ever see in their lifetimes!

Kind regards,
MRRA Executive.

[ends]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics

Mangawhai Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association Inc wins at High Court

v Kaipara District Council

Brilliant ~!!!

Case webpage:
http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/mangawhai-ratepayers-and-residents-association-inc-v-kaipara-district-council

The decision (date of judgment 28 May 2014):
http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/mangawhai-ratepayers-and-residents-association-inc-v-kaipara-district-council/at_download/fileDecision
(PDF, 332 KB)

● Decision is not sealed.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

18 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Events, Inspiration, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management

Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!

Received from our northern friends (html email partially rebuilt here).
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 4:10 p.m.

MRRA 1aGetting the Validation Bill ready for Parliament

● The new Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association (MRRA) website can be viewed here.
● “When Government Goes Bad” – see the MRRA video on YouTube.

The KAIPARA VALIDATION BILLMRRA 3

KAIPARA’S PROBLEMSMRRA 4Parliament “solves” the problems of Kaipara with the Validation Bill

LATEST NEWS
OAG report: Summary
OAG report: Full Report* (click the sections on the left)
*Link to download report (PDF, 2.6 MB; 423 pages) is broken at OAG website.

A MESSAGE FROM THE MRRA
3 February 2014
The day that JUSTICE finally comes to Kaipara

Come to the Court Case in Whangarei 3-7 February
The High Court is located at 105-109 Bank Street Whangarei
The hearing commences at 10 AM.
You have paid for this, so come and watch it play out. Those who came last time were glued to their seats for the whole day. Watching our justice system in action when the matter is one you are involved in is a riveting experience.
[Six days at court] might be needed but we won’t know until Feb 3rd. The hearing should play out as follows: Administrative stuff first, then MRRA puts its case (possibly all of Monday and some of Tuesday), then KDC puts its case Tuesday and all of Wednesday. Then MRRA replies, which will take part of Friday. The judge will then sum up and indicate what he is going to do, and perhaps reserve his decision which he would then hand down in writing some time later.
The Judge has instructed that a second courtroom be made available with closed-circuit TV to accommodate the large number expected to attend this hearing.
In an earlier decision the Judge said that this judicial review raises important legal questions of wide public interest.
It may be one of the most important cases in connection with Local Government that has ever gone to trial in New Zealand. The issues at stake are of fundamental significance to everyone who lives in this country. This is not a tiff over rates. This is a test of what power elected and appointed officials really have to take money from ratepayers and taxpayers and use it in any way they choose. The Government and the Kaipara District Council (KDC) both say that councils must have the power to take any amount of money they want, for any purpose whatsoever, and the ratepayer has no say at all in the process.
If you think that’s OK, then we have not reached you. If you think it is not OK but nothing can be done about it, please be assured that something can be done — and it is in the High Court where that will happen. Eventually, the people will call a halt to the madness.

COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE 29.01.14
Frank Newman comments here on the Dunedin City Council’s fancy $230 million covered stadium that “will forever be a black hole that eats ratepayer money”.
There will be no easy fix for Dunedin’s ratepayers. Their elected representatives of the day were reckless and ratepayers will be punished for a very long time because they (as a society) elected a reckless bunch of people to make decisions on their behalf.
I do not know of the Dunedin Councillors complied with the law and consulted with ratepayers but Kaipara ratepayers find themselves in a very similar situation.
The debt for EcoCare is completely unmanageable for a small council such as the KDC but the Commissioners and the Banks have so far delayed the inevitable day of judgement by mesmerising ratepayers with promises of only three percent rate increases over the next ten years.
How can that happen, you might ask, when there is such a massive debt to pay? The answer is that it can’t. But to levy high rates now and charge extra capital payments per household right across the district would result in a massive rate strike and civil disobedience and the collapse of the KDC.
To prevent that, the Commissioners and the Banks have made promises of minimal rate rises that cannot be substantiated and are so dishonest that they border on the criminal. They are nothing more than a confidence trick and the reality is that, sooner or later, ratepayers across the district will be billed for the principal of the debt. Generations of Kaipara ratepayers will pay for the EcoCare folly just as generations of Dunedin ratepayers will pay for their Stadium folly.
The only difference is that the MRRA has challenged the validity of the Kaipara debt in the High Court and is asking that Court for a ruling that ratepayers are not responsible for an illegal debt that was secretly entered into by the Councillors.
Never before have ratepayers made such a challenge and no doubt many ratepayers across the country will be awaiting the outcome.
If Councils can operate outside the law with utter impunity, with all the watchdogs sound asleep, and the ratepayers have to pay all the bills, then we have been conned into being the peasants at the bottom of a 21st Century feudal system.
That is not a good place to be but unless we get behind the MRRA and support its action, then that is where we will end up.

[ends]

****

LAST WORD from What if? Dunedin…
Will DCC’s stadium review be enough? Answer: NO
We’re staying busy —can’t blog it.

Related Posts and Comments:
3.12.13 LGNZ: OAG report on Kaipara
12.11.13 Northland council amalgamation
29.6.13 Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!
21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
19.3.12 Local government reform
21.2.12 Kaipara this time

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

9 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

DCC putting up cover, walls paper thin [risk exposure VERY HIGH]

Don’t believe the garbage. The garbage was built by Dunedin City Council, Dunedin City Treasury Ltd, and Dunedin City Holdings Ltd. The City (again) is slapped by a wet Standard & Poor’s bus ticket.

It is not difficult to fathom that the situation with the City’s finances is far worse than at Kaipara District Council.

The Dunedin City mayor and councillors are mostly TOO STUPID to know any different than to grant applause – the Lunatics have taken over the Asylum, NOT the conservative and prudent management of the City’s finances.

Not one Lunatic City Councillor has any idea of the exact state of the City finances, of the exact type of financial instruments being used to ‘support’ +$623 MILLION of council consolidated debt, or of the exact risk exposure compounding by those instruments. The Lunatics actually believe as gospel truth Standard & Poor’s credit rating report (“stable”). Oh. My. God.

Lunatic Mayor and Councillors’ ability to apply powers of discovery, analysis and interpretation to the City’s financial instruments and the degree of risk exposure — with ultimate effect on Ratepayers and Residents — is a difference not unlike that of a nuclear scientist and a child rolling snow balls. RIP DCC. While the new apprentice CEO smiles.

Here are the white lies in writing:

Dunedin City Council – Media Release

Improved Financial Rating Outlook for DCC
The Dunedin City Council’s consistent efforts to achieve its financial targets have been rewarded

This item was published on 09 Dec 2013.

In a Research Update released today, Standard and Poor’s (S & P) has revised the DCC’s outlook to stable, taking the organisation off a negative outlook. It confirmed an AA long-term and A-1+ short-term issuer credit ratings. Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says the announcement is great news.

“This is an acknowledgement of the continued hard work by elected members and staff to reduce operational spending and debt levels.”

In November 2012, S & P confirmed the DCC group credit rating at AA long term and A-1+ in the short term, but put Dunedin on a negative outlook. This was not a downgrade, but the agency made it clear the DCC needed to follow through with its tough financial targets. In its 2013 update, S & P states the outlook revision to stable reflects the DCC’s improved liquidity and budgetary performance.

“We expect these improvements to be sustained, allowing Dunedin to reduce its debt burden.”

The agency also considered the likelihood of significant adverse findings from the Auditor-General’s inquiry into Delta Utility Services Ltd (a DCC company) to be low.

“The ratings reflect our view of New Zealand’s predictable and supportive institutional framework, plus our very positive view of Dunedin’s financial management, and the council’s strong budgetary performance. The outlook revision reflects Dunedin’s improved liquidity and budgetary performance, which we expect to be sustained, allowing Dunedin to reduce its debt burden.”

The revised outlook was announced at today’s full Council meeting, where a vote of thanks to staff was recorded, amid applause. S & P is expected to release its full report in about a week.

Contact Mayor of Dunedin on 477 4000.

DCC Link

Via ODT (and DCC Spooks):

DCC’s credit rating up
Dunedin city councillors burst into applause as it was confirmed yesterday international credit agency Standard and Poor’s had lifted its negative outlook for the Dunedin City Council. The news – delivered part-way through yesterday’s full council meeting – also left Mayor Dave Cull claiming vindication despite his critics.
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/284751/dccs-credit-rating

Related Post and (fresh) Comments:
3.12.13 LGNZ: OAG report on Kaipara

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

11 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Stadiums, Stupidity, What stadium

LGNZ: OAG report on Kaipara

Updated Post 7.12.13

Link received.
Saturday, December 07, 2013 4:29 PM

Anonymous says:
[An acquaintance] has been very involved with uncovering the Kaipara scandal. We’ve decided it is a genetic fiesty gene. You may be interested in putting up the following Youtube link… There are very similar parallels with the DCC!
See what you think.

Published on 22 Nov 2013. Ecocare Bear.

Mangawhai, Kaipara: When Government Goes Bad!!
Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association (MRRA) goes to court in 2014. Please make donations now at http://www.MRRA.org.nz. We need your support to challenge Kaipara Council’s illegal contracts, illegal loans, 100% rates increases and abuse of law. If successful, our court ruling will help all Kiwis stop out-of-control spending by Councils around New Zealand

****

[via Far North email copy to Whatif? Dunedin]

OAG report on Kaipara
3 December 2013

Dear Mayors, Chairs and Chief Executives

This afternoon, The Office of the Auditor General released its report on the Kaipara District Council’s delivery of its wastewater project at Mangawhai and very shortly will be briefing media. The 400 plus page report (and summary report) is a sobering read. Media coverage is likely to be severe and we need to be ready for that. We would ask that you pass this communication on to all members of your council.

In summary, the Council’s management exhibited a lack of basic financial and project management expertise and little acknowledgement of relevant risks. Kaipara’s councillors also failed to assume governance responsibility for the project, assess its risks and ask the appropriate questions.

It would appear that the only positives [sic] outcomes are that Mangawhai now has a wastewater system that works and has capacity to cater for future growth. Although governance failures are not new in private, public or local government sectors, the report has highlighted significant management and governance failures and successive poor performance with Kaipara District Council’s delivery of its wastewater project.

This performance is not acceptable for local government, whether in the past, present or in the future. As all of us are acutely aware, it reflects very poorly on the sector. However, the issues have occurred – we now need to learn the lessons and take ownership of the broader governance concerns that the OAG has raised.

OAG’s report outlined areas for public sector entities to be aware of based on lessons learnt – these are outlined below. Without doubt there are many strongly governed councils in New Zealand but, as with any organisation, we can always improve. If a focus on governance ensures that a Kaipara is not repeated then the entire sector will gain from that, just as the reputation of the sector is tarnished when things go wrong on such a scale.

As we’ve discussed previously, LGNZ is introducing initiatives to lift the bar. The success of these initiatives will depend on member buy-in. In this regard, the Kaipara episode provides a powerful incentive for the membership to come together to support one another in ensuring that collectively we will strive to ensure that poor performance on this scale is never repeated.

Post-elections training for elected members is now complete. In early 2014, we will launch governance training in conjunction with the Institute of Directors to assess and improve current governance practices in councils. Councils will need to fund this training. In the light of Kaipara, I encourage you to think of such training as an investment in good outcomes and not as an unjustifiable cost.

LGNZ is also soon to introduce its centre for advice and best practice, and has articulated a strong future focus for the sector on financial effectiveness and value. Indeed, a soft launch is already underway with some councils already accessing LGNZ for advice on matters that will form a key focus of the Centre of Excellence.

Governance will be a core focus in the coming triennium. I recommend that you and your council review the report – the 40-page summary may assist here – and consider the relevance of the messages for your council. LGNZ will shortly issue a media release and I will front media as required – we need to acknowledge where there have been failings and show what we are doing to lift performance.

I will continue to write on this subject – including an article which may feature in national media in coming days and in IoD’s [Institute of Directors] Boardroom magazine later this month. It is important that our stakeholders and the public know we are strongly committed to good governance. The video clip on our recent major issues seminar held in Wellington on 21 November – “Why good governance matters in local government” – is available here on our website – this is useful viewing.

I have also provided my speech here. Michael Stiassny, Vice-President of IoD, has made several pertinent points for the sector to consider. We will continue the dialogue, and if you have any feedback for Malcolm [malcolm.alexander @ lgnz.co.nz] or myself [lawrence.yule @ hdc.govt.nz] on this subject, or any other, then please email us.

Kind regards

Lawrence Yule
President

Local Government New Zealand

OAG’s advice to public entities on lesson learnt:

Accountability
● Public entities should be meticulous about legality
● Good record-keeping is the foundation of effective accountability
● Workshops can supplement formal Council meetings, but not replace them
● Contractors need to be tied into public sector accountability mechanisms

Governance
● Understand the role and stick to it
● Common sense is a legitimate governance tool
● Understand what you need assurance on and where you will get it from
● Audit committees can provide useful support

Management
● There are limits to contracting out
● It is important to maintain appropriate financial management capacity and capability and to stick to your sphere of competence
● Project governance and management is important

PPP arrangements
● Do not underestimate what is involved in a PPP arrangement
● Accounting should not drive the decision to enter into a PPP
● Transfer of risk is not an end in itself
● PPPs are unlikely to succeed fully if the contract is not for “the complete package”

Feedback [info @ lgnz.co.nz]

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Kaipara review shows a need to lift governance performance
Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 2:33 pm
Press Release: Local Government NZ
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1312/S00024/kaipara-review-shows-a-need-to-lift-governance-performance.htm

Related Posts and Comments:
12.11.13 Northland council amalgamation
29.6.13 Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!
21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
19.3.12 Local government reform
21.2.12 Kaipara this time

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

25 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, What stadium

Northland council amalgamation

### radionz.co.nz Tuesday 12 November  -  12:20 pm NZT
(Updated 38 minutes ago)
RNZ News
Single council for Northland proposed
The Local Government Commission has recommended a single unitary council for the whole of Northland.
The commission at Waitangi on Tuesday revealed its draft proposal for reorganising local government in the region. It proposes one council and one mayor for Northland and a second tier of community boards.
A new nine-member council, to be based in Whangarei, would replace Far North District Council, Whangarei District Council, Kaipara District Council and Northland Regional Council.
The commission also proposes a special council committee to represent Northland’s large Maori population.
RNZ Link

Northland RC boundary map (400) 1

Related Posts and Comments:
29.6.13 Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!
21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
19.3.12 Local government reform
21.2.12 Kaipara this time

Posted by Elizabet Kerr

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Media, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Stupidity

Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!

Received from Martin Legge
Saturday, 29 June 2013 9:53 a.m.

Learn how the Kaipara council was repeatedly given a clean bill of health by Audit NZ despite the massive debt and obvious governance problems.

Compares with how OAG assured me they were closely monitoring the TTCF investigation into how it was that ORFU and Racing were able to fleece $7 million from the South Auckland community. The truth is, DIA lost that file and therefore didn’t investigate and instead deliberately covered the loss up. OAG appear OK with this and issued DIA with a clean bill of health.

Our trust and faith in the work of these well resourced “highly educated desk jockeys” is misplaced!!!

### NZ Herald Online Saturday, 29 Jun 2013 8:48 AM
Fresh probe begins into debt-ridden council
By Andrew Laxon
The commissioners of debt-ridden Kaipara District Council have begun a new inquiry into its past financial decisions, including the advice it received from former chief executive Jack McKerchar. The tiny Northland council is struggling under an $80 million debt, a long-running rates strike and court action by its own ratepayers over more than $17 million of illegally set rates dating back to 2006. Its former councillors stepped down last year in response to a damning report, making way for Government-appointed commissioners.

Three inquiries are under way into what went wrong. They consist of

● An Auditor-General’s investigation into how the cost of a sewerage scheme at Mangawhai blew out from $11 million in 1999 to $62 million, creating most of the council’s debt.
● An independent inquiry into how the Audit Office failed to notice the excessive debt and repeatedly gave the council a clean bill of health.
● The commissioners’ investigation into other financial transactions they have discovered since taking over last September and see as questionable.

Northland MP Mike Sabin told Parliament ratepayers had been woefully let down by the council’s “mismanagement, incompetence, carelessness and dysfunctional governance”. Mr Sabin, who is sponsoring a local bill to retrospectively validate the illegal rates, said the bill was necessary to keep the council functioning but it would not allow anyone responsible for poor decisions to duck the consequences.
The separate inquiry into the Audit Office’s actions, undertaken by Auditing and Assurance Standards Board chairman Neil Cherry, was not finished.
Read more

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21.4.13 Councils “in stchook” —finance & policy analyst Larry.N.Mitchell
31.3.13 DIA and OAG stuff up bigtime #pokierorts
21.2.13 DIA, SFO investigation #pokierorts
3.11.12 Stadium: DCC caught in headlights
29.10.12 DCC consolidated debt substantially more than $616m
21.2.12 Kaipara this time

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

7 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Stupidity, What stadium