Ratepayers achieve for Kaipara District —what Dunedin counterparts fail to do for spurious ‘pet projects’

Link + message received.
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 at 8:24 a.m.

█ Message: Maybe time to revisit Jacks Point and Luggate? …

The Mangawhai wastewater scheme cost about $63.3 million. Overall costs were not just financial, the Auditor-General’s report said. “They included a failed council, councillors replaced with commissioners, the departure of a chief executive, a severely damaged relationship between the council and community, an organisation that needed to be rebuilt, and much more.”

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:21, March 30 2016
Dispute settlement sees Auditor General pay nearly $5.4 million to Kaipara District Council
About $5.375 million will be paid to the Kaipara District Council by the Auditor-General’s office now that a dispute between the two has been settled. Mediation of the dispute over audit issues around the controversial and costly Mangawhai wastewater scheme was held by retired High Court judge Rodney Hansen QC, without any admission of liability and for each party to cover their own litigation costs.

Auditor-General Lyn Provost’s scathing inquiry report to Parliament in December 2013 outlined “a woeful saga” surrounding the community wastewater scheme, managed by the then-council between 1996 and 2012. It covered roles played by other agencies, including the Controller and Auditor-General’s office. The inquiry found the council failed to adequately perform its responsibilities to the community in connection with the wastewater scheme. The council itself alleged the Auditor-General did not identify these failings in a timely manner and take appropriate steps to bring them to the council’s attention. It also alleged some of the poor decisions it made could have been averted if the Auditor-General’s office had performed its responsibilities appropriately.

The Auditor-General offered an unreserved apology in the report to the Kaipara district community for the office’s failings in some of its work, but disputed the council’s damages claim. In particular, the Auditor-General considered the council had the responsibility to comply with its statutory obligations, and its failure to do so is not attributable to the Auditor-General’s office. The dispute was settled with neither party admitting liability but the Auditor-General’s office agreeing to pay $5.38 million to Kaipara District Council.

A rates revolt began as costs were included in Mangawhai rates, with some properties connected to the new scheme now paying around $3000 annually in rates. Kaipara District Council commissioner John Robertson said the council was pleased to see a positive outcome from the High Court action it took against the Auditor-General in 2014. “If we hadn’t got an outcome we would be back in court and facing all the risks of whatever judgments go on these sorts of things.”

The Kaipara District Council has two more court battles pending with Mangawhai ratepayers.
Read more

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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8 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, Coolness, Corruption, Democracy, Economics, Events, Geography, Infrastructure, Inspiration, Leading edge, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Travesty

8 responses to “Ratepayers achieve for Kaipara District —what Dunedin counterparts fail to do for spurious ‘pet projects’

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    What’s the secret recipe for getting issues noticed by officialdom whose job is to look hard and give a substantial handbagging to rorters, rule-breakers and chronic mismanagers? Do you have to be located within a nice drive/flight of their office? Do you send a delegation of scary people speaking politely, whose manner and appearance say “Pay attention while we’re polite, you won’t like it if we get cross”?

  2. Elizabeth

    Or do you need, for starters, a small really clued-up ratepayer base with coincidental access to empowered and empowering legal advisors

    A simple Who-Knows-Who-On-A-First-Name-Basis.

    Dunedin ratepayers can tick some of the same HELP boxes as Mangawhai ratepayers, undeniably, powerfully. It’s a matter of hard work and seriously skilled co-ordination.

    Some progress has been made.

  3. Elizabeth

    What if? Dunedin stays alive for many reasons.

  4. Ray

    Bruce Rogan has warned us all and so do I. We are in for a long time struggle with all this.

  5. Elizabeth

    ### radionz.co.nz. co. nz Thu, 31 Mar 2016
    Auditor-General’s payment to council a precedent – analyst
    The Auditor-General’s $5.38 million payment to the Kaipara council sets an important precedent, a local government analyst says. The Auditor-General apologised two years ago for the failure of government auditors to spot unauthorised borrowing by the council that contributed to its $80m debt blowout. After mediation, the council and Auditor-General have agreed on the $5m payment.
    A local government analyst, Larry Mitchell, said this is the first settlement of this kind that he knew of, and it was great the precedent had been set. “It’s on the records now, and hurray for that,” he said. Auditors in both the private and public sectors needed to be more careful, he said. Mr Mitchell said he would have expected a higher payment since the loans the auditors missed were worth about $35m.
    RNZ Link

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    WOO-HOO!

  7. Elizabeth

    Public Domain

    Your Say at ODT Online:
    OPINION
    City of Dunedin debt
    By raymondo12 on Mon, 4 Apr 2016
    When Mr Harland left the DCC I wrote:
    “Debt, whether public or private, is a curse which we can do something about to bring us back from the abyss. What we do not need is the continuation of the previous policies. We need people to lead us who hate debt, who despise it, who will work hard on our behalf to wisely and cunningly create ways and means to let ordinary people do business that will create more well paying jobs, and so pay for the debt we have built up over a long period of city mismanagement. No more tax and spend, reduce our rates. Do not increase them. Only spend them on core business and let private enterprise get on with its business of work and wealth creation”
    Has anything changed?
    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/your-say/378519/city-dunedin-debt

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