Tag Archives: Kaipara District Council

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

Related Posts and Comments:
3.10.15 Kaipara Concerns —ADOTROL* disease [Dunedin mention, again!]
13.2.15 Associate Minister of Local Government: Return democracy to Kaipara
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
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

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

Mangawhai ratepayers let down by ruling #BadOmenDCC

Link received from John Evans

█ Message: Why you should be extremely concerned about DCC financial stupidity.

[Are Dave, Sue and Grant rubbing their hands ? -Eds]

### radionz.co.nz Thu, 12 Nov 2015 at 8:22 pm NZT
RNZ News
Court ruling dismays Mangawhai ratepayers
By Lois Williams, RNZ Northland Reporter
Mangawhai people challenging rates set by the Kaipara District Council are dismayed by their latest defeat in court.

The Whangarei District Court has thrown out the arguments of Mangawhai Ratepayers’ Association president Bruce Rogan that his rates and many others set since 2006 were invalid because of multiple errors in the rating assessments. He said the council did not dispute the errors but the court had essentially said they did not matter.

“Things like setting the rates inclusive of GST, there’s absolutely no power in the act to do that,” Mr Rogan said. “It’s not a matter of them (the council) saying they didn’t do these things; they actually said they did them and said so in court.” Councils should not be able to use the law to gouge ratepayers when they did not comply with it themselves, he said. “It’s the end of civil society as we know it if this is allowed to stand. That may sound over-dramatic but if we don’t have a legal system that interprets the law as it is written then we’re all doomed.”

The association was still waiting for a Court of Appeal decision after it challenged the council in the High Court over its right to bill ratepayers for council debts they were not told about. The High Court found the Kaipara District Court’s borrowing to expand the Mangawhai Ecocare wastewater system was unlawful, because ratepayer had not been consulted about it. However, it could not rule on the rates levied to pay for the bank loans because Parliament had passed a special bill to validate them.

Mr Rogan owes the council $22,000 in rate arrears and has offered to pay the portion he believed was lawfully levied, minus penalties.
RNZ Link

Related Posts and Comments:
3.11.15 Kaipara Concerns —ADOTROL* disease [Dunedin mention, again!]
13.2.15 Associate Minister of Local Government: Return democracy to Kaipara
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
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

11 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, Site, What stadium

Kaipara Concerns —ADOTROL* disease [Dunedin mention, again!]

Received from Anonymous
Fri, 2 Oct 2015 at 6:49 a.m.

█ [fascinating] Latest Updates at KAIPARA CONCERNS
http://www.kaiparaconcerns.co.nz/

THE FLAG DEBATE 01.10.2015
It is worth reading Guy Steward’s article on the flag debate, the symbolism behind the flag, and the reasons why John Key is pressing for a change. Cont/

A MONSTROUS MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE? 30.09.2015
Many will have read the article on Penny Bright in today’s Herald and the massive legal bills that the Auckland City has incurred pursuing her for arrears of rates. Penny tends to polarise. To some she is a folk-hero espousing the interests of a fair and just society, and to others she is a no-hoper who should “get a life” and pay her dues. The reality is that she has discovered the Achilles heel of local government, and all the whitewash from the Council, the defamatory put-downs, and all the legal pressure they are putting on her, is not going to alter that fact.

All local authorities in New Zealand have the legal right to charge rates but only if, and I repeat only if, they comply with the requirements of the LGA in respect of consultation and only if they comply with the LGRA in respect of rating processes and rating documents.

Ms Bright has refused to pay her rates until she knows where the council spends its money – particularly on private contractors – and acts in a democratic manner.

Unlike taxes which are levied by statutes that are unconditionally binding on all citizens, rates are only binding if they comply with the law. Local government in New Zealand has long suffered from a chronic case of ADOTROL* disease [Arrogant Disregard Of The Rule Of Law] which has caused it to adopt procedures and documentation that are lazy, slovenly and simply fail to comply with the law. That means that most of the rates set by local authorities are unlawful. Cont/

[2.10.15 NZH Editorial: Bright’s free ride has cost us enough]

SECRETS AND MORE SECRETS 30.09.2015
Alexandra Newlove’s article in the Northern Advocate reported Whangarei councillor Stuart Bell’s criticism of public–excluded workshops. “I don’t agree with having to make decisions on behalf of our community when, because an issue has been deemed confidential, the discussion I can have with the community on it is somewhat limited.” Cont/

AND EVEN MORE SECRETS 30.09.2015
How is that when someone goes into central government or local government their individual ethical standards become compromised and they adopt the party line or appropriate political line? Respect for the principles of law or fair play, or common sense for that matter, fly out of the window. We have seen it in successive Ministers of Local Government who chose to ignore the blatant illegalities of the KDC, and tacitly gave Jack McKerchar and Neil Tiller the stamp of approval for their reckless plunder of Kaipara ratepayers. […] But the ADOTROL* disease is endemic throughout the Beehive. Justice Minister Amy Adams has a severe case of the disease if the NZ Lawyer is correct. An article in that magazine claims that the Minister has refused to disclose details of why the costs of renovating Dunedin’s historic courthouse have leapt from $2.5 million to $15 million. Barrister Anne Stevens has slammed the secrecy saying that “scrutiny of decision-making underpins a democracy”. Cont/

[30.9.15 NZ Lawyer: Lawyers slam secretive plans for courthouse upgrade]

More to read at Kaipara Concerns.
But is it true activism stands more chance in Northland than Dunedin.

YES, because the Dunedin public are nearly if not always asleep. Or they want to pick up someone else’s trash to qualify for Darlene’s job keeping Dunedin ‘beautiful’ and semi-comatose.

Related Posts and Comments:
13.2.15 Associate Minister of Local Government: Return democracy to Kaipara
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
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

6 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, LGNZ, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

Screening tonight: Paradigm Episode 2! Local Government Corruption in NZ #Sky #YouTube

Updated post
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 at 1:25 a.m.

███ A “MUST” WATCH
Vincent Eastwood Published on Sep 14, 2015
Local Governance & Corruption, Paradigm Episode 2 Vinny Eastwood
Episode 2 of PARADIGM broadcasted on Face TV Sky Channel 083 on September 14th 2015 at 9pm NZT

TOPIC: Local Governance & Corruption
GUESTS: Bruce Rogan from the Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association with activist and Mayoral candidate Penny Bright.
● How privatisation and secretive powerful roundtable groups (comprised mostly of large companies) have led to the rise of unelected, unaccountable officials.
● The utter refusal of EVERY SINGLE AUTHORITY in New Zealand to investigate corruption.
The police, the judiciary, the ombudsman, the minister for local government, the auditor general, political parties, the list goes on, every authority whose job is to investigate, prevent or punish corruption actually supports it!
● Why local citizens have no rights and why local government has no rules.

FACE FACT KIWIS
Believing NZ is corruption free was the very mechanism by which criminals took control of our country. The only reason NZ is #2 on Transparency International’s “perceived” least corrupt countries in the world list, is we’re the 2nd best in the world at concealing our corruption.

Vincent Eastwood Published on Sep 12, 2015
Paradigm Episode 2 coming soon! Local Government Corruption
PLEASE SHARE THIS!
Help me get as many people as possible to watch the show tomorrow night!
9pm NZT

Received. [names deleted]
Mon, 14 Sep 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Re: DOCO ON CORRUPTION, AND MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL.

Tonight (14 September, 9:00pm) on Sky channel 83 there will be an episode of Paradigm which will feature the Kaipara Scam. Paradigm is a program that is the brainchild of a guy called Vinny Eastwood, and it is not an exaggeration to say that Vinny has picked up the ball that John Campbell (or rather Channel 3) dropped. Promo for the programme is at https://www.facebook.com/vincenteastwood/videos/10153220793607879/
Vinny has a deceptively casual and disarming manner that belies a very serious commitment to exposing corruption and fraud (he calls it scumbaggery).
As an MRRA member you will already be aware of the degree of scumbaggery besetting Kaipara, but it is highly unlikely that your friends and relations will grasp the scale of what is happening in New Zealand. Please do yourself a favour and send this email to everyone in your circle, especially your adult children, who are going to be wealth-stripped by the corporates that are taking over. Add your personal plea that they take a few minutes away from Coronation Street and watch something that might actually affect their lives.
Our financial year ends on 31 October. We want everyone to renew their membership please and we want new members from all over the country (world!) as we mount the final campaign to get justice for the country’s ratepayers. Please renew – don’t just leave it to the other guys to carry all the water. What other association can you think of that supplies over forty free informative newsletters per year?!, and has an executive team that is prepared to go to jail to defend your rights! (informative might be stretching it, but beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, going to jail is still a real possibility!).
The annual sub is still only $15.00 per family, or $10.00 single, and we have put no limit on donations, because we do not want to discourage that philanthropic person out there with $100,000 they have no further use for.
The account number is 38 9012 0318164 00 or cheques to MRRA at Box 225 Mangawhai 0540. Make sure please to include your membership number […], and if you are a new member please provide a name and phone number so we can call you and get all the details.

Kind regards,
MRRA Executive Committee.
[Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association]

█ More at Kaipara Concerns (online news):

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION SCAM 14.09.2015
Tonight, Monday night (14 September 2015), 9pm on Face (access) TV. Sky network channel 83.

NZ’s MASSIVE Local Government Corruption Scam, Paradigm Episode 2

Bruce Rogan (Mangawhai Ratepayers) and Penny Bright interviewed by Vinny Eastwood on council corruption in New Zealand.

See the promo video here. #Facebook

See Bruce Rogan’s rates revolt speech here. #YouTube

Related Posts and Comments:
28.8.15 Joel Cayford: ‘Mangawhai Ratepayers at Court of Appeal’
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
12.6.14 Fairfax Media [not ODT] initiative on Local Bodies
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
11.4.14 Councils: Unaccountable, ready to tax? #DCC #ORC
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
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

8 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, Construction, CST, Cycle network, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Events, Geography, LGNZ, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, NZTA, OAG, OCA, Ombudsman, ORFU, Otago Polytechnic, People, Police, Politics, Pools, Project management, Property, SFO, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Transportation, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

Joel Cayford: ‘Mangawhai Ratepayers at Court of Appeal’

Link received. [Hooray!]
Fri, 28 Aug 2015 at 10:50 a.m.

Joel Cayford (via Twitter)### joelcayford.blogspot.co.nz Thu, 27 August 2015
Mangawhai Ratepayers at Court of Appeal

Joel Cayford [‘Reflections on Auckland Planning’] updates the Court of Appeal hearing (25-26 August) – Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association v Kaipara District Council – in front of Justice Rhys Harrison, Justice Mark Cooper, and Justice Forrest Miller.

Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association (MRRA) is represented by Matthew Palmer QC and barrister Kitt Littlejohn. David Goddard QC represents the council.

Cayford summarises the “causes of action for this hearing – which followed the judicial review heard by Justice Heath (posts here and here)”:

“that the Kaipara District Council (KDC) does not have the power to rate for unlawful purposes. That KDC acted unlawfully in deciding to enter into and expand the Ecocare Wastewater Scheme, and that it could not then enforce rates on ratepayers.

“that the Validation Act did not retrospectively validate ALL matters stemming from those unlawful decisions. It only validated various historic rating defects. Significant matters – including the additional $30,000,000 loan were not dealt with or validated by the Validation Act.

“that the KDC acted inconsistently with the Bill of Rights Act by initiating Validation Legislation which had an effect of undermining MRRA judicial review proceedings – to which they had a right.”

Of critical interest, Cayford says Matthew Palmer, in his closing, “told the Justices, to the effect: “a consequence of adopting the arguments of my learned friend would mean that any Council in New Zealand can breech Local Government Act provisions with impunity, leave ratepayers with the bill, and mean that Long Term Plans all become window-dressing, ratepayer submissions become meaningless. That cannot have been what Parliament intended.””

█ Read Cayford’s excellent post and reader comments here.

LinkedIn: Joel Cayford

Although the Court of Appeal ruling is some way off, fallout might very well illuminate effects of the Dunedin stadium rort, council debt loading and issues of general competency.

Related Posts and Comments:
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
12.6.14 Fairfax Media [not ODT] initiative on Local Bodies
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
11.4.14 Councils: Unaccountable, ready to tax? #DCC #ORC
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
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

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Inspiration, LGNZ, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, People, Politics, Project management, Property, What stadium

Associate Minister of Local Government: Return democracy to Kaipara

From our friends at MRRA, the Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association (Inc.) —a plea for public support for their online petition.

Associate Minister of Local Government: Return democracy to Kaipara

Moves are afoot to have the term of the appointed Commissioners extended beyond the set date of October 2015. This appears to be an effort to create a platform towards amalgamation of the whole of Northland into a single Local Authority. Given the parlous state of Kaipara’s finances and the stubborn refusal of Commissioners to listen to ratepayers and residents, amalgamation can only be detrimental to Kaipara’s best interests and would likely result in those who created this mess escaping scot free. We want the minister to:
(a) Ignore requests for extension of term of the Commissioners
(b) Be open on discussions regarding reorganisation of local government in Northland
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Associate_Minister_of_Local_Government_Return_democracy_to_Kaipara/?tbVJcjb

Please forward the link to your friends and colleagues.
Click to share this petition on Facebook

█ Read more about the petition at Kaipara Concerns, a community newsletter that clearly outlines the issues affecting the people of Kaipara district. http://www.kaiparaconcerns.co.nz/

[screenshot – click to enlarge]
Kaipara Concerns 13.2.15Kaipara Concerns 13.2.15 Read on….

█ MP for Maungakiekie, Peseta Sam Lotu-liga is the Associate Minister of Local Government.

█ Hon Paula Bennett is the Minister of Local Government.
Ms Bennett’s portfolio includes roles as Minister for Social Development and Associate Minister of Housing. She replaces the outgoing Minister of Local Government, the Hon Chris Tremain, who is retiring at the next election.

Related Posts and Comments:
2.2.15 LGNZ run by Mad Rooster Yule, end of story
27.11.14 Auditor-general Lyn Provost #Resign
31.10.14 Whaleoil on “dodgy ratbag local body politicians” —just like ours at DCC
9.9.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara: Latest news + Winston Peter’s speech
19.7.14 Whaleoil / Cameron Slater on ratepayers’ lament
29.5.14 Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Assn wins at High Court
31.3.14 Audit services to (paying) local bodies #FAIL ● AuditNZ ● OAG…
29.1.14 Mangawhai, Kaipara —we hear ya!
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

Disclaimer: This post, ‘Stadium: Online petition to pressure $1M donation’, does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Elizabeth Kerr and the parties to What if? Dunedin.

Leave a comment

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

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

3 Comments

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