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Moewai Road

It appears that TCDC has been taken to the cleaners in mediation over a $16,000 debt that was claimed in the "wash-up" over the Moewai Road leasing debacle involving ex Councilor Dirk Sieling.

Dirk has come out of the whole thing smelling of roses, with Informer publisher Gerry Church being forced by the Press Council to publish an apology over "lack of fairness and balance", and Kool FM owner Colin McCabe likewise having to back down in the face of a highly critical BSA finding, that carried a $2,000 fine, and costs. All this accompanied Dirk's clearance of any wrongdoing by the Auditor General.

The previous Council was totally confident that it had reached a satisfactory arrangement with then Councilor Sieling in what was an extremely embarrassing situation that pre-dated his election to Council. Eastern media jumped to false conclusions and published utter tripe in an attempt to cloud the issue, and accuse a range of councilors of what amounted to corrupt behavior.

A substantial level of TCDC staff incompetence in regard to regularizing Mr Sieling’s leasing arrangements at Moewai Road in Whitianga was involved. Because of confidentiality, it remains unknown as to whether staff have been censured in any way.

In any case, the final $16,000 claim by Council that involved complicated three-way sub-leasing arrangements with concert promoter Manolo Echave,  was finally deemed to be without foundation. Once again, the competence of staff must be called into question. It was Council that finally suggested mediation as a “face-saver” when they could not be persuaded of the wrong-headedness of the claim.

It is to be hoped that all concerned learnt some important lessons from this unfortunate incident involving rectitude, and integrity when it comes to the handling of Council assets, let alone the reporting of Council affairs.

“Mud sticks” and what happened in this case may well have affected the outcome of the election with confidence sapping misinformation being widely promulgated by a vindictive media.


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