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Iwi Engagement on District Plan

See my 8 December post on this matter for background.

As anticipated at that time, there was a painful back-down at Council on 12 December, but not before much ‘huffing and puffing’ by the usual suspects, though Jack Wells was unusually silent, and thoughtful. He may have been ‘got-at’ before the meetring – Leach would have recognised him as the main danger, though few follow Jack's lead at the best of times.

What both French (Chair of the DPRC) and Leach emphasised over and over was that they were “over a barrel”, and that to refuse to adopt the recommendation that $20,000 be put aside for ‘consultation’ with the eight iwi members of the “collective, (a Service Level Agreement by any other name!) that this would surely trigger an appeal to the Environment/High Court on the grounds of inadequate consultation, which the iwi would undoubtedly win.

After Hoadley’s outburst of rhetoric about the failure of "someone I will not name", but clearly David Taipari, to ”engage”, loudly claiming that the DPRC had “bent over backwards”, while  failing to acknowledge that the nitty-gritty of the Holm Majurey letter that was earlier submitted as a basis for negotiation had been ignored. There was no negotiation – simply incorporation of some of the principles by staff who must surely have understood where David was coming from, and that his “failure to engage” was purely and simply because of the failure of the Committee to take the letter seriously. Hoadley’s final swipe was to suggest that it was her view that there was no way that the iwi would be satisfied with $20,000, and that it would “grow in time”.

It is interesting to note that Hoadley spoke about the non-member iwi being left out from the deal, and “who was going to talk to them?”. Leigh Robcke assured the table that they would be consulted, though whether this would require additional funds was not made clear. I suspect it will, because the deal was only done with the 8 member  Government recognised Settlement group.

But it did mean that Tony Brljevich did not have to hold the candle for this group – he was definitely in a conflict of interest speaking on this at the last meeting given that his wife is a member of one of the 'outer’ iwi, and he never declared his interest.  He was speaking at length and animatedly prior to the meeting with Hoadley, and I wonder if she may have been doing his talking on this occasion. They do need to be very careful because if it goes to court, all of their actions will be open to scrutiny.   

Tony’s only contribution on this occasion was to suggest that if the iwi were to be resourced in this manner then this would “open the flood gates for every other group on the Peninsula”. A bit ridiculous really.

Hammond then had a go with some very critical comments about the lack of any iwi environmental management plans , and stated that although he was personally opposed to SLA’s, they were a fact of life in this situation, and we needed to go along with the proposal – having a bet both ways in other words. He correctly mused that “there is no wriggle-room”.

McLean then chimed in with the need to establish a clear line in the sands on the $20,000 – “not a penny more”, and referred to it all as a “box of snakes” – ugh! Bartley in his sole contribution for the day then demanded “performance targets written into the contract”. Then there was no way that Connors was going to be “blackmailed”. And that point I was really wondering whether the motion would get up even with the obvious threat hanging over the District Plan.

It took some pretty stern talking from Leach to bring them back to their senses, and go along with the “blackmail” (“Peanuts for Peace” was his terminology – not bad!). The final vote was 5 in favour with Connors and Brljevich voting against, with Hoadley abstaining, even though she is a member of the DPRC. She is looking more and more like contesting the election despite some earlier statements to the contrary.




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Reader Comments (1)

Councillor McLean's position looks a bit rich given the fiasco that is the Whitianga Sports complex and the attached cost over-runs. Another box of snakes; par for the course really, and here is me thinking that snakes did not reside in New Zealand...?

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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