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Most will be aware of the disaster that is the Kiapara Council to which Steve Ruru has become the harbinger of bad news. It seems almost certain that the end result of the financial crevasse that has resulted from another gold plated wastewater scheme will be the appointment of an administrator, and Steve's consignment to the scrap-heap, unless of course the Minister has the wit to appoint Steve to the role - he may as well. By the way, their $50m scheme at Mangawhai services 2,000, yes that is 2,000 ratepayers, and the similarity with the proceses undertaken when our Eastern Seaboard scheme was pushed through Counil is staggering. Our scheme is bigger, but the engineering and financial incompetence that led to each is the same.

Owen McShane lives in the electorate, and has been an acerbic commentator on local government generally. His contribution today on the subject of Councillors who dissent is instructive. Of course, there is nothing similar here - no-one on our Council has the balls to stand up to Leach.

Here is what Owen had to say:

When Councillors Dissent.

So far I have concentrated on the general conditions that have changed Council behaviour. There is much more to discuss in future Digests.

The general argument in this Digest has been that amalgamation and the extension of powers has meant that the tasks and responsibilities of Councils are now beyond the competence of their own councillors.

This is generally true but there are the exceptions that prove the rule. Bruce Logan and Bill Guest, both former Councillors of Kaipara District, had the necessary skills and moral fortitude to ask most of the hard questions and demand the necessary answers. Their efforts were not appreciated. Current Councillor Jonathan Larsen began raising the same issues during the election campaign and has continued to press for the necessary financial information, and legal opinions, to be presented to Council so as to allow them to properly make their decisions. His efforts have not been appreciated and indeed, he has effectively been prohibited from making any sensible contributions to Council’s decision making. (A future Digest will deal with this general failure of proper process – especially as it relates to the notification of the Proposed District Plan.)

At this stage it is best to let the “Workboot Councillor” tell his own story at his web page here.

In particular, the menu item Workboot Motions documents Cr. Larsen’s multitude of attempts to table notices of motions only to have the great majority of them “censored” or lost, or failed for want of a seconder.

This web page demonstrates that the web allows councilors elsewhere, who find themselves similarly silenced, or stripped of their portfolios and committee memberships, to speak directly to their electorate.

One can also only hope that those Kaipara Councillors who recorded their determination to remain uninformed are now having second thoughts.

We have to ask why the standards now applied to the Lombard Directors do not seem to apply to Councillors, who seem happy to work on the principle that “ignorance is bliss.”



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