Leach at Large 
Monday, April 30, 2012 at 11:50AM
Bill Barclay

Another Leach panegyric in today's Herald - take a look

He certainly gets the 'sympathy' vote through Nikki Preston's uncritical view.

Both Heralds have completely fallen down on the job in terms of watching what is happening in this district, and the anodyne press releases continue to be re-printed. Those who choose to follow the news through these media continue to get a thoroughly distorted view of the situation.

It is easy to be portrayed as a single-minded critic of Leach, and the Council, but in my defence, I would point out that I have been fulsome in praise on the Kopu Bridge, the initial reaction to the Moanataiari arsenic scare, and the Cycleway. I have been extremely critical of other actions of Council that I believe will have a long term and devastating effect on its ability to serve the needs of the District. Foremost among these the destruction of Planning capability that stands only to benefit developers and miners, and in particular, all aspects of the rush into aquaculture. I won't repeat my objections here - read the posts.

The current re-organisation is a disaster, and the consequences unable to be understood clearly at this stage. What is clear it is that it has been a devastating process that has reflected the naivety and inexperience of the new Chief Executive. He has destroyed lives with his apparent disregard for HR norms, and twisted a structure that athough needing adjustment, had served this District with distinction over a great many years. 

Leach can take no credit for this situation, and is fundamentally incapable in my view of even understanding to the slightest degree the effect of what he has initiated with corporate, developer and media (Coro FM in particular) support.

The absolute power that he wields was demonstrated in replacing Jim Archibald, who admittedly was not everyone's cup of tea, with his own accomplice on Destination Coromandel. This went completely under the radar, and he has now removed DC from any form of governance or surveilance by its Council (2) funders by the simple expedient of changing its designation as a Council controlled organisation under the LGA. This was acomplished by a simple motion at the meeting on 18 April, and reduces Destination Coromandel's accountabiity to the inadequate requirements of the Incorporated Societies Act through which a truck and trailer may be driven, while we continue to masively fund it. 

There is no indication in the Paper that went to Council that John Tregidga, and Hauraki have passed an identical motion, as is required. I have just asked Hauraki CEO Langley Cavers for a comment. 

This is his reply:

Hauraki District Council has already passed the resolution exempting Destination Coromandel from being a Council Controlled organisation.  However, this in no ways diminishes the level of reporting that will be expected from Destination Coromandel.  As funders we are at liberty to set the level of reporting that is required.  We will be requiring an annual business plan that will have a similar status as a Statement of Intent, and quarterly financial and non financial reporting.  

Granting the exemption was a practicable way of reducing compliance costs for what will be a small organisation but not at the expense of appropriate reporting to ensure accountability.

This certainly spells out the reporting requirements more clearly, but I am a loss to understand how compliance costs diminish - the only requirement that appears different is the need for 'performance monitoring'. Well if TCDC is funding an organisation to the tune of $375,000, I would certainly expect it to maintain a level of 'performance monitoring'. Simply receiving the accounts hardly furfils the 'governance' requirement. On the face of it DC apears to be left to own devices under this arrangement, and I hardly think that furfils the Councils' obligations to their ratepayers. With Leach's nominees running the show, transparency is absent. 



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