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Council Out-takes

Yesterday was a day for more congratulations all round at the wonderful progress that has been made, and in particular the extremely well received TYP. Well as they "You can fool some of the people some of the time ..........................."

Here are some short items of interest as they came up:

The Mayor admitted that for the first time he had come to understand that the role of the Office of the Auditor General was simply to ensure "due process" had been followed in setting the TYP, and that it took no responsibility for determining whether it a good plan, or affordable. The CE reported in support that there was huge internal examination going on to establish just how Kaipara was able to get away on them. In other words, the sign-off (with much acclamation I may say from the AG Representative who was present) in no way endorses the borrowing plans of Council - simply that process has been followed. The fact that Leach was unaware of this is instructive.

Tony Brljevitch made a valiant but futile attempt to get the lid back on the District Plan Committee by attempting to bring it back under Policy and Planning. As with many of Tony's efforts, he had not caucused other members, and Hammond finished him off with a claim that "it is not the right conversation". Hmmmm. 

David Taipari has now taken over as Chair of the Hauraki Iwi Forum which is dealing with the Council regarding the relationship with the Post Settlement Governance Entity. Sam Napia is conducting these negotiations and reported back the proposal that it become a Standing Committee of Council, and was told to continue to the point where there is a definite proposal to consider. Tony Brjlevitch wants no agreement until the claim of some tribe or other that currently lies outside the Forum of the 12 acknowledged Hauraki tribes is finalised. He did not reveal to the meeting that his wife is a member of that tribe. He should step very carefully on this. 

Jack Wells asked Sam Napia what were the principles of the Treaty. Sam gave Jack the short version.

The Mayor made more complaints about past councils not tightening up the Development Contribution area, in particular not using the RMA to extract greater contributions from developers in regard to roading and other infrastructure. Sometimes, in propounding his theories, he just skates around the truth. I cannot think of a single example during the previous Council where such a loop-hole was allowed. He keeps harping on about Opito Bay ands Wentworth Road at Whangamata, but these Consents date back years. 

Everyone around the table had a go at Te Uroroa Flavel's Gambling Bill. And it was interesting to note who was lining up behind the Trusts - Keith Johnston in particular, but all the other National stalwarts swung in behind. Diane Connors made some fatuous remarks in favour of a Council appointed Committee, but that caused the dry horrors amongst most of the others. Strat Peters talked for about 20 minutes without anyone knowing what the hell he was on about. In the end the Mayor asked him if he was for or against, and he confidently stated that he was against, but no one appeared sure what it was he was against. It seemed at one point that he wanted the 'Sinking Lid' removed, but then again ......! Everyone agreed that the 'Snouts in the Trough' had to end, but most wanted the trusts to 'self police' - faint hope. In the end they decided to stay right out of it. French sat on the fence - surprise, surprise!

Leigh Robche (DP Manager) proposed that the SNA's "are mapped in the DP for public land and for private land where there is a conservation covenant, or where private landowners want their SNA's mapped". This appears contrary to the more generalised mapping required by Watchdog Coromandel, and the WRC, but Leigh's view is that this is a step too far, and he also pointed out that SNA's do not mean 'locked up' - only that 'sustainable management' would be required. Try telling that to the opponents on the other side led by the redoubtable Sandra G. There is more water on both sides of the bridge on this one, believe me.

David Hammond gave the shortest CE's Report in living memory - that may have something to do with his decision to take it out of Public Excluded - it was 1.5 pages long with an accompanying table showing that he had ten meetings during the month - once again, minimal information, but some interesting names mentioned. Naturally, it is not what is shared in one and a half pages that causes most concern - rather what is not shared. An overwhelming sense of contentment, and sanguinity hangs over the document, and I for one remain unconvinced. He seems to think that he has total 'buy-in' from staff of all the changes that have taken place. That is certainly not my impression, and he would do well to dwell for a moment on the consequences of fear and loathing in the ranks. 

One matter of concern to Hammond is the possibility of a ratepayer challenge, here or elsewhere, to the involvement of Council in economic development (Aquaculture?) activities, or supporting surf lifesaving etc. outside of the core activities heavily promoted in the Government's new local government policy statement. This is a very real possibility that our leaders would do well to not simply ignore through confidence in the intentions of the new Minister.

It was pointed out the the Bay of Plenty was putting $60m into aquaculture, and that we may get left behind with out paltry contribution. There seems to be a desire to 'fast-track' approvals to get out scheme on the road without delay. There is considerable thought being given to Council involvement both at sea and on shore, but remarkably little to the environment issues that remain to be settled.  There will be an article by Reihana and Geoffrey Robinson in tomorow's Waikato Times that is essential reading in this regard. I will put it up here tomorrow morning.

Moanatairi - I am told that the there was no paper presented - only a verbal that I can only surmise constituted bad news as I predicted in my earlier post. Denis Tegg tels that that he had a meeting with Hammond and Day recently on another matter, and was told that remediation could cost $12m - just the beginning I would suggest. Again, watch this space - a report is to be provided on Monday to the Residents Meeting that will no doubt come clean on exactly what is now known.




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Reader Comments (1)

Was the CEO's report in the public part of the meeting worthwhile in that it showed what is really happening? Was it short to avoid public accountability? Maybe they should workshop his report!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood,

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