Councillor Hubris
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 11:25AM
Bill Barclay

One of the remarkable phenomena surrounding just about every politician after a period in office, is the temptation to rort whatever systems are in place to provide recompense for whatever expenses that they may incur in the course of their work.

The form of the rort varies, but in almost every case follows a pattern that is easy to follow, that is inevitably revealed and that makes the person concerned look stupid, devious or downright dishonest. In the case of TCDC, Councillor Hoadley indicated during the election process her intention to move to Thames should she be elected, failed to do so, and consequently claimed for mileage (170 ks) from her Castor Bay residence for her frequent visits to the town.

This pales into insignificance when compared to the outrageous rorting perpetrated by Waikato Regional Council Deputy Chair Simon Friar who during 2011/12 claimed more than $40,000 in members expenses, including $9,650 on food and accommodation, most of which was for when he was accommodated at his son's home in Hamilton. He claimed 111 nights altogether, while Chair Peter Buckley claimed for 67 - mostly for Hamilton hotel accommodation while he lived within 100 kms of the Council threshold. The next highest claim was for 34 nights for Taupo councillor Laurie Burdett.

The Council is to consider a change its allowances policy this week - and not before time. All one can adduce from councillor Friar's claim is that he has lived high on the hog during his frequent absences from home, and that living with his family in Hamilton is more attractive that living at home on his own. Be that as it may, there is no reason whatsoever why this should be at the expense of the ratepayer.   

It is not even as if Councillor Friar has made any distinguishable contribution to the work of the council other than attend countless meetings at which he makes absolutely minimal contribution. He has certainly failed in a number of cases to follow through with policies that he promoted prior to his election, and and appears to mainly distinguish himself by 'making up the numbers'.

The WRC has managed to alienate just about every corner of its of its vast estate over its term of office, and there appears to be seething resentment within the electorate as to the manner in which it has implemented its mandate. The next election should see some major changes in personnel if the initial indications are any guide, and the performance of Councillor Friar should come under close examination at that time. His cavalier attitude towards claiming expenses are unlikely to go unnoticed.




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