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Thursday
Sep272012

Tairua / Pauanui

Refer to the 'Pauanui Seeks Separation' post below.

It came before council yesterday, and it seemed that public consultation would not now take place - at least until other options had been developed by staff, and considered by the Board, though it appears that the staus quo no longer figures as one of those options. All this came under a revised motion by Cr Wells and Board Chair Renton. The ridiculous nature of the Board Chair meeting involvement stands out in the Press Release - it indicates that these two put the motion forward. We were led to believe at the outset that the chairs were simply observers and contributors to debate - just how they get to propose resolutions is beyond me, and calls the whole process into question from a legal standpoint. It will be interesting to see if this wording is altered - as it stands the whole process could well be challenged.  

This in itself is acknowledgement that Pauanui has a case that must be addressed, but just how this may be achieved without a total split is beyond me - the difficulty is enhanced by the Hikuwai ratepayers who are neither on one side or the other, and who would cop substantial additional rates should the proposal proceed. CFO Steve Baker expressed grave concerns in regard to accounting issues that would arise as the result of the adoption of 'special' rates. CE Hammond appeared to dismiss any concerns in that regard, but he has shown a cavalier attitude in the past to these mere details.

The whole issue is being driven by the Pauanui Rate-payers Association as the result of long-standing grievances that their rates are not being raised or spent in an equitable manner. Council accounts are not transparent in regard to expenditure within Board catchments, and this is not surprising. In fact, were such complicated break-outs to be adopted throughout the District, there would be countless complaints, and demands that would make Council unworkable. But Pauanui residents are convinced that the old swings and roundabouts argument is no longer tenable from their standpoint, and initial investigations by staff would tend to bear out their complaints that there is a continuous imbalance in their situation. 

The matter has probably been exacerbated by the strident calls in Tairua for a sports complex, the cost of which under the current arrangements  would fall equally on the both sides of the river - clearly not a prospect that thrills the aging population of Pauanui. Further, they consider that they are already hard done by, claiming that Hopper's provided the majority of the infrastructure for their town through the price of their properties, but they are expected to contribute to all other District infrastructure. This very old argument has little relevance today, but it still rankles.

I have stated my position on this matter in my earlier post and remain unconvinced of the merit of the argument. When I consider the manner in which Eatern councillors argued for and obtained District wide charging of wastewater, the old 'good for the goose' argument comes to mind. These people are capable of developing contrary positions on almost any subject if it suits their purposes. 

 

 

 

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