Whitianga Waterways and MBSC - the saga continues!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 3:46PM
Bill Barclay

The week's Peninsula Press contains two quite important stories on this saga - it won't go away for some considerable time, and one can detect an element of panic around the Castle as ways and means of deflecting blame are developed. The full resources of the augmented PR machine appear to have been brought to bear. 

Dal Minogue has been an interested observer of the shenanigans surrounding the WWSC issues, and had drawn together some context by releasing correspondence that he had with Steve Ruru from 2006 through to 2008. It would appear that Ruru did his level best obfuscate and indeed 'bury' some of the these documents in the interests of avoiding almost inevitable litigation with WW.  I believe Dal is correct in his belief that Ruru was not a party to the infamous Lux/Waterway's Deed, and may have even been unaware himself of its content. He gave every appearance of being  intimidated by Hoppers and their advisors - particularly their advisor - Evan Young.

If I recall correctly, it was Council's then legal advisor - Brookfields who indicated the necessity to retain confidentiality when their verbal opinion was provided to Council on 29 September 2010 - we were not allowed to see it because of 'legal privaledge'. Further, that the document was perfectly legal and enforceable even although it had not been seen or ratified by Council. Opinions will no doubt vary as to the efficacy of this advice.

The situation only became a major issue with the 2007-2010 Council when the content of the 'secret' deed became known at the end of their term, and only then because Hoppers wanted to get on with the sports-ground project - their staff and machinery were idle at the time, so it was necessary to put pressure on the Council to sign a deal to enable them to proceed. Willing Whitianga surrogates were manipulated to apply pressure on Council, but proceeding required the content of the deed to be revealed, which Ruru did with extreme reluctance - threats of legal action were thrown around with gay abandon in the event that any of the contents were revealed to the public - this apparently being a specific clause within the deed,

As Dal has repeated over and over, the devil is in the detail of the deed - this is where the whole thing begins, and was the result of an attempt by Hoppers to achieve entirely their own ends while giving the appearance of being public spirited benefactors. Never forget that the disposal of vast quantities of sand based fill in accordance with their resource consent was a major factor in pushing for their 8/10h block of land, ceded to the Council in exchange for Reserve Contribution concessions to be used for the sports complex, and they were smart enough to have provided for this in drawing up the deed. 

The net result is the outrageously impractical raised land which experienced sports ground operators are now saying will never survive as a sports field - the drainage is just too great, and the water required for the fancy turf too great for the meagre Whitianga water supplies. Oh dear, what a mess, and one that our friends on Council appear ready to blame on previous council(s). Please don't imagine that I have anything but admiration for Hopper's business acumen - they have played their hand to perfection, but one can legitimately question whether on this occasion they may have over-played it. Certainly it is perhaps unfortunate for them that this has all come out into the open as a result of the incompetence that has led to the gross over-spend on the facilities.

I intend to insert Dal's time-line right here so that you can see for yourself what he is on about, and why his relationship with McLean fell apart in a grand fashion:

I will include some of Dal's following analysis as to who is to blame for this mess, along with the relevant correspondence in a later post.




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