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Saturday
Nov302013

Kaipara Points the Way

Just in case you thought that I may have exaggerated the financial situation facing our Council, just take a look at this extremely detailed account in today's Herald by Andrew Laxon that explains exactly how the situation at Kaipara has evolved.

Relate this for moment to the manner in which our wastewater debacle came about see if you can spot the  difference - difficult eh!

They only real difference that I can see is the manner in which our rate payers meekly accepted the liability, loans, and increased rates from 2004 onwards. I think we can thank Steve Ruru for the fact that there was not a revolt engendered by the old 'user-pay' principle being applied to the wastewater plants. It was he who pushed for a 'district-wide' charge to be implemented because of 'inability to pay'. That is just what they failed to do at Kaipara where the entire cost was loaded on to the Mangawhai rate-payers, and when the consequences of this became clear - they revolted.

I suspect that the same would have happened here if Steve Ruru's recommendation had not been adopted through the infamous 2001 Barriball/Sharp motion that moved the cost to 'district' - a move that even Sharp admitted later was "unfair" on Thames rate-payers, but totally pragmatic in the overall scheme of things.

Read the Andrew Laxon story right through because it contains seeds of post-event wisdom of which our Councillors should be taking very close note. There are consequences when you blithely reduce rates to curry favour with rate-payers - something this bunch of tyros failed to understand when they submitted to Leach's pressure at the outset of the last term.

With any luck, some of this wisdom may come to the fore at Thursday's 'closed door' Workshop when they will probably be given but one opportunity to agree to correct this gross error before it is magnified over time in the same manner as Kaipara. A rate increase - probably 5-6% is inevitable, and Leach's nonsense suggestion that they borrow another $6m to pay interest should be sent packing, regardless of the loss of face that he will suffer.

As I have said previously - watch this space, but don't hold your breath!

 

 

 

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