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Reihana Refutes New WRC CEO Claim

Reihana Robinson has released the following presser in disputing the claim by new WRC CEO Vaughan Payne that the WRC dispute with TCDC was "operational and easily fixed":

Unitary Group Disputes WRC Claims

Campaigners seeking formation of a unitary council to govern the Coromandel Peninsula say recent statements from Waikato Regional Council underscore the urgency of breaking ties with Hamilton policymakers.

The Campaign for a Unitary Coromandel responded this week to claims by newly hired WRC CEO Vaughan Payne that the sour relations between his council and the peninsula were merely “operational and easily fixed”. Payne was commenting on widespread dissatisfaction with his council and steps by Thames-Coromandel District Council to explore the possibility of establishing a single-tier standalone authority for the area.

Unitary council campaign spokesperson Reihana Robinson said the regional council chief “is in denial and totally misrepresents the nature of the problem. It’s much more fundamental than the CEO cares to admit.”

“WRC staff and councillors in Hamilton are urban-focused, far removed and largely unaccountable, resulting in regional policy that is inappropriate for our district and expensive, unwanted work streams forced on residents regardless of ability to pay,” Robinson said. “WRC has failed repeatedly to respect community wishes, while continuing to mine the district for general and targeted rates to support its own organisational growth and western Waikato interests.”

“The problems are numerous, major, and recurring,” Robinson said. “In the last two years alone, we’ve had the million dollar-plus Whangamata mangrove fiasco, bullying over Moanataiari remediation, pressure to adopt faulty SNA policy, unfair rating demands at Te Puru, toxin operations that contravene explicit community wishes, loading of Cambridge velodrome costs onto Coromandel residents who derive no benefit -- just to name a few.”  

“The inability or unwillingness of WRC leadership to confront these failures only serves to reinforce the need for an eastern Waikato unitary council,” Robinson said.

“Chronic conflict over regional council policy, operations, and costs prompted 1,500 citizens to petition this year to break with WRC. The solution is not about massaging council relationships, as the CEO suggests, but adopting a new local government structure that properly reflects the distinct geography, economy, culture, and aspirations of the Coromandel.”

Independent research commissioned by TCDC on the financial viability of a unitary council arrangement for the Coromandel and Thames Valley is expected for release early next year. 

Reihana may or may not be aware of the content of the Morrison Low Report - she may be reading too much into Hammond's statement that he had had a "verbal" indication from them that indicated that the proposals were "viable". I would prefer to wait and see just how the analysis has been conducted.

Certainly, Reihana's comments about Vaughan Payne are spot-on - his analysis is indicative of continuing hubris within that quarter.




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Reader Comments (1)

Given your claims of financial mismanagement by Mayor Leach with a now unsustainable debt level it would seem inconceivable that the TCDC could got it alone as a Unitary?

That then begs the question who in their right mind would join them and be saddled with a financial millstone.

I wonder what information was made available to the Morrison Low report authors? I suspect that a report like that would be forensically investigated by interested 3rd parties if it is ever used as a basis for amalgamation though so any TCDC "Hubris" in its self would be picked up.

Not by the Auditor Generals Office though!

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

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