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Mercury Bay Sports-complex - blame-game!

Predictably, our Mayor is busy preparing for the Deloitte Report into the background of the Whitianga Sports-complex debacle to be presented at Council on 20 February. He was firmly setting the scene for blame to be laid on previous councils during a 20 minute interview with Rex Simpson on Coro FM last Thursday.          

The background to the Sports-complex situation is illuminating of course, and as he said, “the whole truth and nothing but the truth needs to lay where it lies” when the Deloitte Report is further tabled at the Whitianga public meeting on 27 February. But he appears prone to overlook the fact that the $2m over-expenditure that is the real bone of contention occurred entirely within the term of his Council. His admission towards the end of the interview that the previous Council had only approved a $750,000 ablution block for the site, that blew out to $2.5 million under his stewardship, and with apparent ‘cost-plus’ contracting was instructive. 

It is all very well to huff and puff, and sound decisive and bold, but Mayor Leach will have to provide a far better explanation for the $2m over-expenditure than he provided last Thursday – and take decisive action, both procedurally, and in regard to culpable staff. As an aside, the selection of Deloitte’s to undertake the enquiry is interesting – one of its partners sat on the previous Audit Committee which he appears to zero in on. His complaint of his predecessor and others having failed to warn him of apparent deficiencies is derisory considering his outrageous insults during the campaign, and failure post-election to seek any briefing.

Mayor Leach’s attempts to spread blame by reeling off names (including my own) of people who moved or seconded motions in the past suggests a smear. His repetition of Chris Lux’s involvement may be more relevant, but to claim that he knew nothing of the “secret” 2004 Trust Deed with Waterways beggars belief – it was published in the Whitianga ‘Informer’.

What is even more extraordinary is that he managed to avoid mentioning the name of the person principally responsible for almost every major decision in Whitianga since the outset – none other than the previous Board Chair, and now Councillor McLean. This exemplifies the lengths to which our Mayor is willing to go to divert responsibility, and minimize the electoral effects on his thoroughly compliant Council, now his “team”.




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Reader Comments (2)

jeez amazing how Houdini Leach thinks he can lay the blame on the previous councils on this one. Talking amongst my fellow ratepayers in the Bay one begins to think we must have been on another planet when all of this happened. Minogue tried to warn council about growing it from 8 to 10 ha but the then Board Chair McLean was adamant it had to be 10ha -all this is documented in minutes of various meetings and laid out here in Bill's blog. Our question to Leach is how did the grandstand grow from a simple changing shed to a building 86m long with room for 100 male and 100 females to be able to change at the same time -[ now we believe they are getting trusses made so they can put a temporary roof over the mess], when were they ever going to need that capacity here in the Bay? How many times have they tried to sow grass seed on the fields- twice we believe at about 25k at a time - then sprayed the fields with a weed spray that may require the top 150mm to be removed because it is poisoned. Surely Leach must have seen this giant edifice growing up out of the sand when he cruised past- either going home or going to Thames - no point in blaming others - it has all happened under his watch. Wasn't Leach the one who said the previous Council lacked' best business practices'?. Now he is going to personally check on all contracts over 500,000k - well LGA 2002 probably requires that - but of course he had not read the Act when he stood for Mayor, as he so proudly expoused during the campaign.
All in all this is a black mark for our lovely community - one I fear is going to cost each and everyone of our ratepayers dearly over the next decade or two - still a nice place to go if there is going to be a tsunami [last practise they locked the school children into the tennis courts-!!]
The expose on Wed is going to be a show stopper - I for one will be there just to see Leach try a wriggle out of this one -if he can

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPipi

Yeah, Leach needs to act like a man and take responsibility for his actions. I suspect all this historical stuff that will emerge at the meeting on the 27th will just be another one of his smoke screens to take the attention away from him and his stuff-ups.And please note we are already regarded as a laughing stock across the Waikato District as well as in government circles due to his pontificating on Council amalgamations and the Moanatairi thing.

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeaforth

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