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Friday
Mar012013

Leach's Legacy

There are two important issues relating to the charges that Mayor Leach has levelled at previous councils in relation to the pickle in which he now finds himself. He lashed out at Wednesday's public meeting at the then newly installed 2004 Council for having "approved the (2004) deed", and waved a piece of paper that he claimed proved this. This turned out to be a list of 19 documents that had been 'sealed', and that required Council retrospective 'approval'. The famous deed was an item on that list, and had been 'sealed' a fortnight previously. Thus it was already a 'legal' (and enforceable!) document well before it appeared on that list.

And this is what David Hammond had to say about the document in a letter dated 20 November 2012:

"Although Council's committees widely dealt with the matter, Council itself did not formally resolve the Agreement", and "Mr Ruru's Audit Committee Report in 2011 notes that, in hindsight, it would have been prudent for the proposed acceptance of this land for reserve credits to have been approved by Council".

That would seem to dispose of Mr Leach's first argument in pretty clear fashion.

The second issue concerns the alleged failure of the subsequent Council to obtain a Business Case for the Whitianga Waterways 8/10 hectare land that was the subject of the first deed.

A copy of the Opus prepared Business Case shows quite clearly that it had been prepared for THREE possible sites - 1) a dispersed model involving existing reserves. 2) the Moewai Road 8/10 h. option and 3) the Whitianga Waterways option.

His complaint of the lack of a Business Case is therefore totally without merit - the Case was there, and despite its $585,000 cost, still failed to provide detailed land information in regard to either Moewai Road or the WW site. It was a defective Report prepared by a company that was quite devoid of playing ground  experience. Once again, Whitianga staff had let untendered contracts for work that was ineffective and overpriced. Ruru's alleged 'recommendation' for a further 'business case' should be considered in the light of the information below. It should be pointed out that the only proof that it was a 'recommendation' as stated by Leach is that it was thus characterised in the minutes presented to the following meeting of the incoming almost entirely new Council. Cr Bartley is hardly likely to have questioned it. It is not proof!

In fact, any doubt regarding this matter is dispelled with the content of a paper provided to Council on 22 June 2010 by Steve Ruru (and 'The Leadership Team') under Public Excluded.  All of this paper is relevant, but note the following in particular:

Recommendation 4. Determines that it wishes to to proceed with the develpment of the Multi-Sport Complex on the ten hectare Whitianga Waterways Ltd site and that it does not require a further business case to be developed before making this decision. (my bold) 

And

Business Case
Council's draft Procurement Policy1 requires that a full business case be developed for capital works projects in excess of $500,000. Under this policy, there is also a requirement for the physical works of the value relating to the Multi-Sport Complex to be procured through a competitive tender process.The Mercury Bay Community Board and/or Council has previously considered three business cases relating to the development of a new Multi-Sport Complex in Whitianga.
These were presented in September 2006, December 2007 and February 2010.
Collectively, these business cases have outlined the justification, from a community needs
perspective, for the development of a new Multi-Sport Complex and evaluated the different options between Moewai Road and the WWL site. These business cases have also highlighted the estimated development costs and financial risks associated with each option.

What these business cases do not cover is the contracting methodology, updated development cost estimates and risks associated with the current WWL proposal. A number of these issues have, however, been discussed in the order paper presented to the 15 June Council meeting and in this report. While Council's draft Procurement Policy would suggest that a new business case should be developed for the final proposal now being considered,staff are also of the view that it would be reasonable for Council to determine that it does not require a further business case to be developed. (my bold)

That would seem to destroy Leach's second great 'revelation' about last Council. It also calls into question the veracity of statements made by staff, and the throughness of their research. Or was Mr Leach relying on his own undoubted research abilities?

Although the 2007-10 Council finally approved the project on 29 September 2010, it was only in the most general terms. Whitianga staff then proceeded to operate completely outside guidelines as they had done in regard to the Opus contract, but the work started after the election of the new Council. The new Council therefore has to take responsibility for failures that have occurred under their watch - something that the Mayor appears entirely reluctant to face. They may well prove to be entirely staff failures, as admitted by Board manager Sam Marshall on Wednesday, but that only mitigates the responsibility of Council.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (9)

OMG - it is so hard to tell what is the truth and what is fiction. Listening to leach at the public meeting last week [and on CFM] lead me to believe it was all the fault of the last Council - but Bill going to the link you provided on this blog [ click on 'paper provided to Council'] and that gives a whole different story. The big question now is- who changed the size of the changing rooms and why and will action be taken??
One thing for sure - is that my rates are going to rise here in the Bay and not only for next year but apparently for the next 20-25 years to help pay this mess off and that don't please me at all - this current Council has got alot to answer for.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPipi

Yes,

Now that Leach has told us all a load of pigs cobblers, culminating in his Reichs-fuhrer-performance at the public meeting, the line from the Council's spin doctors now is:

The Council has had a full and frank discussion of the issues and problems encountered with the Whitianga Multi Sports Park at its public meeting of 27 February....Council is now focused on looking forward and supporting the community to see the facliity getting well established and well used." (statement made in Whitianga's "The Informer" p.9)

While no-one would argue with the sentiment to have the facility well established and used, the "full and frank discussion" spoken of has only occurred in their dreams, unfortunately.

Since the time of Barriball's subdivision antics, I can't think of a time when local politics has sunk to such a low level.

Dal Minogue.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

Actually, Pipi, ALL ratepayers in TCDC will be paying for this, as the interest on the borrowing is paid for by all, not just Mercury bay. This is despite the fact that there will be a significant majority of ratepayers who will never use the fields or facilities. What is not clear to me is if Hoppers are paying reserve contributions on their future sections fro Whitianga Waterways, or if their agreement with Council now gets them off payment.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

Gee thanks Sailing Away for that piece of good news re interest on loans -not
Note in the agreement WWl are to pay DCLevies but NOT neighbourhood reserve contributions.
When and how is this MBMSComplex going to finish up - I dread to think what the final cost will be - as a local ratepayer under this new regime of communities pay for what they want -I am going to be stung for years to come. Interesting on that note that there is a proposal to charge for boat ramps in Whitianga [ and so they should!]- my how the wheel has turned full circle - didn't this town turn on the last Council over the matter of boat ramp charges - go the Fox!!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPipi

Thanks for clearing that up Pipi, thats sad news for Mercury Bay ratepayers re: local reserve contributions. And with potentially close to 1000 rateable units to go on the waterways development in coming years, that a lot of money you are going to miss out on over there - I would think way more than the value of the sports field! As for the boat ramps, didn't Fox stand on one issue only - to abolish boat ramp fees???

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

just back from my bi monthly bike ride and and on reading Sailing Away's comments got me reaching for the phone to chat to an ex councillor about boat ramps!
Yip sure enough Fox did stand to get rid of boat ramp charges and lead the call with a Carl Muir [who is a charter boat operator using Councils ramps but refuses to pay for the privelege] - apparently Fox sent a letter to all of last term councillors with a thinly veiled threat about how he had some 2000 members at the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club and he would get everyone to vote againist any candidate supporting the charges- and even offered to help then Mayor Barriball with his vast knowledge of problem solving techniques and dispute resolution prowess - but the offer wasn't acepted!! - apparently both Fox and Miur railed againist Councillors seeking re-election through various mediums, namely newsletters and websites. The claim was that 1 in 5 people in the Bay have a boat - as it is a town based on tourism [fishing] they had a God given right to be able to launch their boats without having to pay - poor ol' ratepayers could/should pick up the tab.
Strange isn't that boat ramp charges work well at Sugar Loaf and Wakawau Bay on the western seaboard and Whangamata on the Eastern seaboard - and as a ratepayer in the Bay WHO does not have a boat I resent paying to build ramps for a few fisho's. And what of the fanciful idea of a current Councillor who wants to shunt the Bay Rugby club off Lyons Park so they can build a ramp nearby and use the footie field for carparking - well we will see about that. The same Councillor whilst board chair threatened Council that he would 'take them to the enviroment court' if Council choose to build a ramp in Stormont Lane area - which is the only logical place to be honest.And the fact that Fox railed againist the boat ramp charges during the election period it may be said he has what can best be described as a 'predetermination' and therefor should not be involved in discussions as a councillors -- hence--GO the Fox!!

Whew that brings me back to the MBMSComplex with it's massive overruns under this Councils watch. There appear to be a common thread to all of this - my ex councillor mate tells me that a former board chair [of some two terms] repeatedly requested that the WW site be increased from 8 ha to 10 ha and now is a councillor and also a member of the Sports Fields trust - the people charged with the resposonbility of making the project work - [like maybe what the ground needs - grandstands, goalpost etc?] ---very interesting indeed.
Hey Sailing Away could I grab a berth on your boat and we both bail before we are rated out of the Bay - thanks to the current Council

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPipi

This whole episode speaks of serious procedural,accounting and decision making failure over sustained period of time..a lot has to go wrong for this to be possible and a lot of due process ignored..even by their own calculation,with a full contigent of PR people in the back pocket, an apology is tantamount to acknowledging all of this.This cant be the only error in a regime this disfunctional stands to reason.Lets hope an audit surfaces the rest..

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNot fooled

After the Whiti public meeting I asked Steve the TCDC financial manager if the rest of the peninsula was helping pay the interest on the borrowed millions. He assured me that the local ward shouldered that burden. This is a change that altered the previous CEO's intentions. Interest on loans that are owed to the Australian-owned commercial banks, over the life of the loan, roughly equal the value of the borrowed money. Thus the M.B. ratepayers are giving the price of another multi-sports park to Australian shareholders. Profit at a distance.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood,

Just a bit more on Whitianga charging for boat ramps. I have read in Fridays Hauraki Herald that apparently the boat ramp fees are now back on for 2013/14 in Whitianga. If thats the case, there goes any cred that Fox may have had.

April 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

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