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Waste-Water Plant Witch-Hunt Under Way

Clearly there is a witch-hunt about to get under way in order to be able to lay the blame for the need for the new Development Contribution Policy at the door of pre-2010 councils. One only needed to listen to the raving that went on at yesterday's meeting as Leach pointed the finger at those councils for 'over-building' the waste-water plants, and undertaking insufficient investigation of future needs.

One of his line of attacks relates to the failure to offer "lump-sum payments" as an option for rate-payers at the time - his argument being that this would have reduced the need to borrow. Heaven knows why that was the case, but as Steve Baker was effectively the CFO through the latter part of the decision making period, he should have been able to provide answers, but he remained silent.

Leach's obsession with laying the blame on previous councils is such that he remains totally ignorant of the decision making process, and in particular the pressure that came on from from his own developer mates - the Hoppers in particular. These people made submissions at the time regarding the expansion of the canal project that would require the servicing of thousands of additional sections - plans that never materialised. The decisions of Environment Court that determined the need for plants to operate at hugely additional expense appears to have also escaped his notice.

Part of the Great Wastewater Rant also involves the alleged involvement of BERL in providing the growth rates around which the additional capacity of the plants was calculated. Nothing could be further from the truth. His total hatred of BERL clouds his vision inasmuch as Waikato University Population Unit provided these figures during the entire planning process period up to 2007. The die was cast by then and BERL came aboard after WUPU was fired in 2008. That they continued to provide shonky figures for the next few years until Leach lost patience is immaterial.

As a matter of interest, BERL apparently recently apologised to Local Government NZ for the 'mistakes' they made generally in regard to growth rates that effected councils all over the country.  But that had no relationship to the planning of the waste-water plants that obsesses Leach.  

I do look forward to the day when Leach finally takes responsibility for the mistakes his own Council has made since it came to office, including his utterly fatuous rate-reductions, and can get over his obsession with all that has gone before. If only he realised just how stupid it sounds to anyone with any real knowledge of the situation, and meanwhile the fiscal situation faced by our Council becomes more and more precarious - one only needed listen to the desperate appeals by Steve Baker yesterday for capital works budget reductions to undertand just how precarious.  




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Reader Comments (2)

You are spot on Bill but Leach will never let the facts get in the way of his version of what he thinks happened.
The Tairua/Pauanui upgrade really had to happen for environmental reasons due to past spills into the harbour and due to the total ban on new connections stopping any future growth. Once again Hoppers were lobbying hard for the upgrade to allow the final stages of their development to be completed.
The Whangamata upgrade was largely un-necessary but the greenie/surfer lobby bullied the community into going along with it while the totally ineffective ratepayers association stood by and let it happen despite fighting words from the then Whangamata elected representatives and others (Jack and his cronies). More money was wasted on investigating red herrings such as an ocean outfall which anyone with half a brain would know would be unacceptable to iwi.
The Whitanga upgrade was certainly supported by all and sundry given the massive growth of the town promised by Hoppers and others who jumped on the bandwagon and no one, including Leach, raised any concerns at the time.
Leach obviously has no understanding of how wastewater infrastructure is planned and delivered. I guess he thinks a plant can be built that caters for a couple of hundred units of growth and then if we need some more next year we’ll just build a bit more on some sort of “just in time” basis. This guy really is away with the fairies.
As far as growth projections go……they are “projections”. If the experts at the University of Waikato and then BERL can’t predict the future (only able to be determined with the benefit of hindsight) who do you use…..maybe the local fortune teller with a crystal ball or worst still maybe Leach knows better!
It’s time for Leach to front up to his mis-management (yes it is him pulling all the strings) of Council in pushing current costs onto future ratepayers……I guess he didn’t plan on the future catching up with him so quickly. He should have quit after his first term as he initially promised….now he has to face the reality of fixing up his own mess.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterInsider

“….One of his line of attacks relates to the failure to offer "lump-sum payments"…”
This option has always been available albeit only to developers….in fact it is the only option available to developers….it’s called a Development Contribution…..but hang on ….doesn’t Leach want to get rid of that? If Leach thinks ratepayers are going to pay a lump-sum for their share of increased levels of service in new infrastructure (e.g. wastewater plants) then he really is in cloud cuckoo land. Who in their right mind would pay the increased level of service component (when levels of service are subject to change every 3 years – or in reality at any time) up front as a lump sum so that Council can reduce its interest bill? would still get slugged in your rates for a share of the outstanding interest bill from all other ratepayers in any case…..any takers?

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterInsider

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