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EDC Summary (2)

Readers may well wonder at the level of detail that I am reporting from meetings of the EDC. It is quite simple really - for better or worse this is where the real business of Council is being conducted. Rate-payers may find this paradoxical, even objectionable, but that is the way that the Leach/Hammond/Day Triumvirate have determined that democracy is to be honed to their vision of how the District should be run.

I personally find this turn of events objectionable, but Leach and his team were elected for a second term, and we therefore have to accept it. At least, the make-up of the Committee has been adjusted (reluctantly, it must be said!) to conform with the most basic tenets of democratic process through the appointment of two additional members from the ranks of Councillors, but that hardly eliminates the overall defect that has been brought about by this Committee device.

Now to the Rail Trail and it does not get much better I am afraid. All the trustees have indicated that they do not wish to continue, having become totally frustrated with the management structure put in place by Hauraki DC.

The Settlors (Councils) have met and decided that the CEO's will continue oversight in the meantime, but quite simply the current structure is unworkable - it has made $40k revenue in the last year, supposedly a "brilliant" year, and the Council has had to underwrite it to the extent of $48k - what will it be like in a bad year?

In addition, the Trail is deteriorating -not badly, but bad enough to warrant immediate attention. Apparently our Council's expectation of a "World class" facility is not necessarily matched by our partners vision, and further, Matatmata-Piako have managed to "skin-flint" its capital contributions to $25k a year - how on earth did that happen without our knowing about it?

Leach indicated that the $1m contribution to the Kopu/Kaiaua stretch is in serious doubt pending Board changes to achieve better outcomes. This is a dramatic change from the report delivered to the previous meeting, and probably is another reason why Hammond has taken the reigns on behalf of our Council. Day indicated that he had been told by HDC that K2K will happen regardless of our contribution - only delayed until 2021  if we pull out!

After all the talk, this state of affairs must be extremely concerning to our rate-payers who have not been kept fully informed to date - on the contrary, they have been fed a continuous line of optimistic B/S by our Council, and through the publicity generated by the Trail organisations. In the end, I suspect that even the non-interventionist Auditor General will need to take a close look at this total shemozzle, no matter how "successful" the Trail itself - and lets face it, that mainly means the Paeroa to Waihi section.

I would suggest that this Economic Development Committtee - now in existence for nearly 18 months has failed to live up to the hype surrounding its establishment - it has not managed to bring about the 'commercial' approach to oversight that was promised - rather it has remained an observer, and reactive. The Triumverate continue to initiate, and the sooner Brent and his Committee lay down a few principles by which they aim to reverse these roles, the better. At the moment they they just appear puppets - questioning puppets, but puppets nevertheless.

I decline to pass any further comment on the other matters - Broadband Initiative, and Business Friendly Manager (Len Whittaker) - they are of minor importance at this stage, and I think everyone has heard quite enough from me on this Committee.





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