Daylight Suddenly on Hauraki Rail Trail
Monday, September 7, 2015 at 8:10AM
Bill Barclay

The business and personal mess that has now emerged explains a a great deal about why we have been kept in the dark for so long over the current state of the Trail.

This story appeared in the NZH on Wednesday outlines detail regarding a $17,500 payout awarded by the Employment Relations Authority against HRT for providing an unsafe workplace. The plaintiff was Carol Baker - previously the partner or Peter Maynard who was convicted of assaulting her after a jury trial while she was employed by HRT of which he was the Governing Director. We were informed of his precipitate departure some time ago, but again we have been kept in the dark regarding just what else he got up to while he was running the show. 

An extract from the NZH report is instructive:

"Ms Baker began working as a marketing manager for Hauraki Rail Trail in January 2012, the authority said. She was employed because she was involved in a romantic relationship with Mr Maynard at the time, and was living with him." (my underline!)

Oh dear! - Huaraki DC, who were responsible for day to day supervision at the time looks to have taken its eye off the ball, to say the least! But that does not absolve the other councils from responsibility - it was our rates, and Government taxes that they were spending on this little boondoogle!

The scandal was kept well under wraps while the shareholder councils have scrambled to reduce the public relations disaster that has dogged the progress of this company from day one. A staggering amount of spin has emanated from our Council that has created a totally false picture of HRT's progress. Our rate-payers have every right to believe that that they have been led by the nose at all stages.

And remember that our staff who have been involved from the outset were Ben Day and Greg Hampton, and the Trustees who preceeded Hammond were Sandra Goudie and Warren Male - they clearly skiddadled when they realised just what they were up against. Questions can, and need to be asked about the manner in which they fulfilled their responsibilities as trustees

As if it was not enough that the Auditor General adversely reported on the accounts and operations of the Company and the Trust - matters that we are yet to see resolved despite the appointment of our own Chief Executive Hammond on to the Trust. It all leaves leaves one wondering just what may be found elsewhere regarding the operation of this unit for which ultimately our councils are responsible. 

There has been totally inadequate reporting to our Economic Development Committee that ostensibly carries the can for our Council. There was no report to the previous meeting, and there has clearly been deliberate obfuscation to keep the situation under wraps. We have no clue regarding the financial situation of the Company, or the Trust, but every reason to suspect that the previous confusion remains. Hauraki Council Staff were allocated the task of sorting it out, but we have had no confirmation of what they have managed to achieve.

It is justifiable to believe the worst in the circumstances, and a complete winding up of the affairs of the two entities is not beyond the bounds of possibility. It will certainly be interesting to see just what appears on the agenda of the Economic Development Committee for 29 September.

No-one comes out of this typical example of Council commercial enterprise smelling of roses - quite the opposite! How many more are around the corner on Leach's watch?




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (
See website for complete article licensing information.