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Dirk Sieling - Fishing Industry as Single Issue  

Here is Dirk Sieling's Profile posted today. It will show his commitment to the development of the fishing industry as his principal platform for the Election. It arises for his participation as a member of the Seachange project Inc. But you can bet that defence of farming interests will be his primary concern - always has been!

He is undeniably committed to every aspect of the fishing industry, and will undoubredly push for the Wilson's Bay Aquaculture Project that lies stymied for the moment on the WRC agenda.

Just in case voters have forgotten, here is a reminder of the imbroglio in which Cr Sieling was involved in 2009 at Whitianga over the use of land which he had organised a lease with current Whitianga Council candidate Lesley McCormick. Ms McCormick was Area Manager at the time. 

The Auditor General may have cleared Dirk, but there remain a considerable number of people around Whitianga who to this day have never forgiven him for what they consider to have been sub-standard behaviour in regard to entire manner in which he benefited from the operation of this lease.

From Waikato Times 26 November 2009

Thames-Coromandel district councillor Dirk Sieling has been cleared by the Auditor-General's Office over his use of council land, lifting what the embattled councillor described as a "black cloud".

"I never had any doubt whatsoever (that I'd be cleared)," Mr Sieling told the Waikato Times.

"I just got frustrated at the length of time it took. A black cloud has been lifted and now I can get on with governing this district."

Accusations over Mr Sieling's lease of council land in Moewai Rd, Whitianga, have been flying around Mercury Bay since September last year when a local newspaper ran a series of articles linking him with the demise of the BluesfestNZ music event in Whitianga. The land, known as the Sherriff Block, was used to host the event last year. Mr Sieling has grazed cows on the block for the past five years, taking over the lease before he became a district councillor in 2007. But some residents alleged Mr Sieling had not paid any rent on the land, potentially leaving ratepayers an estimated $100,000 out of pocket.

The Auditor-General's Office was asked to investigate the allegations in February this year. Auditor-General Phillippa Smith this week ruled that all financial matters relating to Mr Sieling's use of the land had been or were being settled.

Thames-Coromandel ratepayers were not out of pocket in any way, she said. However, she said the council had not effectively managed the land as it did not formally document a lease agreement with Mr Sieling. "A formal lease agreement would have provided clarity about the terms and conditions of the lease of the Sherriff Block, including the requirement to pay rates."

Ms Smith recommended that Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) put in place formal agreements for all council-owned land whether it was leased or not. It should also ensure all relevant information for each agreement, such as terms and conditions, were formally documented and held in their central register of leases.

TCDC chief executive Steve Ruru accepted the findings and was implementing the recommendations. A proposed property strategy would go to council for consideration in December.




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