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Monday
Sep122016

Leach / Hopper Relationship Clear

The photos that accompanied the Leach panegyric in the Waikato Times on 8 September says it all really - there he is standing on some plastic gin palace in the middle of the Whitianga Waterways, again giving credence to the long suspected close relationship between he and Hopper. It was this that carried him to election in 2010, and sustained him through the Sports Ground disaster up to the Medical Centre, and who knows what else. 

It is undoubtedly true that Glenn undertook and achieved some major goals on his advent as Mayor - he completely changed the upper echelon which was probably long overdue - they were entrenched and has established work habits that put them virtually beyond the reach of the then Council. But nothing was achieved within normal modern HR principles - more like slash and burn with huge sums paid out on personal grievance and 'encouragement' payments - to go, that is!

Glenn claims the total loyalty of his colleagues - well I am the only person to have observed his behavior over the six years in Council and I can only describe it as bullying, bullocking and 'my way or the highway.' He does not have a clue about how to run a cohesive ship - terror amongst staff has been the order of the day, and woe betide anyone who crossed him. Meanwhile, and contrary to denials, staff numbers have dramatically increased.

He claims four great achievements:

1)  Reduced rates, reduced debt - a totally 'hide the marble' exercise undertaken under the guise of some extremely clever accounting practices involving the the use of asset valuations, depreciation, and the definition of 'borrowing' amongst many other tricky practices available to local government that would be eshewed commercially. There are a number of issues that should concern the Auditor General that she avoids in the interests of restricting oversight to the 'big picture.' If further evidence is necessary, ask yourself just how he has achieved all these great claimed objectives, and at the same time reduced rates and borrowing - bollocks!

2)  Devolution to decision making tp community boards - largely window-dressing, and involving substantial governance and staffing cost.

3)  Moanataiari Arsenic Scare  - this was a major achievement due principally to the assiduous work of one particular staff member, but carried to fruition by Glenn - no question about it. It could have ended up costing our rate-payers 'an arm and a leg.'

4)  Economic Development - This is simply not true - whatever has happened it has been despite the efforts of Glenn and his appointed Economic Development Committee (including his mate Hopper!) to which he gave unprecedented expenditure powers while deliberately removing democratic process. It has achieved 'Sweet Fanny Adams' in four years, and has no justification whatsoever for its existence other than to spend our money in a manner that should be entirely the responsibility of Council as a whole.

The three core projects have failed, or partially failed to materialise because they were misconceived, based on false premise of support, and in at least case over-riding the strong objections of locals. They are mostly in limbo for one reason or another while optimistic reports continue to flow to Council on a regular basis.

The WW1 Forestry Project is a total disaster, again misconceived, and out of all proportion to the level of remembrance appropraite in this day and age. It is truely another ego-driven project in which no-one but Leach has any real lasting interest. It is a real 'doozy' that will remain a burden to rate-payers in this District forever and a day, with no worthwhile return.  

There are many other issues that have arisen over the last few years that if outlined in full would give strong cause for concern with his protege Peter French knocking on the door of Mayoralty. Hopefully Sandra Goudie, who has quietly opposed Glenn on some of his more 'mad-hat' projects, and consequently been the subject of abuse and attempts to shut her down while at the Council table, will have more than enough 'big guns' to shut French down, but if that does not happen expect Leach to exercise a great deal of influence over the manner in which the next Council operates. I cannot think of a single issue on which French opposed Leach during the term of these last two Councils. 

Leach's constant and unquestioned access to the media through the pages of the Waikato Times and elsewhere has been nothing shor of a journalistic disgrace - young reporters fresh out of university are sent to interview him, and takes full advantage as he has on this occasion. Mind you, he made sure that the media services inside Council were increased from one to about six, and they know which side of their bread is buttered. 

His other sidekick - McLean, has been spreading the word at Whitianga that many staff will "walk" if Sandra gets the nod. Let me assure you that that is simply not the case - many are breathing a huge sigh of relief at the prospect of Leach's departure - why would they want 'crypto-Leach?' Many would welcome someone who understands what local government is all about. She won't suit everyone of course - who would, but she is sufficiently savvy and knowledgeable about how to get a team working to make a real mark on the next Council regardless of the hangover of acolytes from the Leach regime. Her major attribute is integrity - sadly lacking of late.

Of course it would be great if they could rid themselves of the entire French "TCDC Team" that includes McLean, Fox, Bartley, Peters, Christie and Simpson, But that seems unlikely, and Sandra can work any of them - but none should expect her to be generous with 'chairmanships.' And "Tally-Ho" to the Economic Development Committee.  I can't wait!

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Also in the same article Leach claimed to have reduced Council debt by no less than $30million.
Tremendous effort I would say, worthy of a medal ,but is the claim true I ask?

September 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEagle Eye

Instead of Leach saying [in the article] the proposed rate increase was 7.5% ,as shown in the 10 Year Plan [inherently difficult to pedict rates 10 years out], tell us what it actually was.
3.4% from memory, less than half.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story eh Leachy??

September 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterYeah Right

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