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French "Keen to Finish Projects!"

A story today on Stuff  by Teresa Ramsay, that will undoubtedly be reproduced in tomorrow's Fairfax HH tells us that Peter French wants to "Finish off some District projects that we haven't finished."

The accompanying photo ironically, has Peter standing in his ubiquitous blue suit, together with lapel badges with the old town wharf piles in the background. Why ironic? - well that is precisely the wharf that very nearly sent this town bankrupt many long years ago. Heaven help us is that is symbol of what is promised in his hoped for term as Mayor. 

Fortunately, he indicates no intentions to expand on Leach's Legacy - the "three great projects," that have to date all failed to materialise beyond expensive consultations, plan revisions, and preliminary works. All are in trouble to one degree or another, and I detect an attempt during the course of Peter's interview to 'distance himself' from the fall-out of eventual failure of one or all. Unfortunately, he is inextricably bound up with Leach's Legacy in all three, and he will find, if elected, that there is no escaping the consequences.  

I need not regale you once again with the disturbing events associated with each of these extravagant ventures, suffice to say that the chickens will come home to roost before too long in regard to each, and I suspect that Glenn will be well away on his "Freedom Camping holiday" when this happens. The question then will be, does French have the 'balls' to deal with the 'fall-out? I suspect not. Sandra on the other hand will I am sure, if elected, undertake an immediate review of each of the projects to see just how committed we are, and what the consequences of failure are likely to be. It is probably best that this take place sooner rather than later. 

It was a relief at least to see no mention in Peter's grand plans of the WW1 Memorial Forest Project. Perhaps he realises just how ridiculous that has become under Leach's guidance. It was pointed out me recently that the ratio of deaths of volunteers from each of the battles being commemorated, as between Thames and Mercury Bay was about 100:1 - yet the resources that are being expended on the Project is almost directly in the opposite proportion - like 1:100. Cool eh, but fairly typical.

We have heard nothing from French in regard to restoring the balance between the two Coasts. He is so tentative, and lacking charisma that he could not even bring himself to seek a larger profile on the "TCDC Team" signage that graces the District. From my observation, he will be intimidated by the McLean/Fox cabal, if they are also elected, and I can see no chance of a 'balancing of the books' as between the Coasts, as we attempted at some personal cost on the previous Council. 

Mr French would be better to apply himself to restoring this balance, by recognising the potential cost of keeping the East Coast in the manner to to which it feels it is entitled. It is the one issue that we inadvertently tread around at election time, to our great cost. They could start with changing rating valuations from 'land' to 'capital' as has occurred in virtually every other council in the land. Why we avoid this controversial subject completely escapes me, other than as a sop to the higher valued East Coast. No other reform would materially and favourably affect Thames rates more than such a change.

Good luck to Peter with completing the "Projects" - Great Walkway, Kopu to Kaiaua Cycleway, and Coromandel Harbour - each is hanging in the balance for disparate reasons, and together, could indeed bankrupt the next Council if not brought under control without delay. Forget the PR that has emanated from Council over recent months - there are matters that have not been revealed that would cause grave concern were they to be widely known.

Move away from those wharf piles next time Peter - they may be a bad omen!




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