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Final Council Meeting

Today’s meeting was distinguished by the appearance on one Bob Birch who was apparently on Council with Leach in the early 1990’s, and who it was that Leach turned to prior to and after the 2010 Election for advice on how to run the show.

How do we know this? – Because Bob Birch told us today the sequence of events during a 20 minute pre-meeting diatribe about how he had been approached, and conducted his ‘advisory’ role.

He prefaced his presentation by asking “if media were present?” Leach assured his that only someone who “thought he was media, but who leaves a lot to be desired” was present. Birch then asked me if I was prepared to treat what he was going to say as “confidential.” I declined and suggested that Leach instead “go into public excluded” which of course would have presented difficulties from a ‘standing orders’ viewpoint. Birch then agreed to speak, but restrain his comments about the previous Council, which he claimed “to know a lot about.”   

This extraordinary process was followed by an equally extraordinary piece of self-serving codswallop about how he presided over the initial ‘behind closed door meeting’ of Council that Leach called for the Monday following the Election.

It was in this meeting that Birch presented and had had accepted the Ten-point ‘Mission Statement’ that became the dogma of the incoming group. What is remarkable is that this bunch of ‘wets’ allowed Leach to impose this set of rules, and thereupon, apparently under Birch’s guidance, managed to set about undermining the senior staff who he considered to be over-paid, over promoted and given to “passive resistance to change” (Birch’s words).

Then Mr Birch proceeded (much to Leach’s embarrassment, I suspect) to regale us with all of his interpretations of just what was wrong with the then Council and how to go about fixing it – all behind closed doors.

Who is Birch – apparently a mate of Leach’s from his earlier Council days, but prior to that a senior engineering executive from Air NZ who I am told was made redundant in the late eighties, and who now lives in Tauranga, but who apparently watches what goes on here with a beady eye!

He must have been quite persuasive, because he is said to have been the originator of the utterly undemocratic process of making all decisions behind closed ‘workshop’ doors, and simply passing them as fait accompli in the actual Council meetings – a practice exemplified by the passing of today’s entire agenda in forty five minutes.

Before stepping away from the table, Birch warned councillors to make sure and carry on the processes that he had put in place in the new Council, and interestingly, to beware of a “group” culture because “it prevented the introduction of new ideas.” What a joke – he clearly has not heard about the advent of the ‘TCDC TEAM’

So this Council has operated in a manner imposed by a complete outsider, that is the antithesis of democracy, and that has resulted in a complete absence of information that presents anything other than the accepted wisdom contrived behind closed door ‘workshops’ and conveyed in by smooth talking PR executives from what is now the all-important “communications” division.

What we heard today was a deplorable, if inadvertent revelation of what made this Council tick over the last six years. If you have not already voted, keep that in mind before you select your candidates.




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