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Some Questions For Our Council!

It is always a downer when I need to nail our Council down on actions that it has failed to take on our behalf as rate-payers. The people who work there are without doubt the highest paid group of workers in this town, and a level of performance is expected that is by no means onerous – straight-forward in the main.

Non-performance, avoidance of responsibility, and worst of all – ‘passing the buck,’ is simply unacceptable, and once again I am moved to question the level of leadership that has led to this state of affairs. There are some major situations that have developed of late, that appear unlikely to be resolved by Christmas, and we all know what happens as we enter into the ‘silly season.’

Firstly, two intensely personal, and annoying failures that have resulted from the fact that my wife and I walk on most mornings to the bridge two kilometres up the Victoria St extension.. Six weeks ago I reported to ‘service’ that a car wreck was lying in the Tararu creek below the road – probably a result of a bad night out for a ‘boy-racer.’ It remains in exactly the same position today as the result of ‘duck-shoving’ between TCDC, WRC and the Police whose interest must surely be waning at this point.

WRC claimed that they were not told about it until two weeks after the initial report, but remain unmoved. TCDC are content to leave it to WRC who are responsible for rivers and creeks, and I indirectly received a lecture on ‘proper reporting process' when I finally checked with them. Too bad the victim had rolled into the creek - a point they were all anxious to establish.

A week ago we came across a substantial ‘fly-dump’ on the same stretch of road just above the second ford. It comprised a large trailer, or truck load of household detritus, including two mattresses. Despite reporting to TCDC on Tuesday, it remains in-situ today, but spread out as fossickers have attacked it.

My question – how many highly paid public servants does it take to deal with such matters in a timely manner? – a great number it seems.

Of greater importance are two other issues surrounding the Dry Court at the High School that appears to remain ‘in limbo’ as the various parties attempt to resolve who is to be held responsible for the repair of its faulty roof structure, and secondly, the illegal encampment that has grown up over three months at the southern end of the Thames Arts centre Carpark.

I have written previously on both these issues. (see:


I have checked several times in regard to the former, and there appears to be a real reluctance to share information on the grounds of ‘commercial sensitivity.’ In other words, the legal wheels are turning, and far from being settled, I would suggest that we are heading towards expensive litigation on top of the actual cost of repair (said to be  over $300k).

I have been approached by several people in the town, including some involved with the planning and oversight, who have expressed major concerns to me at their experience with people at all levels in the Council who have demonstrated incompetence, and failure to come to grips with the basic tenets of project management. This is very disturbing, and my latest enquiry remains unanswered.

Is anyone in this town taking notice of what is happening? I don’t know of anywhere else where there would be acceptance of such a situation without an uproar – we are indeed a placid bunch, clearly used to doing as we are told by our betters.

Then  there is the innovative “Freetown” at Tararu that hundreds of people drive past every day without apparently a glance sideways at what has been developing under our noses  on the neck of land above a tiny water course. A caravan appeared at the weekend on the  Arts Centre carpark to add to the collection of 10sq. metre shacks that have been thrown up over the past few weeks on land claimed as "Maori" but which is in fact Council Reserve adjacent to Maori land further up the water course.

The fact that it is apparently Ngati Maru manu whenua who are gathering here in substantial, if varying numbers is apparently all the excuse needed for such ‘uncontrolled’ development within the town boundary. All manner of outdoor activity is under way, along with what is evidently a ‘long-drop’ waste arrangement. Water is piped down from upper levels of the creek, and numbers come and go during the day and night.  Power arrangements, if any, are unknown. Domestic on-site altercations involving the Police have occured.

What on earth is going on? Council sought judgment at a court hearing on 8 November, but only for a ‘cease and desist’ order. The magistrate ‘reserved his decision,’ so we may wait a considerable time to find out the fate of this shambles. No one at the Council wants to talk about it, and they give every indication of being intimidated - who can blame them? It is clearly one for the ‘too-hard’ basket, even though they employ a full-time experienced lawyer on the staff.

Forgive me for being indignant about this state of affairs, along with the members and voluntary staff at the Arts Centre who with justification see the development of a permanent village of recovered materials on their door-step while using their facilities as deeply disturbing. It is unacceptable, regardless of the decision of the Court, and I say this in full knowledge of the likelihood of being labelled ‘racist’ as a result. That moniker is so easy to acquire these days, that it hardly has meaning.   


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Reader Comments (4)

Re: the Arts Centre Reserve. Building Act and RMA issues on private (Maori) land aside, unauthorised use of a reserve is a criminal offence under Section 44 of the Reserves Act. If Council was considering just ticketing under a camping bylaw, I believe that would be an inadequate response in this particular case.

November 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKuranui Resident

The car has been removed.

November 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

It may be relevant to ask the following additional question of the Council via the relevant manager dealing with the matter - "WHEN IS our long-awaited trial bus service for Thames actually going to start?"

Bill, in your post of October 11 you attached a report by The Community Manager Thames, in which it was stated the service was due to commence on Monday 30 October. This date has now well and truly passed - with no service operating! To the best of my knowledge, the next advice to the public of a new possible starting date, was in the Hauraki Herald last Friday (17 November) as part of a "Thames Community Board Update". In this Update reference was made to a preferred supplier having been chosen and final contract details being organised for the six-month trial. Further it was stated the trial is, "expected to begin around the end of November. The route and timetable are being finalised and details will be published widely once these are settled."

Well, there is now a week to go until the end of November. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there have been no published final details of the proposed service. I intend to try the service, and I really hope the trial progresses to become a permanent one. I also hope that the delay - from 30 October - to 'around the end of November' - to whenever the final date may be?? - means that the TCDC manager(s) concerned are using all their negotiating skills and bus service expertise, towards making sure the service to be provided by the 'preferred supplier', warrants all the delay. I, for one, continue to hold my breath!

November 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Good question Tim. I too have fallen for the earlier erroneous announcements. I have no idea why the delay - perhaps Denis can 'fill us in.'

The whole process has been elongated, to say the least. I have seen none of the sign-writing that would appear a necessity for a proper trial. But I don't wish to be too critical in case the layers of managers decide to slow it down even more on some 'health and safety' beat-up.

I just trust that they can gety their A into G before the end of summer so that the trial has some validity.

November 24, 2017 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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