Council Chickens Come Home To Roost!
Thursday, July 4, 2019 at 10:13AM
Bill Barclay

The chickens have finally come home to roost with Denis Tegg and the Thames Coromandel Climate Action Group serving papers earlier this week on Council hauling them into the High Court for a determination as to the legality of the decision making process adopted in  regard to the LGA Climate Declaration.

And not before time!

Remember, this was the Local Government Association drafted Declaration - not the more recent Climate Emergency document that several councils, including Auckland, have also signed. That more strongly worded document has not even made it to the agenda of our Council where disdain towards climate change is palpable, if not antagonistic.

The whole process adopted at the meeting on 2 April when the LGA Declaration was discussed was 'Mickey Mouse' to say the least. Our Mayor, who has appeared 'fire-proof' to date, adopted the highly unusual, if not ultra vires course of presenting her own paper on the subject matter to the total exclusion of staff advice, which if I am not mistaken would have presented an opposite, or neutral viewpoint. 

In fifteen years of membership, and covering Council activities, I have never seen a paper presented in this manner. The drafting of the paper was appalling to say the least, particularly in the manner in which it avoided the issue at hand, while barely disguising her prejudicial attitude towards the recognition of the causes of climate change.

Her views appears to follow those generally considered to those of 'deniers,' slanted towards refusal to recognise human involvement in climate change; the argument proposed being being that it is taking place as a 'natural cycle of events.' In her 'paper,' Sandra users the totally discredited and spurious arguments surrounding the likely 'legal commitment'  associated with signing the Declaration - something no other of the 66 signatories considered a risk.

The attitude of the five other councillors who sheepishly followed her lead (McLean, Fox, Bartley, Brljevich and Walker) simply reflected her views, or were expressed as a far more fundamental rejection of the basic tenets behind climate change. I suspect that the in addition, the antediluvian attitudes  of these councillors were offended by being lectured by children in Public Forum.

One has to admire the persistence of Denis in particular in following through in order to obtain the necessary legal advice that almost certainly would not have encouraged High Court action without a relatively high confidence in the success of any action. His Press Release thoroughly demolished  Sandra's Council Paper, and I believe it incumbent on all who have been offended by the manner in which this matter has been handled by our Mayor and Council to contribute as much as possible to help fund it. At this point, I suspect that Denis is carrying a substantial proportion of the financial risk associated with this action.

I find it difficult to understand just how our Council can defend itself when the decision was taken devoid of any staff input into the process. It occurs to me that an conjoined action against the Mayor and her supporting group of councillors may be appropriate in the circumstances - this may well be an element of the planned action.

In the meantime, the widest possible publicity is desirable, because Denis tells me that it may not get on the High Court docket before the New Year - well after the election. That in itself should not prevent the widest possible interrogation of candidates on the matter.  


Update on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 10:28AM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

For those in any doubt about where Dave Cull (LGA Chair) stands on the matter, read this article from today's Newsroom.  What a contrast.


Update on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 9:05AM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Denis has now posted the Give-a-Little Page to assist with High Court action - a cause which I heartily applaud. Please give it your best shot!




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