Voices of Kaipara
FROM THE KAIPARA LIFESTYLER
Letters to the Editor
Mangawhai rates debacle
Just for the record, I am not a bludger. I am currently a Rates Striker. I have paid my rates to Kaipara Districe Council without fail, since I became a property owner here in 1985. I have even paid the Storm Water Rates all that time, even though my property is regularly flooded, because of inadequate maintenance of the stormwater drain that flows through my property. I have also paid off almost four mortgages in that time, and as I head towards retirement age, I would hope to be able to continue to live in my only home that I built in 1985, and called my home ever since.
The reason I am now withholding my rates is because no one has been listening to the serious concerns raised by various ratepayers about why we suddenly have to pay a huge loan, three times higher than the original cost of a sewage system that I agreed to be part of.
My rates have increased almost 200% since before Ecocare.
I have paid my Initial Contribution to the Mangawhai Ecocare system, over the last 4 years. That was a significant increase in my rates, and took a large part of my income to pay.
I am withholding my rates because neither the MP in charge of local body councils, nor the Ombudsman, nor the Auditor General, it seems, have taken any notice of our concerns.
In fact, the Government including one of our own Northland MPs (not someone I voted for) seem to think a quick bill pushed through Parliament will cover up all those inconsistencies and concerns that we have, and make us pay.
However, a High Court Judge has ruled that we do have a point, and we will get our week in court to be heard.
I wonder if this Government is working legally, if it refuses to listen to our own Justice System.
I expect to pay my rates again, when this matter has been resolved.
If the rates remain as high as they are now, I will have no choice but to sell up and move away from my own home of 30 years.
Is that fair?
A bit rich
Its a relief to know that the report on the KDC is now nearing completion according to the Office of the Auditor General. It however begs the question of why such an exhaustive study was not made years ago when the Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association first raised concerns.
Records will show that the MRRA made many attempts to bring this matter to the attention of officialdom which had powers to regulate the council but those protests seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
If the ratepayers had any real legal powers the KDC would have been halted in its track years ago and that said it is a bit rich now to hear the commissioners suggesting that the ratepayers are legally liable for the huge loans that they clearly opposed.
The protests made by the MRRA and others are well catalogued and should this matter go to court the correspondence trail will tell it as it was and no amount of concoction after the event will be able to cover those facts.
Angry and frustrated
After reading the latest extremely well informed and sophisticated summary of the current status of the Kaipara council's attitude towards the community, I again became inwardly angry and frustrated. Then something else happened: my emotions turned more towards feeling sorry for individuals who choose to live by different rules in life. My thoughts gravitated back to my own upbringing and how I was taught as a child by my parents to work hard, become an honest individual with integrity, be strong and respectful, get a decent education and a job that I enjoy. I recognise now that my upbringing did not mould me into the company director or entrepreneurial type. Nevertheless, here I am. One way or another I feel happy enough with myself – not rich, not influential, not a mover and a shaker, but have maintained the fundamental family and life values that I hope people appreciate me for. I seem to have adopted the adage that "I climbed the ladder of success, but I found out it was the wrong building.”
So what's my point? Well, here is an extract from that very same publication that disturbed my thinking in the first place. And I quote: “This is a cynical and calculated abuse of the judicial system. It shows how fundamentally rotten local government is in New Zealand when commissioners can ignore their responsibility to ratepayers and force ratepayers to pay debts that the commissioners acknowledge were illegal, and then use public money to block access to the courts to have the matter of liability clarified." Unquote.
Nothing could be closer to the truth. Yes, I have seen movies such as Wall Street where greed is good, and Gordon Gecko tramples all over everyone at every opportunity to get what he wants – shafts all and sundry around him with a cynical smile while pretending to be everyone's friend and hiding his real intent while advertising an amicable facade. Am I fooled by such front-men? Sadly no. I am just thankful that I can get up in the morning, feel proud of myself and my family, uphold my values, not feel like a fraud and have to go out and communicate pre-prepared scripts full of half-truths which deliberately exclude obvious detail to appease the masses and gain support.
Would I want to get up and face every day, knowing full well that everything I was doing was flying in the face of honesty, integrity and all that I had been led to believe was how one should conduct their life? And all for $1400 a day? No, you are welcome to it. I much prefer seeing myself in the bathroom mirror in the morning, brushing my teeth, and feeling somewhat proud of the fact that at least I have made a difference to the people close to me in my own other small ways.
My only wish is that someone in a very high place, who is well versed in the law, eventually puts this Kaipara council where it belongs.
Fund money gone
Half the front page of the October 7 issue was devoted to a long self-congratulatory spiel from the chair of the government’s Kaipara District commissioners. In extolling his own virtues, while lambasting the community yet again for its shortcomings, and lack of loyalty to his cause, he spins the line that the council has balanced its books.
Unfortunately, because of the complete absence of any accountability regime in local government, balancing the books is even easier than falling off a log. All you have to do is set a plan that you can live within. The plan does not have to bear any relation whatsoever to reality or to financial probity. The Auditor General has no interest in whether a council is really a going concern; as far as she is concerned, if the council says it’s a going concern, that’s good enough for her. It does not have to result in solvency or any of the other tests that ordinary people are required to meet.
This is what they have done. Readers may have felt a bit miffed that of all the councils in the country poor old Kaipara was the only one that wasn’t allowed to participate in democracy last weekend. Thank you minister, you clearly know best, even though you have never been here, and have never even answered our letters.
The commissioners trumpet the fact that they have made an operating surplus in the year to 30 June 2013. How did they do that? They simply revised their income expectation down so that almost regardless of how badly things were managed the real income would exceed the planned income by an amount that would make it possible for the commissioners to crow about how well they were doing.
At a recent public meeting in Dargaville, Mr Robertson was asked by an attendee what had happened to all the various funds, the largest of which is the Mangawhai Endowment Fund. After a minute or two of mumbling, Mr Robertson handed over to his trusty CEO, who has quite a few numbers (but not these ones, as it happens) right at his fingertips. But before handing over to Steve, he confirmed for those with keen hearing that there is no longer a Mangawhai Endowment Fund. He will only refer to something that none of us has ever heard of – The Mangawhai Harbour Land Settlement Act.
Mr Ruru explained that even though all the money in the various funds has disappeared (long ago), the council does not record the amounts that were supposed to be in these funds as debts, or even as liabilities. To make a grant from the Mangawhai endowment fund today, this council has to go to the bank and increase its borrowing by the amount it intends to grant, then it pays for the grant by socking the ratepayer.
Is anyone accountable for this state of affairs? No they are not. Could anyone be held accountable? Well, there is a slight possibility, but only if the Validation Bill that these commissioners dreamed up does not pass the House. If it does, all the crimes and misdemeanours associated with the past six years (at least) will vanish without trace. A high-performing little council? Oh, please, give us a break.
Larry Mitchell: Submission KDC Validation Bill
• My name is Larry Mitchell, (www.kauriglen.co.nz). I am a Local Government Finance & Policy Analyst, I served as the audit engagement director of the Kaipara District Council (KDC) in the early nineties and have regularly since then, (up until 2010) provided finance & policy advice to the Council
• I have had no direct involvement with the EcoCare-Mangawhai wastewater project.
• I must confess that I was totally blind-sided as to the true state of the Council's financial circumstances arising directly from the omission of substantial amounts of KDC debt from their audited accounts.
• At the request of the CEO, Mr Jack McKerchar I had produced two reports of the state of finances of the KDC, the second one completed in early 2010 was suppressed for six months by the CEO.
• In the course of finalising my second report, at the eleventh hour a Council whistle blower advised me of the true state of the KDC finances. As a consequence of this new information I added a further section to my report warning of the problems facing the Council, all of which ultimately have proven to be well founded.
• My principal two submissions to this Committee are given on the basis that other submitters will cover all the other significant issues. I have chosen in my limited time to focus on the following two matters.
• Firstly, the audit defaults that have allowed this dreadful situation to occur and secondly to call for a full and totally independent investigation of all aspects of the case.
• With respect to the audit defaults that have occurred, relating to the Council audits, given the plain facts of obvious audit failings the auditors cannot possibly have properly discharged their professional responsibilities and have therefore defaulted on their basic duties.
• Specifically they tendered unqualified audit opinions on the 2008 to 2010 KDC financial statements, financial statements that omitted material sums of around $25 million of debt owed by the Council relating to additional unauthorised borrowings attaching to the EcoCare project.
• I submit that the auditors are therefore culpable for these defaults in this affair and should be held to account as well as suffering a financial penalty for their negligent behaviour.
• Secondly, only a truly independent investigation of all aspects of this affair (including the matter of the auditor’s defaults) will deliver satisfaction and accountability for all of the many interested parties.
• The existing investigations currently underway are effectively controlled by the auditors and whilst they may already have established a useful evidence base they are fundamentally flawed.
• These enquiries are totally unsatisfactory because of the conflicted interests involved, that is, their lack of independence from the auditors who themselves are targets of possible professional liability negligence actions.
• I urge the select committee to take up both of these suggestions relating as they do to accountability for the audit defaults as well as taking steps to initiating a fully independent and thorough investigation.
• There are many lines of enquiry to pursue that without a full coverage within a comprehensive investigation would not otherwise see the light of day.
• I for one and a number of other whistle blowers have yet to be given any opportunity to testify of matters of significant legal and public policy importance. The Kaipara Council affair has many lessons for the future that only a proper investigation would reveal.
Larry.N.Mitchell B Comm MPP JP Puhoi 15th August 2013
Wayne Harvey 30.08.13
Letter to Paul Creswell of KDC who has been writing letters threatening legal action.
Quite some time ago, you contacted me seeking immediate repayment of rate demands that the KDC had sent me.
You promised some dire consequences should this payment not be forthcoming.
I was due to leave for overseas that very day.
I gave you the courtesy of a reply ~ offering to pay any such amount that you so demanded ~ provided you could give me an enforceable guarantee that your demands were in fact, legal.
I have now returned and note that no undertaking has been received and not even a reply from you.
From this, I can only reasonably assume that you have acknowledged that your demand is not legally enforceable.
I will proceed on this basis.
I will continue to ignore any such demands.
Once again, this correspondence will be offered up as my proof of "attempting to offer to pay" your rates demand.
Graham L Jones 30.08.13
Comment on the oral submissions to the Select Committee:
Yes there were some excellent presentation made to the committee on 26
August, and by and large committee members seemed to be listening to all
that was said.
To me the most disturbing comment made though came from the Chair Nikky
Wagner when the separation of powers question was raised. She asserted
that Parliament has the right to debate on any subject of their
choosing, whether there was Court involvement or not. This gave the
impression that whatever the outcome of the judicial review Parliament
could still proceed with the validation bill. The possibility of
overruling of the Court process is an alarming concept as it
demonstrates a descent to totalitarianism - the enforcement of the
political will of the State. If that happens it will signal the
abolition of democracy in NZ.
Good to hear the initial ruling of Justice Heath and the awarding of
costs to MRRA, however we all know the costs will be passed on to
ratepayers in the end. Justice would be fairer if the costs were
attributed to the Commissioners who have determinedly pursued ratepayers
for anything and everything.
Graham L Jones
Pete Grierson 30.08.13
Verbal Submission to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee re the Kaipara District Council Validation of Rates and Other Matters Bill
Pete Grierson, 26 August, 2013.
Good afternoon, my name is Peter Grierson. Please feel free to stop me at any time if you have any questions that you wish to ask.
By way of an introduction, I am a 49-year old married, father-of-two with a property in the Mangawhai Heads area. My brother and I and our respective wives jointly bought our bach at the end of 1999, and it has become the much loved family bach which we envisioned when we bought it.
I am one of the many ratepayers who are withholding my rates in protest at the actions of the Council. It is completely abhorrent to me to do so, however I feel as if this is the only viable protest that I can make.
I am strongly opposed to this Bill, because it is fundamentally undemocratic, and New Zealand is globally renowned as being a strongly democratic country.
I respectfully submit to you that the process that has got us to this point, is about as undemocratic as it is possible to get in New Zealand. Some, but not all of the steps that have led us here are acknowledged illegal actions that were taken by employees of the former elected council, who did not follow rules in the Local Government Act, and the Local Government Rating Act. Some of these actions were hidden away from other councillors for 5 years.
The former elected council who, on discovering the extent of the hidden actions, chose to do nothing and instead, attempted to foist rates rises of up to 1,800% in some cases on to innocent ratepayers.
The former elected council then adopted both an Annual Plan, and a Long Term Plan, out of their statutory time. The wording in the respective Acts is very clear; that these Plans “must” be adopted by a specific date, yet these dates had passed.
We now have, in my view, the most undemocratic part of this whole issue. This Council is now being run by unelected commissioners who were appointed by the Minister for Local Government. I respectfully suggest that this Council has no public mandate, and they are not acting in the best interests of the community. I can say with personal knowledge that having communicated with the Head Commissioner, and having asked him what I believe to be reasonable questions about some of his statements, he firstly refused to answer, and now refuses to have any further communication with me.
Are there any questions at this point?
The rates are invalid, and these are acknowledged as such. That statement alone should be enough to ring alarm bells that this Bill should therefore not be on the table. Some MP’s who spoke at the first reading commented that there had been minor and technical errors and / or irregularities along the way, but some of these same speakers ignored the incontrovertible fact that actual, acknowledged illegal acts were the genesis of this entire situation. I fail to see how a Bill that runs to 30 pages, and seeks to penalise innocent ratepayers for a debt in excess of $80 million could be either minor, technical or irregular or merely errors, yet I have received no explanation for this, despite multiple requests.
There were also comments made during the first reading that the rates as they stand now, would have been the same if due process had been followed, but it has been shown that this is not true. The original scheme was to have cost $36m, and should have connected to 4,500 dwellings. It struggled to cope with 1,200 dwellings, so an additional $23m was requested. This second loan was definitely not part of the original plan, and it is on this point that the argument that the rates would have been the same in any case, falls down.
The council has often stated that they have a plan to reduce the debt level, however in the last financial year, only $600,000 of a $6m interest debt was paid with the unpaid balance being added back on to the principal, so the debt rose rather than fell. A similar scenario is projected for the current financial year. The council can not rate themselves out of this position. Rates would have to double from their current levels to pay the annual interest bill only, and they would then have to double again in order to make any serious inroads to the debt.
I also question the morality of this being a retrospective Bill. If something was illegal in the past, then it was illegal, and an Act of Parliament should not be the place to make something wrong, right.
I have already had a 38% rates rise – please ponder that figure for a minute – meaning that the rates on my humble bach which were $2,000 only 14 months ago, could be as high as $12,000 in only 2 years if this Bill is passed. If this happens, this will ruin me, and my retirement plans for which my wife and I have worked so hard.
Any questions yet?
The commissioners have also stated that there are no other options to fix this situation but I respectfully suggest that these comments may be misleading. I don’t have the time here to discuss any of these options, but I am firmly of the view that the commissioners are solely focussed on the most politically expedient option, with little or no regard to the future wellbeing of the community
To date, as ratepayers, we have been either let down, shut down or ignored by:
• The Council both elected and not,
• The Police,
• The Ombudsman,
• The Department of Internal Affairs,
• Two Ministers For Local Government,
• The MP for Northland,
• And the Prime Minister,
all of whom I thought were supposed to be there to preserve the rule of law and protect their constituents.
And the promised report by the Office of the Auditor General is now in excess of 8 months overdue too.
I plead with you to use your democratically vested powers wisely, and to reject this Bill at this point.
In my humble opinion, the best action that the Select Committee could take would be delay its report back of the Bill until after the current High Court action that is going on between the MRRA and the KDC; and after the Report of the Office of the Auditor-General comes out.
There is a Constitutional principle says that Parliament should not override any legal action. The Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association has a constitutional right to have its day in court, and this Bill makes a mockery of that principle.
If the Committee has to report back the bill then, to be consistent with constitutional principle, it must preserve the MRRA v KDC legal proceedings from the effect of the Bill. The MRRA has proposed an amendment that would do that.
I thank you for your time, and plead with you one final time to not let our democratic rights be summarily crushed by this Bill.
John MacDonald, Dargaville 05.05.13
1. The Validation Bill Races On
No matter which side of the political divide you are on, it is sad to see the local, first term, member of parliament, Mike Sabin, seemingly prostituting himself to gain the approval of his political masters. This is how it appears as he is being used to introduce the Kaipara Bill into Parliament. This bill is clearly not kosher as it seeks to legalise that which has already been acknowledged to be illegal. To draw a parallel with this action, one could look at the Nuremberg Tribunals conducted after the Second World War and decide that they were not actually setup correctly so all their decisions must be declared null and void. Can you just image the outcry if that was suggested? How do you give life back to the those found guilty and dropped through the trapdoor with a noose around their necks? The New Zealand Parliament must not be used to sanitise the actions of incompetent (also corrupt?) elected officials and their employed civil servants.
The Northern Advocate article referenced above suggests that the Bill could be introduced as soon as June and then goes on to say that public submissions can be made after that time. Allow submissions after the bill has been introduced? Should not the various parties in the Kaipara meet and agree that the bill and it’s contents are the only way to achieve an accord and allow the District to progress?
Because of the seeming intransigence of the parties involved, and the faceless, non accountable, Monday to Friday, bureaucrats in Wellington who are actually driving this process, we can expect that any submissions made will probably be simply acknowledged and ignored. Insufficient hearing time for submissions will also be set to ensure that nothing can really be “heard” but democracy can be claimed to have been honoured.
2. And Then The Threats
It is reported in the Northern Advocate that the court case brought by the Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association will necessarily hold up a $1M community project in Mangawhai. Last week the council delayed consideration of the application for a grant of $130,000 by the Mangawhai Activity Zone Charitable Trust (MAZ) pending the outcome of the judicial review, which was sought by the Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association. Part of the association’s claim involves development contributions paid into the Reserves Fund, from which the grant would be made.
Using the same logic one is compelled to ask if new connections can be made to the Wastecare scheme while the MRRA challenge is pending? Clearly no rates can be set or collected either. They are all part of the action are they not? Commissioner Colin Dale seems to be going down a very slippery slope with this thinking. But then of course public servants are not renowned for consistency are they? Let’s watch and see what happens next.
(John is the editor of the Kaipara Konnection and the above post appeared in this week's edition.)
Bruce Rogan 04.05.13
The Commissioners have harshly criticised the Mangawhai ratepayers for going to court before the Auditor General’s report is out in the open.
The commissioners and their predecessors said that as far a as they were concerned everything was legal until a court said otherwise.
We don’t know what the court is going to say, but it sure looks as though the government and the commissioners are dead scared of something, or they would delay their local bill until after the court action is over.
It is a constitutional outrage for parliament to be asked to enact legislation on a matter that is before the courts.
These same commissioners, fuming with resentment at the community exercising its legal rights, have taken their own case to the country’s highest court (parliament) before the Auditor General has reported.
Why one standard for them and another for everyone else?
They are doing this because it is their intention never to take action against anyone, and if parliament passes this terrible piece of legislation the ratepayers of Kaipara will be forced to repay millions of dollars of illegally raised debts.
People who read the pronouncements of these commissioners need to do so with care. They have never said they will take action to recover missing money, only that nothing they have done to date would prevent them from doing so.
Once they have stitched the ratepayers up with the obligation to repay all the illegal debt, they will have very little incentive to go after the culprits, and they won’t.
Before the commissioners ever put pen to paper they should have struck an agreement with the whole community as to what would be in this bill. That is what they were told to do in their terms of reference. They completely ignored that and ploughed on.
Nobody in his right mind believes that public submissions to a select committee that has a majority of government members on it, deliberating a bill that is designed to get the government out of a terrible embarrassment, will make a blind bit of difference. There is as much chance of that happening as there is of the hundreds of public submissions against the government-imposed commissioners’ draft annual plan having any impact on their decisions to plough ahead with that, despite its total illegality.
Everyone in Kaipara was recently sent a form from the electoral office giving them the option to register as a ratepayer elector. Why? Nobody in the Kaipara will be voting for anything in the upcoming local body elections- the government cancelled democracy here, and replaced it with a posse.
Neil Tolich 04.05.13
I was at the recent Kaipara council meeting in Maungaturoto as an observer, as a Mangawhai bach owner, and as an Aucklander.
I am also a centre right National voter, so I have no traditional political axe that I want to grind against the incumbent Government. I am happy to comment as follows:
“Irrespective of where you stand on the financial and administrative mess that the ratepayers of Kaipara District have unwittingly found themselves in, it would be fair to say that we all, as one family of residents, held our collective breath when the Minister appointed his ‘fix it’ Commissioners.
Many of us imagined, somewhat naively as it has transpired that, in addition to sorting out the KDC's operational woes, they would also identify the illegal debt related activities that have occurred and address the matter with Government.
Many also hoped that the Commissioners would embrace the actions of Rate Strikers, who are using the only fair and reasonable weapon that residents have to maintain media and political attention in all of this, and to use the Strike to bring further pressure on Wellington’s distant decision makers.
Sadly, the Commissioners have failed dismally to help KDC citizens and they have completely snubbed and ignored the fundamentals that we were, and still are, fighting for.
Failed dismally is an understatement. Instead, the have slickly worked us over, wooed us, feigned concern, and subtly embarked on a brutal community-divisive media campaign that now attempts to pit Kaipara Citizen against Kaipara Citizen. Neighbour against neighbour. Friends against friends. Family against family. Town against town. Community against Community. West against East.
All with the goal of smothering all that was and still is wrong in KDC, sweeping it under the rug.
All for the single goal of getting central Government off the hook, and then collecting their substantial pay, bonus and expenses from their relieved and happy Puppet-master in Wellington. And leaving us, Kaipara ratepayers, with an unholy financial noose as their legacy.Because the Commissioners have totally ignored the illegal issues that they have uncovered, and the MRRA has been forced to take legal action on to get the matter attended to. There is no other way for this to be done. The matters that should have been fixed by the Commissioners.
And they now have the audacity to suggest that KDC ratepayers will have to foot the Council bill to fight the MRRA!! As if it’s some fault of the MRRA. People, we are being ‘snowed’ by experts.
Proof of how trickily the Commissioners operate was in abundance on Monday 29 April at the Maungaturoto Country Club. I was there with a surprisingly large number of concerned citizens to observe (we were not allowed to speak), at the public meeting, how the Commissioners were to consider the ‘Kaipara District Council Validation of Rates and Other Matters Bill’.
This is the potentially toxic legislation that the Commissioners have carefully concocted, and hapless National MP Mike Sabin has agreed to sponsor, at the behest of his minister.
This is the legislation that, if passed, will allow all that has been wrong in the KDC, all the potentially illegal acts of the past, all of the misleading communication, all of the delayed and non existent reports and accounts, to be ratified and made lawful.
Now, no matter how loyal some of us might have been and might still be to certain previous senior KDC employees and office holders, we do know that they weren’t a bunch of country hicks bumbling along in a fug totally oblivious to what they were doing, oblivious to what they were spending, oblivious to what they were tendering, oblivious to what they were committing to, oblivious to what they were managing, oblivious to local body rules and laws, and oblivious to what they were covering up.
Repeat, these were NOT country hicks. These were very clever long standing pillars of our society who, unbeknownst to us, went on an appalling spending spree, committing our hard earned rates to their flights of fancy with favoured contractors. It was done systematically, often in secret, very often outside of Local Body law and guidelines which are designed specifically to prevent such abuses of power.
But on and on it went, year after year, worse and worse, until we finally found out what they were up to, had a gutsful and started fighting ‘City Hall’. For justice, for decency, for the right outcome.
But the Commissioners don’t see it that way. They want the Retrospective Validation Bill to become law so this Government, and future Governments, can wriggle out of their guardianship responsibilities to Kiwis.
This despite the fact that Government has been auditing the KDC each year and that they oversee all Local Body Law and operational effectiveness.
Who else but Government is meant to shoulder and absorb the responsibility and related costs when local bodies run amok?
Affected citizens must always carry the can for what they themselves do, but they cannot be made to carry it for acts that were secretly performed in their name without their knowledge or their consent.
That is not moral nor ethical, but moreover it is not lawful!
At the meeting, lead Commissioner John Robertson played the “caring fatherly’ role very well. Its easy to see how he has befriended many locals and plied them with assurances that things are ‘in good hands and its all for the best’.
The Commissioners asked each other carefully crafted questions, all designed to steer ‘their meeting’ to its appalling conclusion....that they all supported the retrospective legislation to validate past errors within KDC. Validate past errors. Yes, the Commissioners really do want that to happen.....to sweep it all under the mat so they can ride out of town, job done.
Not. Even. Close.
Council Executive Steve Ruru played his Puppet’s puppet role with aplomb hyping up the potential legal costs for Council to defend the legal action that the MRRA is taking. He is on record, both in the media and in minutes, saying that it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What he fails to say, if he has done his job correctly, is that he should have Council risk insurance cover for such legal battles. And he should also be saying that if there are any Council legal costs it will work out to be about $15 a person...if that.
What Ruru also does not say is that the MRRA has no such luxury funding mechanism to fall back on...it has to somehow fight this battle using voluntary donations from concerned citizens, from Strikers, and from many supporters who only want justice to be served in the KDC.
The sham of a meeting was over in about 45 minutes and the Commissioners drove away, on our expense account...at what cost to Ratepayers I hate to think. The rest of us went home at our own cost, mourning the death of democracy.
My resolve hardened as I drove away from the Maungaturoto meeting. We will win most of the battles and we will win the war. And the Citizens of Kaipara and New Zealand will be much better off when that is achieved. Unity, mates working with mates, is how we’ll succeed.”
Dog Bone 04.05.13
“A pique of infantile retaliation” is putting it mildly, Legal Eagle! * This is a blatant attempt by Ruru (with the support of the inept Commissioners) to incite civil unrest amongst the Mangawhai community. Not satisfied with his attempts to create disharmony and estrange Mangawhai from the rest of Kaipara with his $500,000 legal costs exaggeration, he is now trying to turn our own children against us. This from a man we pay to look after us!
The financial support requested by MAZ would have come from Council’s Reserve Fund, which has nothing whatever to do with any allocation of money to defend our very valid legal action against them. Except, of course, that the Reserve Fund of $4 million, as with the Endowment Fund of $5 million, does not really appear to exist. It has been “stolen” by Council and used for other purposes. It exists on paper only.
I am frankly astounded that well-educated grown men have stooped to such depths of childish depravity. I can’t imagine how they are able to sleep at night.
* See APPALLING GOVERNANCE/PETTY SPITE 03.05.13 on Home page.