Far North District Council

Another mayor who doesn’t believe in democracy

via 3 news

via 3 news

Far North residents have voted against establishing Maori Wards for the next two District Council elections.

More than 13,000 people (35 per cent of those elegible to vote) had their say on the issue and over 9000 people were against the proposal to create a ward for the 2016 and 2019 elections.

A total of 31.5 per cent were in favour of creating a ward. Read more »

Seems Northland voters aren’t as dumb as Winston thinks they are

Winston Peters is a political charlatan, he will say and do whatever it takes to score a political point, even if he wrong.

He said he never received donations from Owen Glenn…he lied. He said Huka Lodge was sold to dirty foreigners…its isn’t.

And those are but two examples.

He has been campaigning in Northland and promoting spending on ports that are no longer active, and for infrastructure no one wants. He is taking Northland voters for chumps

Problem is…they aren’t.

Far North voters have voted more than two to one against the introduction of Maori wards.

Mayor John Carter called the poll over the opposition of iwi, who expected today’s result.   Read more »

Wayne Brown and his self interest

A couple of days ago I highlighted the OAG’s findings about the dispute between the Far North District Council and Mayor Wayne Brown.

Well the tipline has been running hot with other tales of Mayor Brown’s gross self interest.

In each term it seems he has pedaled his own self interest only for it to fall victim to his own incompetence. In the first term he tried to swap to capital value rating (which would have seriously benefited owners of half empty developments).  He managed to convince no one and got completely done over.   Even funnier is he filled out submission forms in other peoples’ names and lodged them.  The Council had to get a legal opinion on whether or not this disqualified him from voting on the issue.

Another time he tried to introduce a rate targeted at forestry owners to pay for roads (again the real benefit was to struggling developers).  That time he got done over so badly that he didn’t bother turning up for the meeting and only his lapdog Deputy voted for it.

 

I wonder if that legal opinion is available anywhere.

Local government gone wrong: Wayne Brown & FNDC

We know that local government is in great need of some real reform.  We’re now getting some real examples of just how far off agreed processes local government have got.  And now we have an example of a Mayor meddling, attempting to get special attention and wasting staff resources… all while refusing to pay his own rates, charges and penalties.

The Office of the Auditor General has today released its findings in a case between Mayor Wayne Brown and the Far North District Council.  Yes, another case of a public official telling constituents to do as a say, not as I do.

It seems that Mayor Brown has refused to pay a bunch of rates and charges because he doesn’t agree with how they were calculated.  Now, by a bunch I actually mean a fair whack – at least that’s what the Far North District Council told Brown.

The Council said that Brown owed:

  • $55, 000 in unpaid rates and sewerage charges
  • $135,833 in sewerage reticulation charges

Mayor Brown’s calculation was more like $55,000 for the sewerage reticulation charges.  So, the OAG was charged with unravelling what was actually owed.

The OAG found that the likely amount owed by Mayor Brown was $76,487.09.  They also said:

We note that the Council has gone outside normal processes several times and made unusual agreements. These decisions were made in good faith to help find solutions for Mr Brown, but they left the Council in a more uncertain position when things went wrong. With hindsight, these decisions may not have been wise. The Council has also made a number of administrative and calculation mistakes, which have contributed to the uncertainty about whether it was charging the correct amounts.

And, yes Mayor Brown has asked that any penalties due in this timeframe (over two years) shouldn’t be added to his bill. The OAG suggests that Mayor Brown was not treated the same as any other ratepayer.  I’d go as far as suggesting he misused his position as Mayor:

the Council has spent a considerable amount of staff time and money on this dispute – much more than the total penalties. The Council must also consider how it would treat any other ratepayer who withheld rates for nearly two years, given that the normal legal obligation in the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 is to pay rates and then dispute them. Under the Act, penalties will generally accrue if a person does not pay rates while they are disputed.

I am looking forward to other Far North District Council ratepayers being treated with the same level of leniency and not being demanded to pay up front.  At the same time it is a bloody worry that the Council can’t work out how much an individual or their company owes?  If I were a ratepayer in the Far North I’d be questioning my rates bill right about now.

 

Shining Light in Dark Corners, Ctd

Case study three in our series on James Bews-Hair, current Principal Policy Advisor to Mayor Len Brown and ‘mate’ to Conor Roberts.  Still nothing from Conor…

During Bews-Hair’s time developing the Far North as the new destination for the mining industry, Bews-Hair also seemed determined to make the place one big GE-laboratory.

His initial problem was the Far North was a founding member and driving force behind a whacky scheme to use Councils RMA responsibilities to impose much tighter controls on Genetic Engineering trials than the national framework provided for.

The Far North had not only come up with the kooky plan and formed a regional group with like minded hippies from other Councils, but they went further and signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Free Northland.  The MOU basically said the Council had to find a way to ban all GE experimentation. The agreement was packaged up as a compromise to get the District’s problematic District Plan operable.

True to form Bews-Hair started a plan that was designed to simultaneously dismantle and construct.

Through Bews-Hair’s Economic Development Strategy, he set up a unique regional relationship with the Crown Research Institutes (who were involved in GE research).  The relationship was so unique that the Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI) had its first ever meeting outside of Wellington in little old KeriKeri.

All good for the Far North, but the workings of a true “Waitakere Man”.  Unlikely.  We certainly need more of his ilk on the Right.

"Go to Hell" – Tinkerbell

Chris Finlayson has said “Go to Hell” to a bunch of illegal protestors.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says a group of Ngati Kahu protesters can “go to hell” if they think he’ll meet them after a group moved on to land near Taipa.

The protesters were evicted and arrested from Far North District Council land at Taipa last week.

But yesterday, they moved on to adjacent coastal land, owned privately by Aucklander Kevyn Male.

A group of more than 50 went on to the land about 1pm yesterday.

The move followed a picnic at a council reserve organised by businesswoman Dale Synott for local people who are sick of the continuing protest action.

Mr Finlayson was incensed when he found the protesters had changed tack from occupying land outside the Taipa Sailing Club to neighbouring land, he was incensed.

Asked about the reoccupation by the protesters who are led by brothers John and Wikatana Popata, Mr Finlayson said the Crown and iwi were already working out Treaty grievances.

Good on Tinkerbell. This is precisely how illegal land occupiers should be dealt with.