We met up for a chat at the Ark, 1945 SH1 Kaiwaka, and I learned about the great initiative by Ron Manderson (second from left) et al to unify the Kaipara action in an inclusive and positive programme of calling to the council and commissioners to account, as well as to start looking to an exciting programme of recovery and new growth in our whole district, not waiting for the Council to lead the way (which it hasn’t, obviously!). More on that here…
I was impressed with the balance and sanity of Ron’s vision, which is endorsed and backed by such good men as our Jonathan Larsen (on left), former Kaipara councilor and watchdog for fiscal sanity… See the ‘Workboot councilor’ blog:
The WorkBoot has taken his trusty shovel and dug his own grave – 29 August 2012 The Mayor Kaipara District Council Hokianga Rd Dargaville Dear Mayor …
Worzel’s World – The Fight for Democracy
By Chris Sellars
Reprinted with the author’s permission from
the Mangawhai Focus of October 18th 2012
As the state sector gets less and less forgiving of transgressors who break any of what are often unnecessary laws, it seems that government and their various departments are allowed to break them at will.
Cops are found guilty of conducting illegal surveillance. No-one is prosecuted but rather parliament modifies the law to suit the behaviour.
Our district council robs us blind. None have accepted responsibility for this theft, there has yet been no reasonable attempt to find out.
John Banks misrepresents donations for his election campaign. There is documented proof and eye-witness reports. Mr Banks though cannot remember. The police do not put the matter before the courts but decide there is insufficient evidence. They convicted Scott Watson for murder on less.
John Key authorises state security agencies to conduct illegal surveillance. He can’t remember either. The whole matter is written off to ‘brain fade’ – whatever that might be.
I may use this as my next speed camera defence: Dear police, the reason why I was travelling at 115kmh was entirely attributable to a case of brain fade. Do you think they’ll let me off? Yeah right. But it works for prime ministers and highly paid public sector (once called public service) employees.
The responsibility for auditing the accounts of councils around the country lies with the Auditor-General. I have been aware of, and have tried to warn others about, the perilous course of the KDC for ten years. How is it that the Auditor-General, whose job it is to know these things, did not? She was receiving a hefty taxpayer-funded salary for a job that I could have done better for free. The job was not done. This is fraud, it is a crime, and is termed ‘theft as a servant’.
Rather than prosecute this criminal, she has been given the job of investigating the KDC. The person who never noticed the cat was out of the bag has been given the even more difficult job of finding out and telling us how it escaped. I eagerly await the Auditor-General’s report. I am not willing to bet on what it will say but would bet my last dollar on there being no blame laid at the door of the Auditor-General.
The central government-appointed commissioners charged with running our effectively bankrupt and now defunct council’s affairs, have been instructed by Local Government Minister David Carter to ‘enforce the rates’ that were illegally struck by a council that no longer exists.
What are these commissioners being paid by government for this? Nothing. What are they being paid by a non-existent council that not only has nothing, but has $85 million less than nothing?
Out of this already empty well, the chairman receives $1400 per day. The rest a mere $900 per day. I can see here a vested interest in enforcing an illegal rate but can see no reason for any interest, vested or otherwise, in the Kaipara district or the people who live here. Can you?
So we have the situation where a government only too willing to ignore the law has given control of our district to unelected officials who have no stake in that over which they presume to wield executive power. They have not been instructed as the law dictates, to do what is in the best interests of the district ratepayers. For this dubious, uncalled-for and demonstrably undemocratic (dictatorial) service the already much-robbed ratepayers are to be squeezed again to the tune of over a million dollars per annum in commissioner’s salaries.
The major issue here is one of overt and arrogant hypocrisy. Those who are making the law do not obey it. Yet they are hell bent on extracting, by whatever means, the necessary cash to cover the KDC’s former wrongs all of which were committed under the watching brief of previous ministers for local government and the Auditor-General.
In a succession of wars New Zealanders have died defending the principles of liberty and democracy from fascism on the one hand, and communist socialism on the other. Are we now willing to lie down and let these principles be stolen from under our noses by our own Government? Did all those soldiers die in vain? If not then we must treat these thieves as it is our duty to treat all criminals. Do not co-operate with them. Inform them that we do not approve of their reprehensible behaviour and their blatant profiteering and under no circumstances should anyone give them any money.
Remember, if you think you are paying your rates to ‘The Council’ you are not. We have no council. You are paying dictators.
Letter to All Kaipara Editors
Outlining the many failures of the Audit Office
with respect to the Mangawhai Sewage Affair
Some time in November the Audit Office is due to release its report into the doings of the Kaipara District Council, and the Mangawhai Sewage affair.
Unfortunately, the Audit Office, in its role of overseers of the dealings of the Kaipara District Council, have already failed themselves in six matters that I know of, namely:
(1) It failed to notice the $4.5 million accounting mistake that the new CEO detected on about his first day of work, requiring further borrowings and some cost cuttings to fix.
(2) It failed to draw attention to and stop the ludicrous financial practice of the former CEO whereby he continued borrow more money in order to pay the interest charges already accrued on the enormous mounting debt. The banks themselves are highly involved with this financial foolishness that resulted in additional, avoidable and considerable expenses on the public finances. Exactly the kind of monkey tricks the Audit Office is supposed to prevent.
(3) It failed to notice or cause to become acceptable the substandard financial reports presented by the former CEO to the governing councillors. These reports were referred to by Mr. Gent, the advisor sent by Wellington, on National Radio, as “not meeting best accounting practice”, which, of course, is bland bureaucratic language for something probably much worse.
(4) It failed to stop the council engaging in non-hedged borrowings, and if the interest rates had swung upwards in the recent past, we would be in far more severe financial difficulties. This hedging is standard governmental borrowing practice nowadays.
(5) It failed to alert the authorities (central government), or the ratepayers, when the borrowing went uncontrollably skywards climbing from $19 million in 2008 to $85 million in 2012 (figures published on council web site). There was a man, a knowledgeable private citizen, Owen McShane (peace be upon him), who attempted to alert everyone a year or two ago, but the Audit Office said nothing.
(6) It failed to stop the illegal payout of $240,000 to the former CEO when he left his job. There are no payouts ever given to people in the employ of the taxpayer when they leave their job, for obvious reasons (where would it end?) The public do not reward failure.
And so you see, it would have been best if the Audit Office had stood back and caused the inquiry to be conducted by somebody not in the thick sticky muck of it all. Meanwhile, the Mangawhai Ratepayers Association is attempting to have an independent forensic auditor go and look at the books, an auditor paid for by good citizens, out of their own private money. At this moment, procrastination seems to be the game. If the current council, the CEO and the commissioners, refuse to let such an independent auditor to go in and report for us, then the council will have cast its dice and crossed its Rubicon. If they do that, then every concerned ratepayer should withhold their rates until such time as we are finally fully satisfied that we know the full truth about what occurred, leading to this scandalous state of affairs.
This is their open letter:
Should you pay for removal of other people’s sewage? Probably not.
The Mangawhai community objected to paying far too much for sewage removal. They never wanted the system forced on them, but they had a right to expect it to be managed properly when it was. It was a shambles, and still is. To cover their screw-ups Council tried to increase Mangawhai rates by a huge amount (more than 100% in many cases).
People reacted — they marched and they objected in writing, and they stopped paying their rates.
What did YOUR council do? Please read carefully.
They secretly backed off, and they secretly turned the guns on YOU. Then what did they do? With the minister’s help, they went into hiding. Are you angry about that? Would you like to give them a piece of your mind? You can’t blame the new gang in charge, because THEY didn’t jack up your rates, the elected council did, on August 29, and then they skipped town.
Are you going to take that? Are you going to pay for illegally established debt to fund things that don’t benefit YOU at all? To fund McKerchar’s illegal redundancy package? To fund all the other screw-ups?
The new rate demands are illegal — The Department of Internal Affairs publicly said so on 29 August, and their CEO has subsequently supported that position in writing. Even if you can pay these rate, should you?
You can go on trusting and being obedient, or you can call a halt. By courageously standing up to this illegality and irresponsibility, the Mangawhai ratepayers got a very temporary reduction in their rates, at YOUR EXPENSE. Mangawhai didn’t do that to you, the council did. We have to unite to deal with this. NOBODY is looking after the ratepayer’s interests.
Are you OK with your increase? If you do nothing now, your are deemed to be. Your rates have risen by maybe 30%! [MINE ROSE BY 56% IN KAIWAKA – PETER HARRIS] Do nothing, and it will happen again and again. Alternatively, stop paying rates, march in the streets, and OBJECT, until accountability comes back to Kaipara. Democracy is very poorly but it is not yet dead — its survival is in your hands.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.mangawhairatepayers.ning.com
Here it is as pdf: WakeUp!
Obviously, I rely on others who have gone into facts and figures far more than I ever could or would. They will be either posting direct here or be quoted. I hope this can be a resource for the facts as well as the (hopefully) fun, of the mad hatters tea party.
I think we will start a facebook group too, linked to this.
meanwhile, look forward to something from Ian Leighton of Kaiwaka…
Mandy my neice and neighbour had a coffee with me and Ian and we got some photos. Ian’s Che Tshort doesnt reflect our pacifism, however… And I had a headache. But it was a good ‘tea’ gathering, though we drank coffee (I needed one! fortunately it didnt cost $6.24, which would be the price of a cafe cuppa if the council was running the cafe).
I hesitate, I really do, but at least this proves WE KNOW HOW TO PUT STUFF ON YOU TUBE. And that we have the hats. so watch out! All will be revealed.
If you have a more -polished? – and eloquent video or audio to contribute to this cause, email me at email@example.com, and we can put it up, and work out how to take down these two bloopers.
meanwhile (sorry! i will put up takes one and two…mercifully short):