Waiting Game? Yeah, Nah.

31 Oct

I didn’t submit on the Club Hotel being properly listed.  I would agree with Heritage NZ here.

Howard said even if the hotel was recognised as a historic place, Heritage New Zealand would not have any control over whether it is demolished or not.

“It’s protected by the district plan, they’d still need consent from the council to alter or demolish,” he said.

They (Heritage NZ) look to be another group clipping the ticket along the way.  I believe there is a place for history but too much importance is placed on Heritage NZ.  Their ‘preferred provider’ arrangements look ‘iffy’.  They have managed to manipulate the system to think they have an important role to play and somehow our society has fallen for the rhetoric.  Of course there should be some protection (it is called the District Plan) but it should not be beholden to a bunch of pencil pushers that are keeping themselves in a job.  To be taken seriously they need to serve a purpose.  Why waste time and money going through the process of listing the Club?  The Club Hotel is already protected by the District Plan yet virtually nothing else in Bluff is.  Old oyster wharf – nope.  Post Office – nope.  Waddel House – nope.  I have an 85 + page report – the Club is the only property in it that is protected.  The report is from an era when Jan ‘full of shit’ Mitchell was on the community board and a member of (and still is a member of) the Bluff History Group.  Where has the History Group, community board and council (they got the report done) been?  They could of put many of these historic places in the District Plan or submitted on the recent District Plan review to have them added.  Everyone has sat idle.  None of these groups have shown any duty of care toward the history of Bluff. Ex NZ Historic Places Trust (now Heritage NZ) are not the ones who decide on what is in our District Plan.  Our community creates our District Plan.

Guestie

28 Oct

Some more comment from our guest poster:-)

‘Let’s see it for what it was’

The Southland Times goes some way to exposing the culture of greed and self importance that is ripping the very guts of our city.
You may wonder why anyone could say that but look at the facts and think about the why.
The number one fact was that council had a meeting and came to a conclusion. That does and should happen all the time. However after the meeting Dennis decided to launch an abusive tirade at a fellow councillor after a collective decision had been arrived at. That should send alarm bells ringing all the way to the seat of democracy in Wellington. Why because councillors should have the interests of the ratepayers and democracy at the forefront of any thinking. His attack was not on process of the fact the meeting papers were flawed, nor that an independent lawyer had said their was considerable risk legally. No it was just because it was not the outcome he wanted regardless of any normal consideration.
The next thing that again should be noted was that this tirade laced with the c and f words was done in front of many others who failed to step up and say enough is enough. This would indicate the bullying has reached the stage where people are fearful or the fact they found it acceptable.
Then the Mayor makes his usual dumb quote. I am sure all councillors are passionately working for the good of the city. Hand on the meeting was nothing to do with the good of the city and all about the directorship of Holdco. Again if he feels such behaviour is acceptable we are in a serious state of affairs. He talks about engagement but lets people openly abuse others who have a differing point of view. Points more to his feeling of the need to hand onto being Mayor without caring about the who or where.
Then we get down to the Chairman of Holdco who was also present and did nothing. Oh its a bit like a rugby club is all he could manage. Well for a start bullies never last long in rugby and secondly while we are love the game of rugby are these people getting paid all this money because they don’t understand the  collective responsibilities of either boards or councils.
Seriously our city is in the s#@t. Drive through town and see the shop fronts empty. Think about why when anyone talks about anything the councils response is we have no money yet highly paid lawyers seem to be no problem bringing to town. Think about why when a person who gets $45K per year from his association with Holdco can completely lose the plot and scream and shout yet when council says they cant find $50K a year to keep playgrounds maintained he says nothing.
The worst part of the who fiasco is the fact that Dennis is chair of the ILT. The ILT has an extremely privileged position of responsibility in our city and must be seen to be always be above reproach. If bullying behaviour is acceptable to their board it is serious and begs some serious questions.
The only glimmer of hope is that this may finally be the catalyst for change and perhaps a new era of integrity, honesty and engagement that will take over from the present era of self interest, apathy and fear of the bullies.
I should also highlight a great letter from Alan Swallow in today’s paper

Nicely Said Mr Editor

24 Oct

From yesterday’s paper

Cr Graham Lewis chooses to interpret the paucity of public feedback on the uncalled capital proposal to date as indicative of both apathy and contentment to trust the council. He often highlights the importance of just trusting experts – enough to raise the question of whether he is the ideal personality type to chair the council’s audit and risk committee.

Given the Audit and Risk Committee is non compliant with its own charter and Cr Lewis as chair knows that (check out the reply on ICC’s Facebook about the Charter).  According to Lewis, this Charter is current.  The Charter requires three councillors and an independent.  Our Mayor, incorrectly, at the inaugural meeting appointed the Audit and Risk Committee as a membership of five and appointed only elected members.  If Lewis knows it, why not correct it?

I was watching The Mentalist the other day and something said made sense.  An FBI was asking questions of ‘a homesteader’ and did not identify themselves beforehand.  The ‘homesteader’ pointed out they are required to by law and asked “how can you expect me to follow the laws of the land if you aren’t willing to?”

That is how I consider ICC…don’t tell me what to do unless you are doing what you are supposed to.

Here It Comes

23 Oct

Get ready for a rogering ratepayers!

In public excluded next week (unless councillors oppose it)

Outdoor Stadium 

Enable any local authority Section 7(2)(1)
holding the information to
carry on, without prejudice
or disadvantage,
negotiations (including
commercial and industrial
negotiations

I suppose if it fails they could just go running to Holdco…they are allowed to lend to community facilities.  They might be out of favours at the bank by now though.

Guest Post

22 Oct

I have had some great phone calls, emails and discussions around the topic but find it increasingly difficult to sit down at the computer and put it all down.  A kind person has offered the following on the subject:

Reports in today’s paper fail to capture the full facts. It should have read Cllr Dennis, who stands to lose the better part of 50k per year in his role as one of the political appointed Holdco Directors, made the statement ‘Cllr Pottinger has a lot to say for himself’. Surely it is the role of all councillors to make sure their voice is heard and Pottinger should be applauded for trying to bring some integrity into the debate.
It is survival for some who have been stuck on the teat of the directorships for far too long and are now realising they need to fight to retain that spot.
Mr Shadbolt states ‘why would council want to mislead the public?’. Seriously?, he must understand as he looks around his merry band at council meetings and sees the welling of the tears as some see further opportunities to increase the 300+K per annum in directors fees they presently pocket.
Even the Mayor himself pockets 23K per annum for being a director of the airport company. That is one of the classic rorts. Four or five staff run by council for many years from Esk Street but now deemed important enough so the greedy people can latch on and drag off 100+K per annum in directors fees. Its a public abuse of power and should be investigated by the SFO. There is no need for the airport to be run as a company and if we the ratepayers own it let the present staff run it. Council still has oversight as they should but the savings are huge.
These people have no scruples when it comes to their own pockets. They will lie and bully to keep what they think is their rights and at last we have someone standing up to be heard.
If nothing is done these people will continue to find ways to extort money from the public and the whole Holdco debacle is about just that. Finding additional business opportunities so they can form additional companies which they can then become directors and continue to take your money.  Bastards.

Compliance Is Not Their Forte

19 Oct

Tuesday sees a committee meeting that has few similarities to the requirements of its founding documents.  The Governance Statement has this to say

The Audit and Risk Committee is responsible for reviewing audit and financial documentation.

Its objective is to ensure financial compliance. The role of the Committee is further outlined in its Charter adopted by Council on 6 March 2012.

Chair: Cr G D Lewis

Members: Cr N D Boniface
Cr L S Thomas
Cr D J Ludlow
Cr R L Abbott

Delegations: Nil

Frequency of meetings: Quarterly and as required

If Cr Lewis wants to be more than a once per quarter chair I suggest he step it up a little.  A good start would be reading your charter and complying.  Firstly I should point out that it was tabled on the 13 March 2012.

The charter claims

Composition and Tenure
The Committee shall consist of three Councillors and at least one independent
member of the public appointed by the Council. Ideally at least 2 members should
have experience in financial reporting, but overall the Committee should reflect a
mix of skills and experience. It is essential that at least one member of the
Committee has accounting or related financial management experience with an
understanding of accounting and auditing standards in a local government
environment.

Oops, where is our independent?  Three councillors and an independent…we get five councillors.  The whole document is a farce really.

Fiddling The Books

17 Oct

Media release from ICC……..

EIL withdraws major transaction request

16 October, 2014

The Board of Electricity Invercargill Limited (EIL) has withdrawn its request to Invercargill City Holdings Limited (ICHL) for approval to increase its joint venture interest in OtagoNet, the Chief Executive of Invercargill City Holdings Limited Dean Johnston said today.

The Chairman of EIL, Neil Boniface confirmed the EIL Board had yesterday withdrawn its request to ICHL.

In early September EIL together with The Power Company was successful in purchasing the 51% interest in the OtagoNet joint venture held by Marlborough Lines Limited. EIL initially took an additional 3% stake in the joint venture and had an option to increase its interest to 50%, which required Council’s major transaction approval and the issuance of further uncalled capital.

Council has been consulting on a proposal to issue an additional $100 million of uncalled capital to support the EIL purchase, if required, along with other investment opportunities in alternative energy sources and smart meters. Of this, $30 million is to support potential future investment opportunities such as alternative energy sources and smart meters, as outlined in the proposal document.  

Mr Johnston said the withdrawal of the EIL request meant that Council did not need to consider issuing the full $132 million of uncalled capital. However, it would still meet to consider issuing $32,350,000 of uncalled capital to support the current, approved activities of ICHL and would consider a decision on the $30 million when requested to do so by ICHL.

The Council will hear public submissions on the uncalled capital at an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Monday, October 20 at 4pm and reconvene on Tuesday morning to hear its last submitter.

Council would then hold another Extraordinary Council Meeting to consider its decision on Tuesday, October 21 at 10am, Mr Johnston said.

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