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THe BBQ And Pool Issue

Feb 2005

Gary Osborne

More than a year ago, some councillors were telling me we had their sympathy over the swimming pool fencing issue. Nearly a year ago POAG was claiming pool inspectors were acting ultra vires. Countless times comments from Jason Sheehan and Dean Nuralli have been quoted to you.

The decision of Randerson J on 1 October 2004 vindicated the stance of pool owners who had resisted moving BBQ’s, at the request of Council, from their pool areas. The outcome for those who did, is not yet final as I understand some pool owners who complied with Council’s demands that they move their BBQ’s, will be seeking redress, in light of Randerson J’s decision.

I’m aware of at least 2 cases where pool owners were prosecuted and found guilty without receiving notice of their Court Hearing dates. Since then, both those cases have had charges against them withdrawn.

We now have the latest round of the Council spending countless time and money on a face-saving exercise bullying its ratepayers right up until the eleventh hour hoping to wring some sort of confession of wrong-doing from them before withdrawing charges. According to the Court 24 cases were withdrawn on Friday 4 February (21 according to Denis Sheard).

I URGE Councillors to scratch below the surface of this issue and find out the total picture. It’s no good relying on verbal reports presented to Council committees under non-agenda items or workshops held an hour before a full Council meeting. In an endeavour to provide some back-ground I produced a 28 page document for all Councillors on 26 October 2004. By all means, if there are items in that document you wish to challenge, let’s have some open public debate, but let it be reasoned and informed, not just responded to by point-scoring platitudes.

2.

My comments of “Rubbish” to inaccurate assertions by Denis Sheard and John Koolen at the meeting of the Planning and Regulatory committee on Tuesday 8 February were intended to be a wake up call! The vindictive retaliation by firstly Council’s Legal Services Manager and secondly by its CEO, in insisting on a re-inspection of my pool, since that meeting, are characteristic of the Waitakere City Council culture.

Did you know the Council had withdrawn charges against me on 22/12/03? Did you know the circumstances? Quite probably not. The attempt to re-litigate does this Council little credit.

It’s high time the Councillors had some say over the actions of their bureaucrats. You were elected to serve us, not to rule us. Indeed, many of you campaigned on that basis.

It’s just not good enough to have the Legal Services Manager advising my Ward representatives and the Exemption Committee not to answer my questions then writing to me to say “I would however doubt that all of them have the same level of fixation with these issues which you appear to have and that they have far better things to do with their time…”

In 1964 Ronald Reagan said “What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place.

Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

That was forty years ago!!!

ENDS

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