Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

BayBuzz: Timing is everything!

Timing is everything!


Fri, Mar 07 2014

Isn’t it interesting that all the bad news being reported from Hawke’s Bay councils in the past week or so was actually known last year — as in, pre-election?!

At the Regional Council, Andrew Newman’s performance evaluation and pay raise was on the agenda of the 25 September 2013 meeting. But the then-councillors, apparently not keen to award pay raises while facing re-election, deferred the matter. Probably most of those sitting at the table at the time expected to be there for a routine approval at the October meeting.

Over at the Hastings Council, the bad news about potential earthquake risk of the Opera House first surfaced in July of last year. A closer look was recommended. But the HDC seemed to go into ‘let’s not hurry’ mode. And so the further review, resulting in abrupt closure of the Opera House as unsafe, only arrived last week.

And at the Napier Council, internal concerns that the new museum would not be able to store the bulk of its collection surfaced as early as June 2012. In July, museum director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins echoed the assessment of Opus Consultants. Councillors were informed at least by October 2012 — in public excluded session, of course. The matter was discussed at another public excluded session in February 2013. And then the matter went dead.

The minutes of the October 2012 meeting referred to “a major storage problem“.
The chairman of the Napier Council’s Finance Committee throughout this period was Bill Dalton. Yet, despite two reports, what does he have to say?

“I had absolutely no idea of the potential size of the problem until just a couple of weeks ago.”

Remarkable … or should I say outrageous!? Here’s an $18 million civic project (partly funded by HBRC and HDC) and the chairman of the Finance Committee claims he was unaware of the serious magnitude of the problem.

Either Mr Dalton has a ‘failure of recollection’ or was simply asleep at the wheel. In fairness though, the previous Napier Council in its entirety was simply a stage prop for Mayor Arnott and then-Chief Executive Neil Taylor. No one on that make-believe council questioned anything. It remains to be seen whether any of the newly elected councillors view their role as anything other than passive onlookers.

Suppressed information … public excluded sessions … staff running the show — it’s all part of what has been business-as-usual in local government Hawke’s Bay.

And no transparency equates to no accountability.

When councillors become mere cheerleaders for whatever their mayors, CEOs and council staffs are championing, instead of serving as reasonably independent watchdogs, then the public had better be worried … whether it’s an opera house, a museum, or a dam.

And with five councils operating this way in Hawke’s Bay, it’s far more than our region’s handful of citizen watchdogs can keep track of or scrutinize.
As I see it, another reason for Transparent Hawke’s Bay.
And another reason for amalgamation.

Tom Belford

P.S. Find this too depressing? Here’s an antidote …

Redwoods Concert, Sun 9 March at 3pm
Enjoy the beauty of the Te Mata Park Redwoods and great music from New Zealand’s top original blues band, Riverhead Slide, supported by Wyn Drabble. Bring your friends, a picnic and a rug to sit on for a very special concert in an amazing setting. Gates open at 2pm – enter the Park from the end of Tauroa Road and access to the Redwoods is a gentle 20 minute walk. A shuttle bus will be available for those less physically able. Gates sales only – please bring cash (no EFTPOS available).$10pp or $25 family of 4. Gates open 2.00pm. Enter from Tauroa Road.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Let It Go: MP Pay To Be Frozen

The Government is freezing MP salaries and allowances for a year while developing a fairer formula for future pay increases.

The Remuneration Authority is due to make a decision on MP pay shortly.

“Today Cabinet agreed to freeze MP Pay till July 2019, and to reassess the funding formula used by the Authority to ensure it is fair and in keeping with this Government’s expectations and values,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. More>>

 

Cop Shop Top-Up: 1800 New Police Through NZ

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, following a $298.8 million increase for Police in Budget 2018... “These 1800 officers, alongside 485 support staff, will really enhance our work to keep people safe, and ensure they feel safe,” says Mr Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Human Right Commissions: Concern On Aged Care And Consent

A new report published by the Human Rights Commission raises concerns about the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. More>>

ALSO:

Justice Reform: Andrew Little Interviewed By Corin Dann

“We’ve had thirty years of the auction of more penalties, more crime, more people in prison but it‘s not working, it’s not making us safe.” More>>

ALSO:

Greens AGM: Leadership Stands Firm On Waka Jumping Bill

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and will not be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government. Former MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford had hoped the caucus might be persuaded this weekend to pull its support from the waka jumping bill. More>>

ALSO:

TOP Still Going, Actually: New Leader For Opportunities Party

New leader Geoff Simmons' aim as the leader of TOP is to take the party into Parliament at the next election where it can advocate and implement progressive reform in areas including fair taxation, cannabis legalisation, affordable housing, and environmental protection. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case... More>>

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages