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

 

CPAG: Government Spends Over $100K Pursuing Beneficiary

For the past fifteen years, Kathryn, now in her fifties and living alone with chronic ill health on a benefit, has been challenging the decision by the MSD that she has to pay back $117,000. She has no assets or savings and cannot afford to pay for fresh food or therapy that would improve her health. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: National’s Cuts Shave $100K Off KiwiSaver By Retirement

New analysis shows National’s constant cuts to KiwiSaver will reduce the average worker’s retirement savings by $100,000 over their working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says... Since coming to office it has made five separate cuts to the scheme." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Transport Operators Switch From SuperGold To AT HOP Cards

Seniors using Auckland’s public transport will need to use their AT HOP cards from today but Auckland Transport has requested its operators to show understanding for those customers yet to complete the switch from SuperGold cards. More>>

ALSO:

Crime Stats: Burglary Up 11.9%

“While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, there has been an increase of more than 10 per cent over the past 12 months, which is of concern to Police and something we are determined to tackle,” says Police Commissioner Mike Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Help: Lifeline Aotearoa Fighting For Survival

Lifeline Aotearoa has announced it only has enough money to run for one more year. By 30 June 2017, all available sustainability reserves and funds from a new mortgage on its Auckland property will be exhausted. More>>

ALSO:

Overseas Investment: Auditor-General To Examine OIO

The Auditor-General is to examine how the Overseas Investment Office collects and manages information following a request from the parliament's finance and expenditure committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English Living In Denial

The working poor have been a direct byproduct of the economic policies in vogue for the past 30 years or more, all over the Western world... That anger was evident in the Brexit vote, and it underlies the support for Donald Trump in the United States. More>>

ALSO:

Final Reading Of Parental Leave Bill: Families With New Babies Victims Of Veto

“For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because the National Government has used its veto – an extreme measure against families,” says the Bill’s sponsor, Labour MP Sue Moroney. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news