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Sludgegate: Sludge Dump Needs a "Quick Legal"

Press Release
Sludgegate Update, Day 11 4:10pm, Tuesday 5 December

Sludge Dump Needs a "Quick Legal"

The Sludgegate trial today considered the propriety of planners, who routinely work both sides of every council street. Barry Kaye worked for the council as a consultant planner processing Adrian Chisholm's resort application - he knew the project in some detail. At the same time he was working for the council as a consultant to build a sludge dump the size of two football fields along Adrian Chisholm's boundary - despite knowing what that would do to Chisholm's resort.

Is this proper? That is the question this court must face: Should planners work both sides of the street, despite the conflicts of interest this often entails? The immediate question is of course, why did council continue with that sludge dump in that location despite having that knowledge?

Kaye further told the court that a sludge dump on the reserve along Chisholm 's boundary would require the Reserves Act to be "stretched," and that he had therefore advised council's Stormwater Manager Greg Paterson "to get a quick legal" before they started earthworks on the reserve. There is no evidence to date that Paterson ever got that "quick legal." He is expected to be called by the defence.

Evidence was also given by the major investor in Chisholm's resort project. We heard that Chisholm was working on a 'sweat equity' basis, with the investor putting up the money to obtain the necessary consents - once these were acquired the project would have gone to the market. The investor however was "absolutely devastated" by council's "almost mediaeval" plan to dump raw sewage on the project's boundary, and "frightened" at the prospect of a lengthy battle with council. "I was absolutely devastated," he told the court. "The catalyst in me wanting to get out of the arrangement was the sewage issue. If it had never happened we . would not be standing here."

Following some delays today, the defence case will now begin tomorrow. Expected to be among those called first are former Waiheke Community Board members Gordon Hodson (who was alleged to have said "I will stop any project Chisholm starts") and Faye Storrer (who allegedly called Chisholm "evil").

ENDS

For further information please contact: Peter Cresswell THE FREE RADICAL ON-LINE (025) 861 927 e-mail: organon@ihug.co.nz

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