Register to have your say..

Written by Russell on February 8th, 2011

I am taking registrations from Rangitaiki ward residents interested in taking part in “On Line” referendum concerning the issues facing us on the Plains. This will be your chance to have a say. Please encourage other residents to sign up. You can do it here.

Beacon titbits 1

Written by Russell on June 10th, 2011

I am really going to have to take the Beacon on a bit more.  It is a great local paper but from time to time their headline writing is very misleading. 

 Some of their content is a little astray as well..I dont think I will have any shortage of titbits…

This headline seems to indicate that the Hearings Committe felt that all country roads were not peaceful and tranquil? That is not what we said .. We said that the roads in the vicinity of the applicant’s proposed sites were not peaceful and tranquil and as far as I am concerned SH30 near Whakatane is anything but ‘tranquil’.

No result on the Mayoral Election Expense issue yet?

Written by Russell on June 10th, 2011

I note that this matter does not appear to have been resolved yet and I can imagine the Police have one or two other things to do at present. But .. it is their responsibility and they need to fulfill it.  These things can drag on and cause more problems if they are not swiftly dealt with .. justice delayed is justice denied?

As far as I can tell the Local Electoral Act 2001 has no specific time limit for the laying of an information (needed to commence a prosecution).  That being the case then section 14 of the Summary Offences Act applies and that states that an information must be laid within 6 months from when the matter arose.

On that basis the Police are well out of time to prosecuted so I am going to make a prediction here..

There will be no prosecution because the Police  have let this matter drag on  and the option to have it tested in the court has slipped away.

The Christchurch earthquake will certainly provide an excuse but maybe it is time the Police and the Government “fessed up” about their ability to fulfill their responsibilities?

Financial Strategy and reality!

Written by Russell on May 27th, 2011

Some interesting debates ahead as we head into a review of our Financial Strategy and the Rates review that will come out of it. 

The big issues we are facing revolve around affordability and sustainability. 

I have watched as this Council continues along as if it were still 2007.

I would like to be more optimistic but I am a realist.  If you are wondering what a realist is, here  is my definition …

A pessimist constantly moans about the wind being in the wrong direction and just sits there.

An optimist constantly claims that the wind will change and also just sits there.

A realist gets up and adjusts the sails!

Tame Iti’s computer room?

Written by Russell on May 26th, 2011

I note that the trial of the Ruatoki “Terrorists” has been delayed yet again and very soon someone will be crying “Undue Delay” under the Bill of Rights and seeking to have the whole thing thrown out.  They will conveniently forget that the delays have been caused by the Defendant’s challenging every aspect of the process. 

In case you were wondering it is not a picture of Tame’s computer room and I am not sure where it is, however given all the money we have spent on IT over the past 5 years I would image every Council staff member would have a workstation that looked something like this?  (Minus the guns of course).

The Annual Plan Submission process is over for another year!

Written by Russell on May 21st, 2011

A lot of folk still dont understand the process.  It is not a “complaints” forum .. you dont have to wait until May every year to tell us that the leaves are blocking your drain or the trees need trimming.  It is also not a process where we can change rate funding policies. 

Our policies (which include how Disaster Mitigation is paid for) are decided every 3 years as part of the LTCCP  (Now called the LTP – Long term Plan).  We can not change them just because we get submissions in the Annual Plan process. (Although that is exactly what we did with the sale of the Pensioner flats it is frowned on by auditors).

The good news is that we are doing the 3 yearly review of the LTP later this year and those policies can be adjusted (or not) in time for the 2012 Annual Plan and the Rates that follow.

Another way of putting it is .. It takes a long time to get any changes through the process and into the rates demands.

In case we forget..

Written by Russell on May 16th, 2011

I was looking back over the election stuff from last year.  Some of these sites may not stay up in the future so I thought I would grab a copy of Tony Bonne’s web site and load on here in case we forget what was promised? 

I know you visit my blog Tony! 

You can see his election statement here.

The Whakatane business ’slush fund’ aka The Harbour Fund

Written by Russell on May 16th, 2011
I was chatting to some fellow councillors today and the subject of the Harbour Fund came up. Sure enough one of the  ’newbies’  mentioned that the fund was ‘of course’ restricted by law and could only be spend on the harbour (and the CBD and Business promotion etc).

What a load of rubbish.  We have been through this .. ( previous post) the Order in Council allows the funds to be spend on the harbour and “anything else” that Council sees fit. The myth of restricted use is just that and is perpetrated by those who want to keep it for pet projects.  Any attempt to clarify the status of the fund is cried down smartly.  The item below is from the 1XX site back in July 2009.

01 Jul 2009 8:11 a.m.

Council to leave harbour fund as it is

The Whakatane District Council has voted to leave the Harbour Fund alone.

A proposal in the draft LTCCP to review the legislative framework controlling the fund was met with widespread opposition from boaties and businesses in the town’s CBD.

Councillors have voted 7 – 4 to forgo the review.

It also voted against using the Harbour Fund to fund the district-wide portion of the Disaster Mitigation rate, and allocating $100,000 from the fund to support economic development agency Toi EDA.

This ’slush fund’ really annoys me.  The more I think about the situation the worse it is.  Way back in the days of the Harbour board the port was run as a commercial transport base for the wider District.  Without that District wide support the port would not have thrived.  This was recognised by the makeup of the Harbour  Board which comprised of elected members from the wider District including Waimana and Taneatua.

Now I see the funds being spent mainly on beautification projects like walkways and the park at the heads, not to mention Town Vision while the rural communities struggle on with deteriorating infrastructure and flooding. 

 Forcing businesses to pay high ground rent to a Council slush fund is no way to encourage development in our town!

Full marks for improvisation!

Written by Russell on May 16th, 2011

This sign is on SH2 on the sharp corner just east of Taneatua..

I can just imagine the conversation.. it would have gone something like this…

“Bugger! …  We have brought the wrong sign.  This is for a right hand corner and we have to put it on a left hand corner”

“I know .. turn it upside down .. who will notice?”

Update: 9/6/2011

I emailed NZTA about this back on 16th May and they replied that this had been passed to the Tauranga branch who would “look into it”.  Nothing happened and then the Beacon got wind of it. (Maybe from this blog?).  They contacted NZTA and the sign was fixed right away..  The power of the press huh!

Updates from our the Whakatane USAR team..

Written by Russell on March 13th, 2011

Aelan and the team are back in Christchurch after a few days at home. There is still a lot to be done and if we thought Christchurch was bad we can only shake our head at the situation in Japan.

When nature is cruel .. she is very cruel!

The team spent the day carrying out entry and safety for engineers fromm overseasand around nz in building assessments. Working out what is demo and safe etc.

Update from Aelan KEEBER  - 12/3/11  9.45pm

Images from the ruins of a city

Written by Russell on March 10th, 2011

Our USAR guys are back for a well earned break and I managed to catch up with Aelan Keeber today and got a few pics of our guys in action.  I understand they will be going back in a week or so.

It is truely a mess down there and the scale of the devastation is mind blowing.

From all accounts our guys did the business and didn’t let us or the people of Christchurch down. Well done!

Russell ORR