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MRRA has lost its way

 

john robertson(copyHP)Early this year, Commissioners invited six members of the Mangawhai community to give their time to review the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme. We wanted them to review its fitness for purpose. We wanted them to review the capacity of its two key parts – the processing plant in Mangawhai and the Brown Road farm where treated liquids are disposed of. We also asked them to review and make recommendations on Council policies that determine such things as whether connection to the scheme should be compulsory, how costs should be apportioned, and where and how quickly further reticulation to replace septic tanks should be progressed.

Their report was delivered to Council on 28 July. Importantly:

* It affirms that the plant is working well and has capacity for more hook-ups.

* It affirms that the farm is performing its role in terms of treated liquids disposal, and has capacity to take more. The report is available on the Council’s web site at www.kaipara.govt.nz. It will trigger further work by Council, including geological testing by Council to tease out options, like using some of the treated liquid from the plant to irrigate parts of Mangawhai Community Park or the golf course.

The Commissioners acknowledge and thank community panel members, D’Arcy Quinn as chair, Dr Ian Greenwood, Darryl Reardon, Dr Gordon Hosking, Peter Wethey, and Belinda Vernon. They contributed their individual expertise and generously gave their time. Their report is well worth reading.

Will the Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association (MRRA) campaign against the Council ever come to an end?

While most citizens and community organisations engage with your Council with an eye to the future, there are a few who use social media attacking the Council and its Commissioners with an eye to the past. One of the more recent posts by Bruce Rogan (signed off by the MRRA team), appears under the heading, “New Developments - We are learning how to Box.”

He advises his followers that the Council is bankrupt, that their Council is getting from day to day by the skin of its teeth, and that one of its creditor banks is on the “point of refusing to renew their loans.”

This is completely incorrect. Your Council has its finances well managed and has good relationships with its bankers.

There was a day when the executive of this ratepayers’ association advocated in the best interest of ratepayers. Sadly, that day has passed and the association has lost its way.

More legal proceedings

There are two active proceedings against your Council initiated by the MRRA, or by MRRA and Bruce and Heather Rogan.

* This month, on 25 and 26 August, the MRRA appeal against the judgment made by Justice Heath in May 2014 in the High Court will be heard. Two days of Court of Appeal time have been set aside.

* Last month, on Thursday 16 July, Bruce and Heather Rogan and the MRRA served new proceedings on the Council, seeking a Judicial Review of the validity of Bruce and Heather Rogan’s own rates. These proceedings will be heard in the High Court.

In addition to these proceedings, the Council has sought judgement in the District Court against Bruce and Heather Rogan for their non-payment of rates over several years now. The case has been heard and judgement is awaited.

Kaipara has nearly 14,000 property owners. The Rogan’s are one of less than 20 owners still withholding their rates on the grounds that they claim them not to be valid.

Should any property owner withholding their rates on the advice of those leading the MRRA wish to discuss their particular circumstances with me, please feel free to contact me at jrobertson@kaipara.govt.nz.
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