Associate Local Government Minister Hon Louise Upston has announced the appointment of Peter Winder as a Crown Manager.
Mr Winder’s role will be to support the Kaipara District Council when it returns to a fully-elected Council following the October 8 local elections.
“Mr Winder is currently a Kaipara Commissioner, and will thus bring with him his extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of recent past events,” Ms Upston says.“He will support Council members by taking responsibility for legal actions relating to past issues on their behalf. This will allow Council members to focus on the District’s future.”
The term of the Crown Manager is for a period of three years.
However the appointment has not been greeted particularly well in some quarters.
New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters sees it as ‘the appointment of a government ‘mate.’
“The whole episode since the sewerage scheme blew out leaving the council in $80 million debt has been a farce under National,” he says.
“The fact Associate Minister of Local Government Louise Upston is appointing a Crown Manager does not bode well for the long suffering ratepayers, nor does the naming of Peter Winder – one of three commissioners who failed to take action against the project manager and hardly made a dent in the debt,” says Mr Peters.
In response to some criticism, Mr Winder told The Focus that every appointment carries ‘terms of reference’ but this does not mean they must all be carried out and to the n’th degree as some critics seem to assume.
Essentially he sees his only responsibility as that related to outstanding matters of litigation saying “it is important that the new council be able to concentrate on day-to-day matters and the future of Kaipara, rather than those of the past.”
He referred to one important project being the plan for the future of Mangawhai.
In reference to his reported payment of $900 per day Mr Winder says he envisages probably one to two days per month will be spent on Council issues. This falls well short of the figures expounded by some ‘mathematicians’ critical of the rate of pay.
The next appointment by Hon Louise Upston will be that of Crown Observer whose brief will be as a ‘critical friend’ to council with no decision-making power but a watching brief to perhaps intervene in any areas of difficulty with advice and/or guidance. It is important that newly-elected council members have the right support to be successful in their demanding and somewhat complex role.
n For those interested, the terms of reference document for the Crown manager can be read on gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2016-go3934
“It is important that the new council be able to concentrate on day-to-day matters and the future of Kaipara, rather than those of the past.”
- Peter Winder, current Kaipara commissioner