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Ed Said - What are we waiting for

 

I said earlier that much of this election would likely play out on social media. Kaipara concerns recently opened their own Facebook page. Mayoral candidate Bruce Rogan has one, as does Peter Wethey and Libby Jones. Watchdog Kaipara Concerns recently also started one. While open to abuse in some cases, these are public forums generally for comments and constructive discussion but I note on the Kaipara Concerns site that any comments contrary to their own beliefs are quietly removed. Interesting huh? In the lead-up Kaipara Concerns also appeared to be favouring one particular candidate but on their website this appears somewhat different.

Let me explain. Mr Kaipara Concerns summarises our Mayoral candidates. He allocates one sentence to Dargaville’s Jay Tane, a slightly longer one to Christian Simon, a short paragraph on Bruce Rogan saying ‘we know Bruce Rogan, what you see is what you get’, but then considerably more words on Greg Gent. Why does he now favour Gent so strongly and why does he not afford the others similar treatment?

He rightly labels Gent ‘experienced, articulate; experienced in governance and business; with a sterling record of management at the highest level; has been a government appointee to several boards’ then adds ‘If he can run Southern Cross and all of his other boards part-time then surely he can run Kaipara.” It is to the credit of Mr Kaipara Concerns that he now obviously favours this more highly qualified candidate thus showing the importance of attending these meetings and learning more about those standing.

On the night of the Mangawhai candidates meeting it was announced that an interim decision had been made into the court action NRC and KDC vs Rogans. It’s a good read and though it takes some digesting Justice Duffy has gone to some lengths to find the NRC portion of rates set between 2011/12 and 2015/16 have not been lawfully set, it is still far from an open and shut case. Much of it deals with T’s which weren’t crossed and I’s which weren’t dotted. It is further to her credit that she appears to want to get parties around the table to sort the nuts and bolts before delivering a final judgement thus avoiding further court proceedings which would only impact further on all Kaipara ratepayers.

The following final points of her delivery sums things up to some degree:

[125] The reality, therefore, is that in the past, errors of the type which exist here have resulted in Parliament passing validating legislation. I consider that before reaching a final view on the balance of the relief sought, the NRC should have the opportunity to give further consideration to the findings that I have made and to take further steps in regard to the balance of the relief sought, including providing the Court with further evidence and submissions if it seeks to do so.

[126] I direct, therefore, that the NRC should provide updating evidence by no later than 21 November 2016 on this topic, as well as supplementary submissions. The Plaintiffs have 15 working days from the date of receipt of such evidence to file any evidence in response as well as any supplementary submissions. The NRC has 5 working days to file any reply to the material filed by the Plaintiffs.

[127] Regarding the relief sought by the Plaintiffs for their judicial review application against the KDC in relation to the imposition of penalties on rates, I found no error was made in that regard, and for that reason the claim and relief sought against the KDC is dismissed.

(I have 37 recent examples which include the Christchurch City Council (Rates Validation) Act 2015; Tasman District Council (Validation and Recovery of Certain Rates) Act 2014; and the Kaipara District Council (Validation of Rates and Other Matters) Act 2013.)

Result

[129] I make the following declaration: The NRC’s rates for the KDC region have not been lawfully set or assessed for the rating years from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016 inclusive.

[130] The balance of the relief sought by the Plaintiffs and costs will be determined in a final judgment.

[131] The Plaintiffs should take no steps in relation to the declaration until the balance of the relief they seek is determined. End.

Certainly moving at last to a conclusion which, regardless of the outcome, will be a good result for all.

Just my humble opinion.

Rob

 
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