Richard Moore: Council staff must be more accountable


Is there any personal responsibility in local government?

Okay, we know that every three years the few concerned citizens who can be bothered to vote select their preferred representatives for councillors and biff out those who they think have been performing particularly badly.

But, what about responsibility among the council workers themselves?

After all they are the ones who guide councillors and make decisions in the background that elected officials vote for.

For example, who was the person responsible for pushing a $130 million southern pipeline that would see Tauranga have the bestest, most wonderfullest sewerage pipe in the history of the world? It would cope with increasing population levels until well into this century.

The only problem is Tauranga's population growth has stagnated faster than a constipated septic tank and is - more than likely - going backwards as folk desert $10 Town for the glittering fortunes to be had across The Ditch or for work in the Christchurch rebuild.

When it is completed our super marvellous pipeline will run at about 25 per cent capacity - so that means Tauranga's population has to hit 400,000 before it is at capacity. By my quick reckoning that could be the same year as Halley's Comet returns or Hell freezes over.

Name the persons who came up with the idea and let them explain why so much taxpayer money has been wasted on the project, leading to debt levels never before seen in this region.

And what about the person/persons who in 2007 thought it would be a fab idea for council to buy up a $15 million farm in Papamoa East. The apparent aim was to secure the land to allow time for the satellite city of Te Tumu to be developed - with an projected population of 20,000.

Now if you do a quick survey of the proposed development east of Parton Rd you'll see the only thing that's likely to hit the figure of 20,000 - is blades of grass per square metre.

Whoever made the decision to suggest such a buy up now owes ratepayers interest to the value of about $1.5 million.

Let's not even go near the leaky-home issue - it is too scary in a town that expanded exponentially during that madness and could see people's investment homes left worthless.

There are far too many nameless ghosts within Clown Hall who make really bad decisions that end up costing residents of this city a fortune.

Those responsible should be named, made to explain their actions and justify why they shouldn't be held accountable for such major cock-ups.


What ever happened to being innocent until proved guilty?

That's what local NZ First MP Brendan Horan must be asking after allegations by his brother over missing money from his late mother's bank account, being sent home by his party to sort things out and being staked out by TV film crews.

There's no evidence produced to say he did anything wrong and yet his political boss Winston Peters has asked him to produce evidence he didn't do it.

Sorry Winnie, that doesn't quite sound logical to me. Can you prove you didn't do something like that?

If so, how?

Anyhow, my main beef is with the television coverage by those who call themselves journalists.

I've heard on Wednesday a crew from TV3 door-knocked the Horan home and got footage.

They then used the same footage on the Thursday claiming the MP was "holed up at home".

In fact, I have it on good authority the MP was going about his constituency work that day.

Another thing TV3 chiefs, isn't it poor taste to show film footage of his mother's grave in such a report? Particularly in it having been less than a year since she passed.

And TV One doesn't hold itself up for glory either.

I was watching a report and up popped an interview with Horan and his wife. It was file footage from about six months ago.

Considering what his wife and family must be going through at the moment I'd call that pretty insensitive use of file film.

In my day it was known as lazy journalism and frowned upon.

Nowadays it's called television news.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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