Comedy Of Errors Continues As Crown Manager Re-appointed

The comedy of errors continues with the government’s response to the beleaguered ratepayers of Kaipara District Council in Northland.

“Today former Crown Manager Peter Winder has been re-appointed by Associate Minister of Local Government Jacqui Dean.

“Mr Winder’s job was terminated in April, with the government citing technical flaws’ by then Associate Minister of Local Government Louise Upston in making the appointment.

“Mr Winder should never have been appointed in July last year. He was a government ‘mate’ and one of three commissioners who failed to take action against Beca, the project management company of the Mangawhai Wastewater Scheme that blew out. Ratepayers are still facing a debt mountain of $65m and an additional $321,960.62 in legal expenses run up by  Mr Winder.

“The saga of a government letting its people down started with the failed scheme, then went to former Northland MP Mike Sabin’s validation of rates bill supported by all parties except New Zealand First and to the Audit Office finally recognising and paying $5.3m last year for failing to monitor expenses. Now we have the failed Crown Manager appointment and re-appointment.

“Validating the rates was an appalling move – retrospective legislation that is harmful to any party should be an abomination in a democracy but it was used as a device to brush incompetence and corruption under the carpet.

“The National government continues to let down ratepayers, and seems utterly bereft of providing an adequate response to repair past wrongs.

“There was never any attempt to try and renegotiate the loans, to lessen the load, or step in to do their duty for the people of Kaipara.”