Horowhenua correspondent Veronica Harrod reports the Horowhenua District Council has got involved in a Maori Appellate Court decision.
‘Business as usual’
She says despite the Maori Appellate Court decision quashing the election of 11 Lake Horowhenua trustees, the Council sent out an email on behalf of Trust chair Matthew Sword declaring its business as usual for the Trust.
Last Thursday three judges accepted Lake Horowhenua owner Philip Taueki’s application that Justice Doogan had a conflict of interest when he appointed 11 trustees because of his previous professional involvement with the Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and Lake Horowhenua Trust chair Matthew Sword.
The Maori Appellate Court has referred the matter of reappointing trustees to Lake Horowhenua Trust back to the Maori Land Court to resolve. It is expected the Maori Land Court will meet in the next week.
Email from Council
On Monday, September 17 Horowhenua District Council sent out an email to numerous parties on behalf of Mr Sword stating, “In the meantime, despite the Judge’s comments about the non-existence of trustees, the Lake Trust will be continuing as per usual and seeking advice and support.”
The email was sent by Horowhenua District Council to a number of parties including the same lake trustees whose appointment has been quashed, local council staff and elected representatives, Horizon’s regional council representatives, Department of Conservation representatives including Lake Horowhenua Domain Board chair Reg Kemper and, oddly enough, former HDC Mayor Brendan Duffy.
The email sent out by the council on behalf of Mr Sword also states, “We are extremely disappointed that the mistakes of a judge could give rise to this situation and have such an impact on us.”
“However we are focused on working through our options to secure the future progress of our restoration activities. Our advice to date is that the Appellate Court has made a number of errors and at worst the trustees prior to the 2016 decision remain in office of which there are 8 of us remaining with myself as chair.”
“There may be an interim period while we tidy up this mess but we hope it can be sorted quickly. I am confident our whānau will turn up in droves to make a big statement about this situation,” said Mr Sword.