The Horowhenua Council’s Chief Executive confidentially agreed to provide nearly a million dollars to Te Runanga o Raukawa provided it did not object to a wastewater scheme.
Chief executive David Clapperton made the confidential agreement to provide at least $880,500 to Te Runanga
o Raukawa on the proviso the Runanga withdraw its objection to council’s resource consent application to make discharges from the Foxton Waste Water Treatment Plant to Matakarapa Island.
A leaked copy of the September 2017 draft agreement states that Te Runanga o Raukawa (TRoR), “will withdraw their submissions to Horizons [regional council and] the Environment Court in respect of proceedings within 5 working days of TRoR signing this agreement.”
Obligations for Rununga
The agreement also states TRoR will, “not participate in any way (including supporting any other party) in the Foxton Waste Water Treatment Plant (FWWTP) proceedings before the Environment Court in respect of proceedings..or any other regulatory or statutory proceedings related to the current proposal for the discharge of treated human wastewater from FWWTP to land at Matakarapa…”
The agreement defines Matakarapa Island as approximately, “364.3 hectares of land to the south west of Foxton township comprising several parcels of land in ownership of several entities.”
Councillor Ross Campbell said he attended a breakfast signing event for the agreement at Foxton’s Returned Services Association (RSA) on 29 September 2017 where he was told the agreement had been signed by Larry Parr on behalf of TRoR and Mr Clapperton behind closed doors.
Never debated by Councillors
“This is a huge sum of money distributed to a collective group for purposes which have not been disclosed to the public or debated by council for consideration,” he said.
Mr Clapperton has delegated authority to spend up to $1 million annually on specified contracts for services and Mr Parr was one of seven hapu who signed a March 6, 2018 letter supporting Mr Clapperton’s reappointment as council chief executive after his first five year term ended earlier this year.
The Office of the Auditor General confirmed the funding will be paid to TRoR under Mr Clapperton’s delegated authority in a letter to former councillor Anne Hunt which stated, “I also understand that the arrangements with Te Runanga o Raukawa were made with delegated authority by Mr Clapperton.”
The agreement has strict confidentiality clauses including, “Affected hapu members must keep confidential, and not disclose to any other person, or use for any other purpose the terms and conditions of the Matakarapa Agreement. The Parties may make public statements that agreement has been reached on a confidential basis.”
Mayor Michael Feyen said he has, “only seen an incomplete draft”, that he took, “no part in negotiations” and “did not sign it, as I would expect I would do as mayor.”
After Cr Ross tried to table a copy of the agreement at the November 22 council meeting last year several councillors, including deputy mayor Wayne Bishop, Crs Victoria Kaye-Simmons, Barry Judd, Neville Gimblett, Jo Mason and Christine Mitchell, walked out which meant the council meeting had to be cancelled due to lack of a quorum.
The minutes of the November 22 council meeting state, “This document has not been furnished to the Chief Executive and does not, therefore, form part of the official record of the meeting.”
The draft agreement also includes a clause that some of the funding can be used, “subject to HDC Councillor approval” with the word Councillor struck out, “to invest in the purchase of 28 Harbour Street, Foxton…if the purchase of 28 Harbour Street, Foxton…is not approved…TRoR (Rununga) may seek to utilise the funding..to invest in another suitable property agreed to by both Parties.”