Something stinks in Horowhenua — and it’s not just the water
By Pam Vernon
Horowhenua Environmental Health Watch
If you’ve been following recent events after the Local Government elections you’ll be aware all is not yet plain sailing at the Horowhenua District Council.
Our new Mayor Michael Feyen and Ross Campbell, the deputy he appointed, who’ve only ever been passionate about partnering with Iwi, cleaning up our polluted waterways, and
providing us with clean drinking water, seem to have hit an impasse.
That being, the remaining nine councillors and CE don’t like the Mayor’s choice of deputy, and with no justification offered, have announced they will shortly be rolling him (1).
So in spite of noises from the general public via the various forums about ‘getting on with the job’, they’re actually having a difficult time of it.
And the folks who voted for the new Mayor, not to be easily thwarted, have set up a petition and are intending to exercise their democratic right and present themselves en masse next Wednesday outside the HDC building with placards saying so – peacefully of course (2).
So what’s wrong?
So just why are the majority of Crs not happy with Mayor Feyen’s choice of deputy?
To figure that out you need to reflect on the previous regime, and a few other anomalies along the way.
Historically both Feyen and Campbell were known as councillors for speaking out frequently against the alleged pollution of our waterways by Council (3).
Earlier this year a third person, former Cr Mrs Anne Hunt, confirmed their concerns to us at Horowhenua (Rangitikei) Environmental Health Watch about pollution of the waterways and HDC’s highly questionable methods of handling dissension about that (4).
A second concern they frequently spoke out about was the Council’s ballooning debt. ‘Don’t buy what you can’t afford’ has been Cr Campbell’s plea (5).
The exact amount of debt is highly disputed, confirmed by the previous regime as $68 million, however some say $100 million. Either sum is really quite large I’m sure most readers will agree, especially under the watch of highly paid professionals (6).
At the first Council Meeting chaired by the new Mayor it was moved that the Council books be opened in that regard but both he and his deputy were roundly outvoted. Just this week Cr Campbell has noted on his Facebook updates that he is still figuring out where the money went (7).
Returning to the planned protest on December 7th, HDC hit mainstream headlines this week about a woman who was contacted by Police regarding her intention to attend the protest (8).
Feeling very intimidated, she said they’d gotten her name off Facebook. Police however claimed it was standard procedure to contact organizers, while mainstream failed to mention that the organizers had in fact already contacted Police in early November. The Police had been contacted by HDC’s CE, Mr Clapperton to find out what was going on (9).
Democracy gone wrong
As Mayor Feyen has recently commented, ‘the law is an ass’, because democracy doesn’t seem to be working here as one would have expected.
The protest will take place at 3pm on Wednesday 7th December 2016.
(1) Horowhenua DC’s New Deputy Mayor is being Rolled
(2) The Protest & petition details
(3) Speaking out about pollution
(4) Mrs Anne Hunt speaks out
(5) Cr Campbell on HDC’s ballooning debt
(6) The salaries of DC professionals
(7) Where has the money gone?
(8) Woman contacted by Horowhenua Police