Tale of the Horowhenua CEO

Horowhenua Chief Executive David Clapperton

Land, property and the CEO in Levin 

By Veronica Harrod
There’s an an intriguing tale of land and property interests owned by the Horowhenua District Council chief executive, David Clapperton.
He says: “We are not in the land development game,” in response to a query about why he and his wife Catherine Whitehouse have their company Kai Tipu Ora Ltd listed under a “Land development or subdivision (excluding construction)” industry code.
He made the declaration in an exclusive interview after the company, of which Mr Clapperton and his wife are sole directors, was publicly revealed for the first time in the commentary ‘Horowhenua Horror Bout’ that appeared in Kapiti Independent News on November 30.

CEO’s explanation

Mr Clapperton said the reason why the company was classified under the land development/sub-division code was because he and his wife intended to set up an office on the property, and they were also going to subdivide the property to build accommodation for a family member.

Fairfield Road property at thecentre of number confusion
“However the land is not going to be subdivided to build accommodation for a family member any longer,” he said.
In response to whether it was appropriate to have a company with an industry classification that bears little relevance to the services being provided by the company Mr Clapperton said, “In hindsight we wish we hadn’t but it was a mistake that can’t be changed. We have asked to change the classification” rather than de-register the company.
In answer to why the company structure was still necessary if the reason for establishing it was no longer being pursued he said, “We were advised to set up a company for tax requirements,” he said.
Companies Office view
A Companies Office spokesperson refuted the statement that business industry classifications could not be changed. He said, “Business Industry Codes (BIC) are provided on a voluntary basis by the company, and are not verified by the Companies Office. A company is able to change its BIC without having to re-register as a company.”
The Horowhenua District Council rating database had no information on the address Mr Clapperton and his wife Catherine Whitehouse included in the director address details for their company Kai Tipu Ora Ltd listed with the Companies Office.
A physical check for the correct address reveals that only an indent of the number listed as the directors’ and shareholders’ residential address remains on the letterbox outside the property, but not the number itself because the number has been removed from the letterbox.
Onus on directors
The Companies Office spokesperson said, “The onus is on the board of directors of a company to ensure that all information provided to the Registrar of Companies is accurate. This includes a company’s address for service and a director’s (or shareholder’s) residential address.
“Providing false or misleading information to the Registrar is an offence under section 377 of the Companies Act 1993. The maximum penalty on conviction for this offence is a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment for a term of two years. You can find out more about our enforcement approach on our website, where you can also make a complaint if you have information concerning inaccurate information.”
At the property number listed as the directors’ and shareholders’ address is a second letterbox which has been added to the north side of the driveway which has another street number.
Increasing the layers of intrigue is the involvement of Horowhenua District Council which has listed the property in its rating database under the letterbox number that was added at a later date. A google earth map picture taken of the property clearly shows only one letterbox, the correct one, and now there are two letterboxes.
Numbers puzzle on Fairfield Road
The Fairfield property information held on the local council’s rating database also conflicts with the Fairfield Road property information held on the Quotable Values (QV) database. Under the QV database, the address for the same Fairfield Road property is listed under another street number again. Yes, keep up readers we now have three different street numbers for the same property. Suffice to say, this is confusing.
Also I would challenge the statement made by Mr Clapperton that he and his wife were “not in the land development game.”  It is a fact that both he and his wife own four land lots in total, three in the Horowhenua and one outside the district.
Mr Clapperton and his wife’s company Kai Tipu Ora Ltd are listed as the owners of the 1.4973 hectare residential property in Fairfield Road which has an RV of $750,000 yet sold for $1.3 million on 26 Oct 2016.
Mr Clapperton and his wife are also listed as the owners of three other land lots including (a) a 4200 m2 (almost half a hectare) of vacant residential land in Ohau Terrace with a registered valuation (RV) of $226,000, where deputy mayor and land developer Wayne Bishop has his Ohau land development project (b) a 847 m2 lot at Himatangi Beach with a RV of $100,000 which was purchased for $32,000 on 24 October 2002 and, outside the district, 12.9 hectares in Rongotea Road, Kairanga which has a RV of $880,000 and was purchased on 12 Jun 2008 for $700,000.
Land development explosion

Fairfield Road has seen an explosion in land development that corresponds with land development projects outlined in the Levin section of the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan. It is also where

Stormwater upgrade in the Fairfield Rd area

one of the biggest upgrades to the Levin storm-water system is taking place costing Horowhenua ratepayers a conservatively estimated $4.1 million.

According to the Ohau section of the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan (Part 9), Mr Clapperton’s 4200 hectare of bare land is situated in area 7 –- Bishops Vineyard (Muhunoa East Road –- south side) green belt residential zone.
“This area is to the east of Ohau and has been an area experiencing a high degree of recent rural-residential development. The area is bordered by rural land to the north and east, Railway Terrace (residential development) to the west, and Muhunoa West Road (rural land) to the south. In the short term, new development would be serviced on-site, and in the long term connected to the Levin reticulated infrastructure networks.” (2008 Horowhenua Development Plan).
There have been 6 sales of residential vacant sites of land in Muhunoa East Road in the last 3 months including two others in Ohau Terraces on 25 September and 20 April.

Hello Catherine
Thank you for your response. It is always good to get feedback. As I also replied to this original post on another forum if my information is “incorrect” then it means information held by government and quasi government agencies is also incorrect. Is this what you are asserting? Also HDC chief executive freely admitted the company was categorised as under land development/sub-division category. He did not deny this. The first part of the interview with him includes an interview on this very issue that you are, now, in turn disputing the facts of.

It is also true the property is listed under three different addresses on three different, once again, government and quasi government databases. This is a fact. Also, the address for service that both you and your husband, the chief executive of the HDC, have provided to the Companies Office is not in the HDC rating database. This is also a fact. The address in the HDC database is listed under a number that does not correspond with the director/shareholder address for service both of you have provided to the Companies Office even though it is the same property. As you can read from the Companies Office response not providing the correct address for service details is also subject to criminal charges. So, do you both intend on providing the correct address to the Companies Office?

Also, Mr Clapperton has been quoted in the local media stating, “I see some huge opportunities for the Horowhenua that have never been seen before, probably in the last three generations. And I’m adamnant I want to be part of that journey.” The problem for ratepayers and residents is does he have too much at stake which is why he wants to be part of “that journey.” In a process that did not follow due process the former chairperson of the Finance, Audit and Risk sub-committee: land developer and deputy mayor Wayne Bishop allowed Mr Clapperton to declare a conflict of interest in a meeting that shunted the public out the door without explaining why and neither was it publicly advertised why this part of the meeting would be closed to the public, also required by law. Suffice to say Mr Bishop is no longer chair of this committee which is all that needs to be said on this score.

To date the public have still not been informed about the exact nature of that conflict of interest but comments continue to be made by council indicated not a response to the “growth” but a deliberate strategy to drive that growth which is, in essence, land development. In driving the land development agenda council has attracted some major players including Wellington land and property developer Willis Bond that council sold the council owned pensioner housing portfolio to for a fire-sale price. This was also supposed to be a neatly arranged public relations campaign that became derailed when a confidential sale document was revealed to the public which clearly and categorically stated the owner was Willis Bond. Mr Clapperton made numerous, oft repeated and published comments stating and insisting the sale would be to a registered Community Housing Provider. Yet this was revealed to be an untruth. Also, the sale terms document revealed the pensioner housing only needs to be retained as pensioner housing stock for little over a decade. What are Willis Bond plans after this time? We were also reassured the interests of the pensioners in the housing would be paramount. Does this sound like the interests of pensioners is paramount?

As of today on the HDC website it was announced the chief executive David Clapperton has come to the end of his five year term as legislated in the appointment of chief executive’s for council. Mr Clapperton has indicated a preference to stay on for the further two years he is allowed to. And I quote from the HDC website, “Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop says the current chief executive Mr David Clapperton has indicated that because the district is entering a crucial period of growth that it is only right that there is long-term stability in such a crucial role.” Why is the deputy mayor making this statement and not the mayor Michael Feyen? Clearly deputy mayor Wayne Bishop and the chief executive David Clapperton have a close relationship but a close relationship based on what?

When the council uses the word “growth” what they are referring to is a land development agenda and this is evidenced in the existence of a 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan (HDP) only land developers and council were given the opportunity to contribute to. This plan is being followed almost to the letter despite it being a stand alone document not covered by any legislative or statutory requirements to consult. So, yes, I think it is time that the land development interests of those within council are exposed to the light of day as this puts a whole new perspective on why the land development agenda is being rolled out at such an exponential rate.

Despite consultations with the community not even having started on a 20 year Long Term Plan (starting next year) about what “development” and “growth” residents and ratepayers would like to see the council concentrate on for the next 20 years instead here we have a HDP – 10 years old at that – that to all intensive purposes is the “development” agenda being followed. The only definition accorded to “development” is “land development.” I am sure the two new community forums that have been recently established would like to be involved in a more relevant and consultative HDP too as there are many problems in the district not least the capacity of the essential infrastructure to absorb the level of land development being rolled out. In fact essential infrastructure concerns was stated as the number one priority by residents and ratepayers in a recently ended pre-consultation phase of the 2018-2038 Long Term Plan.

I give you a third example: changing District Plan rules to allow for an unheralded and non-notified urban development is stated in the implementation section of the 2008 HDP. This is what the public are being consulted on now before consultation begins on the LTP. But if council is following the Implementation section of the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan to propose a change in District Plan rules this means council is driving an agenda the public has not been consulted on. This is concerning and deserves to be commented on.

A council report presented to the council on changing District Plan rules to allow for fairly unregulated development in townships did not contain any environmental or cultural costs despite the fact we already have water restrictions across all the residential towns in Horowhenua because we don’t have enough water for the current population. Were water supply issues included as an environmental cost in the council report on changing urban density rules in the District Plan? No they were not and that suggests the integrity of council reports the public should be able to rely on are also compromised.

Credible sources have already stated a potentially negative impact Lake Horowhenua from increased land development. Credible sources have also commented that the Levin Sewage Treatment Plant is unlikely to sustain increased population growth. But were either of these concerns included in the council report on the environmental and cultural effects of increasing urban density? No they were not. Compounding the problems that are being ignored by the council’s land development agenda are comments in the 2008 HDP that annoyingly continue to refer to Lake Horowhenua as a recreational facility. Lake Horowhenua is not owned by council. This is a legal fact. It is owned by MuaUpoko beneficial owners who have consistently stated throughout history, as the Waitangi Tribunal report on MuaUpoko and the lake says, that no pollution must enter the lake. That is an historical fact.

Lake Horowhenua is neither by law or statute the property of Horowhenua District Council. But the pollution of Lake Horowhenua largely caused by the installation of the Levin Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) near to the lake by the Levin Borough Council and continued by the present council, is the council’s responsibility. So, too is it council’s concern if land development agendas are actively pursued that pay scant to no attention to the impact of land development and sub-division on Lake Horowhenua. The council has shown no political will to address the pollution of Lake Horowhenua in a meaningful way that will lead to sustained and enduring improvements. What makes Lake Horowhenua one of the worst polluted waterways in the country, although there are so many polluted waterways now, is the pollution mainly from the stormwater drains. Indeed instead of addressing the pollution problem the council’s solution has been to initiate installing even bigger stormwater pipes to take even greater flows of stormwater to Lake Horowhenua. And, yes, it is concerning the first place over $4.1 million of ratepayer money is being spent on “improving” the stormwater is occurring in the street where Mr Clapperton lives.

Comments already being made by the community environmental forum, where community representatives have been appointed to participate in environmental and economic growth strategies, relate to “development” and “growth” not in terms of “land development” but in terms of implementing Green principles of waste management. In Levin there exists a largely archaic industrial age essential infrastructure design and the environmental community forum has expressed an interest in being involved in solutions to this problem. Their interest in applying Green waste principles to essential infrastructure problems conflicts with a land development agenda that has shown no interest in the negative impacts of land development. It is like we are living in the second age of European colonisation with exactly the same results as what happened the first time around. Which is why I would be concerned if the sphere of influence of the community forums was limited.

Is it good enough in the 21st Century to continue sending all of Levin’s waste to the west of Levin including the Levin STP, the Levin landfill and the infamous smelly “Pot” behind the landfill? Why do any of us find it acceptable that since European colonisation a certain percentage of the population, largely MuaUpoko with long and enduring ties to Lake Horowhenua, continue to be inflicted day by day, year by year, decade by decade; with such an unhealthy environment not just physically but spiritually. Continuing to ignore the impacts of such a negative environment makes us all complicit in its continuation. I note the real estate section refers to the north east sector, that comprises Fairfield Road, as the “prestigious” or “desirable’ north east sector. Lucky for you, huh, but spare a thought for how the original inhabitants of Horowhenua, and successive descendants, have watched an area of significance and great importance, being relentlessly degraded by the practices of the past and the present day council, which the Waitangi Report concluded. Surely if we are talking about “development” and “growth” in the 21st Century we should be applying that knowledge to introducing new knowledge more compatible with a Climate Change world rather than continuing to respond as if we are still living in an industrial age world? The Horowhenua doesn’t live in a bubble. We are connected to the world. How can we therefore continue t0 act as if the environmental challenges don’t exist here? How can the council support an agenda that will lead to greater environmental degradation and when, oh when, will the original inhabitants see an area of great significance treated with the respect it deserves rather than continuing along a trajectory that will only lead to greater injustices? The lesson of history is that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Yet that is precisely what we are doing to serve the interests of the few who have an ever burgeoning portfolio of land development interests.

Also, does the ending of development contributions that council used to collect as revenue towards upgrades to the essential infrastructure suggest complicity by our council representatives? We know, and this is a fact, that deputy mayor and land developer Wayne Bishop has been rewarded handsomely in the region of millions of dollars since development contributions ended at a time of exponential land development in the district.

To end, I make no apology for bringing to the public’s attention that council is progressing with an agenda neither residents or ratepayers have contributed to in any way shape or form. I make no apology for revealing the land development interests of certain players within council either.

How can residents and ratepayers have faith in the integrity of a consultation process about what the district will look like for the next 20 years if what the district will look like is being rolled out already? How can the public have faith in the consultation process when another agenda entirely is being followed. Unveiling this tangled web of vested interests is necessary to the practice of open government and transparency.

Once again Veronica you post absolute rubbish up. You clearly are out on a witch hunt and crusade but the only thing is you show that you are an incompetent reporter.
Your facts are wrong 1) We did not pay that price for house . Go back and do your homework 2) My section at Himatangi was brought in 2000 gosh 17 years ago in partnership with my mother wow, that really is a conspiracy of property development. If you had seen the title as you know the price we paid you would have seen it was in my and mothers name when purchased. 3) The property in Rongotea is my mothers property and David and I were executors of her estate it has now been sold as of yesterday (Gosh did you not know that). Show me the evidence we purchased in 2008 being David and I . No you can not because we did not my mother did. Furthermore If you bothered to do your homework you would have seen that she died January 9 2017 and the title was transferred to us as Execuctors. No you would not have done your homework because you appear to be to lazy to get facts right and because it would of ruined your little story. Finally the property in Ohau was brought three years ago when we were renting and we had plans to build there but did not due to been busy and it is not even a Wayne Bishop Development. You have to be joking that you call yourself a journalist. All your facts are wrong and your constant trying to find a scandal is so sad 4) Finally The letter box you talk about in your facebook post is some ones else drive you idiot, and both those letter boxes were there years before our property was built. As was the second gate to our place. Honestly Veronica you really seem to be in lala land. There has always been the two letterboxes there. So are you all happy that you have your facts wrong again. The fact you allow this bullshit to be put on your page clearly is harassment. What exclusive interview did David give you. Once again Veronica you did not even get the message right about the BIC codes. So looking forward to your next saga which I will not reply to but all of you people who find our business interesting. Veronica as I said to you I will do what ever I want with my property and if our plans change well so be it. All this does is provide further evidence to the community that you have no idea what you write about and are on a witch hunt.. Furthermore if I want to SUBDIVIDE my property not yours not anyone elses I will. Get that in your head, and if I SUBDIVIDE my property I will do it within the rules and regulations. It appears to me that you have some serious issues in regard to either critical thinking or investigative skills.