“I come here to bury Rates increases, not to praise them.”
That was the key phrase in his opening statement at the candidates meeting on Saturday. He didn’t mince words about the culture of extravagance by the KCDC that has been responsible for the relentless increasing imposts on households to pay for it.
A few examples he gives on his website:–
1. Subsidised café
We should immediately stop the $64,000 pa subsidy that we ratepayers pay for the running of the Aquatic Centre Café. What other café gets this gift?
2. Save $40 -$60 million at the Coastlands Town Centre
Stop the $40 to $60 million spend at Coastlands and the utterly foolish town centre scheme. The plans include building a dune so you don’t have to go to the beach!
This grandiose nonsense and the fact that KCDC has already spent $4 million on the planning is gross. Why should Otaki or Waikanae village, or Waikanae Beach or Paraparaumu Beach or Raumati or Paekakariki ratepayers fund such a crazy idea? Kapiti is a collection of villages. That is its real identity, though the Proposed District Plan fails to strengthen the identity of each village. Available resources should be directed there. KCDC has already spent over $40 million at Coastlands with the new Council Chambers, the Library and the Aquatic Centre. It has had its share.
3. Spin doctors
I consider that the Council only needs 1 spin doctor, not 6.
4. Mayor’s Column writer
There should be no $40,000 pa for someone to write the Mayor’s weekly column.
5. No new Mayoral Car
There should be no new Mayoral car ($50,000 approx)
6. External Lawyers fees. External lawyers fees should be no more than $75,000. KCDC has its own lawyer in a $250,000 to $300,000 pay range. Yet in the last 3 years it has spent $1.69 million on external legal fees. Most of this has gone on fighting losing legal battles. Rather than listen to the ratepayers, this Council has run off time after time to get out of town lawyers to tell them what to do. All the cases I know about, KCDC lost.
7. Excessive red tape and bureaucratic costs
The charges are excessive, whether for the café, health, inspection costs or getting other consents. In fact there is so much fat, cutting those costs will be as painless as liposuction for the bureaucrats!
As well as speaking on Saturday, he provided a sheet of printed answers to the set questions, which make fascinating reading, for example:-
“[In 2014] a former Chief Judge of the Environment Court, a national expert on planning law, described the KCDC Proposed District Plan as the worst she had ever seen. I appeared in person and as Chair of the Coastal Ratepayers Union on a number of occasions. One of our concerns was the lack of community consultation. We said it had been a farce.”
And when it comes to the products of the council’s very expensive “communications team” and the aforementioned overpaid internal lawyer–
“The council needs to set a policy requiring all documents to be in plain English, to have indexes and be concise. Then the CEO has to be told he has to deliver such documents. Simple.
“KCDC has a Proposed District Plan of 1,000 pages. Horowhenua District Council’s is 200 pages.”