The tribulations of unfortunate ratepayers in the neighbouring Horowhenua District have been mentioned in a few posts on here. Here are two more councils in the Far North whose ratepayers have suffered from gross mismanagement by council bosses.
In regards to Bruce Rogan, see the video in the earlier post “Why local government is the #1 thief of your money”
Kia ora to Ratepayers and Residents’ Associations in the Kapiti Coast area.
The struggle for Justice
Ratepayers from all over New Zealand have followed the twists and turns of the Kaipara District Council Saga since about 2011.
Many, possibly including members of your association, have made monetary contributions to the cost of litigation.
Thanks to shameful undemocratic behaviour by Parliament and staggeringly bank-friendly rulings by the High Court, nobody has been held to account for what happened, despite the High court finding that the money borrowed to fund the catastrophic sewage scheme was borrowed illegally, and the scheme itself was (and remains) illegal. Actually, because the Office of the Auditor General were utterly incompetent, we do not know to this day what the money was spent on. If it was spent on the sewage scheme we will be onto a gold mine if we ever dig it up.
Kaipara Council attempted to recover unpaid rates from some ratepayers who refused to pay until things were cleared up, by suing them in the district court.
Their evidence relied on documents (rate demands) that were simply teeming with errors. The District Court said that didn’t matter, councils are above the law. The High Court then decided to agree with that, saying nobody has any right to question any aspect of rates in the district court, because, well, they just shouldn’t.
The ratepayers were also prevented from challenging the KDC’s rates because of what Parliament did, so, because the Northland Regional Council were also suing for their bit of the alleged arrears the ratepayers asked the High Court to look at their rates. Nobody was surprised to discover that NRC’s rates had been set without paying any attention whatever to the law for setting rates, and the High Court said so. Your own council is very likely be setting its rates illegally too. Why? Because nobody ever tries to stop them.
On Thursday 23 November the Court of Appeal in Wellington will hear the NRC trying to overturn the judgment of the High Court.
The High Court found that the NRC had not set valid rates for about six years. It also found that it had delegated certain functions to other people, that it was not lawfully allowed to delegate.
The facts are not in dispute. That is, not even the NRC are trying to say they did not do these things; their argument is that because they are a council they should not have to comply with the law as it is written.
Historically, in New Zealand, that is pretty much the view of the courts. Councils are above the law. You, the ratepayers are not, but councils are. Shepherd, the NRC Chair says they completely screwed up but they did it in good faith. “I ran the person on the crossing over, but I was on the phone to the lawyers, so I didn’t see them. Regrettable, but hardly my fault”.
When the High Court handed down a ruling against the Kaipara Ratepayers in 2014, Robertson, the government’s commissioner, said that the MRRA should accept the ruling of the High Court and get on with life.
Now, in 2017, when the High Court hands down a ruling that is partly unfavourable to a council, appealing the decision suddenly seems to be the most natural thing in the world.
The Greeks invented a word for this (it is not a recent development!), and everyone knows what it is.
NRC have boasted that they have found another $190,000 (over $300,000 already spent) to blaze away on this. And rest assured, if that doesn’t do the trick they’ll stump up another million, or whatever it takes. They can steal as much money from their ratepayers as they like, and, if this judgment against NRC is overturned, no council anywhere will ever have to be concerned about what the law says, ever again.
If any of your members are in Wellington next Thursday (November 23), they should drop in at the Court of Appeal. They might be there to see the death by suffocation of another Greek idea — Democracy.
Democracy is usually born in bloodshed, but its death occurs in silence, and its passing is usually unnoticed by those who need it most.
Even if you can’t be there, it would be really appreciated if you could help with the costs of sending our (one) lawyer there. He’s going there to protect the interests of every ratepayer in the country. This is not me, Bruce Rogan, being a blowhard. This is now How It Is.
You can make a donation online to 38 9012 0318164 00. Please put your phone number and name in the reference fields. If posting a cheque make it payable to MRRA (Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc ) and put your name and phone number on the back. The mailing address is Box 225 Mangawhai 0540.
Alternatively, please go to our Give-a-little page and contribute whatever you can to this very worthy cause.
We need something like $50,000 to fund this defence, and whatever is not contributed will be coming out of the pockets of the Rogans.
That is not a threat. It is a promise. We have been married for 50 years now and have never welched on a legitimate debt in our lives.
If you can’t spare any money, try what the American politicians recommend after their weekly gun massacres — prayer.
If enough people do it surely someone will hear.
Please forward this to all of your members and anyone else who might be interested.
Chair, Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc.