Just about everyone in Waikanae knows or should know about the massive Maypole company developments in the north-west side of the ‘Ewy’ in the beach zone.
From the time that the local papers reproduced the company’s press release in late 2014 we were concerned about the impact of it on Waikanae — about 2,000 extra population in the beach zone which only has 3,000 people now, major traffic congestion around the Te Moana Road interchange — and a general lack of infrastructure in Waikanae to cope with population increases of this magnitude. Even Michael Scott expressed concern about it at a by-election candidates meeting in 2015.
Developer taxes are there to ensure that the developers pay their fair share of these infrastructure works — street widths and strengths, car parking, potable water and waste water, sewerage, power cables street lighting — etc.
But for Thursday’s council meeting the agenda put the topic out of bounds for the public. Visitors and the media get ushered out of the chamber, and the councilors who are expected to approve the bureaucrats’ wishes get sworn to secrecy (and if they breach it, the Auckland law firm Simpson Grierson will quickly clobber them.)
Just why should this sort of thing be secret? It only raises the question — what do they want to hide?
Just why should the wealthy businessmen owners of this company (and others like it) have their privacy protected on how much (if any) tax they get to pay to the council?
Everyone knows that the reckless financial strategy of the council’s now thankfully departed boss was to get as many ratepayers as possible in the district to fund the building of his empire and pay the ever-mounting interest on his borrowings. The rates paid on every property are public record.
But, property developers are a separate exalted species — these people breeze in, build massive housing estates on the once farmland, sell them off, and breeze out again. To the bureaucrats such types are to be courted and encouraged. And the bigger the developments the more esteem they will get held in by the bureaucrats.
“A local authority should conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner,” said Mayor Guru last year. He’s right — it should. But his isn’t so conducted.