This relates to the council’s intention to borrow $30 million from the Local Government Funding Agency to reinvest it in ‘financial markets’ in the expectation of making a net return of 3.5% on the money (net of the KCDC’s average interest cost of about 4.6%, meaning that it expects to make at least 8.1% gross).
Guy Burns’ media release about that was issued the day following the presentation of the proposal by council staff to a council meeting and was reproduced verbatim on here. In it Guy Burns, although identifying the fact he is the Deputy Chair of the Paraparaumu-Raumati Community Board, used the first person (“I”) throughout, meaning they were his views and not those of the PRCB, as he has in all of his media releases since late 2016.
Michael Scott, who is the chairman of the Operations and Finance Committee (which consists of the whole council except David Scott who the council has made persona non grata), issued the media statement below in response.
Beach FM wrongly claimed that this was evidence of a spat between the PRCB and the council and said so on both its website and its Facebook page.
“It’s clear that Guy Burns isn’t going to let the facts get in the way of some more grandstanding,” says Operations and Finance Committee Chair, Councillor Michael Scott.
“The simple fact is Councils finances are looking better than they have been in at least the last five years,” Cr Scott said. “We are declaring a surplus of one million dollars across the organisation” said Cr Scott. “Perhaps Mr Burns just missed that in the papers he didn’t read for yesterday’s meeting.”
“The discussions for a resilience fund and a growth fund have been the subject of public workshops during the development of the LTP” says Cr Michael Scott.
“A draft LTP was available for comment where this concept was specifically set out for discussion. Nothing has been slipped into anything,” says Cr Michael Scott. “The fact that Mr Burns seems to have just stumbled across them is of concern,” said Cr Scott, “perhaps if he wasn’t away for 5 months at a time Mr Burns would have a better grasp what was happening at the council table.”
“Cr Scott is urging Mr Burns to get to the briefings and if he doesn’t understand then ask questions, not burst aimlessly into print.” “The simple fact of the matter is council has not drawn down one cent for these funds. We are still diligently working through a structured process,” said Cr Michael Scott.
The media release above was put on the council website but was intriguingly removed yesterday, and Mayor Guru made a statement that he welcomed Guy Burns bringing this plan to the attention of the ratepayers.
Despite that, in the PRCB the assertions by Beach FM have caused some obvious unhappiness. Board member Bernie Randall has issued this statement about Michael Scott’s statement.
“Cr Scott’s personal attack on Community Board member Guy Burns must be condemned. He can dispute the facts if he wishes but suggesting Guy Burns approved leave of absence for 5 months (without pay) has affected his grasp of Council issues is wrong. This is just another attack by him and Mayor Gurunathan on Community Board members who they believe step out of line.
“Mayor Gurunathan has accused me of being a quack. But he got that wrong as it is the medical profession that are sometimes referred by that name, not the legal profession. Now a personal attack by Cr Michael Scott on Mr Burns who is raising an important issue concerning Council investment.
“Councillor Scott is fully aware, that during Mr Burns’ absence, I attended all Mr Burns’ meetings and briefings where allowed and kept Mr Burns fully informed. I say, ‘where allowed’ because Community Board members can only attend such briefings at the whim of the Mayor and on one occasion the “open and transparent“ Mayor requested myself and Kathy Spiers to leave the briefing. This was in conjunction with LTP matters. Who knows what Councillors heard behind closed doors.
“Cr Scott needs to debate the facts with Mr Burns and not get into a personal attack.”
In the meantime, the Chair of the board, Jonny Best, sent this unilateral e-mail to members today:
It has come to my attention that the Paraparaumu/Raumati CB facebook page is not being used in the purpose that it was set up for.
Recent posts have been misleading with links promoting and individual board individual members views – this is not what a board page should be used for.
I am hoping we can catch up to discuss this further, but until that time edit rights have been removed from Bernie.
What the dynamics are between the PRCB members, including the two ward councilors, we don’t know exactly, and here in Waikanae they probably don’t matter particularly.
What does matter is how much careful scrutiny not only Crs Michael Scott, Vining and Benton, but all councilors give important matters like this that require it.