WorkBoot Blogs » In memory of Owen McShane - a true Kaipara Gem
It was with sadness that I learned of the sudden death of Owen McShane on Tuesday. Owen was a friend, supporter and mentor to me for many years and fostered my early interest in resource management law and economics. He was an internationally acknowledged authority on development economics, was sought after as a speaker at international conferences, and engaged by central government and other Council’s around New Zealand. In Kaipara District Council of course, as is the established practice with any locals of particular talent, his expertise and willingness to genuinely help were largely ignored.
Owen often went in to bat for the underdog on matters of principle and common sense. He was a staunch proponent of keeping it local and not farming all the work out to external multinationals – you can read his article on this here. Owen was a critic of the flawed logic, gross expenditure excesses and unlawfulness of the Proposed District Plan process.
Owen was a real asset to the Kaipara community and will be greatly missed.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been busy trying to wrestle some level of reasonableness into the Long Term Plan (ten year budgets) debate over rate increases of unprecedented proportions. See the Advocate article here and how Kaipara's topped the national charts for indebtedness here.
Meanwhile “Legal Eagle” as usual in his commentary on Kaipara Concerns has hit the nail on the head again here.
To quote from that blog –
“ The proposed district plan is bleeding bucket loads of money. It is a major financial haemorrhage for Council, and therefore ratepayers, It is never going to see the light of day (because of almost certain amalgamation) and is simply pouring vast amounts of monies down the gullets of consultants and lawyers.”
I have attempted for some time to extract from the Council what has been spent on the Proposed District Plan (PDP) and what the projected ongoing costs are considered to be.
These attempts by lodging notices of motion here and here were unlawfully censored by the Mayor. I have attempted to have this readdressed since the “retirement” of the “muppet master”, thus far to no avail.
Now as the result of an official information request, and thanks to new and more transparent CE Steve Ruru, some figures are available here.
A few points as I understand the history–
A few more points –
So the question is, why is the Council continuing down the path of pouring yet more money into a flawed and potentially unlawful process that may be made a nullity or become redundant even before it becomes operative?
I have met very few ratepayers who are in favour of the PDP in its current form. The whole process seems to be driven by BECA and EDS in favour of the lofty city ideals of EDS, DOC, and Forest and Bird, none of whom even pay rates in the district.
My humble suggestion is that all further expenditure on progressing this gross assault on ratepayers rights, funded by gross wastage of ratepayers money should be put on hold until all potential RMA and LGA procedural and legal anomalies have been fully and independently examined. Whatever the outcome, Owen would have wanted this analysis taken through to a definitive conclusion – the Council at least owes him that.
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