News

obvious graft and incompetence revealed in Everyman Records case - 31 May 2020

The Everyman Police Report exposes obvious graft and NCC incompetence. It has taken years to uncover this information through numerous information requests. The Festival Committee essentially gave their friend an effective loan through a series of ticketing agreements. Greg Shaw obtained free use of hundreds of thousands of dollars for 2-3 months at a time! The industry standard ticketing agreement calls for the remittance of funds the day following the event. With rolling ticketing agreements, Greg Shaw essentially obtained an interest free loan. The police report uncovers the personal relationship and few other remarkable facts. Even with the sweetheart terms, Everyman was unable to remit funds on time on more than one occasion. The Festival Committee continued to use Everyman as an agent. At this stage, the Festival Committee was essentially giving their friend free money. The last agreement apparently wasn't even signed. Remarkably, the Festival Committee was able to go about their activities without any oversight. This is complete government incompetence. What this means is that in addition to providing loans to a friend, the opportunities to skim funds in a variety of ways was endless. If your friend is selling the tickets and you have complete control of the gate data, tickets are able to be sold with the insiders pocketing funds. This is only one of numerous graft possibilities when basic corporate controls are missing.

Election Results - 12 October 2019

I want to thank the two thousand plus that voted for me! Sadly, I predict further, unsustainable rates increases, foolish spending, waste, and continued self dealing. Council Chambers will continue to push on as a minority view. Stopping the nonsense is a journey.

Council to Return to Publishing KPIs? - 30 September 2019

Apparently, Council is now open to ONCE AGAIN BEGIN publishing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Apparently "Dougherty said that the reason the request for information took a long time to process was because it was a potentially precedent-setting decision that could affect all councils." WHAT A COMPLETE LOAD OF RUBBISH! A decade ago Keith Marshall released his KPIs and advocated transparency [Hat tip Steve Cross]. The Nelson Mail soft pedals this fact and ignores its own past reporting! There is a price for voter apathy. And we are paying it.

Marches are Great Action is Better - 28 september 2019

It's great to see the world's youth united. I challenge the youth to now take the lead in their everyday lives, at home, and at their schools. I have stated for many years - Being Green is acting Green. We all can collectively make a huge improvement simply by NOT WASTING SO MUCH! Global food loss and waste amount to between one-third and one-half of all food produced. According to this source, we collectively can save up to 25% of the energy produced for our homes. Here is another easy one - STOP contaminating the recycling bin. Another idea is to explore is Walking School Buses. The percentage of children driven to school is currently higher than decades ago. These are a few of many practical ideas. One idea for some enterprising youth - Start an online march promoting environmentally sensitive behaviours. This is a great opportunity for parents, school leaderships, and other mentors to guide this energy from a call to action to meaningful action.

focus on science & technology - 26 September 2019

"Cawthron SciTec expo organiser Kat Wilcocks said just short of 400 projects were entered into the event, including several classroom or group projects, which was a record number." Yay!

I am a huge believer in human potential (i.e. people pushing on the boundaries of their capabilities). Every proper parent wants the best for their children. I want to see more New Zealand youth promoting to better jobs and ultimately, I want to see more high value jobs in Nelson.

Chambers concurs with rutledge - 23 september 2019

If you read the pages on this site, my views are independently thought out and published. I may be in full agreement on one topic and in complete disagreement on another. A healthy organisation is one that promotes individual thought and avoids group think. Group think has certainly found its way into the climate change topic. I am most happy to read of some more balanced commentary!! Consistent with my views on the environment, I fully concur with the following statements in the article [Disclaimer: I have no personal or professional relationship with Mike Rutledge] -

  • "Managing these impacts is something requiring a co-ordinated effort between local and central government, and the community."
  • "'Emergency' has a specific meaning in local government"
  • "Realistically nothing done in Nelson will have a material effect on the climate. This does not mean we should not do our part. However, we should be careful not to do things to fit populist rhetoric but that ultimately lack substance and where the cost/benefit does not make sense."
  • "The bulk of greenhouse gas emissions from council-controlled activities came from landfill and wastewater systems. 'This is where the council should focus its efforts.'"

What a breath of fresh air!

southern link flip-flop? - 20 september 2019

It appears that Mayor Reese has changed her view regarding the Southern Link. This is great news! If we can get Nick Smith to change his mind, even better! Consistent with my remarks earlier this month, we need to move beyond this unproductive energy. We need a Park and Ride in Richmond and we need a four lane option for Waimea Road. If you want to revitalise the Nelson CBD, two of several logical solutions are to make it easier for people to get into town AND stop fining people for shopping too long!

The tale of two versions - 16-19 September 2019

There is a recent news story regarding Nelson City Council neutrality. A public, civic thank you to Steve Cross of the Nelson Residents Association for illuminating a few significant issues -

  1. Council spending ratepayer funds to obstruct the release of the chief executive's KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is troubling. Beyond the unusual, there is no need to conceal this information from the public. It is logical to publicly communicate the councillors' expectations of their sole report, that being the chief executive. I might point out that now revealed, the KPIs are too subjective.
  2. There is reasonable concern that there is, to whatever extent, a documented (whether in draft or final form), pre-existing, embedded bias amongst those with superior capability to influence decisions subject to public input.
  3. The intentional and fraudulent alteration of a public document is unacceptable conduct, and if proven, warrants an appropriate response. Council released two versions of the chief executive's KPIs. What is characterised as the draft version and the final version. At issue is that the released, final version appears to have been recently edited, specifically at Priority 3. Stay tuned for updates regarding our formal enquiries.

Update 17 September 2019

It seems that Council lost the updated KPIs and had to recreate them by modifying the draft version. Rather bizarre circumstances considering the CE should be in possession of his own KPIs! Goofy situations do occur and the CE provided me with redacted meeting minutes from the KPI approval and the CE self evaluation.

Where to From Here? Institutionalised Bias?

I presume that the bias issue was raised in the February 2018 meeting. It is reasonably clear that they corrected it. It also seems clear that whoever drove the creation of the draft KPIs inappropriately inserted the bias. It seems clear from the March minutes that the KPIs were first approved then. The fact that Dougherty was already on the job is certainly messy. According to the published article, "Reese said the wording was changed at a meeting of the chief executive employment committee before Dougherty started." That apparently is NOT the case.

We know that the various players use their position to advance their causes. There is a point where these sorts of efforts subvert the democratic process. The reality is that subversion is a regular occurrence and one could argue that progress is unachievable without it. At its worse, we have outright corruption. At issue here is whether there are one or more subversive forces relating to the dam and the Southern Link. No great leap is required to presume that there are. The question is how powerful are these forces. We know that there are elected officials on opposing sides of both these issues. Everyone has a duty to root out subversion, especially when the underlying objective is viewed by many as dubious. Given the situation here, it perhaps seems appropriate to release the CE's Comment to Priority 3 in the Chief Executive's Performance Report - six month update. Stay tuned.

Update 19 September 2019

The Nelson Mail published a further article regarding the version issue. Reporter Skara Bohny has informed me that she is "continuing to look into it." Further requests for information are pending. Stay tuned.

Chambers remarks on southern link - 6 September 2019

In what turned out to be a productive email exchange involving candidates and elected officials, I made the following remarks -

"because it is the only practical long term answer to Nelson’s increasing congestion problems." [quote from an MP agent]

Really? There are relatively simple solutions. It makes me wonder WHY they haven’t been implemented.

In 10-30 years petrol powered cars are gone and in 20-50 are likely to be fully self driving and integrated into a logistics network. This all may actually happen faster once a critical mass comprehends the huge dividends. Skate to where the puck is going. All of this energy, including perhaps the intentional exacerbation of road congestion, to achieve "consensus" in bulldozing a neighbourhood and constructing a two lane road, with the documented issues, seems a bit unproductive to me.

I encourage readers to take a look at 2004 Environment Court Ruling. [Hat tip Matt Lawrey] Any move to further advance the Southern Link ultimately looks to be a waste of resources. Perhaps THE key line in the ruling - "Fundamentally this is the wrong place to put a State Highway."

Council stalls on releasing information related to contracts with member interest - 6 September 2019

Those who have followed the topic of interested Members (e.g. councillors and their partners with interest in Nelson City Council contracts) may find this curious. I made a LGOIMA request to obtain further information regarding what apparently are perhaps hundreds of Council contracts involving Members. One could easily conclude that accessibility to such information was simple, as Council has a legislated obligation to keep track of this information and this very information was subject to multiple queries from the Office of the Auditor General. Apparently, further access to this information will cost over $1,000. Hmm...Stay tuned...

Council Refuses to Release Gondola Business Case - 23 August 2019

Nelson City Council has refused to release the business case and investment proposal submitted by the Nelson City Cycle Lift Society. As I stated, the Nelson Cycle Lift Society (headed by Pete Rainey's brother) has no apparent experience in developing and operating gondolas. Watch out for your wallets, voters!

Council Tries to Block Use of Audit Report - 14 August 2019

Nelson City Council attempted to block my quotation of its assessment report in an apparent attempt to prevent me from publishing statements critical of Council and its officers. They asserted that the report is a Council asset and could not be used in my profile or my campaign. One of my mission objectives is to increase transparency. I confirmed with the Electoral Officer that candidates are able to reference any publicly available Council document.