It seems Nelson has caught a couple of councillors with their snouts in the trough. You’ll find the same happens in Masterton, which I have made apparent after some sleuthing through the annual reports. The Times Age must be a bit busy at the moment I am guessing so have left it to me again.
But first this from the Nelson Mail:
The Nelson City Council has been told to tighten its tendering processes after a damning report into how it awards contracts…
…In September last year, Chief Executive Clare Hadley received a letter from the Auditor General about the quality of information given about contracts associated with former councillors Pete Rainey and Ruth Copeland.
Councillors with business interests must declare them and if they are above $25,000 they must seek pre-approval from the Auditor General’s Office.
In the case of Pete Rainey, the Rage Noise company he co-owns provided sound and production equipment for Nelson events and festivals. Ruth Copeland’s partner Huup Waagen has been awarded council contracts for events…
…Nelson City councillor Ruth Copeland’s partner Huup Waagen was awarded council contracts for events…
For the year 2015 to 2016, Rainey had approval for $90,500 of business interests, while Copeland had approval for $58,000.
Click here to read the full article.
Once someone gets his or her snout buried into a public trough, it is exceedingly difficult to get them away from it. Piggies will be piggies after all.
That hasn’t stopped Mr. Rainey from acting rather cute once he got pinged though:
Rainey said on Friday morning he was “alarmed” that he hadn’t been told about the report or given opportunity to comment before it was made public.
“I do accept that council processes could have been better but that’s easily sorted and it doesn’t need to be a case of ongoing investigations or reports,” Rainey said.
He said picking on him and his company for small-scale contracts related to events and festivals was unwarranted, and the council needed to focus elsewhere.
“There seems to be a bit of a witch-hunt and I’m not sure who the witch is.
This scene from Guy Ritchie’s film Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels seems very appropriate here:
What gave me a bit of deja vu is how- last year during the election- Mr. Rainey responded to these claims before the AG got involved:
Nelson mayoral candidate targeted by ‘dirty politics’ blog over business interests
…”This information is now being circulated in Nelson by people who should know better,” Rainey said.
“What it tells me is that some very unscrupulous people are working hard to try to stop me from becoming mayor.”…
…”Our community deserves far better than this, and it’s very disappointing that someone is using the local body elections to act with so little integrity.”…
…”Who stood to gain from this?”
“Who, what, how, little old me?! Nothing to see here folks…. it’s dirty politics. ”
Pull the other one Pete.
Would you not agree that these troughers always have an answer at the ready, but never for the question you asked.
So what on earth does this have to do with Masterton I can hear you asking?
Well it all just feels so familiar… I can’t quite put my finger on it…. Oh…. wait a minute!
Or this from a year earlier:
Or this way back in 2009:
Give me a couple of hours at the archives and I could give you a stack of similar articles.
I wondered if that was just a coincidence that the same names keep popping up with all these dismissive responses as to how business is conducted at council in our very own town of Masterton…
…so I decided to pour through the MDC annual reports dating back to 2003 and I found some very curious things on the Related Party Transactions register…. probably just a coincidence mind you *cough*. I have included these documents at the bottom of this article if the media window below is troublesome.
Here is what the offical MDC financial records indicate:
-As far back as 2002 Cr. Jonathan Hooker has received grants usually in excess of $10,000 p.a through a variety of entities in his control; Oasis Church, Synergy Consulting Ltd, REHOOK Motors, Balloon Society etc.
-According to Hooker’s LinkedIn profile, he ceased to be CEO of Oasis Trust [NB Hooker founded it] in 2007. In MDC annual reports, this is the time annual grants to the church dropped from in excess of $10,000 p.a to just $1000 p.a.
- Has McClymont ever complained during any formal council meeting about the cost of dumping commercial waste in Masterton? If yes, was this appropriate?
- Is it a coincidence that the funding from MDC to Oasis church dropped significantly once Hooker was no longer CEO and did Hooker take any remuneration during his time as CEO?
- Did Oasis Church Trust become financially independent at this point in time  or is there another reason for a drop in grants?
- Did Hooker ever take remuneration in the form of wages, consulting fees, admin fees or similar from any grants made to Oasis Church, Balloon Society Inc., Athletics Track Trust and any other community focused entities he involved himself with during the years from 2002 until today?
- If yes, may he please explain this in light of his numerous statements to media of how much “volunteering” he does in the community.
- Can both McClymont and Hooker state for the record if they feel their integrity as Councillors at MDC -who should have the interests of the citizens of Masterton at heart- has been compromised at all?
- Did Hooker receive any monies at all from MDC to assist his trip to China where he purchased and imported Electric Motor Vehicles and placed adverts for their sale on his Facebook page?
When you are elected to represent people and at the same time receive money every year from the political establishment there is a big problem.
It also seems who you know or who you are holds a lot of sway in the way contracts for council and the grants system works in Masterton.
You might think because you live in a small town in NZ people wouldn’t try-on the things you see in larger centres or indeed less developed countries….and you would be mistaken.
It shouldn’t surprise you at all these two men vocally see no problem with how things are run. As seen from this article in the times age in 2016:
I can imagine why he doesn’t like politicking. Politicking is the game everyone has played since 508BC to highlight why you shouldn’t vote for someone. It’s what makes our system better than any other system. Accountability is built in…. or it should be. What is wrong with that?
This sort of rorting soft-porn cronyism, and inequality in the grant/tendering process is dirty and should be thoroughly bleached with some sunlight.
Nelson is fortunate enough to have a newspaper to hold the Mandarins to account. In the absence of that here in Masterton I am sorry to inform you that all you have is me.
Do you feel comfortable with this type of behaviour from our elected representatives? I for one would feel a lot better if the Auditor General came through town and gave this all a look over.
You can read these documents in full by clicking HERE,