Serving govt not ratepayers

15/06/2020

Troubles at the Otago Regional Council are coming to a head:

Council chairwoman Marian Hobbs said yesterday that since New Zealand entered a Covid-19 lockdown on March 26 — and seven councillors called for a 12-month re-evaluation of the council’s policy and finances, including the withdrawal and suspension of plan changes in progress and a review of its Regional Policy Statement — the council had been divided.

“It has been war,” Ms Hobbs said yesterday, confirming she believed some councillors wanted her out as chairwoman at the council.

“If I sound angry, I am. And I’m really not speaking as a chair — I’m speaking as a human being. Because watch this space, love, I’m liable to lose my position as the chair,” she said. . . 

The March 26 letter to Ms Hobbs was signed by Crs Michael Laws, Hilary Calvert, Carmen Hope, Gary Kelliher, Kevin Malcolm, Andrew Noone and Kate Wilson.

Several days later Ms Hobbs wrote to Environment Minister David Parker about issues arising from the letter.

When her communication was discovered through an Official Information Act request, what she wrote raised the ire of Federated Farmers, which responded. . . 

I was worried when she was elected chair and my worries have increased since then.

She appears to be acting on behalf of the government rather than ratepayers, many of whom agree with the seven councillors who have called for a 12-month pause.

Federated Farmers’ national body took issue in a statement this week with the council’s consultation process, saying the “actions taken by [the regional council] over the lockdown period were at best an inept attempt to ‘tick off’ to the minister that they had sufficiently completed appropriate public consultation on its proposed plan changes”.

Federated Farmers Otago president Simon Davies expressed “real concern” with the content of the letter and said the organisation was “assessing our options”.

There was a lack of governance at the council at present, he said, which was problematic.

“It’s not the ‘staff’ giving direction or strategy, it’s the governance. And the governance needs to be strong about that, and at the same time that strategy needs to be Otago focused and driven — not other people’s,” he said. . . 

The Council must carry out its statutory roles but councillors are elected to represent the people, not the government.

Cr Calvert yesterday said she was concerned that Ms Hobbs was substituting her interpretation of the views of the Government “for the views of our Otago ratepayers”.

“She is prepared to attempt to overthrow the representation of the people of Otago by asking whether the minister would consider putting in a commissioner if the vote doesn’t go her way.

“Those who elected us deserve better than that.”

Asked to comment on Ms Hobbs’ assertion there were councillors who wanted her out as chairwoman, Cr Calvert said the “crucial question” was how many councillors that was.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t retain the confidence of the majority of your fellow councillors, it’s time for somebody else to take a crack at being the chair.”

Some former MPs can make the transition to local body office and put partisan politics aside.

From what has been reported, Hobbs has not and it would be better for the council, and the region, if councilors succeed in replacing her.

 

 


A cautionary tale of the fishy kind

31/08/2008

Helen Clark ponders alone in despair

Her dearest dream’s turned into a nightmare

She thought she was popular and competent too,

But now she’s stuck knee deep in donkey do.

 

She ruled as PM which is what she desired

If anyone threatened her then they were fired

Ruth and Leanne were stood down when they failed

She couldn’t risk having her plans derailed.

 

Dover Samuels went fast and didn’t return

He was left on the back bench his lesson to learn

Phillida Bunkle, Marion Hobbs too

Were cast out from cabinet on their sins to stew.

 

She stood by BP when the first mud was thrown

But lest some spattered her, he was out on his own.

David Parker had a whoopsy so she dropped him fast

But let him come back when the danger had passed.

 

Phillip Field’s another who got into trouble

And eventually she left him alone in the rubble.

It took her a while, perhaps she was slow

But when polls started falling he had to go.

 

Harry Duynhoven, was another who went

And John Tamihere was forced to repent.

The message was clear: you falter – you fall

You’re out of cabinet if you drop the ball.

 

But she stuck with Peters through good times and bad,

Though many’s the day he’s driven her mad.

She put up with his bluster and held her tongue

When often she wished that he could be hung.

 

She draped him with baubles and stoked up his pride,

And accepted his word that he’d never lied.

Allegations have swirled but she stood aloof

Not trying too hard to seek out the truth.

 

But as the dirt that was thrown began to stick

She wanted him gone lickety split.

When all else had failed she at last told him “go”

But when you look at the facts, ‘twas only a show,

 

Portfolios passed over, the hard work he shirks.

But he’s still a Minister and keeps all the perks

Whatever was said only those two can tell,

But something has got a strong fishy smell.

 

Corruption’s a strong word, but something’s not right

As conflicting evidence comes into light.

And clinging to power is not without cost

Clark’s paid for it now with credibility lost.

 

Any day soon she’ll set a date

And voters will have in their hands her fate.

There’s still a faint chance they’ll buy her spin

And give her enough votes the election to win.

But win it or lose it one thing’s for sure

She and Winston are deep in manure.

John Key’s in the right and he’s standing strong

While Helen and Winston are left in the wrong.

 

And perhaps looking back she’ll see her mistake

In letting him of so many baubles partake.

If you sup with the devil it’s something you’ll rue

Especially if he’s supping a rotten fish stew.

 


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