Statutory management of district council sought

Save
Rotorua Lakes Councillor Raj Kumar. Photo / File

By Matthew Martin

Rotorua's largest ratepayer group wants a statutory manager to take over running the district council but its two elected council members say they were not consulted and do not support the move.

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary Dr Reynold Macpherson. Photo/File
Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary Dr Reynold Macpherson. Photo/File

The Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association (RDRR) has rejected the Rotorua Lakes Council's proposed annual plan for 2017/18 saying "it is unfair, unreasonable and unwise" and is calling for the government to appoint a statutory manager to take over the council's operations.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick and council chief executive Geoff Williams said they would not comment on the group's stance, or defend the accusations made, because the call was part of a submission to the annual plan and would be considered alongside all other submissions.

Peter Bentley says he is not calling for statutory management of the council. Photo/File
Peter Bentley says he is not calling for statutory management of the council. Photo/File

RDRR chairwoman Glenys Searancke, secretary and 2016 mayoral candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson, and treasurer Rosemary MacKenzie, said in a statement the proposed annual plan was unfair to owners of low-valued properties, would support property investors and punish people saving money due to significant debt increases.

"The solution proposed by the RDRR is a period of statutory management," they said.

But, RDRR members and district councillors Peter Bentley and Raj Kumar said they did not support the call and were not consulted by the association.

Mrs Searancke said in the statement the council had to stop "wasteful spending on vanity and legacy projects" and questioned why a levy of $14.20 per household for losses incurred due to the closure of the Rotorua Museum would be charged when the council had no idea what those losses would be.

She could not be contacted for further details on these issues.

Continued below.

Related Content

They viewed the proposed museum levy "as an open-ended swindle that will reward the incompetence of council" and the council should cancel any non-core expenditure and sell off redundant assets to cover the loss.

"Since council shows no sign of living within its means... RDRR reluctantly calls on the Government to install statutory management," they said.

Mr Bentley said he was distancing himself from the group even though he had "great respect for many of the people in the organisation".

He said he had some issues with the way the council was run, but they did not lead him to believe statutory management was the answer.

Mr Kumar said he was "quite shocked" that he was not consulted and did not support statutory management.

"There are some things I'd like to change, but why would I support statutory management when there is no basis for this?"

In response, Dr Macpherson told the Rotorua Daily Post the association's members had "empowered" Mrs Searancke, Mrs MacKenzie and himself to issue press releases, and "we are not obliged to consult with councillors, as we speak on behalf of our members".

"Those councillors sought endorsement from RDRR and we are not obliged to consult with them or they with us and they are able to speak as individuals."

Statutory management

* Can be put in place at the request of councils, or when serious concerns are raised about how resources have been used

* Must assess whether there is evidence that would support outside intervention

* No single agency oversees all of the work of local authorities

* Investigations can be carried out by the Serious Fraud Office, Office of the Auditor General, Office of the Ombudsman, Department of Internal Affairs, Minister of Local Government and police

* A government appoint statutory manager would take over the operation of the council if any serious allegations can be proved

* Office of the Auditor General

Share this article

3 Comments

Jonesy

- Rotorua
08:12 pm Friday 21 April 2017
We need to spend some time considering why Rotorua is in such a devisive state. Perhaps adminsitration would make everyone stop and begin a process of reconciliation.

John

-
02:14 pm Friday 21 April 2017
are you having a laugh? Their own members were not consulted? And they wanted to run the city? what a joke. the council is doing fine that this article should be moved to the comedy section of the daily post

supernova2

-
12:03 pm Friday 21 April 2017
When is this Council going to get the message that they need to live within budget? I don't think a Stat Manager is required. All we need is for the Elected Representatives to show some leadership and direction and stop agreeing to spend money they do not have on things we do not need.

Unless Council has a statutory obligation to provide a service or facility then they should not do so. End of story!

As a bit of an aside how many residential properties do Council own, and why?

More Rotorua Daily Post