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To the Ruapehu Bulletin Editor - Public Letter

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I write this letter to the editor of the Bulletin after this mornings publication, Page 1, 3 & 12.


I reached out to the editor nearly 3 weeks ago (18/08/2023) and am yet to hear back, nor have I been contacted for any comment on the petition before the publishing in this mornings Ruapehu Bulletin article.


Your article gave those apposed 104 words vs the 1200+ words directed at RDC / KO, with no fact checking for yourself. This is similar to previous articles you've written on the subject, where you have just given RDC & KO the opportunity to spin their marketing version of the story, but it's understandably bias ; they are your customer, the one paying the bills for advertising in your bulletin each week.


See the latest update at the bottom of this page "This could deliver roughly 200 sections and is being called the Ohakune Social Housing project"a term that we keep being told it is not!


I ask the editor...

  1. Have you taken the time to do any research on the topic yourself?

  2. Did you read any of the research we've done on this website?

  3. Did you attend the record turnout meeting held 31st Aug, or at least watch it, I've chaptered everything to make it easy for you to scrub through the 2hrs!

  4. Why didn't you consider reaching out to me to substantiate the counter claims?

While gaining information has been very difficult, with an uncooperative council and government agencies, we have used the information we have got our hands on to communicate with the public and inform them of what we can and analysed council documents etc.


You will see from the facts and timeline below, that Council took over 4 months from funding approval, to when "outreach sessions" were held. These outreach sessions were to INFORM the public of what is happening, not seeking input on whether it should proceed or if the rate-payer / community agreed to the land disposal.


I challenge the editor of Ruapehu Bulletin to research the rules of the Local Government Act, the Policies of Significance that RDC has, the Residential Zone Policy and look at sale or disposal of land requirements. You can see challenges by the auditor general that have happened in the past due to vague LTP plans, and lack of advertising or consultation for the sale of land. I challange you to educate yourself on the matter like an investigative journalist, and then write an article that is not bias and is more informative of the issues we are facing as a large community against this treatment.


I give you facts and timeline... (Links for reference which will open in a new page)

  1. September 2020 - Council put forward a policy for "Public and Affordable Housing Asset and Tenancy Management Strategy", 21 submissions were made. A question existed for online submissions, but not on the form that was included in the policy document, this additional question was "Do you think Council should be more ambitious and develop housing as well as land to speed things up", 11 of the 21 said yes; we believe this is the basis Council believe they can sell a rate payer asset without consultation.

  2. 2021-2023 LTP - Council asked what their role in addressing the housing issue should be, their preferred option was "Council facilitates, advocates and partners with others". Again, no discussion about land sale, location of land, etc. This was an open ended question, that everyone would agree, is good for our community, but we would expect to be consulted on the plan once one was formulated.

  3. March 2023 - CIP Funding "Ohakune was contracted in March 23". (see page 27)

  4. 20th June - council advertised on their Facebook page a plan advising they have partnered with Kāinga Ora & Ngāti Rangi, no details were povided.

  5. 11th July - 2x Resource Consents (RC) were submitted for Teitei Drive.

  6. 21st July - We printed off a flyer and did a post box drop to everyone in Snowmass advising them of planned development at Teitei Dr after finding out a Stage 2 & 3 had plans for the future (no funding).

  7. 21st July 5:27pm - I was emailed a flyer from KO about future "Outreach Sessions"

  8. 21st July 5:49pm - I received an email from KO on the 15/15/14 housing allocation.

  9. 24th July - I received an email from KO, stating we are spreading misinformation, I stated we were making the public aware of what was happening based on the small amount of information being released.

  10. 25th July - 2x Resource Consents were accepted

  11. 1st August - First community outreach with the public

  12. 2nd August - Snowmass developer David Holland questioned KO staff member if he had a property in the area or any interest in the matter, to which the staff member said no.

  13. 3rd August - Zoom meeting, where the community expressed their concern and were told this was proceeding no matter what the community thought.

  14. 4th August - We questioned whether a conflict interested with a senior designer and resource consent staff member at KO. This employee advertises himself as "an expert at the negotiation process having got non-notified consent from council on a number of projects" + "including how to deal with the Environment Court"

  15. 7th August - Parliamentary question was asked of the conflict. It is alleged a verbal notice was given, but a formal written conflict was only provided after being questioned. A review is being undertaken as it was agreed a formal conflict should have been lodged earlier, see parliamentary question and answer here Reasoning behind the extension of the reserve bordering the KO staff members property has been debunked by council records, engineering review and a walk of the site

  16. 18th August - I reached out to council to speak at the 23rd August Council meeting after seeing the first proper mention of Teitei for housing in the Agenda notes

  17. 19 August - I publish my findings and proof that Council have never spoken openly about Teitei, even though RDC CEO has been planning it since mid 2021, and spent rate payer money on it.

  18. 21 August - We were advised that the Hui due to be held 24th August, had been moved to 31st August, to allow all councillors to attend the meeting and hear from the community

  19. 23 August - Barry Murphy spoke infront of council pleading for council to consult on the land sale/gifting, which is a rate payer asset. To date Council had made no public attempt to discuss the matter. From 3rd August Zoom call, Clive (RDC CEO) left all questions and answers to KO to respond. In the Zoom call, I asked Clive to talk with the community, to which he told me to use existing council methods, hence me speaking.

  20. 29 August - Petition of over 1200 signatures read in parliament and accepted to the petition committee for investigation.

  21. 30 August - KO send our a message saying that they have requested the Resource Consent be notified, but also go on to state that they will take the advice of the Independent. In person I met with KO manager at a BBQ where they were marketing the project, and they confirmed that if the independent suggested that no notification was required, they would continue forward without notification.

  22. 31 August - Head of Ngāti Rangi Helen replied to an email and referred to an independent report by "Impact Collection" stating there are 60 people on the social housing waitlist for Ohakune. I called and spoke to Steve from "Impact Collective" who confirmed this data was not verified and was a personal opinion; he then went on to say "Thats Interesting, We just received a notification from Ngāti Rangi saying they would not be utilising our data". This was another confirmation that the statistics being provided are heresy. We also corrected Steve on other points in their report.

  23. 31 August 6PM - A record breaking turn out of people attend council meeting, only 3 of 9 councillors attend, over 90% of the room were in agreement they were not consulted and that council need to stop, re-think and consult. The turnout exceeded all expectations, catching the mayor, Weston Kirton, chief executive Clive Manly and attendant staff totally unprepared. Chairs were hastily rushed in to the Ohakune council chambers, then hastily reconfigured to squeeze in more seating, with people ultimately spilling out into the hallway where there was standing room only. See a short 60 second clip where council agreed that they have not consulted on the land sale/gifting and that they are at the very beginning of the process and the beginning of consultation, which I cannot believe, as resource consent has been submitted and they have said they plan to move forward after a special meeting vote.

  24. 6 September AM- Still no word from council on a special meeting; or any updates to plans; or thanks for attending, we're looking into it and heard you loud and clear; Rather, the Council and Kāinga Ora, via news articles and the Ruapehu Bulletin, talk down the people bringing this error and failure of the council to light, by saying we are spreading misinformation. I urge councillors to re-watch the zoom calls, and then read the contract for the funding; and then ask yourself, who is spreading misinformation.

  25. 6 September PM - We have finally received a copy of communication and partial contracts via OIA. "This could deliver roughly 200 sections and is being called the Ohakune Social Housing project" (wording from the document) The agreement also states that Council is liable for all cost overruns over the $5.2m; and Kāinga Ora will only buy the land once the lots are finished development. Mayor Weston said that "the rate payer isn't paying for this as such, the land is the rate payers". It goes on to state that council will be responsible for selling the 14 workers accomodation properties and they must all be in a line, but contradicts its self (see below). This almost means the social houses will also all be in a line?? Council is responsible for site works and infrastructure (roading & 3 waters), Kāinga Ora will only purchase the lots once the project is complete; so any delays, cost over runs etc, will sit on council debt if overruns occur, delays, or the project doesn't complete, this is a risk to rate payers. Its unclear who sells the workers accomodation lots, but it would appear all 44 lots will be transferred into KO's name for them to handle that. Click on 6 September PM above to download the document and see for yourself.

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