The Whangamata Timeline (History Files)

Whangamata Marina timeline

Updated 25 09 2010


Although updated, this timeline is not up to date. Further updates pending.


(acronyms-TCDC Thames Coromandel District Council, EW Environment Waikato or Waikato Regional Council, EC Environment Court,  WCB Whangamata Community Board, WMS Whangamata Marina Society, HDHA High Density Housing Area, ASCV Area of Significant Conservation Area, SNZ Surfing New Zealand )


The Whangamata estuary is one of the shallowest on the east coast of New Zealand. Over 75% of its water volume leaves the estuary at low tide. Over 80% of the estuary’s area is exposed at low tide. These large inter-tidal flats attract shellfish that attract bird life including dotterel and godwits.The estuary’s wetland, now turned into a car park / HDHA was fed by fresh water springs, and perodically inundated with sea water during phases of the lunar cycle. The wetland also provided habitat’s for eel, rare indigenous coastal reptiles, and numurous other fauna. It was a biodiversity hotspot. It had existed like that for a few thousand years.


 

At the entrance to the Whangamata estuary is a sand delta. The flood delta is inside the entrance to the estuary and the ebb delta is outside the narrow estuary entrance. The ebb delta is known as the Whangamata Bar, one of New Zealand’s most iconic surfing spots and one of the best sandbar surfbreaks of the world. Since the construction of the marina, local surfers have noticed dramitic changes to the waves form, The Kai moana beds are difficult to access and heavily silted with mud, the Wetland filled in to construct a platform for a car park and High Density Housing Area.


Pre European History- “Te Matatuhi is the ancestral name of tangata whenua for the specific lands subject to the proposed marina, and on which moko skink have been found. Te Matatuhi is land of particular significance to Ngati Whanaunga. The name, including the same root word as the harbour – mata, refers to the black volcanic rock obsidian. Mata has long been a principle reason for my people residing in Whangamata, as the rock was widely sought after for its fine cutting edge. My aunties have told me that Te Matatuhi refers to a gathering place for the mata, and this has long been observed.”

 

“The wider significance of Whangamata and Whangamata harbour was expressed at the length by a large number of Hauraki kaumatua during both the initial hearings and Environment Court hearings for the Whangamata marina.”


 

The above being excerpts from paras 19 and 20 from Affidavit of Nathan Kennedy, Environmental unit of Ngati Whanaunga in support of Michael Gunson (applicant) vs The Waikato Regional Council,The Thames Coromandel Council, and The Whangamata Marina Society, Application for enforcement order. re: extermination of rare Oligosoma moco skink habitat.2008


Whangamata was easily (and still is) accessible from Paeroa via customary tracks to the Harbour through the Wentworth valley. The Harbour was a plentiful food source (now much degraded due to forestry/farming sediment run off and mismanagement of the towns Waste water system) The harbour facilitated trade between Iwi of fish and game. Many battles have also been fought in the area, and Te Matatuhi is held in reverence by many Hauraki Maori, and the site is currently under claim in the land courts.

 

1948

 

1948 – An 11 acre (5 hectare) block of land is given a Certificate of title, CT 918 263. This Title of land was carved out of a larger block CT 887 237. The block is irregular in shape as it follows an intertidal wetland. It seems that the land was at this time zoned for farming. It can be seen as appearing to be a teardrop intruding (actually emanating from ) into the sandspit on the right of the photo below.

 

 

2nd_may_1950


1970s – Marina idea mooted on land owned by the Aickin Trust. The idea of a marina on this land is put forward (at the time) by local developer Jim Watt (responsible for the Moana anu anu causeway) and local architect Bruce Scott. Drawings are made of the proposal. It should be noted that related “Loss of” land sale documents are currently at the centre of an internal fraud investigation at TCDC. The causeway was built so Watt could build a subdivision, the engineer was Bob Tate. It was originally to be an open span bridge Bruce Scott was Jim Watts son in law, the first house built was Bruce Scott’s. The idea to build a causeway was to facilitate a back wall for the envisaged marina. In time, Scott is elected to Community Board and Council, where he and Brian Grant facilitates the partial infilling of the wetland, publicly excluded council meeting for heads of Agreement with marina developers, and High density Housing Area zone changes of the wetland area. After  his term in office Scott goes on to be the President of Surfing New Zealand. The outline of the new subdivision can be seen below.

 

sep74


 

1976 – Hetherington Rd Causeway built.

 

 

Aerial view of Whangamata,Thames-Coromandel district. Photograph taken 17 January 1979 by Whites Aviation. WA-74592-F


1976– Whangamata Community Board state that there is a problem with trailer boat parking at the local boat ramp and that the Council should see about purchasing the Aickin Block for overflow parking. (partly a current use). After being approached by an Auckland business man to buy the land for $100,000, Mrs Aickin approaches her Lawyer Mr Henry (later to go into Partnership as Harkness and Henry)

 

1979- 15.06.79 TCDC places caveat on Aickin land to be sold only to Council for Recreational Reserve. (If land is purchased for a particular use by a crown agency in such a manor, then designated for another purpose, by law it must be offered back to original owner)  FAIL!

 

whanga_jan_79

 

1979 Council writes up a sales agreement with the Aickin Trust (represented by law firm and estate executors Harkness Henry &Co.) to buy the land for $25,000 in instalments of $5000 per year for 5 years as well as an arrangement regarding subdivision levies. Other land in the area was selling for over $100,000 for 1500m2 section. This land is a 5 Hectares coastal property in the middle of the Whangamata township.


 

1985 Council owns the land.

 

NB both parties to the sales agreement have “lost” the documents in the case of TCDC or “shredded” in the case of Harkness Henry & Co. HH&co shredded all the Aickin Trust documents without reference to the Trust. There is a firmly held belief that TCDC and the Aickin trust agreed that the land was being purchased for a community recreational reserve, (like its zoning suggested). The members of the Aickin Trust (it still exists) are sure it was never sold for the purpose of selling to marina developers. (Appendix 1: NZ Herald article)


 

1986 – Construction of the reticulated waste water system, which consisted of a poorly constructed aeration pond(leaking raw sewage into the Moanaanuanu Estuary past the proposed marina site (+ wetland) and Kaimoana beds, and out across the Whangamata Bar), and spraying of under treated effluent into to the surrounding pine forest which drains into the Waikiki stream and then intothe Moana anu anu stream, past Te Matatuhi (the marina site)the pipi beds, and out over the bar.( this spray area size was misrepresented by TCDC in 1996 which stated the area 40 hectares when it was only 25.5 hectares). In 2008 TCDC is still ( consistently over estimating the spray feild area in legal proceedings with Clean Water Whangamata and the Surfbreak Protection Society ( non for profit community groups dedicated to improving the estuary’s water quality) refer 2002


1986- 1995 and 1996-1998 Whangamata architect and future SNZ President Bruce Scott serves as Community Board member, TCDC Councillor, and Deputy Mayor.


1986 Start of TCDC District Plan Review – Council begins to rezone the land from recreational reserve to marine activities and extra high density housing. New rules developed by TCDC in collaboration with planners and developers, with land not offered back to original owners as required by the 1977 Reserves Act, and without any community involvement. Plan becomes operative in 1992.


 

1986Bruce Scott Architect and property developer, with John Whittle form Air Ice and Leisure Ltd. (Company dissolved in 2002 two weeks after approached by Paul Shanks and Grant McIntosh requesting to purchase shares in this fine enterprise with great potential). Four months later Estuary Developments started up by Ross Stewart Richard and Morgan Lusk share holders Phillip Marks 25% Grant Crook 25% Stewart (not Ross) 50%. B.S. and John Whittle. were also partners in Air, Ice and Leisure 1999 Ltd. (a different commercial building) John Whittle to become area manager in 1988(for Whangamata, Tairua and Pauanui) for TCDC. And in 2000, service delivery manger. Their business was owning a commercial property which housed the engineer valuer, accountant, architect (B.S.) and surveyor, interesting to note that these professionals were the Marina society’s, accountant, the surveyor is on the society’s executive and the valuer is a berth holder. A great deal of TCDC’s business passed through this building.


 

1989 – DSIR report informs WCB, of which Bruce Scott is a member, and John Whittle (TCDC Area Services manager, both in a partnership : Air Ice lesuire Ltd) that the Waste water system is failing, author Bill Vant (later to become chief water Quality scientist for Waikato Regional Council ) and Cooper. Vant states what the future will bring for the estuary, if nothing is done to repair it. e.g. explosion of algae blooms and uncontrollable plant growth. Nothing is done, and the deterioration of the estuary comes to pass. For an update, view the Whangamata Camping Association Website

 

 

1991 – Bruce Wallace and Partners (principal at the time, is Bob Tate, elected to WCB in questionable by election1996) is contracted to investigate and Report with a plan necessary for the future growth of Whangamata waste water system through to end of consent 1996.(this plan never implemented)


 

1991- Angela Plimmer (Maiden name Sheffield) completes her thesis Sedimentology and Hydrodynamics of the Whangamata Harbour. for her Masters degree in Earth Sciences at Waikato University. The study concludes that the now chosen site is unsuitable for a Marina, mainly due to flushing issues (Marina’s not only cause their own pollution, but act as magnets for pollution from other sources. (Appendix 2: recomendations from her Sedimentology and Hydrodynamics of the Whangamata Harbour )  Angela was overseas for the majority of the hearings and was called in, late in the hearings. Her conclusions have not been refuted by any other scientist. Some of her personal evidence was not admissible as matters had already been decided on.

 

To quote from Angela’s thesis;

Bruce Wallace and partners recommended two sites in 1985. Their favoured site was immediately seaward of the causeway in an area colonised by mangroves since causeway construction in 1976. The advantage of this site is its proximity to to land owned by the council which could be available for parking and boating facilities. The site however, in an area of rapid sedimentation, and very low tidal flushing, hence would be susceptible to water quality and sedimentation problems, and require regular dredging. Based on the collection of further data than that available to Bruce Wallace and Partners, site C is considered to be the least favourable of the three.


 

Please note, directly upstream from the Marina site is the sewerage pond which leaks up to 30,000 litres of the raw stuff each day. In the future the Marina Society and TCDC will quietly shelve this study, but buy their own science (civil engineering, not hydrological) to further the project (Angela Sheffield : Critique of Tonkin and Taylor).


 

Up until, and through the court process, the Marina Society had done no field work and use the raw data collected by Angela Sheffield, though their “modelling” gives them a different conclusion than Sheffield. The modelled results are what were accepted by the Environment Court. Sheffield attempts to  to approach the Court, but judge disallows her to do so stating evidence already covered. (refer to thoroughly and exhaustivlely tested through the Environment Court. President of the Marina Society freely admits in a 2008 radio interview that “It was only ever a concept.”


1992 – District Plan becomes operative and the zoning of the land known as Te Matatuhi, or the Aicken land, sold by caveat to TCDC presumably for overflow parking changes from Recreational Reserve to Marine Activities and Extra High Density Housing. Land not offered back to original owners.


 

1992 – September 25th The Marina Society is formed and approaches the Council to buy the Aickin Trust land. Marina Society is represented by Harkness and Henry. who will remain the Societies legal advisers throughout the entire court process.

 

 

1992 – DOC makes submissions to Whangamata Community Board on Whangamata harbour plans.  The submission states the Department  the highest priority given to conservation values for the the area below the boat moorings. Whangamata Harbour is an area of high wildlife value… the submission goes on about the rare birdlife and important spawning grounds for native fish. (Appendix 3: DOC submission)


 

1993 – Enron emblazoned helicopter sighted visiting Whangamata Farm. While Ngati Pu chiefly descendent David Rare is working with a historic places trust official on the Whangamata Farm, a helicopter with Enron insignia is seen on several occasions visiting the farm.


 

1993 7th July 7th – Whangamata Farm Directors Michael George Kelly and Richard Michael Burke are listed as appointed directors of the Whangamata Farm on 07 07 ’93. On the 3rd of August ‘93 both step down. On that day, Ira Herbert Hoell Jr of North Carolina USA, and David Kennedy Pritchard are appointed as Directors of Whangamata Farm Ltd.

1993 – Forestry Research informs WCB that waste water spraying is having a negative impact on the forestry. Note –TCDC and its consultants systematically, and continuously, over estimate the size of the spray fields in the forest.

 

1994April 4th. Heads of Agreement (HOA)between Marina Society and TCDC to sell Aitken land to the Marina Society. Approved by Whangamata Community Board in a motion put forward by Bruce Scott and Brian Grant (WCB chair and also a Marina Society member). This original HOA was implemented by Marina society and TCDC officials, planners etc, WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC CONSULTATION OR INPUT. (Appendix 4: Copy of TCDC publicly excluded meeting minutes 5 April 1994)


 

1994 – 1995 INSHAALAH INVESTMENTS LIMITED build Governor Heights subdivision. (west of the Moana anuanu point subdivision across causeway) Allowed to develop by both EW and TCDC, knowing that with the failing wastewater system and questionable potable water supply, more stresses were being laid on the towns infrastructure, and estuary. the principals of the INSHAALAH (Governor Heights) were Richard Mahoney, David Kennedy Pritchard, and Stuart Edward Pritchard. At the time EW Consent Officer for the area was Nath Pritchard. Costs of the subdivision were successfully externalised for the developer in a number of ways, notably, was the cost of 4 water towers paid for by the rate payer at $65,000 each. Although Whangamata’s waste water system is currently (in 2009) being upgraded, the diameter of the pipes coming from Moana anu anu and points west, are too narrow to cope, and must be replaced before further development occurs. The Marina will also be placing equivalent stresses on the system.


 

No obligation has been made on the Whangamata Marina Society developers to “contribute” to upgrading the Waste water system, or the extra power transmission lines required. The Rate payers will shoulder this burden. Thames Coromandel District Council has sustained cumulative rate increases of approx 7% per year for well over a decade, TCDC is recognised as one of New Zealand’s worst councils for sustained rate increases.

The Whangamata farm previously owned by Mick Kelly is now part of a larger conglomerate of local farms, the larger entity is now Carolina Farms Ltd. Directors include David Pritchard, of the Pritchard Group, and two other directors, one from North Carolina in the U.S. the other director’s address is given as the Channel Islands a U.K. tax haven. Michael Dee is chairman of Europlan Ltd a company offering discreet financial services for exclusive international clients, the slush fund provider has been linked to U.S. Federal and State cases, regarding the collapse of the Guinness empire in 1993, and now evidence is in the hands of the New York Auditor General’s Office for the facilitation of financial services for restricted arms sales to Iran.


 

The Whangamata farm is one three properties listed as a company asset, making up an impressive block of coastal and rural land between Whangamata and Whiritoa, a township 12 km to the south. Carolina Farms director David Pritchard has been central to many marina and associated property developments, Waikawa Marina (one of the country’s biggest) and the controversial Matakana Island project. The Pritchard group emerged as victors from a breach of trust commercial deal between a developer Arklow Investments Ltd Vs. Far Financial Development Bank with the original proposal that ended up going all the way to the Privy Council. One local Maori leader opposed to development was Sonny Tawhiao, whose death in July 1999 was listed as suicide.

 

Sonny’s body had been burnt with petrol in his car, Police treated the death as suspicious, but were not looking for anyone else in connection with the death. This is despite numerous death threats against him and his family adamant that the death was not suicide. (Ref : http://matakanamurder.blogspot.com/) :

 

The official police report suggests- Sonny took a can of petrol from the boot of his car, removed his green knitted top and both gumboots and set fire to them at the rear right wheel. Police suggest he lit the petrol first then threw the top and boots into those flames. He then poured petrol throughout the interior of the car and then poured petrol under the boot leading up to the left front door which was left slightly ajar. He then put the petrol can into his boot. Police say he then got into the car and lit the car on fire.

 

The police report that suggested suicide, was written by detective Perry, the son in law of chartered accountant Graeme Ingham. Ingham was the accountant for the Ngaiterangi Iwi (tribe) when many of the tribal leaders who had control sold out to the developers. Ingam is a director of Te Kotukutku Corporation, Tkc Holdings Ltd. As well as Minuteman Holdings Ltd along with Pritchard and FitzGerald. Ingham is the accountant for the Whangamata Marina Society.

 

 

1995 1st May- Marina Society releases its Assessment of Environmental Effects. Forty pages , five paragraphs dedicated to ecology. No mention of the natural springs in the wetland to be turned into a car park, AEE suggests that “material disposed of in the main disposal site (the wetland) will raise the ground above flood level and possible Greenhouse effects by a considerable margin.” Pge19.

The AEE also suggests “dredging the shellfish beds and relocating them elsewhere in the harbor.” There is no mention of surfing, or its economic contribution to Whangamata. Apart from one or two genralised sentences, there is no detailed cost benefit analysis provided for the marina. Due to the superficial assessment of the wetland, and continued dismissal of it as a “swamp” or “unproductive land” the rich biodiversity including the rare Oligosoma moco skink was not accurately assessed or discovered by the Marina developers AEE.


 

The AEE has been widely criticized for its deficiencies, by scientists and marina opponents alike. The AEE makes several references to the fact that the Wetland had been in filled by TCDC as part of the dredging of the harbor channel that took place 1986 to 1992 with the authorization of DOC. When Meg Graham of Forest and Bird found out about the dumping, she (Meg also has extensive contacts within DOC) alerted the appropriate authorities, and is adamant that DOC did not know of the dumping. The Authors own OIA request also finds no evidence that DOC knew of the dumping. Upon notification the dumping stopped immediately. The way it was portrayed in the AEE, lends weight to a notion consistently put forward by the Marina developers that it is nothing more than unimproved swamp land. A notion further advanced by WMS president Mick Kelly in a Close Up TV interview, 10th march 2006.


 

9.4 page 39 of AEE Enhancement of Existing Site Deposition of some of the dredged material on this land will result in better drainage to existing housing.

Authors note: this wetland fed by natural springs and periodically inundated during phases of the lunar cycle “existed” prior to existing housing. Bruce Scott in his 1996 submission in support of the marina goes on to state on behalf of Breakers Motel (which received a special consent to build next to the wetland) that:


“My only concern with the site is stormwater retention within the low lying areas surrounding the proposed development and more specifically, as agent for property owners Mr & Mrs D Bunyan, whose sites are marked on the attached locality plan.

The four sites are to be used for a motel development and their current low levels create concerns as to storm water retention, particularly with the probability of the adjoining land being built up for the marina.


Mr & Mrs Bunyan request that as supporters of the marina, a consent approval contains conditions which will ensure the above concern is addressed and would be satisfied with accepting dredged material on the site to produce a flood free development platform.”

Authors note; The problems caused by building on aquifers are well known, heaving events are difficult to predict, and creating the platform may well lead to detrimental effects for surrounding properties. During the Court case Environmental Consultants for hire BioResearches Ltd Graham Don, in support of the marina society misrepresents the wetland as diminished and would probably dry up of its own accord.


1995 – Bruce Scott retires from council, last position as Deputy Mayor,


 

1995 Local Body Elections. On Whangamata Community Board Kathryn Jury (environmentalist) and Bob Tate former principal of Bruce Wallace and partners are elected). Bruce Wallace and partners had recently completed a report citing the need to repair the failing wastewater system. Seven stood for six positions.The Board was dissolved straight away.


1996 – Thames Coromandel District Council runs a Surplus of approx $56,000,000


1996 – Hearings into the Whangamata Marina Proposal held in Whangamata.


1996 Bruce Scott presents submissions to Waikato Regional Council on behalf of adjoining land and motel owners, in support of the Marina; as well as another submission on his own behalf, also in support (Appendix 5: Breakers Motel Submission as presented by agent Bruce Scott Architects)


 

1996 – DOC (under National Party Minister Simon Upton) appoints Betty Williams to be a Commissioner on the hearing committee of the Whangamata Marina Proposal.  On behalf of the Crown she turns the proposal down based on the relationship of Hauraki iwi to the Whangamata kaimoana bed. The other three commissioners are Waikato Regional Council councilors. They approve the marina proposal. Also, Stella Penny Waikato Conservator, strongly opposes the project,

N.B. The Environment Court and the Minister for the Environment have put on a Bond, a Saltmarsh Plan and a Sandbar Plan as a requirement. The Bond to be valued by the WRC and the plans also to be approved by WRC. Even though the WRC originally gave consent without these requirements.


 

1996 8th March – DoC submits appeal to  Environment Waikato against the Marina application. Submission  with other relevant files attached can be downloaded HERE

and Affidavits from Dr Grace and Dr Dowding


1996 – December 12th. Controversial by-election. That was not a by-election. A standing committee election. Council Officer Farquhar announces the annulment of Jury and Tate’s 1995 election, WITH WHOSE AUTHORITY? Questions to the legality of this procedure exist to this day. ten people stood for the two positions. Bruce Scott, Bob Tate elected as Community Board Members, to take the four members to six, some confusion introduced because of the automatic selection of councillors to Whangamata Community Board. under the The Local Govenment Act, this election is not allowed, but proceeds anyway, without full ratepayer electoral process.


 

Environmentalist Kathryn Dury refuses to stand in the sham election, citing unfair democratic process. John Whittle as logistics coordinator nor Bruce Scott, register possible conflict of interest as business partners..Similar dual councillor board member relationships are not brought into question in the TCDC catchment. This is unique to Whangamata. During the time of Tate and Dury being stood down and Tate re-elected, wastewater consent was renewed with parts of the previous consent deleted with what the first consent could not comply with. Important to note, that without a legally working wastewater system a marina is not allowed to be constructed under the proposed coastal policy statement.


1996 – Consent renewal granted for waste water system, although no improvements have been made or planned, Scott , Whittle and Tate and previous WCB chairman Martin Weld are well aware of it’s shortcomings. It should be noted at this stage Tate was not on the community Board, Tate was principle partner in Bruce Wallace and partners who had been aware of shortcomings of the waste water system.


 

1996 -1997 Waste Management America and Montgomery Watson U.S.A take over the infrastructure and strategic asset management Of TCDC and most other NZ councils.

 

1997 December 4th – from late Winter Dozens of Surfers had been complaining of serious ear nose, throat, chest and skin infections. thousands of crabs wash up on the shore in the harbour, scores dead seabirds wash up on the main beach, and the pipis were black. A strange Orange fungus sprouted up on moorings and other fixed structures. As a result, at a special meeting with Regional Council representatives, Mark Henry and Bill Vant, Thames Coromandel District Council Deputy Mayor Phil Surman, area manager John Whittle, and Murray Lyngaurd, strategic assets manager, attend. Also present was CEO of Health Waikato, Dr. Del Hood. Who stated that “this is not a health issue, it is an environmental issue.” This was the direct result of the failing waste water system that had just been signed off six months previously by the contentious Whangamata Community Board of four. Coincides with dropping of retention pond levels, this done in order to facilitate the anticipated tourist volumes.


1997 Department of Conservation (DOC) appeals at Waikato Regional Council hearings, and seeks that applications for resource consent for the Marina be declined. Also appealing are the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, Ngati Hako, Ngati Puu and the Whangamata Maori Committee. Over the years of the Court hearings Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Whanaunga also become involved.


 

1998 DOC now under National Party Minister Nick Smith, pulls out the DOC appeal. No written statement or reason ever given, but NZ Herald reports it was ordered to withdraw by a Ministerial Directive from Nick Smith.  An internal memo from the DOC Conservator to the Regional General Manager on the 20th of Feb 1998 states that; “The Minister visited the site late last year and met with members of the Marina Society. After that meeting he provided the Conservancy with a clear direction that a “settlement” should be negotiated with the Marina Society and the appeal should be withdrawn.” Despite several Official Information Requests, the actual directive from then Minister Smith, has not been located, although much correspondence at the time illustrates his displeasure regarding DOC appealing the marina.

 

(Excerpt from NZ Herald: In 1998 then Conservation Minister Nick Smith instructed the department’s Waikato conservator to withdraw as a submitter in opposition to the society’s proposal and to negotiate an agreement on mitigation measures to protect the dotterel habitat. ( Ruth Berry, NZ Herald 5 July 2006))

(Appendix 6: NZ Herald article)


 

 

1998 – The DOC Conservator for Waikato writes a strong reply to Nick Smith explaining why Doc should stay in the appeals process. Nevertheless a settlement with DOC is signed by the Waikato Conservator by July 1998. The Conservator states that it is difficult to see this dotterel recovery project as true mitigation, as the construction of the marina may cause the dotterel to leave the area, or predators could kill them, thus relieving the society of any obligation to the recovery project.

 

NB: When Nick Smith came to Whangamata (gold mining was a big issue then) and met with the Marina Society. Nick Smith, or TCDC for that matter, never met with any of the other parties, local Iwi or surfers, nationally or locally concerning Whangamata.


 

 

 

1998 – Whangamata Community Board (motion put by Bruce Scott and Brian Grant) delegate’s authority to TCDC Area Manager John Whittle to prepare and present submission on behalf of WCB to Environment Court. (Appendix 7: copy of WCB minutes 15 June 1998) John Whittle then hands delegation back to Bruce Scott in 1999 for that submission To the EC. At this time Bruce Scott is not a member of either the council or Whangamata Community Board, only the business partner of John Whittle in Air Ice and Leisure Ltd.


1998- Local body elections, at one minute to closing for candidates’ nomination for Whangamata Community Board, there was only four candidates. At thirty seconds before closing, Kevin Harris’s name was put forward by Paul Shanks and Grant McIntosh. At five minutes after closing time, the council officer told them that there were no more candidates, and only five names were put forward for the six positions.(Friday 12 mid day ) in the following weeks Coastal News newspaper, it was announced that seven people were standing for the six positions, these two new people were not legitimate, as not put forward in the correct time frame..One of those persons was Russell Hunt, CEO of Whangamata Real Estate, and had recently registered a company called Whangamata Marine Brokers Ltd. Kevin Harris missed out by 54 votes.


 

1998 Marina Society changes its Constitution – witnessed by JP Bruce Scott. These changes are to allow members of the Society to pay themselves.

 

1998 –Steve Ruru appointed as CEO of TCDC in December, the job was advertised on a Friday Ruru was appointed on the Saturday by New Mayor Chris Lux, also principle of Richardson Real Estate member of Lobby group Resource users group Mr Ruru was educated in the USA


 

1998 – 14th December Mark Henry ( Several Whangamata residents are under the impression that he is related to the Henry’s of the law firm Harkness and Henry, yet to be validated ) resource consent officer for Waikato Regional Council, admits in public meeting held at Whangamata service center to altering flow data sheets of sewage system to make it look like sewage system was working inside consent, present was elected MP Jeanette Fitzsimons, Coromandel’s Waikato Regional council representative Evan Penny, Deputy Mayor Phil Surman, Area manager John Whittle, Mr Pipe Health Waikato, and 60 members of the public. Mark Henry went on to become a consent officer for Transpower, central North Island.


 

1999 – 30th June 2nd Heads of Agreement between TCDC and Marina Society Strategic planning unit team leader recommends to Council that this revised document be approved. These documents include a 45 lot subdivision on the land, to be owned by the TCDC; the marina society would create the platform. Only the reference to this agreement as recorded in the June 1999 Order paper has been sighted. The Council declined to make these documents public until a request was made under the Official Information Act in 2007 John Whittle wrote that the council is not a developer and will the land to a preferred developer. Knowledgable people in Whangamata believe the developers to be developers of Governor Heights, who are now current committee members of the Marina Society, and connected to the Pritchard Group, and their very super rich American investors via Carolina farms Ltd.


 

1999Surfing New Zealand (under President Wayne Brown) sends a submission to the Whangamata Community Board in opposition to Marina development. Chair of the WCB at the time Brian Grant, is a Marina Society member. The Board passes the submission on to the Marina Society without acting on it, although the letter was to the Public Authority. (Appendix 8: SNZ submission).


 

1999- First Environment Court hearing. Jan Bartley gives evidence to E.C. as resident, but does not declare that he is a member of the Whangamata Marina Society.

 

Jan Bartley becomes TCDC councillor by 2000, makes decisions regarding sale or lease of land to marina society, and other points needing to be addressed under the Local Government Act.

 

Bartley makes decisions regarding the marina without declaring his membership in the society. When it is pointed out to him, he resigns from the Marina Society, so that he can still vote.


 

TCDC Strategic Assets Manager Murray Lyngaurd called back to give evidence to the court that the Whangamata Waste Water System can function inside consent requirements and can cope with the new Marina development(abridged) (which he did) within two hours of giving this false testimony Mr LyngaUrd is sacked, and replaced by John Whittle who in the future becomes the focus of at least one internal fraud investigation (CONCERNING THE mARINA) at TCDC.


 

At this time the Hydrologist Keith J. Caldwell for WMS is also called back to the court and admits that the tidal prism (reported at 0.6 in the AEE) was wrong and is actually 1.2 though even this figure was never peer reviewed. Evidence regarding this matter by Surfer Paul Shanks was considered by Judge Bollard as;

We were left with a clear impression that the fears raised by the witness were over-stated and not based on suitable reliable data.”

In following years Shanks goes on to expose illegal dumping of sewage in the Whangamata harbour and receives a Green Ribbon Award from Environment Minister David Benson-Pope for his work.


 

 

1999 Bruce Scott (future SNZ President) presents submission to Environment Court on behalf of the Whangamata Community Board in support of the Marina development, even though board authority was given to John Whittle and Scott was no longer on the Community Board. (Appendix 9: BS Submission) Bruce Scott and John Whittle are still business partners of Air Ice and Leisure ltd, owning an Office block accommodating the Accountant, valuer and surveyor for WMS. In neither of Scott’s or Mick Kelly’s submissions is any mention made of surfing or its high amenity value to the town. (Appendix 9 )


 

2000 – Conclusion of Environment Court Hearings

.

 

2001 – Ultra Violet light system attached to waste water system, Clean Water Whangamata and surfers stated that the U.V. system was in wrong place at the beginning of retention pond, should have been placed at the exit of the pond, as the quality of effluent was way to turbid to deal with the “bug.” This initial situation was promoted by Montgomery Watson, and peer reviewed and ticked by John Crawford of Opus.


2001Judge Bollard of the Environment Court issues Interim Decision, declining the application because it does not meet the Proposed Regional Coastal Plan rules. Bollard dismissed surfers concerns (presented by Paul Shanks who appeared as a witness for Iwi) stating that “fears raised by the appellants’ witness were overstated and not based on suitable reliable data”. Bollard advises the Marina Society that it will need to change the rules of the Regional Coastal Plan for a consent to be granted. (Appendix 10: Copy of Paul Shanks submission).

 

Society proceeds to do this with the Marinas Variation. No surfers’ group (SNZ or other) submitted to the Variation. The hearings were held in Whangamata.


 

2001 Local Body Elections. Whangamata Community Board members Yvonne Walmsley and Brian Grant are elected TCDC Councillors. Yvonne and Brian Walmsley own the biggest Real Estate business in the district, Coromandel Peninsula Real Estate. (Harcourts). The votes for the Whangamata Community Board (candidates for Clean Water Whangamata were standing) are taken to be counted in Auckland by Ofsoskei Electoral Services at a cost of $80.000 publishing the results take ten days, Why? (the results for Hauraki District Council were counted by 7pm on day one). the Clean team stood for WCB and TCDC posts. Wins 49.5% of total vote but only has one member, Dave Steele, elected to WCB. At the recount, Paul shanks and lost by 54 votes exactly. Like Harris in previous election Shanks was standing against Brian Grant WMS community board Chair.


 

The Whangamata water and wastewater services, previously under control of the Whangamata Community Board, are moved to the control of the District Council, TCDC. Whangamata Area manager John Whittle becomes TCDC Officer responsible for water services and also shifts to District Council. (takes control of storm, waste, and potable water).


 

2002 Bruce Scott elected President of Surfing New Zealand. No further participation of SNZ in the submission process.


 

2002Whangamata Community Plan adopted by TCDC. The Plan was commended by Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment Morgan Williams, who expressed concerns however over lack of implementation in his 2005 case study of the WCP. (Turning Hopes and Dreams into Action and Results 2005). The Plan opposed further high density subdivision and the putting of any more structures into the shallow Whangamata estuary. All structures built in the harbour and proposed to be built in the harbour have had and will have a detrimental effect on the harbour.


 

2002 Regional Council delegates review of Navigational Bylaws to TCDC. Bylaws rewritten with input of John Whittle, legislating surfers out of the channel. By calling it a non anchorage area, which means no fishing diving or swimming, surfers categorised as swimmers on swimming aids.


 

2002 – Change of consent for waste water, pressure from community forces council to undertake this change, because Clean Water Whangamata had proved that the existing plant had exceeded consent (over 2,000 breaches calculated from 1996 to 2002) residents were being told that aeration pond secure and safe. Councillor Yvonne Walmsley was reported to commerce commission as she was advertising properties and businesses for sale “in a town that swells to 55,000 over the summer period.” But signed off the waste water consent that said that the peak summer population was 26,500

She was reported to the commerce commission. A quote from the commerce commission; “although there may be a breach in the law, we will not taking this matter further at this stage.” The size of the spray fields were intentionally misrepresented from 25 hectares up to 40 hectares. Refer docs from Montgomery Watson 1999 update on TCDC wastewater systems


 

 

2002-Local body elections.


 

2004 – At the Environment Court hearings on the Marina’s Variation in April 2004 the DOC lawyer (Ms Houghton), when asked by Judge Bollard if DOC were going to come back into the marina hearings, she replied that Consent was given by an earlier Minister (Mr Nick Smith). No written record of the directive has been found to date.

2004 – History of Fraud investigation In a casual conversation, with a Whangamata resident, Roger Harwood a Tairua/Pauaniu Community Board member was informed that John Anthony Whittle, former TCDC Area Manager for Whangamata (currently TCDC Service Delivery Manager) has a financial interest in the Whangamata Marina.

2005 Environment Court Interim Decision regarding the Marinas Variation. This time the coastal permit did not meet the Regional Policy Statement. The Court recommends that the Regional Council amends the Regional Policy Statement to suit the Marina. Marina legal teams convince the Court the application is within Regional Policy Statement requirements.

2005 September– illegal clearance of mangroves, South side of causeway MITIGATION SITE ONE FOR THE RIGHT TO DESTROY THE WETLAND. To externalize their costs, members of the Whangamata marina society whipped members of the public into frenzy over the evils of the mangroves, they were encouraged and assisted by councilors Brian Jackson Noel Hewlett and local MP Sandra Goudie, members were Simon Friar(future EW councilor) Brian Grant (previous TCDC councilor)and Jack Wells(future WCB member)

Illegal burning of mangroves in mitigated area, 2005

2005- November while Environment Court were sitting, and during the investigation of the illegal mangrover clearance. Rare species of indigenous coastal reptile found at site. Oligosoma moco skink and habitat had obviously been destroyed, Environment Waikato decline to prosecute. At the Navigation bylaws hearing 2008 Jack Wells informs Paul shanks that “when they were illegally clearing mangroves, they saw hundreds of them under their feet.

An excerpt fromWhangamata Mangrove Clearance & Saltmarsh Damage” by david Riddell of Kessels and associates (EWDOCS-#1042233-v1-Whangamata_Mangrove_clearance_and_salt) prepared for Environment Waikato):

2.2 Reptiles

An apparently healthy population of Moko Skink (Oligosoma moco) is present on the

causeway. Numerous individuals were sighted sun-basking along the causeway banks

immediately above the cleared mangrove area. This species is confined to northern New

Zealand and has mostly been recorded from offshore islands, with only a few known

mainland populations in Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty (Towns et al, 2002, Gill

& Whitaker, 1996). This population had not previously been recorded (Leigh Marshall, pers.

comm.) and must be regarded as highly significant.

While this species was not recorded away from the causeway it has presumably been

present in the area for a long time, pre-dating the mid-20th century construction of the

causeway. It is therefore likely that it is more widely distributed, and at least occasionally

makes use of surrounding vegetation areas.

2005 Foreshore and Seabed Act passed. Part of the FSA states that all foreshore owned by Public Authorities reverts to the Crown. Part of the land, CT CT 918 263. is under mean high springs. As it is owned by TCDC, under the FSA, that area under MHS (needs to be surveyed) reverts to the Crown. Most of the area is required by the marina society for a car park is that area under MHS, foreshore. It would seem they will now have to make a request to the Crown, DoC to occupy foreshore (or to purchase it, which is what they wish to do)

October 2005 – Environment Court grants coastal permit and land use consents to Marina Society.

2006- Auckland Anniversary Weekend, Conservation Minister Rt Hon Chris Carter visits Whangamata, and meets all affected parties, Hauraki Maori Trust Board, Ngati Hako, Ngati Pu, Whangamata saltmarsh group, local surfers(12) and Whangamata Marina Society, In Nick Smiths 1997 visit he only met th the marina society before giving DoC a clear direction to withdraw the departments appeal.

2006 March 2nd Chris Carter responds to a question in the house:

Hon CHRIS CARTER: Yes, I have a report from the Waikato Times dated 26 September 2005, stating that MP Sandra Goudie [National]was involved in an illegal action in clearing mangroves. The article states that she was not worried about possible legal action and she would do it again. I believe in following the law; it seems that that member does not. Authors note current EW Councilor Simon Friar also instigated this breach of the RMA

March 2006The Rt Hon Chris Carter gives his speech to the house defending his veto in that speech he goes on to say: ”The value of this salt marsh to the area is heavily contested. Three experts before the Environment Court said it was valuable and one, the expert put up by the applicants, said it was not.” Mr. Carter goes on:

It is not I who is subverting proper process or committing a constitutional outrage, it is those like National MP Nick Smith who are now seeking to take the extraordinary step of retrospectively changing the law to allow this proposal to proceed.

Just what is Nick Smith’s interest in this matter?

His own involvement in it in the 1990s as Minister of Conservation is very murky indeed.

He has made a great deal noise about the fact that the Department of Conservation did not take part in the Environment Court proceedings on the marina proposal.

But what he has not told the people of New Zealand is that DOC was opposed to the marina because of its environmental impacts and lodged an appeal against the Waikato Regional Council’s approval of it in 1997.

It was only after pressure on DOC by its minister that the department withdrew its appeal and settled with the Marina Society. The minister at the time was of course none other than Nick Smith.

I challenge him to make it clear to this House today why he pressured DOC to withdraw from the process, and exactly how he was fulfilling his responsibility to the public on whose property this marina was to be built.”

2006- (Fraud investigation history) In his capacity as an elected official of the Tairua/Pauanui Community Board Roger Harwood was told on two separate occasions that Mr. Whittle has a pecuniary interest in the Whangamata marina development. After hearing Mayor Barriball on local radio & national TV criticizing Conservation Minister Chris Carter’s decision to halt the said Marina, while praising the proposed development. along with the fact that TCDC reserve adjacent ,has been sold to the Marina Society, leads mr Harwood to believe something suspect had been, & still is, going on.

October 2006 – High Court overrules Chris Carter. Chris Carter passes decision to Benson Pope.

December 2006– The Rt Hon David Benson Pope, Environment Minister overturns The RT Hon Chris Carter’s Veto over marina project, but adds stringent conditions to the consents. including monitoring of the world famous Whangamata Bar. The minister still held the discretion to maintain the Veto, The Rt Hon Chris Carter along with many other Labour Party members, surprised at DBP’s decision.

 

2007 13th January-History of fraud investigation. Roger Harwood emailed John Anthony Whittle, & the TCDC CEO Stephen Ruru,& her Worship The Mayor, Phillipa Barriball asking them directly if they ,or any company or organization they may belong to have a pecuniary interest in the Whangamata Marina Development.

2007 15th January-History of fraud investigation. TCDC CEO Steve Ruru replies to Mr Harwood’s email with a “No.”

2007 17th January- History of fraud investigation. Whittle replies asking for specifics & the names of whom Mr Harwood had heard of it?

2007 26th January- History of fraud investigation. after an email ping pong game Whittle claims ” If I thought I was involved in something in which I had a pecuniary interest I would declare it to my employer (Ruru) at the appropriate time” He then goes on to ask Mr Harwood to reveal his sources. After two attempts, email & letter no answer forthcoming from Philippa Barriball, Although a letter from Ruru referring to Mr Harwood’s emails, Informing him of some of the process to follow is received.

2007 February 21st– History of fraud investigation TCDC CEO Ruru informs Harwood by mail that due to his allegations he is instigating an internal Fraud investigation, thereby preventing Harwood discussing this matter with anyone but them. He also sends Harwood a copy of the TCDC fraud policy & the penalties for withholding Council information..Two days previous Harwood had emailed Ruru pressing for action.

2007 February – Agents for the Marina Society, the Bioresearches Group Ltd circulate a Mitigation and Enhancement Plan to Environment Waikato, TCDC, DoC, and Hauraki Maori Trust Board.

The version that Hauraki Maori Trust Board receives does not include the following text on page three:

“2.2 Reclamation area reptiles

Reptiles in the Harbour edge habitat between the footbridge and the Reserve at the end of Beach Road would be surveyed using artificial cover objects (ACOs) captured and relocated in consultation with the Department of Conservation.”

The above statement in this document only appears in the version submitted as evidence by Chris Wedding of Bioresearches group ltd on the 25th of October 2008 in Gunson vs. EW, WMS, and TCDC. The judgement handed down by Bollard assumed that this had been open for consultation.

2007 4th March- History of fraud investigation still no denial of pecuniary interest, Harwood makes an Official information request.

March 2007– Marina Society has broken three conditions of consent. They are:

  • members and supporters of the marina society clear saltmarsh mitigation site in a manner totally against that agreed to in the Environment Court.
  • Put a drilling probe on to the foreshore without going through the protocols outlined in the Decision of the Environment Court.
  • The marina society had to give to Environment Waikato and Iwi represeantives a Draft Management Plan and a Contaminant Contingency Plan by 18 March 2007.
  • No consent requested of marina applicants under the RMA, section 12(1)(e) by consent administrating authority EW regarding the discovery of an absolutely protected species habitat, Oligosoma moco skink. The

 

 

To date in all three cases, no known action has been taken by Environment Waikato. The Minister for the Environment said that these Conditions were stringent. Comment; They aren’t if you do

not have to abide by them.


March 2007 – The Drilling probe, which had won its non notified consent within three working days, “discovers” an aquifer in the area to be dredged for the Marina. The aquifer originates in the salt marsh that is to be turned into a car park. The WMS decide not to continue geotech survey into the wetland, (the consent allowed for seven drill site locations, four of which are in the wetland) stating that they have all the information they need.

The marina consent only allows for dry dredging, so as to contain the toxic sediments from polluting the rest of the estuary.

 

The Marina Society have since stated that they will not be seeking new consents, or variations. During the Environment Court hearings, The Marina Society put forward an ecologist, Graham Don from Bio researches Ltd who stated “without human intervention the salt marsh will dry up of its own accord.” This assumption was readily accepted by the court. The Wetland is feed by two fresh water springs, and periodically (during the lunar cycle) inundated with salt water. this dynamic mix, has led to the rich biodiversity in this Area of Significant Conservation Value(ASCV) COMMENT; As yet no evidence of flow rates of this aquifer (under car park and marina basin area) have been released, especially under high rainfall periods. the report’s author points this out as a shortcoming of the inadequate AEE readily accepted by the Environment Court.


2007 12th March- History of fraud investigation CEO Ruru requests precise nature of allegations and wants Harwood to name sources.


 

April 2nd 2007 A request is made under the Official Information Act for land sale purchase agreements between the Thames Coromandel District Council and the Whangamata Marina Society, particularly the 2nd heads of agreement, which to date had not been released to the public (documents were not forthcoming, and took the intervention of the Ombudsmen’s office to obtain the majority of documents requested on 19 – 07-07)

The original Heads of Agreement had lapsed, and the 2nd heads of agreement was never ratified.

The Marina Society did not own or lease the public land it had won consents for up to David Benson Pope’s decision.


 

April 10th 2007 Marina Society President Mick Kelly writes letter to TCDC formally requesting to lease the proposed site. (it has been pointed out on many occasions that secret meetings between TCDC and WMS have occurred without minutes taken) A Council cannot remain impartial if it prioritizes a strategic relationship with a business sector over the community it serves.


 

 

April 16th 2007 – Surfbreak Protection society members and Brad Scarf, a coastal processes scientist hold first meeting with Environment Waikato to outline just what is needed to conduct a thorough Bar Monitoring program (you have to understand initial conditions before construction begins) Including variables such as peel angle of the wave, and breaking intensity.

 

Although the Crowns’s condition 10.7 required “appropiately qualified and experienced persons” to be retained, WRC decided not to include surfing scientists, as Brent Sinclair from WRC has insisted that they are only required to monitor the bar and that “the condition is quite vague.”

 

May 1st 2007 reply to Mick Kelly from John Rich, Community services manager, stating that : because WMS are a “non profit” incorporated society, the rent under council lease policy will only be $350 per year(prices of these berths have been listed on trademe up to $249,000 and it is understood that some members are multiple[many] berth holders and the initial price for these berths were $36,000)

History of fraud investigation- on this day Harwood phones Pam Howat (Group Manager Support Services) she confirms an investigation is being conducted..Harwood receives email from her that unless he supplies more proof or name names, (he has 7 days) they “will complete their investigation into this matter.”


 

May 4th 2007- History of fraud investigation. Again Harwood asks the simple question; “Does he or doesn’t he have pecuniary interest”? I quote TCDC’s 2006 Fraud Policy ” Members & staff need to be conscious of possible conflicts of interest and if required ,declare those interests so they can be addressed appropriately”

 

June 3rd 2007 Whangamata Marina Society holds closed to the public AGM.(most societies AGM’s are open to the public). Excuses for delays put forward, no mention of aquifer recorded.


 

21 June 2007 History of fraud investigation. Investigation continues Ruru claims he needs more information from Harwood.


 

June 2007- memorandum of understanding struck with TCDC regarding failing sewage system

After years of conflict regarding Clean Water Whangamata, Surfbreak Protection Society opposing the inadequate proposed upgrade from TCDC, major gains by community with a MOU signed off through mediation at Environment Court. The concessions gained are :

 

– Increasing the capacity of the primary treatment by more than 50%

– Spray heads were moved further away from residential properties

– Tightening the resource consent so that the council has to comply more stringently

– A geo-technical investigation on the existing leaking pond with an obligation to remedy any problems

– Increasing the frequency of stream monitoring in key times, allowing quicker identification of problems

– Monitoring and upgrading the pump stations, which should reduce the frequency of sewage spills in town

– Ensuring that tree health will be monitored, to reduce the risk of ratepayers having to pay compensation to the foresters

– Ensuring that extra retention ponds and all denitrification beds are put in during the initial construction period, and not just some time in the future

– Decreasing the rate of irrigation to forestry trees, changing the decision process of when to allow irrigation, and adding of riparian planting, which will all substantially reduce the chance of overland or underground flow and hence harbour contamination.


 

 

4 July 2007- History of fraud investigation. Harwood requests all information forwarded to the Office of the Auditor General by TCDC, as per Council policy “If any doubt occurs regarding Conflicts of Interest.”


 

19 July 2007- History of fraud investigation. Ruru informs Harwood the investigation team have concluded ” No conflict Of interest or no serious wrongdoing has been committed” He confirms no correspondence on this matter between TCDC & the OAG.


20th August 2007- attempt to externalize costs Marina Society president Mick Kelly writes to TCDC deputy CEO John Rich regarding a letter to Mick Kelly from TCDC Senior planner Peter Wishart. Wishart recommended Kelly writes to Rich requesting Council shoulders 60% of dredging costs. In another letter to Rich dated 3rd of October 2007 Mick Kelly estimates the approximate the cost to the council to be about $72,000. As yet council intentions on dredging costs are unknown.


September 2007-Surfing New Zealand AGM Attempt to hold SNZ executive accountable over poor governance issues under Bruce Scott by Surf Taranaki and other North Island clubs fails, because of illegal use of proxy voting (manipulation of South Island clubs) although a judicial review finds in the favour of North Island clubs Scott maintains his hold at SNZ largely due to the ignorance, and pampering of the south island clubs. Surfing New Zealand holds little respect in the wider surfing community. The Incorporated society has in effect been hijacked by special interest business groups.

 

September 2007- Leaking sewage pond. TCDC gain Non notified consent to allow leaking sewage pond a lease to do so for a further 35 years a complete back flip on the MOU signed in June with concerned community groups. Concerns raised that the inability to fund the much needed upgrades are linked to the misrepresentation of the towns ability to cope with the marina development as reported to the Environment court by previous TCDC CEO Murray Lyngard.


 

September 2007- Firth concrete apply and receive a non notified consent to discharge 1,000 liters of sludge into the moanaanu anu estuary every day (up to 20,000 liters at any one time. Firth, a major supplier to the marina project.


 

September 24th 2007 – attempt to breach the incorporated Societies 1908 posted on Trademe.co.nz

Under the Act members are not allowed to profit from an incorporated society, after complaints to the Companies office the reply was that while a breach may have taken place, the fines involved (not updated since 1908) would not warrant the time taken to prosecute.

 

Comments on this auction

So your asking $150,000 for a berth that you have paid $36,000 for ? posted by: lauriem (146 )  9:32 pm, Mon 24 Sep

Yep & they’ve been selling for more than that too!! 9:40 pm, Mon 24 Sep

 

28 September 2007 History of fraud investigation. Harwood receives a letter from the Privacy Commissioner, after a complaint from Whittle, requesting all relating information. Harwood replies in confidence to the commissioner on the 8th of October.


 

October 11th 2007 After complaints about speculative nature of berth sites that do not exist (by members of a nonprofit incorporated society) yet. Trademe remove listings.


 

6th November 2007- History of fraud investigation. Privacy Commissioner informs Harwood it more appropriate for them to contact TCDC for more information about this issue.


 

November 8th 2007- Marina Society calls for Tenders in Coastal News. Gives as proposed start of Construction January 2008, without following proper procedure regarding consent process.


 

3 December 2007History of fraud investigation. Ruru “Strongly advises ” Harwood to provide information sought by Whittle.


 

12 December 2007 History of fraud investigation. Harwood phones The Privacy Commissioner ( Dawn Swan ) Where he is informed names can remain in confidence.

18 January 2008History of fraud investigation. Letter received from Privacy Commissioner must supply all information requested less names.

 

 

January 2008History of fraud investigation. Harwood has phone conversation with local media representative who then phones Mick Kelly (Whangamata Marina Society Chairman) & asks if Whittle has a marina berth? He is told a definite no. The very next day the media rep. receives a call from Whittle asking where he received his information.

Date – 2nd meeting of Surfbreak with EW?

 

Date – Marina Society submits Landscape Plan to Affected Parties (Iwi). The Plan is altered from original version submitted to EC, including an administration building that initially was only 50 square meters, now 1500 square meters, and also a proposed fuel station inside a residential area, which in times of flood is under water.


 

26th of Jan 2008 – Karl Arsen and Brad Scarf, coastal processes scientists representing the Surfbreak Protection Society, meet with members of the Whangamata Marina Society to discuss what the Marina society believe is adequate hydrographic mapping of the world famous Whangamata bar. Karl and Brad believe that a more precautionary approach is needed, requiring a more detailed bathymetric baseline study, with an initial survey over several seasons. Brad and Karl will be reporting back to the Consent Administrators (Environment Waikato ) with their concerns.


 

7th February 2008 at the Whangamata Community Board (WBC), held a public meeting. One item concerned the lease of TCDC land (about 3 hectares of coastal land) to the Whangamata Marina Society (WMS) During the Public Forum of the WCB meeting some speakers spoke to this item and some tabled letters. A representative from Ngati Puu gave their perspective. Next Surfbreak Protection Incorporated, concerned of the effects on the Whangamata Bar. The Small Boat Association then spoke of concerns over the effects on the hard sand boat ramp and access channel.

 

A user of the existing Water ski lane spoke to the meeting concerned over where would the lane be moved to, and do the community have input? (Again it should be noted the original Heads of Agreement was signed off between council, policy and planning officers and marina society supporters, without any public consultation) The ski lane user said that presently it was a safe place to take families and teach them to ski. The Whangamata Area Manager mentioned that he had received three emails on this subject from Iwi groups previous to the meeting. The Chief Executive of TCDC (there were no Marina Society members stating their case) gave a Powerpoint Presentation called “Whangamata Marina Land”. Interjections were made stating bias by the council for the project. The granting of a lease now falls under the auspice of the Local Government Act, and is open to public input. More meetings and public consultation is now required.


 

11 Feb 2008-. History of fraud investigation. Quote from Privacy commissioner “In the limited circumstances of this case, it appears that you have proper grounds to maintain the confidentiality of those individuals and withhold their identities from Mr. Whittle. However if your enquires were not to do with Mr. Whittle’s suitability for employment,  then section 29(1)(b) may not apply.” This means Ruru & Whittle erred in their assertion that They were not accountable to Harwood unless he named his sources. This Issue has become a compelling Case for the High Court, Harwood states that If he had the time or money he would dearly like to pursue the matter.

Direct quote “Our Coromandel & her People deserve far better.

 

12th Feb 2008 – The Marina Society amend their construction plans, They now say they will now not build a rock lined canal from the marina basin to past the boat ramp. They still intend to build a canal through the kaimoana bed. They still reserve their “right” to build a complete canal. It is a large variance to Baseline Consent Documents. The reason given at the hearings for a rock lined wall canal was to keep the walls from falling in.


13th Feb 2008Environment Waikato report that they will accept the Marina Society’s Monitoring plan.


 

13th April 2008 – public meeting held regarding sale or lease of public land. Despite a staff report stating options should be sale, lease, or no sale, council circulates submission forms offering only sale or lease to marina society. No competing bids for land is mentioned. Because of the strong public interest, council later went for commercial lease for all land not intended specifically for marina society operations. After a publically excluded meeting in December 2009, this was overturned.


12th May 2008 Without informing Hauraki Maori, BioReaserches Ltd (private science for hire firm under instruction from the Marina Society) and with tacit approval from DOC go in to the Wetland and recover (to translocate) Oligosama moco Skink in winter months, while the skink are burrowed deep in the root systems of plants The skink preferred the introduced Pampas grass.


 

The Pampas grass had coincidently been undergoing a rigorous extermination program by the Thames Coromandel District Council in the area. This consisted of target spraying of the pampas grass in the wetland and along the causeway, despite the protests and pleadings of Dr Keith Corbett M.B.E. for over 12 months.


 

DOC contacted several members of the New Zealand Herpetological Society in Hauraki to assist with the holding, and soon after the capture, and were then rapidly drawn to the process as volunteers to recover as many skink as they could before the bulldozers moved in. Winter is the worse time to do this, as most skink are hibernating deep underground. By destroying the Pampas grass and thereby exposing remaining skink to predators only a small fraction of the colony was salvaged. On The capture and translocation of skink, The Herpetological Society newsletter of October 2008 (available at most libraries, or joining the Herpetological Society ) refers to it as “a bit of a fiasco.” And ; “Done with unacceptable haste.”


The Marina society state that they only new about the skink in February 2008 yet evidence suggests that they knew of them in Feb 2007 (aside of the reports of them running around underfoot during the illegal mangrove clearance of 2005.


 

16th May 2008 Hauraki Maori Trust board and Surfbeak Protection Society Representatives attending a meeting with DOC in Regard to lease or sale arrangements of Crown land to the Marina Society are informed in the closing moments of the presence of Mokomoko Skink in the Whangamata salt marsh, the relaying of this information has been reported as given almost as an afterthought. The Mokomoko Skink’s threat classification is considered “sparse” and this is only one of three known VIABLE colonies on the mainland.


 

16th May 2008 Dr Keith Corbett emails TCDC CEO Steve Ruru stating that he cannot determine whether TCDC staff are incompetent, obstructive,, uncooperative,  or a mixture of some or all.


 

 

It now transpires that in October 2005 DOC was informed of the Mokomoko discovery, while the Environment Court was still deliberating the Marina Society’s Application. At this time, DOC were still operating under the previous Minister’s (Nick Smith) clear direction that a settlement should be negotiated with the Marina Society, and the appeal withdrawn.


 

The history of this discovery raises implications that are now being raised with DOC, EW, TCDC and the Marina Society’s Ecologist, Graham Don, from Bio Researches Ltd. In 2001, Graham Don convinced the Environment Court that without human intervention this salt marsh would probably dry up of it’s own accord. This has now been shown to be false, as natural springs in the marsh sustain it, and with periodic inundation of saltwater through the lunar cycle, leads to a dynamic richness of biodiversity in this wetland.


 

1st of June Queens Birthday Weekend. After being informed of the rare discovery, a Wellington surfer (Michael Gunson) and associate travel to Whangamata and document the extent of the habitat. In the mid day heat sightings and sign of skink are evident, along the Hetherington Rd Causeway, and at the waters edge of the Wetland. Photos are taken,and concern of a slight browning of tips of vegetation is noticed at the skink habitat, a sign of recent weed spraying.


 

 

1st of July 2008. Hauraki Iwi groups occupy “marina car park” site. The boundary of the wetland. For eighteen days until assurance is received from Environment Minister Trevor Mallard that he would review the consent process. (during this time Nanaia Mahuta member for Hauraki-Waikato, Labour Party visits site and appears genuinely concerned and reports back to Trevor Mallard ) Despite many drive bys by a dedicated cliché of Marina society supporters vocalizing abuse, the majority of Whangamata residents indicate support, and are warmly welcomed to the site to discuss concerns.

 

Wellington surf riders club secretary Michael Gunson and associate return for occupation and the extent of the weed spraying is obvious. Photo documentation undertaken. The spraying was done away from the roadside, targeting the indigenous coastal reptiles habitat down to the waterline.The spraying was not targeted, this time it is a blanket coverage. During the occupation contact is made with Dr Keith Corbett M.B.E.(expert in Herpetology) who had been studying the habitat for nearly twelve months and had made repeated requests to the Thames Coromandel District Council to STOP targeted spraying of the area, but to no avail.


 

Mid July- Upon returning to Wellington research proves that spraying of habitat could not have been the usual mix of Roundup™ with a little dash of Contact™ or equivalent.

It was obvious that a massive amount of Metsulfuron Methyl (what is found in Contact™) used for killing gorse and other hardwoods had been used. Metsulfuron Methyl is eco-toxic, corrosive on skin, eyes and respiratory systems, at various doses is lethal to trout, ducks, and advised that cows should not graze for up to three days later. In the middle of winter, no other compound could have led to such a “ground zero impact” The Absolutely Protected Species, Oligosoma moco skink habitat had been purposefully targeted.


 

After lobbying Police, DOC, Ministers, and Environment Waikato an “investigation” was carried out by DOC and EW.


 

September 1st 2008 Marina Society move onsite and begin construction, without all obligations being met, the mitigated area is a dead zone, toxic, with nothing growing, and and ability to recreate natural fresh water springs. The site is basically irrecoverable to this day because of the illegal destruction of the mangroves by marina society supporters.


October 2008- After a perceived lack of interest from government agencies and no forthcoming prosecutions Wellingtonian Gunson takes EW TCDC and the Marina Society to the Environment Court, with robust legal advice that under section 12(1)(e) of the RMA a consent is required to exterminate an absolutely protected species habitat, the Oligosoma moco Skink. This colony was the major of only three viable colonies on the mainland, not picked up by what was regarded as a very superficial Assessment of Environmental Effects conducted by Bioresearches Ltd on behalf of the Marina society. Although supported by Ngati Whaunanga and Dr Keith Corbett, Judge Bollard ( who originally presided over the controversial decision that Rt Hon Chris Carter deemed to veto) again favoured the evidence of Marina Society and again favouring BioResearches Ltd., this time with their young scientist, Chris Wedding.


 

A great deal of court time is taken up by respondents EW and Marina Society arguing whether Gunson could even afford damages (although acknowledged by Judge Bollard that the case was in the public interest, and only costs could be imposed) EW and TCDC asserts that the skink is not of their concern, as no evidence supporting that the Skink exist below MHWS. Dr. Corbett points out that they feed on sand hoppers below MHWS. A concept that “the skink may have only recently migrated there” is given serious consideration by judge Bollard, the concept was considered ludicrous by Dr Corbett.


AFTER the case is won by respondents, and Gunson has indicated he won’t be proceeding to high court, evidence is finally released by Wedding that skink WERE found below MHWS. Dr Corbett’s credentials were ridiculed during the case (Corbett has an Honoree Doctorate for a lifetimes work in the field, and bestowed a M.B.E. by the Queen, he is world renown) after which he is referred to as “Mr” Corbett by Judge Bollard. disgusted with the New Zealand attitudes and approach to conservation, Corbett confides that he is leaving NZ.


 

At 4:30 pm on the Eve of the case Evidence surfaces of who was responsible for the targeted spraying of the skink habitat from the EW affidavit, a “minor” subcontractor to the marina society, the reports author received then and there correct legal advice to drop TCDC as respondent. The affidavit states :

 

“ 7. On the 25th of July 2008 I contacted Mr John knappett to discuss the spraying of the Hetherington Reserve. I asked him about the spraying of this area and he said he was not aware of the spraying having taken place.He said that he had not told anyone to spray the area. Mr Knappett said that the spraying had been discussed with a contractor; however the contractor had not been directed by either Mr Knappett or the Whangamata Marina Society to undertake spraying of the reserve area. Iasked Mr Knappett if he was aware of the Waikato Regional Plan rules regarding the spraying of Agrichemicals and he said that he was not aware of the implications. I discussed the rules, and sent through an email with the link to those rules on the WRC website. Mr Knappett said that he would follow up with the contractor whom he suspected may have carried out the spraying.


 

8. Late on the 25th of July 2008 Mr John Knappett sent an email to me stating that Bruce Connell had undertaken the spraying on the site. Mr Knappett stated that he would send through the rules to the contractor and that ‘the Whangamata Marina Society had indicated to Bruce that it would negotiate the mitigation programme with his company but certainly did not authorise any work in advance of all pre start consent conditions being satisfied.”


 

Later that evening Gunson learns that Bruce Connell turns out to own the majority of equipment on site, his family owns the registered office of the marina society and Connell is also a preferred contractor to TCDC.”


 

No action by either council or DoC is taken against Connell while WRC has since taken legal action against others within it’s juristriction for similar transgressions, many Whangamata locals believe Connell is being “protected” from prosecution.


 

The Court found in favour of the respondents, you do not need a consent to destroy an absolutely protected species habitat, nor do you need wildlife permits.

 

Since the spraying, No skink have been seen on the south or north side of the causeway, the south side has been exposed to predators, as has the north side, the North side has has been cut off from coastal waters(food source) as has the wetland, which is now nearly fully converted into a car park, and readied for High density housing.


29th January 2009 – TCDC CEO Steve Ruru initiates another internal fraud investigation to see if Simon Berry, (Lawyer for TCDC) Peter Wishart, (planner for TCDC) Allan Matheson (consultant planner) were involved in a “loss” or cover up of the purchase of the Aickin block property file –

 

Particularly in relation to sales and purchase agreement information that would show out of which council budget funds had been allocated for land purchase.

The relationship to the caveat placed on the land in 1979 deserves further investigation.


 

February 2009- serious spinal injury on construction site, outside of OSH regulations, worker in tractor bucket.


 

February 2009- Questions raised over council land used by adjacent councilors farm stock without a formal lease agreement, councilor Dirk Sieling attempts to pocket $40,000 for 2008 New Years eve blues festival. Reported February 2008 on Kool fm. Many ratepayers demanding answers.


 

April 2009 Kool FM reports TCDC receive a letter from the Whangamata Marina developers that “threatens” TCDC to pursue purchase of land with all the determination that the society used in their judicial review of Chris Carters Veto. The decision to lease rather than sell was made by council after the proactive actions of the local community wishing to retain the land within the community. The marina developers use the argument that the Heads Of Agreement was a legally binding document. The H.O.A. was originally conceived behind closed doors without public input, only agreed to by the marina developers and council officers, and of course, Mr Bruce Scott. Conceiver of the marina, past WCB member, past councilor, deputy district mayor and President of SNZ.

 

The letter was written to TCDC CEO Steve Ruru the reply was from John Whittle “Yes you have agreed to a lease, but this does not negate you from pursuing purchase of the land.

 

In 1996 TCDC ran a surplus of 56 million dollars. today it runs a deficit in excess of 120 million dollars and the Whangamata rates catchment area faces some of country’s steepest rate rises. 7 percent a year increases since 1992.

 

April 9th 2009 Problems at Construction Site

excavation of marina basin, April 2009 reveals aquifer that originates from the wetland. The wetland that according to marina society’s paid for ecologist Graeme Don of Bioreserches Ltd, would dry up of its own accord. the newly constructed Marina Basin’s water temperature is several degrees warmer than the rest of the estuary, and prone to algae blooms.

 



 

21st of November 2009 Prime Minister John Key opens the marina, reported in the media as; “

The building of marinas along popular coastal areas in the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty is set to become easier. The Prime Minister has given his support for future developments…”

And Key himself quoted as saying;

I think it sends a very strong signal that New Zealand is a country for progress. We want to see development as long as it’s done in the right way and this is a tremendous example of that. It’s at one with the community and nature.”

An auction is held, no bids higher than $50,000. reserve set at $150,000. This despite the marina society stating that their “waiting list to the waiting list for berths was full.” Until just recently. These statements had been used to justify NEED for the marina.

21st of November 2009 President of Surfing New Zealand Bruce Scott resigns at the AGM, coincidently called for on the same day as Key opens the marina. Scott leaves a legacy of SNZ silence over Whangamata and removal of the environmental clause, and democratic instruments from the organizations constitution.

 

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