WCC News Update; build your own house, beware of tidal waves, please don’t review us over Shelly Bay, bullying, and calling for a new CEO

It’s definitely election season, a season of madness and terror punctuated with stupidity. There is so much news being generated right now that we need a mid-week update.

“A lot of blood has gone under the bridge since then, and we have all learned a hell of a lot about the realities of Politics … Even the politicians have learned – but, as usual, the politicians are much slower than the people they want to lead.”

Hunter S Thompson

Boom! Let’s start with how to solve the housing problem in Wellington. Naubert Hausberg, a mayoral candidate, has an elegant solution.

It took Hausberg a year to build his own house, he found a section no one wanted to build on in Kelburn and started building his house in 2014 and finished construction in 2015. 

“It’s hard work believe me.”

But it’s also another option to make housing more affordable and Hausberg said he saved thousands of dollars in the process. 

“Everybody that is slightly handy is able to build their own house.”

Norbert Hausberg the Wellington mayoral candidate who built his own house

Easy, housing problem solved, voila. Of course you still have to get consent from the Council, good luck with that, trying to do that is like trying to survive the walk from river to sea in Northern Queensland. A path filled with poisonous, biting things, by the dozen.

Norbert also thinks we shouldn’t be building houses ten meters below … hang on, what the?

Resilience is big on Hausberg’s agenda and he believes no building in Wellington should be built on land 10 metres below the high-water mark. 

Is this a Stuff stuff up? I think it is meant to be all houses should be built ten meters above the high-water market. Which is good, because according to Don McDonald, another mayoral candidate, we are going to get smashed by a tsunami from ice collapse in Antarctica.

That’s a problem because climate change was a massive issue for McDonald.

“If the ice breaks off Antarctica it will be a humungous splash and the waters will spread out on the latitude and longtitude and there will be a tsunami.”

‘Growth is bad’, pro-congestion Don McDonald joins Wellington Mayoral Race

There we go. Build your own house ten meters above the high-water mark and we’ll all be fine.

Shelly Bay reappeared in the news again this week. The review over the entire mess is likely to cost $180,000 and Councillors are concerned about lots of things that they don’t seem to understand, with a vote coming up shortly.

That vote is to basically decide the terms of reference for the review and whether it should go ahead.

Now, this vote is tomorrow and there is some really tricky messaging going on, particularly from Labour hacks on the Council.

Let’s have a little look at this one;

Wellington ratepayers are set to fork out at least $180,000 checking their council didn’t stuff up.

A Wellington City Council committee this week votes on the terms of reference for a Shelly Bay Review, led by Queen’s Counsel Mary Scholtens, who recently led an inquiry into deputy police commissioner Wally Haumaha.

The review, if agreed to, will check that the council followed correct processes, staff gave impartial advice, councillors got the correct information, and that it learnt from any failures. 

QC-led Shelly Bay review to cost ratepayers $180,000-plus

Good. Because this thing has been a nightmare and we are absolutely sure where there is smoke, there is fire. So just get on and vote for it, right? Right?

Nah, here comes the FUD.

But councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who believed the review cost would be closer to $250,000, has asked council staff to look at the free option of getting the Ombudsman to investigate rather than pay for a Queen’s Counsel.

“The Ombudsman is a highly respected independent agency that does not shy away from holding public power to account.  They can be assured of a thorough and independent assessment which is also importantly free of charge.

“To be clear, my suggestion is in no way a reflection on the genuine respect I have for Mary Scholtens,  QC,” Fitzsimons said.

Shit, she’s running scared, did she really need to caveat the statement with “no honestly, I didn’t mean any offense, really”?

What the Labour hacks know is that the Ombudsman is completely snowed in with work and the chances of them getting to this issue is pretty much, well, never.

That would be handy, especially if the WCC has stuff to hide around the entire Shelly Bay process, because the review will never happen.

So here’s the message Councillors. Any voting that appears to delay an independent review will be perceived as attempting to hide something, your names will go in the naughty hat. Any Councillors standing up and suggesting the review happen now, you get to go in the nice hat.

Trust and confidence, remember? You have a chance here, don’t stuff it up. Don’t tell me it’s about money, you spend money on some really dumb stuff, this is important.

Of course, it’s not just I’ll-Never-Be-Deputy-Fleur that is speaking out against the review, it’s Labour hacks Dawson and the Invisible-Deputy Mayor Jill Day.

Deputy mayor Jill Day said the review shouldn’t happen until after independent commissioners made a decision on the project’s resource consent.

She said with councillors wanting more covered in the review, costs could creep up very quickly.

She was apprehensive about agreeing to something that could end up costing a lot more.

Fellow councillor Brian Dawson agreed the review should not be done until after the independent commissioners had completed their work.

“Also, quite bluntly, we’re into pre-election time, some candidates are using Shelly Bay as a primary election thing. This should be done straight after the election.” He said $180,000 was a lot of money, and council could do a lot with that.

Mr Dawson said he supported the review but said it was academic, because a lot of it would focus on the council’s processes around special housing areas, which the council voted to put an end to last year.

Shelly Bay review: councillors concerned about cost

Councillors aren’t concerned about cost, they’re concerned that they’ll be exposed. So that’s three Labour hacks all worried about cost and absolute not one worried about the fact that this process has been a cluster f$*#.

Just get on with it, show some guts and transparency for once.

There is no toxic culture at Council, repeat after me, no toxic culture. Where we can’t spend $180k on a fullsome review across multiple areas of Council we are apparently happy to spend $100k on fighting a bullying claim by an ex-employee.

Wellington City Council has forked out nearly $100,000 of ratepayer cash on a workplace bullying claim but never properly investigated the most serious bullying incident alleged.

Former council employee Angela Rampton​ has been awarded $20,000 by the Employment Relations Authority after it found “an ongoing failure to investigate the personal grievance”, authority member Tania Tetitaha​ said.

A recent award for a similar claim had come to $4000 but there were “aggravating factors” in this case that justified an award five times that size, Tetitaha said.

There were issues with Wellington City Council’s “impartiality, adequacy of investigation and conclusions” when it looked into Rampton’s complaint, she said.

Wellington City Council to pay former employee $20,000 after ‘ongoing failure to investigate’

So this shows that their are most likely continuing, systemic, issues around the way that Council culture operates and the ability to self-regulate, self-review, and investigate themselves is not great.

Culture starts at the top and it’s good to see that we are looking for a new Chief Executive for the Council. It’s my opinion it’s time for a change, inject some fresh thinking into the Council and hopefully some new focus.

The Wellington City Council is looking for a new chief executive. The advertisement for a “large and complex leadership role” was published in Saturday’s DomPost.

Wellington City Council seeking new chief executive

As I write I see that Peter Jackson has posted another missive on Shelly Bay, it’s an issue that just won’t go away despite the best efforts of some Councillors and candidates.

We’ll analyse that next.