Hello readers, my god this last month went by so fast, I thought I had just posted the last post. Well here is some real juicy reading for you. So You thought these people are real good guys, have voted election after election for them. One Is a well respected Hearings Commissioner. 

The people who are trying to send our region back to the dark ages, pre 1860 for the One Plan in my view is to settle the perceived injustices of European settlement on Maori. 

Perceived because I new one Maori chap who stated clearly. They sold it .They new exactly what they were doing. Another said that it was his opinion that of all the indigenous peoples in the world, Maori had been treated the best. This man had been around the world studying indigenous cultures. Hows that. 

These people are:

Chair of Horizons Regional Council. Bruce Gordon.

Chair of the Catchment Committee: Murray Guy

Chair of the Environment Committee, ex Mayor Palmerston North City Council, ex Cabinet Minister. Jill White

Council member Colleen Sheldon.

Independent Planning Commissioner. Ms Christine Foster.

CEO. Michael Mc Cartney.

I have named them in past posts, so to many of you it will not be a surprise.



⦁ A brief outline of key events leading to the formation and activities of the ADVISORY GROUP
⦁ The subsequent breakdown of council governance and staffs questionable court performance.
⦁ The potential effects of the Advisory groups influence on the Court deliberations and decisions
30 August 20i6

⦁ Questioning the legal standing of the Advisory Group and reviewing a selection of key personnel’s compliance with the Code of Conduct.


The purpose of this report is not to question the wisdom of the of the court’s decision to reinstate elements of the Notified Version One Plan. The Courts made their respective decisions on information presented under oath.

⦁ PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT The report is an in depth review of how the One Plan Advisory Groups (Advisory Group) uncontrolled and questionable activities resulted in the Group compromising Councils governance function and potentially assisting staff to misinform the Courts on Councils policy and recommend to the Court the reinstatement of the Notified Version One Plan.

This report has been compiled from Horizons reports, Horizons code of conduct, voice transcripts of meetings, OIA requests, Environment and High Court documents, with reference to the Local Government Act (LGA) and Resource Management Act (RMA) where applicable.
The report content is complicated and shrouded in confusion, misleading reports and misunderstanding by all involved. Every attempt has been made to be brief and limit the legal references to enable a wider understanding of the perceived problem. Unfortunately the subject matter under review is complex with wide legal, democratic and moral implications.

⦁ – JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS REPORT IS FOUND IN THE HIGH COURT DECISION The High Court Decision para 20 to 23 indicate an element of caution at Horizons Council motivation and court performance to abandon the Decisions Version and recommend the reinstatement of elements from the Notified Version One Plan.

When the defendant (Council) agrees with the dominant appellant this must have a major impact on the Court’s decision.

High Court Decision
Para 20 – The Council, before me, strongly supported the decisions of the Environment Court. Thus to the extent that the court overruled the decision of the hearings panel (which the Council had earlier resolved to adopt) and reinstated the more extensive water management provisions of the Notified Version, the Council largely acquiesced. Before the Environment Court, it had presented a modified version of the POP, based in part on the Decisions Version but otherwise on negotiations and Court-assisted mediation.

Para 21 – The appellants were critical of the apparent apostasy of the Council. Ms Atkins acknowledged that this was not formally a question for the High Court. But she expressed concern that this “modified version” had not been through any formal consent order process. That is because some of the agreed positions were conditional rather than unconditional.

Para 22 – This question is not directly before me. It is not suggested that the Council’s qualified defence (at best) of the Decisions Version raises a question of law for my consideration. Conceivably the conduct of a consent authority in the handling of a subsequent appeal may give rise to rights of review, within or apart from the appeal process itself. In Waitakere City Council v Estate homes Ltd McGrath J, giving the reasons of the Supreme Court, held that “considerable care” was required before the Environment Court should permit an application for a resource consent to be granted on a “materially different basis from that put forward to the Council originally.
Where Council itself departs from its earlier decision (perhaps as a result of negotiation with an appellant) it is essential that it acts transparently, and gives other parties reasonable notice of its change in position. Natural justice may require that discovery be given of documents relevant to the consent authority’s change of position.
Para 23 – In the present case, the Council filed a memorandum in February 2011 noting that Court-assisted mediation should be used intensively to resolve appeals on narrow disputes. As its counsel, Mr Maassen said, the position before the Environment Court was spectrally diverse: Wellington Fish & Game sought restoration of the Notified Version, Horticulture NZ supported the Decisions Version (because that would take them outside the regulatory regime) and Federated Farmers either supported the Decisions Version or asked that all controls over intensive food production be removed.
The Council took the position that it would re-present all the scientific evidence presented in support of the Notified Version. It would call planning evidence that broadly supported the position of the hearing panel, without constraint on the independence of the planner in respect of changes arising in the course of the Environment Court hearing. And it would seek otherwise to assist the Court perform its statutory functions in conducting a de novo hearing into the POP. END.
Clearly the High Court judge and appellants show concern on Horizons Councils Court performance and indeed even made mention effecting the Environment Court.
The High Court Decision is seen as full justification for this report.

⦁ On 31 May 2007 the Proposed Notified Version One Plan was released by Council.
⦁ In 2008 a Hearings Panel comprised of elected councillors and independent commissioners was formed to evaluate and deliberate on submissions to the Notified Version One Plan.
⦁ Resulting from the Hearings Panel deliberations the Decisions Version One Plan evolved.
⦁ The then elected Council formally adopted the Decisions Version One Plan. “The Decision Version One Plan is now in force.” Was confirmed as Council policy.
⦁ Following the triennial elections in 2010 the new Council reconfirmed Council policy as “The Decisions Version One Plan is now in force.”
⦁ After the High Court Decision in December 2014 Council adopted “The Environment Court Version One Plan” (this version went full circle and reinstated the original notified Version) as approved Council policy. (I.e. The Environment Court Version One Plan is now in force.) This is the version Council is operating under today.

Clearly from the timetable of events above Council Policy throughout the Environment Court and High Court proceedings were “The Decisions Version One Plan is now in force.”

⦁ An expert witness has an overriding duty to assist the court impartially on relevant matters within the expert’s area of expertise.
⦁ An expert witness is not, and must not behave as, an advocate for the party who engages the witness. Expert witnesses must declare any relationship with the parties calling them or any interest they may have in the outcome of the proceeding.
⦁ State that the expert witness has not omitted to consider material facts known to the witness that might alter or detract from the opinions expressed.

⦁ It needs to be recognized that independent expert witnesses are expressing their personal opinion based on their qualifications.
⦁ Conversely other independent expert witnesses with comparable qualifications may hold opposing views.
⦁ Throughout the hearings expert witnesses for Fish & Game, Horticulture New Zealand, the Minister (DoC), Andrew Day and to some extent Federated Farmers held a consistent approach supporting their appeals.
⦁ Horizons expert witnesses’ evidence supplied to the Court 14 February2011??? prior to commencement of the hearing, was not in agreement with Council policy. The opinions expressed may conceivably in part, been influenced by the previous Court assisted mediation?
⦁ The role of expert witnesses as outlined in (a) (b) and (c) above is deemed necessary to impartially assist the Court.
⦁ Clarification is required on how the role of expert witnesses enabled Horizons expert witness to advise the court that “Council seek to have the NV POP approach restored.” Full Council had no knowledge of this Council policy reversal.
⦁ Defining and understanding the role of expert witnesses is crucial to resolving what took place during the Court Hearings.
⦁ Horizons claim their staff representatives in court were independent expert witness not council advocates.
⦁ How can these independent expert witnesses speak on behalf of council and define council policy if they are not a Council representative? It would appear that the planner had dual roles in Court, an independent expert witness who didn’t agree with Council policy and acted on behalf of Councils as its court representative. A potential conflict of interest.
⦁ The answer is found in the High Court decision para 23 “Without constraint on the independence of the planner in respect of changes arising in the course of the Environment Court hearing”
⦁ Therefore the court has every reason to believe the planner when speaking on councils behalf was indeed presenting Council approved policy.
⦁ The problem being, although Council has a statuary obligation under the RMA to approve the Court being advised of the planners unconstrained independence (Transfer of responsibility) no record can be found of full Councils authorization. Apparently full Council had no knowledge of this Court arrangement.
⦁ Who authorised this advice to the Court “Without constraint on the independence in respect of changes arising in the course of the Environment court hearing.” There is a process for a Council to delegate powers in RMA sec 34A Delegation of powers and functions to employees and other persons. Full Council has no knowledge of any delegation of power to the planner.

Horizons code of conduct can be seen as an assurance to ratepayers that Horizons Is a professional organization with secure operating procedures in place to protect the expenditure of the annual rate levy and enhance the welfare of the district, while ensuring that regulatory requirements are complied with. Council’s governance by a diverse range of elected members is the key to ensure fair and equable decisions for all the district through compliance with the Code of Conduct and council’s statutory obligations.
The Code of Conduct is an in house document with internal disciplinary clauses.
The Code of Conduct is far reaching and detailed, the roles and responsibilities in brief are;
⦁ Elected members- the development and adoption of Council policy. Monitoring the performance of the Council against its stated objectives and policies.
⦁ Chair- a provider of leadership and feedback to other elected members
⦁ Chief Executive- is responsible for implementing and managing the Councils policies and objectives. Implementing the decisions of Council.
⦁ Strong emphasis is placed on public interest, honesty and integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, personal judgement and duty to uphold the law.
⦁ All members of the Advisory Group (and those in attendance) had an obligation to honour the Code of Conduct. Some due to their position within Horizons as governing body and management had a more pressing need to honour the code.

Unfortunately in relation to the Advisory Group (and those in attendance) the Code of Conduct was not complied with. If the Code of Conduct as written had been complied with, the situation described in this report could not have developed.

All Councils, including Horizons Regional Council, are controlled by a minefield of Acts, regulation and bylaws.

Examples pertinent to this report are;
Local Government Act 2002
Sec 14 Principals relating to local authorities (1) (a) (i) conduct its business in an open, transparent and democratically accountable manner.
39 Governance principals
A local authority must act in accordance with the following principals in relation to its governance:
⦁ a local authority should ensure that the role of democratic governance of the community, and the expected conduct of elected members, is clear and understood by elected members and the community; and
⦁ a local authority should ensure that the governance structures and processes are effective, open, and transparent; and
⦁ a local authority should ensure that, so far as practicable, responsibility and processes for decision-making in responsibility to regulatory responsibilities is separated from responsibility and processes for decision-making for non-regulatory responsibilities; and
⦁ a local authority should be a good employer; and
⦁ a local authority should ensure that the relationship between elected members and management of the local authority is effective and understood.

41 Governing bodies
⦁ A regional council must have a governing body consisting of;
(b) a chairperson elected by members of the regional council in accordance with clause25 of Schedule 7.
(3) A governing body (the Chair) of a local authority is responsible and democratically accountable for the decision-making of the local authority.

The formation of the Advisory Group was protracted and confusing as Horizons were potentially searching for a suitable way to separate the Environment Court proceedings from Councils governance function. The confusion was so extensive the appearance was the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing and full council had no idea what either hand was doing.

The first attempt was Report No 10-167 PATHWAY TO CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY. This report provided Members with the opportunity to consider forming a new committee or advisory group with focus on community engagement. 10-24 Moved That the Council: a. receives Report No 10-167 on community engagement;
B holds a workshop/s with expertise to identify the objectives towards and elements of a community engagement strategy and to bring forward suggestions and to defer this report until after the workshop/s.
Later the chair asked Members to delete the reference to the Community Engagement Committee following the decision of Council earlier in the meeting.

Next attempt was;
The report was prepared at the request of council at its meeting 23 November 2010. It provided detail relating to the appeals made to the Environment Court on the Proposed One Plan as Amended by Decisions, the expectations of the Environment Court on Horizons as respondent, and recommendations on a strategy for responding to the appeals.
SP 11-11 that the Committee recommends that Council
⦁ Receives the information in Report No 11-18
⦁ Approves the proposed process for dealing with appeals set out in this paper
⦁ Approves the establishment of an advisory committee comprising the Chairperson of Catchment Operations, Chairperson of Environment Committee, Horizons Regional Council Chairperson, Chief executive and the Chief Executives delegate(s), Cr Guy and Ns Christine Foster (Independent Planning Professional), to advise the Chief Executive on dealing with One Plan appeals,
⦁ Directs the Chief Executive to;
⦁ respond to the Courts direction in line with this agreed process;
⦁ seek the Courts agreement to stage the hearings by topic;
⦁ initiate compilation of factual technical/science evidence used as the basis for the Hearing Panels decisions; and
⦁ engage in court assisted mediation where mediation is identified as an appropriate mechanism to resolve appeals, and to consult with the advisory committee to guide the mediation and negotiation process;
e. delegates to the Chief Executive any functions and powers under the Resource Management Act necessary to resolve the appeals in line with the approved process;
f. directs the Chief Executive to report back to council on a regular basis on progress and ongoing costs and prospects of resolution with respect to dealing with One Plan appeals.
Note – Later enquiries established that there were no delegations recorded in the Delegation Manual for the committee/group, the Chief Executive was not a member and only attended meetings. More importantly the Chief was not delegated any special functions under the RMA. This has implications on the Delegation of powers and functions to employees and other persons.
Unusually this Advisory Committee Report No 11-18 was revisited at a Strategy and Policy meeting on 8 February 2011 = Moved Chetenburgh/white CARRIED (Note – My understanding is policy cannot be confirmed at Policy and strategy meetings.)

Finally after many confusing name changes (that persisted to the end) 24 May 2011 Report No 11-90 was presented to Council and 11-127 Moved that the Council;
b. endorses the One Plan Advisory Group providing advice to Horizons Regional Council staff on the Councils position to be taken into the One Plan mediation process.

CARRIED- The Council meeting 28 June 2011 confirmed the minutes of 24 May 2011

Note- This report 11-90 did not update or confirm members of the Advisory Group nor scope their delegated authority or limits of.
The only record of the Advisory Groups delegated authority and terms of reference are contained in the minute of 24 May 2011 above.

At This point Horizons have departed from the approved Advisory Committee and opted for a One Plan Advisory Group. This groups credibility will be discussed in para 9 below
It is important that you make yourself fully conversant with your personal interpretation of the Advisory Groups delegated authority confirmed by Council.
I.e. “Endorses the One Plan Advisory Group providing advice to Horizons Regional Council staff on the Councils position to be taken into the One Plan mediation process.”

My personal opinion, the wording “Councils ” is a direct reference to a full Council of 11 elected members controlled by the Chair with the casting vote. Clearly “Councils position” at the time was “The Decisions Version One Plan is now in force.”
OIRs have established;
⦁ The CEO was not a member of the Group, only attended meetings. (contrary to Report No 11-18)
⦁ The CEO was not granted any special powers under the RMA
⦁ The Advisory Group was an informal group
⦁ No minutes were kept of Group meetings
⦁ No Chairperson was nominated for the Group
⦁ There were no delegated functions for the Group in the Delegations Manual
⦁ Council was informed by the Appeals Manager on several occasions that the Advisory Group recommending the defence of the Decisions Version.
⦁ Council were not kept informed of the Groups actual advice to staff
⦁ There were no direct reports to Council from the Group
⦁ One Group member stated at a Council meeting she didn’t know the difference between the Notified Version and the Decisions Version. * The group only advised staff and didn’t make decisions or alter the Plan.

I repeat- Unfortunately in the case of the Advisory Group the Code of Conduct was not followed by all personnel involved and as a result Council governance function was compromised.

This informal One Plan Advisory Group can be seen to cleverly designed group to circumvent any regulatory control and bypass Councils governance function.


During Council meeting 16 February 2012 Report 1206, there was an interchange between a Councillor and an Advisory Group member.
Councillors concern – “Mm, I’m afraid I know it is a huge subject; we were not going to bring it up, but was the reintroduction of land use classification. That was not brought to the attention of this Council at any stage and not in this report either, certainly not clearly, and it is basically a case where Horizons Council is. It appears that is going against The Hearings Commissioners ruling to ditch land use classifications and trying to reintroduce them in some shape or form. And I’m not certainly not happy that I didn’t hear of this from within this room. You know, I can, from what I am hearing just the last few days there’s going to be some serious aggro, for want of a better word, on this whole subject.

Reply from the Advisory Group – “I think it’s really important to note that when mediation falls down then we are dependent on our experts who speak as professional experts. It isn’t quite true to say it didn’t come to this Council; it has come to a recent One Plan Advisory Group Meeting and that group has got a delegation from this Council. And I think that’s all I really need to say at this point in time.” END.

In short the informal Advisory Group acts as a quasi Council, with full Council authority.
No legal authority from Council is recorded confirming RMA sec 34 Delegation of functions, etc to any committee, or, RMA sec 34A Delegation of powers and functions to employees and other persons have been found.

Nine months have passed since the Advisory Group was delegated authority in the minutes of meeting 24 May 2011, only now are Council aware of the Groups interpretation of those minutes. I.e. To act independent of Council with full Council authority and no requirement to report back.

Irrespective of the interpretation of the minutes what happened to the Advisory Groups (including the Chair who was a member) compliance with the Code of Conduct over those nine months?

The question is, with the Council policy being “Decisions Version One Plan is now in Force.” How can the Environment Court conclude that “Council recommends” in paras (5-14/15/87);”
The Councils position- the MWRC-V-POP
Para 5-14 there have been extensive discussions and negotiations between the parties since the DV POP was issued, the appeals lodged and (in some respects) since Court assisted mediation. While they have not resulted in overall agreement they have produced a further version of the debated portions of the POP which the Council, and some parties, to a greater or less extent, find acceptable. It was presented as the MWRC-V-POP. (Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council-Version- Proposed One Plan.)

Para 5-15 this version would base the figures for N leaching on LUC classifications for the land in question. It would allow a three year period of grace for existing dairy uses to achieve compliance (unless a resource consent in a more stringent activity class was obtained), but it would have a staged reduction of the leaching limit over a period of years. It would require a review of the situation in 2017, with the possibility of bringing all rural land use activities including horticulture (commercial vegetable growing) into the regime after that review. That review would also consider amending the cumulative nitrogen maximums. As additional land use activities are regulated the policy framework may include nitrogen trading mechanisms
Note- MWRC-V-POP is a complete rewrite of Council policy to go full circle and reintroduce the Notified Version One Plan. Full Council had no knowledge of this document.

Para 5-87 The NV POP adopted the LUC approach————————————————————-The Minister, Fish and Game, Mr Day and the Council seek to have the NV POP approach restored. END.
There are many references in the Environment Court Decisions to Council supporting the reintroduction of elements of the Notified Version One Plan. How did this situation develop?
⦁ The activities of the Advisory Group successfully compromised Council governance
⦁ Horizons nominated expert witnesses were opposed to current Council policy. (Or alternately, implementing Councils/staffs, Advisory Group, agenda?)
⦁ Horizons allowed independent expert witnesses to convert their opinions into Council policy (without Council approval) and present this policy to the Court on Councils behalf
⦁ Horizons expert witnesses “acting without constraint on the planner” manipulated the expert witness system to form policy on Councils behalf.
⦁ The Courts failed to differentiate between expert witness opinion and Council policy
⦁ By design there were no unbiased Council representatives in Court.
⦁ In short the Court (as advised by?) that the planner was “Acting without constraint” acted correctly in accepting the planners independent expert witness opinion as Council policy.

Not being content with the provisions to control N Leaching in the revised plan (MWRC- V-POP) that had been presented to the Court. Fish & Game and Horizons expert witness/planner requested the Court to override the proposed three year period of grace for existing dairy uses to achieve compliance. They wanted full compliance in year one.
⦁ This was a bridge too far
⦁ Potentially the destruction of dairy overnight
⦁ The Tararua economic impact society arranged a well-attended public meeting
⦁ A vote of no confidence was called
⦁ Horizons rushed implementation plan Report 13-124 through Council before the High Court Hearing.
⦁ Report 13-124 reinstated the three year period of grace and staged implementation of N Limits for dairy
⦁ Horizons guaranteed a consent to everybody
⦁ The dairy crisis hit farmers hard
⦁ Since then Fish & Game have threatened legal action as Horizons are not seen to be complying with the Environment Court directions
⦁ An article “40 pc of farms fail to lodge consents” is critical of Horizons compliance monitoring,


This report raises questions on the integrity of staff and councillors involved in the activities of the Advisory Group. Clearly full Council was ill informed on the Advisory Groups activities.
This report covers a seven year period of the One Plans development.
During that time frame Horizons spent $25 million plus? A large percentage contesting objections. The cost to the community was enormous in legal advice, time wasted at meetings that should have been used on pressing farming seasonal demands. Slowdown in investment due to an uncertain future. Time, a farmers most valuable and irreplaceable asset, was wasted.

It would not be surprising if in reading this report you formed the opinion that there was a planned agenda for Horizons bypass Council governance to enable reinstatement of the Notified Version One Plan?

Your farming future can be protected by recognizing that there is a plan review in 2017. Horizons expert witness presented documentation to the Court (MWRC-V_POP) that proposed; (a) It would allow a three year period of grace for existing dairy uses to achieve compliance. (b) It would not have staged reduction of leaching limits over a period of years. (c) It would require a review of the situation in 2017 (d) Possibility of bringing all rural land use activities including horticulture (commercial vegetable growing) into the regime after that review. (e) That review would also consider amending the cumulative nitrogen leaching maximums. (f) As additional land use activities are regulated the policy framework may include nitrogen trading mechanisms.
Bringing all rural land use activities into the regime includes consent to farm, compulsory Whole Farm Business Plans as a condition of consent, fencing off all hill country waterways, nitrogen, phosphate, sediment, pathogen, biodiversity control and much more. (i) There is extensive criticism that Overseer is not fit for purpose as a regulatory tool. (ii) Landcorp could not reconcile Overseer tables with actual test bore leaching. Successive versions of Overseer show increasing levels of leaching. (iii) February 2016 the New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research published an article :”Issues in using Land Use Capability class to set nitrogen leaching limits in moisture-deficient soils.” This article is critical of the use of LUC. (k) The science is not settled (L) Council is under pressure from environmental lobby groups (m)The Global warming scare has not gone away. Carbon credit value is on the increase. (n) Fish and Game are threatening legal action on Horizons lack of compliance with the Environment Courts Decision. (o) The recent contamination of Hawkes Bay water supply will place enormous pressure on rural land activities.
Horizons have demonstrated what they are capable of doing to achieve their agenda. Some prominent staff and councillors have left the organization. However the key players in the Advisory Group saga still hold positions of control within Horizons.
Are you prepared to sit back, do nothing and accept what happens in the 2017 plan review?

The High Court was perceptive in its evaluation of Horizons transparency based on the information available to the Court. This report briefly fills in the missing links. Horizons have failed the community with the uncontrolled actions of the Advisory Group.
The Local Government and Resource Management Act safeguards to protect the communities’ interests are being questioned.
Our local MP, Territorial Authority and government were well informed of the Advisory Groups activities. The government position was “Government cannot be seen to be interfering with the day to day running of Regional Council,”
To protect Local Governments integrity a call for a Ministerial review into the culture that exists within Horizons Regional Council is necessary.

30 August 2016
P. John Chumun johnfomerua@gmail.com.

An earlier draft of this report was used in the High Court appeal by Horticulture NZ and Federated Farmers and is the material that the Justice Ko,s refers too.(Nutrient Discharges and N Limits.)

Do you support these political Activists?

By for now