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20180703 Supreme Court Pre-hearing

 
 
On Tuesday 3 July at 10:00am at the Supreme Court in Lambton Quay, Wellington, three supreme court judges will conduct an oral hearing to decide if leave to appeal a judgment of the Court of Appeal against Mangawhai Ratepayers is to be granted.

If you are in or near Wellington and can spare a couple of hours to attend the hearing at the Supreme Court in Lambton Quay  every current and future ratepayer In New Zealand will be in your debt. 

The people of Kaipara and elsewhere have funded this litigation to the tune of $530,000, which suggests that there is a real level of interest in the cause we have been arguing, to put it very mildly.

Our counsel agrees that it would assist us if a large number of people were to show up at court and give visual evidence of the level of public interest and concern.

We don’t seriously expect our supporters to go to the trouble and expense of making a special trip to Wellington for a two hour hearing but if you have friends, family or acquaintances in the Wellington area who might be interested to see the justice system at work  please pick up the phone and call them, or forward this email and encourage them to make the effort..

Here is the gist of the situation:  

In 2017 the High Court ruled that the rates of the Northland Regional Council had been invalid for years.

The judge declared the rates invalid and quashed them.

However, because of the way our legal system works she could not order restitution, so anyone who had paid them (i.e. nearly everyone) would have to apply to the court for an order for restitution.

The amounts  at the individual level are quite small so it would never be worth anyone’s while seeking a refund through the courts.

However, NRC relied on their rates and rating documents to sue Bruce and Heather Rogan ( Bruce is Chairman of Mangawhai Ratepayers ) and others to recover unpaid rates (because they were invalid).

The High Court found (correctly) that there were, in effect, no rates to pay.

The NRC appealed to the Court of Appeal and that court agreed that the rates were invalid, but said it didn’t matter, and validated the erroneous rates resolutions.

This action is the latest in the Mangawhai saga which started when, back in 2006 , the Kaipara District Council refused to consult with Mangawhai Ratepayers to gain their consent to borrow money to pay for the cost blowout in the Mangawhai Eco-Care sewerage reticulation scheme. The annual plan in 2013 revealed that $57 million had been borrowed illegally and the government replaced the elected council with Commissioners and passed the Kaipara Validation of Rates ( and other matters ) Act to retrospectively legalise all of the unconsulted borrowing and subsequently went on to sue those ratepayers who were mortgage free and to raid the bank accounts of over 250 striking ratepayers who did have mortgages.

For a detailed chronology of the Mangawhai fiasco , go to www.kaiparaconcerns.co.nz

If you need a simpler example of what the NZ Courts have done, try this:

Fred drives along a road at 150k/Hr where the actual speed limit (maximum lawful speed) is 50K/Hr.  He is clocked at this speed and prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit.  In the court of appeal Fred says  “My speeding was highly technical in nature” (with which nobody could quibble,) “and nobody was prejudiced or disadvantaged by my actions”.  (Fred  didn’t hit any person or any property).  The Court of Appeal would dismiss the charge against Fred if it acted as it did in the appeal it heard against the High Court  decision of Justice Duffy.

 

But this goes far beyond Bruce and Heather Rogan, because now, by virtue of this extreme judicial activism, no council in New Zealand is under any obligation to comply with any aspect of the Rating  Act or the Local Government Act.  At the stroke of a pen the Court of Appeal have extinguished all ratepayers’ civil and legal rights.

 

We have, rather naturally, asked the Supreme Court to review this abominable judgment and set the record straight.

 

The newsletter we sent to our ( Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association ) members is as follows:

On  Tuesday 3 July at 10:00am three supreme court judges will conduct an oral hearing to decide if leave to appeal a judgment of the court of appeal is to be granted.

 

One of the numerous outrageous and unevidenced assertions in the judgment was that our litigation was “frivolous” and that there was no public interest at stake.

.

The people of Kaipara and elsewhere have funded this litigation to the tune of $530,000, which suggests that there is a real level of interest in the cause we have been arguing, to put it very mildly.

 

Our counsel agrees that it would assist us if a large number of people were to show up at court and give visual evidence of the level of public interest and concern.

 

If you are in or near Wellington and can spare a couple of hours to attend the hearing at the Supreme Court in Lambton Quay  every current and future ratepayer In New Zealand will be in your debt. 

 

We don’t seriously expect our supporters to go to the trouble and expense of making a special trip to Wellington for a two hour hearing but if you have friends, family or acquaintances in the Wellington area who might be interested to see the justice system at work  please pick up the phone and call them, or forward this email and encourage them to make the effort..

 

There may be a sea change occurring.  Nicky Hagar got an apology, and maybe the Rule of Law is coming back to the justice system in New Zealand.  We certainly have to hope so.

 

It is extremely rare for the Supreme Court to hold an oral hearing into an application for leave to appeal. Normally the court rules  “on the papers”, which means that they read the submissions of both sides and decide accordingly.  We do not know precisely why the court is holding this oral hearing, but we have to assume that  it has not decided to refuse leave, but needs to know more about the issues before deciding what to do.  It has always been our view that any honest jurist who was not driven by a political agenda who listened to our view of these issues with an open mind could not avoid the conclusion that the people of Kaipara have been very badly abused by  their elected and appointed officials, and that they need and deserve a break.

 

If you can’t attend the hearing perhaps you would consider helping with the cost of getting counsel there.  A cheque to Box 225 Mangawhai 0540, or direct credit to 38 9012 0318164 00,

 

Bruce Rogan <brucerogan2017@gmail.com>

Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents' Association Executive.

 094315413 or 02108180162.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Bruce Rogan <brucerogan2017@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2018 at 13:15
Subject: why are the ratepayers going to the supreme court?


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Ratepayers and Residents of New Zealand

Please check to see if your organisation is listed on the  www.ratepayersandresidents.org.nz  website,
and let us know by if you'd like to add/update or change anything:  ratepayersandresidents@gmail.com 
in order that we be able to communicate and co-ordinate with each other to combine our energies to more effectively achieve the outcomes we seek.


Footnote : 
A large percentage of the addresses Ratepayers and Residents.org.nz have been given by Councils are already out of date and we're encouraging Ratepayer groups around New Zealand to set up e-mail addresses using providers such as gmail , yahoo etc (as opposed to addresses associated with any individual's personal provider account - xtra ,clear,  vodafone.co.nz etc ) - and to use the name of your organisation within the address . e.g. mytownsorganisation@gmail.com  - or which are associated with your organisation's own website e.g. 'me@mytownsorganisation.org.nz
 to ensure that, by being transferrable, your organisation remains contactable after its members inevitably move on.
For a good model , check out the Waiatarua Ratepayers and Residents' Association Inc's excellent web-site .