'What do YOU need from FNHL' Survey Results

There are shocking levels of dissatisfaction among respondents for the district’s council-controlled organisation, Far North Holdings Ltd.

Full results are available here.

SEA CHANGE notes several important themes from the 400 comments of the survey.

The SEA CHANGE community group’s ‘What do YOU need from FNHL’ survey indicates that 75% of the 172 respondents are not satisfied with how FNHL is operating, while only 7% of respondents view the way our mayor and councillors handle FNHL as effective.

"The situation is clearly a case of the tail (FNHL) wagging the dog (FNDC)."
"FNHL is an entirely undemocratic part of the FNDC, whose actions seem entirely opaque and lacking consultation."
"Council should be making the decisions & FNHL carries out those decisions. ‘Much of FNHL activity escapes review by FNDC governance and the public."

More than 80% of respondents think FNHL is not reflecting the four wellbeings.

"As far as I can make out, FNHL make decisions based on greed and short term financial gain for a wealthy few, with no genuine long term planning regarding climate change, environmental pollution, or cultural values. "
"FNHL, don't even consider Mana Whenua."
"Too much emphasis on economic benefits."
"FNHL decisions are driven purely by profit to the company."

The make-up of the FNHL Board is widely viewed as inappropriate.

"With the exception of Sarah, pale male and stale"
"[The Board needs] Tangata whenua person or persons who have a proven unbroken loving relationship with the environment in which they live."
"Why is there a politician on the board"
"nobody should remain on the board for more than 4 years"

Insufficient consultation with the community is a further issue.

"They have ZERO interest in the community, simply BULLY & push until they get what they want at all cost."
"We want to know before decisions are made: community means those in the area who are area - these people need to be informed."
"Lack of consultation with tangata whenua."
"Most of these sites are public works takings of Maori lands. Land ownership being contested by local iwi with claims currently before the ToW tribunal has been sold to developers."
"A clear breach of te Tiriti obligations. Council NEVER see eye to eye with Maori to a point where they have been reported to the ombudsman."
"Listening to maoris, having an understanding of our tupuna and our land & what it means to us."

Over half of respondents had no awareness of the gaps in FNHL's Statement of Intent.

"Thanks for the info, astounded to read here"
"I have no idea what FNDH statement of intent is but if any of the above except the third option has anything to do with it, they should be ashamed of themselves."

One comment viewed the SOI as appropriate.

"The Statement of Intent appears appropriate for the nature of the company"

There is a view among respondents that governance of FNHL by council members is inadequate.

Distrust because of a lack of transparency and accountability is another widely-shared concern.

"They are only interested in making money and favour the big guys."
"We have been led to believe FNHL use council ratepayers’ rates to fund their various projects. If this is the case where in the financial reports is this indicated and where is evidence of any return to ratepayers.""
"Some of the transactions they are entering into reek of corruption."
"FNHL is described as underhand and sneaky and of using open slather naked colonialist-style capitalism. This is not what Northlanders are."

Asked to suggest aspects of FNHL that currently work well, half of those commenting appear not to be able to think of anything.

"[FNHL is] well set up to railroad its projects through Council without respect to inconvenient public opinion."
"The directors receive excellent salaries at ratepayers’ expense."
"FNHL is successfully upsetting communities across Northland."
"FNHL is successfully transferring valuable publicly owned assets into private hands."

Others, however identify Kerikeri airport and marinas as having value, highlighting:

"Facilities management and maintenance."
"Community project support "
"Commercial management of District assets."

A belief in the need for ‘wellbeing’ to replace profit is apparent.

"Work towards projects that benefit everyone and not just the rich people e.g a public swimming pool, accessible sports grounds (eg basketball, volley ball courts)."
"Engage in practices that promote biodiversity and reduce impact on the environment."
"Be transparent about who stands to profit from purchases, sales and developments and what profits are used for."
"Environmental concerns and local inequality should be paramount in all negotiations."

95% of survey respondents believe Council needs to find out what all residents need from FNHL.

However the Mayor recently informed our SEA CHANGE working group that they will leave FNHL to conduct their own survey later this year. Really? Do they expect Far North residents to believe the results?

What can you do?.

If you share concerns about the operation of FNHL, you’re in good company! Now what is needed is change. SEA CHANGE believes one useful step is to join other residents to insist on the amendment of the ‘Statement of Intent’, the document which guides the decisions of the Board of FNHL. Currently the SOI of FNHL aligns to that of a corporate business model, requiring the Directors to pursue a single-minded profit focus. Widening the SOI to include social, cultural and environmental wellbeing is the responsibility of our mayor and councillors who govern and direct the Board.

Will you join others in taking action and contact your local FNDC councillor or our local MP, Willow-Jean Prime, on social media or by email and ask them to get behind a revision of the Statement of Intent? Together we will change FNHL for good!

Would you like to see more change?

Sign up, or email connect@seachange.kiwi
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