Cashmere Vision and Values

Cashmere News Diary: 23 October 2018 - AGM, resilience, truth

AGM Special - Happy Labour Day return

Further to cashmere.org.nz/news/Cashmere-News-Diary-12Oct2018

Kia ora koutou, greetings Cashmere,

I cannot speak for everyone; though for the years 2012 through 2017, I was able to say something - as Cashmere Residents' Association (CRA) Chair. And there cannot be anyone left satisfied by the Association's Annual General Meeting, held last Thursday, 18 October this year.

Notice went out late and who of us received a Newsletter? Constitutional requirements, for timing and distribution of AGM notice, were not met and this is habitual - in a year of great lapse for CRA. Cashmere News suffered forced split into private sections early, some faring better than others in different ways. CRA Newsletter delivery had its younger legs cut off in the February leadership coup, worse than foolishly; hence non-delivery. Those present at AGM were mainly the petitioners from earlier in the year, awaiting a meaningful Special General Meeting, hauled into city council's maw - to be stilled. But were we?

Members present at CRA AGM granted just a hospital pass, re-electing the committee en bloc to deal with the litigation they have placed themselves before, 'until resolution' (with some leeway, by next SGM in February).

That Association leadership and direction were being forcibly interfered with was made plain, through unannounced imposition of an external AGM chair - an Anglican Reverend undertaker, to bury propriety with pretence. This chair jested with the 'Acting Chair', Ralph Roden, over his recent state of health - not performing but seated out front right next to him.

Is it a cultural difference? There is something by which (Australian) Leona Murahidy, CRA 'Secretary', holds no store by honest truth. This is a problem. There were many false statements made, officially by Leona during the AGM, for which the only means of correction has become news column. A community led by lies is what? Going where? ...

0. A discussion of the CRA constitutional map took place early, as a matter arising from minutes, with determination from the chair to gloss over it (out of convenience). The CRA Chair of ten years ago, and council community officer before then and again now, Joan Blatchford commented: "the CRA area is that bounded by Dyers Pass and Hackthorne Roads" [plus all their sidestreets]. The AGM chair tried to quickly move on but was reminded of the significance of this question in the year's disharmony for CRA. He was asked, "Mr Chairman, did you hear that comment and is it recorded in the minutes?" - "Yes, yes" and waved away. Soon after, this chair closed the source of further questioning for the rest of the meeting, breaking eight years of post-earthquake continuity for Cashmere. Why?

Joan's correct statement reflected the following foundation-year (1992) CRA map:
CRA Constitution 1995 p2 This shows that Cashmere residents in the area from St Vincent Terrace to Bowenvale Avenue can be non-voting Associate members only, as say the CRA Rules. Representatives of the residents in this area have been welcomed onto CRA committee, nonetheless - out of inclusiveness, appreciation and respect (and because committee volunteers are actually hard to find). But this inclusion depends on reciprocation, utterly. That is, CRA when it matters relies on concensus committee decisions. There have been no strong politics within the committee in the course of this decade, which explains the term of success - it is far too weak a community organisation to withstand division well. Yet last AGM, one new Associate member joined the committee with the apparent belief that there were divided politics to be joined and made advantage of. Bogus and illegal. Kristin Hoskin, from near Holliss Reserve, has tapped into subterranean moral fault/dilemma that can shake the Association down. The Hoskin Anglican link is no doubt why this question of validity could no longer be explored at AGM: the Association is illegally derailed. Why is this looking like a lesson where our 'people of the book' are people of deceit and not integrity? ... (And why was this visiting 'chair' rewarded for appearance out of residents' funds, except as further evidence of their criminal waste?)

1. The minutes of CRA AGM 2017 as presented are falsified, so AGM 2018 attendees were drawn into falsehood to endorse them. It is no wonder so few from the floor were willing to move or second any agenda items, being very wary. The 2017 AGM minutes were read out. A few copies had been distributed, but that is all in terms of delivered paperwork for the meeting; no agenda or balance sheets etc. Attendees were told by this means that "the 2016/17 Financial Report was presented by Treasurer Anne Hodge" last year, when this was patently not the case. Copies had been printed and tabled for AGM 2017, but the agenda item was overlooked; the reason being Ms Murahidy hustling requisite AGM business (and the Chair) out of the way, so that a Malthouse business interest talk could proceed with overt haste. After February, when Murahidy/Roden began unravelling the CRA further, it was essential to get all of the CRA records straight. This required putting the 2017 AGM Financial Report properly before the membership (spurred on by the Companies Office deadline for reporting by upload). Request was made of the committee by me for an SGM, which was declined. A petition from the membership (20 minimum) was required to have the committee start to act. Murahidy/Roden posted the report anyway, without its requisite General Meeting endorsement. As CRA Chair (arguably), via committee request and then public communication, I *called for* an SGM to promptly take place. This is very different from *calling an SGM*, that the membership did by petition. Fudging the difference, duping the rest of the committee by excluding debate by force, Murahidy/Roden moved expulsion of the Chair. But the SGM of 23 May 2018 had been made to take place, through membership led and organised petition. Gross injustice has been done. Why? ...

2. The CRA -03 account balance reported for 2016/17 AGM was $9,312.50, held in care for the "Cashmere Residents' Emergency Support Team" (CREST - the name for CRA's preparedness work at the Cashmere Presbyterian Centre, with Cashmere Primary School and Cashmere Rotary involved too). At 2018 AGM, Ms Murahidy claimed that CRA had sole direction over these funds as "nothing to do with CREST". False - an error born of never having read the ACTIS/Red Cross funding application? - where CREST is clearly identified as the project partner delivery mechanism. Stalling has been long and only Disputes Tribunal can resolve a portion of this now, but in the meantime CRA members have now been told just $1,594.30 remains of the CREST project grant (that Murahidy/Roden seek to return to Red Cross). So where has the rest gone? As project coordinator, I can report that the balance for items still to be delivered stood at $6,267.50, last time I had sight of it, in February 2018. Murahidy/Roden deleted all the CRA banking records soon after this, but settled some of the project/event costs. No systematic report on the CREST fund transactions has ever been done or been allowed to be done. Ms Murahidy claimed "lack of transparency and accountability" as the reasons for ending the project, when these were the CRA committee tasks to deliver - ipso facto. Own goal. With regret, there is not only no understanding of governance from this quarter, there is no understanding that a governance conversation needs to be had. It is treated as a Murahidy/Roden private business, too shallowly and unfortunately.

3. Another lie heard at CRA AGM 2018 was that committee meetings, from which the Chair was excluded this year, took place in Ms Murahidy's lounge, "where they have been held for the past five years". False - the committee meeting location was occasionally shared around other committee member homes, for accessibility and fairness. Usurping the Chair's hitherto inclusive consideration of committee venue, Ms Murahidy prefers that meetings convene without her but in-house, so that she is easily able to join once fit and ready. This is a 'regal' outlook on procedure and verification, not democratic.

4. Another set of lies heard at CRA AGM 2018 was 'the committee' (Murahidy/Roden) brief project report for ACTIS. In this it was claimed that the reason for cancellation of the CREST project, beyond "lack of transparency and accountability" (own goals) was that "by 31 January insufficient preparation for the community event was in place, this being no council permit, no liability insurance and no emergency services willing to attend" (approximate quotation). More own goals. A council permit was obtained on 29 January, subject to liability insurance being covered by Cashmere Presbyterian - which it was on 31 January, via CREST meeting, thanks to Reverend Silvia Purdie's research. Delegations: Mrs Purdie was to contact the Fire Service (through an Addington Station contact she had) for the 'smoke maze' activity, and Kristin Hoskin was to contact Civil Defence (as her 'desk is near them in the council building') for the mobile Shake House activity. Both of these volunteers were unable to deliver, however. This was understandable, given the short notice early in the year, but both Purdie and Hoskin had been part of setting the 18 February (final possible) event date or diversionary delay in preparing for it. So there was no postponing and this was not the point - this was an outright test of the CREST response plan on an immovable date (like an earthquake occurs on) - as we must find out how ready we are on some determined day, in order to improve. Similarly, Murahidy/Roden objected to summer pressure of work (apparently), withdrawing their offers of help with the Newsletter and barbeque. Proven is that each of these individuals can never be relied upon, least of all in an emergency. We really needed to know this, as a community, for our planning ahead. Then the whole set turned to blame the project coordinator for their own failures (being exposed) and began work, extremely unreasonably, to terminate the CREST project in total (instead of learning from it).

5. The ACTIS project grant also covered some pest animal control system development, as resilience networking. This funded obligation has been met, although thoroughly dismissed by Murahidy/Roden - for what gain?

6. Ms Murahidy at AGM accused the CREST project coordinator of "dragging his heels", as the reason for involving lawyers. It was not explained and is yet to be explained why the (Labour) Mayor's sister's legal firm was providing service around the CRA mess, and who might be paying for it (not the CRA). At Disputes Tribunal, Mr Roden asserted that no request for mediation had been received by CRA prior to the lawyer-led hearing of 14 May. But request for this was made, through the appropriate local council staff, who were in attendance at AGM 2018. So there was opportunity to ask: "When asked for assistance to set up a mediation with CRA, what did you do?" (They had already replied by email, "that depends upon them wanting a mediation", which sounds like biased and destructive pre-determination to exclude.)

And then Phil Clearwater showed his hand: revealing himself to be the primary source of the whole CRA 2018 debacle. Phil jumped to his feet and said "You cannot question council staff [they are MY property], leave council staff out of it!", or words to that effect. This reveals two more things: a. That the support and advice of council staff is not owed evenly to every resident, and b. That the council staff support goes to Labour-aligned residents and not to others (on Clearwater's instructions). If council staff have eagerly followed this line then they should not retain their jobs (Dr Edwards) - not all council officers can be trusted, we have sadly learned. This was already obvious to me, after a term on community board when staff were prepared to falsify the public record (minutes) to aggrandise the Labour members (that 'own' the board and every tiny aspect of its decisions - for maintaining their prestige). No sharing. Very selfish. Inaccuracy. Quite sickening to see.

To underline Cr Clearwater's monopolist role here, Mrs Pam Clearwater also spoke at AGM - to claim the residual CREST balance for the Labour-Presbyterian committee now operating, at the church, by forced use of CREST's name.

7. While Chair for the CRA, it was a great pleasure to have met and worked with so many local residents. Thank you so very much for this rich experience. No financial management / bill payments were possible for the Association members, however, without the Treasurer and myself conducting the business. There was no third choice. This was because Leona Murahidy not only would not help here, Leona wouldn't even answer any email about bill payment requests. Heavily over-committed, lazy, or scheming? Ralph Roden had himself removed as signatory in 2016, in a pique, apparently to safeguard private banking connection (though LM/RR could well be CRA signatory again now). So doing business for CRA became quite high jeopardy, despite its legitimacy. And now we have seen this hazard play out, with forced privatisation of the Association (and a stop on Cashmere preparedness). There had long been little niggles, over how to present CRA publicly via its Newsletter content, that were not worth spat of disharmony. But now this trickle of erosion has been brought to a sink-hole implosive head. So pointlessly. Too much about status; too little of service to residents.

Leona Murahidy's dishonesty is the New Zealand Labour Party's dishonesty - a machine by which second-tier talent can be elevated beyond the limit of its capability (therefrom with potential to fall). If you are looking for good Labour public management example, then the CRA certainly is not one - having this year stopped normal functioning. And not by accident. New Zealand Labour Party dishonesty is the Christchurch city council's, in too many cases: a range of affiliated staff attacks upon CRA. Independent, self-resourcing, outspoken and RESILIENT residents are the last thing they really like to see (though always pay lip service to, for best-practise well-being); they might have to alter pet policies, to cede some heed to at-risk rate-payers, otherwise.

Dishonesty does not pass for governance principle in Cashmere or anywhere else, and Labour-sourced Residents' Association lying and duress are answerable to the world. It cannot continue, as is.

N.B. ACTIS = Aranui Community Trust Incorporated Society, the one-off funders of CREST plan infrastructure development on behalf of NZ Red Cross.

Stay safe, enjoy the warming, pest-free season.

Ngaa mihi,


Rik Tindall

Cashmere area coordinator, Neighbourhood Support
+ http://www.cashmere.org.nz/CREST
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