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Need an exemption from the law? Just ask a corrupt Nat

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 pm, December 2nd, 2009 - 57 comments
Categories: corruption, national/act government - Tags:

Doug Schmuck owns and runs a boatyard in Opua in the Bay of Islands. The boatyard borders a public reserve. Schmuck wants to use that land as a slipway and other uses related to his business. In fact, he is already using the land and has already constructed at least one building that partially sites on the reserve land, all without permission. Basically, he wants to take public land over for his private purpose.

The Far North District Council is OK with that but locals aren’t and it’s not the council’s decision because the land is covered by the Reserves Act. So, Schmuck has kept on trying through various avenues to get permission and has been rejected repeatedly. All up his efforts to expropriate public land have cost the government, his opponents, and himself about $600,000.

Then, after being repeatedly turned down and in the teeth of locals’ opposition to this guy taking over part of their public space for his business, Schmuck came up with a bright idea: get a dodgy minister to help him out. So, he got in contact with John Carter (it would be interesting to know more about their relationship).

Carter surreptitiously and without public notice, giving locals no chance to oppose it, inserted clauses into the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill, a technical bill meant for non-controversial matters, at the end of its select committee stage. Carter’s clauses create an exemption from the Reserves Act that will extend only to “the current registered proprietor of the adjoining land”. That allows Schmuck personally and only Schmuck to use the whole reserve for essentially whatever he wants including constructing buildings on it.

corruptionThis is simply corrupt. Carter has gifted public land to this man and made a special law just for him, over the objections of locals, and against the advice of officials who opposed both this particular instance and the precedent it sets of making law specifically for the business interests of one individual. Carter, of course, blames the whole issue on the people who have objected to Schmuck’s takeover of the land and claims he is just preventing further expenditure on a minor issue. The proper answer should be for Schmuck to confine his business to the land he has the right to operate it on.

Thousands protest the Supercity, ACC cuts, ACE cuts, the ETS, and wage freezes and the government just ignores them. But with the corrupt trio of National, Act, and the Maori Party in power, there’s no rule or law that can’t be bent or broken if you are a businessman with the ear, or some other soft part, of a minister.

57 comments on “Need an exemption from the law? Just ask a corrupt Nat”

  1. Eddie 1

    Before burt starts, if Harry Duynhoven had been forced to give up his seat for violating an antiquated rule against taking up another country’s citizenship while an MP, it would have thwarted the democratically expressed will of the people of New Plymouth

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    Far North District Council is OK with that but locals aren’t…

    Sorry to (partially) thread jack quite so early, but this is a clear case where elected “democracy” isn’t working then. It seems the majority of people have elected a council which does not reflect their views (albeit that they’d be powerless to act if they did, but that’s not the point here).

    So I suppose all those people who claim direct democracy as some sort of “tyranny of the majority” can now retire to bed comfortable in the knowledge they’re absolutely right.

    Heaven forbid we ever had a simple, relatively inexpensive mechanism whereby we could be asked if we minded our reserves being appropriated by anyone with a few dollars to spend!! Thank goodness we have, instead, elected representatives brave enough to ignore what we want and allow things to be imposed upon us.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      The council was Ok with it, the locals weren’t which is why he’d been told to eff off. Seems it was working until a corrupt National MP got in on the argument.

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.1.1

        No it was “working” because (according to Eddie’s post, I don’t have time to read the source documentation) “it’s not the council’s decision because the land is covered by the Reserves Act”.

        So I’m surmising from that that if it was the Council’s decision, they’d have approved it, and the only thing preventing this shining example of representative democracy risinf roughshod over the wishes of its constituents was a bit of legal luck (until, as you rightly say, a Nat MP came along…)

        Oh, and it’s a representative democracy (od sorts) that put John Carter there, too 😛

        • Swampy 2.1.1.1

          Exactly how many constituents?

          It doesn’t take much digging around on Google to find out that most of the opposition to the boatyard operating comes from people who live practically next door to it. They are trying to get the boatyard closed down and forced off the land.

          Now this sort of thing happens pretty often, a bunch of dogooders move into an area, they all know very well what is operating in the area but they just move in and then they try to get whatever it is closed down so their property values go up.

          Now I guess the Greens are turning on their business hating politics here, and I guess for balance we should ask whether the Greens have any members or supporters in Opua.

  3. Bored 3

    Is that John “Hone” Carter? Credibility zero, not to be trusted.

  4. toad 4

    FFS, the guy’s name really is Doug Schmuck – says it all really.

    And the FNDC has a longstanding reputation in Northland for being corrupt.

    Um, and as for John Carter ,,,

    • Chris 4.1

      Well I guess it won’t be called Schmuck’s Law for nothing.

      After living in North America for a number of years schmuck has a very definative meaning. Not a particularly odious one, but not a pleasant one either.

    • Swampy 4.2

      Well, I am really astonished. If his name was supposed to have a meaning then I wonder at your choice of pseudonym.

  5. BLiP 5

    Are these the new standards John Key promised?

    • Ms X 5.1

      he’ll be relaxed, you can guarantee it

      • Tigger 5.1.1

        Carter’s admission is basically ‘I helped a constituent so that makes it okay’ so clearly that’s another new rule for this government – if it helps someone who voted for you it’s now legal.

  6. outofbed 6

    There is only a 5% chance of not having new standards….I think

  7. vto 7

    Been seeing a few posts re media uselessness on here recently. You must include this one. Might sound crazy given other recent similarities but this person and circumstance is personally known and the outline of the situation up there on here is appalling. And wrong. And very very unbalanced. This post aint worth a crock of rancid shit. Blimmin’ useless Eddie.

    A judgment based solely on the prosecution is a worthless judgment.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      You’re more than welcome to contextualise the story if you have details that are pertinent.

    • Eddie 7.2

      I’m just going off the news reports and the documents presented by Schmuck to the select committee. http://www.parliament.nz/mi-NZ/PB/SC/Documents/Evidence/Default.htm?p=72&sort=Title&order=0

      In one of the letters, Schmuck describes it as a convoluted case. He alleges malfeasance by many people in a bunch of different government agencies, all of whom for some reason are determined to thwart him in his legitimate claims. Having read a lot of the documentation, it seems to me to be a classic case of a person who finds the law doesn’t suit their personal circumstances and can’t handle it.

      • Eddie 7.2.1

        I’d be interested to hear how he got a minister to insert clauses in a Bill specifically for him. It’s a nice trick if you can work it.

        • vto 7.2.1.1

          All that aside, it is a great place for boats.

          • felix 7.2.1.1.1

            Come on then v, tell us the real story.

            • Pascal's bookie 7.2.1.1.1.1

              He’s such a tease

            • vto 7.2.1.1.1.2

              hee hee. It was actually a few years ago now and the details are getting frayed around the edges, and also things have no doubt moved on. But rest assured there is another whole huge side to this issue, which is completely missing from Eddie’s post. Along the property rights, nimby syndrome, grumpy nosy retirees and bumbling bureaucracy lines.

            • felix 7.2.1.1.1.3

              So you met the guy and he reckons they’re all PC woofters.

              Is that about it, v?

              Is that the inside scoop?

              Is that the depth of understanding you possess which allows you to denigrate Eddie’s post as “very very unbalanced”, worth less than “a crock of rancid shit” and “Blimmin’ useless”?

            • vto 7.2.1.1.1.4

              More than that felix.

              And yes the post is blimmin useless. This is an appalling lynch mob attack against a private individual. Poor form. Does this mean any private citizen who happens to make a good juicy story for the slavering masses on here is fair game?

            • felix 7.2.1.1.1.5

              John Carter is not a private individual, v.

              As for your less-likely-every-time-you-mention-it story:

              * you don’t seem to remember much of it
              * what you do remember you won’t share, but
              * I’ll take your word that Eddie is wrong and the post is a crock of rancid shit because….
              * um, personal attack!!

              Turn it up, v.

            • vto 7.2.1.1.1.6

              Sheesh felix, Mr Schmuck is the private citizen. Tho I’m sure you knew that actually.

              Eddie’s post is both a despicable attack on a private citizen and incredibly unbalanced. Very poor form.

              Put it this way – if Eddie is right, and all the wealthy retirees with time and money on their hands are right, then go right ahead and take a corruption charge against Carter.

              Such will never see the light of day because the allegation/s made here are a crock. For reasons Eddie has not bothered to check it seems. Proof in the pudding felix. Where is it?

            • felix 7.2.1.1.1.7

              No-one’s accusing Mr Schmuck of corruption, v (tho I’m sure you knew that actually)

              I notice you still insist the post is a crock. I also notice you still have no information with which to enlighten us.

              Why should I take your word, v? Give me something to believe.

              Proof in the pudding indeed. Out with it.

              Or how about I just say I know for a fact that you’ve never met Schmuck and you’re making the whole thing up. Furthermore I know for a fact that that you’re a serial liar with a long history of this kind of thing.

              I have proof. I know the truth about you. But I don’t want to say anything more about it and if pressed I’ll go whitebaiting.

              Is my story any better than yours, v? Why not?

            • Tigger 7.2.1.1.1.8

              The question is, in any case of wrongdoing – who benefits?

              Carter claims he did it to help out a voter. That isn’t believable. You do not dupe the system just for the self-satisfaction of being helpful. You do it for a reason. What was the reason?

    • Swampy 7.3

      Here’s the boatyard:
      http://tinyurl.com/y9c8qu6
      I guess that is the slipway you can see going out into the water, and the rest of the boatyard back into the cliffs. And the bit of reserve land must be the stretch of coastline between the boatyard bit and the water.

      Now, Carter has said the boatyard has been there since the 19th century, and I’ve no reason to doubt him. That being the case the boatyard has probably had their slipway in use over that strip of land all that time. That makes them kind of squatters, but they’d have a strong case for existing use rights all the same.

      Probably what has happened is some do-gooders (the ones opposing Doug) have moved into the area and are trying to get his business closed down so they can increase their property values or develop the land, which is right on the beach front after all.

      Here’s Doug’s yard again on Streetview:
      http://tinyurl.com/ygvv9bp

      Doesn’t look too big does it, it’s hard to see how it could be a problem for anyone but you never know with some people.

      • Armchair Critic 7.3.1

        Good, swampy. The post is about the misuse of the legislative process by John Carter, rather than the rights and wrongs of the situation with the boatyard.
        Do you think it is okay to transfer public land to private ownership by hiding the transaction in some technical legislation? I say it is wrong.

      • Antje 7.3.2

        Fact: the boatyard was established in 1966.
        Fact: there is no issue or problem with the slipway .. it is not under threat
        Fact: the clauses in the ROLD Bill for the benefit of the proprietor of the boatyard are to permit him to repair and maintain boats on an esplanade reserve and to discharge contaminants onto the land of that reserve. That is a NEW right … after the fellow claimed ownership of the reserve by adverse possession (he bought it in 1994).

  8. Adam Jarvis 8

    “FFS, the guy’s name really is Doug Schmuck says it all really.”

    I read most of that post thinking that he was being labelled a schmuck, not that it was actually his name.

    So a deeper, more insidious layer of corruption has been found within the government. It’s absolutely disgusting, but I’m not really all that surprised.

  9. Steve 9

    “this person and circumstance is personally known and the outline of the situation up there on here is appalling. And wrong. And very very unbalanced.”

    Still waiting for the inside story on this one vto. Considering your sense of outrage at the original post would have thought you would want to quickly redress the balance.

  10. Chris 10

    One moral of the story that VTO may raise is never mess with parks/reserves/nature reserves/DOC lands when there is a healthy population of wealthy retirees with time and money on their hands nearby.

    And good on them I say. Sounds like the schmuck should move.

    • We are all still waiting VTO please enlighten us all with your knowledge and insight as Eddie got it oh so wrong according to you.

      Tick tock tick tock VTO.

    • vto 10.2

      true that moral Chris. Probably his poor judgment in railing against such types, no matter the rights or wrongs.

      CG Eden, there aint no way I’m going into someone’s personal life and times on a blog like this. Its their private biz.

  11. This matter has been a public slugfest for near on a decade for Far North residents. Check back issues of Bay Chronicle and Northland Age or talk to their editors Keri Molloy/Peter Jackson respectively if you want to. Popular opinion in the North is that Mr Schmuck has really pushed his luck on this one. Smaller but influential opinion, aka the ‘crony developer network’ led by FNDC Mayor Wayne Brown, (including it now seems Hone Carter) backs him. vto has really stretched any credibility with his pathetic display today.

    • vto 11.1

      Read what my actual points are. Extreme lack of balance. Attack on a private citizen.

      Or just carry on merrily with the one-eyed prejudging lynch mob. I recall a post on here recently by lprent about the nastiness of lynch mobs – you should go back and read it.

      • felix 11.1.1

        And the other side of the story is…?

        Face it v, you ran your mouth off and you can’t back it up.

        No credibility.

        Also, enough of the “private citizen” crap. As I pointed out to you earlier, John Carter is an elected representative. He is answerable to us whether you like it or not.

        Carter is being challenged over his dealings, in his official capacity.

        What is your objection to that?

        And if your objection is “balance”, then tell us the other side of the story.

        • vto 11.1.1.1

          already answered your questions above felix.

          • felix 11.1.1.1.1

            Um, not the one about the “other side of the story”. Still zero there.

            And not the one about your objection to the scrutinizing of elected representatives.

            Which questions are you talking about?

          • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1.1.2

            Perhaps you could point out exactly where the OP attacks Schmuck? Quote it. I also read it as attacking Carter.

            Is the first para incorrect about the facts? If so, why not correct those facts? As for ballance, it’s a blogpost, commenting on a story in other media. Take it up with the other media I guess. Or provide some ballance yourself. Just hiding behind privacy hardly counts when the story is already public, and is about public matters.

  12. Swampy 12

    Let me guess, the piece of land is between his boatyard and the sea, and he needs access to it to get boats out of the water?

    And then it’s an absurdity that that access can’t be legalised because a lot of people have boatsheds right on the edge of the water and don’t have an issue with being on reserve land. Given the boatyard has existed more than 100 years it’s not at all unreasonable he should be able to formalise something that has been going on forever.

    • felix 12.1

      That’s clever.

      You’ve made up a pretend problem, made up some facts surrounding it, and come up with a sensible-sounding solution to it. Sorted.

      Oh whoops, did I say “clever”? I meant “the dumbest thing I’ve read today”.

      • vto 12.1.1

        swampy = pass

        felix = fail

        • felix 12.1.1.1

          vto are you saying that this is the “real story”?

          Then which part of it was so complex, so intimately personal and so difficult to remember that you couldn’t tell us yesterday?

          I call bullshit.

  13. Swampy 13

    Margaret Wilson was an expert at inserting clauses after the select committee hearings, and Harry Duynhoven got Helen to pass a Bill so he wouldn’t have to resign from Parliament, a much bigger issue than this.

    It is the role of the select committee to receive submissions from the public and make changes to legislation accordingly. There is nothing the select committee has done in this case that is outside the realms of normality. All the select committees under whichever government hear submissions and then make changes to the Bill. The Greens are scaremongering a lot of absolute nonsense about this so they can get some votes from some do gooders in Opua.

  14. Antje 14

    Fact: the boatyard was established in 1966
    Fact: there is no problem with the slipway being where it is and being used to haul boats in and out of the water
    Fact: the problem that Mr Carter has tried to solve is the desire of the owner of that boatyard to repair and maintain boats on the reserve after he claimed he had existing use rights on that reserve to do those things and that “The Limitations Act 1950 prevents the bringing of a proceeding for recovery of posession of the land which the appellant has a right to claim by virtue of adverse possession.” — This assertion made in an appeal against an Abatement Notice by the Council ordering him to cease all activities on the Esplanade Reserve with the exception of the passage of boats on the slipway. Appeal Notice dated 27 March 1999.

  15. Antje 15

    Nobody’s opposing the slipway

  16. Antje 16

    Nobody opposes the slipway. It does not need special legislation.

  17. joedoe 17

    No more comments

  18. prism 18

    Harry Duynhoven got Helen to pass a Bill so he wouldn’t have to resign from Parliament, a much bigger issue than this.
    Swampy I can’t agree that Harry D’s remaining as a politicians because he hadn’t been officially made a NZ citizen is worse than pieces of public land being taken for private purposes. Politicians can always be replaced but land, especially public land, cannot.

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