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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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An interesting week

20 Nov 2023

For those who haven't been keeping up with the issues I've been having with the South Waikato District Council (SWDC) it's time for an update.

Last month I received a letter dated 20th of October from the SWDC effectively banning me from flying my drones and RC model aircraft at the Tokoroa airfield.

Yes, I've been flying there for almost 20 years without ever being the cause of a safety issue and without posing a risk to person or property.

However, the SWDC has taken a strong dislike to my presence, probably due to the fact that on countless occasions, I have drawn their attention to deficiencies in the safe management of the airfield by themselves.

In fact, because I dared to highlight a really important safety issue I, unlike anyone else in the community, was banned from participating in the public forum which is held prior to council meetings.

This council has a "don't fix-up, just cover-up" attitude to such things and people like me, who place a high priority on safety, have no place upsetting that policy.

To get back at me, for daring to highlight such things, the last Mayor also destroyed thousands of dollars in public property to remove our iconic airfield tower.

Over the weekend, a former councilor who was privy to this agenda of persecution against me and witnessed it first-hand, left a very interesting comment (pinned) on this video. When a former member of the gang decides to spill the beans then you know something stinks in the SWDC.

So, the letter of 20th October banned me from flying at the airfield on the basis of a new rule that they had introduced. The claim was that this was simply to bring their own rules into alignment with CAA's regulations. If I was to be allowed to fly at the airfield again I would have to get a full pilot's license (about $20K at today's rates) or rejoin Model Flying New Zealand (MFNZ). Now, according to the SWDC, MFNZ membership was required by the CAA.

I challenged this and pointed the council at the regulations, pointing out that CAA demanded no such membership.

The council refused to accept my assertion... or even the official government published regulations as defined by the Civil Aviation Authority. No, their "experts" knew better than me and better than the CAA themselves exactly what the regulations said -- apparently.

Well pretty soon many of my YouTube subscribers began to write to the SWDC asking why I had been effectively banned from flying at the airfield.

This is where things get interesting...

Throughout this whole stoush, I have been asking the SWDC to spend just 30 minutes to meet with me in order to try and resolve this issue quickly, quietly and efficiently. They have declined each and every one of those requests.

However, they seem to have limitless time to reply to the many, many people from around the world who have emailed them asking for an explanation. Indeed, many of those people have received responses over the weekend so it seems that the SWDC is even prepared to do some overtime -- rather than spend 30 minutes talking with me.

The reply the SWDC sent to all those people claims, just as in the letter of last month, that CAA require anyone flying at or within 4Km of an airfield to be a member of MFNZ or a subsidiary NZJMA.

This is a complete and utter lie.

It can't be a simple mistake, because I corrected this assertion with evidence in the form of a link to the regulations -- hence it is a deliberate attempt to deceive and mislead.

Of course those who received this response are now livid that the SWDC would attempt to treat them as idiots and expect them to believe this lie.

They are now responding to the emails they have received asking for the SWDC to quote the part of CAR101 (the relevant CAA regulations) that mandate compulsory membership of MFNZ.

Of course the SWDC will not be able to do this because no such mandate exists within the regulations. In fact, if you search CAR101 for "MFNZ" or "Model Flying New Zealand" there are exactly ZERO matches.

So, because of their outrageous hubris, the SWDC has not only demonstrated their incompetence but their very clear prejudice against me... to the extent that they would lie to the world in an attempt to cover-up the real reason for their ban on my flying.

Remember what I said earlier? The SWDC's policy is "don't fix-up, cover-up" and it's still in full force.

The tragic thing about this whole situation is that it brings the SWDC as an institution into disrepute on the global stage. It brings the individual councilors into disrepute on the global stage and it brings the entire district into disrepute.

When the media finally get involved there will be nowhere for these people to hide.

They have acted with prejudice against a member of the community. They have then attempted to hide that prejudice by lying to the world and all throughout, they have ignored genuine offers to sit down and resolve the matter in a 30 minute meeting.

I am but one ratepayer and I have been roundly abused then my pleas for councilors to step in have been ignored. How many others in this community have suffered similar treatment but have just lacked the testicular fortitude to stand up to such abuse? These people should be dismissed from their well-paid positions for dishonesty -- after all, the promises they made to ratepayers and the community when they were soliciting their votes seem nothing like the level of performance they are now delivering once they've safety latched onto that generous stipend at ratepayers' expense.

Stay tuned... there's obviously going to be a lot more to come on this and I expect you'll see mainstream media coverage fairly soon.

Carpe Diem folks!

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