SdE Update

More rubbish from the mayor

By Tim Hanna

This is a follow up piece from our earlier posts

– (Part 1) Tong’s Recycle Debaclewhich you can read here.

– (Part 2) SdE workers threatened again… – which you can read here.

In recent public meetings the Mayor has made several statements about SdE that I believe deserve scrutiny.

He has informed two public meetings that such is his concern for the disabled workers at SdE that he has been talking to the Ministry of Social Development about their futures.

I gathered that meant finding them alternative employment but I may be wrong… it was a little vague.

When I asked SdE if they were aware of any talks between the Department and Mr Tong they said that they had heard the story and had already asked the Department about it. Specifically, they asked the Department if they were discussing the confidential contract between them with a third party. He says they told him they were not and never would.

Mr Tong has also several times warned me in these same public meetings against continuing to quote a Weekend Herald Investigative report on Smart Environmental. He has told me that I run the risk of being sued ‘…because you just can’t go around saying stuff like that’.

For those of you who do not know The Weekend Herald reported they had uncovered evidence that Smart Environmental were practising widespread criminal fraud. If you want to read the piece yourself, click here.

You can read it just as I can quote it. Mr Tong is disturbingly misinformed about basic civil liberties. It is easily understood – if it’s in the public domain its fair game.

There have been more recent developments for Smart Environmental as they recently lost the contract for Queenstown. 

I think I’ll just quote a newspaper on what happened next, because Mr Tong I am legally entitled to do so. This is what the Mountain Scene reported about the mess Smart Environmental left behind …

City Hall won’t say if it’ll take action against its former waste contractor after issues with the new site have caused headaches across the board.

The new system, announced last June and introduced on July 1, sees contents of our three bins go to different places – rubbish to landfill, glass to Auckland’s O-I factory, and mixed recycling to Queenstown’s recovery facility.

But last week the council admitted it dumped 25 tonnes of recycling in the landfill because changes to its Materials Recovery Facility weren’t completed in time.

Additionally, the unseasonably warm winter means rats have added to the challenges at the site.

While rodents aren’t uncommon visitors, the increased volume’s created a health and safety hazard, so the council’s had to fumigate the facility.

Council maintenance and ops manager Erin Moogan says the council hasn’t decided what, if any, action it’ll take against former contractor Smart Environmental for the problems to date.

And the cost of getting the facility up to scratch is still unknown.

Mr Tong also said at the last public meeting we attended that he had checked out claims I had made that Smart Environmental was being investigated by the Auditor General and I was completely mistaken. He would be correct if I had ever made such a claim. I have not. What I said was that the Thames Coromandel Council is investigating the company and that the Auditor General is investigating the Thames Coromandel Council in relation to Smart Environmental.

I remain as puzzled by Mr Tong’s unwavering support for this company as I am by his unwavering determination to ignore the 26,000 Southlanders and counting who have petitioned in favour of the disabled workers retaining their jobs.

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