They say that “pride blinds”, and in this sixth post in a series, I share the human consequences of the corruption that I have detailed in the leadership of the Ruapehu District Council and other King Country public affairs. I attempt to steer a narrow course between the rocks of pity and the wasteland of pain. Enjoy.
If nothing in life is free, then there is logically a price to pay for what we say or do. Cause and effect is real. There are consequences of corruption as are there consequences to doing the good, right and the honourable thing.
Steal from a shop once and you won’t be welcome back, your reputation will precede you into the next shop, and it will cost you if caught. On the other hand however if you help someone and shoot straight your reputation will be enhanced. This applies at both a personal and corporate level.
In the case of the two stooges I’ve lambasted in this series for feeding BS to the Lotteries Grant Board and the public, the consequences can be as little or as big as the public allow. If apathy rules and their spin of the events rule the day, then the consequences for these guys may be negligible. If the public take the matters to heart though and demand that RDC act with integrity in its Lotto application then the consequences, both career-wise and personally could be a lot higher.
Mayor Don Cameron as an elected official will probably be the most affected if the word gets out that RDC’s dodgy Lotto application (that tars the King Country with the brush of BS) happened on his watch, even worse with his active endorsement (i.e. cover-up). His re-election may not be so likely if it does.
The point for me is not so much whether these slippery dudes ‘get away with it’ or whether they get pinged, the point for me is that not only is there a cost to corruption, there is a cost to speaking the truth. I’ll explain now how this affects things and people who are seen as “collateral damage”.
It Gets Personal
When Jesus took it to the elite, they bumped Him off. Simple. Put crudely but factual. When you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.
People in power who have their power threatened do not react kindly when their games of pretense are exposed. Rest assured that there is a huge personal cost to speaking it like it is. Dennis A. Smith has been and will continue to be branded as a trouble-maker, and an automatic unwelcome sight in the halls of power, rest very assured of that.
The alternative is that I remain quiet and play the game, doing what I ‘should’ in compliance with some politician’s whims, or some socially PC expectation. So as a straight shooter, the issue I have is this . . . do I shut up and watch the crooks bring Taumarunui and the RDC into disrepute, or do I stand up and speak up?
This series answers that question pretty emphatically, doesn’t it?
The personal thing, where Mayor Don Cameron warned me that I (or more correctly my reputation) would suffer in the public space is the only way that crooks, crims and crazies can respond. Like when caught with your pants are down, you have to divert attention away so that you can pull your pants up quickly, so too do the ad hominem attacks divert attention away from the real issue, which is corruption.
The reason why I use such a powerful word is that this is what it really is – call it lies, attempted theft, dishonesty, sneakiness, politics, corruption or whatever. It is all the same thing at the end of the day . . . a deviation from the ideal that we all aspire to, or should aspire to, and it’s wrong – with a capital “R” at that!
The Collateral Damage
So having accepted that there is a personal price to pay for speaking up against power gone awry, let’s look at the side-effects of what these fools cause with their corrupt ways of doing things. In this regard I will get a little personal and explain the dynamics surrounding my friend, business-partner and employee, Ron Cooke and how this corruption from within RDC affects him and his family.
Cutting a very long story short, I befriended Cookie in early 2018 and found out later last year that he was (to put it crudely) in the sh*t, largely thanks to the fact he and his collections had just been booted out of The Memory Bank after the Taumarunui Museum Trust sold it underneath him. He was 79 years old at the time, it was (along with a raft of other challenges) a real body blow at the end of his long and stellar career that nobody could possibly have wanted for him. I stood up against the people who had it in for him and we’ve done great things getting ready for a new phase and helping him through his challenges.
Now the $50k pledge that I have referred to in this series, that the TMT has made to the RDC, for their dodgy Lotto application, comes from the proceeds of the sale of The Memory Bank building. This is the part that will not be promoted by the crooks and callous who have taken it to the old man . . . people have not been told the full story – deliberately.
A conspiracy has developed against Cookie over some years, best described by Weston Kirton in the local rag when he says essentially:
Over the years Ron’s intransigence pissed a lot of people off[The image shows the actual Letter to the Editor]
This is the absolute truth all right, spoken in a moment of honesty by the man at the centre of a political storm . . . Cookie knew exactly what was best for his collections; he knew intimately what was best for the town; he knew exactly what he had promised to the people who had trusted him with their precious memories and he knew without a shadow of a doubt that the trust that he set up 30 years ago had gone so far off the rails that he could never trust them with something so valuable – to him.
Now the inevitable consequences of this corrupt action from the RDC leadership (aside from any personal attacks on me, the trouble-maker) is that Cookie is seen as the stumbling block. Cookie is told all around town, “You do a great job! Keep it up! We love you and appreciate you! We don’t want to see you kicked out and on the street! We all care about you!” but the facts are that:
- He did get booted out
- He didn’t deserve what he got
- The people with the power do not care about him or his “precious” collections
- The RDC Mayor and CEO want what is rightfully his
- His desperate need for housing his collections is actually used as a tool to try to deny him that which is only his!
There are many words for describing such conduct. I’ve used a lot of them in this series, but I can tell you, for those that know the inside story (and there are only a few of us) there’s only one word that adequately describes what has happened and what is happening, and that is . . . evil.
I said that this would get personal, but I’ll keep this short and simple and to the point. I personally have saved Ron and his collections. I can tell you that the despair in my friend was palpable last year when the TMT trustees did what they did and that I personally have invested massive energy, time and money into saving his collections and keeping them safe and in Taumarunui. I personally have prepared for good things for the community and for him personally so that he now has hope and a vision for the future inspite of whatever people around him say or do.
It is only when the two-faced, forked-tongue politicians and leaders of the people are exposed and held to account that we can counter the incredibly damaging consequences of corruption, personally and as a district.
Over the coming months I will be sharing our plans and opening Cookie’s collections to the public – not for simply viewing in a museum but in a modern, intelligent, practical, structured manner that the King Country should be immensely proud of. I ask nothing of anybody at this stage, and I fully expect those whom I have exposed to try to protect their sorry
arses reputations with more BS, but the consequences of corruption are real. They are permanent and they are personal.
So if that’s all the case, how on earth can there be anything positive to come out of corruption?
Every now and then, yes I know that this is not the norm, but every now and then there comes along a person or an opportunity in which things gel, and good results. This can be simply that someone down-in-the-dumps is lifted in spirit. It can be someone with a need is helped. It can be (although I admit that this is rare) that the crooks get a wake-up-call and change their corrupt ways. I have never had a person on my Hall of Shame apologise and repent yet, but I have seen it happen elsewhere. It is possible.
More importantly for me, and, fortunately a lot more common, is that the astute, the caring and thinking among us stand up with me and endorse my words. Oh sure, nobody can agree with another person 100% but the connection that comes from agreement and then action is like oil on troubled waters – it floats, it shines, it gleams in the sun and when that sunlight of truth shines in, the cockroaches flee.
RDC has some serious credibility issues with their Lotto application. It should be withdrawn immediately before Lotto reads this blog and the King Country gets labelled as desperate dishonest fools – which is what will happen when Lotto does basic due diligence. The crooked leaders who schemed to create this dodgy application, let alone actually sent it should be held to account and corrected forthwith.
They should also speak to KCET’s lawyer and work out which side the bread is buttered before they end up in the High Court of Hamilton defending themselves in a case the will inevitably bring shame to the region.
As a guy who works to some degree in the realm of the prophetic, I can take confidence that my words here are sound. I cannot though claim to predict the future. What people do; what they say and how they interact to the truth is their call and their business, but on the basis that there is ’cause and effect’ I can predict that the consequences of evil is pain; but the consequences of doing the right thing is a smile.
I conclude this post with two important notes. The first is that I do not claim for a minute that everything nor everybody within RDC is a walking disaster. Indeed not everything the two leaders I have mentioned is poisoned, in fact there could be a raft of possible up-sides to their contribution to the community. This though does not detract from these posts in the slightest. They are irrelevant when we de-personalise [business] matters of contention.
Secondly it is vital that I practice what I preach in order to have integrity and credibility. I do, and undertake to do this too. The personalisation of a business issue is immature and not constructive. It shows low-level thought and is illogical. These guys have taken a stance, made decisions that have affected the world as a result of their positions of power (for better or worse), as have I in taking my stance in the blogosphere, for better or for worse.
Thanks again for bothering to swing by today. It’s an honour to have you here.
King Country Corruption Series
- King Country Corruption 1. TMT Scandal Deepens
- King Country Corruption 2. A Flawed Lotto Application
- King Country Corruption 3. Report on Flawed RDC Lotto Application
- King Country Corruption 4. Behind The Scenes
- King Country Corruption 5. The Solution
- King Country Corruption 6. The Consequences
- King Country Corruption 7. Suing Taumarunui Museum Trust