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Saturday 1 June 2013

How many more?

Another head has rolled at Te Runanga o Ngati Awa.
After more than 27 years Jim Davies has ended his tenure with the Ngati Awa Farm committee following a request for him to resign.

Te Runanga o Ngati Awa (TRONA) chief executive Enid Ratahi-Pryor requested Mr Davies resign in a letter dated May 22.
“I am writing to advise you that the board of Ngati Awa Group Holdings Ltd (NAGHL), in its capacity as shareholder of Ngati Awa Farms Limited, has passed a resolution to remove you as a director of Ngati Awa Farms Ltd…

“I have been asked to seek your resignation as a director of Ngati Awa Farms (Rangitaiki) Ltd and as a member of the Board of the NGati Awa Farms (RangiTaiki) Joint venture. It would be much appreciated if you could let me have those resignations by return.”
When asked whether Mr Davies was forced to resign from his post, Mrs Ratahi-Pryor replied: “A resignation is exactly that a resignation.”

She refused to answer why Mr Davies had been asked to resign. However Mr Davies said the request was made following a phone conversation in which he was scolded for his role in a story that had appeared in the Whakatane Beacon.
Mr Davies had provided the Beacon with a copy of an internal document that was written by Mrs Ratahi-Pryor for the NAGHL chairman, Wira Gardiner.

The document outlined an option in the Companies act that would allow NAGHL to request that CO2 New Zealand Management Company to demonstrate fair value for a $3.8 million contract.

“Under that section if a company enters a transaction in which a director is interested, the transaction may be avoided at any time before the expiration of three months after the transaction is disclosed to all the shareholders.”
The document when on to outline the conflict of intereste issue involving NAGHL board member Graham Pryor where he was also a director of CO2 New Zealand Management Company at the time that the deal was instigated.

“Consequently, if Graham Pryor was an interested director at the time and the transaction has not yet been disclosed to the Runanga as the shareholder in (NAGHL), it may be possible to avoid the transaction unless CO2 New Zealand can establish that the company has received fair value,” Mrs Ratahi-Pryor said in the document.
Despite the price of carbon credits dropping from $27 to less than $3, the option was not taken up by NAGHL.

Mr Davies said he felt compelled to make a public stand because of the responsibility he felt to the iwi.
He outlined his concerns in a report that he had hoped to give at the next farm committee meeting to be held on June 4.

In it Mr Davies says the farm committee concerns were taken to a NAGHL meeting on August 16, 2012, however the report was ruled out of order by Mr Gardiner.
The report was then emailed to TRONA chairman Te Kei Merito, who acknowledged receipt of it a week later and gave an assurance it would go back to NAGHL. Mr Davies was set to give his report next week.

However Mr Davies handed in his resignation last week.
“After 27 enjoyable, interesting and rewarding years at Ngati Awa farm, I formally hand in my resignation from the boards of Ngati Awa, Ngakauroa and Tumurau farms as requested," he wrote.

“No doubt this action may take care of some of your immediate problems. However the questions on truth, transparency and accountability in the CO2 Ngati Awa still remain unanswered.”
Now this raises the question of: why was Mr Davies forced to stand down and yet Mr Pryor is still a director on NAGHL and the chairman of the investments committee?