The Board is required to give the public enough notice of the agenda, usually three days, to allow them time to consider if there are any matters of interest after scrutinising the content. In this day and age this means reading the agenda on line as the Council strives to save the world by cutting down on the number of printed copies.
Several members of the public also make a point of attending these meetings. A couple of friends turned up yesterday to find themselves locked out.
This morning at 4am I went looking for an explanation. After searching the official Council website and Facebook pages I eventually found a notice, posted around noon yesterday, saying the meeting had been cancelled. There was no explanation as to why.
What? I can imagine the outcry if any meeting of the former Board had been cancelled without notice or explanation and rightly so. In a properly functioning Council the public has a right to know how their hard earned rates money is being spent and to observe democracy in action. Such is the lack of respect this Board has for the people that they can’t be bothered to keep us informed.
Why was the meeting cancelled? Several possible explanations spring to mind.
The Board has run out of things to discuss. Unlikely! The former Board agendas often ran to over 500 pages and even with two meetings a month there is still a lot of Council business requiring input from local boards.
They have blown their budget. Maybe someone has pointed out the cost of running two meetings a month is far greater than the amount budgeted for one meeting as was the case before this profligate Board was elected. The budget for local board services was around $1.2 million annually, but must be much more now with double the meeting costs. In other words it takes the rates of 4-500 Waiheke ratepayers to fund this Board before any work is actually done to provide Council services, infrastructure and amenities.
They all need a break and are on holiday. This is highly likely. The Board could only muster the bare minimum number of three members required for a quorum at their last meeting. Brown, the workhorse of the pack, is away for a month. Walden is lazy, as I know from experience, with a very low boredom threshold, so perhaps it’s all too much for him now he actually has to do some work instead of organising protests or junkets and he needs a rest. Treadwell is usually late so perhaps she had a more pressing engagement with her job in town. Ballard is never at workshops, is late for meetings and clearly has no idea of what’s going on anyway and who’s the other one?
One thing’s for certain they don’t want the public to know what they’re up to. The minutes of the meetings are scant and lack important information as I’ve pointed out before. Decisions are made behind closed door at workshops whose ‘minutes’ contain no detail. It’s widely recognised that the public meetings are nothing more than a rubber stamp for those decisions. Inveterate meeting attendees like Ross Gillespie and Christopher Wragge have stopped turning up. Even they can see there’s no point.
These elected members demonstrate the very antithesis of open and transparent government. All their rhetoric pre-election has been shown to be a sham.
There’s a general election coming up. Let this Board be a warning to the country of how an elected Green Party government would trash democracy.