It’s been a bad week for the Local Board. First they’re caught diverting money from environmental and tourism initiatives to put into their own ‘slush fund’, then they’re seeking considerable funds for camping equipment that could easily be construed as being for their own personal use.
So what does a Board do that’s rapidly becoming as popular as a Japanese whaler at a Greenpeace dinner. It reverts to doing what it does best. It decides to hold a protest meeting. The Green Party PR machine, sometimes called the local press, can take pictures and write stories that show how valiant the Board is upholding the spirit of ‘sustainability’ and their supporters are satisfied. The fact that they achieve nothing is irrelevant.
The chosen target last week was Auckland Transport, which is rather like protesting against yourself as AT is controlled by Council. AT are in the final stages of completing the much needed road works along Wharf Rd. They are a very professional organisation with excellent environmental engineers. They have a well honed system of completing environmental assessments, especially when the road works pass close to wetlands. Plans are peer reviewed and would have been shown to the Board long ago.
So what did the Board do? It’s a well practiced routine. They got their mate Tony King Turner, who is well known as the island’s trafficker, in traffic mayhem I hasten to add lest you think I’m alluding to any involvement with drugs, to front up to last week’s Board meeting. There he protested that AT are ruining the wetland along Wharf Rd. It could just as easily have been not taking the poor cyclist into consideration or urbanising the island – take your pick, it doesn’t matter. He demanded urgent action to stop the offending road works. He called on the Board to hold a protest meeting, to lie down in front of the roading machines, if necessary to give their very lives in defence of the wetland.
The Chairman phoned AT in the middle of the Board meeting at 6pm at night and ordered them to stop work. As there were neither grounds for doing so, nor does the Board have any jurisdiction in this matter, AT declined the ‘request’.
It doesn’t matter. Remember, this is all a PR stunt. Some Board members and their mates (they used to be able to call on hundreds but alas we’re down to around a hard core of twelve) turned up on Friday, protested in vain, got their pictures taken etc etc.
I call this a routine because the same thing happened on every AT project during my three years as Transport spokesperson on the Board. Mr King-Turner has no qualifications in road or environmental engineering, is well known as a patsy for the greens, and I found him to be a totally dishonourable man. I say this because several times I met him, along with AT engineers. We listened to his concerns, some compromises were made in design, and a way forward agreed upon, only to have him renege anyway and go ahead with disruptions.
All this comes at a cost to the ratepayer. But what the hell. It’s all about waving the Board’s sustainable colours in front of their own supporters and diverting attention away from their abysmal misuse of ratepayers money.