Commuters, many of whom already suspect they are the victims of Fullers monopoly pricing, may well be disappointed to know this is how their rates are being spent. As I’ve said, before it’s amazing how quickly Shirin Brown, Deputy Chair Waiheke Local Board, has turned from Fullers poacher to gamekeeper now she’s spending ratepayers' rather than her own money.
They might be equally disappointed to learn that a further $2000 has been given to a ‘project organiser’ (a prominent EW supporter) when the Local Board already has their own highly paid Communications Advisor and four dedicated staff to support them. The budget to support a Waiheke Local Board is over $1 million annually. Paying ‘contractors’, ‘consultants’ and ‘project managers’ on top of this for work that could have been done in-house is profligate in the extreme.
There’s also a growing suspicion this cruise around the Gulf is solely to repay friends for their help in getting them elected. Prominent amongst the guest list are the schools, Forest and Bird, Gulf News but not Waiheke Marketplace, unnamed community members (yeah right!) and ECO-anythings. Presumably we need look no further than the guest list to discover what they mean by ‘sustainable’ tourism ventures. No wonder there is a growing anger and disappointment in this Board….and the bills aren’t all in yet.
Rates on Waiheke have risen by 33% on average over the last three years with more steep rises to come in July. The Mayor is in the gun as much for the rapidly escalating debt and profligacy as for his sexual exploits. Now we have the Waiheke Local Board emulating him in their lack of concern for, and accountability to, their ratepayers.
No wonder Auckland Central MPs (although hard left Green Party MP Denise Roche is represented by her Green Party activist partner, John Stansfield) and Waiheke Councillor Mike Lee and the dozens of other invited politicians, have said no to this waste of money. They know a vote loser when they see it.