What they did not do is fall into the trap of spending the money on plans, plans and then … more plans. Working with Auckland Council, it doesn’t take long to realise that the organisation (like Auckland City Council before it) is so awash with plans and planners that it is difficult to get anything done and the money is soon frittered away. In the past, our experienced politicians have found a way around this, which is why we were so successful as a community. Sadly, your new Waiheke Local Board is following the lead of the city’s profligate Mayor. Their Waiheke Local Board Plan is full of reviews, plans and consultants reports but short on action and tangible benefits for the community.
Thus we are faced with:
$30,000 allocated for a ‘scoping study’ for a ‘community recycling facility’ - when we already have a high rate of recycling, and one of the best facilities in Auckland.
Up to $30,000 to ‘review the Management Plan for Alison Park’. Why? Rumour has it the Board isn’t satisfied with the recently refurbished, former Oneroa Bowling Club building being available for general public usage and want to lease out to their mates. To do this they will have to go through a lengthy and expensive public notification process to permit further leases on the park.
Up to $200,000 to prepare as Reserve Management Plan (RMP) for Onetangi Sports Park, when the Park has been serving a wide range of groups and activities for many years. Rumour has it that the only thing missing for some is a residential camp for sea scouts – hence the perceived need for a RMP.
$30,000 for an Artworks ‘needs assessment’. What? Another one! Have these Board members never participated in an Artworks ‘needs assessment’ process? Half the population has … and every time, the bill is another $30,000. That’s $30,000 not spent on upgrading the original buildings.
Given that tens of thousands have already been squandered on unaccountable flights of fancy, like a slush fund for the Chair and Deputy to spend as they wish; a study, by the High School and Te Huruhi Primary, to so-called ‘explore the financial viability and development of a business model for a community pool to be built on Ministry of Education land at Donald Bruce Road' (due in April but still hasn’t seen the light of day) and a junket ferry ride around the Hauraki Gulf for themselves, their families and their mates, you have to ask – “Where are the checks and balances to ensure ratepayers’ money isn’t simply being frittered away?”
Certain Council bureaucrats and consultants love this sort of Local Board. That’s the lazy ones who don’t know their jobs. It means they don’t have to DO anything but produce pieces of paper. That takes months (sometimes years) and generally tells everyone what they already knew before. The community meanwhile, foots the bill and gets short-changed. The sad thing is the complete waste of ratepayers’ money when there are so many important projects that could be done.
If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s to elect people with proven experience and common-sense; certainly not the case this time round.