He is aided and abetted in this autocracy by a swag of self-serving sycophants who sweep up after him. They’re like pigs in muck. They get huge salaries for mirroring their chief. They too are unaccountable, undemocratic and unreliable. Pity the poor minions who serve under them.
The people are fed up. Faced with rates rises 500% above inflation, soaring debt, new taxes and yet having to put up with reduced Council services the public is getting very frustrated and starting to demand answers. What do they get instead? They get a wall of secrecy and lies.
The latest example of this is the new mayoral office. Suspecting yet another monument to the Mayor’s profligacy the Herald asked Council officials for details under a LGOIMA (local government official information and meetings act) request. They have been told they cannot have the information.
Auckland Council is refusing to reveal details about mayor Len Brown's new office - because the information could put the mayoral chains at risk.
The mayor's staff have largely rejected a Local Government Official Information and Meetings' Act request from the Herald on Sunday for correspondence about his new office, which contains a private bathroom and dressing room hidden behind a bookcase.
Don’t think this happens just at the mayoral level. The secrecy and lies is through every level of governance. I was given a local example only yesterday. The Waiheke Local Board (WLB) was elected on a promise of providing the community with a swimming pool within a year, but three at the most. The WLB abandoned the pool process set in place by the first board. They ignored the first board’s $30,000 swimming pool feasibility study made public only weeks before they took office and commissioned a study of their own. To be more accurate they handed $25,000 of ratepayers’ money to the Boards of Trustees of Te Huruhi and Waiheke High School for a report into where to site the pool on school grounds. No accountability was attached to this report.
The report was promised to be made public to a group of residents last April by the Chair of the Local Board. Then it was promised by Council officers to a resident in November. It was shown to local MP Nikki Kaye, who quoted from it prior to the election. It was shown to the Waiheke Swimming Pool Committee in October but apparently the ratepayers are not allowed to see it. Frustrated by this lack of accountability, another resident made a LGOIMA request months ago to be given a copy of the $25,000 study. He received it last week. You’ll not be surprised to learn that Council Officers have not sent him the $25,000 school pool study. Instead he has been sent a copy of the $30,000 swimming pool feasibility study made public already by the first WLB.
Democracy is dead on Waiheke and in Auckland.