Those with a modicum of knowledge about things Matiatia will know that there already is a Matiatia Master Plan and has been for a long time. It simply awaits implementation by Auckland Transport. The Master Plan, which underwent extensive consultation, envisages, amongst other things, an enlarged car park at Owhanake with three tiers to cater for the continuing parking demand and space for up to 300 cars. Its implementation was approved by the outgoing Auckland City Council immediately prior to amalgamation in 2010 and after an initial energy burst by Auckland Transport (AT) under the new Auckland Council has since been stealthily shelved by anti-car bureaucrats within AT.
Now, there is simply no will in Auckland Transport to spend any money on Matiatia. In 2013, when I was transport spokesperson on the first Waiheke Local Board, the Board advocated for increased parking capacity and the delivery of the Plan. However, by then the takeover of senior Auckland Transport management by the anti-car brigade had advanced to such a level that AT had no intention of increasing parking capacity and, if anything, wanted to remove the sixty or so free car parks on the northern side of Oceanview Road. The Board fought hard to retain these and to remind the bureaucracy of the existing plans. AT’s only solution to the parking crisis was a return to the dark ages and to put forward bus or cycle options.
This backward looking Auckland Transport approach is backed by the current Waiheke Local Board members whose only contribution in the past three years has been to tell people to park and ride. It is in the WLB Three Year Plan. Oh yes, and to remove 12 car parks at the height of the summer season.
Why then would the WLB waste yet another $50,000 on yet another Plan that will be put on Auckland Transport’s shelf, where it will join the other Master Plan, the Matiatia ‘Directional Plan’, the Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan provisions for this area and the many other Plans that have been drawn up over the years? A cynic might think it is not about trying to solve Matiatia’s transport woes at all, but rather it is a reward for their supporters in Direction Matiatia. Expect some of them to use it as a platform for election to the next Waiheke Local Board.
Once our ratepayers’ money passes into the hands of Direction Matiatia there will be no further accountability for it and we will never know who pockets what. It will go the way of the $500,000 that has already found its way into the hands of the Board’s favoured groups, Waiheke Resources Trust and Waiheke Adult Literacy.
Cronyism and wasting ratepayers’ money is unacceptable at any level of local government – Council or Local Board and this constant shifting of large amounts of public money to dubious groups for dubious purposes needs to be brought to the attention of the Ombudsman and the Minister of Local Government.