It was obvious two years ago that Walden intended to hand the building over to the Waiheke Resources Trust so that the public could pay for what is now effectively the Green Party HQ on Waiheke. WRT is run by John Stansfield, partner of a Green Party list MP. Both Stansfield and his partner mentor the ‘Essentially Waiheke’ Party that runs the Board. The Trust is entirely funded by the ratepayer through a series of grants and fees from the Waiheke Local Board totalling over $400,000. No material benefit to the Waiheke community has been derived from the funding handed to the Trust.
The granting of a community lease gives the WRT a rent free building, annual ratepayer subsidised maintenance of only $1000, a new commercial kitchen, a bar, new restrooms, new carpets and curtains, and wired for the broadband and all the latest in telecommunications. Despite the huge ratepayer investment in the building it will return no money to the ratepayer.
No wonder four other groups wanted the lease. The groups to miss out are the Toy Library, Hauraki Conservation Trust (although they might be given Ostend Hall – more on that tomorrow), Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, and the Steiner Trust. It is the pick of the remaining community halls soon to be taken out of community hands and leased to crony groups who support the Essentially Waiheke Party. One wonders what will become of Ostend Market.
In truth the other groups never stood a chance as I’ve been saying in various blog posts over the last two years. It became obvious this was to be the outcome desired by Walden when he wanted to revise the Alison Park Reserve Management Plan. The only possible reason for revising the plan was to de-couple the building from the park. A lengthy, expensive and ultimately sham consultation process had to be gone through for Walden to achieve his ultimate purpose and now the Green Party has its new HQ.
The OBC building is just the latest in ratepayer owned and funded buildings handed over to groups that support and promote the Greens and the Essentially Waiheke Party. The White House is leased to Waiheke Radio for Green Party and Local Board propaganda purposes; the old library space was supposed to be a centre for the arts but instead got leased to Waiheke Adult Literacy, a group run by supporters of the Board and now the OBC is to become the de facto Green Party HQ.
The next domino to fall is the Ostend Hall but more of that tomorrow.
It is so sad for the island that the Greens have introduced such divisive politics into the community. They have effectively made Waiheke into a ‘them v us’ place with favoured community groups being given ratepayer funded goodies for free and all others left out in the cold.
Greens tighten grip on Waiheke ratepayer funds
Friends of Alison Park lose battle to retain OBC building for the community
Walden plays Dirty Politics with people’s hall
Will the Board make Oneroa Bowling Club the new Waiheke Green Party HQ?