The Board had hoped to control the survey by using a Public Relations company, Starseed, rumoured to have connections to Board members, to conduct the survey with Walden and deputy Treadwell deciding the methodology. However, Auckland Council has stepped in and taken responsibility and control for the survey away the Board. Instead Council has chosen reputable survey company Colmar Brunton to conduct the survey.
The survey will now cover ALL island ratepayers.
The survey is a postal questionnaire which is being mailed out to each registered voter in the Waiheke local board area and to each residential ratepayer with an off island mailing address (New Zealand). The posted envelope will also contain information for completing the questionnaire online via the Colmar Brunton website using a unique ID login.
This questionnaire will be the main way in which the local board will be gauging the views of its communities and seeking statistically valid results. Safeguards are being put in place to reduce the risk of multiple response (in much the same way as occurs in an election) while at the same time protecting confidentiality.There are still strong reservations about a letter box survey.
"Many residents who are not home will not receive the survey. Some rental properties may receive several surveys (as they did election papers during the last local body election). This leaves open the possibility that one person could fill out multiple forms."
It appears there will be four questions. Of some concern is that the Local Board has had input into the framing of the questions and the survey is still very pro marine reserve. It has to be hoped that the Board’s bias towards not ruling out a marine reserve along the residential beaches from Oneroa to Onetangi will be mitigated.
However, if people are opposed to having a marine reserve imposed along the northern residential beaches of Waiheke with all the restrictions to long established freedoms that implies then they can strongly oppose the Local Board proposals and will be allowed to comment.
A marine reserve will inevitably bring additional congestion and commercialisation of the island which the island infrastructure is ill equipped to manage. Considering the constant bleating by the Board about having no money it is easy to see that the Board is not in a position to address this potential problem.
All that is required for consensus on this issue, as most of us would like to see more marine reserves in the Hauraki Gulf, is for the northern residential beaches to be ruled out as a possible site. That would leave 99.9% of the Hauraki Gulf area as possible sites for a marine reserve.
It is still very unclear why Alex Stone and the Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust are so adamant that they want a reserve in this miniscule populated area of the Gulf. I was a member of the Board that heard Alex Stone’s original submission on this issue and he was very focussed on the site of the reserve being along the northern residential beaches of the island. Since then he has simply said he doesn’t want to rule out ANY area, but that is disingenuous.
I can only conclude that the real reason Mr Stone is being so inflexible is that he has an ulterior motive and that is one based on envy. He seems to resent those homeowners who are able to afford to live overlooking the northern residential beaches. He will support anything that takes away the amenity value of these homeowners.
Strength was given to my view that the Board is engaging in the politics of envy when they sought to exclude ratepayers who were not resident from having a say. Despite this their propaganda sheet, the Gulf (Green Taliban) News will be in full flow telling you to back the Board.
Spending $30,000 of SLIPs money on yet another self-serving survey is another example of how this Board has been wasting our money. Sadly this Board has chosen to regard the Small Local Improvement Projects (SLIPs) budget as a fund to pursue its political agenda rather than improve the lot of ratepayers.
The lack of democracy, accountability, and transparency by this board in this marine reserve survey fiasco demonstrates as clearly as possible why this Board cannot be trusted to ‘go it alone’.
I understand the survey can be accessed on line at but it is now off line until Friday. I suggest you all take the opportunity to have your say.