In reality he couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome. It’s exactly what he planned at the beginning of the year with the Board’s Draft Local Board Annual Plan. It’s there for all to see. No amount of PR from the Board's lackeys in the local press can disguise the fact that Walden and the also-rans on the Waiheke Local Board desired this outcome from the start.
Here’s part of the blog "Waiheke gifts Auckland Council $1.4 million" I wrote in January after sighting the Draft Local Board Annual Plan.
In a move of breathtaking ineptitude and naivety, the new Waiheke Local Board plans to withdraw $742k earmarked for the much needed Onetangi Sports Park pavilion extensions, $410k set aside for community facility upgrades (including refurbishing the old library space), and $268k planned for recreational boat ramps and give it back to the Auckland Council in the hope they will fast-track a community swimming pool for Waiheke. There are no guarantees this sweetener will actually work. The Board has not set any conditions around this massive repayment to Auckland Council; making it basically an unconditional koha with no right of retrieval.
With Waiheke previously placed at the bottom of the Auckland Council’s aquatic facilities priorities, it is highly unlikely this koha will have any influence over the Council. Even more seriously, the bigger message this will send Auckland Council is that “Waiheke doesn’t need all this money. Take it back.” With the Mayor already under pressure to reduce ballooning debt, he will rub his hands at the prospect of a windfall from Waiheke ratepayers.
No, make no mistake about it, this Board is as happy as could be that they have achieved the outcome they desired. They’ll continue to cry crocodile tears for the consumption of their gullible public, spread the blame for the massive loss of ratepayers money on anyone and everyone but themselves, but the plain truth is there for all to see.
Which begs the question, if there are no projects to oversee, no budgets to finance their one expensive project, the school pool, then why are we all paying to have a Local Board at all? Isn’t the Board itself the biggest waste of ratepayers money? Maybe it’s time for a rethink. There’s a review of Council’s structure coming. I can hazard a good guess at the outcome for Waiheke, can’t you?