A proposal to introduce sheep as traffic calming measures, a ban on bacon butties and other looney ideas have the rest of the UK laughing at the Green Republic of Brighton. If you exchange ‘Waiheke’ for ‘Brighton’ in the following extracts from an article in the UK’s Daily Mail you will see the similarities. The big difference is that we are only six months into our own Green government, but similar trends are already emerging.
With the sun shining down on a shimmering sea, children playing on the beach and families thronging its cafes and boutiques, Brighton seems the perfect postcard portrayal of English serenity.
Yes indeed! They’re addicted to protesting. There was the Waiheke Local Board posing for the papers during a protest against their own Council’s road works on Wharf Rd only a couple of weeks ago.
‘Winning was the worst thing possible for them,’ said one opposition councillor privately.
There has been a noticeable deterioration in our streetscapes over the last six months. More rubbish on the side of the road, berms left unmowed, charges by green factions of chemical spraying, environmental projects rejected.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the Green utopia – and the dignity of a proud and successful city – came two months ago when Mr Kitcat proposed a 4.75 per cent council tax increase. Supposedly a response to government cuts, this was interpreted by opponents as an effort to unite his fractious forces. The huge rise required a local referendum, the first since the Coalition Government brought in new rules to protect taxpayers. Yet even holding the vote would have cost at least £300,000.
Interesting that central government in the UK is so concerned about out-of-control councils that they have had to introduce legislation to protect ratepayers. Just wait until we hear the words ‘targeted rate’ to pay for the school pool.
The whole initiative was defeated in the council chamber, leading to deadlock over the budget. Officials warned that a team from Whitehall might have to take over the running of their city.
If any more Waiheke ratepayers money is siphoned off into ‘slush funds’ and Auckland Council fails to act to stop this abuse of power then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government step in as they did in Rodney.
Others residents I spoke to said the same. And, sure enough, walking back along the main street connecting Brighton with Hove, I found five rough-sleepers on one 200-yard stretch amid the smart cafes, food shops and clothing outlets.
The Causeway has similarly become an attraction for the Auckland regions alternative life-stylers, living rough in boats, under trees, in the backs of trucks.
Not so bohemian: Although seen as a city of tolerance, Brighton's patience with the Greens is running out
How true. I visited Brighton two years ago and was astounded by the cost of parking - $40 for two hours in the city centre. We were planning to spend the day there but at that price two hours taking in the main attractions was it. We spent nothing on eating, drinking or shopping. Perhaps our Board can learn from Brighton Council in their stated efforts to get rid of tourists and turn the clock back 50 years.
Contempt is growing for mainstream politics and, on the eve of local elections next month, voters must question if they really want more of these alternative protest politicians actually taking office.
Couldn't have put it better myself.
The Waiheke Local Board has pulled funding of over $200k budgeted for a boat ramp on the north side of Waiheke next year and is seeking to shuffle the money into its own pockets instead as additional ‘discretionary’ funds. If approved by the Governing Body this will mean the Board will have over $600k of capital funding to spend.
The residents of the northern beaches, who’ve been waiting for a boat ramp for over ten years, will be very disappointed. They must know now a boat ramp on the northern side will never happen. What residents of the northern beaches will get instead is the first stake in the ground for a northern side marine reserve. The Board is proposing to erect conservation signage at Sandy and Enclosure Bays. Why those particular beaches and not others? What conservation issue is there at these locations except for the desire of a few to have a marine reserve there?
If the Keep Our Beaches campaign thought the issue had gone away they need to think again.
And where will the $600k of ‘discretionary’ funding be heading? Most likely on a school pool.
The Board may have abandoned the proposed grab of $1.4 million already budgeted for projects in the first local board plan to gift to Council as a ‘sweetener’ for a community swimming pool but they are gathering as much as they can from all sorts of budgets to spend, I can only surmise, on a swimming pool on Ministry of Education land i.e. a school pool.
It’s been three months since the Waiheke Local Board gave $25,000 of ratepayer’s money to Waiheke High School Board of Trustees, headed by John Stansfield, partner of hard left Green list MP Denise Roche, with no accountability to ratepayers whatsoever, to ‘investigate’ a school pool. What has happened to this money? Apart from a survey on Facebook, which costs nothing, and which most of the community will be unaware of, there appears to have been no action.
Given the lack of accountability and transparency displayed by this Board it’s likely we’ll never have the answers.
I went to the 11am Anzac Day Service at the RSA in Ostend as I do every year to pay my respects to our war heroes and all those who have given service for their country. There was a good turnout despite the ominous rumbling of thunder in the background.
Maybe it was prescient because, before the service got under way, I became aware of hard left Green Party List MP Denise Roche at my shoulder. She started whispering in my ear comments she thought would hurt me like, “You’re sick Jo Holmes” and “What does it feel like being ex Deputy Chair of the Local Board.” In turn I expressed my surprise at seeing her there when her Green Party local convenor had disgraced the Green Party with his anti war hero comments.
This is not the first time she has tried to bully me. I can only think that she continues with this undignified behaviour because she is afraid people are taking notice of this blog, otherwise why would she bother. She belittles herself and her party every time she indulges in these silly playground games.
Contrast this with the catch up I had at the RSA afterwards with Labour MP Jacinda Ardern. She is a hard working, gracious MP who had already been to services in Auckland before coming to Waiheke. She asked how life was treating me and I was able to say how much I was enjoying my new role as a blogger: small talk but very pleasant. I wished her well.
Labour doesn’t need to associate itself with the sort of hard left politics represented by the Greens. My advice would be to ditch them before their poison seeps into the fabric of Labour. They’re nothing more than a millstone round Labour’s neck.
I've pointed out before that the Board was planning a 'slush fund' but thought they'd think better of the idea. Now the minutes of the last Board meeting reveal the following astonishing resolution was passed. The Board:
“f) Approves a “Quick Response Fund” of $5,000 Opex and $5,000 Capex from 2013/2014 SLIPs Budgets for small projects that do not require scoping, with approval delegated to the Chair and Deputy Chair noting approved projects will be reported back to the following month’s Board meeting.”
What?! The Chair and Deputy Chair now keep $10k of ratepayers’ money in the ‘top drawer’ for their unsupervised expenditure on small local projects of their own choice!
Since when has a SLIPs (Small Local Improvements) project ‘not required scoping’ by Council officers? Scoping (basically the investigation of what’s required to deliver a specific project) is required as a safeguard to ensure value-for-money for ratepayers, Council’s financial transparency and accountability, and stop elected members from being accused of misappropriating ratepayers’ money to spend on themselves, their families, friends, political party or whatever.
What’s more, this resolution means that these decisions will be made by the Chair and Deputy alone. The other three Board members ‘approval’ is not required. They will not be consulted. They will not be involved in the decisions. There will be no majority vote. The other three Board members will simply be reported to after the event. They have no say.
First of all, shame on Meeuwsen, Ballard and Treadwell for permitting this travesty of a resolution to go through. Were they asleep at the time? Or is this ostensibly a two person Local Board? Are the other members now surplus to requirement? Not being familiar with the democratic process and democratic principles is clearly showing up when this Board says it is OK to have $10k of someone else’s money simply on-hand to pay out for projects that have no stated parameters and no checks and balances. Will this $10k find its way to the schools as well?
This action makes a mockery of there being any transparency or accountability into how the public’s money is being spent. What it demonstrates is two members of the Board are out of control – literally. There is no reason why any worthy SLIPs project can’t go through the proper process and Council needs to clamp down on this loose practice right now – before the $ numbers are in the tens or hundreds of thousands.
Get it together guys! You’re increasingly looking like watermelons - green on the outside but red as red on the inside.
The gale lashing Auckland hit Waiheke hard overnight. Fire engines rushed to Onetangi where a tree had fallen across the road closing it just after the bend at the end of the straight.
Early power outages in Oneroa were fixed quickly in time for Thursday trading.
According to the Herald the worst will be over by mid-morning.
The wild weather would peak in Auckland around mid-morning before sinking down to central New Zealand by this afternoon and this evening.
Don't forget to watch the total eclipse of the moon tonight. It starts around 6pm and can be seen best from an eastern facing beach or high point. It will be one of four blood moons in the next two years. There will be six full moons between each eclipse over the next two years.
It will be visible around New Zealand from 6pm when the Moon starts to move into the Earth's shadow and will be completely within the shadow by 7.06pm. Maximum eclipse would be at 7.46pm and totality would end at 8.23pm.
This was posted 4 hours ago through Yahoo.
Tonight, if the weather is clear, favorably placed skywatchers will have a view of one of nature's most beautiful spectacles: a total eclipse of the moon.
You hear it over and over again, “I don’t care whether the Mayor has extra-marital affairs, what I can’t stand is that he promotes himself as a family man with family values. It’s the hypocrisy I hate.” Now there’s a study about politicians in the US that shows corruption is worse than cheating but hypocrisy is worse than both as far as the public is concerned.
I agree. Hypocrisy is a maddening trait. When a person is shown to be a hypocrite it demonstrates, better than in any other way, that such a person is not to be trusted. You can bet your bottom dollar if they’re shown to be hypocritical in one area of their lives then they’ll be so in others. So it is with the Mayor. Without a real life moral compass to guide him, as opposed to the fake one he displays in public, he lacks the judgement and self-restraint to stop himself having affairs and can’t recognise that using ratepayers money for personal purposes is wrong.
It’s amazing how many God fearing politicians show similar traits and end up being exposed as morally bankrupt. So much so that when I hear a politician claim he is a god-fearing, family man my first reaction is to wonder how many affairs he’s conducting. My second reaction is to wonder how many people he has shafted by leaving bad debts. Moral and financial corruption, it would appear, go hand in hand.
A further reaction is to wonder if such a person is a sociopath. This reaction comes from an observation that many men in positions of power are charming on the outside but emotionally shallow. However, they know only too well how to be cunning and manipulative. A recent article in the Daily Telegraph tells of a new psychological assessment that has been developed to determine whether someone is a psychopath, an extreme of being a sociopath. Traits of a psychopath/sociopath include those already mentioned plus some others such as: a grandiose sense of self worth, a tendency to boredom, impulsivity. Have a look at the article and apply it to certain local politicians. I think you’ll find it illuminating.
All in all, it’s wise to remain immune to outward charm and sceptical of claims of moral purpose, especially when that person is a politician. It’s no surprise such emperors are likely to be exposed for not wearing any clothes.
To add to the Walden and Brown ‘slush fund’ I wrote about yesterday, Walden is also proposing ratepayers money be spent on a ‘parks volunteers kit’. Looking at what’s required for this kit, a galvanised trailer, a marquee, a bbq and gas bottle, chilli bin etc (don’t you love the etc.) I doubt there’ll be much change out of $10k.
This raises lots of questions:
He’s also asking for money for a washdown area at the Ostend Causeway hardstand, though why ratepayers money is needed to provide such a facility isn’t explained. Again, I don’t recall the Boat Club making any representation for this facility, although it is rumoured that Walden keeps at least two of his boats there.
To pay for these extravagances other projects have been stopped including the Oneroa Street Banners. These were a great success for the 2012/13 tourist season and gave an uplift to the Oneroa streetscape during Sculpture on the Gulf. They were requested by Oneroa business owners who have told me of their disgust that this project was stopped at the eleventh hour by the incoming Board.
Ratepayers are always suspicious of corruption. Therefore they expect a high level of accountability for how their rates are being spent. Their hackles have been raised during this second term of the Auckland Council by the behaviour of the Mayor. As someone reminded me yesterday, a fish rots from the head. If the mayor can get away with using ratepayers money for himself on personal ‘gyms’ and hotel expenses for nefarious activities then is it surprising that this ‘ethic’ permeates throughout the organisation.
Air New Zealand has taken possession of its first Dreamliner Boeing 787. A reader of this blog sent me a youtube video of a 787 takeoff from the flight simulator. It's interesting, especially the avionics. I hope you enjoy it.
The doors have closed on the outstanding Waiheke Vintage Festival. It has surely been one of the most successful events ever staged on Waiheke.
It has brought over thousands of visitors, advertised our wine industry far and wide and hopefully will be repeated next year and every year. That might be a big ask considering the amount of work that has gone into making it so outstanding, but Waiheke has shown it can showcase internationally renowned events like Sculpture on the Gulf on a regular basis, so here's hoping.
The only sour note was the lack of support from our Local Board, but that was to be expected from a Board that only wants ‘sustainable’ visitors, whatever they are.
What this Festival shows is just how irrelevant Waiheke Local Board has made itself. It simply don’t matter in the wider scheme of things. Yes, it can make things harder for the island to thrive, but Waiheke has resilient, innovative business people who just ‘make it happen’. Thank goodness for the brave business people of this world.