It is interesting to note that this week one of our local papers has an article captioned ‘What needs to happen at Matiatia?’
In your blog dated 3 March 2016 Jo, you questioned the allocation of $50,000 in funding from the local board to Direction Matiatia to develop a spatial plan for Matiatia.
In defence of that allocation then chairman Paul Walden launched a defence of the local board’s decision by claiming that "the money is not being allocated, it is being set aside to pay the group as it requires the funds".
Obviously that allocation wasn’t nearly enough because as you pointed out in your blog dated 26 April of the same year, Direction Matiatia were allocated a further $100,000 from the boards locally driven initiatives (LDI) fund for the 2016/17 financial year.
This, as you pointed out brought the total received by Direction Matiatia to a whopping $150,000. Not bad for a group of locals who have no expertise whatsoever in the area of spatial planning.
To date all we have seen is a short, draft report to the local board dated 25 October 2016. In that report Direction Matiatia stated “We estimate it is possible to have all work completed before the end of March 2017”.
Their proviso that this was subject to being given the go-ahead to start work and the rescheduling of any key meetings should not have been an issue. The go-ahead would have been given when the additional funds were allocated and the rescheduling of any key meetings could have been worked around. One or two rescheduled meetings would not mean everything had to grind to a halt. Any major delays could be put down to a lack of experience or time management skills in respect to Direction Matiatia members.
And now, 8 months on from the presentation of that report, we are informed that a survey asking what developments we would like to see as a part of the Matiatia spatial plan are being canvassed.
According to Direction Matiatia these developments could include facilities for increasing numbers of tourists, more car parking, houses, shops, cafe’s, events, open spaces, centres for visitors and visitor accommodation.
Personally I would like to see a circus. It could provide employment opportunities for many of our local clowns.
Then of course why not extend the brief (future funding possibilities). Direction Matiatia are including the issues of better public transport and park and ride facilities on the island.
If this survey is the ‘interactive online engagement technique designed to understand the priority issues and aspirations of the wider community relating to Matiatia’ referred to in the draft report then Direction Matiatia are a long way from completing a final report. In fact it probably won't be completed until after March 2018.
Of course nothing can be achieved without the approval of the stakeholders Auckland Transport, Panuku Development and Watercare. And that is not a given. In effect Direction Matiatia could spend $150,000+ and achieve nothing.
A classic case of putting the cart before the horse!
This charge to the ratepayer will produce nothing that wasn't already known or is a duplication of any number of earlier reports that provided much of the same information. And this survey will not be coming to a letterbox near you anytime soon. Many residents who don’t read the local rags (for very good reasons), visit the Library, or go to the weekly jumble sale in Ostend won’t even know it’s being conducted.
Putting the whole Matiatia project into perspective is the fact that appearing on the same page as the ‘What needs to happen at Matiatia?’ item is a report on the changes that Auckland Transport will be introducing into Matiatia. Funny that!
Is there no one on Waiheke who knows how to provide leadership and actually lead? A plan after all is all about ‘doing’!
Another of our local papers bemoans the current apathy of the local populace.
In a front page article we are told that Walden is surprised that people are not coming forward with feedback on the proposed local plan.
He quotes as an example the fact that even though the board has included work to achieve a swimming pool, there had been silence.
In the Summary of the draft plan and in relation to the pool it merely states that (the board) will ‘continue to progress development’ and cites a couple of examples of raising funds including a targeted rate.
Well anyone on this island aware of the track record of the previous board, of which Walden was Chair and Meeuwsen a member, will remember their campaign pledge “ a pool within three years”.
Nothing happened! And it’s not going to happen anytime soon!
It should also be remembered that on 27 April 2017 the board had $100,000 within their LDI budget allocated to progress the development of a swimming pool.
That $100,000 from its locally driven initiatives (LDI) fund was in fact the money awarded to Direction Matiatia.
Mr Walden it isn’t apathy. It’s cynicism!
Local resident Roger Hutton asks why there has been nothing done to ease the parking crisis impacting all Waiheke residents despite the Local Board wasting $150,000 on an unqualified lobby group with no expertise in transport planning to come up with a plan for the future of Matiatia.
According to one of the local rags only three people out of a population of nearly 9000 turned up to a Local Board meeting to give ‘feedback’ on its plan. Waiheke Local Board’s plan is to do nothing (see blog Waiheke Board plans to do nothing ). So why is the Chair, Paul Walden, 'surprised' when nobody is interested in a plan that offers no hope, no solutions to pressing problems, and no leadership?
His surprise is probably the most animation seen from Walden in nearly five years of non-performance as a representative of the community. It is also disingenuous. He has said over and over again that his only objective is to turn the clock back thirty years. To this end he doesn’t want any more visitors to come to island and he doesn’t want anything that smacks of progress. He knows that by leaving tracks unmaintained, verges overgrown, public toilets in a disgusting condition, tourist facilities closed (Little Oneroa bridge is still closed nearly a year after his group at the Waste of, sorry Waiheke, Resources Trust declared it unsafe) the result will be to give visitors a bad experience. The impact of this policy is being felt throughout the island as visitor numbers drop, and businesses see takings well down on last year.
All Walden’s energy, such as it is, goes into stopping things happening. His family of vexatious litigants is once again involved in stopping a marina, this time at Kennedy Point. The Walden family name is imprinted on most of the numerous Environment Court cases that have cost Waiheke millions over the last thirty years.
There are always Luddites like the Waldens in any community. They are the do nothing, achieve nothing, lacklustre remnants of yesteryear. If people want to effect change they have to go over the heads of their local politicians and take matters into their own hands. As the Luddites die off things get done. A good example of this is the sealing of Makora Avenue. This has been essential for many years but prevented by a single Luddite homeowner on the road. His departure gave the opportunity for determined residents to go directly to Auckland Transport and get the job done.
Despite the Waldens and their rent-a-mob ilk, the island has continued to grow because inventive entrepreneurs develop vineyards and olive groves, provide restaurants and tour companies, and, above all, provide jobs. In a nutshell, they have vision and offer hope.
Politicians can either facilitate change or put blockages in the way. For many years Waiheke had community boards and a local board that endeavoured to meet the challenges of the future while retaining the island’s unique environment. An example of a local representative who gave his all to achieve this balance was Ray Ericson who died last week. Among the great number of mourners at his funeral yesterday only one member of the current Board was there to acknowledge his pivotal role in the new library, the Artworks development and the retention of land at Matiatia to meet the future needs of the whole community.
It is only when another generation of ‘can do’ residents who care about the future come to the fore to take up civic responsibilities that the island will develop its public facilities to match the private initiatives of its residents. Until then the island will fail to live up to its promise for locals and visitors alike.
The lack of interest in the Board’s plan nevertheless sends a clear message to the Board. We don’t like your plan, we don’t care about your plan, we don’t want your plan. Hopeless representatives lead to hopeless outcomes
Nothing typifies the extravagant waste of ratepayers’ money by Auckland Council more than the exposure on Radion NZ today of a lavish $250 per person, invitation only, lunch laid by Council staff as part of a supposedly public consultation process.
An Auckland Councillor, Fa'anānā Efeso Collins, has written to the CEO of Auckland Council, Stephen Town, demanding to know why $15,000 of ratepayers money has been spent on wining and dining Pacific leaders at an invitation only lunch as part of its ‘public’ consultation process on Easter Trading hours. Councillor Collins has labelled the cost ‘outrageous and a huge cost to the ratepayer at about $250 per attendee, according to a report today on Radio NZ
An Auckland councillor is demanding answers over why $15,000 was spent on an invitation-only lunch to ask Pacific leaders about their views on Easter Sunday trading.
Councillor Collins is to be commended for calling this an outrageous waste of ratepayers’ money. There can be no possible justification for spending on such a lavish scale to feed a few selected ratepayers, especially as this was money allocated as part of its public consultation process.”
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has this to say
Ratepayers have had a bellyful of seeing their money wasted
Questions need to be asked about the judgement of Council staff and Council’s whole approach to public consultation that sees selected groups favoured for special treatment.
If Phil Goff thinks the public will not be outraged when he piles on new taxes, tolls, and unjustified rates rises instead of cutting out the vast amount of waste that is endemic throughout the whole of Council then he needs to think again.
Council staff have recently been harassing Local Boards to provide special funding to its list of favoured groups rather than consult with the public as a whole. The bureaucracy has grown fat on using our money to employ a raft of consultants, advisors, and briefing teams on a whole range of issues. If only they would stick to the basics they would have a mountain of cash. Instead, we’ve all had a gutsfull.
President Trump has made good on his promise to end the greatest scam in world history by pulling the USA out of the Paris Climate Accord and Green Climate Fund. In so doing he is Making America Great Again by putting the interests of the United States first, as any leader of any country should. Unlike so many politicians here and abroad, Trump is proving himself a man of his word and as such is bringing respectability back to politics.
I have long railed against this vast Ponzi scheme established by the United Nations a quarter of a century ago in a bid to redistribute wealth from ‘rich’ nations to ‘poor’ nations. It was never anything to do with science, but such is the global brainwashing that has accompanied this scam through state funded education and the media it is now useless to present the facts.
Trump wisely didn’t bother arguing about the science. Instead he stuck to the terrible consequences faced by the US of upholding the fatal agenda imposed on his country by his treacherous predecessor. Those consequences include millions of job losses, expensive energy production putting the US at a globally competitive disadvantage, environmental pollution on a colossal scale from wind and solar, and a continuation of the debt mountain built by Obama to the cost of America’s next generation.
Here are some quotes from Trump’s address
As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.
The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that.
In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries.
As President, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people. The Paris Accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world. It is time to exit the Paris Accord — (applause) — and time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country.
It takes great courage and fortitude to ‘keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you’ (Kipling). The global climate scam is the ultimate example of people around the world losing their minds over nothing at all. Trump has seen through the scam and has proved his courage by keeping his promises to the American people despite the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth by globalist politicians who thought they were home and hosed in bleeding America dry.
The US is booming under Trump. The Dow Jones is at an all time high, unemployment is the lowest in 14 years, the US is again leading the world in energy production. Trump is living up to his promise to Make America Great Again.
No wonder the public distrusts politicians, especially politicians who make promises in order to get elected and then have no compunction in breaking them at the first opportunity. Yesterday several Councillors who signed the Ratepayers’ Pledge to hold rates rises to no more than 2% voted instead for rates to rise by 2.5% this year. They also voted for an increase in Council wages and introduction of a bed tax, promoted by Desley Simpson of all people, on businesses in order to fund ATEED, a profligate and wasteful Council CCO.
The Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance has issued the following media release.
Councillors break election promises – impose risky hotel tax
The imposition of a dodgy tax that will harm businesses in order to keep ATEED afloat is particularly galling. ATEED wastes more money than most. They pay for their staff to junket at our expense to the Olympics, maintain expensive overseas offices, and have some of the highest number of executives paid over $150,000 pa. There is no evidence that their profligate spending has resulted in any net benefit to Auckland. Instead at the sharp end of their jurisdiction where visitors arrive at the destinations and need local services they have closed nearly all their visitor information offices.
Never once has Goff considered cutting out any wasteful spending in Council, its bureaucracy or its CCOs.
Those Councillors who have sold out Auckland’s ratepayers so they can be in his ‘inner circle’ have betrayed the people they represent.