In the twenty years I have been on the island there has been no greater local achievement that deserved acknowledgement than Billie Jordan’s award as New Zealand’s Local Hero. At the very least there should have been a civic reception for Billie and the Crew organised by the Waiheke Local Board for all Waiheke to demonstrate its pride in her and the Crew.
So it was with some dismay that I learned that this second Waiheke Local Board has failed, even at the most modest level of a local board meeting, to acknowledge Billie Jordan’s achievement. For goodness sake, she is not only Waiheke and Auckland’s but also the country’s Local Hero. Could our local board members not have put aside their personal animosity towards Billie and the Crew just for once and done their civic duty on behalf of all of us?
Billie received personal congratulations from Prime Minister John Key, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, Paula Bennett, and a host of other MPs including Maggie Barry, Minister for the Senior Citizen. Mayor of Auckland Len Brown also spoke to Billie at the awards night to express Auckland’s pride in her work.
Contrast this positivity with the negativity locally. From our island MP, hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche, all Waiheke Local Board members and our Councillor Mike Lee there has been not one word of acknowledgment for Billie and the Hip Op-eration Crew and all they have achieved. Billie sees all elected representatives regularly on the ferry yet not one of them has come up to her to say ‘well done Billie and the Crew’. In similar vein all the Gulf ‘Green Taliban’ News could muster was one paltry inset picture and one factually incorrect sentence to report the biggest island achievement in a generation.
Nothing could better illustrate the divide that exists on the island between the positive, forward looking, ‘can do’ members personified by Billie and the Crew, and the negative, whinging, whining retrogressive island Greenies represented by Roche, Lee, Walden, the local board, and island press.
Embarrassed by this lack of respect from our elected representatives a few of us got together yesterday to say a big thank you to Billie and the Crew on behalf of Waiheke. We organised a champagne civic reception of our own certain in the knowledge that we spoke for the positive majority of the Waiheke community.
Nobody has done more than Billie and the Crew to bring international recognition for our city and our island with the consequent flow on effect for tourism and the economy. It was our great pleasure to salute you for all you have done for the young at heart.
Rest assured Billie that the Waiheke community loves you and the Crew.
Roche, Lee, Walden, Ballard, Meeuwsen, Shirin Brown and Treadwell are a disgrace and an embarrassment to us all.