Right on cue this week's Marketplace and Gulf News showed a stony-faced Waiheke Local Board and a few sycophants protesting about Auckland Transport’s road works on Wharf Rd as predicted in my blog Board Protest Pure PR a few days ago. Naturally the mythical Board member Becs Ballard was not amongst them, though amazingly Treadwell, late for most Board meetings, managed to get there on time.
Ballard's attendance as a member of the Board is a rarity, particularly at workshops where most the Board’s decisions are actually made. She has attended the sum total of zero. To bring her up to speed Walden was seen having an intense tête-à-tête with her prior to last week’s meeting. But I digress…
The picture and story were by Diana Worthy, Green Party PR writer who moonlights at the Waiheke Marketplace. Liz Waters published the story in her blog The Gulf (aka Green Party) News.
After six months in office the Board should have developed a working relationship with the AT team tasked with road maintenance on Waiheke. The AT team has very experienced, well qualified road engineers as well as environmental consultants to draw on. They have done three major roading upgrades close to wetlands in the last three years – all having been peer reviewed for environmental impact, all in consultation with the previous Board. They know what they’re doing. Instead, the Board chose to listen to the unqualified Tony King-Turner ramble on, in his addled-brained way, about berms and soft impact design. What he lacks in coherence he makes up for in verbiage.
The consultation process should have entailed AT meeting with the Board Transport Spokesperson, Shirin Brown, and any other Board member interested in their road maintenance plans, to iron out any issues before the work started. To claim, as she does in the one paper, that the Board has not been consulted, if true, which I doubt, can only be her own fault. Brown handed over the Wharf Rd plans to King-Turner, well know as the island’s trafficker in Green Party mischief, at a meeting many weeks ago so we know she had access to them and that, for their part, Auckland Transport were forthcoming.
There can be one reason, and one reason only, why the Board protested when the works were all but complete. They needed the publicity. For them protesting is a way of life. It worked well a ploy to oust the former Board. So when the chips are down, as they are now that questions are being asked about 'slush funds' and lack of accountability for grants to their mates, what better way to show your followers that you are ‘on the job’ than another pointless, fruitless protest. They were quite properly ignored by AT, who must be thinking they’re got a laughing stock of a Board to work with. They’d be right.
It’s a tragedy really. A good working relationship with such an important CCO as Auckland Transport is essential to achieve better roading, more footpaths and other transport infrastructure. Sadly, our Board members have no experience in building trust within organisations. In reality they don’t care anyway. Their objective is to turn the clock back fifty years to a mythical Walden childhood dream of a simpler, fundamentally Christian, way of life, as he was so fond of telling those of us on the former Board.
Take note Waiheke, voting for the Green Party would as much a tragedy for the country as it is for already for Waiheke.
To paraphrase that other Tragedy Macbeth, “it was a protest full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”