I thought it might be instructive to see what this Board has done with their discretionary money, bearing in mind all current island projects were put in train and almost completed by the former Board (new community library and Artworks courtyard upgrade; old Oneroa Bowling Club upgrade; fruit tree planting; new bus shelters and footpaths etc. - see the ‘Background’ tab at the top of the home page on this website for a comprehensive list of the former Board’s initiatives)
At the time of the changeover, there was roughly $165,000 left in the pot for the incoming Local Board to spend on discretionary projects under their SLIPs (small local improvements projects) budget. Here's what Waiheke has got for the $110,000 the Board has spent (with a further $55,000 as yet unallocated).
Cost of Board Members’ salaries (6 months) $75,000+
Cost of Board Support - staff and offices (6 months) $500,000+
SLIPs Capital Expenditure (capex)
5 signs at Onetangi Sports Park (average cost $3,000 each) $15,000
Grant to Ngati Poua (no details) $15,000
Walden/Brown ‘slush fund’ for their unsupervised expenditure $ 5,000
SLIPs Operational Expenditure (opex)
Ferry ride junket around the Hauraki Gulf $15,000
Walden/Brown ‘slush fund’ for their unsupervised expenditure $5,000
Grant to two Schools to justify ratepayers’ expenditure on a school pool $25,000
More fruit trees (on top of the thousands of dollars already invested) $20,000
Little Oneroa Beach concept plan $2,180
Rakino Island biosecurity sign $5,000
Water saving brochure (increased budget for WICOSS involvement) $800
Bench for an Oneroa business $170
Funding for Artworks Theatre to hire Theatre Design Consulting services $2000
SLIPs Projects, already approved by the former Board, which were Stopped:
McKenzie Reserve weed control and signage (environment) $17,000
Oneroa street banners (tourism) $7,800
Waiheke Walkways Brochure update (tourism) $8,000
Bus shelter and landing pad Wellington Rd (transport) $17,000 Total $49,800
Former Board policy that was Stopped without consultation:
In response to community feedback, the first Waiheke Local Board fought hard to retain unique parks and walkways signage for Waiheke.
One of the main worries going into amalgamation with the Supercity was that Waiheke’s local identity would be lost as Auckland’s smaller communities were absorbed and regionalised. Therefore, the former Board negotiated and won the right to have our own unique signage; to retain and enhance the difference that is Waiheke - the only Board in the region to successfully do so. The Board then allocated thousands of dollars to this project. Ironically, this was fought every step of the way by green activist Council Parks employee Gary Wilton. It is therefore, very sad to see that this project was one of the first to be ditched by the new Board and Gary Wilton rewarded by having ‘regional’ signage put in our parks and walkways. Could there be a bigger waste of your money? And what unique Waiheke characteristic will be next to go?
Walden, Brown and Ballard have failed to attend all Board meetings.
Treadwell is a persistent latecomer.
Ballard has attended none.
Open Board meetings are now barely an hour long, with limited discussion and debate; Green Party public forum regulars are in hibernation while their party is in control and decisions already made behind closed doors at unreported ‘workshops’.
Value for Money
Chair Walden: Pulling in $52,000 per annum for an estimated 10 hours a week on Board business, compared with the 50+ hours and 7-days/week put in by the former Board Chair Faye Storer, who was paid $10,000/annum less.
Member Ballard. At an estimated one hour per fortnight (her workshop attendance is zilch) she costs the ratepayer around $1,000 an hour
The community, tourism and the environment.
Green Party supporters.