Commissioner Geoff Dangerfield QSO told the meeting of the decision during his opening remarks. He got as far as telling the audience the OW bid didn’t stack up financially, it would lead to higher rates, and the costs of the transition made the project unviable.
It became impossible for him to elaborate further after Our Waiheke leader and member of the Waiheke Local Board John Meeuwsen, incited his rent-a-mob to hector, heckle and bully the Commissioner into silence. The mob simply weren’t interested in hearing anything further he had to say. Chair of the Commission, Sir Wira Gardiner KNZM, brought the meeting to a speedy conclusion.
It was a shameful exhibition of disrespect for the Commissioners and for due process. The mob were just like petulant children throwing their toys out of the cot because they didn’t get their way. John Meeuwsen, dubbed ‘Angry John’ by a fellow Board member because he is always losing his temper, hurled one last impotent threat at the Commissioners promising to waste even more money (never his own) by seeking legal redress through the courts.
The big question remains - just how many taxpayer and ratepayer dollars has John Meeuwsen and his entourage wasted in what was always a frivolous, badly costed and poorly put together bid for a Unitary Council. My estimate is that the price tag runs into $millions. Any competent person could have done the sums on the back of an envelope to realise the bid just didn’t stack up. See OW’s fairy tale budget.
In the end there was no advantage for Waiheke in de-amalgamation, so the Commissioners opted to retain the status quo. This wise decision means Waiheke has dodged a very expensive bullet.