A proposal to introduce sheep as traffic calming measures, a ban on bacon butties and other looney ideas have the rest of the UK laughing at the Green Republic of Brighton. If you exchange ‘Waiheke’ for ‘Brighton’ in the following extracts from an article in the UK’s Daily Mail you will see the similarities. The big difference is that we are only six months into our own Green government, but similar trends are already emerging.
With the sun shining down on a shimmering sea, children playing on the beach and families thronging its cafes and boutiques, Brighton seems the perfect postcard portrayal of English serenity.
Yes indeed! They’re addicted to protesting. There was the Waiheke Local Board posing for the papers during a protest against their own Council’s road works on Wharf Rd only a couple of weeks ago.
‘Winning was the worst thing possible for them,’ said one opposition councillor privately.
There has been a noticeable deterioration in our streetscapes over the last six months. More rubbish on the side of the road, berms left unmowed, charges by green factions of chemical spraying, environmental projects rejected.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the Green utopia – and the dignity of a proud and successful city – came two months ago when Mr Kitcat proposed a 4.75 per cent council tax increase. Supposedly a response to government cuts, this was interpreted by opponents as an effort to unite his fractious forces. The huge rise required a local referendum, the first since the Coalition Government brought in new rules to protect taxpayers. Yet even holding the vote would have cost at least £300,000.
Interesting that central government in the UK is so concerned about out-of-control councils that they have had to introduce legislation to protect ratepayers. Just wait until we hear the words ‘targeted rate’ to pay for the school pool.
The whole initiative was defeated in the council chamber, leading to deadlock over the budget. Officials warned that a team from Whitehall might have to take over the running of their city.
If any more Waiheke ratepayers money is siphoned off into ‘slush funds’ and Auckland Council fails to act to stop this abuse of power then I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government step in as they did in Rodney.
Others residents I spoke to said the same. And, sure enough, walking back along the main street connecting Brighton with Hove, I found five rough-sleepers on one 200-yard stretch amid the smart cafes, food shops and clothing outlets.
The Causeway has similarly become an attraction for the Auckland regions alternative life-stylers, living rough in boats, under trees, in the backs of trucks.
Not so bohemian: Although seen as a city of tolerance, Brighton's patience with the Greens is running out
How true. I visited Brighton two years ago and was astounded by the cost of parking - $40 for two hours in the city centre. We were planning to spend the day there but at that price two hours taking in the main attractions was it. We spent nothing on eating, drinking or shopping. Perhaps our Board can learn from Brighton Council in their stated efforts to get rid of tourists and turn the clock back 50 years.
Contempt is growing for mainstream politics and, on the eve of local elections next month, voters must question if they really want more of these alternative protest politicians actually taking office.
Couldn't have put it better myself.