In one breathtakingly inept year this ‘Green Party’ aligned Board has demonstrated it is unfit to be handed any budgets having lost the Waiheke community $12million. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mayor is looking at ways to reduce the burden of Local Boards in general but Waiheke Local Board (WLB) in particular.
The WLB’s financial incompetence can be demonstrated by their treatment of the aptly named, Waiheke Recreation Centre, known locally as the ‘Wreck’ Centre. Many newcomers to the island will not even be aware there is a recreation centre for the use of the community. This is because it is on school grounds and the school controls its use. The community was duped into providing this school facility through its rates and it has been a disaster for ratepayers ever since.
Nevertheless, ratepayers have continued paying for the facility with a $75,000 grant each year. The school contribution to the running of the centre is almost zilch. This particular train wreck might have rolled on for a while but your financially incompetent local board decided to increase the funding for this waste of ratepayers money from $75,000 a year to over $220,000 a year. No mention of that little fact in the paper.
It is not ratepayers who should be funding school facilities, so why did the Board increase the funding you may ask? Because the Board’s power base is in the schools and the schools had to be repaid for helping elect a ‘Green Party’ local board. They must be rueing their backing. All the promises made by this ‘Green Party’ board have come to nothing. No more funding for the school gym and as for the school pool - gone!
It is hardly surprising therefore that when Council was scrutinising WLB’s budget they would not have been impressed that the Board was proposing a whopping 300% increase for a school facility with limited benefit for the ratepayer. The likely outcome will be, quite rightly, that this budget item is removed from their control.
Council must also be eyeing the $1million plus cost of supporting this local board with a jaundiced look. After all the Governing Body can’t have been impressed when WLB decided to cancel the $1.5million budget for projects they had already approved. Slapping the Governing Body in the face might get their attention but for all the wrong reasons. Having awoken their interest I expect the Governing Body will want greater control of spending on Waiheke to stop the gross waste by this wreck of a local board.
Regionalisation continues apace as the Mayor seeks every last penny for his own CRL folly, aided and abetted by the economically illiterate Councillor for the Hauraki Gulf Mike Lee. Lee wants it both ways. He bleats on about that nasty Auckland Council in his mouthpiece, the Gulf (Green Party) News, yet votes for any and every measure to regionalise local board activities and for massive rates increases for Waiheke. One thing you can be sure of, Mike Lee will be there wringing his hands over the loss of local representation but he’ll vote for it anyway.