The last Waiheke Local Board (WLB) meeting was held on 22nd May. It was four weeks since the previous meeting, although official minutes of the WLB state the meetings will be fortnightly and gives the dates. People turned up on the 7th May for a Board meeting to find no-body around. Apparently, it was cancelled but who knew? See my blog
The schedule of the Board’s business meeting dates is set 12 months ahead of time. This gives the public some certainty. There’s been nothing in the official agenda to say that schedule has changed leaving me wondering what’s going on.
This Local Board is big on using social media for its communications. According to the Waiheke Local Board Facebook page, their next meeting is this coming Thursday 12th June, three weeks after the last meeting, but the link to the agenda and minutes of the Board leads nowhere. Also, on Auckland Council’s official site, there is no WLB agenda. Yet these have to be promulgated, according to ‘standing orders’ (Council’s own guidelines), at least three days in advance of a meeting, so that the public has at least a crack at knowing what’s going on and can make their views known by making submissions at public forum.
So we who pay the bills (the ratepayers of Waiheke), are left not knowing when the next WLB meeting is actually going to be.
Confused? You should be. I think an explanation is called for, especially as this bunch of Essentially undemocratic Waihekeans twittered and complained loud and long about the so-called lack of accountability of the last Local Board – whose transparency and accountability were, in fact, exemplary.
So why might this situation have arisen? There are three possible explanations:
- The kindest interpretation of this basic lack of accountability and shilly-shallying around is that the new Board simply doesn’t know what it’s doing.
- Next, it could be that they’ve blown their WLB budget for the year by holding fortnightly meetings instead of the usual monthly ones. No other local or community board on Waiheke (or probably around the region) has ever found it necessary to hold more than one business meeting a month. Holding twice monthly meetings requires twice the officer time and support and puts pressure on all Council departments responding to the Board.
- Perhaps they’d prefer that no-one knows when the meetings are, so they’re not bothered by members of the public who might ask awkward questions, especially if they’ve read the agenda and are keeping track of the Board’s activities.
Don’t you just love this Green Party interpretation of open and accountable local government. They shout about democracy, but once in the driving seat, they clam up and act like a dictatorship. I’ll say it again - what is the Green Party but a lot of watermelons – green on the outside and deep red on the inside, undemocratic to the core.