And what a lot of milk the Board members have spilt.
They wasted $1.4 million handed to them on a platter by the first Waiheke Local Board because they didn’t want to spend it on the projects for which it was allocated.
Then they lost all the precious money allocated for SLIPs (Small Local Improvement Projects), totalling nearly $1 million a year for the next 10 years, won by the first Waiheke Local Board, because they didn’t understand that small local improvement projects didn’t mean providing themselves with a slush fund or buying themselves a BBQ or taking themselves and their mates on a junket around the Gulf or handing money over for ‘Youth Voice’.
The Board has a reputation for nepotism, cronyism, and not fulfilling its promises. This is a bad look, no doubt about it, but how do you spin it so it looks like it’s all someone else’s fault? You blame the Mayor Len Brown and you muddy the waters.
Brown is an easy target. He’s been an appalling Mayor. Goodness only knows I’ve written about how bad he is many times. But he’s not to blame for the waste of money that has been the hallmark of this Board’s first 18 months.
That leaves muddying the waters and who better to do that than old Muddy Waters herself, editor of the Gulf (Green Taliban) News, Liz Waters.
Let’s take a look at the claims made yesterday.
The Board has lost funding of $660,000 a year.
True, that is the loss of SLIPs funding. Then this astounding claim, “Local Boards will no longer be able to use a Local Driven Initiatives Fund (LDIF) for major new facilities”.
Stop right there. It makes it sound as though the Local Driven Initiatives Fund is the same as SLIPs. It is not, nor can the LDIF be used for funding ‘major new facilities’. The LDIF is for things like local events and community grants which have now been put under one umbrella at an annual budget of around $100k for this Board to waste.
By muddying the waters in this way Chair of the Board, Paul Walden is then allowed to blame the Mayor and Council for all the milk spilt by this Board. No new pool, no footpaths to the schools, no Matiatia masterplan. All the ‘Essentially Waiheke’ Team promises made before this Board was elected are now nothing but a milky mess on the floor.
The petulant schoolboy Walden then cries foul. “What they’re proposing does not accord with the law” (that his bush lawyer Dad speaking), “so they need to allocate a bucket of money to us.” Oh dear, hardly Chair of Local Board material is he?
What does not accord with the law Mr Walden is your board “considering borrowing money from the Council”. Haven’t you learned anything yet? Local boards cannot do that.
The trouble is Mr Walden has had a bucket of money to spend over the last year, nearly a million dollars worth. Easily enough to have built footpaths to the schools or to Matiatia or develop yet another Matiatia masterplan. But no, Mr Walden has chosen instead to spend the money on a vanity project, the Bridle Bridge to Brigadoon, for himself and 15 horse riders from the Riding Club, an outboard motor to be used by the Sea Scouts, a survey on a northern beaches Marine Reserve and yet another to replicate Auckland Transport’s own surveys on the Esplanade, as well as countless other plans, surveys, and consultant’s reports.
Then he bleats “it’s difficult to get Auckland Transport to give any priority to anything other than building roads.” Presumably he has forgotten that a very generous Auckland Transport has given the Board $200,000 a year to spend at its discretion. This, too, could have been used to fund ‘footpaths to the schools’. Indeed such a project was already funded and awaiting completion when this board took office. Instead he has chosen to spend the money on a seawall to enhance the living for down and outs on the Causeway and a bridle path (another one) beside Onetangi Rd from O’Brien Rd to Erua Rd. This virtually completes a bridle path from his Dad’s place to his own.
Walden then says “The latest threat to funding fuels plans to seek an independent council for the island.”
I’m sure by now that you have all figured out where this article in the Green Taliban News was going. Lies, obfuscation and lots of ‘poor me’ designed to fool the ratepayers of Waiheke into thinking it might be a good idea if Waiheke 'goes it alone' with these children in charge.
Imagine for a moment the debt these people would rack up if they were to get anywhere near having their own Waiheke District Council, all paid for by Waiheke ratepayers…and just imagine how they would fritter it away on big salaries for themselves and their mates.
They have given us ample evidence to show we’d all be in drowning in spilt milk.