SLIPs is what successive Waiheke Community Boards and the first Local Board used to build infrastructure around the island including: playgrounds, bus shelters, footpaths, parks and community facilities upgrades, walkways, weed control, planting, toilets, the Around Waiheke Walkway, the Onetangi Rd footpath, higher service levels and so much more – all the additional assets needed to underpin the economic future of the island and establish its community character.
This loss is ON TOP OF the $2million of capital projects I have already informed you about through my blogs. So, in one breathtakingly incompetent year, Board Chair Paul Walden and his ‘Green’ cohorts who comprise the 5 member Waiheke Local Board have lost this community $12 million. That’s the lion’s share of the annual rates paid by Waiheke ratepayers. Given that Waiheke rates have risen by 10% pa for the last four years and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future, the combined loss is a disaster for the island.
The Board has no-one to blame but themselves. No amount of pointing the finger at the Mayor, councillors and bureaucracy will change the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing. They have not understood one of the most fundamental tenets of local government – ‘use it or lose it’. As I have documented over the last ten months in various blogs, this new Board entered their term on an ‘anti’ ticket. In a fit of pique, they called a halt to the already approved and fully funded projects they inherited from the highly successful first Waiheke Local Board. They postured and mucked about; didn’t spend the budgets they had; wasted money on paybacks, picnics and planning and believed they had an endless amount of time to play at being politicians. So it can have come as no surprise that a cash-strapped Mayor Brown has now taken all future budgets away from them.
You’d think local Councillor Mike Lee could have given his mates some guidance about how the system worked, but then again maybe not. Mike has never worked at the local level. He has proved himself to be economically illiterate and narrowly focussed on regional transport. He must take the blame for bankrupting Auckland through his support for the CRL.
Here’s what our long time Councillor for the Hauraki Gulf, and Chair of the successful first Waiheke Local Board, Faye Storer, had to say when asked by the Gulf News for a valedictory statement in October last year.
'This has been a great three years for the first ever Waiheke Local Board.
We've set up the systems, gained the budgets and delivered more projects
than any other local board in the region.
We'll watch with interest as to how the new Board gets on and hope they
don't stuff it up'.