As if to reinforce the point, one independent candidate was brave enough to post on social media that she had been felt intimidated by current elected members when she handed in her nomination at the local Council service centre. This led to a savage attack against the independent candidate on the island’s rent-a-mob social media page. This has been happening to anyone who opposes the current status quo for many years. Through this and other Facebook pages controlled by rent-a-mob, and they are many, a climate of fear has engulfed the island.
This climate of fear has extended to the Board table. All members of the public who make presentations to our elected representatives have the right to be treated with respect. It might well be the first time any of them have ever spoken in public. They need to be heard with courtesy. Yet, many have come away bruised by their encounter with current Board members and have sworn they will never put themselves through such an experience again. For the first time ever there was no public forum at the July meeting of the Waiheke Local Board. Waiheke, the most vocal and engaged community in Auckland, had been silenced.
Yet there is hope. There is only one way to deal with bullies and that is to stand up to them, but it cannot be done by engaging directly with them on social media. It has to be done in other ways. One of the my main motivations in writing my daily blogs has been to shine a light on the culture of waste, cronyism and bullying that has become a feature of island politics in the last three years. The popularity of the blog speaks for itself.
It is encouraging and remarkable that five independent candidates have put their names forward to stand against the current Board. These people will be aware of the climate of fear, yet have dared to put their heads above the parapet. Good luck to each and every one of them.
I see the current Board has rebranded itself as ‘Waiheke Voice’ and I suppose in a way it is. It is the voice of fear, the voice of bullying, the voice of cronyism, the voice of repression. It is up to you, the readers of my blog, your friends and families, to vote for those seeking to dispel the current climate of fear and replace it with a climate of hope.
Angry John and Chairman Walden fail to uphold basic right to free speech
Marketplace demands removal of Angry John photo