The statement either means the Chair, Paul Walden, is a man of such outstanding influence that he can bring together forces over which, on the surface, he has no control or it means he’s setting up a huge excuse for the plan's eventual failure.
Before I examine the statement I want ratepayers to realise the importance of the plan. In the four years since amalgamation my rates have gone up from around $2000pa to over $3000pa, a 50% increase. This is about average for Waiheke and represents around 10% of the median household income before tax of Waiheke ratepayers. As someone else is spending 10% of my hard earned cash I would hope they are spending it wisely and prudently. Alas not! I have already blogged that the plan is long on plans and short on delivering tangible benefits to the community.
Given the importance of the Plan I would have thought that copies of the draft would be readily available. I remember boxes full of the former board’s draft plans being there for the taking. After all it’s not the easiest exercise to read it on line. So I went to the Service Centre to pick up a copy not thinking for a moment that I wouldn’t get one. However, they looked at me as if I was from the planet Zog. They didn’t have a copy and weren’t really aware that such a beast existed. How’s that for open and transparent democracy for you. A Board that says it wants the community’s participation but then makes it as hard as possible for you to engage.
So it was back to the online version where I read this statement, “To successfully deliver on this plan we need to work together – Council, central government, businesses, community organisations and residents.”
Now I am well aware of the Chair’s delusions of grandeur, but surely even his ego doesn’t extend to believing he can bring central government to the table to make his plan work. I rather think they’ve got better things to do. His influence in Council is minor at best, and he has zero influence on local businesses; after all why would they listen to a failed business owner.
The corollary to the statement must be that in order to NOT deliver on the plan it must be someone else’s fault – yours, mine, Council’s, business or central government, but certainly not his or his mates on the Board, because ‘we’ didn’t make it work. Now there’s leadership for you. This is a man who recently told a meeting to discuss the draft plan that the island’s children don’t aspire to further education when they leave school. With no qualifications of his own and low expectations of the island’s offspring, maybe he also has low expectations for his plan. The whiff of failure is already in the air.