The public has yet to see the APR Consulting report referred to above despite Official Information Act (LGOIMA) requests that have been met with obfuscation and secrecy from the WLB and Auckland Council. Walden tried to by-pass due process by handing over the money a year ago to the schools’ Boards of Trustees, led by John Stansfield partner of hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche. Walden is again trying to by-pass public accountability for ratepayers money by using the same mechanism, a Notice of Motion (NoM) on the agenda of today’s WLB meeting.
The whole process is shrouded in secrecy. To date there has been no evidence to accompany either NoM that says the schools have even resolved that they want a school pool. There has been no evidence supplied to the public as to where the money is coming from to build and maintain any ‘potential’ school pool built on Ministry of Education land. The Ministry of Education has washed its hands of swimming pools precisely because they are expensive to build and maintain and are not within most schools budgets. What is clear is that a school pool is not the responsibility of the ratepayer who will have limited or no access to the pool. Yet, despite this, Walden has so far wasted $25,000 and wants to waste $25000 more on reports from a Rotorua based agency that have worked closely with the Green Party. Requests have been made to see the invoices from this agency so the public can know if all the money has been spent on the report of some syphoned off elsewhere.
This time Walden is trying to kill two birds with one stone by making the Waiheke Recreation Centre (school gym) Trust rather than the schools' Boards of Trustees the fall guy for the money. Under the guise of the school gym falling into disrepair because the Board has failed to deliver the $200,000 per annum they promised the Trust in the draft local board plan, the Board now wants to use what’s left of SLIPs money to help fund maintenance of the school gym and plan for a school pool. From the end of June they have lost the $1million a year SLIPs budget won for Waiheke by the first Waiheke Local board and so are keen to spend what is left to help the schools. Whether or not they want that help, who knows?
There is an air of desperation in this NoM. The WLB is running out of money – fast. Despite all the promises they made to the schools to fund the school gym and school pool they simply don’t have any. And maybe that’s as it should be. Ratepayers money should not be used to fund Ministry of Education facilities. That is a taxpayer function. Walden has consistently failed to represent the ratepayer when it comes to spending their money.
Imagine how it would be if this WLB decides to ‘go it alone’. I know. Too horrible to contemplate isn’t it. Look at how much they have cost the community already through mis-management, lack of accountability, secrecy, cronyism and endless waste of ratepayers money on ‘plans’, ‘concepts’, ‘drawings’. If you think rates are bad now they would go through the roof.