Over the last three years I have not been idle. I have put the knowledge I acquired as Deputy Chair of the first Waiheke Local Board to good use. Every day of every week, I have devoted hours to writing this daily report on the activities of the Waiheke Local Board and Auckland Council. My objective was to shine a light on their actions. In so doing, I have exposed a culture of waste, lack of transparency and lack of accountability.
Ratepayers deserve to have their hard-earned money spent wisely and not wasted on the junkets, innumerable plans, cronyism and useless infrastructure like the ‘bridle bridge to nowhere’, that have been the hallmark of the last three years.
Just over a year ago, joining with others sharing similar concerns, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance was formed and I became its media spokesperson. None of our small team could have imagined the success it would be. The Alliance now has over 17,000 members and hundreds of volunteers.
We have saved the ratepayers of Auckland millions of dollar by subjecting wasteful Council projects to the media spotlight and causing them to be withdrawn. Our biggest win came this week when Council finally decided to remove the Taniwha Tax from its Unitary Plan, a tax that would have added thousands of dollars to resource consents across the region. It was a victory for ARA, democracy and our sister groups Democracy Action and NZ Taxpayers’ Union.
It is important for the next three years that Waiheke has someone experienced in Local Board and Council matters sitting at the Board table, working with other independent Board members to guide us through the bureaucratic maze to get Waiheke working again. It is only by understanding how Council works that a local board can achieve its goals.
Let’s have a completely new board with five independent members who have the future wellbeing of our community at heart.