Regular guest blogger Jerry Flay takes a look at the performance of the Waiheke Local Board now they've been in office nearly six months. He contrasts their per-election rhetoric with what they are saying now and therein discovers a mystery.
Jerry also administers a Facebook page, the Other Waiheke community page, which encourages constructive debate.
In the classic short story Silver Blaze, fictional detective Sherlock Holmes remarks to his trusty sidekick Dr Watson on the curious incident of the dog in the night.
Well known for making a racket at every available opportunity, the dog had, it turned out, remained obdurately silent whilst thieves had been making off with the aforementioned Silver Blaze, a famous racehorse.
They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and in creating a parallel between Holmes’ observation, and the current silence of our Local Board, they might well be right.
Hitherto famed for their cacophonous outpourings of bilious venom, their salivatingly, seductive promises, and their ability to pop up on social media like so many rabbits from a hat, they have, not to put too fine a point on it, gone to ground, like so many British badgers who have just read Badger Weekly and realised their Sett is in this week’s culling zone.
Why, not six months ago, the fragrant Ms Ballard was babbling like the brook about bathing facilities for all. And now? Not a squeak, silent as a doll.
Beatle Treadwell, who swore so passionately to do her best for Waiheke has perhaps recognised that silence and inactivity maybe her best chance of delivering on that promise.
What a pair they make, those two; one delivering babies, the other rearing them with gusto. It would be easy to explain their apparent lethargy for local affairs as simply not practical given their other commitments, but they both avowed these would not hinder them. Curious.
And then there is the man affectionately known as Waffling John, so called after a lifetime’s service of pointless and obscure committees deprived him of the ability to speak factually and briefly. He has quickly slipped back to a level of anonymity more usually associated with someone whose surname is desperately difficult to pronounce accurately.
But these are mere bit part players. We, in truth, expected little of them, and as such our expectations were well founded.
So on to the leaders, those whose remuneration levels surely demand at least a cursory bark or two as the shadows lengthen?
Shirin Brown, it must be said, does make the occasional appearance on her beloved WIPP Facebook page, although in an entirely private capacity. Anything to do with official council business she urges be sent by email to her official council email address, which messages she no doubt prints off and uses to populate the official leather council briefcase of which she is so proud.
But has she turned Waiheke into a haven for sustainophiliacs as she indicated was her avowed intent? To be a pilgrim for environmental matters? No. She has, I understand, attended a number of workshops, guided carefully by her handlers from Auckland Council, where she has been able to seek public wisdom as the answers to the questions which trouble her so. But what has she actually done for us? Unlike the case of her Pythonesque forbears the Romans, sadly the crowd must answer nothing.
Finally we turn to the most strident of all, our dear leader. What an inspiration he was to us all as he bestrode the stage of the Morra Hall like some colossus of modern local politics, declaring in Churchillian tones that he had “had enough”.
How disappointing he chose not to clarify that he referred to the cooked breakfasts responsible for his ever burgeoning waistline. How ironic that this phrase is at the forefront of the minds of so many of his erstwhile supporters when they now consider his brief but entirely impotent tenure as Board Chair, a chair he has already vacated on occasion.
True, he has spent like a prodigal. The Junket springs to mind. But his failure to triumphally crow about the globally beneficial outcomes of his boat trip suggest that in terms of positive material outcome, it shares much with another disastrous maiden voyage, that of the Titanic.
So it is curious, this silence. Could it be that collectively they now realise there is much more to the business of local government than vapour and rhetoric? Has some criminal mastermind, a Moriarty of the Waitemata, led them like lambs to the slaughter? Would this explain the silence of the lambs?
In Silver Blaze, it transpires that the dog was silent because the criminal who stole the horse was none other than its master. Is there some deeper force at work here? Are the board silent lest they disturb the arcane plotting of their puppeteer?
Conspiracy theorists would make much of it. They might point to the plunging rankings of a politician who appears to have been written off by party leaders as an electoral liability, preparing the way for a return to more junior responsibilities.
They might even go so far as to suggest that attempts to hinder the future of Onetangi Sports Park, thus improving the chances of adjacent land for being rezoned and subdivided, have been laid bare for all to see, and in so doing wrecked the masterplan which drove the entire campaign to get elected in the first place.
Impossible, do I hear you say? No, as Holmes would have pointed out, merely improbable.
No matter, truth will out. But it is curious, this deafening wall of silence, from such a previously chattery bunch. A most curious incident indeed.
Several commentators have asked me to publish their blogs on my site. The blogs on this page are not my own nor do they necessarily reflect my views. However, I do believe there is a need for a place where differing voices to those allowed in the local media can be expressed.