by Ray T'Paya
Experiments are usually conducted in a controlled environment. To prevent things getting out of control, becoming disasters even.
So too it seems is the business of local government these days. Especially on Waiheke. It turns out that if you want to discuss anything even vaguely contentious with a Local Board member, then seek a private meeting. Because they sure as heck won't give you any answers in a public forum.
In fact it now appears to be semi-official policy for the Local Board to direct all questions which might not toe the party line to private, on-on-one unwitnessed meetings.
At this week's Market, for example, designated an official, yet casual, public consultation forum, a number of questions were asked of the Chair.
He immediately redirected these to a future private meeting.
It would be easy to draw a range of conclusions from this:
1.That the members themselves have no answers and must obtain these from higher powers first before passing them on the hapless ratepayers.
2.That the members are so worried about the consequences of answering truthfully in public that they are forced to offer the truth only in a private, unwitnessed environment which can be subsequently denied
3.That the members are not really interested in the concerns of ratepayers, and hope that through obfuscation and delay they will simply go away.
Of course, only a cynic would reach such conclusions. Doubtless there are much more palatable explanations. Interestingly, none actually spring to mind, but of course they must exist. Mustn't they?
Why, otherwise, one might be led to believe the Board is a dictatorial, self serving and wholly opaque group. Which, of course, surely cannot be the case. Can it?
After all, they swept to power on a platform of transparency and of accountability. I mean, we all know that power corrupts, but surely it takes more than 3 months to do so. Well perhaps not. Who knows?
But a word to the wise. If you need to know the time, don't bother asking a Board member. Because they'll only tell you next Tuesday, round the back of the bike sheds, when there's no-one else around.
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.