Featured post


A Waiheke Island Myth Part 1 On Waiheke Island, New Zealand, a myth has grown up among a handful of people in the Rocky Bay Village th...

Follow Waiheke Notes by email

Saturday, 1 March 2008


In the editorial in Gulf News (Thursday the 28th of February 2008), Simon Johnston dismissed as an 'unwanted distraction' the growing petition to apply to the Local Government Commission to transfer the Hauraki Gulf Islands to the Thames-Coromandel District Council. He also called it a 'wild-card' scenario, in spite of the fact that it is a lawful, democratic process that has been available in the Local Government Act to any qualifying group of New Zealanders since 2002.

His editorial was disappointing, not one of his best.

He was not correct to call me a man on a mission, because in law everyone who signs the petition is a co-proposer, so there are hundreds of men and women on the same mission.

He is wrong in saying that the 'powers that be in Thames-Coromandel made it clear that I had not been invited to make the presentation' to them on the 27th. Where did he get that from? Wicked & Weak (aka Waiheke Week)? But if that were true, why do I have an emailed invitation from the mayor, why did they choose to put me first on the agenda when they had a long list of people who wanted to speak, and why was I received in such a friendly way?

He can have great faith in the Royal Commission, and hope that everyone will sing the same
song to it (as John Banks does), and there is no doubt at all that they are good people, but they will not be running the new structure. That will be the same sort of minds as run it now; it will have at least as big a bureaucracy, probably bigger; and being a city will still have as little understanding of islands as the existing one. It does not matter how many checks and balances are put into the law the new Auckland can always ignore them. It does now with the Local Government Act 2002. Take the excellent principles in section 14, for instance. But Thames-Coromandel does not ignore them. It deliberately grounds its debates on them.

It would be helpful if he would read the PDF booklet available from the Local Government Commission because he would then understand the process, and realise that I am tracking down the railway lines of law available to any citizen. It just happens to have been me that stumbled across them, thanks to the mayor of Thames-Coromandel, and decided to do something about it. The community boards on the islands should remember that they have sworn to uphold that law and stop treating as despicable a part of it they do not agree with.

Simon wants us to put all our eggs in one basket. Two is more prudent. We are more likely to get what we want.

The outcome of the Royal Commission is uncertain. With the Local Government Commission we can see in advance exactly what we will get, because the reorganisation proposal will be published and open. The LGC will then say one of two things: yes or no. And it has one over-riding criterion: good local government.