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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

REPLY TO GRAHAM HOOPER'S ACCUSATIONS

Oh, please, Graham Hooper! There is not a word of truth in your letter [Gulf News, page 13 of the issue dated the 14th of August 2008]. I most certainly did not promise to lower the rates and stop people building on ridge-lines. That is your invention.

In my election flyer I promised this: 'If you elect me I will defend the island to the hilt, I will give the job 200%, I will not stand for any nonsense, and I will strive not to waste a dollar of your rates.'

In the declaration that I made under statute at my swearing-in I promised to act 'faithfully and impartially... to the best of my skill and judgement... in the best interests of the Waiheke community... according to the Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987...'.

In the LGA2002 there is a process by which New Zealanders can apply to the Local Government Commission to get the best available local government. Thames-Coromandel provides much better local government than Auckland City. That can be proved beyond all doubt. I am therefore keeping my statutory promise.

But I must confess that there is one promise I am not keeping. I am not giving 200%. I am giving far more. My profuse apologies! I'll check into Paremoremo tomorrow.

In future, Graham, stick to the truth. Stop attacking a 'Nobilangelo' of your own making. He is not me, and never will be.

And, please, stop being wilfully blind to the best and supporting the worst.

Finally, to you, Graham, and to all those who say that I should have stood for the election on a plank of going in with Thames-Coromandel, I would say first that no one knows in advance all that he will do or might do, so it is ridiculous to expect me to. It is true that I had thought of Thames-Coromandel early in 2007, because it seemed on the face of it a nice idea, but it was not till after the election that I thought of actually trying it (on November the 5th to be precise) and even then I did not know it was possible, because I, like everyone else on the island, thought a referendum was needed. I did not know that buried way down in Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002 was the simple process by which a potential move could be initiated--i.e., that an application could be made to the Local Government Commission to swap councils if a petition from at least 10% of registered electors could be gathered.

That I did not find out till Philippa Barriball, the mayor of Thames-Coromandel, wanted me to find out the legal mechanics of a move and referred me to the CEO of Local Government New Zealand. He did not know either, and he referred me to the CEO of the Local Government Commission, Donald Riezebos. Only then, on the 19th of December 2008, did I know that it was not only a nice idea but that it could easily be initiated, and by then I had done sufficient research in Thames-Coromandel District Council to know that it was an idea that should be pursued. Subsequent, in-depth research, which came to a head with a long visit to Thames on the 27th of February 2008, confirmed that Thames-Coromandel has a much higher standard of local government than Auckland City, and that it was therefore an idea that should be vigorously pursued in the best interests of the Hauraki Gulf Islands, because only then would we be getting by far the best local government available.

So it was not till months after the election that I knew what I could not have known beforehand. It is impossible to stand on a 'ticket' that does not exist, one that could not exist, one hidden in the dark mists of the future, which God alone knows.

As always, we can only follow the advice quoted by King George in his New Year broadcast in 1939: 'I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way!" So I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And he led me towards the hills and the breaking of the day in the lone East.'

That I did, that I am doing, that I shall always do.

Monday, 11 August 2008

WHAT ON EARTH IS THE LGC?

I have been surprised when people have said to me recently that they have never heard of the Local Government Commission (LGC)--and therefore have not heard of the democratic process open to all New Zealanders dissatisfied with their council--in spite of the fact that an LGC-application process for the Hauraki Gulf Islands has been chugging away for months (unfortunately, it is not something that moves at lightspeed).

All New Zealanders have the moral and legal right to the best local government available and to apply to the LGC to move them to it. That right is enshrined in the Local Government Act 2002 ('2002' to distinguish it from the 1974 Act of the same name).

An application to the LGC can be started in at least six ways. The Minister of Local Government can ask. An existing council can ask--so the Auckland City Council could ask to have the Hauraki Gulf Islands moved from it to another council; so could the Auckland Regional Council. Or an intending council could ask to have them transferred to it--so Thames-Coromandel District Council could ask, or its regional council, Environment Waikato. Or the application can come from the people, via a petition of at least 10% of the affected registered voters. That makes six possibilities--but if you add up all possible combinations you get thirty.

In this case, so far, the application is being started by the petition of at least 10% of the affected registered voters. A council or councils could join later, but whether they do or not does not matter.

Then the Local Government Commission must, in law, make its decision, above all other considerations, on one point: good local government. If it thinks, after the rigorous submission and examination process, that we would get better local government with Thames-Coromandel District Council it should move us to its administration.

Anyone who studies how Thames-Coromandel works, both the elected and the employed, in particular the level of autonomy enjoyed by its community boards, would be in no doubt that we would indeed get far better local government from it than we have been getting, or could ever get, under a city council, particularly Auckland City Council.

Once the application has been lodged no council can stop it. They have to go along with it whether they like it or not. If they tried to ignore it it has to go to the LGC after a certain time, which then takes it right out of their hands. Sooner or later it does go to the LGC, which hands down its ruling after the rigorous statutory process has been gone through (which can take up to twelve months). Once finalised the ruling becomes law through an Order in Council made in Wellington and signed off by the Governor-General.

Then the Hauraki Gulf Islands will be under whatever council was deemed to be best at local government and best for us.

The whole aim of the process is to provide us with the best. So I cannot understand why anyone would not want to support the application. Why would any true islander not want the best for us all?

Monday, 4 August 2008

COPY THE BEST COUNCIL

The Thames-Coromandel District Council is always on about consulting people, and the four well-beings (social, economic, environmental and cultural), so it obviously sticks to the Local Government Act 2002, a very subversive piece of Enzed law that thinks democracy and community well-being are vital in local-body affairs.

That's silly. TCDC should instead copy Akl Qaeda, which without trying can disgust 443,000 people simply by gobbling their money at a manic rate and breaking policy-wind. The brown smog thus emitted wipes out every living creature between here and Patagonia. Very satisfying. And practical. After all, what true council really needs people? It is a well-known fact that they only interfere with the grand progress of hyperbolic policy and bloated bureaucracy. Yay!

TCDC is also proud of getting an 89% general approval rating (measured by the National Research Bureau). Very odd. Fancy being proud of that!

Akl Qaeda of course doesn't need NRB research, because it is so very obviously superior in everything. There is no council so superior in all Enzed. Or on the entire planet. Probably no council in the entire universe has ever reached such staggering heights.

So please, TCDC, ignore the law. Copy Akl Qaeda and never let it get in the way of policy. And, please, don't even consider including the Hauraki Gulf Islands in all that silly well-being stuff. We love suffering permanently from the Akl disease.

Then there's TCDC's attitude to community boards. It not only lets them determine such things as local rates and what roadworks are to be done, it even puts the chairs of community-boards on its own committees. Fancy that! Akl Qaeda is obviously superior.It just treats CBs with contempt. And tells the Royal Commission that they should be eliminated.

Then there's TCDC's annual reports, annual plans and long-term plans. Shocking documents! Written in English. To communicate. Please! Use Spin, or learn the most superior language of all, Akl-boo-rock-rat. Just three sentences of that turns your brain into the sort of mush that makes flesh-eating diseases drool--and you immediately start raving Akl-Qaeda-speak. You know, stuff like 'Scoping stakeholders strategic deliverables for the achievement of optimal timeframes going forward.' (Which means, 'Finding out what people want most, and when.')

Auckland City rules! OK?