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Thursday, 26 February 2009

MY REPLY TO BILL CARRIG'S LETTER

I should be grateful to you, Bill Carrig. Because if the best the opposition can hurl at our attempt to get the best local government for the islands is the rubbish you published at great expense in your open-letter advertisement in Waiheke Marketplace (February the 25th 2009), the attempt must be on the right track. [Letter reproduced below this reply]

There is not a word of truth in your diatribe, and you show in every line his abysmal ignorance of any facts and of local government law. You have interviewed your mirror, your have communed with your word--processor, you have invented an army of straw men then viciously knocked them over, you have whirled down a malignant spiral of your own invention and told the world that it has my name on it.

First you accuse me of having 'a personal hidden agenda towards the Auckland City Council.' False. The pre-election leaflet that I handed out by the thousands, I assume also to you, clearly said, 'I love this island and don't want to see it trashed. I want to remain its good old pleasant self. The Board's first duty is to defend it against speculators who see it as a money-machine instead of a place to live, developers who carelessly wreck its pleasantness, and the ruinous skulduggery of Auckland City.' There was other material in similar vein. Then at the foot of the leaflet, in large letters, I said: 'Local decisions should be made locally. Waiheke is NOT a suburb of Auckland.' Also on the leaflet was the address of this blog, which still has at the start the first postings made before the election, albeit with some updates made in the light of later knowledge (such as in the next paragraph). Nothing was hidden. Everything was in plain view. If you failed to see it that was because you were not looking.

I also have three reputable witnesses to the fact that I did not know till the 11th of January 2009, months after the election, just what change-of-council process existed in the Local Government Act 2002 for the Hauraki Gulf Islands relative to Thames-Coromandel, or any council. It was therefore impossible for me to have planned it before the election in September and October the previous year. The most Thames-Coromandel could have been was a theoretical thought, which is what it was--not of how it could be done, if that was a better council than Auckland. I had no contact with Thames-Coromandel before the 5th of November 2008, and I can prove that from notes, the witnesses I spoke to, and my telephone bills.

You also say that I promised to be a 'team player' when I talked to you on the boat. I most certainly did not. Nor should I, and it would be quite improper to, because no member of any community board is required to be. Everyone elected to local government must in law swear to act to the best of his or her individual skill and judgement. It is a community board operating under the law for the community, not a rugby team trying to beat the opposition.

Yes, I did promise sound governance. That is why, having identified with exhaustive research that Thames-Coromandel District Council is a much better at it than Auckland City Council, I initiated the democratic legal process to change the boundary (a better council, note, not perfect, because perfection does not exist on earth). I am keeping my promise.

You have done no research, like the rest of the Waiheke Community Board, so you are incapable of making a judgement worthy of the name. Neither are they. Except that they, in failing to do that, have broken the law. You have only broken sense, logic and good judgement.

The costs you then fling at the community are as much fiction and nonsense as the rest of your foolish letter. First there is no community vote (the assumption that there was one is what put people off trying for a change of council before this). But even if there were, the cost for all the islands would not be $1 million, not $500,000, not even $100,000. It would be $27,000. For Waiheke alone it would be $25,000 (costings supplied by Independent Election Services).

You say 'in anybody's language it is not going to be a cost-effective exercise in today's economic climate.' Really! That may be so in your language, which is clearly divorced from reality. The truth is that the difference between the huge sum that Auckand allocates to the islands for our 'share' of running the 2300-person empire on the isthmus and what we would contribute to Thames-Coromandel if we were with them is $3.92 million. So we would be $3.92 million better off. In today's economic climate, slashing $3.92 million off our costs would probably be considered a better situation. Except, obviously, by you and others of similar sort who prefer hubristic guesses to the truth. (Figures supplied by Auckland and Thames-Coromandel.)

Next come your so-called 'commercial facts and future media headlines', a list of fictions so far off the wall that even Chicken Licken would be ashamed of such knavish scaremongering. She at least could claim to have been hit on the head by a falling nut.

To call 'lunacy' using a democratic legal process set up by Parliament to ensure that we can get the best available standard of local government shows that you care nothing for truth and think that loud defamation makes a good substitute.

Having said all that, even if I had planned the petition/application before the election and concealed it, neither you nor anyone else could have any valid complaint, because all New Zealanders are deemed to know all the law, including you, and the application is a legal process open to everyone. To act within the law in the best interests of the community is a laudable thing, and to condemn it is to condemn an excellent piece of democratic law.

Everyone in public office is expected to do his best, using the tools available in law, and because everyone is deemed to know the law, you are deemed to know that a petition/application of this kind might be started by anyone, including someone elected, even someone you voted for. You should be applauding.

In future, Bill Carrig, do the research, establish the real facts, don't interview your mirror, take an intensive course in logical thought. And spend your spare thousands on people in need. Don't waste it on defamatory advertorial excrement and vomit.