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Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Please, Graham Hooper! Stop interviewing your mirror and your computer. Stop writing fiction that pretends to be fact. Instead do the research and get the truth. Then your writing will be as good as your excellent photography.

First, get the point--which is good local government, and a stack of documentation proves that Thames-Coromandel is much better at it than Auckland. And please realise that applying for good local government in 2009 has no connection whatsoever with where some Waihekeans bought their food in 1840. Truly.

Your conjecture that people signed the petition/application to the Local Government Commission just to escape from me is libellous to me and to them (it also ignores the fact that I did not collect all the signatures). And your claim to superiority in being smart enough not to succumb to a desire for better local government is misplaced vanity piled on libel.

Your letter ended with even more confusion. I made a well-documented point about Auckland failing to get millions of dollars of government roading subsidy, in contrast to Thames-Coromandel. But you managed by some illogical sideslip to turn that into an attack on Thames-Coromandel with your invention that it has never applied for a subsidy to replace the Kopu bridge. You are wrong, wrong, wrong. It did not fail to apply. It could not apply. Because it does not own that bridge. It comes under the jurisdiction of the New Zealand Transport Agency (formerly called Transit New Zealand). The NZTA does intend replacing it--as you would know if you had read its projects document for that part of the country (it is prominently displayed in the foyer of the Thames-Coromandel District Council). And it was announced on the 11th of February that work on the $47 million project is to start in July this year.

You say Thames-Coromandel is my 'beloved.' Odd choice of word. I like them, I admire their far more democratic and accountable way of working, I like their close attention to the Local Government Act 2002. I see that their small-community understanding and empathy would work well for the islands; I see that they are a good council at elected level at employed levels and in the relationship between them; I see that they have a much better mayor and CEO.

But my liddle heart doesn't go pitter-pat over them. I have studied them carefully, and have never seen any white wings or golden haloes. I even got down on me hands and knees in the middle of the main street of Thames and had a dig with me Swiss Army knife, backed up with me runcible spoon, and to my acute disappointment found that the targetted rate to pave the streets with gold has yet to be implemented. So they are not perfect. No one is. They are just much better than that shemozzle on the other horizon.

As you would also know if you had done research instead of exploring the fluff in your navel.

I am disappointed that Marketplace fell from its usual high standard in publishing such dubious stuff--and in the very week that Waiheke Week ceased, an unlamented organ that proved again and again that it did not adhere to the principles of the New Zealand Press Council.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes wisely said: 'Freedom of speech does not give you the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.' Graham's letter was only a small cry in that class, but it was as false and therefore could do no good.