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Monday, 12 October 2009

MINUTES OF PUBLIC MEETING 11TH OCTOBER 2009

Minutes of a public meeting in the Memorial Hall
on Sunday the 11th of October 2009
to consider the next stage of the super-council process

Called and chaired by Councillor Denise Roche.

55 people present, sitting round an assembly of tables in the centre of the hall.

Denise opened by setting out the purposes of the meeting:

1) To give an update on the 'train-ride‘ to the super-council;
2) To get feedback for the Local Government Commission on what we wanted our ward for councillor to be, and what system we would have;
3) What we should be doing to get what we want. A campaign? If so, what?

What ward should be going into? Auckland Regional Council and City Vision think it should be the Central Business District plus Western Bays.

Pita: Expressed great anger that the Waiheke Community Board has been reported as saying that we should be with the CBD, that that was what the community wanted. He did not want to hear any more Board members saying that they knew what the community wanted.

Brian: The first thing we should do is revisit what we want. Then we can see where we fit.

Bernard: We want our own ward.

Inge: If we were in the CBD we would have no say. Would we have to pay for CBD things?

Denise: No, because the Local Board will be deciding on that.

Nobilangelo: This comes down to representation. We need to ensure that whoever represents us understands us, empathises with us. So if we cannot get a Hauraki Gulf Islands councillor as we have now, we must have one from a community as much like ours as possible. That means a village-rural community, not the CBD or any urban area. We often say of Auckland, 'They don‘t get it.‘ We need someone who understands us.

Christopher: The boundaries of the CBD have not yet been determined. We do not have to go along with Auckland City Council‘s thinking. We can dismiss it. We can ignore them completely. We need to get rid of the Citizens-&-Ratepayers-minded. We need to be free to align ourselves with people of like values.

Eileen: What I actually presented to the LGc on behalf of the Community Board was that we want our own councillor, and that Devonport was only a possibility. The UNESCO heritage status was being considered by the powers that be.

Carol: What about Great Barrier? The idea of the super-council was to get a regional focus. For us the regional focus should be the Hauraki Gulf Islands. We should be together.

Mike: All this is against the law. They have ignored the law. They will do it again. It is corruption. What is super about this 'super-city‘? This will just be a super concentration of power. If you think it is bad now, see how bad it will be.

George: It depends on our negotiating a proper contract for our Local Board. We need to be able to say what we want. If we can do that it will matter little what the councillor/ward is. If, as has been proposed, there is a truly independent arbitrator for the negotiation process we should get a good result. We must fight to get as much power as possible for the Waiheke Local Board.

Denise: Our councillor will be our key negotiator, so who it is not irrelevant.

Basil: We have to be realistic, then we will not be disillusioned when the results come out. On National Radio recently there was a discussion by 'experts‘ about the super-council, some from overseas. They never once used the word democracy. They were all agents of big international corporations. They want us. Which is why they have taken over the waste contract. Those people have no interest in the opinions of the people. They operate on the same principle as Hitler--you can manipulate public opinion. They don‘t want us to be talking like this. They want to dumb us down. Don‘t put too much emphasis on who the councillor will be. He won‘t have much power. All the people in charge want to do is paint over the rotten weatherboards. They have set up a new priesthood, with a new language: 'workstreams.‘ They are working on the Auckland Transition Agency to destroy Auckland. They are not on our side.

Mike: Why don‘t we ask the Auditor-General why they are ignoring the law?

Bernard: The mayor will have enormous power. We have to support the mayor most in our favour. That is our only hope. If we get John Banks it would be a disaster.

Denise: We may end up with first-past-the-post, party-dominated council.

Roger: I‘ve been listening for a change [laughter]. I asked the ATA to take into account the Human Rights Commission and human rights. One of the ATA‘s 'workstreams‘ is run by the person from Auckland City Council who wrote its report on Auckland governance. The person was seconded to the ATA. Others have been seconded there from ACC. They are in with the ATA. This ward system is driving us to where we do not want to be. This was an opportunity to change our local governance, but we are being pushed down a path. The community policy here is shocking: everything has been done to take us to corporatisation. Even our Recreation Centre is being run by a private company. Our community has been destroyed. We cannot comply with what ACC wants. We cannot fit in with it. All this is wool across the eyes. What we have now does not work, and this [new system] will not work.

Colin: This is a question of vision. The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance was presented as being about economy of scale. We know what that means! This [new system] was presented presented as peri-urban. That means the urbanisation of the islands. The Royal Commission and the Select Committee never analysed what Waiheke is. We want a separate councillor.

Nobilangelo: A very important point, which will make or break the Local Boards, is remuneration. The Remuneration Authority is corrupt, it wilfully breaks the law, it is more powerful than Parliament because Parliament is afraid to take it on. And it has been kneecapping local government for years. The result is that Community Boards in particular, and many councillors, cannot do the job they are meant to do, and want to do; they cannot afford the time, because they are paid so little. Some are on only $206 a year. The average for Community Boards is $4000-odd. But it is a full-time job. It should be a minimum of $30,000. Then the job can be done as it could and should be. Auckland Regional Councillors, on $22,000, are the lowest-paid councillors in the country. We need to pressure those spineless MPs to sack the Remuneration Authority, and change the law so that if the Authority does not keep to the law it sacks itself.

Pita: We have to come together. We have to use all the resources we have. I do not want to hear anyone say he knows all the community‘s views. The Waiheke Community Board reports to the LGC: we have to get a much better way of getting the community‘s views to it. A campaign and a working party.


Pita then put forward a resolution, which was seconded by Roger:

'The meeting advise the Waiheke Island (sic) Community Board that the Board must form a Community Working Party as soon as possible, in the Board's name and with the Board's facilitation and arrange meetings of the working party as necessary:

'Firstly: To finalise the Community views on Ward boundaries and membership in relation to the Auckland Council legislation and in particular the community's preferences in terms of representation for this community.

'Secondly: To assist the Board in presenting those views to the Local Government Commission and to represent and advocate for those views where ever and when ever possible.

'Thirdly: To assist the Board in lobbying for support of those views.'


Tony: I am concerned at the negative comments about the Waiheke Community Board. We said to the LGC that we did not want to be with Thames-Coromandel. We want to be with Auckland. We prefer to have our own councillor. Our first choice is a Hauraki Gulf Islands councillor. Second to go with Devonport. Third is to be with the CBD. That was our presentation. {{As a member of the Waiheke Community Board, I note here that that was never debated in the Community Board, either in open meeting or in a workshop; not even in an email discussion. There was no discussion, no vote.}} In the Thames-Coromandel application Nobilangelo pointed to a synergy of the two communities, because of their similarities. But there would be a lot more travel. It took me an hour and half to get to a meeting in Waitakere. We are blessed, because the Waiheke Local Board‘s area has already been defined. I think that the Local Boards will have more power than the Community Boards. The wards will be 65,000-70,000, so I think we will be lumped with someone else. Our biggest hope is to have an HGI ward. I hope ACC never gets its wish to have six councillors elected at large. We want all the councillors to be elected from wards. If the community wants Devonport, I will be happy with that; if wants the CBD, I will be happy with that; if it wants something else, I will be happy with that. My personal preference is (1) A Waiheke councillor; (2) A Hauraki Gulf Islands councillor; (3) Somewhere sensible.

Pita: Membership of the working-party should be open to anyone who wants to join it.

A woman: Why more talk?

Pita: To get a more comprehensive idea of what the community wants.

Andrew: What if we say what we want and the answer is no? Do we just accept it? How does the Waiheke Community Board know if it has a mandate? Would they resign, and thus cause an election with what we want as the election issue? (Nobilangelo pointed out that resigning would have no effect, because the timing is now such that there would be no election.)

Tony Sears then got up and walked out.

There is more work to do than can be done in a monthly community board meeting. Transport links are irrelevant. My personal view is that we should have a stand-alone councillor. If we don‘t get that we should make a fuss.

A woman: Everyone wants our own councillor. So people don‘t want options. We want our own councillor. The working party would get the same view.

George: Nikki Kaye emailed me to say, 'Make a representation.‘ So make a representation to her that you want to make a submission.

Christopher: [Reading] The record shows that the Waiheke Community Board said it wanted us to be with the CBD. This is all about vision. Devonport in the past has said it wanted to go with us. It is not practical to say we want our own councillor.

Inge: If Great Barrier wants to be with the CBD, we should let them go with that, and if we want Devonport we should get that. We don‘t have to have the same thing.

Pita: We have a powerful argument to put to the government that the Hauraki Gulf Islands should have its own ward and councillor.

His motion was then put to the meeting:

Ayes: all but two hands went up.
Noes: no hands.
Abstentions: two.