Featured post

ROCKY BAY NEVER WAS OMIHA

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

Sunday, 31 October 2010

COMMUNITY DEMOCRACY OR PARTY-POLITICS?

On the 6th of November the newly-elected members of the Waiheke Local Board will be sworn in. Before the whole of the Waiheke Community they will make a promise, a morally- and legally-binding promise. Each will promise 'faithfully and impartially, and according to the best of my skill and judgement, to execute and perform, in the best interests of Waiheke, the powers, authorities, and duties vested in, or imposed upon, me member of the Waiheke Local Board by virtue of the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, or any other Act.'

First up is 'faithfully and impartially'--two words bound together by 'and', which means they operate together, so the faithfulness of Members must be impartial and their impartiality must be faithful. 'Impartial' means, amongst other things, that they must never operate in any way that has any allegiance and owes any obedience' to any party. In that job there is only one party: the Waiheke Community. One party, the community; one friend, the community. And count no one as an enemy. Impartial.

The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA2002) is a huge Act, with hundreds of sections, but it is perfectly summed up in the forty words of section 10: 'The purpose of local government is--(a) to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and (b) to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future.'

*Community* democracy and the four well-beings. That is every Board Member's
job-description, that is what they must, above all, be faithful and impartial to.

If they are faithful to their oath of office, faithful to section 10 of the LGA2002, and faithful to the truth, they cannot fail to be faithful to the Waiheke Community. If they fail in any of those they will fail it.

They should start being faithful and impartial by voting in Denise Roche as Chair of the Board. The strong whisper is that because most the Board are National supporters they will be voting along party lines, and therefore that she will not get the nod. She should. She has been a hard-working, vigilant Councillor. She has proved herself. She has the experience. And she won far more votes from the community that anyone else--her 2239 is well ahead of the others on their 1845, 1646, 1378 and 1361. For the rest of the Board to vote anyone else into that position will be an abject failure of impartiality and an abject failure of democracy. They will have listened to the will of a political party over the will of the people in the Waiheke
Community.

Thus, only minutes after promising to be faithful and impartial, and to operate according to the LGA2002, which means section 10, they will have failed to keep their promise.

Like everyone in local government they should always remember that failure to comply with the LGA2002 is defined by it as an offence, and that if they commit that offence anyone can hale them into the District Court. If found guilty they will be fined up to $5000.

--

Nobilangelo Ceramalus,
Member of the Waiheke Community Board.

..................................................................

Postscripts (not part of the letter).

I am told, although I have not checked it, that the new super-shiny WLB will not have a budget. Unlike the departing WCB, which had, over the three years, about half the million within its decision-making powers, the new thingy will have nothing, not even a SLIPs budget. Worth doing some meaty investigative journalism on... I'd like to see Len Brown's and Doug McKay's comments on that. If the WLB has no money under its decision-making powers, what power will it have?

They should have had that joint WCB-WLB meeting open to the community. It was a very good meeting, which the community would have benefitted by seeing. Too much of what we do is invisible. Then when it comes to an election people vote without having much idea of what we do, and vote in people who are not suitable. Even handicapped to the point where they cannot do the job.