A case in a point is a presentation made in the Public Forum segment to the Waiheke Local Board at its first meeting of 2017, At least it was meant to be a presentation, but it was very soon apparent to the chairman that the presentation was running swiftly towards the facts, and had already exposed a situation that was, very obviously, too obviously, a threat to public safety. As well as being very bad manners and chronically inconvenient to people. But he did not want those facts to be aired in public, he did not want anything to be done to correct the ill-mannered, inconvenient and dangerous situation--a situation whose constant potential was to be fatal.
So what did the chairman immediately the presentation began to expose the public danger? Under the gaze of everyone in the public gallery, he interrupted, he stopped the presentation, by very cleverly asking the presenter what he wanted. The answer from the presenter was that he wanted a resolution that would be presented to a government entity, a resolution supporting the permanent correction of the rude, inconvenient and dangerous situation.
'Under standing orders,' the chairman said, 'we cannot make a resolution based on a presentation made in the Public Forum.' Very, very clever.
If he had been honest he would have said to the presenter, 'Please present us with all the facts so that the whole board is fully informed, in public, so that the public is also informed, then with your assistance, keeping to standing orders, we can formulate a resolution that will correct the wrong situation. We want to act in the best interests of the community, as we are sworn to do.' That would have been honest.
But to cover his dishonesty before the public gallery he asked the presenter if he would meet with him the following week to present the facts. The presenter, innocent as the lamb led to the slaughter, agreed. 'Any time that suits you,' he said.
He was, by serendipity, tripped up, because the very next presenter, by nice coincidence, supported the danger that the first presenter had exposed. But that was ignored. Of course. The first presenter, whose case had just been proved, was not invited back. Because there was going to be a meeting with the chairman, wasn't there? Wasn't there?
But the following week came and went, but without a meeting, without the slightest contact from the chairman--not directly, not through the Relationship Manager from the Council. So the presenter asked, by email to the Relationship Manager, when the meeting would be. He was told that it would be on Tuesday the following week, and to name the time that suited. He did. But on Monday the meeting was cancelled, by email. The chairman told him the meeting was not necessary, because the Local Board had had a workshop the previous Friday and it had decided to do nothing. (None of those email communications were done directly by the chairman, it was all through the Relationship Manager at Auckland Council.)
So the Local Board, which had not had the facts presented, had managed to have a 'workshop' to make a decision. But why let the facts get in the way of a perfectly uniformed decision????????? A Local Board is a quasi-judicial body. Not being interested in the facts has nothing whatever to do with justice ('justice' comes from the Latin 'ius,' which means 'right'
All elected members of local bodies must under the Local Government Act 2002 swear this oath of office, swear it and sign it:
'I, AB, declare that I will faithfully and impartially, and according to the best of my skill and judgment, execute and perform, in the best interests of [region or district], the powers, authorities, and duties vested in, or imposed upon, me as [mayor or chairperson or member] of the [local authority] by virtue of the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, or any other Act
Dated at: [place, date]
Signed in the presence of:
CD, [mayor or chairperson or member or chief executive of local authority]'.
To suppress and evade the facts and make decisions in a factual vacuum is not faithful, and is not impartial, and has nothing to do with best skill and judgement. And failing to take the simple action needed to end a situation which at worst would be fatal is certainly not in the best interests of the community. Nor is it in accordance with any other Act, in particular the great ones that enshrine the immeasurable rights and freedoms on which New Zealand is founded and based. It does not, for example, fulfil the solemn promise made to us all in statute that 'we will not deny or defer, to any man, either justice or right', or the strictures to do all things according to due process of law, and that anything not done accordingly 'shall be void in law and holden for error.'
All those statutes had been brought to the attention of the chairman in 2016 so he cannot plead ignorance of the greatest statutes encompassed by his oath to adhere to 'any other Act.'
Those who wilfully fail to fulfil their oath of office have turned it into a lie. They have betrayed their duty to their community and to the best of the laws that govern us--and laid themselves wide open to some form of legal action to force them back to the straight and narrow. The only language they should ever speak is the truth, strongly, boldly, without hesitation. For that alone is impartial, that alone is public service. They should never sully their mouths, their thoughts, their actions with weasel-words, which are words so adulterated with wastewater that they stink to high heaven. (Note that the chairman alone went out of his way to swear his oath of office on the Holy Bible). They should stand strong for their community, especially when the situation has dangerous potential; milk-and-water spinelessness must be rejected. In this matter they failed. Abjectly.