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

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

BUREAUCRATIC TYRANNY

 

The Reserve Bank's inflation calculator shows that during the time that inflation has multiplied by 1.5 Waiheke rates have multiplied by 10. Therefore under Auckland rates have increased at more than six times the rate of inflation. The difference can be summed up in one word. Evil.

The takeover of the Hauraki Gulf Islands in 1989 by Auckland was illegal under the Local Government Act. But the law was blatantly ignored. Since then we have lawfully tried twice to escape Auckland's evil, profligate, ever-swelling, high-handed bureaucratic empire. Both times the application was cunningly manipulated into the toilet.

Therefore we are forced to remain under Auckland's bureaucratic tyranny, and must carry on suffering the gross indignity and injustice of being forced to pay for its evil waste of money over and over and over and over again...

Such as for the nonsensical, unnecessary revamp of our bus service, which must have chucked about a million dollars down the tyrannical toilet. And for the even more nonsensical work that has been going on for months at the Transfer Station, where Auckland is making a drain into the sea--a drain that is lower(!!!) than the sea. That is tossing over ten million down the same tyrannical toilet. Nice job for the contractors...

But long-term residents say the area at the top end of the 'drain' has flooded only twice in decades. So we are being forced to pay through our bleeding noses for a permanent 'solution' to a rare problem. It would have been cheaper to have bought the properties that might flood plus a portable pump and hoses that could be used anywhere on the island.

Bureaucracy is not democracy. It is tyranny behind an 'official' mask.

The lesson of history is that tyranny always comes to a sticky end. The profligate tyranny of Auckland Council and Auckland Transport should never have happened and its end is long overdue. Keep every true public servant, yes, but dump all the puffed-up liars--all the bureaucrats and all the glove-puppet politicians they hide behind. We would save billions.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

KPI THUGGERY

 Auckland Transport (AT), which constantly proves in action that it does not understand Waiheke, or good planning, or good design, or good execution, only that it knows how to waste vast amounts of ratepayers' money, is now keeping tight watch on our bus-drivers with a long list of pointless, dictatorial  "KPI's" (Key Performance Indicators), which have been made even worse, past the level of control-freak nonsense by the Waiheke Bus Company's local manager, who is forcing drivers to be paranoid KPI clock-watchers, ever fearful of being a minute out at 'key' points along their routes.

Neither AT nor the local WBC manager understands how Waiheke buses used to work, and worked well.

First, the runs from Onetangi Beach and Rocky Bay to the ferry used to adhere to fixed starting-times there, and at reaching the ferry-terminal in plenty of time for people to catch the ferries. The buses were tied to the ferries. We got to know how long it took buses to get to our stops, which was all we needed to know. A precise time designated for each stop was unnecessary--and very expensive to maintain because it demands timetables customised for each stop, not general ones for the whole island, which is what we want.

Second, the runs from the ferry-terminal back to the bays used to begin ten minutes after the ferry arrived so as to give everyone time to clear the boat. The exact time the buses left was not critical, only the relative time--i.e., the time relative to when the ferries arrived. The buses were tied to the ferries. And the buses always parked in the same places at Matiatia, so you could head straight to your bus (you didn't have to play hunt-the-bus as we do now because AT dictates higgledy-piggledy parking).

That was the obvious, common-sense, Waiheke way of doing things. It worked well for decades.

But now the control-freak, AT-dominated, clock-fetishers insist on the KPI list and its clock, not on the relationship with the boats. So now drivers come to Matiatia and leave at times that have nothing to do with ferries (they even arrive when there is no ferry because they stick to the summer timetables when the ferries are sailing to the winter ones!). And buses may stop and pause in odd places, not for passengers, but only because the driver is worried about losing KPI brownie-points and copping black marks--i.e., the financial penalty that AT will impose on WBC at the end of the month if it does hit 97% of KPI's. That of course adds to the toxic atmosphere created by AT--and made worse by the local WBC manager, who pushes the stupid KPI strictures beyond stupidity. He should always remember that he is not there to please overbearing bureaucrats across the water; he is there to please islanders and visitors and give drivers a pleasant working-environment.

AT has recently thrown a 10-year plan at us, with the fawning support of Cath Handley's Local Board. Planning is fine--but only if what is planned is necessary, or at least very useful--but for a plan to be good there must be also be good, efficient execution--at minimal cost. AT has proved over and over again that it is a bloated, profligate disaster-area: wasting money, worse than incompetent, and good only at spinning its performance with self-congratulatory, self-deluded verbiage.

The island would be better off if AT had never existed. Its KPI thuggery is yet more Rule-Them-All proof of that. When a bloated bureaucracy says it means to 'streamline' it actually means it is bent on building a Mordor and binding us in it.

It is just more of the same-old same-old same-old process of de-localisation: stealing power and action away from local people and concentrating it in the hands of over-weening central bureaucracies, which only talk 'local' and 'local character' so as to anaesthetise us into accepting their malign rule. Then they force us to pay for it in bloated rates. There will of course be locals that will manifest the Stockholm Syndrome--they will sympathise with and support what is in fact killing their locality. Which is what Cath Handley's Local Board is doing when it supports, wittingly or unwittingly, AC's and AT's bureaucratic de-localisation strategy and dictatorial tactics.

Monday, 10 August 2020

PLANS AND SHELTERS!!??

 Auckland Transport (AT) and the  Waiheke Local Board have released their rather self-congratulatary 'Final Waiheke 10-Year Transport Plan.' It would have been nice if they had throughout stuck to clear, simple, well-written, communicative English--if they had stuck to terms that everyone understands instantly, and not wandered off into in their version of opaque bureaucratese, such as 'accessibility lens','active transport', 'active transport missing link,' 'multi-modal outcomes,' 'reactive and problematic maintenance', etc. etc.

Their blind self-congratulation is glaringly obvious in what they have to say about the results of their 'Waiheke bus shelter [sic] programme' about which they say that 'the project produced a respected public asset that is embraced and valued by its users.'

Really?

The purpose of a bus-shelter is to shelter people while they are waiting for a bus. Shelter is its purpose. That flashy design fails to achieve that, abysmally. The old shelters, such as the one at the Placemaker's stop (which AT hocked off for $100) worked fine. The replacement, which looks like about $20,000 of ratepayers' money, is wrong in a long list of ways--on top of being put in the wrong place, and after wrecking, at huge expense, the island's transfer stop.

First, it has two openings in the front, so when it faces the weather, there are two entrances for wind-driven rain to get at you. Second, the gap between the concrete pad and the bottom of the walls is far too high. The old ones had only enough room for sparrows to duck through (I watched them many times). The new ones have a high gap that admits even more wind-driven rain, aimed at your feet. And the unnecessary height of the thing means that there is unnecessary vertical space to let the weather in through those openings. The result is that in the worst weather a puddle forms on the seat, right where you want it, in the middle. There is also a gap at the top of the walls, which lets in more wind. And the smart-alec that designed the thing has made most of the supports double as drain-pipes, so water is directed through them down round your feet and your luggage. And the seat does not go right across; a third of its possible width is wasted by expensive, decorative wood panelling. Artwork does not shelter you.

Not only have they inflicted this bad design on us, they have also put instances of it where there was already a serviceable shelter, such as at Rocky Bay and Palm Beach. They added one of those flashy things, in the wrong place. So now we have two shelters, one right and one wrong. More wasted ratepayers' money.

Their self-vaunted changes to the bus network cost a fortune, almost all of it wasted, and they only achieved an incompetent result. For example, when good designers are designing systems, they eliminate wasted effort, they do not create it. The new system has seen an explosion in the number of buses trundling about with 'Not in Serice' showing. Buses going where people want to go, at regular times, but not available to people. Brilliant!

And those damned route-numbers! All have three characters, and all begin with 50, so those characters tell you nothing, they only clutter the destination-signs. Only the last character tells you what you want to know--where the bus is going.We used to have nice simple, 1, 2, etc., and you could tell at a glance where buses were going. Now we have 501, 502, 50A, 50B, etc., and a scrambled-egg arrangement of LEDs, and, even worse, different scramblings on different buses, so you have to stand there deciphering the thing.

But 'Not in Service' is very clear. All those buses are going to AT. Because it is not in *service*; it wants, like the Dark Lord, to rule us all. Not serve us.

The deficiencies in the new regime are legion. That is only a tiny sample.

Monday, 8 June 2020

AC's RUBBISH PLAN

The Council's email of the 28th headed 'New Waiheke Island Resource Recovery and Waste Services are on the way' is arrogant bureaucratic lunacy. It takes not the slightest notice of the real Waiheke
world.

Forcing everyone to use 120/240-litre official bins ignores that fact that notion only works where
people have flattish access to a flat concrete public footpath with nice neat curbing and
channelling--like a city suburb.

Laden bins are not for our village rural environment in which many dwellings are well above or well
below the road and have no footpath outside (and never will have because of the expense, the lack of
room, and because it would ruin the rural aesthetic). Those residents face the difficult or impossible task of having to wheel those damned bins up or down a steep hill. So they will have to leave their bins out permanently along the narrow edges of their roads--cluttering them permanently--and take small bags up or down to them for rubbish-day.

And arrogant Auckland is ordering us to stop using recyclable containers for recyclables, and use
only their official bins--and only once a fortnight. That will increase the clutter of bins left out
permanently along the roads, and because it will be easier to dump everything it will increase, not
decrease, the amount of recyclable stuff in the rubbish-stream. I shall certainly not be wheeling a
240-litre bin 80 metres up a steep hill to the narrow edge of my road every two weeks, and I refuse
to clutter the narrow edge of the road with bins, thus forcing pedestrians into the traffic. So I shall have to end the habit of a lifetime and stop recycling. Everything will go into the rubbish.

The Council says we can carry on using red bags for rubbish, even though it is changing to orange. Orange. Yes, that will be a great improvement. I'm so glad they thought of that.

Their thinking ia as much illogical rubbish as their 'plan.' Rubbish thinking makes a rubbish plan.

And they say they are appointing a bin inspector--to make sure, at our expense, that we obey their insane dictates.

Arrogant, profligate Auckland messed up our bus service last year, ignoring island reality and plain
logic, and wasting a vast amount of money in the process. This year it's the rubbish services.

Always underlying all the recurrent nonsense is the bitter irony that the takeover of the islands by
Auckland City Council in 1989 was illegal--it was a blatant breach of the Local Government Act. It should never have happened. Now we are stuck with it for ever, and thus with periodic iterations of
arrogant dictatorial, bureaucratic lunacy.

Dysfunctional fools always produce dysfunctional follies. They can do nothing else.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

WAIHEKE ISLAND CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP

Originally, some years ago, the WICF services were in MORRA Hall. Now they have begun again as on-line services, employing Google Meet, as you can see by clicking on that link. Perhaps when the day of CoVid-19 has passed, there may also be small home-group meetings for in-depth Bible studies.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

AT's BUS-SHELTER MADNESS

Well, that was quick! It only took incompetent, profligate Auckland Transport six months to replace the bus-shelter at the Placemakers stop on Waiheke Island--and even then that was only after two vociferous complaints.

When they messed up the stop last year, in the process wasting a fortune in our rates, part of their mindless, incompetence was to hock off the bus-shelter for $100. There were decades of life left in it, but they did not like it.

It was in the best place, at the top of the stop, beside the overflow seats, but they did not understand that, so they built--in the wrong place--a new concrete pad for a new one. Now they have installed the new one.

And, again, they have showed their abysmal incompetence and lack of understanding. Because the shelter has two openings for people to enter and leave, and because it faces the southerly quarter two-thirds of it is open to the worst weather. The only people who will be able to get some shelter will be the two in the middle.

The old one, very sensibly, had only one opening for entry and exit, so it provided the maximum possible shelter.

And the old one had a seat that went right across. In the new flash one it doesn't, so the length of seating has been reduced by a third.

The new very flash one looks like at least $10,000 out of ratepayers' pockets. AT did not need to spend a cent. 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' The stop was fine as it was. Nothing needed to be done at all.

The new one also has a sign to say that it has a security camera. Sharp eyes will soon spot where that is, and know how to outwit it easily, because there is only one camera, not the three needed to cover the whole thing and thus revent anyone from blinding any one of them unseen.

But the new shelter must be OH-SO WUNNERFUL, because AT has spent lotsa ratepayers' munny making it Oh-So Politically Correct, with Maori embellishments engraved into the glass. BureaucRats LUV wasting other people's money; it makes them feel Oh-So IMPORTANT. Vanity projects for which they rob us blind.

And the timetable is, of course, outside the shelter, out in the weather 3.5 metres away. AT's insanity is thus carefully underlined. NO, WAIT! A few days after the new lunacy was set up they came along and put another timetable inside the shelter, a bigger, far more expensive one. But why waste only one block of ratepayers' money when you can waste several?

Monday, 24 February 2020

PONZI IN A COUNCIL DISGUISE

I found myself in conversation on the island with people who had emigrated to New Zealand and granted a residency visa. I remarked that that must have meant dealing with the Department of Immigration, which is a pig, pig, pig. They agreed. And they described the long list of information they had had to provide, and the things they had to do to get their visa, and that one of the latter was that they had to invest $1,000,000 in Auckland Council bonds, for at least five years.

Before the conversation had reached that point I had told them that my rates had multiplied by 10 during the time that inflation had only multiplied by 1.54.

They said they were very pleased with the return they were getting on their million-dollar investment in the Council bonds, and one very pointedly said, 'That explains why your rates have gone up.'

In a Ponzi scheme you invest in an outfit that makes glowing promises but is actually in perpetual debt (as is Auckland Council) but you get a very nice return from money constantly being put in by others. This Immigration/Auckland Council setup looks that very like a Ponzi scheme nicely disguised by some creative re-labelling, and, worse, one enforced by Immigration's wickedness.

Auckland Council's webpages for investments shows that security for investors is indeed provided by rates.

And its glowing blurb makes it look as if the money is being invested profitably--e.g., backed by Auckland's contribution to GDP. That is misleading advertising.

This is a scam, this is corruption, all done in the name of the people by a 'democratic' local government entity and enforced by a government department. So much for New Zealand's claim not to be corrupt...

Monday, 3 February 2020

MANAGERS AND MANGLERS

People are not managers just because they have 'Manager' on their office doors and business-cards. A true manager is someone who knows how to manage. And why.

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (sixth century BC) put it well:

'A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. Fail to honour people, they fail to honour you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, “We did this ourselves.” '

The worst managers are despised because they mangle, not manage; they are incapable of managing. They are blind to the truth of the situation, they are vain about their views of it, and they are determined to impose their false notions on everyone under them (and those under them heartily wish they were not).

The primary Mangler for the bus service on Waiheke Island, as this blog has pointed out over and over again, is the worse-than-incompetent entity Auckland Transport--the networks division, led by that self-declared 'expert' Colin Homan, who has yet to manifest any expertise on Waiheke.

Compounding the situation, as was mentioned in an early posting on the Waiheke bus shemozzle, is the new head of the Waiheke Bus Company, who is another mangler.

He and Auckland Transport, for example, have waxed lyrical about preventing fatigue amongst their drivers. Which sounds good and laudable; it sounds caring; it sounds safety-conscious. Until you see what they have done.

Waiheke drivers have been banned from working more than forty hours in a week, so their hours and their income have been significantly hit. They were happy to work ten hours in a day, but they were not happy when their hours were cut from fifty-five to forty, because that chopped $200 net out of their week's wage. Nor are they happy when they are rostered to a shift that stops at 22:00 one day then starts the next day at 07:00. That gives them a mere nine hours, minus travelling-time, between shifts--imposed by a mangler who then pretends to care about fatigue and is applauded by worse-than-incompetent AT. Manglers of feather feed on the same carcasses of vanity.

Over on the mainland drivers may work fifty-plus hours, so they can earn far more by staying there and not spending time coming over to work on Waiheke. Then the manglers at AT bleat about the driver-shortage on the island, the shortage created by their manglement. But they cannot see that through the fog of their vanity, stupidity and worse-than-incompetence.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

COLIN HOMAN TRUE OR FALSE?

The man responsible for the worse-than-incompetent, profligately-wasteful mess made of the bus service on Waiheke Island is Colin Homan, Group Manager, Networks, at Auckland Transport (AT, is a 'Council-Controlled Organisation' under the Auckland Council).

Colin Homan, Group Manager, Networks, Auckland Transport
This is his Linked In page (as at January 2020):


Because of the claims in his CV and the catalogue of egregious blunders on Waiheke (detailed and outlined in many other posts in this site) Mr Homan has a string of questions to answer, including:

1) The most obvious is that although he claims to be an 'expert', that is belied by that he has manifested on Waiheke Island in concrete, metal, wood, glass, plastic, LEDs, road-markings, timetables, rosters, etc. They are irrefutable proof that he is not an expert--on the contrary, because they manifest worse than incompetence. Incompetence is when a job that needs doing is done badly. Worse than incompetence is when a job is done that does not need doing, should not be done, should not even have been contemplated--and to add injury to injury may also be done badly. Mr Homan has proved repeatedly that he is worse than incompetent. He is therefore no expert. His claim is false, it is only pretence without substance.

2) His Linked In CV indicates that he emigrated to New Zealand in 2006 to take up a position at AT's precursor, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). For that he of course needed a visa, and to get that he had to satisfy the Department of Immigration that he had employment, and to get that employment he had to satisfy ARTA that he had the necessary experience and qualifications. He therefore gained the employment and the visa on the strength of his claims of expertise, experience, and two impressive qualifications at two South African universities. But his claim of having 'in excess of thirty years experience' puts the start of those years back in the 1980s--which is also the period in which he claims to have been at those universities getting those impressive qualifications. That juxtaposition obviously does not fit.

3) He claims 'in excess of thirty years experience,' but his CV shows only thirteen, and only in New Zealand. There is nothing at all in South Africa. Therefore there are in excess of wenty years of 'expert experience' missing from what he has recorded.

4) A mainland civil engineer told me that his company does a lot of work for AT, but can see no reason for much of it. They do it because they are asked to, but the thinking behind it is incomprehensible to them. Therefore Mr Homan's worse-than-incompetence is also manifested on the mainland. A glaring example of that seen by this writer is the bus shelter at the Greenlane Clinic, which was large, expensive, and built of permanent materials; but although there were obviously decades of life left in it it was replaced at huge expense with another just as grandiose. Why? 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' And certainly don't award an expensive contract to 'fix' it with public money. That is at very least the corruption of misfeasance.

There is plainly much that Mr Homan is pretending. 'Expert' is disproved by the worse-than-incompetent, profligate shemozzle on Waiheke. That together with the four points above raise the overriding question of how far his pretence has gone. Does he really have the experience and the two impressive qualifications that he claims to have from two South African universities? That is for him to answer. If those claims are false, he would have committed criminal fraud circa 2006 in his applications for employment and a visa. Only irrefutable proof of those two qualifications and that 'in excess of thirty years' experience will sweep away the questions about them. But nothing will sweep away the evidence of his worse-than-incompetence on Waiheke Island and elsewhere. Or the huge amount of public money wasted on it. Or the social damage.

Then there is the question of why there have been so many pointless, needless contracts awarded under Mr Homan. Will they all stand scrutiny? Many of them--on Waiheke Island virtually all of them--will not stand the scrutiny of logic and reason. What other scrutiny will they not stand?

Mary Anne Thompson became head of the Department of Immigration by forging her CV, claiming qualifications that she does not have.

Noone and Borlase involved a corrupt AT manager and corrupt contractor, and contracts handed out that should not have been (that sort of corruption need not be money under the table, it can for example be work done on private property without charge).

In short, is the Colin Homan situation a repeat in some way of one or both of those cases? Or is Mr Homan 'only' worse than incompetent?