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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...

Monday, 30 June 2008


Once upon a time, chilluns, there was a wonderful island with a Woolworths and a Placemakers. Many were the islanders who shopped there, and happy they were because they were good places to shop and good places for good nattering.

Sadly, some islanders habitually used their feet to get there. Yes, I know that's terribly bad taste, and that everyone should use an SUV, or even better a Hummer on steroids with loose tappets, but there are obviously loonies who think feet are provided for walking with on footpaths.

Even more sadly, most of those despicable walkers came down the hill to the W and the P, and, being people of brain and efficiency, they didn't walk right round and come in through the same entrance as all those steroidal Hummers. No, they took a clever shortcut down the bank at the top corner of the Woollies/Placemakers place.

Sadly the bank was steep, and somehow got slippery when wet stuff fell out of the sky, so the shortcut was a tad dicey in the downward direction, and even tadder in the upward when them people was carrying a load of goodies what they'd bought.

So along came this 'Barking Mad' Bloke, who said, 'Aha, let's fix that. Let's build steps down that bank, with a handrail even, then people can't fall flat and bend-or-break important bits.'

'Whatta good idea,' chorused Other Mad People, so the BMB asked the boo-rock-rats to build the steps with a dollar or two of the dosh they'd extorted from all the islanders. 'No!' shouted the boo-rock-rats. 'Why not?' quoth the BMB, 'it would be good for people.' 'Cause,' explained the boo-rock-rats to this BMB dummy, 'on page 57 of the sacred SLIPs manual it says under "Rules" that you can't use public dosh to get access to private parts (besides, we don't understand this "good for people" stuff).'

So there you are. Akl Qaeda Council, which loves to send bureaucratic car-bombs to blow your pleasant island life to smithereens, has Rules, and the Rules say that if the start of a berm-crossing is public (tick), and the middle is public (tick), and the other end is public (tick), but one nanometre past the other end is private parts (doh!), even if them private parts is public shops, ya can't build that there public crossing with public dosh.

'So jus' keep fallin' on your faces (like we do all the time).'

Isn't that wunnerful?

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


My thanks to Sheryl in Rocky Bay who told me about this. Auckland City Council has on its Website a document entitled Auckland City Behavioural Competency Framework, which sets out, in twenty-two pages, how it can 'take a journey from being a good organisation to becoming a great organisation' so that it will 'achieve our vision for Auckland to become a sophisticated, growing and vibrant international city with a soul.' (Follow the links from careers on the homepage to progressive employment policies to the competency framework.)

That is the same organisation whose performance was described as 'in many respects only mediocre' by its CEO David Rankin in an induction seminar for the newly elected late last year.

One wonders how long the 'journey' will take.

So if you ever get a hard time from council staff you need only point out to offender the relevant page amongst the twenty-two. If things don't get better instantly send a complaint to David Rankin or John Banks or both.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


I find the way the Auckland City Council operates incredible. A lot of kerfuffle and serial five-act dramas to go millimetres towards conclusions that ordinary mortals could reach in nanoseconds.

I received an email recently, for example, inviting me to a workshop, written of course in
polysyllabic, word-heavy ACC spin: 'Please find attached a memo regarding a workshop being held this Thursday 29 May from 5:30pm (6pm start) for community boards members' input into the levels of service provided by Auckland City Council. The feedback from board members will help set realistic service-level improvement targets in the asset management plans, which are a key driver in the development of council's LTCCP (Long-term Council Community Plan).'

That arrived on Monday the 26th of May. Three days' notice, which shows how much they really wanted the feedback.

And we all know that such meetings are nothing but words. Look at the results, the ACC's long-term plans. The one for 2006-2016 is 474 pages (335 more than its predecessor), strong on top-spin; and projected islands' expenditure must be plucked out of thin air because actual figures are many tens of millions more.

But don't they know what 'realistic' (i.e., good) service is? Why go to all that expensive palaver to find out what they should know, and could easily find out by going out and talking directly to lots of real live people.