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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...

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Have you noticed that purveyors of groceries are increasingly pulling a very neat trick? Instead of raising their prices they reduce the size of the packet/jar/tube/bottle/etc and keep the price the same (approximately).

The problem is that that is not sustainable. Sooner or later the packet/jar/tube/bottle/etc gets so small that it vanishes.

Which means that in a few years' time they will be selling us nothing for $2000 a year.

Sounds like the rates.


Thanks to a list of sponsors, the four-day rock-climbing event that was planned for early December by the Waiheke Community Board will be going ahead. Rockup's mobile all-weather rock-climbing unit will be here from the 9th to the 12th of December (all weathers except high winds).

On Day One it will be at Waiheke Primary School for its students, and some parents. On Days Two & Three it will be at Te Huruhi for its students, and some parents, and while there it will also be open to Waiheke High School students.

On Day Four, Saturday the 12th, it will be available to everyone. It will be in Belgium Street, where the new supermarket is to be built, behind the bus stop over the road from The Barn.

It it is 8 metres high, and has four faces, so four people can be using it at once. Climbers are attached with a triple-lock harness to a hydraulically-damped belaying wire, so if they fall off, and when they have reached the top, they float gently down. Two Rockup staff will be in attendance.

Admission, thanks to the sponsors, will be free. But a gold-coin donation will be welcome; proceeds will be allocated by the Waiheke Community Board to community groups.

Major sponsors are TPI, Tony Pope (who also made available the site of the new supermarketfor Saturday the 12th), and the Waiheke Community Board. Other sponsors are Ostend Medical Centre, First National Real Estate Waiheke, TheArtistGoldsmith Oneroa, The Barn, Oneroa Accident & Medical Centre, Offshore Rentals, and the last few dollars were chipped in by Martin Green.

Prizes will given to people in various age-groups who make it to the top in the shortest time. There will also be a prize for the fastest mother-and-daughter and father-and-son teams (the son and daughter must be under twelve), and there will be prizes for those who overcome some handicap and make it to the top.

Prizes have so far been donated by Fullers, Gulf Sound & Vision, Oneroa Four Square, Out There, and Waiheke/Ostend Village Pharmacies. Anyone else who wants to donate a prizes or prizes please contact Nobilangelo, the Member of the Community Board who is organising the event, on 2242.

To see what the rock-climbing unit looks like, click here.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

YJ plus ATA plus AC equals YMCA

The news is getting worse for those who are pinning their hopes for Waiheke on the Local Board system that is to take over from the present Community Boards.

To be effective Boards of whatever name need time, money and people. They need to have control over the local budgets on behalf of their community, and their members need a full-time income because it is a full-time job. They need staff, which means staff they choose, not ones chosen by the corporate-culture cookie-cutter wielded
by the Chief Bureaucrat (CEO). They need meaningful input into the decision-making for their community, so they must not be under the thumb of the bureaucracy. But the structure proposed by Mr Yellow-Jacket's Auckland Transition Agency (ATA), puts them under two managers in the third level of bureaucratic managers, i.e., two levels below the CEO--they are local bodies neatly filed under bureaucracy like corpses in a morgue (see ATA10 Discussion Docu04 pages 13&14).

That is dead wrong. They should be associated with the mayor's department and linked directly to it. The elected should be with the elected. They are representatives of the people so they should be over the employed, not under them. We have had far too much of Sir Humphreys running things. They are the public servants, not the masters. The proposed structure is just YMCA (Yesterday's Muck Cooked Again).

Fair remuneration is of course needed for elected representatives to stay alive, but it is also absolutely vital for the existence of a democracy. If people cannot stand for the Community/Local Boards because they cannot afford to be members, it is impossible to get a truly representative local government. Government that is not
representative is not democracy.

In refusing to attend to the issue of remuneration, and allowing his ATA to muscle for under-the-thumb Local Boards, Mr Yellow-Jacket is saying loud and clear that what he really means by 'putting the local back into local government' is to jab it with a massive local anaesthetic.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


The Blotch in the Bay--the proposed $10-million-dollar 150-berth marina at Matiatia--is a bad idea. It is only in the interests of a tiny number; it is not in the best interests of the Waiheke community. I don't care whether those who get the berths are fat-cats or thin-cats. That is no place for a cat-basket and kitty-litter. The development would forever spoil the bay and skew how it is used and developed. It is the far-from-thin end of a very long wedge, which would open the doors to a string of even worse developments.

Matiatia Bay is our *public* transport hub, the bus-stop for the island's floating bus. To build 150 private 'boat-garages' there is cross-purposes high on the steroids of greed.

Its proponent first represented it as for the public good, saying there are not enough moorings for island boaties. But when questioned by the Community Board he admitted he would not be able to control who got the berths. That exposed his real motive: his wallet.

Auckland boaties would love it. It takes 2-5 hours to sail out this far, but with a marina at Matiatia they could keep their boats here, catch a 35-minute ferry, and save hours. They would get far more sailing-time in the heart of the Gulf; we would get a defaced bay.

A berth would therefore be a cute investment for non-boaties. Buy a $20,000, $40,000 or $200,000 one and sell it to a rich Aucklander for a handsome profit.

The proponent also pointed to the benefits of his pump-out facilities. But all those
pumped-out pees and poos have to go somewhere, and be treated somewhere, and the leftovers have to go somewhere. Into the bay...

That bay is too small, too precious, and its dominant use too important to the island. Spoiling it and messing up its purpose must not happen.

I wish my colleagues on the Community Board who voted for the marina had not forgotten their promise to act in the best interests of the community. Especially the one who voted for it because he said he likes to wander round marinas and admire the boats. Please! Go to Auckland and wander round Westhaven. Don't mess up Matiatia.



Rodney Hide's notion that better local government will come from massive centralisation is a bad idea, a nasty oxymoron on steroids. Even worse is his notion that the SuperSilly can be dumped on 1.4 million people after the October 2010 local-body election--which means it will not really get going till early 2011--and that everything will immediately be wunnerful because all the idealogue theorists setting it up will have got it right.

He has already made that unlikely by refusing to make the Remuneration Authority obey the law and pay Community/Local Board Members a living wage. He therefore wants to keep them in fulltime jobs kneecapped by trifling part-time incomes, thus denied the time to do what the law says they should do, what they want to do, and what their communities rightly expect them to do. He therefore wants the SuperShiny Local Boards to be as chronically hamstrung as the present Community Boards.

But 1.4 million people have to live in his head whether they like it or not, so the best we can do is to try to make the best of it--ASAP. Waiheke is the ideal place to do what needs to be done in 2010--i.e., run a pilot on a small scale before dumping the thing untested on 1.4 million. Get hands-on experience first.

A new type of passenger jet is not rolled out of the factory and immediately loaded up with hundreds of people. It is tested and fine-tuned first. But Yellow-Jacket Hide wants to roll out the Super-shiny and immediately load up 1.4 million people. It would be far better to run a pilot in a small, self-contained community with a fair-sized population and a strong interest in local government. Waiheke is such a community, and the fact that its SuperShiny area is already defined in law makes it uniquely positioned to be the pilot--i.e., for our Community Board to run from early 2010, in effect, as a Local Board.

That is why I proposed to the Waiheke Community Board at our October meeting that we ask the Auckland Transition Agency to make us the pilot.

There is more than enough legislation in place to make that possible, so all that is
needed is for the ATA to say yes and to direct Auckland City Council accordingly. It is worth a shot, and our Community Board should put the question. If a question can be asked, and there is potential benefit, it should be asked. If it is not asked the answer will certainly be no--and the blame will be on those who did not have the guts to open their mouths. If it is asked and the answer is no, the blame is on others. The Community Board is sworn to act in the best interests of the community; it should ask.

If we were to succeed we would have more say in our own affairs (assuming that Hide's scheme really will 'put the local back into local government')--and we would have it in early 2010, not early 2011.

We would therefore squeeze some early silk out of the SuperShiny sow's ear; we would be a year ahead of the game; the period of local-government uncertainty would be dramatically reduced; our community would be better off. We should give it a shot.