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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, 20 August 2020


 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.