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MEDIA WATCH. Part 1. The Waiheke Marketplace

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OK folks, now we get down to the details. Since Friday afternoon this plucky website has been bringing you up to the minute news concerning all the delights of what some are already calling ‘Faye-Gate’. We’ve had some passionate calls for a drastic rethink over board positions and even a call for everyone to sit down, shut up and accept what we cannot change.

But Wednesday has rolled around and the first of our two newspapers has hit the streets. So let’s see what ‘The Weekly Fairfax’ has to say on the matter. There’s a small story on page three headed; ‘New local board chooses its two leaders.’ No mention of any controversy, indeed the tone of the article is upbeat and positive. Reading this you’d believe everything was sweetness and light. Andy Spence’s application for a recount is also featured just below.

But when we reach page eight things start to get exciting. As you open the page you can see straight away that the ‘Fairfax’ has just had its largest mail bag ever. There’s even a note that reads; ‘We have been inundated with letters over the issue of the selection of the Waiheke Local Board Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson. We apologise we cannot publish all letters, but the following provides a sample of your views.’

‘Inundated’ eh? There’s a surprise. So let’s see how this cross section of views shapes up. Firstly there are letters from Angela Newton and Nicholas Herren both raising concerns over the nature of the process as reported. In fact Ms Newton goes further and raises the whole tricky matter of ‘Ferry Pass-Gate’, (of which, more later I’m sure).

Then we have letters from Jo Holmes, Jim Hannan and Faye Storer herself. All address the question of whether the decisions were made prior to the first meeting and in the absence of Denise Roche.

All three deny this, though Jim then goes and spoils it by mentioning a ‘Phone Round’ the night before the meeting. Jo Holmes goes after John Stansfield’s original email and claims that it ‘is full of inaccuracies’, though she then fails to explain exactly what the inaccuracies actually were so that’s not a lot of help.

Jan Scott from Waiheke Radio adds a clarification to any impression that might have been given during her interview with Faye Storer on Saturday morning and makes it clear that she believes that the accusation of a prior meeting is unfounded.

Finally, Millie Watkins writes to praise Denise Roche for all her efforts over the past three years and quite right too.

Phew! So far so good. All we seem to be missing are a couple of letters from locals delighted with the way the process has worked and expressing confidence in the new board. We must assume that these letters were among those that had to be set aside for lack of space. Never mind, those of you thrilled with the new board are welcome to add your thoughts here on One Waiheke. No lack of space here I assure you.

So the suggestion that the ‘Gang of Four’ met together to carve up the board’s responsibilities between them prior to presenting Denise Roche with a ‘Faye t’acomplit’ must now be set aside. The charge has been made and three of the four have publicly denied it. Fair enough. But that’s hardly the whole issue is it? There’s still the matter of public feeling over the way Denise Roche has been sidelined despite her considerable majority. The allocations of portfolios has not been mentioned either.

So you can be sure that we have not heard the last of this.
For me, the most annoying note was struck by Jim Hannan. At the end of his letter he makes it clear that what he refers to as ‘Moderate’ voters are happy with the result and that any opposition is being driven by the extreme left.

Well now hold on. If Jim thinks it is that easy then let me spell something out for him. I am unhappy with the way our local board is developing yet I am in no way left of centre politically. If he doubts this let him listen to the back issues of ‘Opinionated Islanders’ for proof.
The first time I got turned loose to vote in a general election I voted for Margaret Thatcher. The last time I voted for Act with my party vote and Nikki Kaye for MP. I’m a free market Libertarian, an opponent of Trade Union activity, a climate change sceptic and an enthusiastic gun owner. Does that make me ‘extreme left’? Not unless they have changed the political goalposts by an awfully long way without me realising. But I tell you this, I’m 100% for Waiheke.

So let’s not have any of this simplistic drivel about Lefties please. You don’t have to be a card carrying Red to recognise when something stinks and our new board members would do well to remember this before they start trying to pigeonhole us in such childish ways.

So now we wait to see what tomorrow brings. Will Granny Gulf News put her dentures in and give this story the gnashing it deserves? Watch this space!

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17 Responses

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  1. admin says

    Just to note that Millie’s letter was written last week before any of this surfaced.

  2. alanknight says

    And, as I say, quite right too. Denise Roche has proved most worthy as a local representative and has recieved too few plaudits for her work.

  3. milliepickle says

    Marketplace inaccuracies- leaving aside the issue of inherent bias in a paper Jo Holmes staked her candidacy on being the only non-biased paper on the island (I think she wins the Fox News Of New Zealand distinction- fair and balanced, eh?) there were a number of factual errors that will be brought to their attention.
    1. Council staff urged fast tracking of appointments- hey, it worked for Rodney Hide, why try harder when we can just claim urgency as an excuse for a slipshod approach?
    * Anna Bray, Stewardship Manager of ACC assured me that they only asked board members to have a think…not to finalize the list of both appointments AND portfolios within 3 days. Why the rush job one might ask? Were we perhaps a little afraid of momentum building for someone else to be chair? Oh, no, it was just that they knew the outcome so didn’t need to bother with all that pesky discussion time.
    2.John Stanfield’s email was erroneous-
    * it may have been passionate, but it was at the same time accurate. When pressed to specify inaccuracies, Faye and Jo have yet to reply.
    3. Denise was a part of deliberations-
    *there is great confusion over this- people seem confused over the fact that Denise was presented with a list that was then just to be affirmed- there was no semblance of deliberation. Faye brought the list, everyone agreed to the list.
    4.The 4 board members did not meet before hand.
    * What is scarier? That the 4 board members colluded outside of the first meeting to line things up, or that Faye singlehandledly decided everything, typed it up and presented everyone with it? I can’t decide which is worse, can you?

  4. djongrass says

    I’ve heard from a Gulf News employee that Liz Waters has received over 700 emails for the letters page on ‘Faye-Gate’ this week. Something tells me the Gulf News will have a little more to say about this than The Marketplace can cobble together! A really poor effort from the Island tabloid!

    • alanknight says

      Lord help us! Seven Hundred??? Now that really is impressive. What a shame that all of them will be from extreme left malcontents who have no respect for the democratic process eh?
      I look forward to getting my copy first thing.

      • djongrass says

        700 may of course be an extremely exaggerated number but even if it’s just 400, 300 or indeed just in treble figures it’s still mightily impressive!

        The Marketplace failed to ‘grow a pair’ today. Where do you suggest the G-News may go Alan?

      • Anna Pashby says

        What on earth are you talking about “What a shame that all of them will be from extreme left malcontents who have no respect for the democratic process eh….” I’m not extreme left, nor am I malcontent, and I sure as hell have respect for a democratic process…just NOT a process that totally ignores the real results…..just because I voted for Denise, does not make me a raving lefty…!

      • admin says

        I think Alan was being ironic.

      • Alan Knight says

        It’s true. I was being ironic. It’s an annoying habit of mine.

      • Anna Pashby says

        Yes, I got that after I posted it…doh….Funny not annoying,a nd very well done to get my rise….lol…x

  5. alanknight says

    That the ‘Weekly Fairfax’ chose to soft pedal this story should come as no surprise to anyone. Hard hitting journalism was never part of their original brief even before the whole thing got sold to the dull corporate mess that now runs it.
    The Gulf News response will depend entirely on whether Liz Waters is in a lucid phase this week,(When she is, she can write a cracking editorial) or in one of her ‘Staring out of the window at things that may or may not be real while drooling gently’ phases.
    The Gulf News has never been a big supporter of Faye Storer so they have nothing to lose by ripping into the whole mess, but with no proper grown up writers left on the pay roll they may still drop the ball.
    Oh Greg Treadwell. Where are you now we REALLY need you?

  6. Vi says

    The Marketplace’s lack of awareness around what the mood is on Waiheke on this issue is kind of embarrassing. The shit was hitting the fan for several days before Marketplace went to press, I could even see it spinning on my facebook page, surely a rare occasion for local body politics. Even the NZ Herald has sniffed it out (and that’s saying something)

  7. Uroskin says

    I wrote a letter to the Marketplace editor but fat chance it getting published no doubt, so I’ll do it here.

    Dear George,

    If you want to be the Waiheke newspaper of note, you will have to ensure that I do not have to go read the Herald for Waiheke news instead.
    Your coverage of the Local Board shambles in last week’s issue was in journalistic terms non-existent and the “she-said-she-did” stoush was entirely and unjustifiably left to the letters’ page without editorial comment.
    It has been obvious that Marketplace was not entirely neutral in the run-up to the elections, with various soft cock stories (no offense to the roosters!) on Ms Storer, which made the editorial bias transparent.
    I will expect a far more critical eye being cast over the future actions of the Local Board by your newspaper to ensure Faye, Rich & White do not rule Waiheke absolutely.

    Kind regards,

  8. Uroskin says

    Just got a phone call from George at the Marketplace about my letter. She said the reason there was not extensive coverage yet was due to Labour weekend, when the news stops. Also, the Marketplace had stories on Colin Beardon and other candidates so there was no editorial bias.
    There will be more extensive coverage next week.

    • Anna Pashby says

      Well, what a lot of tosh….the GN can have extensive coverage, along with editor comment, why on earth can they not….?! Long weekend my arse.

  9. Anna Pashby says

    What I also find alarmnig, well along with EVERYTHING about this, is that Jan Scott insists that this is NOT the case, that it did not happen that way, well, if Faye-Jo & Jim-Don all say it did, what on earth is Jan talking about ? And to read that Jo knows that “Densie knew all four were against her” And then Jim-Don saying Denise was included, but then Faye admits to coming to the meeting with a list where she apoints herself as chair…!?!??! PEOPLE OF WAIHEKE….really read what these people are saying, stand together & stop this being the start of three terrible, long, hate filled years…ARGH!
    As an aside, I had a lovely, open & frank talk with Denise, she told me people are talking about a protest at the Ostend Hall when all five are sworn in. She feels this would not be good for Waiheke (especailly now it is in the nzherald.co.nz) but to protest at the Marae, where it can be more peacfull and more of a statement. And what about section 10 of LGA2002? In print/word etc it would seem they have already broken their promise to work openly etc so can we not make a change the right way????

  10. genetic says

    It’s a shame we can’t just start the voting process again – we obviously misjudged that one.



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