I was delighted to receive this article from Jerry Flay who has asked me if I’d post it up on here. I do so with the greatest of pleasure and thank him for his contribution to our robust debate. I have of course assured him that it will be presented as it was sent and not mucked about with. Over to you Jerry…..
It is with some trepidation that I have decided to take up the invite, nay, the challenge, issued by Alan Knight, and put finger to keyboard in order to defend the A Team in this arena.
I shall have faith in my metaphorical suit of kevlar and trust that the bullets which come my way after publication will be equally metaphorical.
So, in defence of the A Team……..
A true leader does not care about popularity, they care about taking the right decisions.
So said Margaret Thatcher, and she was right.
Hang on, push down those hackles….
Such is the lot of the successful leader. One who recognises that some decisions may not endear them to elements of their electorate, but who acknowledges that within the parameters available, the decision they take is for the best in the long term.
During the past 3 years, the Waiheke Local Board have taken at least one decision which has made them unpopular with a segment of the community, that of re-opening the Esplanade to cars.
Personally I was opposed to it, but having listened to and understood the facts involved, I was able to comprehend why the decision was taken. And I accepted that, and moved on.
Since opening, the road has not collapsed. No-one has been injured walking or riding it. In fact, the LB have achieved exactly what they intended. A safe, properly maintained, mixed use facility, primarily funded by Auckland Council.
Those who oppose the decision, however, do not see it like this. They still believe that their group of 550 opponents, “the community” as they refer to themselves, were not listened to.
Well they were. Anyone with ears was forced to listen to them.
What actually happened is that they were not agreed with. It would easy to suggest it is that, not the future of the Esplanade itself, which motivates them to continue to make it an issue. Which is perfectly natural. Anyone who believes they are right hopes to get their own way. Those of you who have children will be very familiar with behaviour of this kind. It’s called sulking.
Let’s look at another recent decision, that to grant the Street Traders a further 6 month extension of their licence.
Prior to that, one of the traders took to facebook to create a sense of perceived injustice. The LB didn’t like him, they were going to revoke his licence. It wasn’t fair. In fact, quite the opposite happened. The LB extended his licence, and gave him fair warning of forthcoming process as dictated by their masters, Auckland Council. Forewarned is forearmed, and the smart street trader would plan accordingly.
However, this particular individual took to Facebook once to more, to complain again about the lack of fairness, this time because he had been booted out of the Saturday market. It’s just not fair, is it.
And still to this day there are those, Mr Knight amongst them, who bemoan the “attack” on the street traders.
This completely ignores the facts. Is there a pattern emerging here?
Then there is the elephant in the room, the proposed marina. My personal view is that of absolute opposition, not to the location, but to the fact that it would be an entirely private marina, with no causal access, and as far as I can see, absolutely no benefit to Waiheke.
The LB have refrained, quite rightly, from expressing personal opinions on this. Personal opinions are not their job. Doing the best for Waiheke rate payers within the processes laid out by Auckland Council is their job, and as far as the marina is concerned, this is what they have done, raising in writing their concerns about the proposed location.
That they haven’t chained themselves to bulldozers or firebombed the environment court seems to have caused some consternation amongst those who, yes you’ve guessed it, are still banging on about the Esplanade, The Coffee Carts and for all I know, the pro nuclear stance of Jo Holmes great great uncle Neville. Those who choose to ignore the facts and base their stance on conjecture.
This is the first Local Board we have ever had, under the first super City Auckland Council.
The last 3 years has been as much about establishing process and protocol as it has about governance.
Let’s look at some more, possibly inconvenient facts that have arisen during those 3 years, shall we?
This LB has delivered more projects than any other LB in the super city. Fact.
This LB, by following process and applying knowledge and experience has generated far more co-funding from Auckland Council than any other LB in the super city. Fact.
Only yesterday, the swimming pool project has become an Auckland Council project. This has happened because the LB have a good working relationship with AC, and have followed process. Fact!
There are good leaders and bad leaders. Bad leaders want to be liked, and amend their decisions and actions accordingly.
Good leaders listen to all available evidence in front of them, then take a decision based on their assessment of that evidence. In so doing they earn respect from those smart enough to recognize what they have done.
Jo Holmes, Faye Storer and Don McKenzie have done just that. And Waiheke should be proud and positive about what they have achieved, not sulking like schoolchildren because not every decision went their own way. Luckily most of Waiheke is proud and positive.
It would be remiss of me to avoid mentioning the antics of one LB member who in my opinion has let the side down rather badly. The only LB member to engage in a public brawl with police. The only LB member to have an official complaint against them for their behaviour on Facebook.
The only LB member to consistently vote, on the record, against many good and beneficial LB initiatives which even the harshest critics of the A Team would struggle to oppose. It’s there, time and time again.
” Member Paul Walden requested that his vote against the motion to pay for a swimming pool feasibility study be recorded”
Member Paul Walden requested that his vote against the motion to develop a directional and naming signage template in keeping with Waiheke unique identity
Board Member Walden requested his vote (against 24a) be noted.
Member Paul Walden requested that his vote against the motion be recorded.(Rangihoua Wetlands restoration)
Board member Paul Walden requested that his vote against the motion be recorded.(increased mobility parking)
Paul Walden requested that his vote against the motion to fund the Oneroa Bowling Club Upgrade of $125k and the following SLIPs be recorded at the October 2012 meeting.
Member Paul Walden requested that his vote against the motion be recorded. (Onetangi rd cycle lanes)
It goes on. And on.
This is not the way to behave. It looks churlish and childish. And quite frankly, to borrow his own phrase, I and many others have had enough – of him.
Yet despite this constant opposition, this LB have gone quietly about their business, getting things done for Waiheke.
Unbelievably, they are now the subject of a campaign of vitriolic misinformation, one which entirely ignores the facts. Their crime? Not joining the Waiheke Island People’s Parliament.
Are you surprised?
Waiheke is a diverse and vocal community. Or it was. Now it is a diverse and opinionated grouping of factions who between them are destroying the once harmonious fabric of this community.
In such an environment, you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Any adult will tell you that. Instead, take one for the team now and again, and dwell on the positives.
But no. Sadly that’s not the philosophy of a small group of people. They live, it seems, to oppose.
Surprised? No, but you should be ashamed.