Straw Poll on the Local Board Chair

This poll is now closed there will be a new one on Monday.

After 5 days these are the final results:


Local Board Chair Poll results

Although voting was steady over the last 5 days the proportion shown here have been fairly consistent throughout.  I know about self selection bais but this site is open to all and there has been plenty of opportunity to show support.  The daily votes show no late charge for any particular viewpoint.

Jo Holmes responds

An individual who supported Jo Holmes requested her side of events in response to Denise’s email. That person also asked for permission to forward that response to those that asked in the email thread which Jo gave the go ahead.

Dear [name removed]

I have been subject to 4 days of nasty, inaccurate and insulting emails, texts, and phone calls since Denise’s husband, John Stansfield, sent the following email on Saturday to Denise’s supporters and the wider community.

“just to let you know that Denise has been totally done over by the right on the local board. The other memberds were invited by her to lunch the day after the election but did not come, choosing instead to meet several times without inviting Denise so that they could allocate all the plum jobs without her. Yesterday they presented her with a typed page which makes Fay chair, Jo deputy, Jim the spokesperson on youth waste tourism, the recreation centre (which Denise has done for 3 yrs) She was also shut out of the council of social services area and civil defence which she had requested.
Denise is very fragile after a vicous and humiliating meeting at which the 4 other board members explained they did not have confidence in her and disputed that she had any mandate. She needs the support of her fiends right now as he faces 3 long years with people who are starting their political term by a nasty act of political bastardry”

You have at least done what few others have bothered to do and ask me
what happened.

At a briefing with Council officials a week ago they asked us to have a meeting to elect the Chair and Deputy and allocate portfolios so we could hit the ground running on 1 Nov, official start of the new Auckland City. At the same meeting both Denise and Faye raised their hands saying they wanted the Chair. It was decided to hold the meeting to elect the Chair and Deputy at 2pm on Thursday. Denise lobbied Jim and Don while we were still at Council. She never spoke to me on the matter as it was well know I campaigned with Faye and she assumed, rightly, there would be no point. Faye’s experience alone makes her the obvious Chair. The procedure for electing the Chair and Deputy is on a one man one vote basis with the majority deciding the outcome.

By the Thursday meeting Faye had obviously also lobbied Jim and Don and got their support. With a four to one majority for both Chair and Deputy Faye was elected Chair and myself deputy. As requested Faye was anxious to get on with the business in hand and brought with her a list of ‘possible’ portfolios. These were discussed for over an hour. Denise withdrew her name from several portfolios because of conflict of interest. The ‘possible’ portfolios are not set in concrete but do reflect the skill sets of each Board member.

And there you have it. Due process has been followed. There were no secret meetings.

Since then Denise has spit the dummy big time, thrown the toys out of the cot, and the four of us have been subjected to a mountain of inaccurate and sometimes abusive communications.

Much of this will be in today’s Marketplace and the whole of Gulf (Green) News will be full of it tomorrow. If it’s true we have no confidence in Denise you can see why that might be.

I trust this gives you sufficient background to have faith in your new Board. We are responsible, mature group of independently minded people anxious to move ahead and get on with the job.

Jo Holmes

‘GULLIBLE’ VOTERS

Transcript of a Letter to the Editor  (Gulf News, 18 Oct 2007)

As the partner of Faye Storer, I would like to thank the sensible intelligent people who have supported her for the last 15 years, on the community board and as the Hauraki Gulf councillor.

During that time she has been involved with every major council project on the island, working up to 80 hours, seven days a week for the last nine years to ensure Waiheke got everything it deserved.

For those who voted for candidates other than Faye, all I can say is you must be very gullible people to be taken in by the glib talk and false promises made by them.
Denise Roche in particular has never attended a council or community board meeting, so hardly has the qualifications to be our representative on council. She will be like a lamb to the slaughter at a Citizens and Ratepayers dominated council table. Her inability to get Waiheke anything will show through in a very short time and the ‘Looney Left’ vocal minority who have fought to get rid of Faye and supported Denise will get what they deserve, which is absolutely nothing. Expect to see major cutbacks in Waiheke’s cut of the cake, and the likely sale of the Matiatia land back to private owners.

My next barrage is for the editor of the Gulf News whose editorial of 11 October showed his true colours. It implied that Faye’s salary of $90,000 was extravagantly high. In reality, working an average of 70 hours a week for 48 weeks of year amounts to just over $26 an hour and, after tax, not quite $17.

Do you expect someone working those sorts of hours to it for nothing?

Faye is actually relieved that she no longer has to deal with those people who don’t have the gumption to stand for the community board or council themselves, but snipe at those who do, and is saddened that Waiheke will now suffer because of the selfishness of a few.

The community board, with three particularly hard working members, will now bear the burden of having an ineffectual councillor. Faye will not provide any advice to anyone but them; and Denise Roche is now wholly responsible for all off island decisions and their outcomes.
John Newton, Oneroa

Jim Hannan responds

This letter was passed to OneWaiheke using the Contacts form. I judge from Jim’s invitation to circulate that its ok to print here. [ed]

Dear Jim,
I am deeply upset and shocked at the way the new board seems to be handling things. I have heard about decisions being made between yourself, Don McKenzie, Faye Storer and Jo Holmes, leaving Denise Roche out. I am asking myself how does that support and represent our community? What happened to transparency? Regardless of who I voted for in the elections I would like to see a board that supports each other and communicates and argues if need be but not just bypasses conflict. I hope that the four of you will come clean in this and
include Denise in your decision making. Even if you personally don’t agree with her views she is representing our community as well as the four of you as enough voters have proven.
I am interested to hear what you have to say about that decision making process.
Regards Tina

Dear Tina.

Yours is the only e.mail I have replied to, for it is entirely reasonable in its content.
ON THE QUESTION OFF LOCAL BOARD CHAIR AND DEPUTY CHAIR

From my point of view the election of Chair was clear cut. Faye Storer has the experience and ability to deal with the great detail of Board Meetings.
The real difficulty was the selection of Deputy Chair.
Given the animosity that exists between Denise Roche and Faye Storer, and with being strong minded women I simply could not see them working together in any harmony.
This then left Don McKenzie and myself in a very invidious position.
Both of us as Vision Waiheke electees simply want to do our very best for the Island with no ambition beyond that.

From my point of view the issues were:
1/ To somehow keep the women apart and have a Board that works for the Island as a whole and not just for sectional interests.
2/Denise Roche in her role as Councillor was elected as an Independent, then proceeded to be anything but that.
3/ In the just completed election Denise was careful NOT to put the word Independent after her name.
This indicates the Board has a Green Party Member. Nothing wrong with that , except that it is my view that Denise will be running for the Green Party in next years’ General Election with a quite reasonable chance of success.
Rightly or wrongly, on this basis, I could not vote for Denise as Deputy Chair. The resulting choice was Jo Holmes, who I believe will do an excellent job without fear or favour.
4/For the record I am a member of National Party. This was declared right at the start of the campaign.
5/As for Denise I for one wish to work productively for the Island with with her . My belief is that the other Members feel the same. The ball is now in Denise’s court.
Assuming I survive the current recount process, my absolute commitment to you and all sections of this diverse and vibrant community is this: I will be even handed in any decision making process I am involved in.

Footnote: Both our local papers also have a part to play. Marketplace has shown itself to be even handed in it’s reporting. Sadly with Gulf News one could be forgiven for believing it to be nothing more than an organ for Green Party. Hopefully it can become more balanced going forward.
Feel free to circulate this e.mail as you see fit. Regards

RIGHT, BUT NOT ENOUGH MIGHT.

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might is right book coverThere is a particular group of people on Waiheke that I’d like to address today. Many of them are probably not reading One Waiheke just yet but hopefully can be coaxed gently into the debate that’s raging across the island. As that odious chap once said, a week is a long time in politics. And it’s a week to wait before you get to see any more newspaper coverage so you might as well tune in here if you want to keep up with local opinion.

As Mark James pointed out yesterday it’s foolish to try and classify our community in terms of old fashioned Left and Right. It may still work at national level but here on the Rock it only serves to muddy the waters. But don’t despair. Let’s try it another way. The people I want to reach are the ones who voted for Alex Swney and John Banks rather than Mike Lee and Len Brown. You know who you are. So do I for that matter.

I’m pretty certain that you Swneys are the ones sitting at your computers trying to come up with a letter to the papers in support of the Local Board. You probably feel that here at last is a line up that can get stuff done and maybe move the island in the direction you’d like to see it go. You liked all that stuff about jobs, economic growth and so on. And why not? I myself was thrilled when Jo Holmes threw her hat in the ring and I was happy to support her. Yet now, all this possible progress has been derailed by the spat over the sidelining of Denise Roche. I can see why you are not happy.

It’s a tricky life for Swneys. You certainly wield considerable economic power on the island. You run businesses and create employment. Your custom keeps cafes and restaurants ticking over during the slow months. Yet time and time again you find yourself hopelessly outnumbered by the legions of Lees who block your moves and keep you pinned down, unable to shape the island in your own image.

The only advantage Swneys have is their cohesiveness. They move in the same circles and think in broadly the same ways. Lees may be more numerous but are hampered by their variety of internal factions and obsessions. We only have to look at their excessive line up of candidates to see this.

Let’s just remind ourselves of those numbers once more. I’m sure I got taught statistics at school but I was almost certainly gazing out the window humming an Emerson Lake & Palmer tune to myself at the time so I can’t break these numbers down into percentages with any kind of accuracy, but then with figures like these I don’t really need to. [ed: added pie charts to illustrate]

Read ‘em and weep as the saying has it;

Councilor vote from Waiheke;

Mike Lee 2726

Alex Swney 301

Mayoral Vote from Waiheke;

Len Brown 2290

John Banks 866

See what I mean? All those pep talks from Michelle Boag and back patting sessions at Rotary on Monday nights are never going to make up for the fact that you don’t have the numbers and never will.

Also, just to digress here for a moment, the irony is that the more economic growth you DO manage to create the worse it gets. After all, when Jim Hannan talks about creating jobs he’s not talking about well paid careers, he’s talking about minimum wage jobs. Service industry, tourism, vineyards etc, none of which will pay any better than working for Woolworths and create yet another layer of poorly paid folks living in rented accommodation. And who will THEY vote for come the next election? Mike Lee of course.

So stop and think for a moment before writing that letter in support of Faye Storer and her Swney cabal because it really isn’t going to help either you or them.
We’ve all heard lots in the last week about how Faye is a ‘Career Politician’. If that is the case then she’d know that politics is a bit like sky diving. There’s precious little room for error, and any mistake made above a certain magnitude means it’s ALL OVER. She made her play and its all gone pear shaped. No matter how tough she tries to play it she must realise she’s finished on Waiheke. The only question is whether she goes this week, or in three years time.

So what can be salvaged? If the board gets sworn in next weekend as planned then they face a miserable three years of criticism and mistrust. Nothing they do will make anyone happy least of all themselves. Then, come 2013 they will be massacred at the polls and replaced by five solid Lees. The Swney dream will be well and truly over and it will be 2016 before they get to try again.

It’s not a happy prospect. The Local Board should be balanced, with a bit of give and take from both sides. There is no way that a 4/1 voting bloc of either Lees or Swneys will ever manage to run the island effectively.

Both factions have eight days to get this mess smoothed out. The best way to start is for the Swneys to look to their three board members elect and try to persuade them to make the only sensible move. They have to cut Faye Storer loose and leave her to her fate. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s politics. Right now the focus of public disgust is on her, with Hannan, Holmes and McKenzie perceived as misled beginners. If they jump ship now they can maybe salvage some credibility and hang in there. If they insist on standing by their actions of the last week then all three will go the same way as their leader.

Waiheke really doesn’t need that to happen. If the swearing in on the 6th goes ahead with things the way they are now then Len Brown is going to see Waiheke at its most fractious. No amount of calming talk from anyone is going to stop the inevitable mess of placards and public abuse outside the Ostend Hall. It will not look good.

So come on Swneys. Think this one through and see what you can come up with. Forget building barricades around your ambitions, it simply won’t work. If even one of you reads this then pass it on to others. Join the dialog on here because by the time the Gulf News come out next Thursday it will be too late.

The Smart Way To Go

These are not my words, but I would like to pass on received wisdom:

Even if the Local Board has the right to make this decision to give Faye Storer the Chairmanship, it doesn’t make it the right decision.
The Local Government Act (s14-16) is very explicit on the obligations of councils and boards to take on board the community’s views.
Due to the recent general local body election (with a 65% participation rate – one of the highest in the country)  the community’s view couldn’t be more clear.
Denise to lead – with a more conservative group of board members as a check and balance.

Straw Poll – Day 4

The Chair poll will finish tomorrow so last chance to express an opinion. A new poll will start on Monday. Comment here for suggestions on the next question you would like to ask.

Oh and whoever tried voting a dozen times in a row for xxxx did you think I couldn’t tell.  I think the results are fairly clear and the proportions have not varied much day to day.

Welcome to Bro’ Town (not)

Comment by Greg Treadwell

The huge support Len Brown received from the Maori and Pasifika communities in the west and the south has at last confirmed in political terms what we’ve known in social terms for a long time now. The hegemonic Pakeha grip on the isthmus is officially over. This election been aptly dubbed the “browning of Auckland” by even Brian Rudman in the starchy white New Zealand Herald. Of course, politics can and often does take a long time to catch up with social realities – for better or worse. What we can at least be sure of now is the remnants of Citizens and Ratepayers – and their supporters in the emerging supercity bureaucracy – are spread thin enough to ensure their hurtful, cabbalistic ways are contained. While C&R does have members on the city’s local boards (by my count 31 of the ticket’s 82 local board candidates were successful), only five of the city’s 20 council seats were won by the old right guard, so well-entrenched in preceding terms-of-office that they could simply stack the numbers up against anyone who disagreed with them and effectively silence most, if not all, serious opposition. Take, for example, the last Waiheke waste tender when C&R councillors awarded our precious waste tender to an overseas operation at the fatal expense of our hugely successful, environmentally progressive local trust-based enterprise. Duh?

While I’m realistic about the nature of politics – and it will not all be pretty or inclusive, despite a more representative council – it does feel as if we have, somehow, turned a corner.

Or have we? Here on the island it suddenly feels like a roundabout, to be frank. Just as the future appears to be opening up on the mainland, we look to be returning to a style of political behaviour many of us hoped was behind us. I was dismayed to hear that four of the five members of our newly elected board had decided to do the initial divvy-up of the various portfolios – including the jobs of chair and deputy chair – in a manner that excluded any input from the fifth. What about election promises to work together? That the fifth, excluded member was the outgoing city councillor for the gulf and clearly the island’s most popular politician (the vote differential between her and the next highest polling candidate was quite similar to that between Len Brown and John Banks, interestingly) smacks of the very C&R-dominated environment we so desperately need to move beyond. If anyone anywhere has been arguing (for years) for the need to move beyond the I-win-so-you-lose approach to local government, it’s Waiheke. If I read the island buzz right, islanders across the political spectrum are shocked at the speed with which this move to block-voting has come. The supercity has yet to even come into any sort of focus, for goodness’ sake. Yes, the political structures allow it. No, our board shouldn’t behave like that.

This front-foot approach strongly implies, as I read it, that whenever there is a tricky disagreement, it’ll be four on one. Imagine how demoralising that must feel to the winner of the election? Not being allowed to even argue for the portfolios you have worked on for three years (and in some cases more) is a sharp silencing indeed. Also poor form is the off-hand way the important connections the board has to the Waiheke Maori community were also dealt with without formal discussion as though they were simply another duty like road closures and dustbins.

Hell, if things keep going this way, this new board may yet make us realise that the last one was, in fact, quite good. Oh, dear.

Greg Treadwell is a senior lecturer in journalism and a former editor of Gulf News. He is in no way associated with OneWaiheke but does think it is rather cool.

MEDIA WATCH PART2. The Gulf News

Oh this is MUCH better! If I cast any aspersions yesterday on the ability of our independent local newspaper to get its teeth into Faye-Gate with appropriate relish then I take it all back. Full marks to Liz Waters and the team at the Gulf News for their coverage of the big story.

There it is at the top of the front page. Yet I found myself thinking; ‘Full coverage on page 14?’ That seems a long way below the fold…’ Silly me, I’d forgotten that the Editorial and letters pages come first and what a mail bag! Fifteen letters printed out of however many they actually got and thirteen of those full of teeth gnashing over the whole messy business. Read them in full I urge you. The points raised are too numerous to get into here but all are worth consideration.

Then, on page fourteen we get down to the real meat of the story. All five board members get their say and it makes for uneasy reading. Faye Storer is sticking to her ‘I’m back in power. What I say goes’ position which is no surprise. Then we finally get to hear from Don McKenzie who has been silent up to now. ‘People have nothing to worry about’ says he. Oh, well, that’s alright then. He then goes on about ‘Objective Criteria’ which, given the passion and fury raised over all this seems a rather cold and bloodless way of dealing to the matter.

Then Hannan and Holmes let it all hang out. ‘In some ways it WAS a C&R caucus’ they announce. Oh joy. Just what we needed to hear. Jim then goes on to remind us that; “I have to go with my core support. They made it clear that’s what they wanted.”

Well personally I’m keen to hear from Jim’s ‘core support’ too. They seem to be very quiet at present. Maybe they are away on holiday? Or perhaps their computers have all broken down? Apart from Graham Guthrie’s reply on this site a few days ago and a short and rather strange letter on page thirteen from Kara Nelson of all people, those in support of our new board are keeping their heads well down. Maybe next week we may see some letters arguing the Gang of Four’s position. I for one will look forward to that.

Jim Hannan is also quoted as saying; ‘I believe in honesty. I will always be totally open.’ Excellent! I believe much the same. Which is why I can say the following with total conviction; Jim, you are a prating coxcomb. You have dug yourself a hole right in the middle of a septic tank and seem determined to keep digging. I will watch your fatuous antics over the next three years the same way I watched your ludicrous predecessor Nobilangelo.

So there you have it. Week one of Faye-Gate and the papers have had their say. Well done to all at the Gulf News. With the community in turmoil and disquiet our local paper rose to the challenge and delivered the goods. Now it is up to the Marketplace to raise their game accordingly.