I want to thank the 2239 voters who elected me to the Waiheke Local Board. I really do appreciate your confidence in me. Sadly my colleagues on the board – Faye Storer, Jim Hannan, Don McKenzie and Jo Holmes – don’t share your confidence.
The first decision for the new Local Board on the 6th November will be to decide who will be the chair and deputy chair for the next three years. I had called an informal meeting with the local board members to start to discuss this and possible portolio roles on Thursday.
I was really keen that we should meet because as a group we hardly know each other. I thought it would be an opportunity for us to talk about our passions and what we hoped to achieve as a board for our community and begin to develop criteria on how we could make good decisions – including for the chair and other roles on the board.
But at the start of the meeting Faye handed me a sheet of paper listing all the roles which they had already divied up between the five of us including allocating the role of chair to Faye and deputy chair to Jo. The discussions that produced this sheet of paper were kept secret from me.
I was gob-smacked at the level of pre-determination here. None of these people actually know me. But these four people had already decided things about me without me – and I had no opportunity to inform them or defend myself.
It’s the way the decision was made, rather than the result, that concerns me most.
I had hoped that as a board we would be able to make good decisions together. Good decision-making requires all participants to take an active role. It requires participants to keep an open mind. It requires people to sit down together and look at all the available information, explore options, maybe robustly debate some of the points and in the end come to a decision. Additionally, for elected representatives, the Local Government Act applies. This requires board members to take into account the views of the community when making a decision. Unfortunately I was locked out of the decision-making by the other four elected board members and clearly your 2239 votes are irrelevent to this decision as well.
It saddens me that at a time of incredible opportunity with the new council and local board structure our brand new elected board members are kicking things off without the slightest nod to a transparent decision-making process. What does this say about their intention to act democratically?
On Thursday Faye told me that I am a ‘minority’ on the board. I had hoped that oppositional politics was behind us – as these were the people who made campaign promises that they would be happy to work as a team.
I’m greatly disappointed about the way things are starting off. I remain grateful to our community for the support you have shown me as your elected representative. I am especially appreciative of all of you who have argued and engaged with me and shared your thoughts and ideas because you keep me accountable. I trust you will continue to do so and will do the same for the other board members too.
Again, thank you for your vote.