Denise Roche – Dear Waiheke

Dear Waiheke,
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.

Denise Roche

32 thoughts on “Denise Roche – Dear Waiheke”

    1. I’ve sent the info I have to your gmail address. Not sure yet whether I can publish them here.

      1. Thanks Andrew – I am so, so annoyed, outraged, shocked, disapointed, appalled etc by the actions of Faye & her followers, surely they must be held accountable!??! I would say you could, as they are members of a community group etc, but best play safe. Thanks again, Anna

  1. Sorry to hear about your experiences Denise. It’s really important that all board members are included in decision making. You were such an advocate for Waiheke in your previous role it seems odd to attempt to sideline you on the board.

  2. “– and I had no opportunity to inform them or defend myself.”

    This is very undemocratic, and so UNJUST! Most mature, reasonable people wouldn’t allow this to happen. They would first and foremost give that person the opportunity to do the above before making any judgements.

  3. The new “chair” thinks this is acceptable, god help us!
    Maybe The rest of the board need to go on a team building course to understand the meaning, being part of a team!

  4. The ‘gang of four’ should be ashamed of themselves. I’m guessing Jim Hannan, Jo Holmes and Don McKenzie have been naively manipulated but in the end it’s no excuse. They’ve been very quiet on this so far, perhaps someone would like to get in touch and find out if they have anything to say. Contact them and voice your displeasure:

    [ed: emails and phone numbers removed – use the phone book]

    1. Ed – Will send you a copy of teh email i sent them. Anna

  5. I already have been in touch, I sent an open email to all four of them – So far I have had only one reply: ” Thanks Anna We have all been subject to three days of vitriolic attacks. I have written a letter to the Marketplace with my response. You’ll read all about there on Wednesday. Cheers, Jo ” How can we make sure these four (Waiheke Community Board) works for us and that these four are held accountable for all they do…? Is there a process do you know? Anna

  6. how very disappointing…. finally we have an opportunity for a new start with Len Brown and Mike Lee at the helm an opportunity to make a fresh non-devisive start. And now this?
    I hope the board will meet again perhaps with Mike Lee there to adjudicate and try again to make amore democratic decision, remembering that Denise got the most votes and they are supposed to be working for us “their community” not for their own personal agenda.

  7. I would imagine that Jo Holmes would hav been actively involved n droolin at the bit to say the least! Jim Hannan, political spokesperson for Fullers??? WTF! Don McKenzie, can’t say, but com on people, this is not the time to be appathetic, I am sooo fucked off that this has happened, it is sooo grossly un-democratic and should not be allowed, so why is it??? I say fight fire w fire, this is the only way u can make a true stand n b heard! Shout fr the highest mountain so that god himself can hear!!!

  8. How about organising a meeting before Nov 6 for all of those concerned about the undemocratic manner in which Faye and co have operated? Anyone interested?

    1. I think the public is owed a meeting with everyone all together to front up and explain themselves- this isn’t Auckland CIty, you can’t hide behind the boardroom doors here…you probably can’t even hide behind bathroom doors 🙂

  9. This may be what you can ‘expect’ in politics; but it’s a pretty dirty way to kick things off! It sounds like the yucky school group antics we try to leave behind us. I’m going to assume the pending Marketplace letter will not be an apology. Hopefully some of the flakey four will learn from this & put it down to experience. Just maybe.

  10. I really think something needs to happen at the top n I personally believe that will only happen if enough people yell n scream about it, how can they not?! So if it means that Mike Lee is there to sort it out, n right the un-democratic rule, then so be it, alternately I hav been told that Anna Bray fr ACC who is responsible for local board relationships is anotha port o call. Maybe if enough people ring n voice their concerns it may force them to rethink their actions. If all else fails, I’d b keen to picket on the day of swearin in, maybe embarassin the new board in front o the new mayor will make them realise that we r serious about standing for democracy, integrity, n honouring Waiheke as a whole, environment n all!

  11. Quotes from local board candidates on ‘working together’ when campaigning

    Answers from Faye to three questions posted on the Waiheke Radio web site during the community/local board election campaign

    Q1. What do you see as being the 3-4 key ‘things/areas’ the new board should focus on or understand within the first 90 days of being elected?

    A) Key areas to focus on – Establish a good working relationship with the new Mayor and Council/ Get full information on Local Board delegations and budgets/ Negotiate maximum delegated authority for the Waiheke Board and a realistic budget/ get working.

    Q2. What do you believe are the 3-5 key capabilities/skills the new board need to have/develop in order to work effectively

    A) Key capabilities and skills – Good-will; common-sense; understanding the way local government works; realistic expectations and the ability to work together.

    Q3. What would be your answer to the question “WHY does the community board exist?” (WHY it’s meant to be doing whatever it does

    A) The community board (local board) provides the community with democratically elected representation.

    Answers from Denise from the same 3 questions

    Q1. What do you see as being the 3-4 key ‘things/areas’ the new board should focus on or understand within the first 90 days of being elected?

    A) First up orientation and making sure each board member is up to speed with legislation and background info like Essentially Waiheke etc for local governance on Waiheke. Also crucial in the first few weeks is sorting out what the decision making powers of board are. If necessary the board will need to develop a strategy to ensure more local decision making. This includes developing relationships with CCO’s and Mayor and councillors. At the same time the sooner the board can identify key issues, (transport, planning, community facilities etc) and sort out an action plan to address these issues the better as this will feed into the one year and three year plan and community engagement strategy that the board will need to have adopted within a year.

    Q2. What do you believe are the 3-5 key capabilities/skills the new board need to have/develop in order to work effectively

    A) In this new era personality politics can seriously harm our community. The new board needs to leave egos at the door and put Waiheke first. I look forward to seeing a board where each individual board member’s expertise is utilised and board members are accountable and trusted by each other and the community. So a range of skills and interests amongst board members – like financial management, community engagement, planning, environmental, social well being, business development and job creation, – is desirable – but the board will be able to co-opt and seek support from others in the community if a skill set is lacking. Skills in advocacy, problem solving and strategic planning will also be essential.

    Q3. What would be your answer to the question “WHY does the community board exist?” (WHY it’s meant to be doing whatever it does)

    A) Because we want local decisions made locally. This is the very clear message delivered to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance (28% of all submissions came from Waiheke) and to the government select committees that heard the submissions on the Acts of Parliament the government introduced to create the new Auckland Council and structure – which includes our local board.

    It’s the principle of subsidiarity – that decisions should be made closest to those most affected by the decisions. Democracy works best when you live in the same community and can eyeball the decision makers.

    Jim Hannan quoted off his ‘Why vote for you’ audio clip on Waiheke Radio web site

    “We will need a local board that is willing, ready and able to liaise productively with not only the mayor & councilors of greater auckland but also the council controlled organizations and other local boards”

    Don McKenzie quoted off his ‘Why vote for you’ audio clip on Waiheke Radio web site

    “… it gives us the chance to put local back into local governance, we need to seize the opportunity to present a untied front to the council . It won’t be easy being on the local board, it will be quite different from being on the community board. There are three challenges the first is to develop new systems of consultation systems of bottom up planning of budgeting of setting priorities. It isn’t going to be easy”

    Jo Holmes quoted off her ‘Why vote for you’ audio clip on Waiheke Radio web site

    “I want to achieve as much as possible for the Waiheke Community within the super city, this will mean working co-operatively with each other and with our councilor for Waitemata. As a successful entrepreneur and member of several community groups i know how to work with a team to achieve results. It was by listening to the needs of the community and building a team that i was able to start two successful businesses 13 years ago “
    Source – Waiheke Radio

  12. Hav jus rung n talked w Anna Bray 09 373 6375 she can b rung to voice your concerns n is currently lookin at ways she can mediate what is happenin, howeva as nothin is set in stone until all r sworn in on 6th Nov anythin could happen btw now n then. What really needs to happen is a change o heart fr those on the board who support Faye to those who support Denise, because unfortunately the power lies w them as to decidin who becomes chair n who becomes deputy. So people, get writin, get active in voicin your concerns n views to convince those that Denise is the beta choice, she is the one with the beta intentions that will take Waiheke into the future, nt Faye Storer!

  13. Most votes = chair , second most votes = deputy – no brainer really – hey Faye build a bridge and get over it !

  14. You could see it coming a mile off. Too many candidates, split vote, toastmaster board sailed through. Lesson learned, a bitter pill to swallow maybe but that is politics.

    1. Almost everyone thought both Denise and Faye would both get in. many people voted for both. Were they naive to expect a rather more grown up attitude from Faye?

      1. Completely naive, don;t you remember the letters in the Gulf News.? To steal a line form Paul Henry ” Form a Group” If you are really passionate about this issue, protest at the local board meeting.

    2. can people not be heard by board politicians though Chuck? i agree with Jaquelines passionate postings, shirley we can be PRESENT at the “swearing in” in unity or at least en masse..when do we muster??
      OR WHAT? swallow the pill and wait for it to destroy the guts of the nonaverage normal waiheke folk?

  15. omg my gums curled when i heard Faye got in….thats right very naive to think she would have a more grown up attititude….This is ours and our childrens future in the hands of this board…i have seen the primary school children handle decisions like chair person and deputy chair with more fairness than Faye…… Maybe she should go and visit the primary children to see how its done…

  16. rebukah wills.”can people not be heard by board politicians though Chuck?” of course we should. All I was referring to is that Faye has a mandate and the people of Waiheke gave it to her. I am not saying it is right and I too am disgusted at this blatant abuse of process. My only hope now is that the protests are well thought out and effective.

  17. This is crushingly disappointing on many levels. Firstly, it’s a sad fact that despite the rise and progress of feminism, it is once again shown that we women are our own worst enemies – everything behind the back and closed doors rather than an up front, honest and robust discussion of differences. The use of exclusion and cliques have been female weapons of mass destruction for time untold and I’m so sad it’s happened in such a critical situation. Secondly, if the board can’t listen to each other then what chance will the rest of Waiheke have to be heard? Thirdly, if I could I’d change some of my votes; what a deeply sad and disappointing state of affairs.

  18. What cannot be denied at this point is that anyone who voted for Denise has been immediately denegrated by the remaining board members by an apparent exclusive arrangement between themselves. If they are not interested in the issues that Denise represents, that people voted for, then I’d like to know exactly what their mandate is.

    1. Reminds me of when Michael Cullen said ““Eat that! You lost, we won” back in 2000. Seems that once elected all promises go out the back door. My vote is pick on Jim and Don. the two political newbies. If everyone buying their ferry pass this month a) refused to be served by Jim and b) said “Shame on You” he may rethink his position. his email off his business card is

  19. It’s obvious that faye missed her salary that she was so used to pulling each month at the expense of waihekeans. I suspect the chairperson will receive a bit more for that glorious position, than the other members of the board. So glad she never had my vote, or any of the other three blind mice. Ah the beauty of politics in a small community.

  20. I too am glad I didn’t vote for Faye, Don, Jim or Jo. Couldn’t see the benefit to the community of the guy from Fullers, the psyiotherapist or the newspaper owner and as for the has been who lost last time! Looks like I was right.

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