A word or two from Els.

There was a particular thread that came up yesterday on WIPP that featured an inspired reply from Els Verbanck. It was so good that I asked her if she could shuffle it all into one article and send it to me so I could post it on here.
This she has kindly done and so here it is.
Over to you Els…….

With the election over, the supporters of the opposition all of a sudden find themselves to be ‘a not insignificant minority of dissenting residents’ and are hoping that ‘their wishes and interests will be taken into account’. Well. Yes, let’s hope that the minority’s wishes and interests are taken into account by the new Local Board. May I point out that during the last 3 years, the LB represented a smaller section of the Waiheke electorate than the new LB does now, and the un-represented majority – because that’s what we were: the majority – did not have their wishes and interests taken into account.

I was told last night that in an interview on Waiheke Radio, Faye was asked where she thought she had gone wrong to lose so many of her voters, and that she responded that she didn’t think she had done anything wrong, that she had done everything right. This shows to me how incredibly out of touch with the community she was – that she did not consider the amount of dissent to her policies, the amount of protest to her decisions to be significant. She dismissed a huge part of the community out of hand because they did not see things as she did. She seems to consider, or did consider, the people disagreeing with her as misguided, deluded, rabble, trouble makers….

Whilst the new board is the choice of over 50% of the electorate, the old one was the choice of a mere 30 odd %. The previous board got in by fluke – through the left vote being spread too thinly over too many candidates.

And they abused, thoroughly abused and misused the power that fell into their laps, was theirs by error. They never were representative of the electorate of Waiheke – they had the support of less than 40% of the community.

I note that this was something their supporters and adherents and sycophants never admitted. They never acknowledged they had a minority backing – indeed, they had the cheek to cast us in the minority role – which, by default, in their eyes, made us not worth listening to. And now they are displaying breath taking hypocrisy by clamouring to be heard? To express a hope that ‘their wishes and interests will be taken into account’? Am I really hearing this correctly? Are they demanding a right which the board they supported denied us – the former ‘dissenting minority’?

I have to admit: I’m angry. How dare you? How dare the lot of you? How dare you take a stance like that, and all of a sudden play the misunderstood, unrepresented underdog/minority card, and try and appeal to what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘fair’? For 3 years, a small, select group of the island were the ones who were represented, and you laughed in our faces, shrugged your shoulders at our ‘views and wishes’, said ‘too bad’, and ‘suck it up’ and ‘sucks to be you, dunnit’?

Didn’t listen to us, gloated from your exalted position, did whatever the hell you wanted, and now you want us to be the reasonable ones? The inclusive ones? Well, guess what, sunshine, we always were. We always were the reasonable ones, the inclusive ones. We were the ones who wanted the best for the whole of the island, for the whole of the community, we were the ones who protested at decisions made which only served or were advantageous to ‘the select few’.

It galls me that in 2010 the victors were not magnanimous, and now request the 2013 winners to be. It galls me that the 2010 victors pursued policies which were so clearly divisive, and now request the 2013 winners to pursue inclusiveness. It galls me that during this last election, there were orchestrated smear campaigns coming from the A-Team supporters, and now that they’ve lost, they’re appealing to our better nature. And the reason why we will include them and talk to them and listen to them, is in spite of them. Because of who and what we are. In spite of them. So yes, the minority WILL be listened to, WILL have their voice heard – we WILL engage in dialogue and work for the WHOLE of the island.

Because that’s the board WE elected – us, the former rabble, the former dissenting ‘minority’. It fell to us to look for candidates whom displayed a willingness to work together – as a team, and with the community . It fell to us to get behind them, it fell to us to help them campaign and elect them, because that is what we wanted – a board which can represent ALL of us.

My FURY could be dissipated by a showing of humility from the other side, by an acknowledgment of their wrongs, by an admission, ever so slightly, that they did not act in the interest of the whole of the community. But I won’t hold my breath. I will, instead, redirect my anger and use it for other fights that have not been won yet.

I will not forget.

5 thoughts on “A word or two from Els.”

  1. Thank you, for expressing clearly what so many have felt. Bullies make the ‘whingiest’ victims, I find. I share your conclusions, however. Mostly I am so happy to be free of the Revenge Governance that was enacted against all who were not in the FayeJo camp. Revenge against the people who voted her out of the AC Councillor job which she considered was hers for as long as she wanted it. Among other things, we can now take steps to protect our live aboard residents at Putiki Bay which pleases me greatly.
    I think that there is no need to engage the group now begging for some kind of privileged treatment which they did not themselves provide. They will read notices of public forums, and can go along and and make their wishes known. They like to perpetuate the illusion that there is an us and them, but it is a false dichotomy.
    To say they got in because of a diluted left vote ignores that many people do not consider local politics as left/right. Many on the left voted for Faye in 2010 based on their past association with her. People on the left voted for Don because of his work in various organizations.
    What we are headed back to is island-centered governance. Viewing it like a kindergarten class- once order is restored, ignore the bully and let them fold into the scheme of things, without giving them special attention. Of course the troll-o-sphere will want to entangle anyone reading/listening, but like you I want to start devoting my energy to constructive action and not get bogged down by detractors. They are made of hype and spin which evaporates when light is shone on them.

  2. The writer refers to a Waiheke Radio interview with Faye Storer. I would like to clarify this. Faye declined an invitation to on air interview on the station’s post election special but agreed to answer a few questions. I asked her if, in light of the numbers, she looked back and saw a point where she had lost connection with the community. She responded no, and said she had no regrets for any of the decisions the board had made. She referred to a negative Gulf News campaign as one of the reasons for the voting outcomes, and said she was disappointed that the A team would not get another three years as there were some exciting projects to get on with.

  3. Hope the new board are going to work for the WHOLE of the Island.

    1. Well, seeing as they just got to watch what happens to Local Boards which DON’T, I’d say they have the message pretty clearly.

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