In Defence Of The Realm.

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.

13 thoughts on “In Defence Of The Realm.”

  1. Bravo Jerry on such a well-written and factual piece. And Bravo Alan for posting this. This site just got a lot better.

  2. I guess that’s the difference between those who see themselves as leaders and those who see themselves as representatives of and advocates for the community. I didn’t vote so that the local board could make decisions based purely on their own and their small group of supporters beliefs, I voted to have a group of people who would listen to the whole community and advocate on our behalf. Waiheke has always been a diverse and opinionated and, at times, very fractious community. That is not new. Unfortunately, the current local board has done nothing to help the different sections of the community to dialogue with each other and a lot to encourage factionalism and division. They have also refused to engage on social media or elsewhere, with anyone not supportive of their actions. Try getting a comment approved on Ms Holmes blog if it is not a variation of “Good on you, well done, keep up the good work”. I guess this is the ‘crime of not joining WIPP’ the writer refers to. Nice spin, but sorry, no cigar.

  3. Luckily I didn’t want a cigar, I wanted to highlight the negativity of some people, which point your response has more than proved, for which I thank you.

  4. Jerry appears to have fallen into the logical fallacy that goes…
    1. good leaders sometimes have to make unpopular decisions
    2. the A team have made unpopular decisions
    3. therefore the A time are good leaders.

    This is no more true than
    1. some great artists are not recognised in their lifetime
    2. my art is not recognised
    3. therefore I’m a great artist.

  5. Anyone who would really like to find out more about the author of this article and how he has been personally attacking a lot of the people he refers too as destroying the harmonious culture of this island, should check out the Alan Knight’s post of this article on the Waiheke Island People’s Parliament facebook page and then ensuing thread. Then decide if you wish to vote for a Board who aligns themselves with, and approves of, this kind of Defence of their Realm.

  6. Sorry Mr Flay but you can’t expect people to have sympathy for the “A” Team. Their election campaign has included their supporters making personal threats by phone and E mail to members of the community who happen to disagree and want something different. You have displayed once again here the obsessive attack on one member of the board who thinks differently to the other incumbents. We do not live in Zimbabwe Mr Flay and ordinary people on this island do not appreciate your use of the Mr Mugabe school of election success handbook.

  7. Given the date I will cross fingers as I attempt to post to this a second time today..
    We can never be too mindful that there may be a reason for our first attempt ‘evaporating’.
    I say that with as much of a smile as I did when I tried to locate the quote Mr Flay attributes to Maggie Thatcher, and again with how very sentient it is with regard to his article on the A team.
    ‘A’ in this case not standing for ADVOCATE for the Waiheke community in the well publicised and witnessed by now ‘words’ of one of the current local board, and not misquoted!
    As someone who actually voted for Ms Thatcher the first time.. She actually entered politics around when I was born, I soon became as disenchanted at her peculiar penchant for cruelty towards those with no ability to defend themselves either from her power or her entrenched views on no pain no gain, obvious in both her defence (and defense) and support of Dictators and their allied henchmen like Reagan Pinochet, Kissinger and others of that ilk.
    This quote from the American Spectator about her perhaps more salutary?
    ‘She had an unfortunate tendency to believe that her own judgment was infallible. Never easily dissuaded from a course of action once she had determined upon it, she increasingly shed critical advisers and colleagues. Eventually this fomented discontent and she lost touch with the nation’s political pulse’.
    Perhap some in the flesh ‘community political pulse-taking’ would be apt in that regard for Aoteroa NZ under this coalition centrally as well as locally on Waiheke..
    Am not one of those ‘against everything’ for the ‘sake of it’ as Jerry implies and repeats ad finitum as if that might make it true, with the same air of arrogance and FTW disdain I find amusing as well .
    Especially having had connections and ties with the island for nearly 25years now through my family but only noticing this gain traction, since the mass exodus from Maggieland she and subsequent Nu Labour and Tories government have made a mega mess of ..
    As for many others he and even other so called Independents may discount or disregard, it is not actually what is Left or Right I will support or object to, but certainly what is WRONG that I will help others to see..On Waiheke that is often much easier to both see , hear about and link than elsewhere..
    Money does indeed talk.. The Moneyed (sic) talk too..
    Some listen carefully and keep adding up what some of this means for a place they love and want to see progress and flourish too, but not at the expense of what Waiheke always has been. A vibrant creative, diverse ‘class-less community’ not an exploitable asset for a particular ‘connected minority’ to abuse for a similar select minority in residence or indeed the same with influence and toes on both sides of the gulf..
    Shame on who?

  8. Good post Jerry, as usual the responses are generally full of it. There still seems to be a very small group of people who for some reason think “they are THE community” with special rights to be heard more than anyone else. Seems to be the crux of it to me. They do seem to be getting more shrill, irrational and spiteful than usual at the moment, but pretty easy to ignore a tragic comedy heading towards a train wreck. I don’t know if they are just envious of those that have real lives and real friends..actually I no longer care what their issues are, nor do most decent people. On an anthropological level it is somewhat fascinating to see how a couple of Court Jesters have morphed into Village Idiots in the space of an election campaign, on a medical level we see a Dr who definitely needs some of his own medicine yet engages in better-blocking instead. Oh how the blind lead (when not insulting) the blind. Anyway, not sure some have played a good hand (throwing out their mancards for a few Queens and all that) but I guess when you crave attention being a laughing stock is better than being ignored.

  9. the response, both here and on wipp was as expected – ignoring the facts, slander, personal insults, totally made up statements and downright lies. It has been said before, that the more successful a leader, the more vociferous the opposition. on that basis, the A Team are doing rather well.

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