DSCF5481Something is ROTTEN in the state of Ostend. Beneath the delightful aroma of coffee wafting from Brendan Mooney’s mobile coffee stall there’s an nastier stink. The stink of cronyism and unfair repression of trade.

Why is Mr Mooney trading from the car park outside the Ostend bakery today instead of his usual spot on the causeway? He has, after all, paid the council for a permit for a seven day week. So why is he suddenly being restricted to only weekdays? If it were not for the kind offer from the bakery owners he’d be sitting at home twiddling his thumbs right now.

Why is he being threatened with legal action? All he’s doing is selling a few cups of coffee. But apparently that’s not acceptable in some quarters. It represents competition to those who would prefer not to have any.

Now ok, I know a lot of you don’t want to believe in a free market but personally I do. I run a business myself but if some other keen brewer wanted to start up on the island and add yet another brewery to the mix I wouldn’t complain. Why would I? I certainly wouldn’t try to get them stopped. That would make me a…..well, ‘Bit Of A Bastard’ frankly, and I’d deserve to be criticised for it.

The answers to all these questions I’ve raised are out there and we ought to know what they are. It’s hard enough to make a living what with all the red tape and so forth without being leaned on by other local businesses. The food and drink trade on Waiheke is difficult enough without adding this kind of pressure to operators.

So go forth and ASK. And keep on asking until you get the answers. Why has Brendan Mooney had to relocate and become dependent on the kindness of others to make his living? Who is putting the pressure on him to do this? What makes them so bloody special that they can behave in this foul way? And above all, whose INFLUENCE are they depending on to make it happen?

Oh, and stop by and get a coffee. It’s damn good.

14 thoughts on “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.”

  1. Is there a reason why the answers to those questions could not be published in this article?

  2. Mobile food vendors were shifted to being under the umbrella of parks and recreation recently (March I think) and she who oversees P&R has a grudge against mobile vendors apparently undermining the fixed premises, rate paying businesses.

  3. Just being careful for the moment. Most of us know who is doing this. The story has got to grow a little before we really start naming names. Perhaps the miscreants may see sense and back off. Stranger things have happened.

  4. Well I don’t know who it is and I regularly go for coffee. I’d love to know so that I could boycott them.

  5. This is the same harassment that Corra endured and in the end the island lost the best sausages ever- Ponsonby has them now. Mediocrity wins out.
    There is a larger issue here. The lack of free gathering places on the island. Part of participatory democracy is having places where people can meet up without paying some sort of surcharge. Doing away with naturally-occurring, free or cheap meeting places is a subtle form of discouraging public discourse. Already we have lost Artworks courtyard. Saturday market is pretty much all that is left. Also cheap cafes are gone, like Schooner.

  6. Well now, I’d love to get right into this and name the guilty parties or “Brown Trousering the naughty” as Spider Jerusalem put it, BUT, I’d like to go and conduct a couple of interviews first so as to be fair. If, as it appears, a business owner seems to believe that they are entitled to have a monopoly, then they need political influence to make it happen. On the face of it that is flat WRONG and this needs to be aired publicly.
    So far I have only been to interview Brendan Mooney. Once I have the full story from his opponent and the local representative who enabled this to happen then I’ll go all out.
    Fair enough? I’m trying to do JOURNALISM here not gossip.

  7. Its more a question of ‘how many businesses can survive if they are all after the same customers?” rather than a political issue. A question to ask might be, ‘how many cups of coffee does the cart sell that would have been bought at Island Thyme – (now gone under)?’ And, the cart employs only one local person. Other coffee/food businesses employ a few more folks and have much bigger overheads due to weekly rents ranging from $1000 to $3500 per premise. The cart has low overheads and prime positioning. Does that cart really need to have it all? Is it better for everyone if the premise businesses stay open? I think so. All coffee at all places is good I might add.

  8. Sorry, that’s utter nonsense. If we went down that road we’d end up dependent on benevolent bureaucrats to decide who gets to run a business and who doesn’t. Yes, I’m gutted about Island Thyme. They were big supporters of my products. But you can’t start saying it’s the fault of other business owners. It was because their rent was unsupportable. Brendan Mooney doesn’t sell food or indeed anything else but coffee and a few soft drinks.
    Island Thyme, in their own way probably put other cafes under when they opened. That’s just the way business works I’m afraid.
    Take the place I work for example. Wild on Waiheke steamrollered Saratoga when it opened. Two similar businesses doing much the same thing for the same market. One worked, the other didn’t. Should we have been punished for it? Of course not.
    And it IS political. Getting a competitor shut down requires INFLUENCE. Just whose influence was used is what I aim to discover.

  9. I think on an island I think it’s ok to preserve the businesses that employ staff before preserving the one man seller. A middle road to the coffee situation would probably be Double Shot at Oneroa. Good coffee, cheapish rent, good location. In your argument, you would be ok with McDonald’s opening on Waiheke because any business can come here. They could work a small outlet on waiheke for decades at a loss and still survive. would you be ok with that and it’s effects? I don’t think there should be ‘influence’ at play – that’s not good. But a few basic guidelines would be ok. The coffee cart already can’t work in oneroa – I don’t know why but he can’t – ask some of the business owners why.

  10. Still totally missing the point. You can’t ‘Preserve’ businesses. You can only do that with things like trees, historic buildings and common decency. All you can do with businesses is support them to the best of your ability and hope they hang in there.

    I’d HATE a McDonalds opening here. But, given that a franchise for one of those revolting places requires a huge population catchment we are not that likely to get one anyway so that’s a straw man argument.

    Basically, it is becoming more and more difficult for small businesses to operate due to the pressure put on by those who will find themselves inconvenienced by fresh blood in the marketplace.

    Now Dragon Fired Pizza is an interesting case in point. Hugely popular and successful. But, all it would take is some prissy idiot deciding that they have a greater need of the business and he’s gone. Would you be ok with THAT?

  11. If you are talking about the community board make-up then I will bow out here. My view, which I have held for a few years now, has proved true at every election since I’ve held the view. The left leaning candidates stir and jump and run and yell but the day after the election, they are a minority on the board. Then for 3 years, the leftists jump, fight and argue until the process repeats itself again at the next election. Being loud doesn’t achieve much. I honestly wish it wasn’t that way so maybe this year the left will crack it.

    I agree that the pizza seller is on tenuous ground but if you occupy free public space, boat dwellers included, coffee cart included, pizza seller, buskers and others, then you will always live with uncertainty and always at risk of being pushed around by prissy idiots. I guess if the coffee cart was a mobile sex toy shop then I would be glad for the involvement of the prissy idiots to get rid of it. Or, is any business ok even one on the school route like that?

    But, the safest activity on public land is probably what that dancing gardener John advocates.

  12. I really like your writing Alan by the way. I don’t participate much but enjoy reading things you write. cheers and good bye for now. And yes, the coffee cart is damn good coffee.

  13. It would appear that the questions have been well answered by now. The lack of response to that by the murky allegation makers is enlightening, to say the least.

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