Sour grapes and misinformation

During the Waiheke Local Board sour grapeselection I had the pleasure of working with the Essentially Waiheke team to win the Waiheke Local Board election.  The Essentially Waiheke team (Paul, John, Beatle and Becs) plus Shirin.  Made a clean sweep in the local elections and removed 4 out of 5 of the previous board members.

My role in the whole thing was making the Essentially Waiheke website and managing the social media.  I found it a really good experience working with a team to win the campaign.  Most of the former board members have taken defeat gracefully to their credit.  However one former board member in particular appears to have some sour grapes and not just sour but bitter, twisted and sour grapes.

Ungraceful Former Local Board Member

One ungraceful former board member has setup a blog and Facebook page which continually opposes whatever the current local board does, even if it is good for the community and continually spread misinformation and what can only be called lies and rumours in an vain attempt to turn people against the current local board.  These were the same techniques that they used during the local board elections – it did not work then and it is not working now.

After the election I believed that this behaviour would stop, well at least ease back till 12 to 18 months out from the next election.  I was wrong, it really is a continuous barrage.  I have to say that all that they are achieving with this type of behaviour is a confirmation to the general public of Waiheke that voting them out of the local board was the best thing that they could of possible done.

I would like to say that my efforts went a long way to get the Essentially Waiheke campaign team to win but after analysing the whole situation I came to the conclusion that this former board was very unpopular and would not get voted back in because of the following.

  • Firstly they got voted in with a minority of votes because the votes were then split between some really good people.
  • They then disgraced themselves with the way that the Chair of the board was chosen and the side-lining of Denise Roche when she got a majority of votes.
  • I heard all sorts of stories which may or may not be true of funding cuts, issues with resource consents and general opposition from the council for anyone that opposed what the previous local board did in anyway shape or form.
  • They then appeared to make a lot of controversial decisions which went against what the public Waiheke wanted and appeared to have hidden agendas with very little transparency.
  • They disgraced themselves again with the way they side-lined Paul Walden after he won the Waiheke Local Board by election.
  • They then did not participate in public campaigning meetings.
  • They sent spam out as part of their local board campaign.

If I did not know better, I would of thought that they did not want to get elected back onto the local board.  So all I can conclude is that they got themselves voted out, all the Essentially Waiheke team had to do is put a half decent team together to oppose the previous board members  and it worked a charm – a clean sweep.  As a side note the current local board is not half decent but really a great bunch who want to work together for a better Waiheke.

This continuous barrage of misinformation and sour grapes does nothing but discredits the one sending it

This continuous barrage of misinformation and sour grapes does nothing but discredits the one sending it so I have not even bothered to comment or engage in it till now.  The only conclusion that I can come to is that the reason for this constant misinformation and opposition to whatever the local board does is because members of the ousted local board want to get voted back in, in the next local board election.

As a recap – they got voted in with a minority of the votes because of vote splitting, they then lost approximately 30% of their voting support base in the most recent election, they do nothing positive for Waiheke to date except oppose whatever the new local board does.  So they really are deluded when they believe that they will ever get voted back in.

What can you do to stop the spread of misinformation?

  • Block anyone spreading misinformation on Facebook
  • Never comment on misinformation, even if it is to correct as this helps spread it
  • Don’t visit any blogs spreading misinformation
  • Remove yourself from any Facebook groups / pages that spread misinformation
  • Then tell your friends to do the same

By allowing yourself to read this stuff and even commenting on it actually helps the spread of it.  All they want is an audience so if you remove yourself and encourage others to do the same you can help minimise the spread of this garbage.

Written By Dan Ballard,

 

The Population of Waiheke

Early results from the 2013 Census are starting to appear.  Later on we will have a full demographic profile of the island – which will make polling and surveys much more accurate.  But for now we have the headline figure.

The residential population of Waiheke is 8262

Thats an increase from 2006 of 561 or 6.8%.  That may sound quite impressive – but consider that the rest of Auckland increased in population by more than 8.2%.

However take a look at this chart.

Rplot

Population growth on the island has been slowing since 2001.  The red line shows the estimates used by the council, they are higher as they include people who don’t show up in the census – but what is interesting is that the growth rate has twice now been estimated to be higher than it actually was and has needed to be corrected downwards.

Back in 2000 in the Essentially Waiheke Report the island population was expected to reach 10,000 by 2006.  This was hard to justify given the previous census data and is a lesson in not extrapolating curves (which I will now proceed to do).

Looking at  the per year change in population between each census we get a drop from 167 (2001), 113 (2006) to 80 (2013).  So in the next 5 years we might see some continued slow growth – but the total is unlikely to cross the 9000 mark at any time in the near future.

 

 

Supporting OneWaiheke

Did you know that OneWaiheke.org is the host and supporter for  several other community based websites:

As well as some personal blog sites:

If you have a local project that would like its own website, blog or data entry system the I am happy to do this for you as a community service for Waiheke.

This does not cost a lot to run – but its not free either. There are website hosting fees and domain name fees – a few $100 a year.

If you enjoy reading the articles here, or any of the other supported websites then there are a few ways that you can help out.

  1. Cash – find me on the ferry and hand me a brown envelope full of cash or a couple of dollars.
  2. Bitcoin – you can now click the bitcoin donation button in the sidebar.

Bitcoin is a new electronic currency.  An easy way to make microdonations.  If you are already using it then consider sending me 0.02 btc.  If it is new to you then there is a good introduction to Bitcoins at weusecoins.com and a more involved explanation on Wikipedia.

For Your Information

Last week I wrote about FixMyStreet.org.nz A place where you can inform the council and other bodies about local issues that need fixing such as rubbish, graffitti, broken paths, pot holes etc.

This week I want to introduce For Your Information – fyi.org.nz a website that lets you make requests under the Official Information Act.

What is Official Information?

Official Information is any information held by the Government, including:

  • Ministers of the Crown in their official capacity;
  • Government departments and organisations;
  • Local authorities, territorial and regional councils and community boards;
  • State-owned enterprises;
  • Educational institutions, including Boards of Trustees;
  • Public hospitals.

You can read more about the Official Information Act (OIA) and how to make requests at this government web page: Official Information: Your Right To Know.

Continue reading For Your Information

Fix My Street

Look around you. leaving aside the Local Board for a moment, do you see something broken? Do you see any graffiti, unlit lampposts, abandoned beds, pot holes in the road, broken glass on a cycle path? For the most part our island is in pretty good shape. But what do you do when something needs fixing?

Usually we just moan about the council and do nothing. So no one knows about the problem until it has been annoying for some considerable time. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily let someone know?

FixMyStreet.org.nz is a great new website designed to do just that. With a very simple easy-to-use interface you can add a new report, mark where the problem is on a map, maybe upload a photo too. The site will then deliver the report to the correct authority that should be able to deal with it.

This idea first originated in the UK with FixMyStreet.com. and thanks to the wonders of open source software and some cool volunteers we now have a NZ version.

So how does it work? Lets say the steps down to my local public footpath have been washed away. I go to the site, click on Report an Issue and enter a postcode, street name or area. This uses Google maps so if you know how to search for places there its just the same. You can view existing issues in that area so you can see if someone has already reported your problem. You can then click on the map at the location of the issue and press go.

screen shot for Fix my street

On the next page you enter details about the issue. The category e.g car parking, glass, public toilets, refuse etc. and then a description of the issue along with your name and email address. You can also upload a photo if you have one. When you click ‘save’ the site sends you an email containing a link, click that to confirm the issue and the message is sent to the council.

So the council gets the email – they’ve been warned what to expect. They can then resolve the issue the way they normally would. They may or may not reply to you to say what they plan to do.

You and others can discuss the issue on the website. Add updates, maybe together lobby the council to fix it, or fix it directly yourselves. Hopefully the problem gets fixed and you can mark the issue closed.

In the UK today they have :
915 reports in past week, 1,699 fixed in past month, 107,825 updates on reports

In NZ they have… um, 7 reports so far. But then they only just started a few hours ago.

Its not glamorous, it is clever and I commend it to the island. FixMyStreet gets a permanent link on the sidebar.

And now some food for thought from the originators of this idea and some others…
Us Now is a movie that inspires me to do projects like OneWaiheke.

Which of these projects would you like to see going on Waiheke?

Do you have a vote?

I live in rental accommodation.  That means I am not a rate payer and that can mean that in some peoples eyes I don’t get a say in local democracy.  For example when the letters over whether people wanted wheelie bins or bags were sent out they went to the house owners rather than tenants.  As a significant number of houses on the island are second homes or rentals that meant that many of those letters were being sent to Auckland, other parts of  NZ and even to other parts of the world.  How clued in do you think those owner/ non occupiers might be?

Anyway I was a bit concerned that the same would be happening when it comes to the super city and the new local board so I asked our Councillor Denise Roche for some further information.  Here is her reply.

Who can vote?

From what I’ve read the third bill is pretty much the same as it has been under the Local Government Act and what happened last elections. (There might be a change about long term commercial renters – but I’m still finding out about that.)

So what happens is:

All people on the electoral role can vote whether they are renters or landowners.  You do get to vote for your councillor and your local board. – so long as you have remembered to register on the electoral roll.

[ you can check whether you are registered at https://secure.elections.org.nz/app/enrol/ ed]

The issue gets confusing where voters own more than one property in the area or in another area in the Local Authority area.

So scenario A is where Ms X owns two properties on Waiheke and lives on Waiheke: She gets ONE vote for councillor and also for the Local Board for Waiheke.

Scenario B is where Mr Y owns a property on Waiheke and one on the North Shore and his electoral roll address is the North Shore. Mr X gets to vote for the North Shore councillor and the North shore local board AND the Waiheke Local Board. Mr X’s tenant on Waiheke (as long as he’s on the electoral roll) gets to vote for the Waiheke ward councillor and the Waiheke Local Board as well.

Scenario C is where Mrs Z owns three properties – one on Waiheke, one in Papakura and one in Massey. She lives on Waiheke. – The same rule applies: she gets to ONE vote for councillor but can vote for all the Local Boards in the area where she owns properties.

So yes, in a nutshell – it is more than one vote one person for the election of Local Boards.

Clear as mud?

Kind regards. Denise

Bins or Bags

Auckland City Council are running adverts in the local papers offering people the choice of bins or bags.  Islanders will recall that this has always been a ‘feature’ of the TPI contract. Everytime we complained about the drop in waste recycling quality, or comingling, or Mount Visy etc. They would just say – well we accommodated the views of the island by offering bins or bags.

 

Now we have a chance to make our voices heard.

 

If less than 10% of the islanders take up the offer of wheelie bins then there will be no wheelies.


This is crucial – wheelie bins are a fundamental part of the TPI plan.  All recycling has to go to the MRP at Visy – even though this type of processing plant is being seen to be increasingly ineffective.  It is important because once the city is locked into trucks and bins there is no easy way back out to a more effective form of recycling.  This is what we call ‘vendor  lock in’.

 

You can be sure that once wheelies are on the island – the next tender will not offer any alternatives as so much investment has been made in the equipment.  No other waste provider would be able to complete with TPI as they would not have the equipment to do so.  TPI thus gain a monopoly over the city either squeezing out or simply buying out smaller waste management companies.

 

Recyclables taken to the Transfer station and sorted by hand do not go to Visy. Instead they go direct to merchants as before.   This is what we want. plastics and glass will actually be recycled into new plastics and glass instead of downcycled into aggregate and dirty fuels, or sent to China – at great transport costs.

 

So what will happen to our kerbside recyclables?  If we continue to carefully sort and bag separately our recyclables TPI have a problem – they cannot send the material to Visy because the automated system cannot cope with closed bags. So they will have to consider hand sorting or the waste will go to landfill. We will be watching TPI to see if this is what happens

 

So should we accept bins or bags?

There are two schools of thought here as to the best approach for the island:

1.  That some people do have bins say 15% while the rest do not. This causes TPI to have to provide both services and appropriate trucks at extra cost to themselves, This would be particularly ironic if the bins were placed with the most inaccessible households. However they will use this wedge to push bins onto everyone as time goes by.

 

2.  That we push hard for everyone to say no to wheelies.  By keeping below the 10% mark we keep them completely off the island.

 

While the former might make us feel good by hurting TPI. At the end of the day we want what is best for the environment.  We started this fight on the underlying issues of wheelies and perhaps should finish it.

 

When thinking about this there are some important points to remember.

1.  Wheelies are difficult for Waiheke territory, – the steep driveways, narrow roads, absent households etc.

 

2.  Wheelies enforce co-mingling of recyclables, resulting in a lower value recycled product at the end of the day.  For example paper contaminated with broken glass cannot be recycled.  Mixed coloured glass cannot be recycled as glass instead being useful only for aggregate.

This isn’t just a cost issue – energy is wasted at each point where the quality of the material becomes degraded.

 

3.  Wheelies are large – the extra capacity has been shown to encourage more stuff to be thrown away.

 

4.  Wheelies are part of the commercialisation and corporatisation of waste, although it is better to have some sort of recycling than none, it has been turned into a business where by companies get paid for the amount of waste they manage rather than being paid to minimise waste before it even gets to the bin.

 

5.  If we can achieve this goal we will act as an example for other communities that think the same way.

 

Taking these points together we would suggest that the island continues to reject any suggestion of wheelie bins and aims for a zero take up.

 

So when the council send you a letter asking whether you want bags or bins

… ignore the letter and recycle it.

 

for more information see this report from WRAP – the waste resources action program on choosing the right recycling collections system.pdf

 

 

Timeline for Bill 2

This is our current understanding of the anticipated timeline for the Auckland Governance legislation:

  1. Submissions will close 26 June
  2. Hearings will start 6 July and run intensively (possibly 6 days a week, and long days) through to 1 August
  3. Select committee will report back to the House on 4 September
  4. Hearings will be in Auckland, and will move around different parts of the city, as well as meeting on marae.

source: James Kennelly
Executive Assistant to Phil Twyford, MP

Waiheke and the Royal Commission

You may find this background information useful to support your submission.

Background 

Waiheke & Hauraki Gulf community members made up nearly 30%  of the 3500 submissions to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, and were heard by the Commission at the Conference Centre in Claris Great Barrier on Friday June 27, and on Waiheke at an all day  hearing held on Piritahi Marae on Thursday July 10 2008.

The Waiheke community especially supported the ARC Option 5 proposal for a 2-tier system of governance. Under this option all assets would be owned in common by one organisation, and local communities would be granted more devolved powers to build on local strengths and to respond to local priorities.

Subsequently the Royal Commission ( which reported on March 27 2009 ) found in favour of Waiheke and Great Barrier being granted wider delegated powers than they currently receive, in  recognition of their unique character which was not well recognised or understood by the ACC.

The report went on to recognise the special nature of the Hauraki Gulf which has its own legislation.  Subsequently the government introduced the herein referred to Bill on May 13 2009, as the second of a three Bill Auckland Governance Legislation programme.

Although the bill specifically states in section 19.3g that a local board area is constituted for the Waiheke Island community. There is no indication that the board will have the delegated powers to act effectively in the interests of the Island.  

The small number of council members elected by ward will mean that Waiheke does not have its own councillor. We do not know which part of the city we might be bundled together with.  Imagine if it was Auckland Central.