In 2004 TARRA (Te Atatu Residents and Ratepayers Association) arranged a public meeting for a group of candidates it had endorsed for the forthcoming Council elections. TARRA paid for the hall hire and arranged for an independent chairman, Mr Meehan, to chair the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting he carefully explained the ground rules stating each TARRA –endorsed candidate would have 5 minutes speaking time and questions would be taken from the audience after all candidates had spoken. Bob Harvey arrived and announced he was there as a heckler. Indeed, that was the way he behaved and acted petulantly when the chairman offered to reiterate the ground rules following Bob’s repeated demands to be allowed to address the audience.
However, during question time, Bob Harvey was invited to come up to the front and address the audience in response to a particular question asked. He chose to use that as an opportunity to berate the various candidates sitting at the front and was quite vitriolic in his comments.
After the meeting I sent an email to all Councillors, but not Bob, criticising his behaviour. On 27 September 2004 I received the following email from Bob Harvey:
“Subject Three cheers for Democracy – you wont find it at TARRA.
Dear Gary your widely circulated email has been forwarded to me – it was a pleasure to read it. I am sorry that you missed some of my better quotes. Let me remind you that I called the line up at the table (including your good self) the cast of Shrek. I would have to say that every line of heckling was not only accurate but very true. I am certainly pleased that you are a self appointed spokesman for the residents and ratepayers of Henderson Ward, I am sure you speak for yourself as I am sure many of your residents and ratepayers would be appalled at the behaviour of your group in not according the Mayor the city a few words or others who had allowed their name to go forward for election. You obviously don’t appreciate democracy and courtesy – I afforded you the courtesy of speaking at a Full Council public forum.
You are right in reminding me that I said to the elderly couple “here comes some losers” you bet – they were searching desperately for the public trough – which they must be missing by now after all they were a long time at it.
As for ……………….—she has caused and created more wasting of Council staff and resources than any other living person, next to you and so if I called that shoddy second rate line up of would be politicians toads on a vengeance mission I left out the word I was searching for and that was poisonous. I am sure you get my drift and god help the city if any get elected.
At least of all the things you might call me, second rate is not one of them.
The fact that he put “god” in lower case and “Bob Harvey” in capitals, is I guess a good indication of where he sees himself in the scheme of things.
As for the “courtesy of speaking at a Full Council public forum,” Bob Harvey is the sole arbiter of who gets to speak and one has to put in a written application for permission well in advance of the meeting.
On my first occasion I applied to speak on “Pool Fencing.” Permission was denied.
On my second occasion I applied to speak on “Council Stormwater Ponds.” Permission was denied.
On the third occasion I applied to speak on “Democracy.” I added the rider “Surely that can’t be subjudice.” When I did address the Council on that matter Bob interjected more than once before I had finished speaking reminding me I only had a certain amount of time left.