Address to Henderson-Massey Local Board 7 February 2013
Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen
What do ratepayers want from their Local Board? They don’t want rhetoric. They want representation.
Following the 9 questions I tabled to this Board on 1 November 2012 re Te Atatu Road widening costs and the gratuitous letter from Michael Riley, AT; on 29 November I was informed by you Madam Chair the information from AT was adequate for the Board’s non-decision making role.
On 6 December I again addressed this Board insisting on answers to all my questions.
On 12 December I emailed you Madam Chair asking what AT’s response had been.
On 17 December you emailed me saying “Here is the answer to Question 7.” No reference to any other questions was given.
On 2 January 2013, Madam Chair, I again emailed you asking what AT’s response had been. I have not yet had the courtesy of a reply.
Having had past experience in dealing with Councils and committees I also put in a LGOIMA request. The information provided to me this past Monday evening was most revealing. On 4 December Michael Riley sent an email to AT personnel Owena Schuster, Hussam Abdul-rassol and Zaid Essa saying “we decided the best response to these particular questions is to assure the board that a post-project audit will be carried out.” I am amazed Madam Chair that this was two days before I again addressed this Board on the issue yet you made no comment on that night. I am also amazed that you were so easily fobbed off as you received a copy of that email on 4 December. Was this conveyed to fellow members of your Board?
I am also amazed that two weeks later, on 17 December, you still made no mention of the communication you had received from AT. This is a great disappointment to me.
Strangely enough I received an email from Owena Schuster on 18 December saying “AT is working on your questions and will be sending you a response in due course.”
Surely that couldn’t be the same Owena Schuster that had sent Michael Riley’s email to you two weeks earlier effectively declining to provide any answers. Yes, indeed it was. I was even more astounded three days later when I received an email from Roger Wilson asking for $1900 to provide answers. He also stated “Your document was transferred from Auckland Council to Auckland Transport on 14 November 2012 . Regrettably this request was not forwarded to the appropriate business unit until 17 December 2012.” What a terribly slack way of doing business!
Madam Chair, I have sought information that is of use to members of the Te Atatu South community. I feel it is the responsibility of this Board to advocate on behalf of myself and my fellow ratepayers. The information sought relates to significant expenditure on a publicly funded project that will affect thousands of ratepayers.
I note that in a publication circulated to ratepayers recently your ultimate two sentences were “The Henderson-Massey Local Board is here to represent and respect the needs of this community. Please contact any of the Local Board members if you have a bright idea or suggestion for the future.”
Madam Chair, at a recent Grey Power meeting you told me you saw the prime function of the Board as being an advocate for the local community. I would ask you to put that into practice rather than merely being rubber stampers for the bureaucrats.
I would ask this Board tonight, as a unit, to urge you Madam Chair, to insist on answers to the questions I tabled three months ago.