Address to Henderson-Massey Local Board 4 April 2013
Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen
Democracy is a strange animal. It is capable of camouflaging itself into unrecognisable forms. The department within Auckland Council entitled Democracy Services has the slogan “Enabling Democracy”. You can imagine my chagrin when I found out that an officer within that department was blocking my emails to elected representatives.
Following the questions I put to this Board on 1 November 2012 regarding the widening of Te Atatu Road, I have commented at subsequent meetings and indeed asked what the formal response was from Auckland Transport. I was disturbed recently to find out, Madam Chair, that despite receiving a copy of a letter from Michael Riley of Auckland Transport on 4 December 2012, at no stage have you indicated to me the existence of that letter, nor it seems to the fellow members of your Board.
In that letter it was stated “We (collectively) decided the best response to these particular questions is to assure the board that a post-project audit will be carried out and any concerns at that time could be reported with the benefit of hindsight.”
“any concerns could be reported with the benefit of hindsight”
You may well have shared this information with some members of your Board, Madam Chair, but let me remind you the Henderson-Massey Local Board comprises 7 representatives, not just yourself. Did you indeed share this information with any of your fellow Board members? The information sought affected not only me but owners of 108 other properties in Te Atatu South. I am amazed that you allowed yourself and consequently your fellow Board members to be so easily fobbed off.
On 28 February 2013 Auckland Council resolved to “Refer the complaint regarding censorship to the Chief Executive for investigation and a report back.”
On 13 March I was shut down half-way through my speech to the Accountability and Performance Committee – somewhat reminiscent of my speech to the HMLB on 7 April 2011 when you declined me permission to talk about the Film Studios.
Your letter received by me yesterday dated 28 March made no mention of the 4 December letter from Michael Riley.
For any democracy to function effectively there must not be impediments to communications between the participant parties. It’s time for this Board under your leadership, Madam Chair, to go beyond rhetoric and put into practice effective advocacy on behalf of the people you represent.