Destination Thames
Monday, March 21, 2011 at 4:42PM
Bill Barclay

CB Chair Strat Peters presented a draft document to today's meeting that purported to be a proposal for setting up a Destination Thames Committee as a Sub-Committee of the Thames Community Board.

I respect Strat because his heart is in the right place, and I do want to see him get his 'passion' for this project fulfilled, as long as it does not have to be paid for out of my (ratepayer) pocket.  He has of course sought $50,000 from the Annual Plan budget, but curiously, it was suggested today that the approval of this budget following the Annual Plan process was not an essential element of the  plan. Presumably, Strat has some other way of obtaining the money should the Board's bid to have it added to the Thames local rates fail. Did someone mention the TUGPRA Account, or the Thames Retained Earnings Account? I hope these people retain some of these accounts for their re-election year! 

What was excrutiating today was the palpable embarrassment arising from Strat's novel manner of seeking to stack the Committee with his own six choices to join himself, Cr. French and Board Member Bridgman. His choices were Bruce Oliver, Mark Skelding, Morrie Dunwoodie, John Sinclair (Auckland heritage architect), Rex Simpson and Geoff Furkett. These people have apparently all been approached and given their approval, but the CB members were not universally enamoured with this unconventional approach.

Councillor Connors set the ball rolling with a demand that these people should simply be regarded as "nominations, along with others who may be interested in putting their names forward". Cr. Hoadley agreed, suggesting that the process was faulty, and discussion of names in open meeting "embarrassing". CB Member Baverstock was clearly incensed at another example of the old white middle class male mafia at work. It will have to have a female representative to assuage her concerns, middle class or otherwise. 

Strat was clearly mortified at this turn of events, but he brought it on himself through hubris - again letting his 'passions' run away on him. He will now have to explain the situation to all his 'nominees', but they will probably allow their names to go forward, as the Board is unlikely to do more than add another (female?)

The Committee will be pro bono, and the costs are really based on administration - it will have to comply with the LGA and the LG Official Informations and Meetings Act, though sanctions on an unpaid committee are pretty minimal.

Now for the crunch - the functions of the Committe. It is to:

Don't know that our local tangata whenua are going to be particularly thrilled at the last of these, or that visitors will appreciate being "kept in the town".

Good luck to the Committee - it is planned that it will meet two monthly, and I guess it won't be too long before they find ways to spend our rates, but we must not pre-judge, and they do look like a bunch of worthies of good character, if a little white, and male.  




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