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Mayor In Total Control

I attended Council today for the first time since Sandra Goudie's accession, and I cannot begin to tell you the difference. The Mayor was in total control and does it her way. I had the opportunity at morning tea when she approached the NEW MEDIA DESK to ask about her manner of dealing with certain matters - statements by councillors rather than questions of public submitters for one.

Sandra clearly indicated her intention to impose less control - good one, as long as it does not waste too much time. And there was no indication of that as she rattled through the agenda. What was remarkable was the totally relaxed atmosphere that she has created in next to no time. Councillors paid attention, there were less stupid questions, and grandstanding was kept to a minimum, All in the absence of fear and loathing. 

I was interested that the CEO Rob Williams was able to get away with his 'softly, softly' approach to the Hahei imbroglio. No one asked, and he offered nothing. You will have probably noticed the presser advising of the intention to set up a number of consultations in an effort to try to cover everyone affected by the Track problems.

I think they will have to come to grips eventually with the strength of the Hahei opposition, and recognise that this the is population most impacted by the Track. No matter what the people of Whitianga feel about it, and they will probably be supportive, it is Hahei and Hot Water Beach, and the residents of Lees Road that stand to suffer to  a far greater extent than any other group or settlement.

It was interesting to hear from Sandra that her relationship with Rob is 'same page' all they way, in contrast to Leach and Hammond. I noted this particularly after listening to the 'self-seving' claptrap of David Hammond on National Radio yesterday when he was responding to the CE of Tourism Holdings (the parent coy. of nearly every major camper van operator), who wants a Top Level Working Party, along with the major Airports, to work out ways to further impose costs of accomodating tourists on Central & Local Government - staggering how these guys seem to think that GST is a tax they pay, rather than collect, that the Government should spend on facilities to benefit their business - baldedash and one of the great cons of the day!  This is the same Company that has flat-out refused to come to the party on the collection of Freedom Camping fines in the past. 

Hammond appears to have become to 'go-to' guy on tourism for RNZ, but yesterday just sounded like the THL lapdog - I think I recognised the signs that he may be aiming at appointment to the Working Group. They are even proposing private management of the Great Walks - good luck with that. But Hammond said all the right things to 'push his barrow' - as you can see, I have little time for the man. He was even claiming credit for the idea for paid car-parking at Cathedral Cove, and by inference Lees Road, as the answer to tourism infrastructure nationwide. It is not even clear that it will go ahead at Hahei, let alone his idea.  

The only real issue was in Public Forum with the opposing Molok forces from Whangapoua in to have their annual 'gripe.' They are of course noisy, noisome and generally a bad look for a such a high class holiday destination occupied predominantly by retired and serving barristers and solicitors.

They love an argument, are totally unable to decide on an alternative, other than issuing a thinly veiled threat of a court challenge arising from the failure of the Council to do anything about the fact that the current collection point is apparently on a recreation reserve. Boy, that opens a 'can of worms' - we even had a submission from a Chapman Tripp Partner raising a number of related  issues.

I think the Mercury Bay elected officers have had enough, and recognise what most of us have observed for a very long time - the wealthier the settlement, the more unwilling they are to accept any form of public responsibility. The expressions of entitlement, and NIMBY sentiments that emerged this morning were enough to bring tears to the eyes.

My suggestion is that the Council provide sponge rubber pads so that the fisherman who throw their bottles in the moloks at 5am on their way out for another day of pillage at sea can wrap them, after washing them in tubs to be provided. The best we heard  was the suggestion of a CCTV on top of the shop opposite to record the mis-deeds of the itinerants and permanent residents who fail to follow the rules.

Oh dear - a hour was wasted listening to submissions on the matter, from both sides. What a bore! But the Council agenda was appropriately light for the pre-Christmas gathering, lightened by the arrival of dear old Father Xmas with a bunch of gifts for all the members (but not the media!!!)

There was no sign of the Christmas Lunch spread that staff usually arrange, but Sandra did say that there would be "no lunch today," so perhaps the Christmas Lunch has gone the way of the dinosaur. Not a bad idea!




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