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Valedictories 'ad nauseum' 

You would think that after six years of a) denials that anyone reads my blog, and b) it is always wrong in any case, that members giving their valedictories would refrain from actually attempting to “call me out,” but no, no such luck. Today was 'ritual birching of the media day,' and boy, did they get their knickers in a knot over the one poor creature present with tenuous ties to the fourth estate. 

Today’s valedictories from this bunch of 'past their use-by-date' luminaries involved in at least three cases, a direct attack on me and my blog - unbelievable considering the record of the three involved.

It started with that well known political hack – Murray McLean, who set set the tone by attacking “the person who most consistently attacks us” for not standing for this election. His words were “I despise those who have much to say, but who will not stand for election.”  

The use of the ‘bully-pulpit’ is of course typical of those who have the floor, and know full well that the person they are attacking has no right of reply. I could have told Murray that I was 78 going on 79, considered myself well 'past it,' though I think I have probably weathered a little better than he, and certainly regard myself as too bloody old to stand again for Council. Perhaps he and a few others should have considered themselkves likewise - I at least know my limitations, but fail to understand why that should disqualify me from commenting on his and other performances.  

Then we had the sight of that prominent Whangamata identity – Jan Bartley – a comedic little twerp, given to pontificating at regular intervals, who has contributed precisely nothing in the twelve years he has had his feet in the trough, and who aspires for re-election. This brave little soldier leapt to his feet and pointed in my direction regaling the assembled company with the fact that I had been on the previous Council and failed to obtain re-election in 2010, and that I wrote “rubbish,” or words to that effect. He also “despised’ those who talked, but failed to stand." This elderly, but compliant servant of Leach should also have considered putting himself out to pasture.    

What is it about these people that gives them so much courage to attack me in these circumstances? Of course they take their lead from Leach, and he put on the next best performance. Using his departure speech to also attack me obliquely for criticising his ‘projects' - hey are not his - understand! By the way, we were told that despite my criticism, his mate Chris Adams had been appointed by the Auckland Council tourism outfit – ATEED to advise them on the Auckland to Kaiaua Track hook-up. That’s good Glenn, but I would not put too much store by it - we know from other examples the tendency of ATEED to throw ratepayers money at all manner of projects!

All in all it was pretty unseemly performance for their last meeting, but I sure that they all obtained great satisfaction from it, and inspired some silent cheers from the line-up of “wonderful” staff that filled the back seats awaiting their plaudits, like proud parents at a kindergarten Christmas party!

Then to top it off, Glenn hurried after me as they went into “public excluded” – “Bill, Bill – I want to talk to you”! “Yes Glenn,” I said, and entered his office where he had papers set out on his desk to explain why he was so upset with me. Rob Plummer had left with me, and was invited to join us. That was good in view of the fact that the last time Glenn chased me out of the chamber, it was to threaten me. Do you remember the incident, with 'Mr Plod' French chasing after him to restrain him?

There followed another extraordinary session in which I was left totally bemused. Both the 'important' items he wanted to ‘explain’ involved staff – in both cases he had mistaken the intent of the posts that I had put up after their departure – one voluntarily, and one, far from it – readers may recall a “frog-marching” exercise from a couple of years ago - a totally unseemly, if not illegal process.

The other basically resulted from my own observation, and had nothing do with Glenn other than my statement at the end of the post that the departure had resulted from the Hammond/Day appointments that he had made. Glenn blustered, but he had no answer other than to indicate in no uncertain terms his deep hurt at my criticism generally. He indicated that my posts caused him to “dig deeply,” and I replied that that was precisely what I intended.

What concerns me was his willingness, during his six year term to blame the previous Council for issues that were entirely down to one person – the Mercury Bay Sports Ground, and previous Mayor's sub-division that she endeavoured to get through Council before a By-law amendment went through - a thoroughly reprehensible, if not corrupt action supported by a well known local development consultant. Yes, skulduggery was afoot in more ways than one, and Leach has successfully managed ever since to paint every member of that Council with the same brush.

He simply could not seem to accept that there was intent on that previous Council to do the right thing, and correct some of the great errors that had been carried forward from the early 2000’s relating in particular to the Eastern Seaboard Wastewater debacle. He accepted the diabolical conniving of the previous Mayor, and even the outrageous behaviour of the Chief Executive, and his staff, but chose to take the metaphorical ‘high-ground’ for his own self-serving reasons.  

Regardless of claims otherwise, he certainly knew the truth. That was perfectly obvious from the several intelligent and reasonable conversations I have had with him in his office since he came to office. But he had determined that it was in his best interests to vilify me publicly me in particular, in Council, while reassuring me in private that he knew the truth. What does you tell you about the man?

I intend to undertake a more thorough examination of his time in office, and the likely long-term consequences in a subsequent post. Having got this stuff off my chest, be prepared to be surprised.

Glenn Leach was in many ways a bloody good Mayor, and I intend to give him the recognition he deserves. But don’t think for one moment that that rubs off onto French. Sandra Goudie is Glenn’s logical successor – Glenn has done the ground-work – it now needs someone like Sandra to consolidate it!  





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