Decisions from a Distance: Auckland Council Headquarters, 90 Kilometers Away from Aotea. Photo / NZME

This Is Why We’re Fed Up

EDITORIAL: As Aucklanders reluctantly accepted Mayor Wayne Brown’s minimal budget increase option last month, council staff seemed perplexed. Why wouldn’t residents want them to spend more? The reason is starkly clear: ratepayers in tough times see their hard-earned money wasted on projects that don’t serve their needs.

Exposed brilliantly by Tony Storey in the Barrier Bulletin, a campaign of pine tree poisoning in Kaitoke is the council’s latest folly. Here’s the reality: Auckland Council, under the guise of ‘environmental management’, is squandering ‘Jobs for Nature’ funds to teach our young people how to kill trees with Metsulfuron.

Jobs? Yes. For nature? 🤔.

This is what we’re reduced to. Instead of empowering our rangatahi with valuable, transferable skills, like building, which could support crucial initiatives like papakāinga amid a housing crisis, we see our council opt for short-term ecological zealotry in the form of kids drilling poison into pine trees.

The trees themselves? Couldn’t they be harnessed for timber or converted into firewood to warm whānau through the winter? Well no, in a grueling two-page missive, the council proudly proclaimed these trees would simply wither and die in situ—that’s apparently best for the environment. Let’s not even entertain the absurdity that these supposedly greedy non-natives might actually be great at gobbling up the copious amounts of excess water saturating Kaitoke valley, which, only months ago, the council itself flagged as a hazardous flood plain.

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Amid their relentless parade of PR stunts like preaching about compostable coffee cups, let’s remember what councils are really for: building roads, picking up rubbish, and treating water.

What then, is our reality on Aotea? Our council flat-out refuses to build roads and the ones we have are stuffed; Medlands Creek is so polluted it’s absolutely minging; and, topping off their hat trick of failures, they’ve now vowed to stop picking up rubbish with their fanciful Zero Waste 2040 initiative. At this rate, the council is not just failing—they’re making an art form out of it. It seems their only success is failure.

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Waves, Woods, and Wonders: Discover Aotea, Great Barrier Island

This week, we heard that Patrick O’Shea, a breath of fresh air, has resigned from his deputy chair role of the local board. O’Shea was known for asking the hard questions, the kind every ratepayer wants answered, much to the chagrin of the council ideologues who bristled at their policies being scrutinized. No wonder he quit.

This is getting worse before it gets better folks.

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What about for mana whenua? Maybe Auckland Council is making headway there?

This week, historian and esteemed Māori academic Kelly Klink took to Facebook to vehemently criticize a new, historically inaccurate and frankly tacky-looking sign erected at Oruawharo / Medlands. Intended to recount the history of the bay, the sign instead became a spectacle of embarrassment. “More money wasted on fictional history,” she jibed. Clearly, the council’s knack for failure spans all domains, missing the mark spectacularly even in areas where they purport to lead.

Perhaps the ultimate irony of our council’s actions is their heavy-handed inconsistency: last night it was revealed they helped orchestrate a $100,000 fine for someone cutting down a single pine, on the mainland. This, at the very same time, they’re actively endorsing the poisoning of them on Aotea.

The bottom line couldn’t be clearer: as valuable initiatives like Pete Blackwell’s community solar project at Tryphena languish without funding, the council squanders money on absurd pet projects. Our growing frustration is a direct result of this fiscal farce. And that is why we’re fed up.

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There is 1 comment

  1. Auckland Council have proven that they are incompetent – meaning =inept, unskilful, inexpert, unprofessional, lacking ability, blundering , not good enough and having much to be desired.

    They waste while people and private enterprise scrimp and save!

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