My assumption whenever I read Cameron John Slater’s trash over at Whale Oil is to assume it’s just that trash. That’s why I don’t bother reading Cameron John Slater’s daily tirade of garbage anymore unless specifically alerted to something (I do have to admit there was a period where I used to read it regularly for sheer amusement). I didn’t get alerted to this post until recently, and while tempted to just leave him and his sewer system to feed and regurgitate amongst themselves, I’m not the type to be able to sit back and not respond when something can quite easily end up as a google truth (an unrefuted smear sitting in cyberspace).
A couple of weeks ago I was sworn in to the Eden-Albert Community Board. A thing called an extraordinary vacancy was created when the only Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) member on the board defaulted his position by failing to turn up to four consecutive meetings without leave. Interestingly, Cameron John Slater defends this bludger who was paid by the ratepayer for the four months he didn’t do even the miniscule amount of work required by law, i.e. turning up to a meeting once a month.
Cameron John Slater rants about how City Vision ‘stacked the board’ to appoint me. I’m really not quite sure how City Vision can ‘stack’ a board when they already have an outright majority (For those of you outside Auckland, C&R and City Vision are the two main players in local body politics in Auckland). Further, Cameron John Slater moans about how my poor predecessor Ryan Hicks was ‘hounded from the role by the nasty spiteful City Vision members’. While Hicks was the only C&R member of the board, City Vision only had a majority of one. It must sorely disappoint C&R that Eden-Albert voters don’t even want them as their opposition the more moderate but still fairly conservative, third player, Focus Eden-Albert take that place. Does Cameron John Slater allege that Focus Eden-Albert are nasty and spiteful too?
I didn’t quite understand Cameron John Slater’s point about equal representation and transparent democracy. The Community Board had two choices it was too late in the electoral cycle for them to be able to hold a by-election, so they could either leave the position unfilled, or appoint someone else. In deciding to appoint someone to share the workload and make the board more effective, City Vision really did make the most democratic choice. As Cameron John Slater well knows, I was the next highest polling candidate. I was only defeated by Hicks in the 2007 elections by 188 votes.
I wonder what Cameron John Slater’s views are on what his party in government is doing to equal representation and transparent democracy. For example, the NACT government have raised no objection to the Local Government Commission’s essentially final determinations on ward boundaries under the new Super City (they have said any further changes will only be minor tweaks). Unlike central government electorates which have to be more or less the same size, local government boundaries are supposed to pay more heed to communities of interest. That said they must still be within a population size difference of plus or minus 10%. The LGC couldn’t get either of those requirements right. Under the current recommendations, 8 of the 12 new wards will fall outside of the mean population size by more than the allowed 10%. As for idiotic decisions regarding communities of interest (and I’m sure there’s many examples like this throughout Auckland), try this: both the Mt Eden Village Shops, and the Eden Valley Shops (Dominion Road) will be chopped in half. The half of the Mt Eden Shops on the “volcano side” (Maungawhau/Mt Eden) will go to the new Auckland Central ward, while the other half will remain in what is effectively Eden-Albert combined with the existing Mt Roskill ward.
I contested the 2007 election because I wanted to make a difference in Eden-Albert and I know that I can do this over the next year (and further into the future, if Eden-Albert will have me). Pretty much my whole life is dedicated to campaigning on issues I care about, and now that I’m a representative for Eden-Albert, a lot of my focus will switch to more local issues. Along with my regular Community Board duties (I have been appointed Community Constable liaison and Youth Affairs Spokesperson) I plan to get involved in many of the local campaigns, such as those opposing the non-tunnel version of the SH20 Waterview connection, those opposing the expansion of the Balmoral McDonalds and St Lukes Shopping Centre, and campaigns on local issues surrounding the new Supercity.
There’s two issues that I really want to push in the next year – 1. Helping the two local groups attempting to set up Community Gardens get underway, and 2. Getting youth involved in local democracy. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum youth come from, getting young people involved and aware of the democratic processes is vitally important. I’m always amazed at the number of people I meet who have no idea what a Community Board is/does. Empowering young people (like myself, but even younger!) to get involved and teaching them what they can achieve has the potential to create engaged and non-apathetic citizens and support the functioning of democracy within New Zealand.
Perhaps what annoys me the most is the assertion that I am some sort of carpetbagger. I do currently live in Parnell (5 minutes drive in traffic or 15 minute walk into the Eden-Albert ward), but my affinity has always been with Eden-Albert. I grew up in Eden-Albert (in a number of different houses), and don’t feel the same connection with any of the other places I have lived. In other places I’ve lived (Christchurch, Tauranga, Auckland City) I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the local residents or issues. My Grandparents bought their first house in Eden-Albert and brought up my mother and lprent there. My mother bought her first house in Eden-Albert and only recently moved out of the area. When I moved out of home I lived in an apartment in the ward. Eden-Albert is a nice mix of working class and emerging middle-class wealth. There is something unique about the ward I love its heritage, its cultural diversity and its unpretentiousness when compared with places like Parnell. Eden-Albert is the only place I could legitimately run as a local candidate it’s my home.
Finally, one has to ask, why the big interest in me? Cameron John Slater has attempted smear after smear since I dared carry out a minor geeky prank and google-bomb his dear leader as ‘clueless’. Does he not have bigger targets to focus on? Perhaps this latest post was a favour to Daddy who heads up C&R? Of course all that good work spinning a nothing story was nullified by his final comment:
That said Rocky does actually have a brain and isn’t your usual leftist drone, she may actually do a good job.
Hmmm… why all the fuss then?