Hide’s “Wild Ride” Slides To A Mild Chide

Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 | 6 Comments

Those hoping that Rodney Hide might get called to account for his creation of the monolithic supercity at Devonport’s local board meeting last night would have left disappointed at the lack of fireworks.

In front of pretty much all the great and good of Devonport, Rodney “Raw” Hide put up a surprisingly eloquent defence of the thinking behind the supercity structure, and showed himself to be more than au fait with details of the new structure, although the extent to which he accepts the actual reality of its implementation was harder to judge.

While he did point out that the system was still bedding in, and there was still much confusion among the ranks of the council officers and CCO staff, he also urged those in attendance not to let either their board members or the council officials “off the hook” in getting progress on issues they felt needed addressing.

Nevertheless the Q&A session was lively (despite one lady who had just been told there would be a Q&A storming out because there “the whole thing was a waste of time because there would be no questions”), with Sarah Bloomfield asking the first question from the floor.

Her question initially sounded as if she were complaining about local weed-spraying; something The Speculator has found frustrating about these public meetings is the fact that there is always a couple of people who miss the point of the occasion and go to rant about some specific issue affecting them.

However, this was not the case with Ms Bloomfield; in fact she was making the very valid observation that the previous council had agreed to a specific policy on the issue, which had apparently been lost by the new council.

The implication? Where was the institutional memory of the previous council? Had it all got lost in transition, and would Devonport therefore experience something akin to Pol Pot’s Year Zero, when history was struck from, er, history and everything started again from scratch? To his credit, Raw Hide immediately acknowledged the issue as important, but many a reader will know that these kinds of “transitional issues” are often not fully controlled for in the restructuring of large corporate entities. He went on to offer to look into the specific issue, but that was missing Ms Bloomfield’s broader point; how much has been lost in the transition?

The Speculator has observed over the years that corporate clients can sometimes behave in a way that we could classify as insane in an individual. As employees come and go, their knowledge is lost and one finds oneself being asked the same question over and over again, giving the same answer, and each time being confronted with a different response. If that’s not a definition of insanity, what is?

Ex-Takapuna councillor Mike Sheehy raised the valid issue of local board power; ie, they don’t have any. Again, Hide parried, stating this would sort itself out once the planning process had been completed (more to come on this from The Speculator).

Margot McRae raised the issue of resource consents, and how important it was that these decisions be reviewed at the local board level as they were under the old system; not by “anonymous people not accountable to the community.” Hide planted his short leg firmly in line with the ball, and the question deflected off his pads to silly mid-off, with a response along the lines of those previously given – that is, give the system some time to bed in.

In the end, the bulbous one’s time was up, and after Chris Darby touchingly presented him with a gift for his new baby daughter (see other Speculator story), and after being warmly clapped, he departed, followed by his entertainingly porcine official.

The Speculator is preparing an article on the remainder of the meeting, which also included some entertaining and insightful moments.


  1. The Boy Bergin says:

    Roger, the Board has a much larger area to look after now which means the 20,000 residents of Sunnynook and Forrest Hill need to be as connected as those right down the very bottom of the peninsula, which means we just need to get on the the meetings in the most central location. It was good to be in the heart of Devonport for our last meeting, but it would be incredibly unfair to other residents across our area if we were to move ourselves further and further away from them.

    As for the 22nd Local Board…what would a separate Board achieve? They would have the same powers, those are the powers given to us by the Governing Body and Statute and not the ones we choose to have, lessened by the fact that the staff would be stretched over yet another Board and while you may have more local meetings…is that really what functioning local government is about, talking? Not doing?

    I think we just all need to be a little patient as we aren’t going to get anywhere if we keep trying to be the best “in” Auckland rather than the best “for” Auckland.

  2. Roger Brittenden says:

    While you have a nice photo of me (didn’t know I was so handsome!) asking Rodney a question, you make no comment of the question in your article.
    I told him we now had six people looking after 60,000 whereas before we had six Devonport Community Board members looking after only 19,000.
    I told him that this meeting of the DTLB was the first held in Devonport in the first six months since the election and at this rate we would have six in the three year term whereas with the Devonport Community Board we would have had 72!
    I then asked him, considering the above, how he thought the SuperCity had added value to Devonport grassroots democracy.
    His reply was that the couldn’t have “hundreds of Local Boards all over Auckland”.
    This was a falsification of the facts and deceptive, there was never going to be hundreds.
    The Local Government Commission was required under the act to ensure there would be no fewer than 20 but no more than 30 local boards.
    The LGC finally decided on 21. Devonport could have been the 22nd and they would still have been on the conservative sight.
    Rodney did not answer the question.

  3. Ed Ed says:

    Dear Ed. For the record, the name of the chap who asked about the Gold Card is Bill Rayner (not Geoff). You might like to modify your comment.

  4. Boadicca says:

    Sorry to have been away attending to my Australian subjects while Hide was in town, but did anyone ask him about his plan to take away free travel for the ancients?(All right James, subsidised, but they have usually paid a lifetime of taxes). I don’t qualify, meself, but I do think that is a bit mean, not to mention brass-necked given his own record.

    Well it’s funny you should mention that Bowzza, because Geoff Raymer (I hope I have the spelling right) did exactly that. He asked “Why did you pick on the oldies?” to which Rozza replied (and I paraphrase) “I didn’t. I picked on everyone.” He proffered one of his favourite phrases “This country borrows $300m a week” to explain his reasons. However, I read in a competitive organ today that the Gold Card has been saved. – Ed

  5. Joseph Bergin says:

    That woman who went storming out was Vivienne Keohane, former North Shore City Councillor, Candidate for North Shore Ward Governing Body Seat and member of the Kaipatiki Local Board. She had some lovely pleasant things to say didn’t she?!

    Oh – thanks for that Joe. That kinds of explains why she stormed out, as Chris Darby had explicitly said Q&A was for local residents only, not politicians. – Ed

  6. GB says:

    I had three questions/issues written down already, didn’t get a chance to raise my hand, well I did, but Chris Darby pointed to someone else to stand..then we find out Hide was going at 6:45pm for a 7:30 appointement, the whole thing was a set up I feel!..Today I emailed a large message to Joseph Bergin, it contains in no nonsense language, without any swearing I may add, what I was going to raise and ask at las nights meeting..I asked him to pass on my correspondence to ALL the Devo/Taka community board members, so…

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