Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times, Mon, January 28, 2013
2 --- Howick and Pakuranga Times, Monday, January 28, 2013 www.times.co.nz high tides Howick Funeral Home CHAPEL • RECEPTION LOUNGE • OFFICE For personal, professional service to all districts at all hours 121517-v3 35 Wellington St Howick Ph 534 7300 Vernon Warren M.B.I.E., N.Z.E.A. Michael Rowe C.A. THE people marched up and swung it. No, they won it. They got what they came for: justice for Adele White. And the strength and depth of people power, in the gallery of last Monday evening’s Howick Local Board meeting, was the key element in seeing the unnec- essary motion to remove her as deputy-chair, ultimately, fail. Amazingly, Ms White (Inde- pendent), a senior police con- stable and citizen with an impeccable, respected record, was being put on public trial by accusers who would not explain why they were agreeing to the motion to demote her. That’s Michael Williams (Citizens & Ratepayers), Shirley Warren (C&R), Wayne Huang (C&R), Steve Udy (C&R) and Jim Don- ald (Team Howickian). The best they could do was Mr Williams repeating from the meeting requisition letter hymn sheet. They sat silent behind, at times, frustrating council “proc- ess” (rules), deﬂecting questions to city ofﬁcers, who of course, not being involved, couldn’t answer. Everyone who left the meeting still had no idea why the action to remove Ms White was taken. Said board member Lucy Schwaner: “If you have any respect for Adele, you would give her the courtesy of a reason, not a character assassination.” It took two hours and 35 min- utes to get to the point when Mr Udy saw sense. He, more than anyone in the room, recognised and felt the weight of the public’s anger, opinions and numbers, and espe- cially with a petition with 831 signatures organised and gath- ered by Botany MP and former Manukau City and Auckland councillor Jami-Lee Ross. Said Mr Ross: “The issue is about character, integrity and commitment to the local Howick community.” Talkative but nonetheless experienced politician David Collings (Independent) ran the tactics, coming to the party with an agreement to work more col- laboratively for the next nine months. Mr Williams saw the red light, pulled the brakes, and withdrew his and Mr Donald’s motion to vote to remove Ms White. The message to withdraw the motion was sent by this newspa- per to the requisition letter sign- ees, directly or indirectly, when the political manoeuvre was ﬁrst reported in the Times on Decem- ber 6, because of the initial pub- lic outrage eight weeks ago. Many others sent the same message, including Mr Ross, Ms Schwaner, Mr Collings and John Spiller (C&R), who felt the push to demote Ms White was poor form and not in the public inter- est, to say the least. That’s why more than 150 res- idents and ratepayers mobilised for the meeting, and with protest placards. The attack on her character and commitment caused Ms White a considerable deal of pain and sorrow during what should have been a happy holi- day season. Said Mr Ross: “We expect our representatives to debate the issue and stand up for what they believe in. If Adele is being punished for that, it’s absolutely wrong.” Residents and ratepayers of the Howick ward demand a dedicated local board made up of members that work together and get on with the real job of grass roots council, in this historic early era of the Auckland Coun- cil, and leave political sideshows for their own time. Said Ms Schwaner: “Our com- munity expects us to be inde- pendent thinkers. We are not here to nod and agree.” Howick Local Board members have acknowledged the big job they’ve got in shaping the ward’s future, spending millions of pub- lic money. That task has got even larger now, as the leadership challenge is to repair the damage and division from the political manoeuvre to oust Ms White. One thing is guaranteed. How- ickians will be watching closely, because if they’re unhappy about people being given a hard time unnecessarily, they march, stand up and make their voice heard. Public reaction THE attempt to remove Adele White as deputy-chair of the Ho- wick Local Board has generated widespread public interest and comment. The times.co.nz website has had plenty of Facebook com- ments in reaction to the news stories of the past two months, as has the East Auckland Grape- vine page on Facebook and on the political heavyweight web- site, whaleoil.co.nz. One letter writer to the Times sums up the public feeling from last Monday: UPON leaving the meeting of the Howick Local Board, I was reminded of the song from Les Miserables: Can you hear the peo- ple sing? On that Monday evening, the local people had certainly found their voices and nearly all were singing from the same song sheet. Democracy had found a voice! I hope this is just the start and that locals will turn out in force in future to let our local and national politicians know that we are alive and not to be taken lightly. Long may the people sing! John Pollock, Pakuranga Takin' it to the streets PEOPLE POWER: Some of the more than 150 Howick residents and ratepayers get ready to listen to the debate unfold at the local board meeting last Monday. Times photos Chris Harrowell By PJ Taylor, Editor From the news desk DIGNIFIED: Left, Adele White kept her cool despite having her character attacked. PRESSURED: Right, Steve Udy, more than anyone, felt the weight of public opinion.
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