Friday, 10 May 2013


i've had an interesting experience in writing letters to the editor lately.  i've written before on the frankton markets, and there seems to be a positive resolution to that situation.  forlongs have been in negotiations and it looks like the markets are here to stay.

i attended the emergency council meeting on the issue, and managed to speak to a couple of stall-holders.  they were people who were just trying to make a reasonable living in a difficult economic environment.  so i wasn't too pleased to see a letter from tania hennebry , trustee of WEL energy trust & past council candidate, implying that these were people who were dodging taxes.  it was a particularly negative letter, full of aspersions but with no evidence whatsoever.

it moved me enough to write that she should get to know these people, and that marginalised people are more in need of advocacy than those who have the power and ability to use the legal and institutional processes in their own favour.  having seen previous letters from ms hennebry, i was expecting an angry response.  however, i wasn't expecting that she would use her position as a trustee of WEL energy trust to attack me.

here's what she says, towards the end of a pretty long letter:

Ms Rahman states "she will not be an advocate for these people, but prefers to side with those who don't need her advocacy at all".  This is rather rich, considering she has benefitted from my advocacy in the past when seeking community funding from the WEL Energy Trust.  Her judgement speaks volumes!

wow.  the fact is that i've never personally benefitted as a trustee of any organisation.  i've never taken a cent, not even petrol money.  it's a nasty implication.  but i really had to laugh when she finishes with this gem:

There is an ugliness which rears its head at election time and doesn't belong in the Hamilton I knew and loved.

it's just the sheer shamelessness of having this sentence immediately follow the preceding paragraph i quoted, and following a previous letter where she attacked stall-holders without evidence.  although, from so many years of blogging, i should be used to people who make comments without logic or consistency, but i'm still surprised when i see something as blatant as this.

i'm sure i'll be getting a lot more of this as the months progress.  that's the danger of speaking out, but i really couldn't let ms hennebry's first letter go unchallenged.  i'm certainly not interested in responding in kind.  it's just not who i am.  i think political discourse and debate needs to move well beyond this level, and one can only lead by example  so i've written another letter this evening making clear i've not received any personal benefits from WEL energy trust funding, and then gone on to talk about the issue of development of student accommodation in residential areas.


Anonymous said...

She is, presumably, bound by confidentiality as a Trustee of WEL Energy Trust. Can a complaint be made? So scary to think that our community organisations might be attacked when we politically differ with Trustees of 'Community' Trusts. So scary that I will not use my real name at the bottom of this.

stargazer said...

i'm not sure re the confidentiality. i know trust waikato publishes all community grants in the newspaper. once you know the organisation's name, you could check on the charities commission or companies office websites to see who the trustees are. so technically, this might not be confidential information. but yes, the willingness of this person to use her position to attack someone who disagrees with her is just a special degree of nastiness that is really beyond my comprehension.