31 October, 2007

Royal Commission for Auckland

Now that the dust has settled from the local body elections (along with changing of mayors) the government has announced that the future local government structure of the Auckland Region will now be investigated by a Royal Commission. here

The mash-the-whole-lot-into-one-city crowd welcome the move but others, like the people who don't run business but just live in the region, are less enthusiastic. My own pole with all of 2 responses is 50-50 anti the idea and anti Auckland full stop.

I would like to make one point. Something that has been discovered by many groups.

Schedule a meeting in Auckland City or Manukau and anybody from the 'Shore will make a big deal (complain bitterly) about the traffic and be overly concerned with start and finish times. Plan the same meeting just 10km north of Auckland City's C.B.D. and anybody not from the North Shore usually fails to turn up.

That bridge and its lesser Greenhithe sibling seem to be a huge mental barrier to Aucklanders and South Aucklanders. It is of very little importance to them until they have to cross it, then it is like telling them to drive to outer Wellington.

North Shorites treat the bridge as a vital artery and are more worried about the amount of traffic they will find if they venture off the motorway system before reaching the Bombay Hills than crossing the bridge. They will roll on the floor with laughter with any suggestion at using public transport instead of the car. With some justification since bus transport from the 'Shore to south of the Victoria St is more than a bit of a joke. As for rail, what rail? Did they put wheels on the ferries?

Westies have a foot in both camps, a large number of them troop north over the Greenhithe bridge to work daily while an even larger numbers head into "town" or over to Manukau.

To the rest of the country this has next to no relevance at all. Auckland is that silly little bit of land joining Northland the the rest of North Island. JAFAs (just another f***ing Aucklander) are all the same and far to numerous.

A good point, but think about it. Could New Zealand cope with a single city bigger (people wise) than the entire South Island?

One city in the Auckland Region is a sure recipe for a banana republic without the climate to grow bananas in my opinion.

25 October, 2007

Warning: Duck hunting.

Mallard armed with fists. Or should that be: Mallard teaches Tau Henare to duck.

No doubt our right honorable leader now has a big head ache on her hands.

Isn't Trevor Mallard the same bloke who once used a tennis ball in an unusual fashion to discipline a pupil and has announced he is not standing down in the next election? Oops, no that is David Benson-Pope. Scarily both are former school teachers. Mallard is the one who closed an awful lot of rural and not so rural schools.

Remember this is the same government that tried to outlaw political satire.

Helen Clark is in for a bad day.

Let the duck jokes fly.

16 October, 2007

Storm in a Rugby (World) Cup

Dick Hubbard is out and John Banks is in.

Now that should be of no interest to anyone outside of Auckland City.

Until you throw the 2011 Rugby World Cup into the mix that is.

The story so far:
  • New Zealand won the hosting rights with a pitch that involved new bigger stands at Eden Park to increase seating capacity to 60,000.
  • Central government suggested building a brand new stadium on the Auckland waterfront in the vicinity of Bledisloe, Marsden and or Capt Cook wharfs with central government picking up most or all of the tab.
  • After much debate Auckland City Council narrowly decided to back the idea. The Auckland Regional Council didn't. Since the ARC own both the land and the Ports of Auckland who are actively using the land, the idea was dropped.
  • Eden Park (owned by Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket Clubs via a trust), North Harbour Stadium (land owned by North Shore City the rest by a charitable trust), Mount Smart (ARC), a yet to be built stadium on the Manukau Harbour (owned by Manukau City) and Carlaw- soon to be a retirement village- Park (once owned by Auckland Rugby League Club) were all suggested as cheaper options along with Christchurch's Lancaster Park aka Jade Stadium aka AMI Stadium.
  • Central government has refused to put any money into upgrading Eden Park. But eventually Dick Hubbard's Auckland City Council eventually came up with some cash for the privately owned Eden Park.

This is where things have gotten interesting.

The voters threw Hubbard and his team of tame councilors out on their ears in Saturday's election and voted Banks and crew back in.

Banks has stated that the Eden Park trust won't get a cent from his council for new stands or any stands for that matter but will improve transport links. Central government still won't stump up with any dosh but has said that they don't think Christchurch has enough accommodation to handle an RWC finial, which is where many Aucklanders have told them to put it if the government won't stump up.

Will we see half the buses in the country going up the North Shore busway to North Harbour in 2011 or will the IRB take the toys away and hand hosting rights to Japan? Time will tell.

12 October, 2007

The Whenuapai airport debate

This is an advertisement from Infratil that appeared in the North Shore Times on 11 October 2007. I have had to type it out but it makes interesting reading.
Ten facts about Whenuapai Airport

Opponents of plans to develop a commercial airport at Whenuapai have worked hard to make it an issue in North Shore's local body elections. Fair enough.

However, many of the claims about the impact of civil flights a Whenuapai are incorrect. Here are 10 facts about our plans for Whenuapai.

Judge for yourself.

For more detailed information visit http://www.infratil.com/whenuapai_airport_faqs.htm

1. Civil use of Whenuapai will involve services to the rest of New Zealand, east coast Australia and the Pacific Islands. It is expected to ultimately grow to about 2 million passenger movements a year. It will then be about 10% of Auckland's air traffic market.

2. The people of Waitakere, Rodney and North Shore will gain convenience from having better access to such air services. It will be a catalyst for development and growth, and reduce road traffic.

3. Business and tourism will benefit from better connections with the rest of New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Airlines are interested in operating such services.

4. Over the North Shore there will be three departure flightpaths and four arrival flightpaths. A map of the North Shore, criss-crossed with flightpaths, and being promoted by a protest group is complete nonsense. A plane taking off from Whenuapai would be 580 metres above Albany and 913 metres above Browns Bay. At this altitude most people will barely notice any difference to an aircraft flying from Mangere. There is no intention, or likelihood, of using the short second runway at Whenuapai.

5. It is projected that the Airport could cater for up to 21 jet services a day. Because of prevailing winds that means 3 days out of 4, 21 aircraft a day will arrive over the Shore while 1 day in 4 the same number of aircraft will head east and depart over the Shore.

6. At present the Air Force has up to 20,000 aircraft movements a year. Civil services will have to fit within the existing noise envelope and will eventually - grow to about 7,500 movements a year. If you don't notice significant noise from planes over the Shore right now, you are unlikely to notice much difference when commercial flights begin at Whenuapai.

7. In any event, there will be no Whenuapai sourced commercial flights over the North Shore without resource consents being granted. This will require a full disclosure and consultation process.

8. Some people have expressed concerns about the impact of civil aviation on property values. Airports provide connectivity. They attract commercial activity. They are an amenity. Not every property owner on the Shore will win from there being civil air services at Whenuapai, but on average it is likely that a successful commercial airport at Whenuapai will be a boost for the City and its property owners.

9. Modern aircraft do not jettison jet fuel and stringent monitoring of hazardous wastes around airports shows negligible, if any, discernible difference relative to normal road traffic.

10. The development of Whenuapai Airport for civil use is being proposed by North West Auckland Airport Limited a company with the Councils of North Shore City, Waitakere City and Rodney District and Infratil as shareholders. No Council is required to contribute any funds to this project. But the transaction is structured to provide the Councils with a share of profits if the development turns out to be sufficiently successful.

Published in the interest of accurate debate. for more detailed information visit

Infratil is listed on the NZX, with more than 25,000 New Zealand share and bond Holders. Infratil owns airports in New Zealand, England, Scotland and Germany. The plans to operate a small commercial airport at Whenuapai have been developed, with the councils of North Shore City, Waitakere City and Rodney District, in the best interests of the north west of Auckland.
I know that was a lot of reading but given the fliers from a group against the idea (see here ) it is nice to see some detailed facts on the matter. I am very close to if not directly under one of the flight paths. Low altitude Hercules are a common sight and sound. The only time that becomes a nuisance is in situations like the other night when aircraft engine test woke half the household up at 3am or when a military exercise involves artillery and mortar fire late at night.

11 October, 2007

Election bribes already?

Is it just me or is Labour trying to lure voters with tax cuts on a never never plan.

Queue here for a pack of chewing gum or watch national dismember the family tax credit, capped doctors fees etc for a tax cut the size of a takeaway dinner.

Bit of a Hobson's choice.

10 October, 2007

Post those votes!

Time is running out so if you want to have your say in who runs your local council better get those papers into the post before the post boxes are cleared on Thursday.

I am not standing for any local body. I would much prefer to have my nose in that much bigger trough called national government. Especially as they have just voted themselves a 12% salary increase. No wonder they don't seem to understand the amount of money many New Zealanders live on and just how far that goes.

02 October, 2007

Vote for me, when you can stop laughing that is.

I had to share this example of a local body election ad. This isn't your standard hording, this is literally the back end of a bus.

Who is the bloke with the emergency exit, presumably for his brain, on his head?

That would be Dick Hubbard, cereal king and current mayor of Auckland, for this week anyway.

01 October, 2007

How cats read

I have been asked this question many times so I will enlighten you.

Have you ever observed a cat sitting? ever noticed where we sit?

Cats have excellent rear vision. Your average well read cat isn't just sitting on your newspaper to annoy you.

Oh no, we are keeping up with current affairs.

Of course turning the page can present a bit of the problem, that is why I am a fan of the double page format favoured by many magazines these days. One whole article in a two page spread. Lovely.

Of course this doesn't work quite as well with computers, keyboards always say QWERTY after all, which is why we insist on sitting on your lap or in front of the screen when you are surfing the net.

Now you know.

Has National policy crossed into fruitcake territory yet?

I haven't been posting much of late, it is school holidays and with 3 two legged toe rags wandering around ..... enough said.

Have any of you seen what the Gnats (National Party) have been up to?

I know I have said before that they needed to come up with some new policies but.......if the idea of removing the cap on GP prices without referring to it once in the recently released 45 page health policy document wasn't enough now they are suggesting this.

Anyone want to build a school and lease it to a national government?

This could be a real money spinner and not for the government. Just think about it - a tenant who can't easily move elsewhere and is unlikely to go out of business anytime soon. You could just about charge what you like and if they do move out you still have this lovely big hunk of real estate. Where is the risk to the landlord. Of course the risk and cost to future governments would be huge. Landlords can pass on maintenance costs and since a school is more of a commercial building, building related costs and modifications are the responsibility of the tenant.

Is this a licence to print money for some or what?