Random Play by Graham Reid


He's just an excitable boy . . .

As with most people I know, we were happy to see this new government doing something/anything so quickly -- and then viewed with alarm just what it was they were doing so quickly.

Others have already commented on that, so I won’t -- but have you noticed how the current political climate allows politicians and vested interest groups to rack up the hype and energy, and piggyback the mood of bustling busy-ness?

Everything suddenly has to be done, like . . . NOW!!!

Well, I’m just like sooo totally over that one -- and am certainly suspicious about how urban-Auckland projects now all have the spectre of them having to be completed "in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup” (TM) hanging over them like that sword of the Dame of Cleves . . . or whatever that Irish patron saint of manic urgency is called.

We live near Eden Park and, credit where it is due, we've had very little if any interruption to our lives with the building programme there. It isn’t even that noisy and we have observed no trucks rumbling down our street. This is all good and although we are hoping to do a house-swap with someone in the south of France or Italy for the period of the Cup (offers anyone?) I’m very pleased things are moving along so well.

I hope the Cup goes well, I genuinely do.

And while I still wonder -- as do many of my smart friends who follow the money -- just how this renovation will be paid for once the rugby crowds have gone home (and please don’t tell me family-friendly stadium rock acts like Sir Paul McCartney again) it does seem excellent progress is being made. Everything is on schedule according to those building it -- so this is all good news, right?

Well, seemingly not. Because apparently a problem may occur when a consent application is made for various things like the temporary stands, pedestrian access and so on.

Now from where I sit it is only right that the usual civic protocols be observed in this matter and local residents be able to have their say, especially about the creation of a new walkway (which involves houses being demolished) and also the loss of public space that was promised.

These seem fair issues to be discussing at the consent hearing and I note that Eden Park Neighbours Association chairman Mark Donnelly said he doubted the community would try to prevent the issue of temporary seating going through. But that these other matters do deserve discussion.
Gosh, doesn’t that seems almost unreasonably reasonable.

This has come up because suddenly -- despite everything proceeding on schedule I remind you, and only the possibility of delays in the hearing -- the Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully is banging on about maybe over-riding public processes because the Redevelopment Board is concerned that appeals could bog down the approval process.

So McCully is hyping up the drama by saying the redevelopment may not be achieved in time for the Cup games, and that this was a nasty shock for an incoming minister. He also said the PM was concerned.

McCully is talking about giving serious consideration to legislating to allow for some fast-tracking (or sidestepping around) due process.

Okay, now hang on a minute, mate. People in whose best interest it is to ram this development through have only said they are concerned at delays -- and they would say that, wouldn’t they?

McCully told the Herald “I want to fix the problem first, then point the finger of blame later.”

What problem?

As far as I can tell there is no “problem“, just a vague concern by those with a very specific vested interest. And what’s with this “finger of blame” thing? The job is proceeding, no one has yet said they are going to be wilfully obstructive when it comes to the consent hearings -- and in fact Neighbours Association chairman Donnelly seemed pretty moderate in his comments, right?

This is an old trick by a hyperventilating McCully: create a sense of urgency and give people only one option. We gunna legislate!

We saw this when the clownish idea for a waterfront stadium was suddenly dumped on Auckland by That Other Guy. (Do we need to mention egress? Sixty thousand people leaving the place at the same time and not dispersing in different directions. Yep, that‘ll work!)

Anyway, this current drama is, on the face of it, a fancifully concocted state of fear coupled with emergency. A crisis is coming down fast so we need legislation and huff huff huff . . .

Okay, these are early days for this government and I guess it was inevitable there would be some testosterone-fuelled excitement. But this one seems rather ill-placed and ill-considered.

Time for Mr McCully to breathe through his nose I think. And for the rest of us to look hard at just how this notion of “urgency” -- and the blackmail of the Rugby World Cup -- is being artificially hyped in any number of projects.

Sorry, not buying that.

Finally: Lotsa new music and stuff at Elsewhere, notably about Frank Zappa, who died 15 years ago this month and is still one of the least understood characters in rock culture. Nice footage of him playing a bicycle. Oh, and there's Paul McCartney like you’ve probably never heard him.
There are also newly posted essays and overviews of rock, jazz and Elsewhere musicians and much more.

Next week I’m picking my Best of Elsewhere 2008 albums. And I’m encouraging people to look through the couple of hundred very diverse albums posted at Music From Elsewhere (go back to page 21) and, using the Post A Comment link, tell me what they think their three best were. Easy.

Subscribers who do so are in to win A Major Bloody Big Prize -- but anyone can have a go. Although if you want to subscribe (it’s free, as the best things in life are) to be in to win . . .

Enjoy. And breathe through your nose.
You have until, if not the 2011 Rugby World Cup, then at least until Sunday night . . .

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