Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Minister's Brain Has Exploded

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  • Sacha,

    Joshua Arbury reports in his usual comprehensive fashion after attending the committee meeting.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Isn't this, at least partly, about trying to obscure the obvious narrative that the "Party Central" (eck) wharf that the Government had placed so much emphasis and political capital on was simply overwhelmed by a crowd 20x it's capacity - something incredibly obvious in hindsight at least. A story of "Party Central Wharf only able to hold 12,000 people" would have been awful for them. Awfully factual of course...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to BenWilson,

    There were lemming there, though. Shuffling along behind one another, as they do. I heard some fell into the water on the TV news, but have not heard any confirmation from other sources.

    I'll bet it was fucking Disney, throwing them in. B'stards!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    "Party Central Wharf only able to hold 12,000 people"

    Minister's wharf too small..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Sacha,

    Minister's wharf too small..

    Heh, exactly...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Cameron Pitches,

    Is it just me or does anyone else feel McCully's "apology" to Len Brown was less than sincere? According to TVNZ:

    McCully said today discussions had been held between Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay and officials but clearly Brown was not kept in the loop .

    "I spoke to him after I became aware that he felt uncited on some aspects of it. I told him that I was sorry about that, that hadn't been the intention," McCully told media

    He only spoke to him because Len Brown phoned him to ask (politely) what the fuck was going on! And as we've learned here Doug McKay was kept in the dark as well.

    John Key goes one better and says it was McCully that phoned Len:

    Prime Minister John Key says there was “an assumption that [Mr McCully] knew it probably would have been better if he had rung [Mr Brown] directly himself first, but as soon as he realised the Mayor didn't know he got on the phone".

    Yet on Campbell Live last night Len Brown said it was he that phoned McCully, not the other way around.

    I've not really followed McCully in the past too closely, but I'm rapidly forming a view on him that he is disingenuous, slimey and can't be trusted. I probably need to let this go now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    Having attended today's Council meeting it certainly seemed that Doug McKay was just as shocked as Len Brown was when McCully made his announcements yesterday.

    I wouldn't be surprised if McCully's own officials were surprised. After all they had clearly been working on solutions with the council for the past few days.

    Another interesting thing Doug McKay seemed to be saying was that McCully's announcements don't really change anything. Council has been using the RWC legislation for months for events & licensing, they don't need to use it for transport matters.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    Another interesting thing Doug McKay seemed to be saying was that McCully's announcements don't really change anything.

    From a TV3 report of the meeting, compare Council CEO Doug McKay (not a 'councillor', guys):

    “The headlines in the newspapers about the Government seizing control of the water front is just not a reality”
    ...

    “We do not need the Rugby World Cup legislation to make street closures. We do this every day of the week"

    with McCully from that story:

    “It’s quite clear that Auckland city is in charge of Auckland city - but as far as the waterfront precinct is concerned we need to make some urgent arrangements to ensure public safety and ensure amenities for this weekend”

    and from another story

    “Powers have been given to me under the legislation and I'm exercising those powers - the buck stops with me."

    Like I say, small wharf syndrome.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    All of which suggests that it is purely petty politics from McCully.

    And we got a lazy 'the Government has stepped in' narrative from the TVNZ news. Oh and TV3 listed McKay as 'Auckland Council'.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Have just read the transport report it does appear that the trains were an issue. They were filled too much. Noted in future that they will be limited to 10% below max capacity.
    People collapsed from the heat inside. Noted air conditioning will be set to lowest temperature at the start of the trip.
    Emergency Stop activated on one trip. Train stops as per requirement and checked out before resuming, (Eminently sensible thing to do BTW.)
    BIG prob at Britomart due to people arriving AND people trying to get on the trains to go the park (presumed). Noted that having two events simultaneously wanting to use the same route in and out of the station causes big headaches.
    BIG problem of passengers forcing doors open and walkiing on tracks. Noted that cooler aircon may help......

    All in all a confusion of disjointed events that repercussed all the way down...the line. One train stops then the next is delayed etc.

    But I can't help thinking that an educational piece in the paper might be useful for people unused to travelling by commuter train.

    Some lessons learnt in Welly:

    Rule 1. The train WILL stop at the next station. So please don't activate the emergency button if a passenger ON the train becomes a medical problem. Where TF would help come from out in the boonies?

    Rule 2: They are a bit like aeroplanes. Once the door is shut you are there until the next station at least.

    Rule 3. If the train stops, accept it. Forcing the doors really reaLLY REALLY screws the system for everyone.

    Rule 4: Patience is more than desirable. After decades of traffic jams up thar in the big smoke I can understand the frustration.

    Rule 5: Trains do not stop on the whim of the driver, or the system, or the council, or Viola (sic), or the gummint. There will be a human involved in the incident. Accept it, you is one.

    Finally: Check taht the big screens work at least the day before. Yes, that probably means putting up with the exta day's rental. "Suppliers have confirmed that all screens were tested prior to their arrival on site." doesn't cut the mustard I am afraid.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    I doubt you can call the funder commissioning another independent report by a lawyer or demanding to station their own staff in Veolia’s control room a vote of confidence.

    To be quite blunt about it, Sacha, that goes both ways. Do you really think the comments made by Brown and Mike Lee over the weekend engendered much in the way of trust or open communication? I get that there are elements in Auckland Transport and the Council who have ideological issues with the current framework, but they really need to get the fuck over it and stop treating Veolia like the enemy. And Auckland Transport just has to take some ownership for its side of a less than ideal relationship. As I said on the other thread, I know people who aren't getting important calls and e-mails replied to in a timely manner - which affects their ability to do basic shit like lock in rosters and scheduling. That's not rocket science, Sacha, but Not Treating Contractors Like Crap 101.

    I've also had it put to me that there are a lot of people who've basically given up telling Auckland Transport what they don't want to hear - because there's only so many times you can be confronted with people with their fingers in their ears before you take the hint.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney, in reply to martinb,

    McCully is concerned about public safety and toilets.

    Isn't public safety a policing issue, and isn't there a Minister of Police to be responsible for that?

    As for "amenities" (McCully said elsewhere he is referring to toilets), does the Government really need to take charge of port-a-loos?

    I feel sorry for the Mayor. He has fronted on TV and in the media and deserves a chance to make amends. This is pretty low stuff, IMHO.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    To be quite blunt about it, Sacha, that goes both ways

    No, it doesn't. When someone pays you to provide a service, they tend to have the upper hand in the relationship - whether that's fair or not. $35m is not chump change. Veolia aren't a charity and they're free to resign the contract if they can't meet its terms.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    people who've basically given up telling Auckland Transport what they don't want to hear

    transport sector culture is certainly interesting

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    The biggest cause for the whole problem seems, from my perspective, to have been the inability of ATEED to tell Auckland Transport (and, I suppose, equally the inability of Auckland Transport to ask) that expected visitor numbers had at least doubled from what was anticipated.

    ATEED opened much more space because they were expecting up to 160,000 people. Yet Auckland Transport was still going off a plan for 30,000-50,000 people - and for more than half of those to arrive downtown by car (which is a kind of weird expectation).

    In the end, most of the fallout has ended up with Len Brown and the Council - which really begs the question of why bother with the CCOs to an extent. It's not like we saw any board members of ATEED or Auckland Transport speak up at today's meeting, or be in the media over the past few days.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    No, it doesn’t. When someone pays you to provide a service, they tend to have the upper hand in the relationship – whether that’s fair or not. $35m is not chump change. Veolia aren’t a charity and they’re free to resign the contract if they can’t meet its terms.

    Thanks for that, Doctor Brash. :) You’re right -$35 million isn’t chump change. Neither is the hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into Auckland Transport every financial year – and we don’t get to opt out of paying for them. Call me a naive old whoopsie, but I think hiring people who clear and action their voice mail isn’t an unreasonable bench mark.

    transport sector culture is certainly interesting

    In a Chinese curse kind of way, I guess you’re right. But I’ve worked in placed with that kind of toxic culture and they also tend to be the same workplaces with high staff turnover, serious recruitment and retention issues and a lack of institutional memory and expertise because they've got a bad rep in industry circles. Not really good for Auckland's public transport in the end.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Terribly nice of Tracy Watkins to issue a press release in support of Mr. McCully this morning in the Dom-Post, don't you think?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    in support of Mr. McCully

    eh?

    Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully's sudden takeover after Auckland's waterfront fiasco will not have come as a surprise to those who have watched him operate in the past three decades.

    A workaholic, he is known to be abrasive and impatient with officials and bureaucracy and has often been accused of reaching over the top of them to manage his departments.

    I'm sure he's ever so grateful that she reminded readers about his 1999 Tourism Board debacle as well.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I checked out Queen's Wharf last night. Nothing about it inspired me to go back. The place was cold and soul-less, serving all drinks in plastic cups from an extremely limited selection (no spirits!) in a big barn with rugby playing at rock concert volumes on large screens. Food was available from kiosks if you like to eat standing up. There was a huge amount of empty space. It felt like a car parking lot. Actually, from the lines painted on the ground, I'm pretty sure it was a parking lot.

    I went searching for a bar that would actually be nice to sit down and have a drink in. It took 1 min to find one. I tried a few others. My conclusion is that Auckland has surplus capacity for serving drinks with the TV on, and it will not be at all long before every visitor discovers this and bypasses Heineken Central.

    Even if I had been able to get in on Friday, I would have stayed for about a minute, then gone back to Quay St.

    I managed to find a car park for $2 all night about 100 m away from the entrance. Not entirely sure why I'd want PT, unless I was determined to get drunk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    John Armstrong appears to have written his column in the Herald whilst wanking over a picture of John Key.

    And

    I wouldn’t put it that way, but yes, that’s a ridiculous column. Armstrong might need to get out of the Thorndon Bubble occasionally.

    Ridiculous enough to go to the Press Council?

    Armstrong has developed, as you point out, a besotted and unrequited admiration for Key to the extent that he publicly displays tendencies to engage in activities usually reserved for one's private moments. The Press Council would, I imagine, decline to investigate such activities; distasteful writing, appalling it may be, isn't grounds for a complaint.

    One fears for Mr Armstrong; what happens when Smile'n'Wave gets bored and decides to leave politics?

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Actually, from the lines painted on the ground, I'm pretty sure it was a parking lot.

    It had a previous life as a holding zone for imported cars.

    One fears for Mr Armstrong; what happens when Smile'n'Wave gets bored and decides to leave politics?

    He morphs into Garth George and starts writing endless columns about the good old days.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    Grim and beer it...

    I went searching for a bar that would actually be nice to sit down and have a drink in. It took 1 min to find one.

    This must be the massive trickle down of money to the local economy that was heavily touted from the outset...
    An irony of McCully's takeover/makeover would be if his prophylactic personal style resulted in nobody going to (National) Party Central...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Attachment

    The Mc-killer-Cully Serious Party Central.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    eh?

    Sacha: I think we can assume that anyone who isn’t demanding the evil Government be stuffed with candy, strung up from the nearest lamp-post and beaten with sticks by small children is a Tory-felching sycophant in Tom’s book.

    One fears for Mr Armstrong; what happens when Smile’n’Wave gets bored and decides to leave politics?

    Oh, as Danyl pointed out, Armstrong wasn’t above penning some pretty clammy mash-notes to Helen Clark, and on more than one occasion I wished Winston Peters and the Press Gallery would get a room and fuck already. I’m sure he’ll develop a big old man-crush on the next Labour Prime Minister and you’ll start praising Armstrong's incandescent perspicacity. Honestly, I think the New Zealand Herald's only partisan allegiance is to the stupid party. (h/t J.S. Mill)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    This must be the massive trickle down of money to the local economy that was heavily touted from the outset...

    I do hope that actually happens. It's the NZ World Cup, not the Party Central World Cup. I like that there's games on in smaller towns, and am actually taking advantage of that to get out of Auckland for a bit myself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

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