Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Minister's Brain Has Exploded

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  • peter mclennan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    re nz mobile networks... http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/telcos-pleased-with-network-performance-for-world-cup Seems Vodafone had major fails at Eden Park, but check the comments also

    AK Central • Since Nov 2006 • 159 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Former regional transport committee chair Joel Cayford gives useful context, including some of the contractual relationships.

    Auckland Council permitted two hugely popular events at each end of its main railway line (Eden Park and Britomart). Auckland Council anticipated about 60,000 at one, and at least 100,000 at the other. But only contracted with Veolia to get 15,000 to Eden Park.

    Auckland Council and Auckland Transport appear to have made no effort at all to stop crowds of people from flocking to station and ferry platforms all over Auckland, and - as both Len Brown and Veolia's CEO said - overwhelming the system.
    ...

    So yes. The transport systems were overwhelmed.

    But it is not because of Veolia that there was chaos.

    The chaos arose because Auckland Council did not plan properly for the inevitable crowds. Central Govt shares this responsibility also. They now need to share the management of Plan B.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    From Cayford:

    Auckland Council permitted two hugely popular events at each end of its main railway line (Eden Park and Britomart). Auckland Council anticipated about 60,000 at one, and at least 100,000 at the other. But only contracted with Veolia to get 15,000 to Eden Park.

    Having a painfully limited rail system do both those jobs was a major mistake. But there were buses too, and they seem to have worked quite well. It would be interesting to know how many of the Quay Street crowd actually did arrive by rail.

    Auckland Council and Auckland Transport appear to have made no effort at all to stop crowds of people from flocking to station and ferry platforms all over Auckland, and – as both Len Brown and Veolia’s CEO said – overwhelming the system.

    It seems the failure of the screen triggered the wash of people over toward the ferry building, but the major issue remains that the designated area was not big enough for the massive crowd that turned up. As Toby says, if it had been made clearer to people who hadn’t worked it out that Queen’s Wharf was a non-starter, that crowd would have dispersed,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Careful what you wish for…
    When the call went up to Bring back Buck
    who’d have thought it would just end up
    being passing practice for the politicians…
    …and what with the slow-running, constant
    interference and ball dropping they have turned
    a ruction into a mauling, even though they are
    ostensibly on the same side McCully has created
    a scrum against the ACC, when a concerted push
    forward was needed…

    We are the refs, there is no TMO in the gods,
    let’s Red Card National for playing the man!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Another interesting investigation. (Just to note the story before it rapidly sinks beneath the waves).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the major issue remains that the designated area was not big enough

    The whole thing was in the wrong place, putting crowds right over limited transport access routes to trains and ferries, which were not protected.

    Core question is how that decision was made, and why the ongoing obsession with the waterfront when there are other tried and tested options like the Domain?

    Cayford suggests:

    The easiest would be to pedestrianise Queen Street from Quay Street to Aotea Square, and to relocate some attractions to Aotea Square. And an associated media campaign to direct crowds to different attractions at different destinations.

    A strong, but organised and directed police presence would be essential (not on horses). Crowd monitoring (helicopter or whatever) would provide info to a crowd control office. This info would be used to manage the police presence. Their job would be to firmly direct and redirect pedestrian movement. This would not dampen party spirits. It would give people confidence the event(s) would be safe to attend. Sending people onto Captain Cook Wharf at this late stage is not a good option.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    As Toby says, if it had been made clearer to people who hadn’t worked it out that Queen’s Wharf was a non-starter, that crowd would have dispersed

    I'm not sure. I think the crowd wanted to be a crowd. That's how it looked from inside that crowd, anyway. It's certainly how I felt, that just showing up for the purposes of letting everyone know that we support this event, was a big part of it. In terms of actually seeing anything, staying at home was the best option, usually is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10630 posts Report Reply

  • Cameron Pitches,

    I think we can all agree that the size of the crowd far exceeded anyone's expectations, and there were considerable shortcomings with transport and crowd control.

    However, right from 10:30pm on Friday Len Brown acknowledged this, apologised, accepted responsibility and promised to sort it out. Until yesterday afternoon, he was in constant contact with the Government. He talked to Steven Joyce, who said this in Parliament yesterday just hours before McCully's press conference :

    I can report to the House that I met this morning with the Auckland mayor, Len Brown, and representatives of Auckland Transport, and I can report that they are committed to ensuring that additional capacity is made available over the rest of the tournament, to cater for all eventualities.

    And then right out of the blue comes this completely arrogant, rude behaviour from McCully, which ensures the issue remains on page 1 of the Herald, rather than page 5. How the hell does this help our reputation with the RWC?

    But perhaps this whole thing is going to backfire for the Government. iPredict has Labour winning Auckland Central up 3% this morning to 26%.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    From my vantage point, up on the top of the Hilton, I had a good view of the crowd on Queens Wharf and it looked pretty sparse most of the time. There seemed no particular pattern to the crowd density, at most I would say the density maxed out at around 1.5 psm.
    We could see the area of Quay St directly at the gate and the problems encountered by Fullers in extracting passengers from the wharf and expected worse in terms of misadventure. I did wonder at the time where all the Police were in terms of crowd control, all I saw were security personnel looking bemused at the scene and taking no action when the crowds blocked vital access routes. As to the Waka crews, at first sight I thought a bunch of people had "dressed up" for the occasion and were expecting people to just get out of their way and the crowd responded as you would imagine. Did no-one in the mess of organisation think to offer some sort of escort?
    I have seen greater Police crowd control at the Satan Parade, where were they?.One further question. Did Key and McCully really think Queens Wharf was ever going to be big enough for this part of the event? room for just 12,000 people?
    I think this proves that the current Govt. is incapable of running anything involving a large amount of people, not a Downtown event, a mining disaster, a City wide earthquake, let alone the whole country.
    Let them be gone this November.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I have seen greater Police crowd control at the Satan Parade,

    Wow, things really have gone downhill under Red Len.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    At one point, the Prime Minister had to mediate between McCully and his co-minister, Gerry Brownlee, so difficult had their relationship become.

    Those emperor penguins and their dodgy transmitters.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    On the jamming by the big screen, some of what happened was that security decided to stop people passing beneath the screen, forcing the entire crowd streaming towards it to part around it, an obstacle that took up the entire road. I was the very first person to get to there, just as the cordon closed, and a polite but firm security lady told me to go back and around, which seemed impossible as thousands of people were streaming forward. I managed to get back and around, negotiating the 1 meter wide strip of road covered in power cables to eventually, 15 mins later, get to the front of the screen, to watch a little bit of Dobbyn, and then scratch my head and wonder WTF I was doing there anyway, it's only a screen.

    This diversion caused the blockage in front of the ferry terminal. It was probably sensible not to let people camp directly under the screen, since that seemed likely to encourage people to climb it. Practically everything that could be climbed had people on it. I have a great photo of the crowd with 8 people standing above them all on narrow bollards, looking like lemmings peering around. The roof of the ferry information kiosk right there had about 10 people on it. I later saw the police getting them down, and thought that was sensible, they had damaged the gutter and a bad accident could easily have happened. I was surprised no one fell off a bollard, actually.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10630 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Rudman says what government officials requested of the council was for the two extra wharves to be made available a a contingency -- for overflow in case of emergency.

    This is perfectly sensible. It is also nothing like McCully's bizarre claim yesterday that they would be turned into new fan zones.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I can't see why anyone would want to be overflowed onto an empty container wharf, though. I'd just as soon overflow into the city, where there might be cover from the elements, and shops open, and from whence I could escape by some means other than swimming.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10630 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Police crowd control at the Satan Parade,Wow, things really have gone downhill under Red Len.

    Oops, that's what you get when you let your fingers do the talking. ;-)

    On a related note...

    John Banks told Newstalk ZB the Government had swallowed the Council's plan "hook, line and sinker", and paid the price.

    "It's an evitable consequence of planning and a gun-ho approach," Mr Banks said... ..."There was enough drunken louts down there to trigger the biggest riot this country has ever seen."

    This from the man that wants to take Epsom in November. Gun Ho? sounds like someone a rapper would sing about rather than what he thought it meant and even then he is wrong.

    The term was picked up by United States Marine Corps Major Evans Carlson from his New Zealand friend, Rewi Alley, one of the founders of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives. Carlson explained in a 1943 interview: "I was trying to build up the same sort of working spirit I had seen in China where all the soldiers dedicated themselves to one idea and worked together to put that idea over. I told the boys about it again and again. I told them of the motto of the Chinese Cooperatives, Gung Ho. It means Work Together-Work in Harmony...."

    "Work Together-Work in Harmony" indeed.
    Mr Banks' usage however is described thus...

    Gun ho
    what the linguistically challenged mistake for "Gung ho".

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    McCully's bizarre claim yesterday that they would be turned into new fan zones

    We may need a psychologist's opinion about his overweening crush for the waterfront.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Cameron Pitches,

    But perhaps this whole thing is going to backfire for the Government. iPredict has Labour winning Auckland Central up 3% this morning to 26%..

    Not likely - the people will show much love to our beloved leader First Citizen John Key the First. He is most beloved and have much skill at making good feeling from disaster - this is mark of his great goodness.

    Happy, happy smiling peoples everywhere wearing John Key Badges.

    Govt take over fan zones to show people they happy and can party long time - No problem for you, no problem for me, no problem for First Citizen John Key the First.

    Rate payer spends $2 million more on bus to standby train as train no good - problem solved.

    Open up more wharf space, move cargo, spend more ratepayer money - extra wharf space not suitable - people fall off wharf - too bad no worry - no problem - water is soft - people can swim in water - problem solved.

    Much love and big ups,

    Murray McCully - Special Envoy for Beloved First Citizen of the National New Zealand People’s Democratic Republic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    We may need a psychologist’s opinion about his overweening crush for the waterfront.

    Yes. Pardon my language, but he seems to have just fucking made that shit up.

    Which, of course, does not stop it being faithfully reported as news …

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to BenWilson,

    I have a great photo of the crowd with 8 people standing above them all on narrow bollards, looking like lemmings peering around.

    Surely you mean meerkats?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    O'Sullivan is scathing.

    Murray "Muzza" McCully's talent for micro-management will again be exercised as a result of the Government's decision to seize control of the enlarged Party Central for the duration of the Rugby World Cup.

    It is obvious that Muzza's panzer movement is the result of a prime ministerial kick in the proverbial to any Cabinet minister who could be construed as bearing even part responsibility for Friday's fiasco.

    ...

    It was Prime Minister John Key, after all, who promoted the relatively small Queens Wharf as Party Central.

    The upshot was the event planners from the former Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council switched attention away from the original proposal to have a number of decentralised fan zones across wider Auckland operating in time for the opening game celebrations.

    And why didn't McCully listen to Michael Barnett earlier in the piece?

    A fortnight ago, Barnett - who was hand-picked by McCully to take charge of the Cloud project - said he expected some 120,000 to 150,000 Aucklanders to roll up to the wharf for Friday's party.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    “It’s an evitable consequence of planning and a gun-ho approach

    Glad you picked up the gun-ho mistake, but it seems to me that he's also saying that the whole thing could have been avoided, and that the mess was a result of planning.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Fran O'Sullivan's Herald article had a wee nugget buried in it

    ... the original proposal to have a number of decentralized fan zones across wider Auckland operating in time for the opening game celebrations.

    this was the plan by Auckland City even planners who must have know the potential problems in centralizing such a huge event in one place.

    It seems the original decentralized party approach advance by Auckland City was over ridden by government and its party central idea.

    This seems a crucial piece of information that's got buried - Govt created the conditions for the problem in the first place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to DexterX,

    Murray McCully – Special Envoy for Beloved First Citizen of the National New Zealand People’s Democratic Republic.

    Mr Sagdiyev say "jagshemash!"

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Richard Aston,

    This seems a crucial piece of information that’s got buried – Govt created the conditions for the problem in the first place.

    Then it needs to be exhumed and publicly displayed at the first opportunity.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

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