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Excuses, excuses

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, September 13th, 2011 - 67 comments
Categories: leadership - Tags:

Yesterday, TVNZ: “Mr Keys says no one could have predicted the amount of people who turned up on Friday night.”

Friday, Keys: “There were people that were skeptical that the Cloud was the right thing to do but actually I think they’ll eat their words because the issue won’t be whether the cloud is successful, the issue will be when the 12000 limit is hit and how many people get turned away [and have to go] somewhere else.”

From Stuff: “the Government must accept at least some of the blame, because it had received a report from the Auckland Regional Transport Authority on Rugby World Cup transport planning in July 2009.

The report, obtained by Stuff, said at that time there was “an attitude of `this is a small increase in business as usual’.”

“The impression is that the level of public transport required for RWC2011 is a little above normal. The levels of patron movement and operational standard [needed for the RWC] are in reality significantly above what is currently delivered.”

The Queens Wharf fan zone would “create a number of transport challenges given its close proximity to the Ferry Terminal, Queen Street and Britomart”, the report said.

“For an event of this scale, Auckland may not always be able to deliver ultra-high levels of event public transport for all spectators as well as providing normal scheduled public transport.”

Tracy Watkins: “Prime Minister John Key acknowledged yesterday officials had been working on an estimate of 15,000 people using the trains to get to Eden Park, a figure apparently at least two years old and never revised. On Friday, 60,000 passengers swamped the trains.

Mr Key suggests no-one in their wildest dreams could have anticipated a crowd of 200,000 people on the waterfront that night.

Really? Auckland’s annual carols by candlelight event, Coca-Cola in the Park, attracts about 250,000 people.

It seems derelict to expect anything other than a record crowd to an event combining a spectacular fireworks display, a mass waka arrival and concerts , and coinciding with the biggest sporting event ever hosted by New Zealand.

On the surface it appears as though no-one thought to link the two events in estimating the strain that would be placed on Auckland’s public transport system. Given the assurances provided by everyone from Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully down that every contingency had been planned for, the buck for that failure surely doesn’t just stop with the beleaguered train operators.”

67 comments on “Excuses, excuses ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    At the least Auckland Transport Chairman Mark Ford should resign as well.

    He and his crew appointed by Hide seem to have done nothing on a macro scale since the old ARC gave the worst case warning 2 years ago.

    A bit like the ‘hair on fire’ warning George Bush ignored

    • tc 1.1

      Yeah right, Ford gets 600k plus bonuses p.a. for being CEO of watercare which apparently has anywhere between 2-5 billion of required infrastructure catchup as J Banks demanded dividends not network re-investment.
      So see why he’s chosen by NACT to head up another under invested infrastructure body….he’s got good form in this area and I think all up making nearly $1mill p.a. now.

      • Herodotus 1.1.1

        tc – previously Water Supply Contribution was less than $2k/h.a. and a water meter for a new house was under $500. Now (1 of many reasons why new housing is so expensive) now to hook up water into a house is $7.5k.
        For a new sub division the local infrastructure is “gifted” as well as an ever increasing customer base. Yet this gifted infrasturcture is valued at current prices and the water price set has taken into consideration a rate of return based on book/purchase value.
        Banks, Brown and co have all agreed that watercare should not be milked for dividend to cover council spending – So why does it still happen? A cow that is easily milked to cover what is unacceptable spend ups.
        At least this coy mismanagment profits dont go offshore a reason for govt maintaining 100%owned assets.
        And felix re rocket surgery – the rocket blows up – result no need for surgery !! 😉

        • bbfloyd

          what a load of bollocks heroless…. your own hero’s were the ones who set up this “coy mismanagement ” structure.. now you, and your moronic brethren indulge in yet another disgusting, and dishonest bout of transferrence for no better reason than the thrill it gives you to play at being knowledgeable….

          i get the impression that if johnny sparkle crapped on your front lawn, you would be lauding it as an act of humility…and have the turd bronzed to impress your secretary….

          what a waste of space that brain cavity you possess is… time for it to be privatised so that the govt can pay off the bar bill for mondays cabinet meeting..

          • Herodotus

            Perhaps you could learn a few skills: reading associated with compreheshion.
            I am still awaiting to read anything from you that is backed up with support and is void of abuse.
            Heres a suggestion become part of a solution and not continue to be the problem.

            • bbfloyd

              not gonna happen old chap….you don’t say anything worth treating seriously…. so don’t mind me… i’m just amusing myself, poking holes in your hubris…

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “Mr Key suggests no-one in their wildest dreams could have anticipated a crowd of 200,000 people on the waterfront that night.”

    Actually that’s not true.

    They were talking about this on 9 to Noon this morning. Someone from an Auckland business group, maybe the chambers of commerce or some-such (who incidentally was heaping the blame on the council + Len Brown) said that a week before he had warned the council that the number of people turning up was likely to be 150,000 and not the 50,000 they were expecting. Turns out he was on the low side.

    Also on the news bulletin on Morning Report was a statement from one of the bigwigs at Veolia who said that they hadn’t been asked to put on additional train services and to expect 50,000 people (hence no need for extra trains).

    • felix 2.1


      Any fool – even a National party minister – should know the sort of crowds Auckland is capable of. Christmas in the park regularly attracts well over 200,000.

      Knowing that, and considering that this is the biggest sporting event ever held in NZ, and factoring in kiwis’ blind stupid love of rugby…

      Jeez, it’s not rocket surgery innit.

      • Joe Bloggs 2.1.1


        what a pity with such foresight that Len and his transport council were unable to organise transport and security in the city that they manage.

        Still that’s what you get when you elect a boy to do a man’s job

        • bbfloyd

          ah blow jobb… you’re back for more humiliation…. great! seeing as how you are obviously incapable of making adult statements,,, i will type slowly so that you don’t feel too awkward having to reach for that shiny book your mother gave you in the hope that you would develop some sort of literacy skills….. it’s called a “d i c t i o n a r y ” ….

          i’m so glad you still havn’t managed to get out of that juvinile stage that you seem to be stuck in…… otherwise you wouldn’t provide any entertainment value at all…. (i’ll wait ’till you’ve looked up entertainment before i go on)…

          so how does it feel to know that the only use you have is to provide light relief for your intellectual(look that up later) and moral superiors? and to provide proof that the national party relies on the most ignorant bigoted self absorbed section of society for support?

          does it make you feel important? i hope so ,,,, ’cause there ain’t any other use for you…….

          • Joe Bloggs

            sorry bb can you please translate that into lucid English? You lost me after the first line…

          • chris73

            Speaking of dictionaries: juvinile should be juvenile and havn’t should be haven’t.

            You can also use a dictionary to help with grammer and punctuation.

            • rosy

              grammer ?!

              • joe90

                Poor boy, another victim of Muphry’s law.

                • chris73

                  Well I wouldn’t normally point it out because my spelling leaves a lot to be desired at the best of times but if you’re going to tell people to use a dictionary then you really should make sure your own spelling is up to scratch.

                  (Hadn’t heard of Muphry’s law before but its a good one)

                  • rosy

                    “well I wouldn’t normally point it out”
                    Yeah me neither, tt was just because you did ;-)…. love muphry’s law, I do it all the time – also the one where you only notice the muphrys after you’ve sent the email or posted to the blog.

            • Anne

              and havn’t should be haven’t.

              Actually chris 73 it can be either…

        • Frank Macskasy

          Whoa, Joe. Back up there, boy…!

          Transport was run by Veolia – a private company. (Because private companies, as we all know are so much more efficient, right?!) Veolia was given that contract by the Auckland Transport Agency (ATA) – whose board of directors consists of FIVE government appointees and 2 from the Auckland Council.

          And the Police are responsible to the Commissioner of Police, who, in turn reports to the Minister of Police – not the Mayor of Auckland.

          And of course, Murray McCully is the Minister for the Rugby World Cup.

          I can’t be bothered explaining it all further. I just finished a couple of hours research and writing about it here, on my blog: http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/minister-in-charge-of-r-w-c-royal-wellington-based-cock-up/

          (With due respect to THE STANDARD’s admin – hopefully they are ok with me linking back to my article.)

          So it was not up to Len Brown. Len Brown don’t control the cops or ATA or Veolia. That’s all done by Central Government.

          And who controls central guvmint? Why… John Key!

          Ok, Dear Leader, let’s see you Smile & Wave your way out of this shambles! Because by the gods, we were damned lucky on Friday – lucky that no one was badly injured or killed.

          • HC

            Frank, thanks for correctly pointing out the facts!

            If there were indeed only 200 police officers on duty that night, then that is scandalous.

            For similar events in other “developed” countries you would probably have 600 to 1000 police on duty.

            And having heard that at Queen’s Wharf they had incompetent security personnel trying to control access to Party Central, that is more proof of a total screw-up. Many apparently queued, but others suddenly pushed to the gates when they were opened, so the ones who stood in a long queue along a fence, were pushed aside and never could get in.

            In total there lies more responsibility with McCully and central government. As Minister for Tourism Don Key must also have known that about 60,000 overseas visitors were in Auckland that day, planning to attend events along the water-front and at Eden Park. They did not bring their own cars with them, so public transport would have been their choice.

            Many were drinking alcohol, so did the government and organisers expect people to drink and drive rather than use trains and buses? I doubt it.

            Add to the 60,000 tens of thousands – or rather 150,000 plus locals and NZers from outside Auckland to flood into the CBD, and you have the chaos that happened. It was John Key who wanted Party Central and always told people to go there. He got what he wanted, but like McCully, he does not want to be responsible for failing to oversee, manage and organise affairs properly.

            Sack them all on 26 Nov. 2011, I can only say!

  3. SHG 3

    Does anyone have confirmed numbers of people diving into the harbour to escape the crush of the crowds? I found that story interesting.

    • Blighty 3.1

      “confirmed numbers”?

      One not enough?

      Do you think that someone is employing someone to get an official count on this?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        If it was only 1 or 2, then there’s no telling that they jumped into the water specifically to avoid the crowds. Maybe they were just doing it for fun or their particular spot was very crowded and they actually got pushed, not jumped.

        Jumping into water to avoid a crowd is the epitome of desperation. if only 1 or 2 people did it, then it may not have really been a desperate situation.

        So the number of people doing it is somewhat relevant to help deduce their motive for doing it.

  4. Ianupnorth 4

    A colleague of mine went to the game and said the trains were fine, that the safety of punters was paramount; the biggest issue were unsupervised kids messing with the emergency bells.
    She described the trains of being less crowded than a European city commuter train. I guess many Kiwi’s haven’t experienced that delight!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      Unsupervised kids who just happened to have been given $400 tickets ?? Really

    • Ianupnorth 4.2

      Their parents were on the train apparently and were happy for them to play with the train systems; like I said, comments from a colleague who would have nothing to gain from making it up.
      One other thing people may have overlooked, apparently it is only 4.5km walk from Britomart to the stadium; the average human walks at 5mph (or 8km/hr), so just over a half hour walk. Says a lot about peoples fitness if they couldn’t walk!

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Rich Tory parents not giving a fuck about supervising their little brats, by the sounds of it.

      • rosy 4.2.2

        Because one colleague had an acceptable experience on the train doesn’t mean there were not reasons for complaint on other trains…


        Mr van Eyssen is angry that transport officials blamed the delays on passengers pressing the emergency stop button, when this was done only because people desperately needed air on the already-stationary train.
        The Pukekohe resident phoned Veolia in a bid to have the carriage doors opened because passengers were suffering in the heat. The train stopped for 30 minutes soon after leaving the Orakei station.

        “There was no air circulation, no open windows and no air con,” said Mr van Eyssen.

        “It was really hot and people were showing signs of heat exhaustion,”

        He said the woman he spoke to on the phone said the rail company could not send anyone to the scene.

        “I said, ‘We’ve got people suffering from heat exhaustion and there’s kids crying’. The windows started to mist up because it was so hot.”

        He eventually told the operator that people would push the emergency button if somebody fainted. He was told not to do so.

        “We had a young girl – about 10 to 13 years old who was with her dad – who fainted. The people on the train were fantastic; they were giving her water, putting it on her face.

        “And then another girl fainted, so we pressed the emergency button to open the doors to get her off the train.

        “People on the train carried her and the train operators came and were just angry, asking who pressed the emergency button. They didn’t care.”

  5. Bill 5

    With apologies to Ronnie Corbett, a poster here with better photo-shop skills than me (meaning any!) should purloin either of the following images for McCully.


    or with a bit of photo shopping to bring his ‘ring master’ into the picture…


  6. Craig 6

    Exactly how is it that Len Brown and *his* council are to blame for the RWC Auckland train debacle last Friday when *former* Auckland Mayor (and current ACT Epsom candidate) John Banks and his council are the ones who presumably had allocative and operational responsibilities for expenditure and infrastructure matters until the recent defeat of the Banks/ C&R Auckland Now mayoralty and council…?

    If I were David Parker, I’d get a copy of the council report and stockpile any related findings for later on.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Take a look at the print edition of the NZ Herald.

    For example, yesterday (Monday) on page A11.

    There is a big advertisement, with a picture of the phone directory, captioned “Queens Wharf Official Guest List”.

    The message is clear. Come on down, everybody. To quote the ad … “See you there, Auckland”.

    Who placed the ad? The government. They encouraged us to flock there, so we did.

    Key and McCully invited us – urged us – to party at the waterfront, and now they’re blaming us for turning up!

    • The Voice of Reason 7.1

      I’m really not very up with the social media stuff. Does anybody know if there have been instances of young people putting up party invitations on facebook saying everyone’s welcome and it’ll be the best thing ever, bring your mates etc. and then having it go badly wrong?

  8. Bill 8

    It has emerged that cup organisers had been expecting a crowd of up to 150,000 at the waterfront for weeks when they were publicly talking about a crowd of 50,000.

    Despite the burgeoning projections, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) kept encouraging people to attend the “biggest party Auckland has ever seen” and last week refused to discuss contingency plans for more than 50,000 people.

    The debacle is being reviewed but that is being conducted by the same people responsible for planning it.

    Auckland Transport chairman Mark Ford and chief executive David Warburton are reviewing their agency’s role with the trains, while ATEED chief executive Michael Redman is overseeing a report for councillors into the problems with events on the waterfront that his staff had been planning for four years.


    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 9.1

      And we had the cheek to laugh at the Delhi Games.

    • Joe Bloggs 9.2

      Good to see some decisive leadership finally emerge in Auckland.

      The Government will take complete control of ‘Party Central’ and will enlarge the ‘fanzones’ to include Bledisloe and Captain Cook wharfs. The move shifts responsibility for the area from the Auckland City Council. which has been seen to fall well short on delivering against its responsibilities.

      Comments on this site have demanded McCully trake responsibility. Well here you go!

      McCully comments: “Some of my critics have been suggesting I should take responsibility, well I am. I am stepping in to a space that the Government has not previously occupied,”

      “We’re getting on the front foot here and showing a determination to provide a larger footprint and a wider range of measures to assist with the management of crowds and the delivery of amenities.”

      At least McCully has been diplomatic enough to stop short of calling it a complete vote of no confidence in Mayor Len Brown and his transport committee cronies.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.2.1

        Hooten was saying on Friday (in the NBR) that McCully has been micromanaging the whole event. He had praised him for stepping on the toes of the various council busybody types and getting it all done. Said further that if as much as a sound system failed then McCully would be forced to resign.

        This little stunt is just the culmination of the last two days cynical blame game. And how many of the ‘committee cronies’ are Hide’s little puppies?

        • Anne

          And how many of the ‘committee cronies’ are Hide’s little puppies?

          More like Hide is their little puppy.

      • gobsmacked 9.2.2

        Strong decisive action from the Government.

        Righties “heart” Helengrad … hilarious!

        “Stop interfering with our lives! No … Interfere more with our lives! Er … four legs good, two legs better!”

        So, why hasn’t Rodney Hide been sacked? The government is taking over from the people appointed by … the government. Oops.

      • AAMC 9.2.3

        “Comments on this site have demanded McCully trake responsibility. Well here you go!”

        Now…. please straighten this out for me, I thought – stupid me – that as MINISTER OF THE RUGBY WORLD CUP, he was already in charge.

        National leadership eh, take the bull by the horns…. once it’s bolted. Nice one!

        This is just further evidence that Nat support is the result of religious like faith, not reason.

        • Joe Bloggs

          Omnipotent though he may appear to us mere mortals, McCully was not responsible for Auckland transport

          Responsibility for Auckland’s transport has always resided with the council transport committee and with hissoner King Len

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox

            Thwt would be the Steven Joyce and Rodney Hide appointed Auckland Transport wouldn’t it. Mark Ford is the chair.

          • marsman

            @ Joe Bloggs. Did you confer that responsibility for Auckland transport on Len Brown?

      • Joe, your kknowledge of who-runs-what is apalling. You really need to educate yourself on,

        * Auckland Transport Agency

        * Veolia

        * McCully’s role as the Minister for the Rugby World Cup

        * and who the Police report to (hint: it ain’t Len Brown)

        Unless of course, you’re simply trolling for the Nats/ACT, in which case I’m wasting my time on you.

  9. insider 10

    There are a bunch of munged up numbers there that make the article confusing if not meaningless, which is journalistically annoying.

    It says “15,000 people using the trains to get to Eden Park, a figure apparently at least two years old and never revised. On Friday, 60,000 passengers swamped the trains”. Is she saying all 60k people at Eden Park went by train? Not likely. Those numbers therefore are not incompatible. How many actually did catch the train to the stadium?

    I’d also be slightly sceptical about the waterfront crowd numbers. Recent history shows they have a habit of being inflated. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/christmas-in-the-park/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501006&objectid=10693318 . Do you really believe a quarter of the total city population was there in that small space. Might have felt like it but doesn’t seem to pass the sniff test.

    Not sure if that makes the problems worse or less worse though….

  10. Pascal's bookie 11

    Also might be worth asking around to find out if, given the capacity of ‘party central’ anyone had thought about advance ticketing for the place, and if so, who rejected the idea. (Hint MM on the ixnay)

  11. Reposted from open mike.
    What the …
    Wellington is seizing control of AUckland’s waterfront using the RWC powers.
    Pillocks.  There are no further planned concerts and no likelihood of a repeat of Friday’s events.
    They are trying to shift blame.  This is deeply, deeply cynical.

  12. Pascal's bookie 13

    McCully just used his powers under the Rugby World Cup Empowerment Act to declare that France, South Africa, and Australia are not proper countries anyway so they can fuck the fuck off back home.

  13. Pascal's bookie 14

    Anyone hear McCully on checkpoint?

    Backtrack!!! Aaaarghhhh, where’s the handbrake?11?! It wasn’t me, it was officiaaals! No such decision has been made, we are just exploring possibilities, it’s just a big unknown known of a conundrum. It’s a state of flux. It’s a quantum waterfront!!, that’s the ticket.

    It’s not a takeover though, no matter what we were saying an hour ago, he said boldly, with decisive oozing from his pores.

  14. randal 15

    the pm has become little more than a HIGH PRICED HOORAY HENRY. How many times has he said he is going to quit if it doesn’t go his way and tonight he had the effrontery to say in the house that the transport system worked okay for 12,000 on Friday nnight. That is very close to saying let the rest eat cake if there is no bread.

  15. HC 16


    Following the example of the former mad leader of the brown shirted masses in Germany, who on 23 March 1933 brought in a special enabling act to seize power and take over controls, our beloved Grand Leader Herr Don Key has today commissioned his loyal kamerad Murray McCully to take similar action, to start of with, for the Auckland waterfront area.

    Having had the foresight last year, a so-called Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Act 2010 was passed already last year, to give the National Government powers needed to ensure ORDER, PEACE, CIVIL OBEDIENCE, the SAFETY of NZ’s ECONOMIC SURVIVAL and STABILITY.

    Now the “incompetent” Auckland Council will be relieved of it’s responsibilities, which it apparently failed to honour.

    So with immediate effect the government of our beloved nation is taking over the direct control of Party Central, Wynyard Quarters, the Viaduct and areas nearby.

    This will ensure that we can all enjoy a great and happy RWC for the remaining time, as well as the ensured re-election of the only government that is capable of handling this country’s affairs.

    Hurra, hurra, hurra, hail thee, hail thee, hail thee, we are all one and follow our Great Leader!

    (disclaimer: Information received via media reports, of which the authenticity remains to be clarified).

    DF – A “centre right blogger”

  16. logie97 17

    I suppose it is too late to ask for Wodney’s views on this. NACT foisted the new council on us (against our wishes). The current/past minister for local government should be pilloried for this debacle as well. Where the hell is he? Slipped away unnoticed eh?

    • Anne 17.1

      Noticed he was present in the House at Question Time today. Camera played on him briefly. He appeared to be taking no notice of proceedings.

  17. prism 18

    What about the waka debacle. I feel most upset that people got injured. It was reported that about 150 people were trying to get through the crowd near the wharf among them old people. After making demands for feathers and other items which were refused some of the drunken bums got nasty. Beer bottles and cans were being thrown at the group from within the crowd. Five women were reported as going to hospital, and one woman with a broken rib. Police were about 10 metres further on but waited till the group had managed to move closer and didn’t apparently try.

    • joe90 18.1

      That’ll be the drink letting the nasty wee racist underbelly out.

    • Aye Prism.  Absolutely awful.

    • Indeed, Prism, absolutely disgusting. An insult to the women who were abused; to Maori; and to the whole country.

      If I may set my liberal-hat to one side…

      Hosing the bastards with water cannon would’ve been appropriate.

      *puts liberal hat back on*

      • insider 18.3.1

        Well one of the ‘abused ‘ waka people said on rnz that the abusers were of mixed ethnicities, including maori. Other reports say it was the waka people who created an issue by trying to force their way through a packed crowd in an I’ll mannered and aggressive way. So which group would you have water blasted?

        I think sharples needs to learn to wait for a few more reports to come in before reaching for the ‘cultural offence’ card whenever there is a scene involving a group of Maori.And let’s not go looking for racism when it could be common garden colourblind bad manners.

        • Blighty

          yeah, I’m not reading about the waka rowers beating bystanders up….

          Whatever spin you take, this was a failure of organisation at party central.

          • prism

            @Blighty – You’re right – mustn’t lose sight of the reason for this happening which
            “was a failure of organisation at party central”.

            As far as insider goes – talking about ‘I’ll’ mannered waka group trying to force their way through – I would think that they would be anxious to get away from the crush, and only determination would open a path. Of course drunks do not care about themselves or anybody or general social courtesy and would soon object to someone asking them to make way and failing that to push through. And the crowd weren’t colour or culture blind, as people were asking for their feathers and other things for souvenirs. Of course they wouldn’t give away any of their clothing and it was felt that then the abuse really started.

        • felix

          What are the quotation marks for, insider?

          You think women break their own ribs? Nice one.

        • Frank Macskasy

          You refer to “other reports”. Links please?

          And as Felix pointed out; the women who were abused broke their own ribs? Threw bottles at themselves? And why refer to abused as “abused”, in quotation marks?

          As for “And let’s not go looking for racism when it could be common garden colourblind bad manners.”

          It’s pretty hard to escape the suggestion of racism when it was the Maori women who were abused – no one else (that we know of).

  18. Wead 19

    Rugby World Cup Schedule and Qualifiers details here

    Rugby World Cup 2011 Schedule
    Rugby World Cup 2011 Results

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