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Incompetent and insulting

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, September 15th, 2011 - 82 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, transport - Tags: , , ,

The government’s handling of the RWC opening and the resulting chaos has been both incompetent and insulting to Auckland. Incompetent because they were warned.  They were warned about the likely transport issues two years ago:

Auckland World Cup warning two years ago

The Government was told more than two years ago that Auckland’s infrastructure was not up to scratch for the Rugby World Cup. Yesterday Labour slammed what it called an “embarrassing shambles” that left thousands stranded on Auckland trains ahead of the world cup opening ceremony, but Prime Minister John Key refused to accept responsibility. …

But Labour says 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.

The Nats were also warned that Party Central was in the wrong place, but they bulldozed it through anyway.  As a Herald editorial in July 2010 put it:

At last … the wrong decision

The drawn-out saga of Queens Wharf has become such an embarrassment that it is tempting to greet Friday’s compromise with a sigh of relief. … With the Rugby World Cup barely a year away, decision is better than indecision, but … Queens Wharf was always going to be – and remains – the wrong place to do it.

The very name “Party Central” should have served as a warning that a disaster was in the making. … And imagine the private reaction of police – from the top brass to the lowliest constable – at the news that the Prime Minister was wanting all the rugby fans in Auckland to gather in one place at the same time and start drinking. …

But the Government’s paternalistic, not to say bullying, determination that it would tell Auckland what was best for the city suggested that it had learned nothing from the stadium debacle.

So now it’s decided … But it will remain the wrong plans in the wrong place at the wrong time. … In a country already borrowing $250 million a week, it is madness to pursue the Queens Wharf option when the Viaduct Events centre is being built anyway; is scheduled for completion well before the Rugby World Cup; and is far better sited, close to an entertainment precinct rather than tucked behind a commuter ferry terminal. As our informal poll today suggests, most Aucklanders think a Viaduct location makes more sense.

But Wellington politicians knew better and pushed ahead, with John Key cheer leading and Murray McCully micromanaging:

In particular, he [McCully] was keen to micro-manage the Cloud and to broadcast the attractions of Party Central. While the Queens Wharf area was largely trouble-free, its ability to hold only 12,000 people was the source of many of the problems.

As late as Friday morning McCully was giving us his personal assurances:

RWC won’t break down Auckland’s transport – McCully

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully has assured Aucklanders their city won’t grind to a halt during massive opening night celebrations. …

Sceptical Aucklanders have voiced concerns the train service will break down and roads will clog up with so much traffic that cars will be brought to a standstill.  Mr McCully said he had faith transport would run smoothly.

“Logistically, we’ve done our best to make sure we’ve got those contingencies covered,” he said. “We’ve got all of the people that have a role to play talking to each other over many months now so I think we’re as well prepared as we can be.”

Then when the shit hit the fan, suddenly, not a Nat to be seen.  Brian Rudman summed up:

Buck stops nowhere for Cup night chaos

For months, Prime Minister John Key and his Rugby World Cup party planner Murray McCully have been tweeting the world, inviting all and sundry to cruise down to Party Central on September 9 and have a ball. …

Now, like teenagers cleaning up the mess at their parents’ house after that gathering for a few mates went feral, Muzza doesn’t want to know. The minister who’s been driving every one involved batty with his micro-managing of the project, says he was out of the room at the time. It’s everyone else’s fault. …

If only someone had thought of the Domain, a natural amphitheatre where crowds can expand to fill the space available, and where more than 2000 people could view the live stage. Did no one remember the Christmas in the Park successes?

On Saturday night’s television, Mr McCully refused to apologise to the fans whose night was ruined by the rail chaos. It was a churlish, ungracious response.

I could go on for a bit about insulting too, but this post is already long enough. I’ll leave it to Brian Rudman again:

The Auckland Council is less than a year old. It was the Government’s prize creation. In one eccentric move [“seizing control”], Mr McCully and Mr Key have not just demonstrated their contempt for the city’s leadership, they have deliberately humiliated the mayor and shown how hollow their talk of partnership was.

No one would argue that Auckland Council has to share responsibility for Friday’s failings. But so does the micro-managing minister and his team of bureaucrats who have been overseeing every step in the preparations. With an election looming, such contemptuous arrogance should have every Aucklander wondering, what is next?

Key and McCully hope that “seizing control” will be good public theatre. It gives the impression that the government wasn’t in control before, and are now stepping up to the rescue. Given that the biggest event of the RWC is now behind us, and given that plenty of fans won’t want to have anything to do with Party Central ever again, it’s likely that things will run more smoothly from now on. Key will claim a “victory” for the government, and plenty of people will believe him. It’s very clever politics. Which seems, after this dangerous fiasco, to be just about all that this government is good at.

82 comments on “Incompetent and insulting ”

  1. Bored 1

    Sorry guys BUT Labour had 9 years to repeal Bassetts Local Government Act that required councils to contract out services via LATEs ( Local Area trading Enterprises) for delivery of their services. It is privatisation in reality and the rail fiasco in Auckland is a result of leaving it to “market forces”.

    In short a private company was contracted to deliver rail services. No competition in reality, there is no parallel rail network, just a ticket clipping operation. As a private company they are entitled to fail, non delivery to contract has different consequences in this case than if the council were delivering directly. Its a commercial matter as opposed to political. The council has no direct control or ability to remediate in the short term in the way that would be posible if they ran the trains directly. In which case the councillors, and the employees of council would be directly and immediately answerable.

    What we now see is the pathetic sight of central government in the form of free market supremo Jokey Hen demanding that an elected council get results from something it does not control. What afucking joke.

    • crashcart 1.1

      Wow only a few months out from an election, a full term of National government behind us and people still trot out that “9 years of Labour” crap.

      No Government gets every single thing they want done in their term of office no matter how long it is. Politics and simple prioritising result in this. The fact is the RWC has fallen in Nationals term. They have had that whole term and have taken all of the accolades that they can for it. Now they don’t want to take the responsibility that comes with the accolades.

      The Government needs to front up and accept their fair share of the shit sandwich. They would get a hell of a lot more respect not only from their own supporters but across the spectrum. The only problem is this Government is all about image and no substance and the moment they think something may tarnish that image they start playing the blame game. Pathetic.

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.1

        The fact is the RWC has fallen

        Ah, not quite. The event itself was great. There is some duckig for cover on the transport mess (the only significant problem) but it is understandable that when the primary entity & person responsible – Auckland Council, its agencies and most of all Len Brown – could not substantively assure they won’t get it wrong again, the Govt quite sensibly sees taking control as a first step.

        • framu 1.1.1.1

          helps if you read to the end of the sentence – “The fact is the RWC has fallen in Nationals term” – kind of changes things once you add in those last three words

          the main thing to keep in mind is that theres a lot more people involved in this besides len brown and the ACC.

          Central govt
          veolia
          auckland transport
          ateed

          have all had roles and responsibilities for the event – yet weve only heard any kind of apology or attempt to take responsibility from len brown.

          I think we can all agree that the ACC/len brown had a share in this – but why does the buck stop with him when all these other players are also involved and completely silent on the issue of owning their stuff ups?

          Why are people so quick to jump down len browns throat when there is clear, documented evidence of who did what and who was responsible for different elements/decisions?

          • queenstfarmer 1.1.1.1.1

            OK, sorry, I had taken “fallen” in the sense of downfall, as in the RWC event has “failed” already. I accept your meaning.

            And I generally agree with you.

          • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.2

            Why are people so quick to jump down len browns throat when there is clear, documented evidence of who did what and who was responsible for different elements/decisions?

            And let’s get this absolutely straight… Len Brown has been in the job a mere 10 months and in that time has loudly and repeatedly called for greater investment in Aucklands PT system, an essential and long, long overdue investment; a call that has been contemptuously denied by a National govt administration.

            So who is responsible here again?

            • queenstfarmer 1.1.1.1.2.1

              If Len had grave concerns because the Govt wasn’t kowtowing to his particular demands (which is what you seem to be suggesting), then he had a duty to speak up instead of misleading the public and recklessly giving assurances.

              edit – adding: Having said that, as I have said this is not all Len’s fault, I actually like Len and think he’s a better mayor than Banksy, and overall think the RWC opener was great.

        • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.2

          The government hasn’t ‘taken control’. That’s just bs spin they are using to try and deflect attention away from the fact that the party central idea, which was their idea, was what caused all the problems.

          The Act doesn’t give them the authority to ‘take control’ of jack shit.

          http://www.laws179.co.nz/2011/09/nationalisation-of-rwc-party-central.html

          • queenstfarmer 1.1.1.2.1

            They have taken control. I don’t think they are claiming to seize property or anything like that, but they have clearly taken control of things the Auckland Council f’d up. A detailed legal analysis misses the point.

            • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.2.1.1

              You mean that the Minister of the RWC is finally doing the things that he has been paid to do for lo these months and years?

              Gotcha.

              • queenstfarmer

                Yes, of the parts of the waterfront / event that Auckland Council was supposed to be looking after. Ideally they would have sidelined Len months ago. As I have said many times now, why Len was allowed to be at the wheel of critical aspects is where serious questions need to be asked.

                And your link to the whale’s site ain’t working.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  So the problem, in your view, was with the design of the supercity framework. That, along with ‘party central’ was the government’s doing.

                  Not that your view is coherent, fact based, or resembles anything other than a dogged and tiresome fail parade of sophistry in pursuit of shifting the blame away from the places it so obviously resides. But there we are.

                  • muzza

                    QT Farmer you don’t know what you are talking about, so go do some readin pal…

                    The fundamental issue is the structure of the Super City itself and the huge
                    responsibilities and budgets given to unelected and unaccountable CCO’s.
                    Before the legislation was passed many were sceptical of the amount of rates
                    going into organisations that we as ratepayers couldn’t hold to account over
                    their actions. Friday night’s rukus is simply a manifestation of what can go
                    wrong with the CCO structure on a grand scale – ATEED screwed up big time,
                    and yet being a semi-private entity they escape the blame. It’s not Len
                    Brown’s fault that he was given this CCO model to work with. The blame lies
                    squarely at the feet of Rodney Hide (John Key) and his Super City
                    legislation for placing the responsibility for delivering these large public
                    events into an unelected, unaccountable body.

                    The trians situation is is the result of many parties, so why do you keep blaming Len, you need to go away and do some learning, ,aybe come back when you have a clue what youre talking about!

                    I dont vote for parties BTW, just cant stand to hear ignorance spouted!

                    • In Vino Veritas

                      Oh pleeeease muzza! Red Len chose to run as Mayor with the CCO model. Ergo, he knew exactly what he was getting into – if he didnt like it, he could have (a) not run or (b) resigned. Sheesh. Not his fault indeed. You say that ATEED is 50% owned by the council means they have serious clout in anything that goes on, to the point that they could essentially veto. They didnt, it fell apart. Brown, Lee and co. are as culpable as anyone.

                      If McCully is going to take the blame ultimately, then good on him for taking over. Better than having to take the heat because a group of incompetent nincompoops let you down.
                      You’re just being an apologist for a twerp, nice man that he may be.

                    • lprent []

                      No real point in replying bearing in mind that my moderating alter ego has just banned you. However ownership is not the same thing as control. It depends on the governing documents.

                      Rodney Hide stacked the deck because the ownership rights of the CCO’s are effectively non-voting. The council has a very limited ability to put members on the CCO’s governing boards and it is all governed by legislation. Most of the board are stacked by the Minister of Local Government, currently one Rodney Hide.

                    • Help my head hurts.  I cannot understand in vito’s logic.  Apparently those not to blame for the fiasco are:
                       
                      1.  The decision makers,
                      2.  The entity that set up the decision making process.
                       
                      To blame is:
                       
                      3.  Len the poor sod who gained election to try and make Auckland a better place but has poor if any control over 1 and no control over 2.
                       
                      So under your logic lefties should refuse to get involved just in case they get involved in someone else’s stuff up?

            • muzza 1.1.1.2.1.2

              The first thing people need to understand about this is that Friday night’s
              event was NOT organised by the Auckland Council or the government as is
              popularly perceived to be the case. It was organised by Auckland Tourism,
              Events and Economic Development (ATEED), a Council-Controlled Organisation
              (CCO). ATEED falls under the umbrella of the Auckland Council. It uses the
              same friendly pohutukawa logo. But it is not a part of the Auckland Council.
              It’s half-owned by the Council, half private. It is run at arms length from
              it by unelected officials that are not publicly accountable for their
              actions. The Council doesn’t control its CCO’s – the whole point of them is
              that they work independently, much like an SOE.
              This explains the rather perplexing contradiction between ATEED event
              organisers predicting a crowd of 50,000, and Len Brown himself publicly
              predicting 100-150,000. The issue is that a semi-private agency was
              controlling a public event. Yet when something goes wrong with ATEED’s
              organisation, the Mayor Brown is in the gun. Why? Because it’s an Auckland
              agency, so the media/public equate Auckland agency with Auckland mayor.
              There’s nobody from ATEED talking because being unelected and unaccountable,
              they don’t have to answer to anybody.

      • prism 1.1.2

        @crashcart – You have reacted too quickly to Bored referring to Labour’s failure over 9 years. What that point related to was the absence of action to change the insistence on Councils having LATE’s to handle all possible Council affairs in a private business way.

        That has resulted in the running of Auckland Council’s train system being run by some company on contract to them. This company does what is required in the contract and only that. It will not respond to further needs because they aren’t in the contract. Understand!

        If the Council were running the business themselves, they would be able to turn up the services immediately they saw the need and could crank up the system. But now they are in a position where they are blamed for the rail service’s many failures without the means to themselves immediately remedy these failures.

        • crashcart 1.1.2.1

          You are right that I acted to quickly to his comment. I just get annoyed at teh 9 years thing still getting used.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.1

            Yeah, so do I but I think Bored got it right there. The simple fact is that having councils operating efficiently (which really does mean that they have the capability in house rather than having to go through commercial negotiations every time they need to do something) is a high priority and yet they didn’t put any priority on achieving that leaving it to the highly inefficient “free-market”.

      • Bored 1.1.3

        Hi Crash, If you have any of read my posts you will note I cant stand Nact AND I cant stand continuation of Neo lib policies. Clark’s crew had 9 years during which their rolling back of the Neo lib revolution was peripheral to say the least. Its not crap, its on the record.

        Actually, the lack of noise from Labour about rolling back this sort of thing is deafening. So its National Lite or Labour Lite? What a choice.

        • Bored 1.1.3.1

          On that note I suspect that there is a groundswell internationally indicating that the neo lib regime is fracturing. The Arab Spring has been followed by the PIIGS fiascos, mainly unreported civil unrest across Eurozone and a second US bail out. Whilst I wont claim the system is about to collapse as some other would, the questions are being forced into the open. The MSM and politicians will not be able to hide from questions about the prevalent economic orthodoxy.

          In terms of Labour I would predict that the next National government if it goes full term will be burnt so badly by the economic scenario that they will have an internal shit fight over economic policy. Consequently if Labour has half a brain they will come up with an electorally attractive answer which will include the necessary rejection and repeal of all market orientated legislation.

  2. richard 2

    There is no credible way the government can escape a major share of the blame for this. But where is John Key – so typical for the PM to be there grinning like a fool at the photo ops, but completely absent when the shit hits the fan.

  3. tc 3

    Clowns…..they architected a supershity all by themselves, appointed all their cronies and mates and had 3 years since the 08 election with special powers and very deerp pockets, 6B p.a. in tax cuts for the already well off/SCF bailout as examples
    It’s not like McCully has other busy portfolios, isn’t foreign affairs a junket and probably why clark gave it to winnie.
    Shows the level of incompetance and with their media shills leaping to help them spin their way out of it I just hope everyone remembers this on Nov 26 that it’s endemic of their overall performance across the economy.

  4. Joe Bloggs 4

    A nice piece of selective reportage … congratulations to the author… but you missed a few comments in the Stuff article:

    all the recommendations in the ARTA report had been acted upon … … can we conclude that ARTA underestimated the crowds…

    …Auckland Council’s RWC 2011 transport director, Bruce Barnard …. “We’ve done the planning, we had the trains, we had the service, we had the buses, we had everything in place to deliver the service,” … but didn’t deliver. No issues with infrastructure, big issues with management on the ground, and on the trains…

    And going back a little in time… Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the city’s Rugby World Cup 2011 Accessibility Programme will lead to the city becoming more accessible for everyone.

    The programme, launched today, aims to ensure all Aucklanders and visitors to our region during RWC 2011, including those with disabilities, have full and equal access to the Tournament, festival and associated events and activities.

    Time to take some Lomotil – and get over it

    • Joe Bloggs, your own quoting from the stuff article seems a bit selective. Here’s the full sentence – 

      But Mr Joyce said all the recommendations in the ARTA report had been acted upon and new unexpected problems like the unprecedented level of demand had caused difficulties.

      So we have Mr Joyce’s word that “all the recommendations in the ARTA report had been acted upon”. Curiously, however, the very point made in that report about the faulty expectation that demand would be slightly above “business as usual” appears, according to Mr Joyce, to have been and “unexpected problem”???

      Joyce, according to his own statements, acted on all the recommendations but failed to notice a major criticism of the expectations – to the point where he could call the demand ‘unexpected’.

      JB, I know your aim is to defend the government but making the same mistake as you are supposedly criticising and doing so in a way that highlights the government’s dropping of the ball is not very clever. 

      • Joe Bloggs 4.1.1

        So are you suggesting that the government should take heed of the ARTA report, then act on it, and ignore it at the same time?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          No, we’re saying that the government ignored the report while saying that they acted upon it. It’s called lying.

        • Puddleglum 4.1.1.2

          JB, perhaps my phrasing was confusing (though, in re-reading it I can’t see how).  

          The report noted that expectations of demand were a little above “business as usual” but these expectations were flawed – that is, it would be wise to expect substantially more than a little above “business as usual”.

          Joyce, despite claiming to have acted on all the recommendations in the report, still seemed to believe that the high level of demand was a “new and unexpected problem”. If he had read the same report that stuff obtained, how is it credible for him to state that high demand (i.e., far above “business as usual”) was an unexpected problem??

          I feel like I’m just repeating myself, but can’t you see that Joyce’s comments sound very odd given the comments about expectations of demand in the report (which he presumably read and claims to have acted on but far above “business as usual” demand caught him by total surprise)? 

      • Joe Bloggs 4.1.2

        And at what stage did Auckland City’s Transport Committee take responsibility? Or were they always supposed to be glove puppets for central Government?

        Wasn’t Len Brown touted as the second most powerful pollie in New Zealand when he came into office?

        Where does he stand in terms of responsibility, given he’s got oversight on the city’s Transport Committee?

        Why’s Mike Lee ducking for cover as well?

        • muzza 4.1.2.1

          Mike Lee
          A councillor representing Waitemata and Gulf ward, he is also Chairperson of the Transport Committee at Auckland Council. Previously he completed his second term as the last Chairman of Auckland Regional Council. A former ship’s officer, he holds an MSc in biological sciences and is a passionate conservationist. He will hold the position of Director for a period of three years

          Mike Lee has always been a coward, a pro hatchet man, never capable of being in charge, but loiters behind doing is nasty deeds…nothing changes..

          FYI – The govt control AKL Transport via proxy, have a look at who is on the board of Directors, then decide who you think is really in charge – FFS read

  5. queenstfarmer 5

    The actual event downtown was very good right through to the small hours, with some minor issues as is inevitable for that sort of event. Queens Wharf was the best place to be, the Viaduct was buzzing, as was the above-ground Britomart precinct, and it was a great night.

    The transport was, of course, a shambles. That is Auckland Council’s primary fault. Len Brown utterly failed in that regard, and the Government’s primary fault was to trust Len that he would get it right.

    • Tom Gould 5.1

      What nonsense. The super city rammed through by Key and Joyce and McCully and Hide specifically prevents Brown and the Council from having any operational direction or control of the rail system. They can simply set ‘high level aspirations’ through the ‘statement of intent’. And if the independent AT board appointed by Joyce and Hide fail to deliver, as Hide and Key said many times, the AC can ‘sack them’. So please, repeating a lie does not make it true, QSF.

      • queenstfarmer 5.1.1

        I don’t recall Len “super mayor” Brown signalling any great concern in this regard about the super city arrangements. If he harboured such doubts – which perhaps he did, given his refusal to use public transport while imploring everyone else to do so- then he had a duty to speak up as leader of the Auckland council. Instead, he gave misleading assurances.

        • Jum 5.1.1.1

          King Kong is calling you queenstfarmer…..

          connecting you now…..

          “King Kong 7
          15 September 2011 at 9:49 am

          I am so angry about this. I believe we should consider cancelling the rest of the world cup to avoid any more embarrassment. Len Brown had been saying for months before the opening that a lot more people than the Government had estimated would turn up and the public transport would not be able to handle it. In fact he was urging strongly for people to consider taking their cars.”

    • Jum 5.2

      queenstfarmer,

      So you were one of the 12,000 then?

  6. Scott 6

    Every voter (in Auckland especially) should be reminded that the “Supercity” was rammed down their throats for the “management” of the RWC. The Nats would have to be annoyed that their boy, Banksie wasn’t elected Mayor and this is probably a large part of why Len Brown has been treated with such disrespect by the party hacks.

    Anybody who uses public transport in Auckland knew that Friday night was going to be a disaster. I remember a the crowing the politicians were doing when Britomart opened in 2003 and how all of the problems with rail would evaporate. What the poli’s didn’t get was that they had a new train station, but a broken down rail network with broken down equipment and a service provider who took no pride in their work.

    What the transit operators didn’t get was – you can let down your riders as no one cares about them, but for God’s sake – don’t embarrass the politicians. As a consequence, the rail provider was replaced shortly after the Britomart stuff up.

    A large part of the transport problems can be laid at the feet of privatization. There is still no central ticketing system between rail, bus or ferry. The operators are more concerned with profits than customer service. The rail network was “pumped and dumped” to death by Fay-Richwhite and has only been slowly been recovering since Tranzrail was bounced after the Britomart debacle.

    Veolia cannot be entirely blamed for the poor performance of rail. The basic system is flawed. The tracks and signaling are administered out of Wellington by On Track, the big locomotives and drivers are supplied by Kiwi Rail with Veolia supplying the rail cars and crews. Veolia can be let down by either one and has been let down many times in the past.

    I have proposed to MAXX that when a commuter service is delayed by more than say, half an hour, the operator of the service that broke down (On Track/Kiwi Rail/Veolia) should have to compensate each rider with a free pass. If this kind of accountability was put in place, I’m sure that there would be a lot less failures.

    • Good comment Scott.
       
      I can recall clearly the state of the system in the 1990s.  It was run into the ground and was terminal.  Then Auckland’s councils united (hear that Wellington) and said that things should improve.  There was even a light rail system proposed but Banks’ election in 2001 was followed by his immediate sabotague of these plans by removing a vital piece of the network from contention.
       
      I recall when they tried to increase the level of service in 2002 and being on an inaugural train trip to town to celebrate this.  The train broke down and caught fire!
       
      This was indicative of decades of under investment and it will take decades to improve things.
       
      The timeframe for everything is years and years.  For instance to electrify and buy electric trains will take ten years.  It took about a decade to plan build and complete Britomart.
       
      But when it is done you look back and realise that it had to happen.  We now have a system that handles 10 million trips a year rather than one million. The next step has to be the inner city loop so that Britomart’s throughput maxes out at 50 million trips a year rather than 24 million.
       
      And why? Well I can think of no better reason than in a post oil world an electrified rail system will save Auckland from disintergrating.

      Sorry for this rant but it fcuks me off when wingnuts blame Len for the state of the system.  He has barely been in the job and operational matters are up to a board full of Hide’s mates.
       
      Of course it does not matter how many times you say this.  The same old attack lines will be trotted out again and again and again …

      • Joe Bloggs 6.1.1

        Auckland Council’s RWC 2011 transport director, Bruce Barnard …. “We’ve done the planning, we had the trains, we had the service, we had the buses, we had everything in place to deliver the service,”

        Ipso facto – no infrastructure issues

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        Of course it does not matter how many times you say this. The same old attack lines will be trotted out again and again and again …

        RWNJs ignore facts that prove them wrong and then spin some line that, they hope, people will believe.

        • Joe Bloggs 6.1.2.1

          And evidently LWNJs ignore direct quotes from Auckland Council’s Transport Director stating that everything was in place to deliver the service … now back to reality…

          • McFlock 6.1.2.1.1

            Nah, we only ignore anything asserted as a “direct quote” by some specific RWNJs, given that more often than not the quotes turn out to be incomplete, out of context and/or with unclear attribution.

          • framu 6.1.2.1.2

            meanwhile – your ignoring quite a body of evidence, and a historical timeline that shines a lot of light on why this happened and who was responsible for what to focus on your one quote.

            Try looking at the big picture instead of running round saying “looky! ive got a sound bite!”

    • Carol 6.2

      I have proposed to MAXX that when a commuter service is delayed by more than say, half an hour, the operator of the service that broke down (On Track/Kiwi Rail/Veolia) should have to compensate each rider with a free pass.

      On Auckland’s western train lines, this pretty much happens now, at least in peak periods. When there’s a delay at peak times, the next train to arrive gets very crowded and the ticket collectors stop trying to make their way down the carriage. Everyone gets a free ride. This must cost the providers because it tends to happen fairly often.

  7. King Kong 7

    I am so angry about this. I believe we should consider cancelling the rest of the world cup to avoid any more embarrassment. Len Brown had been saying for months before the opening that a lot more people than the Government had estimated would turn up and the public transport would not be able to handle it. In fact he was urging strongly for people to consider taking their cars.

  8. prism 8

    This was well put by the Herald in the link on the post, and has reference to the problems of the waka demonstrators and their whanau, and people who got caught up in the crush, one saying that her arms were pinned to her sides and she was being carried by the push of the crowd.

    And imagine the private reaction of police – from the top brass to the lowliest constable – at the news that the Prime Minister was wanting all the rugby fans in Auckland to gather in one place at the same time and start drinking.

    and the correctness of the opinion and the informal poll as shown by the ferry passengers having their travel cancelled with all the problems that this would have caused to Auckland residents and visitors alike –

    ….it is madness to pursue the Queens Wharf option when the Viaduct Events centre is being built anyway; is scheduled for completion well before the Rugby World Cup; and is far better sited, close to an entertainment precinct rather than tucked behind a commuter ferry terminal.
    As our informal poll today suggests, most Aucklanders think a Viaduct location makes more sense

  9. Jum 9

    I must say all this has been very entertaining politically, with two (dark knight) National campaign strategists strategising over how to stab each other in the back and then pulling the swords out of each other and attacking Len Brown with them.

    Then, along comes Key on his white charger to tell the serfs that the party for 12,000 went swimmingly. Unfortunately, some of the people firstly invited, then unvited, by Mr Key actually did end up in the swim.

    I don’t think this government truly understands just how fortunate they were politically that no person was fatally injured, but it has given us all a portal to look through into the empty chalices that are this current government.

    We really should be very afraid.

  10. Jum 10

    The only people that should be thanked for no fatalities occurring are the people of New Zealand; instead they have been vilified for coming to their hero Key’s call to ‘partay’ getting stuck in trains with children fainting causing emergency stop buttons to be used, etc. etc. and having nowhere to go when they got there.

    Overseas visitors would be used to masses of people. Kiwis aren’t. They are the heroes for keeping this situation under control.

    • Scott 10.1

      Jum, I concur with your statement “The only people that should be thanked for no fatalities occurring are the people of New Zealand” We brought our special needs child to “Party Central” for the experience (not knowing how things would eventuate). When people in the crowd noticed him, they would give us as much space as they could and they were all quite nice. Too bad leadership by example doesn’t operate in reverse.

  11. Joe Bloggs 11

    Hattip BWS

    1. Who is responsible for Auckland transport, and the performance of the trains? Auckland Council.

    2. Who gave assurances that the trains would perform well? Auckland Council.

    3. Who decided to have only one fan zone, right in the CBD, instead of several throughout the region? Auckland Council.

    4. Who didn’t supply enough toilets, security and crowd control measures to the one fan zone they were responsible for? Auckland Council.

    5. Who discouraged people from taking cars, and told people to take trains? Auckland Council

    6. Who told people to take a train, and then took a car? Brown

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      1.) Who took away the funding so that ACC could upgrade the PT? This government
      2.) Murray McCully – the minister for the RWC
      3.) Actually, that was John Key.
      4.) Murray McCully – the minister for the RWC
      5.) Good idea – pity the government sabotaged the trains see 1.)
      6.) So?

      • William Joyce 11.1.1

        The fact that Brown (and others) didn’t take PT themselves if a red herring and cannot be used to bolster one’s argument.
        As a matter of course, and out of the necessity due to the number of functions and events they are required to attend and the people they have to meet, all officials and politicians would be using  the faster option of dedicated private transport.
        This would be standard, regardless of your political colour, and not a sign of hypocrisy.

    • Blue 11.2

      Who would be taking all the credit for the National Government if the Rugby World Cup opening night had been a roaring success? Joe Bloggs.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 11.3

      When you are the Minister for RWC, I would assume that is actually your area of responsibility- especially when the whole party Central concept was hatched by yourself and your boss.

  12. Treetop 12

    I would like to ask Mc Cully if he has Len Brown’s cell phone number, if so, how long has it had it?

  13. randal 13

    We here in New Zealand are really showing the rest of the world how rilly rilly wunnerfull we rilly rilly are. go mcullly.

  14. AAMC 14

    We need a mash up of every time Len Brown has talked about wanting better transport in this city from every speech he’s ever made on Youtube asap before these spin masters get away with the blame game.

  15. AAMC 15

    surely there is an activist with more time than is available to me who can make this happen, surely there is an archive of this material that could leak from Brown’s office??!! A lot of it could be aquired from what’s already on Youtube.

    We live in an age of an inadequate MSM and limitless social media and free video editing software on every mac, lets use it….please!

  16. Anne 16

    Wrote a letter to the Herald. Short and pithy and easy to understand. Didn’t make the grade, or maybe it was a bit too pithy for Granny Herald. Below is the text – minus the introductory sentence.

    We have a RWC minister who, together with the PM, has been running the show from behind the scenes. They forced their decisions on Auckland’s elected officials, while at the same time giving virtual carte blanche to their non-elected private sector Super City friends. They set the scenario that led to Friday’s transport debacle.

    In an attempt to absolve themselves from any blame and lay it at the door of the Mayor and councillors, they “seized control” of Party Central and the surrounding area. Such cynical manipulation of an event for political gain should be abhorred by all fair minded citizens.

  17. Workplace Emergency Procedure in the event of a Failure of Ministerial Oversight.

  18. Treetop 18

    Follow the money trail and the answer lies there.

    The only reason that there will be adequate transport this weekend in Auckland is that money has been chucked at the transport problem.

    When it comes to party central, no amount of money is going to improve the capacity of the location, as the location was far too limiting due to being a confined space in our biggest city.

    Who holds the RWC purse?

  19. HC 21

    The attack by this government may simply appear rather insignificant to many, and the empowerint legislation not know my many, nor appreciated for being much serious. I doubt if many journalists have even read it. They appear to be pre-occupied with their dress, make-up and career-plans rather than reporting truth and details about it. So what is all this leaving us with. We may be mindful of developments in similar, close countries that had worse than us before, but who are very sensitive to what happens there now. Look at a great and traditionally free and liberal country like Chile. It used to be hailed as an early and strong democracy in South America, until the CIA and Pinochet put an end to it. It is slowly going back go good tradition, has a healthy economy and thing improving. Yet many Chileans will never forget what happened before. So see the link here for more details:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbx3JMmdN7I&feature=related

    To heal wounds music like this helps:

    So where is your bloody tradition and loyality to the true values NZ?

    This should be true spiritual enlightenment.

    Best wishes.

    HC

  20. HC 22

    This is just another link for people wanting to be informed!

    I have heaps, but, you must be able to get your own through the web.:

    Venceremos, and more, NZ Labour an d some associaes better wake up, you ar e sleeping!

  21. chris73 23

    My personal view view is that previous Labour and National govts should carry the can for this though Len Brown was naive for some of the comments he made

  22. Gruntie 24

    Stuff is reporting the Mcully considered resigning after the opening night – does that mean Paul Henry would call him a dick shit or a dip shit ?

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      Stuff is reporting the Mcully considered resigning after the opening night

      McCully also considered downing a stiff scotch after the opening night.

      Now we know which he went for, in the interests of accountability.

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