It’s not the first time that Auckland has spat the dummy over infrastructure for the World Cup. Labour was unable to convince the city to get behind a new stadium. So what’s up with Auckland? Are these the prudent decisions of leaders who don’t want the city saddled with expensive white elephants, or the timid decisions of leaders who are without vision and averse to risk? Would these projects have been good or bad for Auckland?
In the case of party central John Banks appears to believe the former:
I’ve got a message for the Government from the town hall on Queen St in Auckland, the epicentre of the new Greater Auckland Council, and it’s this: Don’t force on us, the ratepayers of greater Auckland … a monstrosity of a development at the bottom of Queen St that the Government would expect us to foot the bill on the first of November this year. Don’t do it. Think carefully, take a decision for common ground and common sense. The people of greater Auckland don’t want this giant bus shelter built on the most magnificent waterfront in the world.
The ARC’s Mike Lee takes the latter view:
I have to say the non-decision taken today has let the people of Auckland down and will open Auckland to ridicule from other parts of New Zealand for flunking this test.
For the first time (and I’m holding my nose as I type this), I agree with Banks. Far from exposing Auckland to ridicule, I think the Mayors have done right by their city. Party central on the Wharf was an ill conceived plan from the start. In typical Key fashion (hello cycleway) the PM attached himself to the idea, made it part of his pretend folksy brand, and then failed to deliver:
Labour Party leader Phil Goff said the Government’s failure to secure agreement on “party central” showed National’s handing of preparations was “a shambles”. … Mr Goff said Mr Key, the Tourism Minister, should take some blame for the project’s failure. “John Key was all for hosting the party, but he didn’t do the work to get it ready.”