Had my early afternoon lunch interrupted by an Automated Robocall from a number listed as 09 950 8820 with a pre-recorded messages purportedly from Christopher Luxon and the National Party urging me to vote for them. Too late anyway as I had already voted that very morning.
I don’t know if this was someone else trying to frame the National Party or something else. But if the National party did endorse this, the Medium is the message here, receiving automated calls like this conjures images of scammers.
Zespri have good produce that I regularly buy and enjoy as a consumer, in particular the SunGold Kiwifruit variety, but visiting their Marquee at Fieldays 2023 and getting “told off” for discarding a used plastic spoon/spife in the bin on my way out of their marquee I thought was extremely odd and petty.
Was advised by the alleged rep* the plastic spifes were supposed to be taken home, but that argument falls over when they’re mentioned as disposable and the bin was already full of plastic spifes obviously discarded by other visitors beforehand. (Perhaps they should not have been given out as Kiwifruit sampling utensils?)
Don’t know what to make of it. Tiny issue in the scheme of thing, but note worthy due to the level of weirdness.
*I say alleged rep because he was wearing StoneyCreek gear with a Puffer vest and navy blue shirt under that just like other Zespri reps.
Admittedly, initially had to actually check whether or not it was in fact April 1st. This afternoon, I learn that whole sections of Auckland’s Rail network is to be closed for lengthy periods during the coming 2023 year. Please read the details about these Line Closures here on AT’s Website.
I feel this ought to be a stark wake up call to New Zealand and the need to look into the way we do things in this country. Needed is an urgent nationwide inquiry into our infrastructure works and why everything gets done so glacially slow in this country and continues to get slower. Is it the project management process? Too many differing (unconnected) sub contractors making scheduling and coordination difficult? Overzealous Health and Safety? Too much needless bureaucracy? Lack of Will? Lack of incentive? Same questions go for our Roadworks as well which seem to take forever.
So just what were KiwiRail doing during all those Rail Closures and shut downs in the preceeding years? Did they only just discover the work needs to be done now? Were AT only informed of this now? It’s as if the rail line closures during the prior years (including during the weekends) weren’t already a sizeable inconvenience, It’s going to be just that more difficult promoting Auckland’s faith in the Public Transport network and enacting an effective modal shift away from dependence on the Private Motor car.
Would we be better off being served by Bus ways rather than any sort of Passenger rail if this sort of rather disruptive and lengthy ongoing maintenance is required of rail? What assurances are KiwiRail and Auckland Transport able to provide to the public that there won’t be yet another round of hugely inconvenient, costly and lengthy disruption to the rail network in the years to come after all this work is supposedly complete? How do other countries manage to do it? Or is Auckland simply too small to pragmatically run a reliable and dependable Passenger Train network due to the lack of redundancy in the system (afforded to bigger rail networks in larger municipalities)?
Rightly or wrongly, I am forming an impression that the people in charge of these organizations aren’t serious enough about doing their job properly nor delivering for the public and hold very little, if any, sense of duty/responsibility or accountability to New Zealand. I will admit this is just my opinion as a lay person / ignorant armchair critic who undoubtably won’t have the full picture, but something almost undeniably and certainly seems amiss and some hard questions need be asked of those in charge.
In light of Auckland Transport’s announcement regarding removing of kerbside parking, it’s probably worth highlighting Auckland Transport’s (AT’s) current ethos has effectively been to discourage car use in favour of alternative transport modes in order to achieve their various visions and goals, including…
To make better use of existing road space in favour of higher occupancy vehicles, which at least on the surface sound like a laudable goal. However question the current ambition to retrofit these changes at high cost and high disruption to existing neighbourhoods as opposed to working with Auckland Council to implement and promote high density development along with high capacity transit corridors to new greenfield sites such as Mill Road, Flat Bush, Papakura, Karaka, Ramarama.
‘Vision Zero’ – being that… “no deaths are acceptable”, “People make mistakes (behind the wheel)”, “Public Transport is the safest option”. We’re now seeing this in the form of enforcement and the forceful dropping of speed limits to what many may feel are ridiculously low speed limits. Auckland Transport’s ‘‘marketing’ material can be found here however question whether any possible outcome would ever be as rosy as they paint it.
Climate change – With their parent organisation, Auckland Council, having followed other government departments to declare a “climate emergency” – encouraging a gradual move to carbon-free transport modes by way of promoting Public Transport, Cycling and Walking.
While I am certainly and staunchly in favour of developing and rolling out accessible alternative transport options in Auckland, particularly in areas currently beset with high levels of car dependency, it appears from all intents and purposes in order to achieve the aims as listed in the bullet points above, Auckland Transport have declared all out war against the private motor car and the motoring public. While I can see where AT are trying to head, they’re choosing to run roughshod over people’s current living arrangement and applying the ‘stick’ in the hope of encouraging modal shift by way of making private motor vehicle use such a hassle so much so that Auckland commuters will hopefully shift to other modes such as walking, cycling and public transport. Continue reading “Commentary: Auckland Transport’s war against the private motor car and the motoring public.”→