Watkins on RWC

September 20th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Some interesting details in Tracy Watkins column last week:

There is even deeper fury about promises that were supposedly made and not kept. When the Cabinet hauled Auckland transport officials before them to go over the plans one last time they were apparently assured there would be a person on every carriage to avoid delays when emergency buttons were pushed, but that apparently never happened. They were promised 100 extra buses, but got only 31 – many of which had to be diverted to the North Shore when the ferries become overcrowded. And they were told there would be more security on the platforms than eventuated.

If this is correct, it does sounds like some of the problems were very avoidable.

But all that is largely by the by and a direct result of the biggest failure of all – which was the inability to look past the “peer reviewed” guesstimates by consultants that a party on the waterfront on the night of the opening ceremony would probably attract only 30,000 to 50,000 people. Ministers – particularly the Auckland-based ones who regularly see crowds bigger than that for far more mundane events – can’t escape blame for not treating those figures with scepticism and caution.

I agree both Council and Government should have known better and demanded something better than a guesstimate.

It seems that on the Tuesday before the big game, government officials might have got a whiff of the behemoth- in-waiting and approached Auckland authorities about opening up the Bledisloe and Captain Cook wharfs, but were rebuffed. Auckland – the city that loves to tell Wellington to butt out of its affairs – is reaping the resulting ministerial firestorm as a result.

Again, if this is correct it is very significant.

11 Responses to “Watkins on RWC”

  1. swan (777 comments) says:

    And who was (now is) to pay for all of this extra capacity, muggins the ratepayer? And who was (now is) to pay for dicking around with one of the council’s largest income generating assets, because of where central government decided the fanzone was going to be? Muggins again is it?

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  2. ben (2,428 comments) says:

    Who were the consultants?

    BERL? lol

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  3. BeaB (2,512 comments) says:

    Hamilton was lumbered with the V8’s that were supposed to cost the ratepayer $7 million but turned out to be well over
    $30 million. The (non)events centre at Claudelands cost over $60 million and the bookings are not even within cooee of what was promised. The City Council debt is over $400 million. This is a low-wage economy in a time of financial difficulty with many ratepayers struggling to pay the ever-increasing rates.

    And the man at the helm as Mayor and then suddenly Council CEO, was Michael Redman. He is now the highly-paid man in charge at Auckland Events, the Council entity responsible for most of the RWC cock-ups.

    Be very afraid, Auckland.

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  4. CJPhoto (244 comments) says:

    If those are true, it is completely understandable why the Government ‘sacked’ Len Brown.

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  5. swan (777 comments) says:

    CJPhoto, link please

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  6. Simon Lyall (110 comments) says:

    I’m not really sure about other events. Things like Christmas in the park (or whatever it is called these days) say they get crowds of 200 or 300,000 thousand but more sober estimates are less than 50,000.

    So perhaps people thought about events like Christmas in the Park and though “yeah we had 200,000 people there and no real problems”. Perhaps a warning against these “feel good” crowd estimates.

    But his central argument is correct. The extra 100,000 people heading downtown plus the normal Friday commuter traffic completely swamped the planned transport.

    I have noticed that everybody (govt, council, transport) is now telling stories about how they warned about the larger crowds and were ignored.

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  7. wreck1080 (5,014 comments) says:

    It is funny, the incompetent are blaming the incompetent.

    Really, pen pushers should stick to core jobs and let the experts do the business.

    I wonder if an events management company were ever actually consulted?

    When I heard about the RWC being in downtown auckland, my immediate thought was how they gonna handle 3 or even 4 hundred thousand people down there. Seems my estimate was a little high, but , at least I was closer than the council staff.

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  8. insider (938 comments) says:

    @ simon

    Isn’t it even more of an indictment that they couldn’t cope with even smaller crowds than are being touted?

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  9. lastmanstanding (1,724 comments) says:

    Consultants. The excuse Directors CEOs and senior management hide behind

    When ever I see or hear a consultants report mentioned I am immediately suspicous and ask the third question.

    Thats the one that exposes the consultants report as bull shit.

    Like after all the hype and media hoopla there was only gonna be how many people downtown.

    Given 5% to 10% of the permanent population of greater Auckland Wellsford/Franklin plus the overseas visitors in Auckland who are almost all were going to be there then a back of the envelope suggests a hell of a lot more than 30 to 50K

    Would love to see the consultants/experts workings and their ‘plan’ plus the ? back up plan.

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  10. orewa1 (430 comments) says:

    I get SO, SO bored by with this perpetual manufactured battle between central and local government politicians. Aucklanders are entitled to expect both our country and our city to be managed competently by the well-paid politicians we elect. The only people fascinated by this ongoing tension are politicians with an excess of both testosterone and ego, and journalists in search of an easy story.

    If this was a primary school playground you’d bang a few heads ( if we didnt have the anti-smacking law) and tell them to sort their shit out behind the scenes.

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  11. Steve (4,953 comments) says:

    It is very hard to try and blame anyone realy. Seems that most have their heads in the sand when questioned.
    Come on Len, you did say you would make a comment when you found out what was going on. What’s that? you don’t know what’s going on and the Govt is now responsible? Supprise supprise

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