Watkins on RWC

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.

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