Boock on Queens Wharf

July 11th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Richard Boock writes:

I’m sure the save-the-sheds faction are right when they speak of the lovely timbers and structural beams within the buildings, even though the ARC initially described them as cheap and nasty. Chairman Mike Lee said he changed his mind after discussing the issue with friends who were “heritage advocates”. That’s right, before you could say “indoctrinate”, the cheap and nasty had taken on “genuine heritage value”. Not even Paul the Octopus could have seen that coming.

It’s surprising too, that a place apparently to be preserved because of its heritage value has not even been listed with the Historic Places Trust. Its worth has been calculated, not by the official arbiters of such assets, but by a cabal of what sounds like the ARC chairman’s dinner guests. Somehow he was able to be persuaded that a spot of character, rather than an official judgement of historic value, was enough to make a couple of huts sacrosanct. …

As Paul Moon, an Auckland University of Technology Professor of History, wrote in the New Zealand Herald a week or so ago, “to elevate (the sheds) to anything even resembling architectural merit is disingenuous”. He reminded us that the structures were designed purely along functional lines at a time when “aesthetic appeal in industrial buildings was even less important than it is now”. He’s right, you know. We’re being led down the garden path by a collection of snooty zealots.

I’m picking up considerable backlash against the u-turn by the ARC. It may affect Mike Lee’s bid for a seat on the new Auckland Council.

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The Queens Wharf debacle

July 9th, 2010 at 5:47 am by David Farrar

I’m perplexed why the Auckland Regional Council would want to preserve a shed which only a few months ago its chair, Mike Lee, described as “old, cheap and nasty”.

People often think old means heritage and worth preserving. Very different things. Not all old buildings have heritage value. A cheap and nasty shed is not an historic building – it’s just an old shed.

God knows what the Government will do to get itself out of this cluster fuck. I bet they wish the new Auckland Council has been created a few years ago – at least that would save them from having totally contradictory stances from the Auckland Regional and City Councils.

There is now some talk of party central being at the Viaduct Events Centre. It’s not a bad idea, but time is running out to do proper due diligence on any proposals.

At the end of the day it won’t be the end of the world if there is no party central. Having such a venue will be a bonus for Aucklanders, but rugby fans will make their own fun, where ever they end up – at the game, at homes, in bars etc.

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Queens Wharf

April 20th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Finally an agreement for party central.

Looks a lot better than the earlier designs.

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Editorials 15 April 2010

April 15th, 2010 at 11:09 am by David Farrar

The Herald enthuses over Queens Wharf:

It has been a long and tortuous road but, finally, an acceptable plan for the use of Queens Wharf during next year’s Rugby World Cup has been arrived at. “Party central” will be in a temporary structure on the site of one of the wharf’s two cargo sheds. This has two compelling pluses: the sprucing up of Queens Wharf for the Cup festivities for as low a cost as possible, and the demolition of both the unsightly sheds, an essential precursor to the wharf later being developed to its full potential.

All that is required for the World Cup celebrations is a gathering point. Little needs to be done. A temporary structure housing television screens and places for eating, drinking and dancing will suffice. Solidly constructed, it will easily withstand the buffeting of a wet and windy spring. The swept-up development advocated until recently by the Government was always unnecessary, as well as becoming constrained by time. It could also have resulted in the wharf’s final development being compromised for the benefit of a one-off event.

I tend to agree. People just need shelter, screens, sausages and drink and it will work.

The Dom Post calls on Australia to accept the WTO ruling on apples:

Australia has led New Zealand apple growers a merry dance for 89 years. Now the jig is up.

A World Trade Organisation disputes panel has found that Australian fears that fireblight, a bacterial disease found in some New Zealand orchards, can be transferred from mature New Zealand apples to Australian fruit trees are groundless.

It is past time for the Australian Government to show some leadership on the issue. The ruling is an embarrassment to a government that trumpets the cause of free trade in other arenas, Australian scientists who have lent legitimacy to an illegitimate argument and Aussie growers who appear to believe they cannot compete with their New Zealand counterparts.

Rather than prolong the process yet again, Australian officials and growers should sit down with their counterparts in New Zealand, agree a sensible regime, and develop a marketing strategy that will benefit growers on both sides of the Tasman.

Trans-Tasman believes that the Governments are working on an agreement which would be a good thing.

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Editorials 12 February 2010

February 12th, 2010 at 3:08 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald calls for a temporary fix for Queens Wharf.

Three options released yesterday by the Minister for the Rugby World Cup, Murray McCully, provide alternatives for this. The cheapest, at $23.9 million, involves removing the ugly sheds from the wharf and creating a temporary village. The two others, at $27.2 million and $31.3 million, envisage the sheds being refurbished for the “party”. That represents no choice at all, given the sheds will remain an embarrassing eyesore no matter how much they are tarted up. They must go.

The Press is concerned about Iran. I doubt the feeling is mutual :-)

This week the bellicose Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, defied a string of United Nations sanctions resolutions and ordered the firing up of dozens of centrifuges to greatly increase his country’s output of enriched uranium. Although the product these facilities will produce is only to a level needed to run nuclear power stations and is not of sufficiently high grade to create nuclear weapons, it is a crucial technical step up in Iran’s nuclear programme. Having mastered the techniques required to produce this material, the next step to create weapons-grade material is a relatively simple one. And almost no-one believes Iran’s repeated denials that it intends eventually to take that next step. …

Iran with nuclear weapons, or military action to prevent it getting them, are highly undesirable alternatives. But if the world wants to avert them diplomacy must not be allowed to fail.

I think it pretty much already has failed.

The Dominion Post rails against pokie machines:

Gamblers pump about $1 billion a year into machines in pubs, RSAs and sports clubs. Of that, about a third finds its way back to the community via gaming trusts. (The rest is consumed by the Government, in the form of taxes, as well as by pubs and clubs and the gaming machine trusts.)

The majority of machines are concentrated in lower socio-economic areas. Newtown, for example, has 72. Khandallah, Thorndon, Kelburn and Wadestown have none. However, the proceeds are distributed evenly across communities. That means the people who frequent gaming machines in poorer neighbourhoods are subsidising the sporting and cultural pursuits of their neighbours in wealthier parts of town.

For this reason, and many others, tentative Wellington City Council proposals to gradually lower the number of machines in five “areas of concern” – Tawa, Johnsonville, Miramar, Karori and Newtown – are welcome.

I disagree. Gambling is effectively a tax on stupidity. the left always go on about how we should tax bad things more. Well stupidity is a bad thing, and if the taxpayer and community groups can make money from stupid people, then that is fine with me – so long as there is total transparency about odds – ie people know that over time they are almost certain to lose money.

The ODT looks at Sarah Palin:

Her popularity is as baffling as it is perhaps frightening to liberal intellectuals, Democrats – and, some suggest – to old-school Republicans whose most fervent wish is to retake the White House in 2012 and who fear her potentially divisive influence on the party. …

She may embody all the colourful hyperbole and grammatical integrity of a hastily penned country and western anthem, but down-home, emotive, illogical, God-fearing and at times disturbingly ignorant, she epitomises a certain cross-section of the electorate.

As such Mrs Palin is a potentially powerful influence on the future course of US politics.

Mainstream political forces will continue to dismiss her at their peril.

She may of course self-destruct at some stage. What will be interesting is how many GOP candidates ask her to appear with them in the mid-terms in November.

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Waterfront Options

February 12th, 2010 at 5:53 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on Auckland options:

  1. $23.9 million to remove the two 1912 cargo sheds and creating a cup village with temporary and hired structures
  2. $27.7 million involves minor refurbishment of the sheds to provide covered space for the cup
  3. $31.3 million involves significant refurbishment of the sheds with a focus on keeping one or both over the medium term
  4. $97 million has a a $49.2m budget for a cruise ship terminal, plus $15.6m for wharf repairs

A dedicated website has the four options and allows feedback.

Meanwhile the Dominion Post reports on Wellington’s RWC plans:

A Rugby World Cup village on Wellington’s waterfront – centred around a yet-to-be-built wharewaka – will become the focus of celebrations at next year’s tournament.

More than 1200 partygoers will be able to pack into the building and a marquee next door, with the city council set to rent the wharewaka, or canoe house, its staff and its facilities for the event.

It will be the focus of Rugby World Cup celebrations, costing ratepayers about $150,000 – considerably less than a $100 million plan to build a party zone in Auckland.

Sounds good to me.

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