Hard News by Russell Brown


On the Waterfront

John Key was a bit slow off the mark with his distraction announcements yesterday, but I can only applaud the government's agreement to purchase Queen's Wharf in partnership with the Auckland Regional Council.

Given that the vendor, Ports of Auckland, is itself owned by the ARC, this is, strictly speaking, a passage of the asset from one set of public hands to another. But if it means that the damned red fence comes down, and the wharf becomes largely a public space both for and following the 2011 World Cup -- rather than a low-value park for imported used cars -- then it's a boon for the city.

According to Simon Wilson's recent Metro story, the area has for some time been earmarked as "party central" anyway, but its passage into public ownership means it can be harnessed for the city's future. I predict now that Queen's Wharf will be very popular if it's done right. (By which I mean, not largely given over to commercial services for rich people.)

In some ways, it's back to the future. Through Auckland's early years, Queen Street terminated in a busy pier -- the main street effectively ran out across the water. Decades of rotten planning and feckless building consents have since blocked off Auckland from its waterfront, but Queen's Wharf is only a little offset from Downtown Square, which is in turn the site of our rather attractive railway station, where the line takes a roundabout bath to Eden Park.

But you know what would have been really cool? A stadium within a stone's throw of the party zone.

Just sayin'.


We're focused on the Auckland debate in the media in this week's Media7. The panel includes Simon Wilson, author of the pro-Supercity cover story in the current Metro ("Why Rodney Hide has got it right. Really") and Chris Trotter, who delivered a broadside against that story in The Independent.

Also, Hamish Keith, who has established a typically forthright blog as a home for his ideas -- he favours a unitary authority, but with a different configuration to the plan offered by the government -- and Rod Oram.

In the second part of the show, we'll be marking the 25th anniversary of the 1984 snap election, which permanently changed the direction of the country. The panel for that is Marilyn Waring (yes!), Richard Long and Richard Harman.

But here's the thing: because of a longstanding booking at The Classic, tomorrow's recording will be very early: 2pm. So we'd need you there by 1.30pm and have you out before 3pm. The bar will be open, should your nerves need steadying.

If you'd like to come, click Reply and email me.


Tze Ming Mok is doing an amazing job of co-ordinating and passing on news on behalf of the young democracy and reform activists in Iran.

It's all happening via Twitter. But there are two problems there. One is that the regime (in addition to beating and shooting people in the streets) is blocking Twitter wherever it can. The young activists inside the country need a steady flow of secure proxy addresses for them to use over the next few days. If you have any secure proxies for the job, email me and I'll pass them on.

The other problem is an impending maintenance shutdown of Twitter's network by NTT. This would be bad. The suggestion is that you email noc@ntt.net to get their attention on this.

If you want to follow Tze Ming, she's @tzemingdynasty and the tags are #iranelection and #nomaintenance .

Update: Twitter has just announced a shift of the maintenance window -- but to a WORSE time. But it appears that Twitter staff appreciate the importance of a delay:

@al3x: Yes, we are communicating the importance of keeping the service running to our hosting provider. We'll see what we can do.

The emailing might have done its job now. Perhaps time to stop emailing the NOC.


Also, if you missed it in the comments yesterday, friends of Chris Knox have set up a blog to keep everyone updated on his condition. You can also leave a message for Chris there.

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