Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where are the foreigners?!

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  • Ian Dalziel,

    Der Wallies...

    The staging of Diwali festivities in Aotea Square was an absolute winner this past weekend, as was the closure of the adjacent stretch of Queen Street for the food stalls.

    Whereas Christchurch City Council, in its wisdom, chose to hamper the possible staging of the popular Diwali Festival in favour of providing parking for RWC Fanzone attendees - so sorry stressed populace, no celebration of the triumph of good over evil for you this year, Brownlee must be proud of his muppets in office - tossers!

    The Indian community is disappointed their annual Diwali Festival has been cancelled in favour of providing parking space for the Rugby World Cup fanzone.
    This is the first year since the annual event started five years ago it will not go ahead.

    ...and it was hardly reported, I saw it in the community Mail and that was about all, aside from the linked blog above.

    Camping within tent...

    Has anyone seen any word on how many instant fines have been issued under the Freedom Camping laws that were pushed through under urgency

    Down South they didn't fine anyone
    In the Wairarapa it seems to be a non-issue
    Round the Queenstown Lakes area they found out that LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) land isn't included in the law's coverage
    I'm sure I saw a headline that the first (and maybe only) Freedom Camper had been fined somewhere, but I can't find it on the web...
    Hang on here it is
    So it looks like another piece of non-essential, or useful, legislation raced through for no good reason...

    a Prieur commitment...

    Westhaven is totally chocker with campervans.
    ...I noticed a lot of French flags there too.

    Hopefully none of them had Zodiacs on the roof...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Camping within tent...

    Loitering within tent?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Loitering within tent?

    more littering with out tent?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    The best thing about the tournament so far is that all kiwis have got to watch the major games live for free. I haven’t spent an extra cent because of the RWC, other than on petrol as a result of traffic jams, and don’t intend to (other than my share of the over $1 billion we’ve spent hosting it). It was fun watching the AB fans walk to the game yesterday while I was riding past the fan trail but they were a quiet bunch. Like a group of shabbily uniformed students heading off to the last assembly of the term or something. Muted jubilation. I advised the 30 or 40 of them on the corner of K Rd and Ponsonby Rd that they still had time to perform a group haka and was met with amazed stares and a stony silence. It felt like they were all farmers visiting from Te Kuiti and the Hawkes Bay or something. Based on the price of milk and the tab for a ticket, perhaps they were.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 365 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    there has been a 30% drop in business confidence over the last month, and some are trying to blame the RWC.

    Key's shameless attempts to paint the RWC as National's Party could yet blow up in his face if the sentiment that the tournament is to blame for a big drop in turnover foments and continues through to the election. After all, it's not like National have got any economic progress to really cheer about (though the media's not calling the bullshit that's being passed out as propaganda), and they've been using the RWC as an election campaign. If that turns out to hurt the economy overall, it's more evidence that they're economic clowns who couldn't run a banana republic.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    I can confirm that Wellington was heaving with foreign tourists over the weekend - the waterfront has been incredible for the last few weeks. And it's pretty much solid campervans all around the bays at the moment. I'll be interested to see how much the campervan population drops off in the next couple of days.

    Anecdotally, I was chatting to my tattooist on Friday, and he said that they've done really well out of the RWC. Lot of tourists taking permanent souvenirs home.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I had this same discussion with the cab driver coming in from the airport on Sat - she blamed it on the local rugby people driving the VIPs around and tour buses - cabs weren't allowed as close to the game as buses were, and the city apparently closed different streets from the ones that they had marked on the maps they'd handed out to the cabbies - she was pretty scathing, the RWC organisation was a complete ballsup as far as she was concerned.

    I had no problem getting a flight to the US and back with 0 notice, the planes aren't packed, I got a whole row to myself on the way back, I don't think there's a big rush of extra people coming for the end of the tournament

    As someone else pointed out most hotels have to have a high occupancy rate if they want to be profitable - the RWC was never going to make them a lot extra, unless they gouged - the South Island however may be quite screwed here - with the RWC mob moving north (no more SI games now) all our RWC tourists are going too and many of the normal flow of tourists may still be staying away until it's over - my cabbie was quite pessimistic about this

    (she still liked Mr Key's smile though)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    if the sentiment that the tournament is to blame for a big drop in turnover foments and continues through to the election

    C'mon, you think they'd allow that to happen? Any economic analysis will get buried sometime in December,.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    Wellington's waterfront has been lovely at the weekends - lots of tourists, and languages - there are a few people about midweek too. Lots of campervans parked abut the place, a few people on the street.

    And numerous companies and departments have travel bans in place - which is of course stopping people doing productive work, as well as cutting hotel revenues.

    We got travel advisories to plan stuff before and after, due to expected price rises, and then we got a revised memo last week from the travel agents to say that prices hadn't got as high as expected.

    That said, I suspect plenty of people get productive work done by having a whole week in the office for a change rather than jumping on and off a plane....

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Whatever the cause, it’s now evident that Rugby World Cup 2011 is not delivering the anticipated hospitality bonanza – or at least delivering it very unevenly.

    Could you explain to me why the frak anyone should ever set foot in a cafe that charged eight bucks for a mediocre latte or that shitty place in Winyard Quarter we went to?

    Takapuna is busy, busy, busy – so I suspect that it may be just the CBD and environs that’s suffering.

    Yup, and I'm certainly talking up the Latin Larder on Hurstmere Road after a damn near perfect brunch on Saturday - most certainly enhanced by the delightful ambiance provided by a party of French rugby fans.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Could you explain to me why the frak anyone should ever set foot in a cafe that charged eight bucks for a mediocre latte or that shitty place in Winyard Quarter we went to?

    It’s a bit like a cargo cult making tree-branch control towers praying for the big aeroplane to land, only to be let down when it never comes.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    There are a number of reasons, but it comes down to 4 factors:

    Greed
    Wishful thinking
    Discretionary time
    Discretionary spending

    There’s significant aversion to the gold rush mentality that’s latent in the psyche of a big segment of NZ society: the “I have more staff so I have to put the price up” $8 latte ( Nooo, you have more staff, because you have more customers so your costs are higher but so is your turnover…), the “we’ll let the place for $5000 a week” myopics who drive the potential market to look for alternatives (has anyone researched year-on-year camper van rentals? ) and it was ALWAYS going to be on the cards that people who travel 20000km aren’t just going to hang around Eden Park for 4 weeks. They’ll want to see the country and if you do the maths, a camper van’s the best alternative.

    True story: I know someone in Nelson who was looking to invest $30k to bring their house up to a decent standard, let it out for the duration and “OF COURSE the rental cottages will be TOTALLY booked out.”
    Last time I looked (during the group games), there was gaping availability, interspersed with a sprinkling of bookings. Same with other accommodation.
    Just how many Italians (where rugby’s a marginal sport) were going to make the trip?

    Assume that leisure time is finite. If you’re going to watch a game on a big screen somewhere, you won’t be able to clone yourself and go out for a meal.
    If you’ve spent your discretionary income on tickets or merchandise, you won’t be able to clone your money for a meal either.
    The Brit's who are here are deleveraging their debt, the Eurozone visitors are being cautious and with the current NZ$ strength, New Zealand is EXPENSIVE.

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    rugby’s a marginal sport

    in all the participating nations except NZ and maybe Wales and Ireland. (Although soccer is big in Wales as well as Gaelic Football in Ireland).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Just a comment about Kingsland. There is an assumption that Kingsland restaurants are somehow deserving of patronage. In my experience restauarants live and die on their food and service. In Kingsland the food is average to bad. The Thai is decent but has bad nights. Little india is OK but can't claim to be cuisine. Bouchon is average on a good day but the service is aweful. Deve was always fine as a middle of the road cafe but it's replacement is not even that good and next door the tapas is simply aweful.

    The highlights in Kingsland are excellent burgers and surprisingly The Neighbourhood bar which has good food. It isn't that far to Valley road and the excellent Serafin Tapas, very good food at Two-Fifteen and the decent pub food at the GPK replacement on the corner. Up in Mt Eden, Molten looked deservingly packed as did it's bar and the cafes while never spectacular seemed to be making their customers happy.

    So maybe just maybe it isn't that Aucklanders are doing something strange by avoiding Kingsland, but rather that they are showing evidence of taste.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Ahem. Canton Cafe.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Bouchon

    As well as the meanings of a class of restaurant, or a cork, a bouchon is also translated as a traffic jam. That's kinda appropriate, given the location.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ahem. Canton Cafe.

    Quite right Russell. Canton Cafe has great chinese food. But you'd have to describe the service as an experience. I love the food but I find I have to be in the right mood to enjoy eating there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I love the food but I find I have to be in the right mood to enjoy eating there.

    Quite – and as I’ve said elsewhere, Soul on the Viaduct might be a tad chi-chi for my taste, but the times I’ve been there it is obvious Judith Tabron puts a lot of effort into getting the front of house staff right. It really does matter; and if I wanted to be patronised and generally dicked around, I have a mother who will do it twice a year for the price of an off-peak toll call. At the very least, a competently run restaurant should have staff who 1) know the menu thoroughly (I'm allergic to onion, so I really need what's going to make me vomit), and, 2) have the presence of mind to take an order accurately and just keep a party informed if there are problems.

    I don't mind if it's going to take a while for my main to appear, but I should never, ever have to remind the waiter after an hour that I'm not on a fast.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I’m allergic to onion

    That's very rare - my daughter has that. For a couple of years the doctors told us it was probably salicylates, and we weren't giving her most fruit and vegetables. Right pain.

    In Dunedin I think the experience has been that the fans come in on the day or day before of the game, flash mob the octagon bars, and then drive out the day after the game. Four games equals four really good nights, but not too much more. There must have been a bunch of them filling up places around Central Otago though. So there's good money to be made, but only if you're in the right spot (3 blocks down the road is quiet) and only for a short period of time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I was pretty upset when Tabou in Kingsland closed its doors a few months ago. I can't understand why? It seemed to be doing OK.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Christian Mair,

    As a bar owner in Auckland I can only confirm that the RWC has been a disaster business wise.

    I'm sorry to hear that. How do you think the RWC impacted to actually drive business down? Is it because the games are smack bang on your peak times, and most people are staying at home or with friends for these? That does suck, but I must confess that's been my own pattern - not enough cash to go out, and a very entertaining night in is guaranteed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I tried the new fast kebab shop in Kingsland a month before the cup. The guy did that fucking annoying thing of rolling the tin foil into the kebab so it makes a fucking mess if you try to eat it in your hands. It can be made so that the foils is entirely on the outside of the food, and you can peel it down bit by bit, which makes it a very convenient hand-food. I asked him why he did that, and he said "It's always done like that, it's traditional". I pointed out that I'd had many kebabs that didn't do it that way, and he appeared to have no idea what I meant, and no intention of changing. A month later, he was still doing it. Some people don't really deserve repeat business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Soul on the Viaduct might be a tad chi-chi for my taste, but the times I’ve been there it is obvious Judith Tabron puts a lot of effort into getting the front of house staff right.

    We had lunch there once and the fish was overcooked, we had had only one mouthful and the waitress noticed that we didn't have the look of pleasure that is usually associated with their fish and immediately came to insist that it go back and be replaced. Note this wasn't the formula "how is everything?" this was a waitress who was actively watching her tables to make sure the customers were enjoying their meals. That is great service. Oh and the fish when it was replaced was great. There is a reason that Soul has been so successful for so long.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster, in reply to jb,

    (has anyone researched year-on-year camper van rentals? )

    I'd be interested too, from what we see in the regions the camper van rental companies must be having the time of their lives! Driving down Thames coast two weekends ago we passed a convoy of camper vans (heading up to Coromandel) with French flags - maybe about 15 in a row?

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Fully booked != Profit bonanza. A hotel that isn't going bust needs to have 70-80% occupancy anyway. So a few nights booked out might mean a 30% or so revenue uplift for those nights

    What would hotels expect? To be fully booked for months before and after games? They were only ever going to be booked for a night or three either side of games in their area. For some areas that was two games, for somewhere like Wellington it's half a dozen and for Auckland it's 11 games, though several of them were back to back.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

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