Ah, so your criticism is not so much about the economic benefits (or lack thereof) but about the desperately dull experience of attending or working on conferences and other talkfests? Can't disagree with you on that one (if in my overly literal way I've understood you right)
Heh, maybe, just wanted to respond to any narrative that large conferences, per se, are a bad bad thing. If NZ is serious about better living standards, education, health, gap between rich and poor etc, then economic input from visitor industry will be a huge part of being able to afford it, and conference sector is one of the highest value tourism sectors. Big conferences by international standards are around 1500 plus (in Melbourne they can accommodate 5000 plus). As far as I know Auckland can only do 1500 or so in one place (Ellerslie) but might be able to bigger numbers spread across a few venues. Problem is that conference organisers prefer single sites so usually take the conference elsewhere (i.e offshore). The many small NZ businesses that feed off that conference industry in turn suffer. I haven't seen the actual business case, but I am told that a larger conference centre is expected to deliver a number of big events and conferences that would not have otherwise come. How many? Don't know.
Sorry don't quite understand the logic. Would not a large number of international delegates, here to attend large international conferences that Auckland and NZ as yet does not have appropriate sized facilities to host, all spending plenty per day on goods and services and various businesses in Auckland, and going back to fheir country to advocate for visiting NZ, be good for the city?
Heh .. remember seeing Lee Perry at the Hammersmith in 1991 ..... the man was definitely receiving signals on a different frequency than anyone else that night.
Don't disagree with some of your points at all James, but personally don't think that the 'market model' is the real culprit here. There are good examples of well-run privately owned infrastructure organisations (Ports of Tauranga, Auckland Airport), and examples of well run publicly owned infrastructure organisations (Mighty River Power, Wellington Airport). I'm just not convinced that the nature of the owner (i.e. public or private) is the primary factor in good or bad organisational performance.
Well .... I certainly don't know anywhere enough about exactly why the Ports finds itself in this position, but I would hesitate to argue that it proves the market model has been found wanting .... the market model seems to be working fine for Tauranga.
I’d suggest the number of cars parked in the camping areas might have something to do with it.
Possibly, although we arrived very early Friday morning (thoroughly recommended for a stress-free set-up) and were clearly told we had to move the cars once set-up in the family camping area. However, friends who arrived much later discovered that all the car-parks were by then full, and were directed to park next to their tents. There may just have been a chronic shortage of space for parks.
We took the kids for the first time, 12 and 10, and what we missed out on in terms of unleashing our early morning weird, we more than made up on in terms of seeing it all through their eyes. Agree that the provision for families made a huge difference to the atmosphere.
Although the portaloo and final day swimming in the sea situation got a bit grim at times. Also had some very minor problems with tent site allocation, some sunburn, some strange experiences in the Living Lounge, some loud snorers (possibly myself included) and some serious queues for food and drink. Oh, another minor gripe about the fire engine shuttle, which wouldn't let kids on without a gold coin donation, and didn't have a bracelet credit reader to charge them.
Really sorry for those folks who had a bad time the Friday night and who may have been put off, hopefully it can be fixed for next time. But from our perspective the cons were vastly outweighed by the pros. All up it was a great experience.
Hiccups aside, best festival in NZ bar none. The location is outstanding. Something for everyone. The art and lighting was great. Enjoyed the early afternoons in the Hoohaa area, had a great time in the DJ tent, enjoyed the Firemans Social Club. Had fun at the dance-off with my daughter. Had good quality time with dear friends. The people-watching was awesome. And the Cuban Brothers gave me one of my most exhilarating and sheer fun gig experiences ever.
We'll definitely be back.With more comfortable shoes.
Putting on my local hat
I live in the area. For what its worth I have always known it was a likely motorway designation and bought our house on a 'buyer beware' basis.
I also recognise that regardless of the merits of motorways v public transport (and long-term I think truly global cities commonly feature a good public transport system, which Auckland clearly does not) it is somewhat pointless having a motorway ring route only 90% completed.
So I accept that the motorway extension should be completed as soon as it can to realise the projected benefits of the full ring route, either through Waterview or more preferably the Rosebank industrial area (which should still be considered as a serious option).
For me the areas of local discontent lie principally around the enormous extent of prior consultation that seems to have been set aside so quickly.
Regardless of political allegiance, the principle of proper consultation and subsequent agreement should not so easily be reversed. Same for the fast-tracking of the resource consent process that is now likely. National voters should feel as uncomfortable about this distortion of process as Labour voters.
Another area of concern is the costings - I'm yet to be convinced by anyone that the new numbers are a true apple to apple comparison with any of the previous numbers issued by Transit when they outlined the rationale for the tunnel preference.
A true cost/benefit analysis for any large infrastructure project should include all costs, including social and environmental costs such as loss of scarce green-belt, and the ongoing costs of consultation, consent and home purchase processes.
Its been politically opportune for National to use this issue to divide the electorate and paint Labour as fiscally irresponsible and Mt Albert residents as NIMBY's.
However I genuinely don't believe that this is necessarily a case of NIMBYism in terms of the residents.
Locals (by and large) accept the motorway is going to be built and that there are regional benefits, and had worked through a proper democratic consultation process to ensure that the social and environmental costs were minimised where possible. Now that process looks like it will need to start all over again.
In the long run (and we'll all be looking back at this with much interest in 5 years hence) I'm not at all convinced that this decision will generate significant savings in cost or time from earlier proposals (particularly once the consultation is effectively duplicated and the likely delays in obtaining consents are factored in), or that the likely increase in social and environmental impact will make any objective cost/benefit analysis stack up.