A new iconic bridge would be nice but not as a draw for people overseas (says the person living overseas) - but to augment the already superb Auckland Harbour. The question of the old one is more pertinent - removing old bridges is pretty difficult if they're not safety hazards (which it the old one may not be without the clip-ons). Difficult because once the new one (or tunnel) has been finished, they'll (collective they) will realise the new bridge is up to capacity and hesitate about getting rid of the old one....and will the old one look right by the new one (I actually like the old one!).
Whatever happens, it needs a rail option (as should every new motorway put into Auckland from now on). You could get around the pedestrian and cycle option by making the bridge crossing free for those two users (no pun intended), thereby encouraging both but not letting them get in the way of the high volume traffic.
And putting rail over to a dead end on the North Shore - it'll always remain a dead end until there's a rail crossing - once that's there you could extend it in some form all the way up the motorway corridor.
Auckland needs a good rail service and that should be the primary focus of these big transport enhancements - new roads are always going to fill up but commuter rail investment usually has substantial benefits
Yes, you can hear/read the frustration of someone who's travelled to loads of cities around Europe and seen smaller cities, more sprawled cities, poorer cities, more geologically and archaeologically challenged cities - with new trams, new subways and more and wondered why we couldn't do it at home.
I second that "Good one Joshua" comment - good blog too for a transport geek like me :)
I'm crap at remembering names too - when you don't have any reason to remember their names, you don't - then when you finally know them enough to remember their names, it's too late to ask.
The XDCD cartoon Names always makes me smile in this regard:
Fortunately MY fiancée has a distinctive name (she's Polish) that makes it rather unforgettable (that, and she'd hit me if I forgot it!).
I'd go for the status quo too (even though it makes no difference to me directly - I'm in London where the rate is 17.5% on most things).
If you have exemptions your get weird exceptions as quoted from Wikipedia "The UK also exempts or lowers the rate on some products depending on situation; for example milk products are exempt from VAT, but if you go into a restaurant and drink a milk drink it is VAT-able." Many other variations on this exist.
Also, with food and other things GST exempt - the government might make up the (surely considerable) shortfall by increasing GST in other areas - especially with NZ's GST rate being relatively low by international first world standards.
If they did make changes to combat price rises there should be some mechanism to reverse the situation if prices go back down again - otherwise the justification is wrong.
People have also mentioned that it should be exempt on healthy products - milk has been suggested. That's where people's definitions of healthy comes into play - I love milk but I know that dropping lattes all day reduces my weight so go figure.
Yes, life is tough - lattes - but that's my opinion ;)
RE: the Free Tibet flags (can I have the steak knives instead?) - this could be a legitimate thing. If China has such control over the media, the locals might not know what the Free Tibet flag looks like because of that very control. I had to look it up myself.
I jumped when ihug launched the unlimited data plan ( I was one of the suckers on Apple eWorld!) and remember dragging my Mac into the Newton Road office of ihug (when it was one room) and dialling up from their room so we could figure out how to configure MacPPP or ConfigPPP (or something like that) so it could even dial in.
Netscape was fun up until 2 - when you downloaded new versions you actually got new features that were tangible and you could understand - like tables (oooo) and frames (aaaaahh).
Now we do have good standards compliance on the internet but you need to be a geek to figure out how to anything complicated - back then your average guy (or gal) could become an expert of all there was to know in no time at all.
Oh, well - at least we still have about:mozilla
PS: I like the zoo too. I went back with a friend and her kids a couple of years back and it is a small treasure as is the Auckland Museum.
Reminds me of when I was young and not cynical too!
I agree that Wellington (despite being small) feels like a proper city. In fact it reminds me a little of Hong Kong (big city squeezed between a mountain and the sea).
I'd defend Auckland though - it's architecture has improved over the years and the CBD looks much more modern (or rather new) than Sydney's.
What it IS lacking is both decent public transport (proper cities have more than buses!) and a CBD with retail (Auckland CBD is souvenir shop hell).
Sydney's CBD is a joy to visit with major stores and malls - Auckland at least used to have Farmer's and now all we have is Whitcoulls and Borders and the coolness around High Street/Vulcan Lane. It could be much improved.
Maybe a way would be to fix the other shortcoming - it's lack of decent public transport. Apart from anything else, it would help drag people to the central city. Proper cities have rail - period. Sydney has ferries that are an extension to the buses and trains - your transport ticket pays for it. Other countries have light rail and trams - and the excuse that Auckland isn't big enough is bull - lots of European cities have trams and their populations are about 1M people.
Just DO something - put a light rail line in where the Eastern Highway was supposed to go. Put a railway to the airport. Build light rail lines at the same time as motorways - in the same places - no excuses.
Rant rant. Hmmmmm........
Well, I can only talk from having lived in London and Auckland and visited Sydney but I felt that Sydney was incredibly racist.
I know lots of lovely Australians from different ethnic groups (and Sydney has a lot of big ethnic groups) but in Sydney it is totally acceptable to go "bloody chink" or "bloody abos" or worse - it just rolls off the tongue there. And not just English white versus the rest - everyone seems to be at it - like a scene from a Spike Lee movie (I can't remember which one).
Rather than group together, the various ethnic groups just look for another minority to slag off.
And Aboriginal history just seems a reason to attract tourist and sell souvenirs (admittedly, like Maori culture 30 years ago).
Auckland isn't perfect (and I'd expect the rest of NZ to be a little worse due to the higher ratio of Europeans as you go south) but in the last 10-20 years (yes, since the Waitangi Tribunal) NZ has gone from laughing at correct Maori pronunciation to an actual appreciation of it. To, generally, appreciating our multicultural nature.
And - very noticeable coming back to NZ once a year - changing from "little Britain" to a merging high breed of our different cultures - something I am very proud of. For every "idiot speech" like Don Brash's in Orewa, we seem to be heading in the right direction where a person who makes an overt statement of racism is treat like an idiot - and not just thought of as normal as seems to be the case in Australia were even non-racists will go "too many bloody abos there".
I may have a fairy tale view of NZ but I think it's getting better all the time. And PublicAddress is a good example where I enjoy reading Tze Ming Mok a lot and also miss Che for his perspectives not just on the Maori side of the equation (although I'm beginning to question if side is the right term - more variable geometry) but also his insight into Australia.
All very well in theory but suffers from closer investigation - and the problems you get with the death sentence.
* They hardly keep statistics on criminals lack of body parts.
* Some crimes don't have obvious bits to cut off.
* What about severity of the crime? Do we measure how much comes off?
* You're hardly going to be a dangerous offender to start with if you're missing legs.
* Abu Hamza - missing a hand and an eye (and probably a sense of reality) jailed for inciting religious hatred and death (probably led to the 7/7 bombings on London's Tube).
* If you get a miscarriage of justice, an innocent person loses a body part.
Then again, I'm sure you wrote tongue firmly in cheek - watch out, that might get amputated! Nope, we still, fortunately, have freedom of the press and freedom of expression - bloody liberals :)
Well, it must almost be time for another bunch of Auckland politicians to go on a jaunt around the world to look at public transport options - then come back and do nothing.
From the perspective of someone who hails from Howick (supposed to be the busiest highway in the country) and now lives in London, Auckland's public transport is an embarrassment.
To actually have the western line double tracked - finally - is amazing that it too so long and whenever there's any mention of light rail options they never mention East Auckland, supposedly the most commutered area of New Zealand.
The outright dismissal of an extension to Auckland Airport with the argument "there's no demand for it" (which seems to be the justification for all things in Auckland public transport) is silly.
We now have a lovely new central rail station - when are the politicians (and that's where the job needs to be done) going to get a comprehensive plan going. Even one new line would get things going.
I've travelled all around Europe and while an "underground" system would be incredibly expensive, light rail and tram systems seem to be able to be deployed quite readily.
Instead of ridiculous eastern highway plans, why not spend a tiny amount on putting a rail line in?
The harbour bridge, state highway 1, everything - knock off a lane either way and put in a regularly running light rail line. We have new highway connections going in all over the place - like Te Irirangi linking Manukau and Howick/Pakuranga - why not reserve lanes for rail?
Rant, rant, rant. Why does putting a new motorway (which will be saturated with traffic almost immediately) seem like a good idea when putting a rail line (where you can add frequency and add more cars to the trains to increase the number of users) seems like brain surgery?
I was in Istanbul in the weekend and they had a modern tram running through their historic town. Athens built a new underground line through their central city - and had to work almost every inch through 2-3000 year old archaeology sites. Auckland has to lay rails along a modern, straight and relatively flat motorway or main road and we can't do it?! But we can put an 6 or 8 lane highway around most of the city.
As for clean and green!
Scott .... rant, rant, rant
Yes, mermaids! Seeking mermen! See why it puts me off?!
I'd have to point out that in the UK and in the US there's quite a few fake profiles there to target unsuspecting, genuine people. A variation of the "Nigerian letters".
Profiles with "I've had tough times" and especially repetition of honesty and god fearing (which is quite funny given they're accompanied by model shots - sometimes in bikinis!).
There's been more variations of this on some instant messaging - yes, maybe I should go outside at some stage ;) - where you can get hilarious conversations like "I really like Auckland" "Why?" "For the Queens Street and walking in Eden Park".
Like almost everything virtual, you need to bring your brain along just like in real life...and I don't feel like chatting up strangers in bars as get older. Apart from anything else, when I see an attractive woman alone in a bar, I presume she's waiting for her boyfriend (or girlfriend) - if I think she's hot someone else must!