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Doing it in Auckland


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: October 09, 2009, 01:12:04 pm »


Brian Rudman: Agency's $1.29 credibility toll

The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Friday, October 09, 2009

In 2005, there were red faces all round when Transit New Zealand admitted its calculations showed $1.35 of the proposed $1.80 car toll for the Orewa-to-Puhoi motorway would be gobbled up in administration costs.

Despite these dire predictions, Labour politicians and the road builders decided to go ahead.

To the embarrassment of all involved, the road builders' predictions have, for once, been proven accurate.

Figures for the first five months of operation of the Northern Gateway Toll Road, to June 30, reveal that, on average, it cost $1.29 in transaction costs to collect each $2 car toll.

For those paying by phone, it would have been cheaper to have waved them through for free. Each $2 phone payment cost $2.70 to administer.

Not that Transit's successor, the NZ Transport Agency, mentions any of this awkward detail in its upbeat press release.

That document prefers to emphasise that road use was 8 per cent higher than forecast and 94 per cent of customers paid their toll.

"The strong demand for the road and the high level of compliance are testament to the benefits it offers to motorists," said the agency's regional director, Wayne McDonald.

"Having achieved our initial goal of getting motorists to use the toll road, we're now concentrating on refining and improving the toll collection system."

As well they might, because under the legislation establishing the system, the Government agreed that $1.13 of the $2 collected was to go towards paying for the motorway, 65c was for transaction charges and 22c would go in GST.

In its operating report, the Transport Agency says: "This means we can claim only up $0.65 from each toll to cover our operational costs."

To make up the difference between the 65c permitted transaction costs and the actual figure of $1.29, the agency has had to dig into its own pocket.

The report says the agency "expected costs associated with establishing the tolling business would be higher than this [65c] in the first years of operation".

But that rather begs the question, why did it agree to a 65c cap for each operational transaction if it knew there wasn't a hope of meeting it?

Were the road builders trying to mislead the politicians, or were the politicians and the road builders set on misleading the rest of us?

The report says the Transport Agency set aside money to cover "high up-front costs associated with establishing the tolling business over the initial years of operation".

But how long can you go on arguing one-off set-up costs? The answer when it comes to road toll systems, it seems, is open-ended.

"Our challenge," says the Transport Agency, "is to reduce the transaction charge to our goal of $0.65 by the end of the toll road's fifth year of operation."

Note here that the cap of 65c has not-so-subtly become "a goal", to be aimed at from a level nearly double the legal limit.

To help massage the figures, the agency "agreed not to charge the Northern Gateway Toll Road the overhead costs associated with the co-ordination and management activities seated within our national office" until the fifth year of operation.

Other waived charges included the costs of ambassadors to help people at the pay kiosks, the use of security guards during the installation of closed-circuit TV surveillance, "and higher than expected maintenance costs due to the high demand placed on the kiosks".

Despite all this sleight of hand, the report concludes that the experience of the first five months shows "electronic toll collection can play an important role in bringing about the early construction and the successful operation of strategically important roads in New Zealand".

Pardon? To me, having to spend $1.29 to collect a $2 toll shows anything but this.

Even if you remove the "non-recurring" costs, the Transport Agency calculates the transaction cost at $1.06, or 53 per cent of a car toll.

This sort of charging is more reminiscent of the fees billed by cowboy charity fundraisers than the prudent taxing methods of a government department.

It's bad enough that Aucklanders have to pay an extra tax for roads that the rest of the country gets for free. But if we are to be stung twice, at least we deserve to have it done efficiently through, for example, a regional fuel tax.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10602181&pnum=0
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2009, 01:16:39 pm »


Editorial: Blame the bus company — not the drivers

The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Friday, October 09, 2009

The 80,000 Auckland bus passengers who had to find alternative means of getting to work yesterday had good reason to feel annoyed. Many, almost as a knee-jerk reaction, probably blamed the 900 drivers employed by NZ Bus for their difficulties.

If so, their anger was misdirected. Commuters were denied their customary ride to work not because of strike action but because the company chose to lock out the drivers after their trade unions had issued a work-to-rule notice. This was an over-the-top act, given the predictably chaotic consequences for the company's customers.

NZ Bus has clearly decided to go on the front foot in this dispute, after five months of unsuccessful pay negotiations. Whether because of the ideological bent of its owner, infrastructure investment company Infratil, or for purposes of strategy, it has elected, essentially, to get its retaliation in first.

This represents something of a novel twist in industrial relations. More customarily, employers are at the mercy of union action, and must wait for the hammer to fall. Employers rightly dislike the one-sided nature of this industrial roulette.

Unions wave such immediate threats around with little regard for a company's revenue. In this instance, NZ Bus has decided it will dictate the terms of a dispute.

Not coincidentally, perhaps, its action follows a lockout late last month at a Waikato dairy factory. Thirty-six workers, about half the permanent workforce at Talley's Waharoa cheese plant, were turned away after a pay disagreement.

The company's action undoubtedly inflamed the dispute, as did its introduction of outside workers to maintain the factory's output, leading to claims and counter-claims of industrial and environmental sabotage.

The use of the same tactic by NZ Bus is going to embitter proceedings, particularly because the unions had planned simply to work to rule.

This would have caused relatively minor inconvenience to passengers as drivers declined to operate buses with safety defects, or without working radio telephones, and drove to the speed limit, rather than stepping on it to keep up with their tight timetables.

Certainly, it would have been nowhere near as disruptive as the situation precipitated by the lockout. And just as unions deserve criticism when their activity grossly inconveniences the travelling public, so, too, do employers.

NZ Bus has also done itself no favours in the way that it has sought to portray its drivers. Its general operations manager, Zane Fulljames, has accused the unions of having no interest in settling the dispute responsibly.

It could be resolved very simply, he said, if they lifted their notice of strike action. This transparent attempt to turn irritated members of the public against the drivers does not deserve sympathy. A notice to work to rule is as far away from a notice of strike action as a lockout is from a reasoned and measured response to this dispute.

The company's offer of a 10.5 per cent pay increase over three years may or may not be, as it claims, "very substantive". What is certain is that the lockout will have hardened the resolve of the unions to strive for better.

The Tramways Union indicated yesterday that its members were in no mood to back down. That suggests worse may be ahead for commuters. They have been locked out of an essential service just as firmly as the drivers. Some, having found alternative means of commuting, may never return to the buses. The credibility of the public transport system will have been further damaged.

That image suffered four years ago when the bus drivers, then employed by Stagecoach, took unprecedented strike action in support of a pay claim. In that instance, the unions were out of line. This time, it is NZ Bus. It is in the interests of both to pay more attention to those who pay the biggest price.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10602125
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2009, 03:12:27 pm »


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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2009, 06:19:06 pm »


Robots park the cars in radical Ironbank

By ANNE GIBSON - The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Monday, November 02, 2009

The Ironbank building on Karangahape Road. — Photo: Brett Phibbs.

The Ironbank building on Karangahape Road.
 — Photo: Brett Phibbs.


A radical new Auckland building is one of the country's first high-rise office blocks without air conditioning - but with robots parking cars.

The Ironbank at 150-154 Karangahape Road is a six-level office/shopping development completed and being leased by one of the city's wealthiest landlords, Samson Corporation.

Daniel Friedlander of Samson is drawing praise in the architectural community for commissioning RTA and pushing the limits of innovation with the unusual building, on the old Deka site on the Newton side of K Road in the Queen St/Mercury Lane block.

In mid-October, the 4500sq m building won RTA Studio an Institute of Architects' Auckland area prize, praised for being great on every level and an example of what the development community should strive for.

Architect Malcolm Walker described it in Urbis Magazine as "kindergarten day in a shipping yard".

He said the iron giant, clad in GRC concrete and rusted weathering steel and whose towers of copper-coloured boxes he likened to "a stack of Ned Kelly rejects", was RTA's most complex and adventurous building.

Vehicle entry into the basement is via the one-way Cross Street running parallel with K Road. Lights embedded in the floor guide cars to one of three ‘virtual garages’. These are temporary parking spaces for cars before robot-like parking machines arrive to move the vehicles and place the car somewhere on the four-level wall behind.

In these virtual garages, cars are driven on to a circular-shaped grid or rotating turntable behind plate glass doors. The driver leaves the garage and confirms he or she has left on the ticket station outside the garage.

The glass doors shut and the car is scanned for pets and people before a robot arrives to shift the car.

That robot or trans-elevator lifts the car by its wheels into a vertical parking bay. On return, the driver swipes a computer chip (proximity locator) in front of a screen to have the car moved off the wall and parked back into the virtual garage.

Once the car is back inside, a turntable beneath it rotates 180 degrees to allow the driver to leave without having to reverse.

After the car is rotated, the glass doors open, the driver returns to the vehicle and drives out of the basement on to Cross Street.

Friedlander said the building with a small footprint had parking for 95 cars, at least a third more than possible with more traditional carparking systems.

"The technology for this automated carparking system came from Italy and the structural equipment from China."

Auckland carparking specialist Olympia Group is operating the system and its general manager, Brett Jenkins, said the robot-like carparking machines were actually electronically programmed silomets which ran without the need of people to be present.


Ironbank's fully automatic car stacking system is said to be the first of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. — Photo: Brett Phibbs.

Ironbank's fully automatic car stacking system is said to be
the first of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.
 — Photo: Brett Phibbs.


In a radical departure for a new Auckland high-rise, the offices above have no airconditioning.

"You don't need air conditioning. Just open a window," said Friedlander, unlocking a pair of floor-to-ceiling north-facing glass doors. A night-purging system automatically senses the temperature and opens and closes high, secure side-windows.

Friedlander said he was not aiming to accommodate traditional-style office workers at Ironbank but instead was expecting "people who are creative, energetic, maybe in the IT area".

The street-level retail areas would attract art gallery and restaurant tenants, he said, while the offices might suit graphic designers and IT workers.

Walker praised Samson's vision.

"Buildings don't just arrive through some magical process and it takes clients with the initial vision and understanding to be able to initiate (and fund) them," said Walker.

"Richard Naish of RTA says Samson led the project, supporting its unconventionality and at times asking them to go further, to try harder. These buildings are not short-term investments. Payback comes from point of difference and quality."

Regarding cost, Friedlander would say only that it was between $20 million and $40 million.

Daniel's father, Michael Friedlander, appears on the NBR Rich List at $700 million, said to be the country's richest landlord with hundreds of shops, showrooms, houses, warehouses and commercial buildings. The Friedlanders own many of Ironbank's neighbours and have a website, forlease.co.nz, advertising their space.

But Daniel Friedlander said Ironbank, which had not a single tenant mid-October, was not purely a commercial play. "Anyone can build a box.

"What does the market not have? What would add value to a tenant?" he asked, castigating Auckland City Council for not encouraging excellence in urban design.

"The trouble we had building good architecture and design — anywhere else in the world, a council would be proactive but not in New Zealand."

The Green Building Council is assessing Ironbank which Friedlander expects to score at least 40 points and get five green stars.

ECO-FRIENDLY BUILDING


  • System for harvesting water.

  • That water used for toilets.

  • Recycled building materials.

  • Solar water-heating system.

  • Robot-controlled carparking.

  • No air conditioning.

  • Natural ventilation system.

  • Night-purge air system.

  • Low-emissivity glass.

  • Energy-saving fluorescent tube lights.

  • Ground-floor bike parks and showers.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10606661&pnum=0



So what happens when the power goes off?

Do we have to put up with JAFAs whinging because their cars are stuck in cubbyholes up in the wall?  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2009, 06:23:14 pm »

robots might be a better option than the walking dead they use at the casino when you want to valet park!!
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 09:41:54 pm »

No airconditioning but windows that open instead.

I'll give that a half hearted yay. Why? Humidity.

One of the most sucky things about Auckland is the humidity IMO. I don't tolerate it very well.
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2009, 02:12:35 pm »


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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2009, 09:23:34 am »


Paris not laughing at ‘vacant’ billboards

By LOIS CAIRNS - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 08 November 2009

PRETTY VACANT: Socialite Paris Hilton isn't happy with how her image is being used. — MICHAEL BRADLEY/Sunday Star Times.

PRETTY VACANT: Socialite Paris Hilton isn't happy with how her image is being used. — MICHAEL BRADLEY/Sunday Star Times.

PARIS HILTON is not amused. The American hotel heiress is upset a photo of her is being used to advertise vacant billboard space in Auckland.

The photo, which shows Hilton partying, has the word "vacant" written in giant-sized lettering across it.

Hilton's Los Angeles-based manager Jamie Freed said Wellington billboard company, Media5, had no permission to use Hilton's image, and they could expect to hear from Hilton's lawyers.


Vacant Billbroads!

Earlier this year film director Woody Allen received $US5 million in damages for the unauthorised use of his image in a billboard advertising campaign for clothing giant American Apparel.

Allen objected to the use of his picture in the Los Angeles-based company's billboards, which showed him dressed in Hasidic Jewish clothing above the American Apparel logo and the words "the holy rebbe" in Yiddish.

American Apparel is the United States' biggest T-shirt manufacturer. Since last year it has been owned by New Zealand millionaire Eric Watson's firm Endeavour Corp.

Allen initially demanded $US10m in damages for the use of his image in breach of his longstanding refusal to endorse commercial interests, but settled with the company out of court in a bid to avoid a potentially embarrassing trial that had been expected to last up to a month.

Adam McGregor from Media5 told the Sunday Star-Times the company, which had grown from having 35 to 70 advertising sites in Wellington and Auckland, was not using Hilton to endorse their billboards. They were "just having a bit of fun".

"We wanted to draw some attention to some of our unsold display as we expanded, so we briefed a friend who runs his own boutique agency to work up a range of creative concepts. We liked the ones he came up with using high-profile public figures the best because they were fun.

"We were thinking about using Winston Peters, but Paris is much prettier and she has a proven ability to laugh at herself. We assume that the agency has taken care of the rights to the image of Paris, but we will ask the question," McGregor said.

If Hilton's lawyers asked for her image to be removed from the billboard, the company would probably oblige. "We're not trying to offend anyone."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/3041776/Paris-not-laughing-at-vacant-billboards
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2009, 01:52:51 pm »


Steps help native fish avoid the rush hour

By MATHEW DEARNALEY - The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Heb Construction's environment manager Fiona Mountfort sizes up a fish ladder inside a culvert. — Photo: Greg Bowker.

Heb Construction's environment manager Fiona Mountfort sizes up a fish ladder inside a culvert. — Photo: Greg Bowker.

When cars and trucks cruise along Auckland's new Hobsonville motorway from 2012, fish and eels should be splashing happily up a network of "ladders" being built in culverts beneath them.

The contraptions, series of rectangular plastic blocks screwed to the bases of about 20 culverts under the motorway and an associated two-lane northern extension of State Highway 16, are designed to break water flows and provide resting platforms for fish such as native kokopu or inanga on their journeys upstream.

They are being built by Transport Agency contractor Heb Construction to the specifications of a freshwater biologist.

They were required as part of Auckland Regional Council resource consents for the $220 million motorway project, which began a year ago as part of the 48km western ring route between Manukau and Albany.

Downstream watercourses are also being reshaped and their banks planted out, to provide shady pools for fish to laze in, before or after their journeys through the culverts.

Members of the local iwi, Ngati Whatua Nga Rima o Kaipara, helped a project landscape team catch hundreds of fish and eels from streams where 15km of culverts have since been installed, and to release them into other watercourses for the construction period.

Exceptions were koi carp and gold fish, which were destroyed to prevent further degradation of water quality for the native fish.

Transport Agency northern highways manager Tommy Parker said workers had also noticed dotterels nesting in risky locations inside the construction zone, which runs 6km along a motorway route between Upper Harbour Bridge and Massey North, and 2.2km from the end of State Highway 16 to Brigham Creek Road.

That followed extensive efforts by Heb to ensure staff were aware of the project's effect on the environment.

Wildlife experts were alerted, and the dotterel eggs were rescued and taken to Auckland Zoo, where they were hatched.

Mr Parker said the agency recognised that building motorways was disruptive, and wanted to be good neighbours regardless of its obligations to follow resource consent guidelines.

"The fish ladders are a good example of that," he said.

"We consulted extensively with the community and local iwi about our plans for protecting the waterways around the Hobsonville deviation project."

Meanwhile, the first of seven bridges to be completed across the motorway has been opened on Trig Road, for Whenuapai traffic, to allow earth to be dug out to a depth of 11m beneath it.

Traffic at the eastern end of the project will be moved on Sunday to permanent westbound lanes of the new motorway for a short distance between Upper Harbour Bridge and Buckley Avenue, to allow another bridge to be built for local access.

At the western end, where the new motorway will join SH16, traffic using a large temporary roundabout will be transferred on Sunday, December 13 to a new bridge which will become part of Hobsonville Road.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10612672
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2009, 02:16:11 pm »


Now I wonder why JAFAs held an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the start of NZ's first scheduled airline service two weeks before the anniversary date? And I also wonder why the JAFAs jumped in two weeks early to celebrate the anniversary of an event that occured in the REAL NZ and not in JAFAville? Could it perhaps be that the JAFAs are jealous because REAL NZers living in Hokitika, Whataroa, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Bruce Bay, Haast, Okuru, Jacksons Bay, Gisborne, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch and Dunedin all had scheduled airline services before the JAFAs got scheduled airline services?  Wink



Vintage aircraft fly in to celebrate NZ’s first airline

By MICHELLE LOTTER - North Harbour News | Friday, 04 December 2009

UP AND AWAY: Stan Smith, pictured over the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, is flying his de Havilland Fox Moth as part of celebrations for the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s first airline. — Photo: JOHN KING.

UP AND AWAY: Stan Smith, pictured over the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, is flying his de Havilland Fox Moth
as part of celebrations for the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s first airline. — Photo: JOHN KING.


This month marks the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s first airline. And to celebrate the Hokitika and Haast pioneer airline, North Shore airfield at Dairy Flat is running a vintage aircraft fly-in and book launch tomorrow.

Based at the Postman Road airfield is a de Havilland Fox Moth restored by North Shore Aero Club member Stan Smith.

The plane is almost identical to the original 1934 airliner that flew on the West Coast of the South Island, organiser and aviation historian Richard Waugh says.

The Fox Moth restored by Mr Smith was imported in 1947 for light freight and charter work around the South Island, including hauling venison and whitebait on the West Coast.

Hoki to Haast — a new book about the South Westland air service which ran from 1934 until 1967 — incorporates the story of the airline’s development on the West Coast up until now.

"We are most grateful to so many people who have willingly helped us with this big research and publishing project," says Mr Waugh, son of the last South Westland air service pilot.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-harbour-news/3123375/Vintage-aircraft-fly-in-to-celebrate-NZ-s-first-airline



Anniversary show takes off

North Harbour News | Friday, 11 December 2009

DRAGON RUN: A rare de Havilland DH.84 Dragon takes off. — Photo: JILL GUILLEMIN.

DRAGON RUN: A rare de Havilland DH.84 Dragon takes off. — Photo: JILL GUILLEMIN.

Stormy Friday weather stopped some vintage planes making it to the North Shore Aero Club Vintage Fly in on Saturday, but there were still great crowds.

The North Shore Aero Club celebrated the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s first airline with a variety of vintage planes on show.

Laurie Larsen, 96, of St Heliers was there to celebrate, being one of the passengers on the original Fox Moth used by the airline in 1937.


FOND MEMORIES: Laurie Larsen, 96, of St Heliers was a passenger on the original Fox Moth in 1937. — Photo: JILL GUILLEMIN.

FOND MEMORIES: Laurie Larsen, 96, of St Heliers
was a passenger on the original Fox Moth in 1937.
 — Photo: JILL GUILLEMIN.


The show featured the DH83C Fox Moth, which had a complete rebuild and is one of only two Canadian Fox Moths in the world still flying.

There was also a Nanchang CJ6 Chinese Air Force advanced trainer, and a DH84A Dragon which is one of only two in the world that are still airworthy.

The following day thousands gathered for the Browns Bay Beach Fly Past Aero Show.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-harbour-news/3147159/Anniversary-show-takes-off
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 02:17:07 pm »


I guess this means that the JAFAs will be putting their hands out for money from the REAL NZ?  Wink



Calls to fast-track new crossing

By JODEAL CADACIO - North Shore Times | 5:00AM - Friday, 11 December 2009

Build a bridge, and....

The government should speed up work on getting a new harbour crossing, a North Shore business leader says.

The local business community is making the call after the government’s announcement confirming the route for a third Waitemata Harbour crossing.

Saying the "clock is ticking," North Harbour Business Association general manager Gary Holmes, adding planning for its construction must be given the highest priority.

"My fear is we have seen this all before and it has come to nothing because of the lack of political will to see it through," says Mr Holmes, a long time advocate of an additional crossing.

He says the association is concerned about the "strategic vulnerability of relying on one ageing and already inadequate transport route."

"Admittedly the problems associated with financing the construction and the potential social dislocation are daunting, but the prospects of not making a responsible effort to get it under way are far more disturbing."

He says the fact that Transport Minister Steven Joyce was showing active interest in the issue is a positive sign.

"If he could make progress on just this one issue, what a legacy he would leave."

Shore MP Wayne Mapp says Mr Joyce’s announcement for the corridor for the new crossing is welcome news for Shore commuters.

He says the assurance that the corridor will be on the eastern side of the bridge from the old toll gate plaza to Wynyard Pt is a confirmation that Shore residents have been looking for.

"The news that the harbour bridge has 20 to 40 years of life left certainly requires a full look at all the options.

"Since I have been a member of Parliament I have been supporting a tunnel option to complement the existing bridge," Mr Mapp says.

Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman joins Mr Mapp in backing the tunnel proposal which he says is his electorate’s preferred option.

"I’ve always supported a tunnel crossing and I’m advocating for it strongly on behalf of the Northcote electorate," Mr Coleman says.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is seeking sub-strata or underground designation for four separate tunnels beneath the bridge — two each for road and rail.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/3146512/Calls-to-fast-track-new-crossing
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 05:11:17 pm »


The main bridge is perfectly ok and will be for quite some time to come.

The problem is that they built it too small so very quickly had to extend it cheaply.

It is the Nippon Clippons hung on each side of the main bridge that will fail in 20-40 years and that is with the strengthing of the box griders that is currently being undertaken to extend the life.

Basically it all comes down to cost cutting from Wellington in both the 1950s and 1960s.


BTW another potential failure is being quietly replaced as we speak.

The Newmarket Flyover will only be in use for a few more months. The new southbound lanes are under construction at present and will carry bidirectional traffic when completed while the existing flyover is demolished in order to build the new north bound lanes.
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2009, 10:00:11 am »

Woo Hoo  - at long last

Price trebles, but the library is back
By Wayne Thompson 4:00 AM Thursday Dec 17, 2009
 
The subject of one of the most bitter planning rows in the 20-year history of North Shore City opens for business today.

But its decade in the making brings benefits to users of the new Birkenhead library and civic centre.

"It's a state-of-the-art library and will be a valuable community heart," said city councillor Tony Holman, who fought to keep the two-level library, with its views across Auckland Harbour, on the priority list.

"I would not settle for a mediocre job - I said it would have to be something for 50 years."

Initially, it was thought that a good building could be done for $3 million.

By the time it came out of the planning stages, the cost was estimated at $6.5 million and the final bill was $9.4 million.

Despite the rising influence of computer technology, the library was still relevant to the community, said North Shore library services manager Geoff Chamberlain.

"People said the internet would replace libraries overnight, but if anything our libraries are stronger.

The new library is designed to give the ability to bring along your laptop and plug in to data empowerment.

"It's also relevant because when the old library closed, the foot traffic in the CBD fell and shopowners could not wait for us to come back to the centre," said Mr Chamberlain.

"Also, we have positioned our libraries to be the heart of the community - a focal point to meet and greet. It used to be the post office, but now that's gone there is hardly anywhere like that. People go to libraries for reasons not all to do with books."

Eight computers, equipped with internet links, await use in the new library's learning centre, and the children's area has another four computers.

"Why would you need those on the North Shore, which has a high personal computer ownership?" said Mr Chamberlain.

"One reason is there may be one PC in the home and several people wanting to use it at the same time. As people become more tuned into laptops, people will still come to libraries - they will bring their PCs along because the atmosphere gets them into a study environment."

The building at the intersection of Hinemoa St and Rawene Rd will house council services, the Citizens' Advice Bureau and Plunket, which have been using temporary premises for five years.

Plunket will move in after the building is officially opened on February 27.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10615983

This is the same library that was pulled down in 2003 to be rebuilt and opened in 2004.
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 08:46:47 am »


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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2010, 11:21:55 am »


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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2010, 01:27:05 pm »


Grand return of Town Hall's centrepiece

The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Friday, March 12, 2010

German restorer Philipp Klais's company spent two years rebuilding the Town Hall organ. — Photo: Brett Phibbs.
German restorer Philipp Klais's company spent two years rebuilding the Town Hall organ. — Photo: Brett Phibbs.

The Auckland Town Hall organ has reclaimed pride of place in the Great Hall after two years of reconstruction in Germany.

Alterations in the 1970s caused the organ to lose its Romantic style and power and growing concerns over its lacklustre sound prompted the $3.5 million restoration.

The Auckland City Council paid $3 million, and the rest came from the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust.

The organ has more than 5300 pipes — the largest about 10m long and weighing 120kg — and restoration took 27,000 hours.

Mayor John Banks said the restored organ was more than just a replica of the original.

"It's a 21st-century instrument in the tradition of the finest concert hall organs, a combination of the best of old and new technology."

Councillor Toni Millar, the spokeswoman for the restoration project, said: "This is the beginning of a new era for us. When our organ is played now, you don't just hear the music, you feel it."

The organ was given to the city by former Mayor Sir Henry Brett when the town hall was officially opened in 1911.

The rebuilding work was done by German specialists Orgelbau Klais.

Restorer Philipp Klais and his team are travelling to New Zealand for the first public performance on March 21.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10631441







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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2010, 01:48:01 pm »

I see that they have shifted the keyboard (is there another name for it?) back to the centre.

It was off to one side when I performed in the hall back in 1980. The choir I was in was sitting right in front of those big bass pipes on the right hand side of those photos.

When the organist hit the bottom note during rehearsal we didn't half jump!

Nobody wanted to sit there during the concert.
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2010, 03:24:49 pm »


Scroll down to Reply #70 on this page in another thread for more info about the new/rebuilt Auckland Town Hall Organ.

The organ is now considerably more powerful (by a huge margin) than it would have been in 1980.

It will be similar to the original 1911 instrument that was butchered in 1969/1970 by Kenneth Aplin of George Croft & Sons.
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2010, 01:59:52 am »


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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2010, 06:34:04 pm »


Town hall organ tries its pipes

By RHIANNON HORRELL - Auckland City Harbour News | 9:38AM - Friday, 19 March 2010

FORMER GLORY: Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust chairman Stephen Hamilton, left, and Auckland mayor John Banks discuss the newly refurbished organ. — Photo: Jason Oxenham.
FORMER GLORY: Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust chairman Stephen Hamilton, left, and Auckland mayor John Banks
discuss the newly refurbished organ. — Photo: Jason Oxenham.


Auckland's musical splendour will hit the high notes this Sunday to celebrate the major refurbishment of the town hall's organ.

The 40-tonne instrument was recently shipped to Germany to be restored by organ specialists Orgelbau Klais.

A special civic inauguration will showcase the intricate work that took two years to achieve.

The organ, complete with 5291 pipes, was altered in the 1970s, and lost its grand romantic style and power.

Concerns about the less-than-optimal sound prompted a $3.5 million restoration in 2007.

Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust chairman Stephen Hamilton says the organ has made a lasting impression on many people over the years.

The trust is working to raise $500,000 for the work to complement the Auckland City Council's $3m contribution and earlier this week handed over $300,000 to the council.

Mr Hamilton says the largest organ pipes, which stretch nearly 10 metres high, weren't shipped to Germany, but everything else was.

It is a third bigger than any other organ in the country and its wooden features are made from spruce, oak, pear, birch and kauri trees.

The historic instrument was first installed in 1911 for the opening of the town hall and was donated by former mayor Henry Brett, who stipulated there must always be free concerts.

Mayor John Banks says the restoration is a tribute to everything great about Edwardian buildings.

"It's a celebration of everything, especially musical Auckland and its heritage."

He says the restored organ is more than a replica of the original because it is now a 21st-century instrument in the tradition of the finest concert hall organs and combines the best of old and new technology.

"My thanks and praise to the unrelenting toil and tenacity," he says of the trust and the German firm that restored it.

"They have delivered at every step."

Mr Banks says the organ should have been refurbished during the 1997 town hall restoration.

"But as always we ran out of cash."

Sunday kicks off a week of organ events, including two organ concerto concerts on March 25 and 27.

This Sunday's free concert is already fully booked, but another free non-ticketed event is being held at 2.30pm on March 28. Go online to aucklandorgan.org.nz.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/auckland-city-harbour-news/3471871/Town-hall-organ-tries-its-pipes



Preview: Auckland Town Hall Organ Official Opening Concert

By WILLIAM DART - The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Sunday, March 21, 2010

Organist and composer John Wells will premiere his new Organ Symphony, and English organist Thomas Trotter will follow on with two recitals. — Photo: Natalie Slade.
Organist and composer John Wells will premiere his new Organ Symphony, and English
organist Thomas Trotter will follow on with two recitals. — Photo: Natalie Slade.


Auckland City Organist and composer John Wells has every justification to be proud, along with all the others who have devoted so much energy to the restoration of the town hall organ. All will be revealed at a grand concert, featuring Wells, three choirs and an orchestra — an event that may rival the splendour of the occasion that inaugurated the newly built hall in December 1911.

The organ's 5291 pipes include a world first — pipes based on the Maori koauau and pukaea, featured in Wells' new Organ Symphony, which will receive its premiere. Not surprisingly, the instrument, painstakingly worked on by Philipp Klais and his German organbuilders, is a 40-tonne package.

Next week, the celebrations continue. Noted English organist Thomas Trotter plays two concerts with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, followed by a recital of his own. Trotter, who has held the post of City of Birmingham organist for 27 years, admits it was the sheer scale of the instrument that wooed him from the piano.

"For an 11-year old, it's quite nice to make a lot of noise," he laughs. "That was what initially attracted me. I've got quite small hands and the piano repertoire was beyond my reach physically. You don't have that problem with an organ because you've got your feet to help out."

This man who will talk fervently on issues of Bach interpretation is not restricted to organ lofts. Trotter also enjoys giving the occasional Wurlitzer concert and has a special fondness for Dutch fairground organs ("just the style of them, with all those chromatic notes, the drums thumping away and the triangles going").

While Trotter will give the new organ an Olympian workout in Saint-Saens' Third Symphony with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra next week, he also has a concerto spot. "Poulenc's 1938 Concerto shows the organ in a good light," he says. "Poulenc just put it with strings and timpani because the organ is like an orchestra in itself."

In a work of "many different moods, the fast moments are very bright and breezy and the slow moments very affecting and emotional", he says. "Poulenc's really wearing his heart on his sleeve."

We ponder on the many French composers such as Guilmant, Vierne and Widor primarily known for their organ music and Trotter reminds me he studied with the legendary French organist Marie-Claire Alain in the 1970s. Alain introduced him to "the importance of authentic playing editions, which had never occurred to me", although his fondness for his previous teacher, New Zealander Dame Gillian Weir, remains undimmed.

"Gillian was very hot on registration, articulation and technique. She has a real sense of performance and would never let you play in a boring way because she'd always have something interesting to say about the music."

Now, undertaking his first visit to New Zealand, he points out isolation has its rewards: "Because you're so far from anywhere, you have many English instruments in their original condition, such as those in the Dunedin and Wellington town halls. In England, most instruments of that vintage have been altered beyond recognition. But, I'm primarily interested in the music, rather than the machine."

His own town hall recital, just over a week away, ranges from the obligatory Bach to an Edward Bairstow Sonata he describes as "pernickety but with an expansiveness that you find in Elgar and Vaughan Williams".

Two Edwin Lemare Wagnerian transcriptions, including The Ride of the Valkyries, were also included in the Auckland Town Hall inaugural celebrations 100 years ago, dealing in the sort of colours that test both organ and organist.

"Orchestral music is constantly in a state of flux so you've got to keep the flow of music while managing those stop changes," he says.

"There can't be bumps in the music."

Trotter is not quite sure how Eric Coates' Princess Elizabeth March got into the programme but "it's a fun piece", he says. "Most people know Coates' Dam Busters March. This is very similar but rather better and I've heard people in New Zealand like the Queen ... I'm sure it will do very well."


______________________________________

What: Auckland Town Hall Organ Official Opening Concert.
Where and when: Auckland Town Hall, Sunday March 21 at 3.30pm; also broadcast live on National Radio.

What: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with Thomas Trotter.
Where and when: Auckland Town Hall, Thursday (sold out) and Saturday March 27, at 8pm.

What: Thomas Trotter recital.
Where and when: Auckland Town Hall, Sunday March 28, at 2.30pm.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10633436&pnum=0



Take a guided tour inside the Auckland Town Hall Organ and learn how it all works.
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« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2010, 01:25:35 pm »

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3492516/Power-outage-hits-Auckland-again
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« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2010, 12:44:21 am »


Review: The Official Opening of the New Organ at Auckland Town Hall

By WILLIAM DART - The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A specially commissioned symphony gave the organ a thorough workout. — Photo: Natalie Slade.
A specially commissioned symphony gave the organ
a thorough workout. — Photo: Natalie Slade.


There was no mistaking a historic occasion when Aucklanders packed the Town Hall to sample its newly restored organ. Blooms lined the stage and — after the arresting call of the pukaea, the same fierce sound that greeted Abel Tasman in Golden Bay — the capacity audience was welcomed by a powhiri.

Kerry Stevens proved a matchless MC and speeches from Mayor John Banks, organ committee chairman Stephen Hamilton and the German organbuilder Philipp Klais whetted the appetite for what we were about to hear.

John Wells launched into Bach's great D minor Toccata and Fugue, the same work that opened the inaugural Town Hall concert a century ago. The organist's immaculate articulation and keen registrations did not disappoint and nor did his virtuoso pedal work.

Indra Hughes chose subdued registrations to accompany the Brahms Geistliches Lied, ably sung by choristers from Musica Sacra, the Graduate Choir and Viva Voce; after this, conductor John Rosser exhorted singers and organist to soar seemingly to heaven itself, in Parry's Coronation anthem, I was glad.

Inevitably, Wells' specially commissioned Organ Symphony took pride of place and what a splendid working out it gives the instrument. Perhaps it was a mite too long at 34 minutes, though it could not be faulted in the showmanship stakes. And all was not flashy and extrovert; the exotic and unique koauau stop sang out with a rare sighing beauty.


Auckland Town Hall during the organ inauguration.
Auckland Town Hall during the organ inauguration.

After interval, the finest vocal contribution came with Edward Bairstow's Blessed City, Heavenly Salem. Terence Maskell conducted with a real feeling for the weave of the music, while Hughes' translucent registrations blended with various voicings from the choirs.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of unmitigated, guilty pleasure. It is not often that we hear a rip-roaring Organ Symphony by Guilmant and 20-year-old soloist Paul Tarling, accompanied by the energetic Auckland Youth Symphony Orchestra under Anton Poljanich, held nothing back.

After a rousing sing-along to the national anthem, in a busy, knowing arrangement by Indra Hughes, many will be looking forward to Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's concerts with English organist Thomas Trotter on Thursday and Saturday.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10633648
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2010, 07:18:30 pm »


Man uncovers well

CARLY TAWHIAO - Auckland City Harbour News | 5:00AM - Friday, 07 May 2010

NEVER-ENDING: With help from friends and family, Patrick Lees' excavation of a well has reached 14 metres. — JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News.
NEVER-ENDING: With help from friends and family, Patrick Lees' excavation of a well has reached 14 metres.
 — JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News.


BURIED DEEP: A few remnants from the past that were found in a 14-metre deep well located beside Patrick Lees’ Mount Albert home. — JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News.
BURIED DEEP: A few remnants from the past that were found in a 14-metre deep well located beside
Patrick Lees’ Mount Albert home. — JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News.


CURIOSITY has turned to satisfaction for Patrick Lees since uncovering an old water well on his property.

The demolition yard owner has spent the last 10 years renovating his 75-year-old Mount Albert home but only discovered the former water hole late last year.

"It use to be part of the driveway and had a concrete cover a foot thick. We decided it must be a well but thought it would be filled in completely."

With the help of his "enthusiastic builder friend," Mr Lees got a diamond cutter and drilled a hole through it to drop a stone down.

Realising it was bigger than first thought, the men brought in an excavator to take the heavy lid off.

There they discovered a crevice seven metres deep which was filled with old shed remains, horse shoes, broken ceramics, glass bottles and cows' teeth.

"It's old Mount Albert. When lava flowed, caverns formed but they also dynamited the basalt rock near main roads. They sunk wells for drinking water and there were a lot of them," he says.

Once the contents from the well were removed, Mr Lees was then inspired to find the base of the well.

However at 14m, with no base in sight and no more safety rope to lead them down, the excavations have come to a halt.

"It's something that should be preserved but it is a question of how deep do we go?" he says.

Mr Lees now plans to replace the original concrete lid with a glass cover, and light up the shaft by installing a stage spotlight fitted in brass. "We tried all sorts of lights. At night it will look quite impressive."

More than a dozen people, rigged in a harness and helmet, have made the descent and more than 186 cubic metres of dirt has been removed by a bucket attached to an electric winch.

"It's weird how it gives you a false sense of security when you're going down there because you're surrounded by wall. It's not that scary," he says.

"There are probably people in different places who know a lot about them. It's just a matter of them turning up."

Mount Albert Historical Society chairwoman Mary Inomata says the society is delighted by the find and encourages others who are aware of wells to call her on 846-4509.

"Everybody had a well, there was no such thing as town water, but it's really hard to know where they are now," she says. "It would be great to have a register of wells."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/3664725/Man-uncovers-well
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2010, 02:07:03 am »


Splash — the buildings can hit back

By CHRISTOPHER ADAMS - The New Zealand Herald | 4:00AM - Saturday, May 15, 2010

Leaky Building Syndrome

Late-night drinkers beware — a new device will blast cold water on anyone who urinates against a building or tries to sleep there.

The system has been described as "obscene" by Auckland City Mayor John Banks, who once spent time sleeping rough.

Mr Banks said he did not believe public urination was a problem in Auckland City, but took the chance to have a dig at North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams, who has refused to deny claims that he urinated against a council building after leaving a bar.

"I've never seen a homeless person with a public urination problem," Mr Banks said. "I see it with public officials but I don't see it with the homeless."

Tony Bicknell, director of operations for Hasting-based Graffiti Security Systems, said he designed the Storm Door system after being approached by an Auckland firm that had a problem with homeless people and drunks urinating in its doorways.

The system had been installed in the National Bank Tower building in downtown Auckland.

"[The customer's] big problem was that they were having to send in cleaners ...

There's not many ways you can stop people peeing in doorways or sleeping in doorways."

Mr Bicknell said the smell of urine was "absolutely putrid".


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10645096
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« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2010, 08:28:51 pm »


Nostalgic stopover for a Fergusson

By CARLY TAWHIAO - Auckland City Harbour News | 5:00AM - Wednesday, 02 June 2010

FAREWELL VISIT: George Fergusson, the outgoing British High Commissioner to New Zealand, says a final goodbye to Old Government House, in the grounds of Auckland University. Mr Fergusson was the fourth generation of his family to have lived there from 1962 to 1967. — JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News.
FAREWELL VISIT: George Fergusson, the outgoing British High Commissioner to New Zealand, says a final goodbye to
Old Government House, in the grounds of Auckland University. Mr Fergusson was the fourth generation of his family
to have lived there from 1962 to 1967. — JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News.


NEGOTIATING a war vessel in pirate-infested sea waters was no easy feat for British diplomat George Fergusson.

That's because it was 1965, he was just 10 years old and his ship was the roof parapet of Old Government House in Auckland.

On his last day of a five-year posting as United Kingdom's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Samoa and governor of the Pitcairn Islands, Mr Fergusson made a fleeting visit to his childhood abode for a trip down memory lane.

The 54-year-old was the fourth generation of Fergussons to have lived in Government House as a private residence between 1962 and 1967, before it was taken over by Auckland University in 1969.

Mr Fergusson's great-grandfather, Sir James Fergusson, lived there as governor in the late 1800s, followed by his grandfather Sir Charles Fergusson, who was governor-general from 1924 to 1930.

While he was a young boy fighting off enemy ships, his father Sir Bernard Fergusson was New Zealand's governor-general.

He says the fire escapes gave him access to the balcony where he would spend many hours playing.

"I was unaware of the number and movement of people, prefaced by the fact I was an unobservant 10-year-old," he says.

"It became a ship which needed to be captained by me. It was brilliant for pretending to be captain of the ship."

The wooden building was opened in 1856 when Auckland was the capital, but by 1865 the seat of government had moved to Wellington.

Queen Elizabeth II stayed at the house during her first visit to New Zealand in 1953 but today it is used by Auckland University as a staff common room, student cafeteria and lecture theatre as well as accommodation for visiting academics.

The tour was arranged as a parting gift by the university, on request from Mr Fergusson after he sat on the lawn last year to identify what was once his bedroom.

"It's a very attractive house. The gardens are marvellous," he says.

Mr Fergusson's mother, Laura, was the patron of the Laura Fergusson Trust, which helps to provide independence for people with physical disabilities.

In 1966 he was inducted into the Ngati Raukawa tribe in Otaki and given the name Raukawa.

After completing his secondary schooling in England, he returned to New Zealand to work as a labourer before joining the British Civil Service, and then the foreign policy team.

His wife Margaret Wookey, who is also a diplomat, says the couple look forward to reuniting with their three daughters Laura Huia, Alice Marama and Elizabeth Tukino in London.

And although it was their last day in New Zealand, with strong family connections to this country, they are adamant they will be back.

"We've never been absent longer than seven years, so statistically it's very likely. We have a foot in both countries and that won't ever stop."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/auckland-city-harbour-news/3761713/Nostalgic-stopover-for-a-Fergusson
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