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Doing it in Auckland

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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #50 on: November 03, 2010, 01:44:00 pm »


Fourth best city in the world!
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« Reply #51 on: November 05, 2010, 06:40:49 pm »


King tides may threaten motorway
Stuff Last updated
14:31 05/11/2010

King tides of up to 3.5 metres could affect Auckland's Northwestern Motorway from tomorrow through to Wednesday.

The Transport Authority said the tides, 0.4 metres above normal, could affect the roadway between the Patiki Road Interchange and the Rosebank Road bridges.

The cycleway beside the highway would be flooded, and cyclists should try to avoid using it 90 minutes either side of the high tide mark.

"It is unlikely the motorway itself will be affected, unless weather conditions like strong winds have an impact on the tides, but people should still drive with care when using this section of highway," said the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland, Tommy Parker.   

"There is a traffic management plan to re-direct traffic away from the causeway if there is flooding."

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4313485/King-tides-may-threaten-motorway
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« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2010, 02:15:12 pm »

Either the motorway was built too close to sea level or it has sunk. Either way I think they boobed when they built that bit.

There is a section of Tamaki Drive on the causeway across Hobson Bay that has inexplictably sunk as well.
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #53 on: November 09, 2010, 02:33:35 pm »


Gotta luuuuurve Auckland Rugby League crowds, eh? 


                   
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« Reply #54 on: November 09, 2010, 04:49:10 pm »

Well, they did want to test the new security, crowd control and parking measures didn't they.

I guess the yobbos, hoons and westies decided to really put them to the test.

Shall we rate that a fail?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10686144
]http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10686022[url][/url]
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10686158
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« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2010, 07:48:41 pm »


Auckland International Airport in 1940 (where a container port is sited today)....











Meanwhile, Auckland Domestic Airport in 1940 was a grass airstrip known as Mangere Aerodrome, owned by the Auckland Aero Club and sited not far from today's Auckland International Airport. Union Airways leased part of the aerodrome from the aero club and had a hanger and small terminal building sited on it. Union Airways flew from Auckland to New Plymouth, Palmerston North (Milson Aerodrome), Wellington (Rongotai Aerodrome), Nelson, Blenheim (Omaka Aerodrome), Christchurch (Wigram Aerodrome) and Dunedin (Taieri Aerodrome).
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« Reply #56 on: December 11, 2010, 09:56:06 pm »

One thing I'm trying to do in Auckland lately is.....avoid the southern motorway because the new Western now meets the Southern and those responsible for designing roads think that merging 5 lanes into 2  will somehow work......and widening the southern motorway to 3 lanes isn't even in the 10 year plan !!    Is there one brain between them?

....and who ever made the decision to close both rail bridges for weeks in Papatoetoe at the same time...should be taken out and shot!  
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« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2011, 06:48:55 pm »

If it is good enough for Christchurch....

Tram tracks first step in harbour transport project
By Mathew Dearnaley 5:30 AM Friday Jan 7, 2011


Trams are expected to run on Auckland's waterfront by August in an $8 million project which saw the first modest section of tracks laid this week.

As well as securing a lease of two heritage trams from a museum in Bendigo, Victoria, the Auckland Waterfront Development Agency also hopes to borrow an electric light-railcar for demonstration purposes during the Rugby World Cup.

The trams will run clockwise on a 1.5km circuit of Wynyard Quarter - between Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy Sts - to draw visitors to the developing precinct and to provide them with on-board information about its attractions.

But development agency chief executive John Dalzell said yesterday that the council-controlled organisation also wanted to use the circuit as a demonstration pilot for a possible light-rail extension across Viaduct Harbour to the Downtown ferry terminal, Queens Wharf, or even further along the waterfront.

"We want to gauge the public's appetite for this form of transport."

He said a $3.5 million pedestrian and cycling drawbridge reaching across the mouth of the harbour to Te Wero Island would have strong enough foundations to carry light-railcars.

Off-site prefabrication work had already begun and pile-driving was likely to start by the end of this month.

That would leave only the superstructure and drawbridge lifting mechanism to be upgraded as a possible alternative to a second bridge to be built for between $20 million and $50 million from 2016.

The former Auckland City Council held a design competition for an "iconic" structure before delaying the project in the face of ballooning costs.

But Mr Dalzell said his agency was developing three options with a range of costings for its board and the Auckland Council to choose from.

A 27m section of tram tracks, the first in central Auckland for more than 50 years, was laid over the New Year statutory holidays across the intersection of Halsey and Gaunt Sts.

Mr Dalzell said the agency was keen to get that done at a time of minimal disruption for traffic, but it is waiting for equipment to arrive in the next few days to realign a manhole before laying more tracks up Halsey St.

The tracks are close to the NZ Bus company's city depot, which Auckland Tramways Union president Gary Froggatt noted was on the site of one of the city's main tram depots.

When he started driving buses in 1965 for the former Auckland Transport Board, the tram barns were still on the site "and we parked the buses over the old tram pits."

"I think it is absolutely fantastic and believe the trams should never have been taken away in 1956," he said. "It was a backward move."

Mr Dalzell said the conversion of Jellicoe St into a pedestrian-oriented boulevard would be completed in time for the trams to start running along it in August, as would various restaurants, plazas, a park and a $32 million marine events centre.

An initial proposal to the former Auckland Regional Council, which decided to allocate up to $7.4 million of regional funding to the project, was for the circuit to include Beaumont St and for the trams to be battery-powered to avoid having to put up overhead power lines.

But Mr Dalzell said his team, which is being advised by tram experts from the Museum of Transport and Technology and from Christchurch, could not find a satisfactory technical solution using batteries so had reverted to 6m-high overhead wiring.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10698271

I have been trying to find out about Te Wero Island without much success. I assume, since I can't find any mention of it pre the invention of the Viaduct Harbour (formerly the Lighter Basin) that it is man made and that the old lifting bridge was at the eastern end and the western end was once connected by a viaduct to the corner of Jellicoe St and Halsey St.

Can anyone enlighten me?
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« Reply #58 on: January 27, 2011, 05:51:57 am »


Prostitutes driving companies away - business group
Updated 30 minutes ago

The Hunters Corner Business Association in Papatoetoe says prostitutes are causing companies to relocate.

Auckland Council will on Thursday will gauge support for a bill before Parliament which would outlaw street solicitation.

The bill would allow the council to dictate where prostitutes can solicit and also empower the police to arrest and fine them and their clients.

Community safety forum head George Wood says it recognises that prostitution will always exist but some regulating is needed to protect businesses.

The Hunters Corner Business Association says the area's reputation as a red-light district has hurt businesses there.

The Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places Bill was initiated by the former Manukau City Council.



Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/67120/prostitutes-driving-companies-away-business-group
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« Reply #59 on: March 06, 2011, 01:58:24 pm »


Greetings.....Orklunders!! 


   


                         
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« Reply #60 on: March 06, 2011, 01:58:34 pm »


Auckland's quake fix go-slow

By GREG NINNESS - Sunday Star-Times | 5:00AM - Sunday, 06 March 2011

SHAKE-UP: The damage to land and buildings in Lyttelton and Christchurch has thrown the focus onto regulations governing earthquake-prone buildings in other areas. — Photo: NATASHA MARTIN.
SHAKE-UP: The damage to land and buildings
in Lyttelton and Christchurch has thrown the
focus onto regulations governing earthquake-
prone buildings in other areas.
 — Photo: NATASHA MARTIN.


THE CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE is raising doubts about the safety of buildings in Auckland, even if they have been strengthened to council standards, already lower than those applied in Wellington.

More than 2700 at-risk buildings were identified by the old Auckland City Council, but assessments have now been delayed by a year because of the super city amalgamation and the need to develop a new policy for earthquake-prone buildings.

Currently, owners of earthquake-prone buildings in central Auckland are allowed to take up to 30 years to strengthen them, the same time-frame allowed by the Christchurch City Council.

Some owners will have longer than that because the council has not yet finished assessing all buildings, making it likely that many owners will not have been told they need to do remedial work to bring their buildings up to scratch. Some buildings will not be strengthened until 2045.

Auckland's Earthquake Prone Buildings Policy, adopted by the former Auckland City Council, which has since been merged into the super city structure, adopted what it termed "a pragmatic approach" to the strengthening of the city's at-risk buildings.

The first stage involved compiling "a list of all buildings which could potentially be earthquake-prone". This was due to be completed by December 2007.

The second stage involved a more detailed evaluation of each building identified as at-risk in stage one. This was due to be finished by the end of next year, but has been delayed by a year by the super city changes.

The third stage involved compiling a register of at-risk buildings and prioritising them for strengthening work. No deadline was given for this.

Strategic at-risk buildings, those which would play a critical role in a major emergency such as hospitals or civil defence centres, would be given 10 years to do strengthening work.

Buildings that contained large numbers of people or that contained items of "high value to the community", such as museums, were to be strengthened by 2019.

Most other at-risk buildings would have until 2045 to complete strengthening work.

There are, however, serious doubts about how safe many Auckland buildings would be, even after strengthening work.

Buildings are considered earthquake-prone when they meet a third or fewer of the current standard for new buildings. So when they are strengthened, they only need to be strengthened to withstand 34% of the seismic loadings that new buildings are designed to withstand.

Adam Thornton, a director of Wellington-based structural engineering consultancy Dunning Thornton, which has overseen many building strengthening projects, said it was unlikely a building that had been strengthened to the minimum 34% standard would survive an earthquake like that experienced in Christchurch last month.

"Really, you wouldn't expect a building like that to withstand last week's quake," he said.

Even new buildings in Auckland may be more at risk of collapse compared with those in other parts of the country, because the city had lower building standards than places such as Wellington, where earthquakes were more common.

"If you designed a new building in Auckland [that complied with the city's building code] and put it on a truck and moved it down to Wellington, down here it could be earthquake-prone," Thornton said.

Wellington City Council requires its at-risk buildings to be strengthened within five to 15 years, depending on the type of building, half the time allowed in Auckland and Christchurch.

And Wellington's rules could be tightened even further. The council is due to consider a review of the current regulations later this month.

One of the main reasons for the differences in the building policies of councils in different parts of the country, was in the level of earthquake risk in each area.

Auckland is in an area considered to be at low risk of suffering a major quake, Christchurch is located in an area of medium risk, and Wellington is considered high risk.

"These earthquake-prone policies are a managed risk thing," Thornton said.

"You say OK, the risk of a major earthquake in any 20-year period is very small. So you allow people to go on living and working in substandard buildings because the risk is small and you can justify it on that basis."

"But when the risk is realised, as it was in Christchurch, it's bloody terrible."

Auckland City's manager of policy, training and resolutions Bob de Leur, said work done by the [pre-amalgamation] Auckland City Council had identified 2700 buildings which were potentially earthquake prone, of which 412 were made of unreinforced masonry, the type of building considered most at risk of collapse in an earthquake.

But the assessment process had been set back by 12 months by the need to develop a common building policy, to replace the different policies of the seven councils that were merged to form the super city.

Developing the new policy would include a public consultation process, which could review the time-frames allowed for strengthening at-risk buildings, he said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/business/4733428/Aucklands-quake-fix-go-slow
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« Reply #61 on: March 07, 2011, 02:29:44 pm »


Threat of earthquakes pales beside the 50 volcanoes on our doorstep

Brian Rudman on Auckland

The New Zealand Herald | 5:30AM - Monday, March 07, 2011

Rangitoto, sitting at our front door, a silent reminder of its violent arrival in two eruptions 600-700 years ago. — Photo: Brett Phibbs.
Rangitoto, sitting at our front door, a silent reminder of its violent
arrival in two eruptions 600-700 years ago. — Photo: Brett Phibbs.


IT HARDLY NEEDS an official list from the council to remind Aucklanders that, like Christchurch, this city is peppered with old buildings that are likely to tumble down in a severe earthquake.

The main arterial roads through well-established suburbs such as Newmarket, Herne Bay, Mount Eden, Dominion Road, Onehunga and Otahuhu all have clusters of 100-year-old, two-storey brick retail premises, shops downstairs, dwellings above.

In the CBD, old masonry buildings provide the "character" between the anonymous glass towers. Some have been strengthened, many not. The day after the Christchurch earthquake I emerged from a lunch bar in downtown Queens Arcade debating which side of the street would be safer to walk up if I succumbed to quake phobia.

Of course, venturing below the old harbour shoreline at Shortland Street to the arcade was a bad move to start with. The old Auckland Regional Council's earthquake hazard guide warns that ground shaking would be greater in "reclaimed land such as parts of downtown Auckland".

This would also be prone to liquefaction, but only if the shake was "quite a large one", the guide says, helpfully adding that in Auckland there is "a 10 per cent chance of [that] occurring in the next 50 years".

As well as buildings falling on you and silt squirting up your trouser legs at that end of town, there's the added risk of death by tsunami.

Walking back from lunch my worry was: did I zig-zag back and forth across the street to keep alongside modern structures, and risk a wayward sheet of plate glass, or just plough up either footpath regardless, praying one of my bete noire verandas wouldn't take revenge on me?

Back at work, I like to think I'd be safe in this concrete, multi-layered sandwich of a building, originally built to support huge, vibrating, printing presses. Safer, probably, than at home in my century-old brick and lime mortar pile anyway.

But let's not scare ourselves silly. Just because I've suddenly taken notice of the odd heavy truck bouncing over the slow hump outside my house in recent days, and of the odd creak of the roofing joists, it doesn't mean I'm beating a quick trail to the real estate agents.

While nothing is for certain in these shaky isles, I can live with the scientific reassurance that we don't live in an earthquake zone.

True, Christchurch wasn't on a known faultline, but it was part of what the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) refers to as "a well-defined [earthquake] belt stretching from Fiordland to East Cape, the Bay of Plenty", part of "the ring of fire ... rimming the Pacific Ocean".

We do get the odd noticeable shake in Auckland. In February 2007, a 4.5 jolt 30km east of Orewa had me leaping from my couch to check outside for signs of a crumpled truck. It was the strongest since 1970 when a 4.7 shake, centred on the Coromandel, rattled Auckland. GNS Science said at the time Auckland had had 35 earthquakes rating more than 3 on the Richter scale since 1830. Only one caused significant damage. Most have been to the east and south where most of Auckland's potentially active faults are.

Major public buildings such as the Town Hall, the Civic Theatre and St Patrick's Cathedral have been seismically strengthened during recent restoration work, as have renovated business premises.

Which is a sensible council requirement. But let's not get too paranoid about earthquakes in Auckland.

If we do want to fret and fuss about random acts of nature, surely it's volcanoes that should be keeping us awake.

We share this narrow isthmus with a field of 50 or so volcanic craters, the largest and most recent of them, Rangitoto, sitting at our front door, a silent reminder of its violent arrival in two eruptions 600-700 years ago.

The only good thing about our volcanoes is they rise at a gentlemanly pace of no more than 5 km/h from a lake of molten magma bubbling away 100km beneath our feet.

This gives us at least 20 hours' warning to scarper.

The brave might want to stick around to watch, in which case an existing cone would be a good choice because, Rangitoto excepted, they don't come up in the same place twice. As for me, I think it would be a good time to revisit the Aussie rellies.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10710628
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« Reply #62 on: March 22, 2011, 09:49:13 pm »


Projected cost of harbour tunnels rises by $1.2bn

By HAYDEN DONNELL and NZPA | 5:47PM - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Auckland Harbour Bridge over Waitemata Harbour. — Photo: Dean Purcell.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge over Waitemata Harbour. — Photo: Dean Purcell.

A $1.2 BILLION DOLLAR blowout in the projected cost of building tunnels across the Waitemata Harbour has been revealed in a new report investigating third harbour crossing options for Auckland.

The NZ Transport Agency report into the costs and benefits of building a bridge or a tunnel across the harbour puts the cost of four tunnels at $5.3 billion — up from the $3.7 billion to $4.1 billion price tag put forward in a 2008 study by the agency and multiple Auckland Councils.

It shows a second bridge across the harbour would cost $1.4 billion less than a tunnel, reduce the annual maintenance bill by $15 million and take less time to construct.

Differences in the constructability of a bridge or a tunnel were minimal, the report said.

Despite the report's findings, Transport Minister Stephen Joyce stopped short of endorsing a bridge project.

He said the Government wanted to consider public views before deciding on what kind of crossing to build across the Waitemata Harbour.

"Both the form of a third crossing and the timing of it will be part of the discussion around Auckland's spatial plan. This will likely be one of the biggest projects for Auckland over the next 20 years and it needs to be planned and sequenced carefully alongside other investments."

Auckland Mayor Len Brown indicated he would prefer to see a tunnel dug under the harbour, but said it was important to keep options open.

"My initial view is that the tunnel option makes more sense. However, I want to hear Aucklanders' perspective on the options available.

"Tunnelling technologies are advancing quickly and many countries are building combined road and rail tunnels that would future-proof our system. The study only looks at dual tunnels and I hope NZTA will look at single tunnel options for the future."

Mr Brown said whichever option was agreed to, it must include capacity for rail.

Mr Joyce said he hoped the report would frame the debate around what harbour crossing option should be approved.

"Because of the importance of any new crossing, all stakeholders, including members of the public, must have access to solid information as they form opinions and consider options as to whether a bridge or tunnel is more appropriate, and when it should be built."

Another harbour crossing would be needed within 20 years to cater for Auckland's growth, Mr Joyce said.

He confirmed the new harbour crossing would allow for public transport and include walking and cycling lanes.

The report was also welcomed by the New Zealand Contractors' Federation because, it said in a statement, it would contribute to the ability of the industry to look forward and plan for future scenarios.

"It will also help to give contracting firms confidence in developing skill levels among their staff and help avoid the patterns of boom-bust and pricing fluctuations we have seen too often in the past," chief executive Jeremy Sole said.

"Today's announcement is also clearly and deliberately focused on lifting New Zealand's economic performance. That is how we will pay for the services our communities need and the people of New Zealand will benefit from these decisions for many years to come."

The 2008 report by the NZ Transport Agency, then Transit NZ, and Auckland's Councils evaluated 159 route options before recommending a set of four tunnels from between Esmonde and Onewa Road on the North Shore and Victoria Park in Auckland City.

It recommended that two tunnels carry three lanes of highway traffic and two contain a single rail line.

Mr Joyce put the option of a bridge across the harbour back on the table in March 2010 when he asked the NZ Transport Agency to develop the 2008 study further.

A statement from the agency said the latest business case aims to establish an understanding associated with each form of crossing.

"The business case will provide a greater level of robustness in the decisions that lead up to the construction."


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10714238
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« Reply #63 on: April 02, 2011, 11:55:55 pm »


Standing room only as Aucklanders embrace a transport revolution

Brian Rudman on Auckland

The New Zealand Herald | 5:30AM - Friday, April 01, 2011

Auckland Transport is trumpeting the news that almost five million extra journeys were made on public transport during the last calendar year. — Photo: Sarah Ivey.
Auckland Transport is trumpeting the news that almost five million extra journeys
were made on public transport during the last calendar year. — Photo: Sarah Ivey.


AUCKLAND TRANSPORT is trumpeting the news that almost five million extra journeys were made on public transport during the last calendar year. This will hardly come as a surprise to people using my bus route. Most newcomers seem to have ended up trying to board our bus.

Of course it's great news that all the expenditure on public transport is finally paying off. But it has forced the old regulars to get used to sharing their space with the converts. It seems only yesterday that you could be guaranteed a two-seater bench to oneself. In fact, you usually had a choice of seats, back, front, sunnyside or not. Not any longer.

The other morning, with newcomers packing the aisles, the driver slammed on the anchors unexpectedly, tossing a couple of the unwary like skittles down the bus. The driver, obviously not a graduate of the customer relations nightclass, muttered triumphantly, "If you don't hang on, it's like standing up in a car trailer". Hardly the words to encourage newbies to stick around.

Still, it's going to take more than the odd heavy foot on the brakes to reverse the growing tide of Auckland commuters coming back to public transport.

Over the past 15 years, annual boardings on Auckland's trains, ferries and buses have almost doubled. In the year to the end of February, total passenger numbers reached 64.07 million, an increase of 8.3 per cent on the previous year and bringing usage back "to the highs of the 1950s".

Given that the region's population of 1.3 million is four times the 319,000 of the 1950s, this is not exactly news to get the bubbly corks popping, but it is an encouraging sign Aucklanders are embracing the idea that a city with pretensions to being world class needs a modern public transport network.

The way Aucklanders are leaping back on board buses and trains also gives further support to Mayor Len Brown's continuing championing of the inner-city underground rail loop, a campaign he continues to push despite the lack of support from the Government. What's particularly encouraging is the spectacular growth in areas where modern and/or upgraded services are laid on.

Passenger numbers on the dedicated Northern Express bus service on the North Shore were 20.7 per cent up in a year, providing 1.97 million passenger trips for the year. Despite all the niggles related to the rebuilding of the rail network, train journeys increased 17.9 per cent, providing 9.2 million rides.

In a rehearsal for the Rugby World Cup, just under 40 per cent of fans to the February 19 Super 15 Blues-versus-Crusaders contest took the special event public transport services to and from Eden Park. All good signs that despite our reputation as car-loving highway hoggers, Aucklanders are remarkably open to the appeal of public transport, as long as it provides a level of service that appeals.

Rising petrol prices are another impetus. The February public transport increase was said to have been helped by a litre of 91-octane petrol breaking the $2 barrier in mid-January. It's now $2.19 a litre, with no signs the trend will reverse.

With the support for a public transport revolution in Auckland so widespread, the wonder is that Wellington politicians have not leaped on board the bus, preferring instead to throw $10 billion in scarce resources at uneconomic — and largely unwanted — Roads of National Significance such as the Puhoi holiday highway.

Finally, I had to have a chuckle about former Victoria state premier Jeff Kennett's recipe for making Auckland a world-class city.

He'd been brought out this week by Hawkins Construction and other property developers to talk up the glories of their industry and extemporise on his expansionist policies in Melbourne during the 1990s, but the trip backfired rather. Mr Kennett confessed he'd got his priorities wrong.

"If I could turn the clock back I would put emphasis on public wellbeing and quality of life, not necessarily making a dollar."


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/brian-rudman-on-auckland/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502866&objectid=10716372
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« Reply #64 on: April 05, 2011, 11:58:12 pm »


The great disappearing home

By KIERAN NASH and ANDRE HUEBER - HERALD on SUNDAY | 4:30AM - Sunday, April 03, 2011

Auckland housing! — Photo: Glenn Jeffrey.

AUCKLAND is facing a major housing crisis if current development trends continue.

Local officials predict that, at the current rate of development, there will be a shortage of 50,000 homes in 30 years — equivalent to all the homes in Hamilton.

Auckland Council chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakeley warned that Auckland needs to be proactive by subdividing smaller properties and expanding into semi-rural areas if it is to avoid a major housing crisis.

"The question is, how do we accomodate those 50,000 dwellings?"

Although the council would focus on more intensive development within the city limits, there were plans to expand development west of Massey, west of Manukau, and south of Papakura and Karaka. More development is likely to include rezoning existing land and changing regulations to allow subdivision of smaller sections.

But Blakeley could not comment on what would be changed until Auckland's major planning document, the Auckland Plan, is released in December. A discussion document on the plan, released last week, said over the past three years Auckland had "already fallen short by approximately 10,000 new homes — the equivalent of a town the size of Blenheim".

It also said that renters would leap to 40 per cent of households — either by choice or because they could not afford to get on the property ladder.

Lisa Phillips, director of property strategy company Erskine-Owen, said Auckland would be at capacity in 15 years, and some areas could be full in as little as seven years.

"The concern is how we're going to address this," she said.

Many people would be forced into terraced housing and apartments, causing flow-on effects for housing costs.

"Prices will surge as more and more people compete for an ever-dwindling supply of dwellings," said Phillips.

Auckland mayor Len Brown said high-density housing would certainly become a more prominent feature of the urban landscape in the future.

"The answer certainly isn't more urban sprawl. We know we'll face a crisis in coming decades if we do nothing. The signs are already out there."

Brown said the first thing he did in council was to halt the sale of council housing stock and he had already announced plans to clear the red tape for people wanting to build new houses.

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive Warwick Quinn said there would not be enough builders in the coming years to build all the necessary houses, because of the demands posed by the Christchurch rebuild and leaky building repairs in Auckland.

"The industry is continuing to shrink but we can see the looming shortfall will hit us sometime next year. We may have to look at bringing tradesmen over from China, Philippines or Malaysia — but it's likely Japan and Australia will be trying to attract them as well."


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10716795
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« Reply #65 on: April 06, 2011, 12:18:18 am »


$42.30... the price of a 900m taxi ride

By NICHOLAS JONES - The New Zealand Herald | 5:30AM - Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Mike Beauchamp at the taxi rank at Auckland Airport. — Photo: Sarah Ivey.
Mike Beauchamp at the taxi rank at Auckland Airport. — Photo: Sarah Ivey.

A VISITOR to Auckland was charged $42.30 for a taxi ride of less than 1km thanks to a rule on short journeys.

Christchurch businessman Mike Beauchamp caught an Auckland Co-op taxi from Auckland Airport's domestic terminal to Butterfly Creek wildlife centre on February 14.

"We drove the 900 and something metres. And we stopped at Butterfly Creek, and he said, ‘That will be $42.30 please’," Mr Beauchamp said. "He tried to explain it. I don't think he was overly sure and he didn't seem confident either. In other words, I think he was a wee bit embarrassed about it. But he said that's the price."

The fare was high because of a taxi premium of $25 for any trip that does not exit a specific area around the airport.

Mr Beauchamp later rang Auckland Co-op taxis to question the fare. Six weeks later the company's compliance manager, Mike O'Brien, confirmed the fare was correct.

Mr Beauchamp was taken aback to be told that if he had travelled for a further kilometre the fare would have been significantly cheaper.

The fare comprised of the $25 "airport environs" fee, a $7 fee for catching a cab from the airport, a $3 flagfall, plus meter and waiting time charges.


Mike Beauchamp at the taxi rank at Auckland Airport — Photo: Sarah Ivey.

The general manager of Auckland Co-op, Barrie White, said the environs charge was needed because taxi drivers could queue for four or five hours at the airport for a fare. If that fare turned out to begin and end within the airport boundaries the driver would be well out of pocket, especially because of the $2 barrier fee to enter the airport.

His company was one of seven to pay an annual tendered licensing fee to Auckland Airport, which allowed them to collect passengers. If the $25 environs fee was not charged taxi drivers would potentially turn away customers, Mr White said.

But Graeme Osborne, the former head of Tourism Auckland, said such fares sent "all the wrong signals" to visitors to Auckland, especially in Rugby World Cup year.

"It's not helpful to our reputation. And certainly if it's based on the logic of the airport licensing or parking fee, then the logic needs to be rethought. Because clearly it's an unjust and unsustainable practice."

Mr Beauchamp agreed: "We often laugh — people from out of town — that if you get a cheap airfare sometimes it's cheaper than the taxi ride into Auckland. But this particular instance ... we're just going to think you guys are rip-offs."

Auckland Airport spokesman Richard Llewellyn said a new short fare system had operated at the International terminal, which allowed drivers who took trips for less than 20 minutes to regain their place in the queue. In the meantime, businesses near the airport like Butterfly Creek and JK's Golf are running shuttle bus services for customers.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10717137
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« Reply #66 on: April 06, 2011, 12:48:54 am »


Short taxi trips in Auckland!
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« Reply #67 on: April 06, 2011, 10:08:11 am »

Now you know why we don't like going to the airport. For a Shorite it is an expensive exercise unless you travel light and change buses.
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« Reply #68 on: April 06, 2011, 04:37:00 pm »


I use the Airbus Express.

It's $23 return and they have a shitload of luggage space inside the bus.

Plus it runs 24/7 - every 15 minutes throughout most of the day and every 30 minutes during the wee hours of the morning.
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« Reply #69 on: April 13, 2011, 04:32:01 pm »


Developers eye super-brothel for Palace Hotel site

By NICHOLAS JONES - The New Zealand Herald | 5:30AM - Wednesday, April 06, 2011

An artist's impression of the 10-storey ‘entertainment and hospitality centre’.
An artist's impression of the 10-storey
‘entertainment and hospitality centre’.


DEVELOPERS Michael and John Chow are planning to build a 10-storey super-brothel on the prime inner-city site once occupied by the historic Palace Hotel.

The "entertainment and hospitality centre" will have underground parking, a restaurant and bars and a rooftop swimming pool, as well as a "gentlemen's club".

Following a deal with the publishers of Penthouse Magazine, two floors of the building will be occupied by a Penthouse Club — where adult performances by models will "bring the magazine to life".

The Chow Group have secured the Australasian rights to operate Penthouse Clubs, and the new Auckland club would be the first in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, Auckland Council spokesman Glyn Walters said no consent applications had been received for the new building's construction.

A $200,000 bill the council sent to the Chows for the demolition of the Palace Hotel, located opposite SkyCity Casino, remains unpaid.

Yesterday, Chow Group lawyer Max Tait refused to comment on the non-payment. As a rule the council does not issue consents to applicants who owe them money.

The council is still considering legal action against the Chows after an engineering report revealed the renovations they carried out on the 124-year-old hotel severely damaged it.

The building became a safety risk after it began cracking and moving last November, and was torn down on the orders of Mayor Len Brown.

The Chows had been converting the 1886 building into a brothel, and initially threatened legal action against the council for demolishing the building. However, engineers found the hotel's weakness was caused by its basement walls not being adequately supported during the renovations.

Mr Walters said the new building's application could require public or limited notification.

"This will require a submission period, hearings and a decision. And any conditions required will be made by a hearings panel."

Neither of the Chow brothers returned the Herald's calls yesterday, but in a statement John Chow said the new venue would cater to "everyone who grew up with the world-famous Penthouse brand".

"The Palace Hotel was an important site. It was sad to see it torn down, but the new development will be better than ever."

If the development does gain council approval it is expected to be completed by early 2013.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10717403



The Bordello Brothers

Weekend Herald | 5:30AM - Saturday, April 09, 2011

Brothers John (left) and Michael Chow are hoping to bring their successful sex industry business to the site of the old Palace Hotel in Auckland. — Photo: Paul Estcourt.
Brothers John (left) and Michael Chow are hoping to bring their successful sex industry
business to the site of the old Palace Hotel in Auckland. — Photo: Paul Estcourt.


LOOK OUT, Auckland — the Chows have arrived.

With their black suits, broad shoulders, BMWs and Mercedes and extensive background in Wellington's red light district, the Kwasian sex industry magnates are out to make their mark.

In Auckland on Thursday to advance plans for the city's first high-rise brothel — directly opposite SkyCity, an area increasingly popular with the prostitution business — sex trade entrepreneurs John and Michael Chow emphasise the property investment aspects of their business and how their 10-level adult entertainment club will have a 60 per cent international visitor target.

Older brother John flicks his hair back, speaking with a strong Hong Kong accent in truncated sentences, checking his iphone, telling how he was just 14 when he arrived from Hong Kong. Michael, bald, has more of a Kiwi accent, quick humour and tells how he was 8 when he arrived.

Speaking from Albert Street's expensive Stamford Plaza where they stay, and hold meetings in the lobby foyer, John Chow holds a thick folder of plans for the empty Palace Hotel site where a quantity surveyor has been engaged, along with experienced town planner Martin Green, to take care of their resource consent application for the new adult entertainment venue.

John Chow tells how they have also engaged defence lawyer Bruce Gray QC to work on litigation against Auckland Council over what he claims was the Palace's illegal demolition — the council said it was necessary to protect the public.

The Chows were converting their $3.3 million historic 1886 building into a brothel ready for the Rugby World Cup when engineers discovered cracks attributed to basement walls not being adequately supported during the renovations.

The council's chief executive, Doug McKay, says the owners were consulted but John Chow becomes animated and agitated when talking about the demolition and denies being told in advance: "Just like, someone come to my house and slap my mum and I've got to shut my mouth? I can't do that. I don't want to cause any trouble but the thing is, I've been put in a corner. What should I do? I spent the money, I've got property, I follow the process with the bill-paying and all the consultants and is someone taking advantage of me? I can't just let someone step over me."

The council defends its actions, and sent a $200,000 bill which remains in dispute. Yet now the Chows want the same authority to give them consent. John Chow simply cannot get over the demolition.

"We have been working on this since February and it will be a two-year project, looking at opening in 2013. I bought a property, I want to do a refurbishment — whether it's a brothel or other business like a restaurant. I engage a professional consultant to do the work, got the written consent, meeting with Historic Places Trust, everyone's happy and on 17 November the building got cracked."

"Wouldn't you expect the council to consult you? But within hours they make a decision. I come to your house, I demolish your house and send you $200,000 bill. How you feel? How you feel? Honest?" he demands, leaning forward, waiting, wide-eyed, questioning.

"It's quite amazing to me when someone demolish your building without your consent. I understand the council has health and safety reasons. No one was in the building next door so there's no health or safety issue," John Chow says, getting more heated as he takes the story from one step to the next.

Chow denies wanting any media profile but wants to establish Auckland business connections.

"Whether it's property or the other businesses, if I only come up here once a month, I won't be able to build a network. At least people know us, 'that's the Chow brothers', whether it's property or a brothel or a restaurant, it doesn't matter, at least people will know who we are."

One manager has criticised the Chows' brothel business, claiming girls aged just 18 to 21 are rostered on 17-hour shifts, charged for towels, linen, ads, marketing plus a $400 administration fee. The girls also pay for their own lubricants and condoms. Customers pay around $220 an hour and the women get $100-$120 of that.

John Chow says Chow Group has 80-100 employees plus 200 contractors, referring to their Exodus Health & Fitness Club, run by a sister, and the brothels.

Via group lawyer Max Tait, John Chow has demanded to see this article pre-publication — which the Herald refused — but before speaking, he says it has to be in his interests and refers to unflattering Wellington publicity. A Dominion Post December 18 feature was headlined ‘No, not the Brothel Brothers’. Chow demands to know what headline will appear on this article.

Asked about the Palace plans, Chow says the adult entertainment business has higher margins, comparing that to the fast-food business. He explains how the sex business is not one they entered intentionally but how their first venture was in 1997 when they took over their folks' Tong Shan Takeaways, renaming it J & M Fast Foods, then doubling the business by keeping it open 24 hours and working in shifts.

A year later, they paid $1 million for the vacant former ANZ building in Courtenay Place, initially planning a hotel and opening another fast-food place; then the heavily mortgaged brothers were forced to sell a Lower Hutt family home and shift into the building. Michael Chow decided to cold-call strip clubs, eventually linking up with Auckland's Mermaid Bar which expressed an interest. The result was the brothers' leap into the sex industry.

Chow Group says: "For a couple of Naenae boys whose family migrated from Hong Kong to Wellington in 1984, it has been quite a ride." Asked about that experience, John Chow says "I'm the same as any immigrant. I came here when I was 14. I'm 40 now. Same as anyone, going to a strange area: once you settle down it becomes normal."

Michael Chow remembers being one of only about two Chinese New Zealanders at the college but laughs at the idea of bullies.

Asked about racism or being hassled, John smiles: "We are quite big actually [for] Chinese. Of course you've got bullies in the school but I'm the second-tallest in the class, so the bully only picks on smaller ones."


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10718042



Brian Rudman

Lack of remorse over lost building rankles

Brian Rudman on Auckland

The New Zealand Herald | 5:30AM - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Palace Hotel in Victoria Street was demolished after excavations damaged the building irreversibly. — Photo: Dean Purcell.
The Palace Hotel in Victoria Street was demolished after excavations damaged
the building irreversibly. — Photo: Dean Purcell.


LAST MONTH month the Western Australian government dramatically increased penalties for people illegally demolishing or damaging heritage-listed buildings.

Not only was the maximum fine increased to $1 million but, crucially, a 10-year development moratorium and a restoration order could be imposed on the affected site.

The changes were announced a few weeks before the Wellington-based Chow brothers announced plans to replace the heritage-listed Palace Hotel (which suddenly began to collapse during renovations last November) with a 10-level glass box.

You can't help wondering if the venerable old building in inner-city Victoria Street might still be standing if such legislation was in force here.

It's the lack of remorse of the Chow brother brothel-owners that really rankles. They breeze into Auckland from their Wellington base, buy up one of the city's few remaining Victorian, street-corner brick pub buildings and then, under their watch, it suddenly starts to crack and slump.

To protect surrounding properties, Auckland Council had to hastily demolish the 124-year old building. What do the Chow brothers do? They come out all guns blazing.

It's all the council's fault. Not a word of apology. Just threats of litigation against the council and rejection of the $200,000 bill the city has presented as the cost of demolition.

The closest to contrition I have seen was a written statement last week announcing the redevelopment plans and concluding "it was sad to see it torn down but the new development will be better than ever".

In Saturday's Weekend Herald, John Chow complained of lack of consultation on the fateful night of November 17.

"Within hours they make a decision. I come to your house, I demolish your house and send you $200,000 bill. How you feel. How you feel. Honest."

Well, this Aucklander says, "You come to my city, you excavate under a loved heritage building until it starts to crumble. My council has to knock it down. How do I feel? I feel angry."

Mr Chow argued that because there was no one in the building next door "there's no health and safety issue".

The devastation caused in Christchurch by old masonry buildings falling against each other shows what nonsense he talks.

As for being sent a bill for the demolition work, I too might have felt sick if I was in his shoes. But sick at being the custodian of a heritage building that collapsed because of excavations being conducted under my watch.

Council chief executive Doug McKay, who led the on-site crisis team, said at the time that the building had continued to move towards the road all evening — "windows were spontaneously cracking and the building was in danger of imminent collapse".

A passerby who leaned against the wall as it first moved said: "The walls were cracking like an eggshell."

Last month's report to the council by three leading engineering firms concluded the damage was "widespread, severe and irrecoverable".

They concluded the collapse of the Palace Hotel was caused by the basement floors not being adequately supported, by the removal of the timber floor, by the removal of the concrete basement floor "designated to be retained in the approved plans" and by over-excavation of the foundations.

This report has been before the Crown Solicitor for a month, seeking advice on possible prosecution. The Chows' response is to threaten court action against the council over "illegal demolition".

They've also found time to produce plans for a 10-level glass-fronted "super brothel" to replace the boutique brothel originally planned for the old pub. How do I feel about that? Angry.

Not because of the business planned. Prostitution is legal. Angry at the senseless loss of a heritage building and at the huge windfall gain the property owners stand to pocket as a result of the Palace Hotel demolition.

As a listed building, development on the site had been constrained by the existing structure. But as an empty site, the proposed 10-level glass box is within planning rules.

It seems likely the final act of the blame game will be carried out in court, with judges having to decide who was responsible for the "over-excavation" that made the situation "irrecoverable".

But for Auckland the result is already final. Another inner-city heritage building has hit the dust.

Back in 1992, the Clutha District Council took advantage of the shiny new Resource Management Act to prosecute a developer for destroying part of the Benhar Hoffman kiln. The perpetrators were fined $56,500 and also ordered to rebuild what they'd knocked down.

Whether that is a precedent in this case is unclear. As is the place of replicas, except as a disciplinary tool against errant developers.

What would concentrate the mind of developers, though, is the 10-year redevelopment moratorium on the affected site that is now law in Western Australia.

That would hurt developers in their most tender spot — their pockets.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10718837
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« Reply #70 on: May 05, 2011, 07:42:01 pm »


10 crashes: ‘I'm not the worst bus driver’

By STUART DYE - The New Zealand Herald | 5:30AM - Thursday, May 05, 2011

Bus driver Alan Slater has lost his appeal. — Photo: Paul Estcourt.
Bus driver Alan Slater has lost his appeal. — Photo: Paul Estcourt.

AN accident-prone bus driver who crashed 10 times in less than 18 months has lost his battle to get back behind the wheel.

Alan Slater hit a bollard, a wheelie bin, a bus-stop sign, several other vehicles — including two parked buses — and drove the wrong way through a bus wash during his short career as an Auckland bus driver.

He also got into strife with his bosses for struggling to stay in a bus lane when driving, not waiting for passengers and turning up late to work.

Mr Slater, whose routes were mainly on the North Shore and into downtown Auckland on express routes, yesterday said: "I swear I'm not the worst bus driver in Auckland."

After he was sacked in April last year, Mr Slater took a case for unjustified dismissal to the Employment Relations Authority, claiming his final accident was not properly investigated.

But in a ruling issued yesterday, the authority said the sacking was justified as Mr Slater's driving was "so poor that the company did not have confidence in him to drive safely".

Mr Slater began working for New Zealand Bus in May 2008, and was assessed as competent to drive solo in July.

Two weeks later, managers were expressing concern about his driving, in particular positioning of the bus and concentration.

Little more than a month later, he was observed "having trouble staying in lane".

In mid-October that year, Mr Slater had his first fender-bender, when he hit a wheelie bin.

He said the bin's owner should not have put it so close to the kerb.

In January 2009, he was in trouble for not stopping for passengers, then he hit a van's tailgate and a bus-stop sign in one week in February.

After more incidents, Mr Slater attended a defensive driving course in May 2009, but in the same month he collided with another vehicle. The company accepted his explanation that he was not to blame.

Between June and October 2009, he had another four accidents — three of them with stationary objects.

The final accident came in March last year when he hit a concrete bollard.

Mr Slater told the Herald seven of the 10 accidents weren't his fault and the other three involved mitigating circumstances.

"If every driver was sacked for three minor scrapes, there would be no bus drivers left in Auckland."

Mr Slater said the company "wanted rid of me" despite his scoring a perfect 100 per cent in four "mystery shopper" surveys of his driving and attitude to passengers.

He had lost his Stanmore Bay house in a mortgagee sale while waiting for the Employment Relations Authority process, and was now planning to appeal against the decision.

"I have not had a serious accident in 47 years on the roads (as a bus driver and truck driver before that). I will take any independent test of my driving.

"With the amount of driving bus drivers do, there are bound to be a few scrapes."

The ERA ruling said that if anything, NZ Bus had been "overly tolerant".

"In dismissing Mr Slater, NZ Bus acted in a way that a fair and reasonable employer would have acted in all the circumstances," ERA member James Wilson said in the ruling.

NZ Bus operations manager Zane Fulljames said the company was confident it had followed procedure.

"We had issues with Mr Slater's performance, which we believed was poor," he said. "We endeavoured to resolve the problems on several occasions."


______________________________________

COLLISIONS

• October 15, 2008: Wheelie bin.

• February 03, 2009: Van's tailgate.

• February 11, 2009: Bus-stop sign.

• August 31, 2009: Stationary bus.

• October 07, 2009: Stationary bus.

• March 19, 2010: Concrete bollard.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10723488
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« Reply #71 on: May 06, 2011, 11:17:29 am »


I use the Airbus Express.

It's $23 return and they have a shitload of luggage space inside the bus.

Plus it runs 24/7 - every 15 minutes throughout most of the day and every 30 minutes during the wee hours of the morning.

...and if you are lucky it goes all the way to Takapuna - a whole 3 stages from my nearest bus stop.
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« Reply #72 on: May 06, 2011, 03:03:23 pm »


I see they're increasing the frequency of the Airport Airbus to every ten minutes before the RWC and they're going to make that frequency of service permanent, even after the RWC has ended.

Anyway.....I had to laugh at the story about the accident-prone Auckland bus driver.

He wouldn't last five seconds on routes 14 and 20 in Wellington. It always blows me away over some of the roads they drive buses over in Wellington, especially on those two routes. They travel along very narrow, windy streets on Mount Victoria and some of those roads are hardly wide enough for a car, let alone a big bus with tandem rear axles. I've got to take my hat off to the drivers who negotiate those routes.
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« Reply #73 on: May 06, 2011, 05:28:23 pm »

I had a chuckle at it as well. I have seen many a bus cut the corner of Victoria W and Albert St. Near the curb there is not a good place to stand. I have seen more than one clip the veranda supports or signs with the back corner of the bus pulling out of the Victoria W bus stops as well.

I take my hat of to many of the Birkenhead Transport drivers. I have only even seen one incedent with them but several with Stagecoach (now North Star) and Ritchies.
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« Reply #74 on: May 06, 2011, 07:13:45 pm »

Not long been home.    Am sure the designers of the south western motorway connection to the southern motorway was designed by looney left bicycle riders who have never driven a car.  How could they possibly think that 7 to 8 lanes of rush hour traffic can fit into 2 in less than half a Km or so.   

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