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Simon Gundry is a Devonport and North Shore identity, and character, who is known for calling a spade a spade. He is a director of contracting company Gill & Gundry, is an enthusiastic and active sailor (past crew-member of Ceramco New Zealand, Lion New Zealand and Shockwave) and is a life member of the North Shore Rugby Football Club.
It’s now April, a third of the year almost gone. It was great to see the Volvo Race back in March as it is always great to see an event like this in the City. The Cricket World Cup was marvellous and also blessed with beautiful weather showing our city off in all its’ finery.
There’s also been a huge number of cruise ships visiting, some of the biggest we’ve ever seen but we are still having to put up with a two bit facility as the shop window to our beautiful region. I wonder if people do realise how big an economic benefit these ships are to our region. They bring literally thousands of people to eat, drink, shop, get on buses and generally contribute to our economy. I do realise we have a beautiful airport to greet our overseas visitors, but you can’t say that about our port facility.
While we are on about the Ports, and I mentioned this briefly last month. From the city, I had a closer look at this serious land grab that is going to happen, according to all the reports that I can see. It is just ridiculous that we are filling our harbour up more and more with hardstands for Japanese car imports. Just imagine the hue and cry if somebody who lived on Lake Pupuke or Takapuna Beach decided they were going to put in a couple of hundredweight of dirt into the lake or ocean to extend their front lawns. It is exactly the same scenario that’s planned, yet we stand back and do nothing about it. As a nation, we are very non-confrontational people, and just let people in authority do whatever they like without us doing anything about it.
I can remember years ago, sailing out of a port in France when the local fishing fleet decided to protest about something that was happening in their port. The fishing fleet blocked the whole port for a couple of weeks, not letting people either in or out. This not just screwed up our Regatta but also drove the point home, the French fishermen were not happy, and don’t mess with us. When the French farmers aren’t happy about something, they don’t just roll over, hundreds of them get in their tractors and either block the motorways or drive up the Champs Elysees and make their presence felt.
While we are on about the City, I can’t understand a few things that people are trying to do. When it comes to Western Springs, why would you take the Speedway away from this area, after being there for so many decades and plan a test cricket venue there which may only be used for possibly five days a year. I don’t understand why they would even attempt to move the Warriors out of Mt Smart Stadium, that’s their spiritual home, that’s their fan base. An attempt to bring the Warriors to North Harbour would be lunacy, only sensible to the lunatics at Auckland Council who are trying to drive this thing through.
Getting back to the Volvo Ocean race, I went down to say goodbye to a couple of friends who were sailing out of Auckland very early on the Wednesday morning after Cyclone Pam had kept them in for a couple of extra days, and I couldn’t believe that an area of pedestrian walkway was blocked off to stop the public seeing the boats leave. Whoever makes these stupid rules, I don’t know. I would certainly like to get into a boardroom with a few of these people and listen to how they make these decisions.
I went down the previous weekend, to have a look at the Volvo Village and the first thing that struck me was the amount of Auckland Transport people around giving tickets and organising the towing of vehicles that were parked, probably where they shouldn’t have been, but being on Sunday – did it really matter? Talking about shooting ourselves in the feet at the moment.
Another thing, I believe that the shambles that is Lake Road was scheduled for attention in 2016 and now I hear that this has been shelved, off the radar, and not happening in the foreseeable future. This is all in an effort to cut funding to redirect to the train set. Take a look at the Council website, and you can now see the calculations in place for the new Rating year. Taking into account the increase in rates proposed by the Council, and the new valuations taking effect, it is quite sobering the amount of money the long suffering rate payers are being asked to contribute, all the while taking on the chin the cuts in services that Council should provide as its’ core function. If we were in France, would we be taking to the streets in protest?
We have the Auckland Council elections coming up next year, we need someone to stand for Mayor, a person who has the respect and support of the City ratepayers, and the respect and support of the councillors. There needs to be a big cleanout in the Council, both in the elected officers and the ballooning staff numbers.
Here is a final thought for you – it will be interesting to see, on the new Opening Day plaque for the Devonport Library, what is inscribed – because I have it on very good authority that a plaque has been made at a cost of several thousand dollars, stating that the Library was opened by the Auckland Mayor, Mr Len Brown, on such and such a day, and I know quite well that Mayor Len Brown was not there. My men at the coal face tell me that he was behind closed doors, organising the filling in of our harbour, to be used as a hardstand and carpark for all the imported vehicles. I wonder what they will do with the plaque?
Channel Magazine: Issuu 53 April 2015