Gundry's Grumbles

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.

Gundry's Gumbles

My head is spinning...

I just can’t get my head around a few things around this town at the moment.

I knew quite well as soon as they started building Len’s tunnel in downtown Auckland, the price would go up. Sure enough, before they had even put a spade in the ground the price has gone up half a billion dollars from $3 billion to $3.5 billion. You mark my words, before this thing is finished, it will have gone up to in excess of $5 billion, if not more. You can’t tell me it costs a billion dollars a kilometre to build a tunnel. Rip this article out, stick it on your fridge with a big magnet and leave it for five years. Then put a big tick on it, after five years, and say – “Yes, he was right”. And I have no satisfaction in saying this. The whole project should be pulled off right now, and be rethought.

Another thing, I drove past the new playground at the bottom of the Strand in Takapuna the other day. Over the last few years the Council have done a good job with the construction of lovely green areas, so people can sit and look out at the harbour. Or, drive around the foreshore and look out at the magnificent vista of Takapuna Beach or walk down the Strand and look out at the ever expansive views towards the islands of our Gulf.

I have to ask if constructing this large and brightly coloured playground, with its’ forest of tantalised posts, galvanised bolts, stainless steel bits and garish swings and slides, is the best use of this bit of land. There are too few open green spaces for just sitting and relaxing, and this was one of the most beautiful with its’ stunning outlook. Children need some open spaces to run and play, and use their imaginations to create games. Surely this large construction could have been located somewhere else?  Kids playing on a playground aren’t looking at the view, after all. 

Another thing is our news service. I get up at 5am in the morning and listen to the news, the same items are on at 6am, at 7am and right throughout the day, the same topics talked about in mind numbing depth. The same goes for the two morning television programmes, which thank God I almost never watch. We have it all again on talkback radio, all day and all night and when you sit down to watch the 6.00pm news, there it all is, again. We don’t have a decent in depth current affairs programme, it’s all wishy washy liberal crap. 

The other night, I was bored enough to sit there with a stop watch with the One News and timed how much actual news input there was. After the advertisements, and two of the three weather updates, and re-reading of the headline news items were deducted, there was a total of 23 minutes of that hour of so called news.  People get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to read this drivel, and straight after we have so called current affairs with Seven Sharp on One and Story on TV3. Just another half hour of drivel punctuated with possibly one half decent advertisement to keep me awake.

If you want to sit down and read a newspaper, you have no choice but the NZ Herald which is nothing but a tabloid these days. The Waikato Times, the Northern Advocate and the Wanganui Chronicle are all papers I’ve read recently, they have better news and articles than our “major” big city newspaper. If you read either the Herald or “Stuff” online, the articles are more often than not badly written and misspelled. My father, who was the chief proof reader for the NZ Herald for 25 years, would be horrified at the standard of the journalism in the year 2016.

It’s time the whole news industry on television, radio and print was given a huge shakeup.

Why don’t we have another crack at Lake Road? Seven days a week now, it is just mayhem. It’s time the city took a serious look at putting in a four lane road from the end of Bayswater on the northern side of the Marina, right across Shoal Bay to connect into the Onewa Road roundabout. In the middle of the road there would be a huge lock system, where the water would be held into the basin for the entire weekend, so people could use it for their wind surfing, and other sailing activities, possibly rowing regattas like the Maadi Cup, it could be an absolute playground for weekend water sports without being influenced by tide. The water would then be emptied out at least twice a week when the lock gets released. Bayswater Avenue is wide enough to take the transport from the Devonport and Bayswater areas. 

At the end of Barry’s Point Road, adjacent to the motorway, a large reclamation area could be constructed there to enable spectators to camp overnight, as they do at Lake Karepiro when the Maadi Cup regatta is on, and it would be a windfall for the North Shore. A classic example is the Manukau Harbour adjacent to the Manukau Cruising Club and the motorway, you will see they have done a huge recreational reclamation that has enabled the residents that were once landlocked by the motorway to the airport, to now access the waterfront again.  Apart from that one bridge, in the Northcote area, and underneath the Harbour Bridge, nobody can access that part of the water.

If I was the Mayor then these works would be started in the next few months. It just takes one moaning neighbour and it holds things up for years, and nothing gets done.

Well, there’s a good lot of grumbles there, but I do despair sometimes at the lack of thought that goes into some of the decisions made in our Community.

FROM THE PUBLISHER: I am sorry Mr Gundry but I can't let your comment with regards to the fantastic new playground in Takapuna go unchallenged. My suggestion is that before slating this community driven project – that many people have put their heart and soul (and money) into – that you wait and see what the finished item actually looks like, how the public reacts to the finished item, and whether it is then loathed or loved by the majority. To have a crack at it when it is 70% completed is being a little too grumpy! I can assure you that once it is completed, the fences are taken down, all the finishing is done, then it will fit with the environment, be a real asset to the community, and loved by young and old! – Aidan Bennett.

By Simon Gundry

Channel Magazine: Issuu 68 August 2016

Columnist articles by Simon Gundry