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

Probably my last column...

It’s good to see somebody else apart from my Auntie reads my Channel Magazine articles – I see that the new Mayor in Waiting, Mr Phil Goff, the ultimate career politician, must actually read these columns too, as the first thing he wants to do as an incoming Mayor is to build a new multi use stadium in downtown Auckland. I’ve been trying to push this point for years now, as you will all know.

It’s a marvellous idea, but there is only one thing wrong in that it should be down by the Tank Farm, below Silo Park where all those ugly oil tanks are. Not up by the Vector Arena. You can’t tell me it’s going to cost $1 billion for the stadium when the Forsythe Barr Stadium in Dunedin was $350 million and that was with a roof on it.  We don’t need a roof, it would take away the wonderful vista over the harbour. 

I see, on reading Brian Rudman’s column in the Herald recently, that Panuku, the Council’s development agency, has lodged a consent for a $12 million 75m walkway into the harbour from Queens Wharf.  This is despite a campaign promise from Goff that he would ban any further development into the Harbour. I know it’s proposed to be on piles, but even so. As a yachtsman I just cannot believe they would even contemplate a structure nearly as long as a rugby field protruding straight out from Queens Wharf into the harbour. Goodness me, what next. It’s encroachment by stealth. 

I’ve been writing for this two bit magazine now for five years, and I was Columnist of the Year, according to the Editor, Mr Aidan Bennett, for five consecutive years also. Never once has the Editor censured me over anything that I believe or have written. Until recently, when I wrote about the playground at the end of the Strand in Takapuna. I said that it was not the place to build a playground, as it cut out the beautiful view as you walked or drove around the Strand, out over our beloved Hauraki Gulf.

Once the Editor got my copy, he called me, and said that my opinion could not be printed as it was a bit close to the bone, as it turned out the Editor, Mr Bennett, was one of the driving forces behind the new playground. He told me, in no uncertain terms, to change my opinion on the catastrophic monstrosity of tanalised posts and stainless steel that had been built. I was mightily annoyed about this, because I don’t believe the Editor has any right at all to stifle the opinion of a contributing columnist, especially a columnist he has awarded the Columnist of the Year award to for five consecutive years.

It is freedom of speech and there is an old saying “I might not necessarily agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Mr Bennett might like to print those words out on one of his multi million dollar printing machines and have it laminated and put on his desk in front of him in his editorial/presidential like office, and read it every morning before coffee.

Labour Weekend again took me to my beloved Bay of Islands, where I have been going for every Labour weekend for many years. For many years I raced up as part of the Coastal Classic, the yacht race that starts off Devonport and ends in Russell. A race that accumulates well over 200 entries every year and is a maritime stampede into the North along the northern coast of the country. This year I drove up, took a few days off, I don’t get invited to take part in racing any more, it seems all my rowdy sailing friends have settled down. I spent a couple of days prior to the fleet arriving walking the beautiful beaches of Bland Bay, Taupiri Bay, and my beloved Elliot’s Bay. I had my annual pre Labour weekend swim at all three beaches. How lucky we are to have this a few hours easy drive from Auckland. 

I’ll tell you another little problem here on the North Shore, that I can see developing –  it’s actually developing now and I wonder if the so called experts have started to address this problem. On the northern motorway heading South, the motorway is so low just near the little walking bridge on the northern side of the Northcote turnoff – the motorway is so low that at high tide the road itself is only about eight inches higher than the high tide. Sooner or later, with a Spring tide, when the wind is blowing from the south east, even moderately, the whole stretch of road will be flooded, with the Waitemata Harbour encroaching over the road. Mark my words, it will happen sooner or later.

I think this whole stretch of the motorway from the onramp at Esmonde Road through to the Northcote turnoff will need to be raised at least half a metre. I wonder if the powers that be in Council, instead of thinking about a 75m extension from Queens Wharf jutting out into the harbour, should, in their extremely well paid wisdom, be thinking about this little problem.

Finally, to the Editor – please remember what I said – you might not necessarily agree with what I write, but you should fight to the death for my right to write it.

So long, this could be my last column, I might be sacked after this one.

FROM THE PUBLISHER: Point taken Simon. We love your award-winning columns they add a great deal to the magazine. I certainly did ask you to modify your column. I had (and have) no problem with you putting forward your views that are quite different to mine. What I was keen to change was the colourful descriptions of the people involved – as I was one! Oh, and by the way, I don't have an "editorial/presidential like office" – I share a 6m x 5m office with three young members of my team so I can pass on my wisdom to them every day! Keep up the good work. Don't be late with your December copy.


By Simon Gundry

Channel Magazine: Issue 71 November 2016

Columnist articles by Simon Gundry