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
Tag: Community News

Still a couple of things I could go on about...

Sorry about missing last month, time just got away from me. It was the perfect storm of kids coming and going, work commitments, friends coming to stay and Aidan of Channel Magazine not harassing me enough. 

After five years, I am wondering if there is anything left to talk about. But there may be a couple of things that I could go on about. 

My favourite Council spending $49,000 on a traffic survey of Lake Road, when the Residents’ Association said they’d do it for nothing. You just need to drive along there to see what a shambles it is. I am lucky enough not to work 9 to 5.30 but sometimes it is just chaos, how anyone could sit in the queue at Esmonde Road in peak hour traffic trying to get to the city is just beyond me.  Maybe somebody would like to explain to me how those on ramp lights work, as far as I can see they just bring things to a standstill and cause enormous frustration. We all know that merging like a zip is a far better proposition. 

While we are talking about traffic, a couple of weeks ago I was going up to Warkworth every morning, early, on the road at 6am. I could not believe the traffic between Warkworth and the Northern Motorway at that time of day. Five years ago there was hardly anybody on the road at that time of day, but now it is a full size commute each day. Instead of buying in Auckland, people are buying in places like Warkworth, Wellsford, Kaiwaka and I even know of a person who works on the North Shore and each day he and his wife drive from Maungatoroto to the Wairau Valley. A commute of an hour and twenty minutes each way.

It was sad to see the other day, the passing of Charlie Bancroft, a life member of the Takapuna Rugby Club and ex-serviceman, wonderful family man, pioneer of so much on the North Shore. Charlie was a wonderful man who did so much for family and community.

While I’m on about Council, what about their spending $90,000 to write to ratepayers and ring them to inform them their rates would be increasing. Some people have increases of around $1750 per annum I hear. I can’t believe that in a time of low inflation, the Council could be increasing rates to this extent. This is to finance Len Brown’s underground railway system to the tune of some $3 billion and I guarantee you that if this is allowed to be constructed it will end up costing at least twice that. There will be a huge ongoing cost to maintain this hare brained scheme as well, the whole thing is lunacy. The Government has still not agreed to contribute at this stage either.

We all know that this train is not going to run at a profit, rail systems don’t – especially as we have a relatively small population. It will always require heavy subsidies from us, the ratepayers.

It’s the middle of winter, it’s now August and we are coming out of winter, although it hasn’t really been a bad one. We are bowling along on the road towards Summer and the Rugby World Cup.

I’ve been thinking of going to the Rugby World Cup as I love the game and I love the tournament – maybe life is too short not to do it. It would be too easy to stay at home and watch it on TV but I can use the excuse of visiting one of my sons in London. I always have an excuse to travel, as I have one son in Canada, one in the States and one in the UK. 

I had to look after a couple of young kids the other day, two boys aged 7 and 12, belonging to friends of ours. We spent the Sunday afternoon making model boats out of driftwood that we found washed up on the foreshore, we made a couple of half metre long trimarans, we used flax branches for hulls and bamboo for masts, we used old plastic bags for sails and made rudders out of cut up plastic. We secured weight to the sterns to keep the bows up, so it was a lesson in marine engineering at the highest level. I used to do this with my five boys as they were growing up and it really used to occupy many a happy weekend afternoon without any problem. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it. It was a beautiful July afternoon, the harbour was still except for a few zephyrs of breeze and we launched them off the Devonport Yacht Club wharf on an incoming tide and proceeded to walk along the waterfront towards Devonport Wharf, where we saw them sailing elegantly underneath the wharf, last to be seen sailing towards the Harbour Bridge. It was a great way to occupy a couple of kids for an afternoon at no expense, and the pleasure they got out of it was immense. Maybe simple things for simple people.

It was a lot more pleasurable than taking the kids to the local mall, or even to the movies. All it takes is a bit of time and patience and I know from my boys that it’s things like that they remember all their lives.




By Simon Gundry

Channel Magazine: Issuu 57 August 2015

Columnist articles by Simon Gundry