Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smarter Governance for a Smarter Auckland


Today I delivered a presentation at the Rendevous Hotel to the Smart Cities Summit Conference. I was asked to speak about the sort of governance and leadership that Auckland needs - across the Region. And to speak about whether the governance reforms will deliver. These are a few slides and words from that presentation. They cover issues in Auckland City and North Shore City...


I used the example of Mexico to begin. Mexico has a reputation for poor air quality and a lot of other environmental bads. But their streets and communities are dynamic with life and energy.


This is a typical Mexico arterial street. I know it's an old city, but what a great streetscape. Sure the air looks pretty unhealthy.


But the back streets and communities are dynamic with life and energy. A lot of attention given to public spaces without cars and traffic. Interesting.


When you come back to Auckland it strikes you what it's like here - in the hearts of our cities. This is the heart of Manukau City as seen from the air on the way to land. It's really just a huge car park. Not a great people place...


And then when you do get back to North Shore, you can't ignore the fact we have some "bad air days" of our own in Auckland. And it's not because of winter fires. It's because of our dependence on, and heavy use of motor vehicles...

This is an aerial view of where Northcote Road crosses State Highway 1 on the North Shore. The uses of the land are labelled. To get between them you really need to drive. It's a car oriented design. It's not for pedestrians or cyclists. A lot of the North Shore has been designed this way.


It's one of the reasons the Auckland Region developed a Growth Strategy. To stop sprawl, and to establish much better quality urban environments. The idea was to encourage better quality density development around centres, and corridors, but to leave other parts free of infill development so the leafy character remains. This picture is from the strategy. It shows what the vision was supposed to be for Centres....

But these pictures show the reality of residential development in downtown Auckland. Very poor amenity compared to the vision. Disappointing - both for the people who live there, and setting a bad example for other places to copy. Not exemplary. And leaky building construction adds further injury...

Another part of the strategy has been Corridor Development. Aimed at streets like Taharoto, Wairau, Dominion, Sandringham - for example. These are served by quality bus transport. Others are close to railway lines....

This is a bad example from Auckland/West Auckland. Nobody really wants to live next to a railway line that looks like this. Nothing like the strategy. Poor amenity and lowest quality urban design. We can do better, and we need to do better...

This picture shows an aerial view of Highbury, on the North Shore. Highbury is a village and centre that was built long before the Harbour Bridge was built. It is a classic "english" town design. It has good main streets with shops and cafes, it also has commercial and light industrial areas which offer employment opportunities, there are green spaces and other public facilities (like a library). And as you can see, residential development is close enough so people can walk to the shops and to work...

But this is not how the new parts of North Shore have been developed. This is part of the Albany development. To the right is the Rosedale Industrial Estate, and to the left is new residential subdivision. This is a classic single use zoning. No mixed use. No walkable relationship between different uses. This is a negative change to car based living, because of its reduction in pedestrian and cycling based living and amenity. We need to do better....

Water, wastewater, and stormwater are issues for Auckland and for North Shore - where these images were taken. Flooding and erosion are issues when it rains. Yet - like last summer - when it's dry then we seem to not have enough water!

North Shore's steep topography means when it rains hard, water finds overland flow paths, and goes downhill at great speed. Down driveways, along fences, damming up and causing floods as it goes...

And then finally, what's left after the floods, discharges at great velocity into stream beds (causing damage and erosion and scouring), and finally into the the sea - often at beautiful beaches. Like here at Takapuna. Stormwater eventually needs to get to the sea, but the pathways its takes, and the damage done on the way, need to be carefully managed.

But it's not all bad.... North Shore City Council is a leader in the Auckland region at managing water in a 3 water way. This means storing stormwater in detention tanks, for reuse, but also to slow its flow when it rains hard. Slow it down in those short, peak 15 minute downpours. The strategy is also about keeping stormwater out of sewer pipes, so they don't discharge. And those old straight concrete drains and pipes are giving way to softer, more attractive approaches which slow water down and provide storage, rather than approaches based around high flow rates...

There is some high quality urban design around corridor and station development. This station development at Newmarket marries a railway station with great urban design, new shops, public open piazza spaces, and high quality medium density housing for those people wanting to live closer to the action, but unable to afford an expensive freehold house.

And across the Auckland Region there is a concerted approach to provide improved and safe cycle infrastructure, so Auckland's potential for this form of transport can be realised, along with the change in look and feel of town centres. They come to life when more people come and go by bike or on the footpath. But they must be safe.

This simple table illustrates what Councils do, the activity areas, and the legislation that directs council activities. Good governance depends on three things: good staff; good councillors, and good legislation. Without all three it's difficult to make positive changes to the look and feel of Auckland's urban landscapes and our town centres and streets.

This picture is from the Government document: "Making Auckland Greater", which led to the legislation that will abolish existing councils including North Shore City Council, and Auckland Regional Council - and establish a single supercity council. This will have a set of CCOs to provide key services like transport and water services. But there are major questions about the new supercity.

For example: how integrated will all this be? Will the new legislation lead to better outcomes? Is it more likely that the good things in the old Growth Strategy can finally be delivered more reliably? This diagram shows one of the problems with what has been proposed. Council "3 water" services will be split up. The Watercare CCO will only provide water and wastewater services, and stormwater will be provided alone by Auckland Council. This is a very disappointing disintegration.


There was more in my presentation about these aspects. However a lot of faith is being put in a new spatial plan to solve problems around integration and implementation. But it could just be a fashion. A planning fad. Check out the blog below for more on the spatial plan. This was published in NZ Herald on 29th June. And there's more on this blog about spatial planning....

Does Auckland Really Need a Spatial Plan?

This blog contains the article I wrote for NZ Herald last week. They ran an edited version on the Dialogue page of Tuesday's Herald 29th June. At the end of this blog is a response from Owen McShane which you might be interested to read.

Does Auckland Really Need a Spatial Plan?

The seed for an Auckland Spatial Plan was firmly planted when the Royal Commission into Auckland Governance recommended one: “to improve resource management and integrated planning.” Legislation now before Parliament will require the new Auckland Council to develop and implement a spatial plan.

But what is a spatial plan?

And will Auckland be a better place when it has one?

In my time as a councillor in Auckland and North Shore I have seen planning fashions come and go: Comprehensive Management Plans, Area Plans, Precinct Plans, Structure Plans, Master Plans - and now Spatial Plans.

In each case Council officers, politicians and developers have manipulated those techniques and planning methods to get what they want. This is not really a surprise as Auckland’s local government has always been an arena for the contest of ideas and ideologies seeking to influence decisions.

Superficially a spatial plan for the Auckland region sounds like a good idea. A city spatial plan conjures up images of a big map with new road, state highway, sewer main, land subdivision, parks and new school projects - each labelled with budgets and action plans for staged completion.

In practice this is what Auckland’s current set of strategic plans already show. The problem is they don’t get implemented.

But the deficiences that are endemic in Auckland local government planning go beyond implementation. There is a lack of integration between strategy and policy development. There is poor measurement of the relationship between policy initiatives and actual outcomes on the ground. And the engagement with stakeholders (such as land owners) and communities is often little more than a leaflet drop.

This is changing.

Auckland Regional Council is developing a refined classification for Auckland’s centres, corridors and business areas, in order to provide greater certainty for the location and sequencing of growth, and strengthened alignment of land use, transport and economic development. But difficulties in implementation – such as unclear responsibilities and a lack of regional control, slow plan-changes that enable centres-based development, and a lack of incentives to encourage quality redevelopment in centres and corridors – remain. As do integration gaps such as the lack of alignment between national and regional priorities, the need to broaden planning to include social objectives, and the failure to stimulate local place-making and community building.

Best practice spatial planning in European cities breaks with traditional planning. It is directed more towards integrated courses of action that address social, economic and environmental objectives, and which supersede the narrow focus on land use planning that has shaped Auckland strategic planning to date.

Sadly, proposed reforms for Auckland governance incorporate a spatial planning approach that is little more than a tool to shoe-horn central government’s economic growth oriented infrastructure program into the heart of Auckland.

While integration between central planning and regional planning is important,
Indications are that the main purpose of the new spatial plan is to ensure that Auckland is ready to receive infrastructure projects that have been centrally planned and funded through the National Infrastructure Plan.

This emphasis threatens local place-making and community building which was central to much of the discussion that led to the Royal Commission. Those discussions recognised the importance of horizontal integration, as well as vertical integration. There needed to be better integration between regional and central government planning, but there also needed to be more integrated thinking at local level around local place-making and planning.

The Bill now being considered by Parliament does provide for a more inclusive and consultative approach to the preparation of Auckland’s spatial plan than the first drafting, but the underlying purpose of the reform remains. That is for a nationally funded infrastructure program to drive the design of an Auckland spatial plan ensuring Auckland and its communities are ready to receive centrally planned infrastructure – be it schools, prisons or roads of national significance.

That is not be a best practice spatial plan.

It risks short-changing the region by focussing on short term economic objectives.

Best practice spatial planning begins with a public process of identifying and defining a limited number of strategic issues, and building public confidence through involvement and perception that the real issues are being addressed.

Then come implementation oriented plans which take account of power structures (including land owners, businesses, local boards, central government), and decision-making processes as well as conflict solving approaches to lubricate implementation.

And buy-in is maintained throughout by committing to vertical integration with central government in regional decisions, alongside horizontal integration with local boards and local stakeholders in local decisions.

A best practice spatial plan is not a comprehensive all-things-to-all-people plan or map. To be strategic and effective it needs to target specific Auckland development issues. These must include: housing poverty, transport energy demand, community building, and meeting the needs of an increasing population. The spatial plan needs to state how it will be implementated. It needs to be about walking the talk.

The transformation of Auckland through better passenger transport systems, compact town centres, pedestrian oriented design and development - won’t happen if it’s merely seen as a regional strategy. Transformation will only occur centre by centre, commercial zone by commercial zone, and street by street. It will be project by project at local level with each project treated on its merits and according to local requirements, community hopes and aspirations, and land owner expectations.

Best practice spatial planning is as much about local place-making as it is about the construction of central government inspired large scale infrastructure. That is the kind of spatial plan that Auckland needs.

Response by Owen McShane

The Warning for the Week: The race is on for the Mayoralty and Council of the Auckland Council a critical stage in the process of creating a super city that contributes to the growth and development of Auckland, and of course to the nation as a whole.

It's going to happen so we need to make sure it has a reasonable chance of delivering the goods. So far the reporting has focused on personalities, credit card spending and almost anything except what changes we really expect to see, or should expect.

However, the reality is that one major issue is taking shape and the battle lines are being drawn. The architects of the reform introduced the concept of the "spatial plan" because they wanted at least one strategic document to focus on some general mission statement that could enable and encourage economic growth and development. Such a document might even allow Judges in the courts to have some consideration for employment and economic growth before turning down
major developments because the planners have not yet finished their plans.

However, while this might have been the intention, the Smart Growth teams have already seized on the Spatial Plan as their opportunity to implement Smart Growth writ large but disguised under the new name.

For example Joel Cayford, Auckland Regional Councillor, and long- standing advocate for Smart Growth, and declared his aims in the NZ Herald (June 29th) in an Opinion Piece ­ City can be transformed by targeting specific projects.

Mr Cayford reveals his Smart Growth intentions by scattering the code word "integration" throughout the essay from the first paragraph. In many Regional Council cafeterias might think you have dropped in on a maths symposium discussing the higher calculus. "Integration" ­ like
"co-ordination" is a code word for "control."

He lets us know that:

The Auckland Regional Council is developing a refined classification for Auckland's centres, corridors and business areas, in order to provide greater certainty for the location and sequencing of growth, and strengthened alignment of land use, transport and economic development.

The key of course is:

There needed to be better integration between regional and central government planning. But there also needed to be more integrated thinking at local level around local place-making and planning.

This spatial planning is no strategic enabling document. The Smart Growth planners are determined that:

Transformation will only occur centre by centre, commercial zone by commercial zone, and street by street. It will be project by project at local level, with each project treated on its merits and according to local requirements, community hopes and aspirations, and land owner
expectations.

City council planners are already preparing Precinct Plans for Mt Albert, Onehunga, and so on. These are highly detailed three dimensional plans that leave no room for private innovation or change. A letter to a Mt Albert resident was quite open about their intentions:

The plan forms part of the Future Planning Framework (FPF) work that the council initially undertook as a precursor to developing a new Auckland City Isthmus District Plan. The FPF, including the four precinct plans, is a policy document rather than a statutory document. ...

The Auckland City Council will be passing on the FPF, including the four precinct plans, to the new Auckland Council with a recommendation that this work be used to inform the development of the spatial plan and the new district plan which the Auckland Council is required to undertake. Although the new Auckland Council will have no obligation to implement the plan, it is hoped that they will use the plan, along with the rest of the FPF research, in the development of a new spatial plan and district plan for the region.

The difference in underlying philosophies could not be more clear.

In the run up to the election we need to advise the candidates of these competing options for managing the growth and development of Auckland and ensure they let us know which horse they will be backing.

Governments should focus on the management of their own assets and let the private investors and landowners focus on how they manage their own. If the spatial plan is going to be planned in detail "street by street" and "centre by centre" to the level indicated in these precinct plans then council will have to employ half the population as planners and no one will be allowed to do anything until the process is complete ­ sometime towards the middle of the century.

It's a long time to expect investors to hold their breath.


So there you go. The Auckland debate is alive and well and kicking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fixing Auckland Planning Framework


This diagram depicts the conceptual framework I developed to assist in communicating the findings of the research I conducted about Auckland planning towards a dissertation for the MPlanPrac degree which was about spatial planning. (You can download the research report from the link at the end of this blog.)

The diagram contains in the four sectors the main activity types of local government in New Zealand.

These activities include what might be described as the core requirements of local service delivery (roads, water services, rubbish collection, dog control, libraries and parks for example) in terms of the Local Government Act and environmental regulation and natural resource use planning in terms of the Resource Management Act (consenting, monitoring and environmental reporting for example).

Local government is also empowered to undertake initiatives which promote economic development and private investment, and to engage in community development projects such as place making and heritage protection. Economic development initiatives could include new roading projects or the provision of public transport infrastructure. Community development projects might include the provision of housing for the elderly, affordable housing incentives, and sports and recreation partnerships. City level strategies for these four types of activities are contained in the District Plan and the Long Term Council Community Plan. Regional level strategies such as the Regional Land Transport Strategy and the Regional Policy Statement also affect city development, as do certain central government strategies.

This diagram adds another layer to the conceptual framework. This represents the extent of integration or joined up governance that exists between the different functional activities of local government. This diagram is thus a picture of ‘nicely rounded’ local government. It is a picture of integrated and coherent local government. It is the ideal that might be achieved with integrated regional planning and coordinated engagement with local and central government agencies.

This final diagram is a depiction of one of the most significant problems besetting Auckland’s local governance now, and one which is at risk of intensifying under the proposed governance structure for Auckland which envisages separate entities for network infrastructure.

The RMA’s environmental regulatory functions have been in place since 1991 and are now well bedded into the institution of local government. This has inevitably led to a silo approach to activities in that sector that is underlined by the separate ‘State of Environment’ reporting noted in the research, and the associated and highly particular set of indicators that go with that activity. Regulatory functions are typically well separated from core council service functions which in any case are described by other pieces of legislation, further underlining this separation.

The Local Government Act came into effect a decade after the RMA and while the Act’s overall purpose of seeking an integrated approach across the four well-beings is consistent with sustainable development best practice, along with its requirement to prepare long term plans, it is quite another matter to change the silo patterns that exist in local government institutions. My experience of LTCCP preparation in the Auckland region is that these plans are little more than the old single year Annual Plans with more of the same plus inflation for the next nine years. They cannot be described as strategic plans. My research also shows the development of indicator led approaches to the preparation and measurement of Long Term Council Community Plans also has a long way to go in Auckland. These fall well short of even being pre-cursors to local spatial plans.

By contrast Auckland’s relatively long history of regional transport strategic planning is reflected in the quality of these strategies, and in the depth of the associated indicator sets. But transport strategies that have been prepared without proper integration with land use planning - let alone economic and community development planning - are destined to perpetuate Auckland’s silo approach.

Finally, it should be noted that central government driven infrastructure projects intended to promote regional economic development but which have not been conceived and planned in a way which also promotes community development risk further concretisation of Auckland’s silo approach.

Auckland planning will not be fixed by a nationally driven spatial plan. Nor will it necessarily be fixed by the current restructuring.

You can download my final research paper from here:
http://www.joelcayford.com/JoelCayfordBestPracticeIndicatorsandAucklandSpatialPlan.pdf

Build a Better Auckland Spatial Plan

In my time as a councillor I have seen planning approaches like Comprehensive Management Plans, Structure Plans, Master Plans - and now Spatial Plans - come and go in Auckland. Like planning fashions. And in each case Council officers and politicians have manipulated those techniques and planning methods so that nothing really changed, or so that dominant interests got what they wanted.

This is not really a surprise as Auckland’s local government has always been an arena for the contest of ideas and ideologies that seek to influence its decisions.

Spatial planning is the latest attraction for that contest and it seems that everyone wants one . The Hauraki Gulf Forum wants one. Devonport wants one. And the Government wants Auckland’s new supercity Council to have one too.

Superficially a spatial plan for Auckland sounds appropriate and good. A city spatial plan conjures up images of a big map with new road, state highway, sewer main, land subdivision, and school projects - each labelled with budgets and action plans for staged completion. Just what Auckland needs.

However proposed reforms for Auckland governance incorporate a spatial planning approach that are little more than a tool to build central government’s economic growth oriented infrastructure program into the heart of Auckland.

Government briefing papers confirm that the purpose of the spatial plan (which was closely linked with the National Infrastructure Plan) is to ensure that Auckland will be ready to receive infrastructure projects that have been centrally planned and funded.

“After reviewing international practices and considering the Royal Commission’s recommendation for a spatial plan, and the needs of central government in planning infrastructure investment”, writes the Minister of Environment in his Cabinet briefing paper, “I consider that a spatial plan, as part of the statutory planning framework for the Auckland Council, would enable growth and development, and support the achievement of broad objectives for the residents of the Auckland region and the wider nation.”



The Bill now being considered by Parliament provides for a more inclusive and consultative approach to the preparation of Auckland’s spatial plan than the first drafting, but the underlying purpose of the reform remains. That is for a nationally funded infrastructure program to drive the design of an Auckland spatial plan whose primary purpose is to ensure that the region and its communities are ready to receive centrally planned infrastructure – schools, prisons or roads of national significance.

The importance of local place-making was central to much of the discussion that led to the Royal Commission. Those discussions recognised the importance of horizontal integration, as well as vertical integration. There needed to be better integration between Council and central government planning, but there also needed to be more integrated thinking at local level around local place-making and planning.

Comprehensive approaches to spatial planning are used in other countries where, for example, there is a national spatial plan, regional spatial plans, and local spatial plans. As European countries have two decades of spatial planning experience and Auckland is just beginning, there are lessons we can learn.

Louis Albrecht is a world authority on spatial planning. He believes that the idea of spatial planning – particularly strategic spatial planning - does represent a break with traditional planning when: “it is directed more towards integrated socio-economic courses of action that supersede the mere focus on land use planning….”

In other words that spatial planning is about more than simply new roads and budgets and actions-plans on a map.

Albrecht argues that strategic spatial planning should be about a limited number of strategic key issue areas. He advises, “strategic spatial planning is used for complex problems where authorities at different levels and different sectors and private actors are mutually dependent.” He also argues for a highly engaged public process. He advises, “it is crucial that all relevant stakeholders (public and private) agree on the issues to be dealt with in the strategic planning process and recognise their problems and challenges in the overall problem formulation.”

A best practice spatial plan is not a comprehensive all-things-to-all-people plan or map. To be strategic and effective it needs to target specific Auckland development issues. These are: housing poverty; transport energy demand; accommodating growth; and better place-making. And the spatial plan needs to be about implementation.

The transformation of Auckland through better passenger transport systems, through compact town centre form, through Pedestrian Oriented Urban design and development - won’t happen if it’s merely seen as a regional strategy.

This transformation can only occur town centre by town centre, commercial zone by commercial zone, and street by street. It will be a project by project transformation at local level where each project is treated on its merits and according to on-the-ground specifics of existing urban fabric, existing transport infrastructure, community hopes and aspirations, land owner expectations, and heritage opportunities.

Best practice spatial planning is as much about local place-making through processes which constructively involve and engage local stakeholders, as it is about the construction of central government inspired large scale infrastructure.

Government split over Queens Wharf Sheds?

Letters written by different Government Ministers underline the fact they are not all aligned behind Rugby World Cup Minister McCully's demolition derby vision for Queens Wharf...

I have been forwarded Ministerial replies written in response to letters from people concerned at proposals to dismantle/demolish/remove the Queens Wharf Sheds.

In a letter to one such concerned citizen signed by Minister for the Rugby World Cup Murray McCully, we read:

"....Both the government and the ARC recognise the need to take account of the heritage value of Queens Wharf. The ARC is workin with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to ensure that the historical significance of Queens Wharf is protected and promoted in its development. If the ARC decide that there are aspects of the sheds that deserve preservation, these matters will be considered as part of the removal process."

That same concerned citizen also received a reply from the Associate Minister of Tourism, because her original email was forwarded to him for his attention. The letter from the Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Associate Minister for Tourism, contains the same paragraphs as the one from Minister for the RWC, but the paragraph above has been changed by Dr Jonathan Coleman to read:

"....I can assure you that both the government and the ARC recognise the need to take account of the heritage value of Queens Wharf. The ARC is workin with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to ensure that the historical significance of Queens Wharf is protected and promoted in its development. If the ARC decide that there are aspects of the sheds that deserve preservation, these matters will be considered as part of the Queens Wharf development process."

Spot the difference. Or am I getting desperate?

Auckland Maritime Heritage Working Group established


You might have seen the coverage of the meeting at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron building that kicked off the Auckland Maritime Heritage Working Group a couple of weeks ago. The initiative and meeting was organised by Tony Blake, Baden Pascoe and John Street of New Zealand's Classic Yacht Association. The New Herald Coverage was very positive in Saturday's Business pages. (Which I can't find on internet right now!)

The presentation I gave to kick off the meeting and discussion was based on my experience of waterfront development at ARC and through its engagement with Sea + City. It has become clear that there is a need to integrate and coordinate the various maritime heritage iniatives that are underway - some of which have been around for a while like the Maritime Museum - and some of which are getting more organised - like the collection of classic boats. And there is more. These elements form the basis of a very strong and potential success story for Auckland waterfront development that is a visitor destination - for Aucklanders as well as for visiting tourists. But it needs recognition, organisation and support to realise that potential.

Attendees at the meeting included representatives from: The Maritime Museum; Classic Yacht Association; Sanfords; Architects and heritage buildings; Historic Places Trust; Tourism New Zealand; Auckland City Council; and others. Here is the guts of the presentation that I delivered whose purpose was to encourage the different groups to work together as a partnership. It is based in a similar approach that was adopted and implemented in Seattle.

The slide presentation now follows. I have not provided any of the spoken words that go with these rather terse slides, and hope that you find them useful enough as they stand....




































All Whites are more than All Right

Just had to include something this week about the All Whites and Italy, having sat up and watched it on the edge of my seat. The way other countries have covered the match has been very entertaining and informative. The UK Guardian newspaper has an "As It Happened" approach to match coverage. And it is funny and fun and informative and memorable, so I've cut and pasted it here....

Preamble Afternoon. Italy may traditionally be the suave sophisticates of world football, bestriding the scene with an imperious elegance and in a suit so sharp that it should be illegal, yet when it comes to the World Cup they have a peculiar habit of creating a huge wet patch around the business area of their £4000 cotton slacks. Of all the superpowers, Italy have suffered the greatest humiliations against the minnows of world football: defeat to North Korea in 1966, going 1-0 down to Haiti in 1974 – before which Dino Zoff had gone a record 1143 minutes without conceding a goal – losing to Ireland in 1994 and then South Korea in 2002. You wouldn't expect them to mess up against New Zealand, who have never won a World Cup match, but then we said that about all the others. Still this, given North Korea's competence, is surely the biggest mismatch of the tournament: the world champions against the 2000-1 outsiders.


1 min New Zealand, in white, kick off from right to left.

3 min Ipswich's Tommy Smith – no, not the one who was really good on Championship Manager – concedes a corner on the Italian right. It's swung out by Pepe and produces the square root of eff all.

4 min Italy are, indeed, playing 4-4-2. "How about my wife giving birth?" says David Liversidge, although I'm still not sure what question he's answering. "She's ready to go here but as she's Kiwi wants the footy updates as she goes. Trooper."

6 min Nothing has happened. Nada. Zilch. Sweet bugger all.

GOAL! Italy 0-1 New Zealand (Smeltz 7) What the hell is going on here? Shane Smeltz has given New Zealand the lead, albeit from an offside position. Shane Elliott curved in a free-kick from deep on the left. It brushes the head of another the leaping Reid, at which point Smeltz was offside. It then hit Cannavaro on the chest and hand before plopping in front of goal, and Smeltz poked it under Marchetti from a few yards. That's extraordinary.

8 min In defence of the assistant referee, the touch off the head of Reid was so slight that maybe he thought he had missed it, or that it had come off an Italian head. But the goal probably should not have been given. Which, let's be honest, makes it even funnier.

9 min An inswinging free-kick from Pepe on the left bounces through a posse of bodies in the area and Paston, who was probably unsighted, takes the safe option and punches it out of harm's way to his left.

10 min Pak Doo-Ik, Emmanuel Sanon, Ray Houghton, Ahn Jung Hwan, Shane Smeltz.

12 min "Boo ya!" says Tim O'Sullivan. "Put a couple of coins on Smeltz to score first at 22/1! Vintage betting." You say vintage, I say senile, but you can't argue with the results.

14 min Fallon is booked for putting an arm into Cannavaro's face. He'd eased one into Zambrotta's earlier, and the Italian complaints may have got him booked. Not that he can really complain.

17 min Chiellini misses a decent chance. Pepe's corner from the right kicked up and hit Cannavaro in the chest. It rebounded to Chiellini, on the left corner of the box, and with defenders converging he screwed a laughable left-footed effort all the way across goal.

18 min "The ball is flicked on from the head of the defender - so NZ onside and goal correctly awarded," says Liz Scott-Wilson. Hmm, I'm not so sure: I'm pretty sure it comes off Reid. But the more I see it the less sure I am, so the assistant referee was right to give the attackers the benefit of the doubt.

19 min Italy are having all the ball, as you'd expect, but they've only really created chances from set pieces so far. This couldn't happen, surely?

20 min Cannavaro is down after taking an elbow from Killen in the breadbasket. It wasn't a full elbow, but he definitely looked for him and New Zealand have been pretty physical. More of the same please. There's not nearly enough thuggery in football any more.

22 min The right-back Zambrotta runs straight down the centre of the pitch and, from the edge of the box, swooshes a fine effort that goes just wide of the far top corner.

23 min "AFC Wimbledon 1 Italy 0," says Charlie Talbot. "First the Surrey Senior Cup final, now this. What a career for Shane Smeltz."

24 min It's kicking off a wee bit. Chiellini rolls around beating the ground in pain after taking another elbow in the face from Fallon, who is on a yellow card. But this is an awkward one because Fallon was only using his elbows for leverage, and he wasn't actually swinging the elbow. The referee gives him a final warning, and the New Zealand manager – who has got the battle fever on – signals a dive. It certainly wasn't that; Chieillini took a good one in the phizog.

26 min "I am on my bed lazily browsing the MBM on my comp," says Shyam Sandilya. "Is the match actually worth it to walk a metre to switch on the TV?" Too right, there is going to be some violence soon.

27 min Montolivo hits the post! It was a fantastic bobbling effort, both feet off the ground, from 25 yards. Paston didn't move as the ball flashed across him and then swerved back in at the last minute to clatter off the inside of the post.

28 min: PENALTY TO ITALY Tommy Smith is penalised for pulling De Rossi's shirt as he tried to run onto a penetrative left-wing cross. De Rossi made a meal of it but it was a clear foul, and Smith is booked.

GOAL! Italy 1-1 New Zealand (Iaqunita 29 pen) Iaquinta passes it coolly into the right-hand corner as Paston dives the other way. It was at saveable height but that didn't matter because he waited for Paston to go before putting it in the other corner.

31 min New Zealand have a problem in that Fallon has been neutered. As Chris Coleman points out on ITV, he simply can't jump for the ball properly any more because he'll get another yellow card if even a fingernail touches an Italian defender.

32 min A few of you have asked why Italy are wearing black armbands. Obviously I have no idea, as I am stupid. Anyone know?

33 min New Zealand can't keep this up. They are getting battered, albeit without conceding too many clear chances. The concern for Italy, though, is not just winning but also goal difference: they must win well here and against Slovakia to finish above Paraguay and avoid Holland. It looks increasingly likely that we will have Italy v Holland in the last 16.

35 min Jonathan Wilson – yep, that one – and others point out that the armbands are because of the death of Roberto Rosato, who played in the 1970 World Cup final.

36 min Talking of Jonathan Wilson...

37 min "Another Spanish ref?" says Peter Phillips. "I have watched the replay again, and from the footage on my tv I really didn't see a foul, much less a clear one. A bad call is acceptable and even expected but dubious diving and dramatic falling and flailing? Oh yeah, this is Italy isn't it. Sorry!" It's a Guatemalan ref, and I thought it was an excellent and brave decision. He clearly grabbed his shirt, so there's no legitimate argument that it wasn't a penalty. The trouble is, of course, that only one out of maybe 20 such instances are punished with the award of a penalty.

38 min While New Zealand have been fibrous, to say the least, some of the Italian histrionics have been a wee bit unpalatable. After a foul by Killen, De Rossi wears the grimace of a man who has just lost his Dawson's Creek boxset.

40 min Ryan Nelsen, always such an underrated player, has been immense. New Zealand have been admirably resilient in the face of a bit of a buffeting.

41 min Iaquinta chips a dainty pass in behind the defence for the onrushing Pepe, but Nelsen covers well. For all Italy's dominance, Paston has not had a major save to make.

43 min New Zealand can't keep the ball at all. They're not helped by Fallon's reduced role in proceedings.

44 min Zambrotta spins the ball up smartly and then welts a volley across goal. Nelsen again clears. He has been quite outstanding.

45 min De Rossi, teed up by Pepe, takes a snapshot from 25 yards and Paston gets down to his right to make a good save, his best yet. The ball was wobbling awkwardly and came through a crowd of bodies, so it was probably a better save than it looked.
Half time: Italy 1-1 New Zealand That was lively. A dog of a match technically, to be honest, but there was plenty of barely concealed malice from both sides and, for 20 minutes or so until Italy equalised, a whiff of one of the great World Cup shocks. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

Half-time chit-chat
"What a strange moral universe football is, when it is worse to slightly exaggerate the effects of a foul than to elbow someone dangerously in the head" – Roy Allen.
"What's all the more galling about the high-arm play acting is that it's this Daniele De Rossi" - Eamonn Maloney.
"I imagine you're receiving lots of emails from disgruntled Kiwis, snd probably a few sympathetic Aussies. Some of them will have a point by saying it wasn't much of a penalty, but the thing about fouling is it is either a foul or it isn't. Not much of a penalty is still a penalty. A bit like offside really" – Richard Finch.
"They're not thrash, but NZ weirdos Head Like a Hole would definitely liven up the showroom for Darryl Short. Unless he plays their bizarrely straight cover of I'm On Fire...which is pretty much how the Italians look when they lay on the turf writhing in mock agony" – Wade

46 min Italy kick off from right to left. They have made two changes: Antonio Di Natale replaces Alberto Gilardino, and Mauro Camoranesi replaces Simone Pepe.

47 min "It's a little known fact," says Blair Mainwaring, "but NZ's 5-2 loss to the Scots in their World Cup appearance in 1982, was responsible for the Scots exit on goal difference."
True that. Indeed it led Scott Murray to come out with this great line during his MBM of New Zealand v Slovakia:
New Zealand had assured their place on the elite list of countries who have made life hellishly difficult for Scotland at the World Cup. That list in full: Austria, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, Paraguay, France, Zaire, Brazil, Peru, Iran, Holland, New Zealand, USSR, Denmark, West Germany, Costa Rica, Sweden, Norway, Morocco and Scotland.

48 min The second half begins as the first ended, with Italy on top and Ryan Nelsen giving an epic display of over-ma-dead-body defending. He's a magnet to the ball. Di Natale spins to lash a bouncing ball towards goal from a tight angle on the right side of the box, and Paston beats it away. That was lovely technique from Di Natale.

49 min "Does anyone know why the New Zealand football team doesn't do their Haka dance before kick off like the rugby team?" says Adam. "Maybe it would help strike fear into the opposition!"
I suspect – and forgive me if I'm wrong – it might have something to do with the fact that doing such a dance would look quite strange when you invariably have your backside handed to you in the match that follows.

51 min New Zealand are playing like they have an allergy to the ball. In fact their ball-retention is almost as bad as England's.

53 min Italy are poor. For all their dominance they have created very little against perhaps the tournament's weakest side. They are going out in the second round, their backsides handed to them by Holland.

54 min "Here in Australia on broadcaster SBS, they've roped in some no-mark Englishman to host the broadcasts from a studio in Sydney," says Angus Chisholm. "He just dropped this little gem when the goal was being discussed: 'I don't mean any disrespect but they're South American referees, one is from Costa Rica, one is Honduran'. One would hope that we'd be spared from appalingly condescending and borderline racist English punditry here but alas. At the risk of sounding exactly like him, You People ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
Oh I am, don't worry.

55 min Criscito's dangerous near-post cross from the left is welted clear by the inevitably Ryan Nelsen with Iaquinta lurking behind.

56 min Chris Coleman is getting incredibly involved with New Zealand's struggle, imploring them to keep the ball and shouting random bits of tactical advice. "No need to make that challenge!" he weeps when Lochhead fouls Camoranesi. He sounds like he's on commission for their draw bonus.

58 min New Zealand get some respite when Leo Bertos skilfully wins a throw-in by the corner flag. He launches it towards Fallon, who challenges for the ball with Criscito. There was very little contact, but Criscito went down holding his face. That was really pitiful from Criscito, but thankfully the referee didn't buy it and give Fallon a second yellow card.

59 min "She's eight pounds one ounce," reports David Liversidge. "If we win I'm calling her RIckie Ryan Liversidge." You have the warmest congratulations of me and both our readers.

60 min De Rossi plays a delightfully penetrative, fast pass to Iaquinta, just inside the area, but he drags his shot on the turn well wide.

61 min Italy make their last substitution: the forward Giampaolo Pazzini replaces the wide midfielder Claudio Marchisio.

63 min New Zealand have had a really good five minutes, with the ball in Italy's half as much as theirs. Rory Fallon is replaced by the 18-year-old Chris Wood, probably to save him from a red card.

64 min A long throw from the left is headed clear by Cannavaro and, as the ball bounces up 22 yards out, Vicelic booms a fine first-time effort not far wide of the near post.

65 min Italy win a corner on the left. They still aren't really creating chances, and Montolivo overhits the corner hopelessly, all the way out for a throw-in.

66 min Italy have a flurry of corners, but New Zealand have got the battle fever on and defend effectively. In a sense, a draw doesn't make much difference from a win for Italy – they would still have to draw v Slovakia – but of course they will get pelters if they fail to win this.

67 min "As Ryan Nelsen himself admits, Skinny White Guys doing the Haka ain't exactly the most edifying sight," says Justin Lim.

69 min Italy are really pressing now, and the next 20 minutes will feel as long as Das Boot for New Zealand. I don't know how long they can keep this level of desperate defending going.

70 min Paston makes a fine save from a vicious long-range strike by Montolivo. It was arrowing towards the bottom corner, but Paston flung himself to his right and got a strong hand on it.

71 min "I know it's Always the Ball's Fault, but you'd think that after more than a week of playing and training with this ball, both at altitude and sea level, some of these very well-compensated professional footballers would think to maybe not hit it so hard next time," says Patrick Sheehan. "Or am I overestimating the problem-solving skills of the professional footballer?"
I think you've answered your own question.

72 min Reid stays down in the area after a challenge with Chiellini's elbows. Italy play on controversially, and eventually Di Natale's dangerous low cross is cleared brilliantly by Ryan Nelsen inside his own six-yard box. Reid has now gone off for treatment.

73 min "Congrats to David Liversidge," says David Harris. "I think the OBO might have a few, but is this the first MBM baby?"

74 min Reid is back on.

76 min It's a siege now, but still Italy aren't creating many clear chances. New Zealand have been marvellously indefatigable.

77 min Italy make a laughable cock-up of a short free-kick. Eventually the ball is dumped into the box, and Paston claims.

78 min I know I'm simple folk, but can someone tell me: what exactly does Mauro Camoranesi do?

79 min That's what he does: swing in a dangerous corner from the right that is headed towards goal by Iaquinta and then headed over his own bar by Tommy Smith. From the resulting corner, Camoranesi screws a desperate left-footed effort wide from the edge of the box.

79 min Di Natale runs onto Iaquinta's flick, makes a curving run infield around Reid but then drags his shot well wide from 20 yards.

80 min A New Zealand substitution: Jeremy Christie replaces the excellent Ivan Vicelich.

82 min Nelsen concedes a corner on the Italian left. It's whipped to the far post and headed wide under pressure by Chiellini.

83 min West Brom's Chris Wood so nearly gives New Zealand the lead! He wriggled away from Cannavaro on the edge of the box and then, with his left foot, fizzed a superb effort across Marchetti and just wide of the far post.

84 min "It's 0322 here in NZ and bloody cold," says Nick Proctor. "Did you know that most Kiwi houses have no central heating? Or double glazing? I can see my cat's breath. Well, this is a turn-up! The Italians are playing as if the game was taking place on the deck of an aircraft carrier on a stormy sea: falling all over the place in other words. The All Whites, well, our Prime Minister predicted 1-1, whilst I went with pedigree ... More than happy to be wrong so far. I coach eighth grade soccer over here. These guys are a product of a generation that didn't have the resources our guys now have, hence the lack of technique. Thousands of kids play every Saturday, and the Wellington Phoenix have better support than the Hurricanes. Doesn't mean we'll ever be world beaters, but, well, look at this. Look at it!"

85 min Yet another Italy corner. Di Natale swings it in from the left and Reid heads clear. New Zealand are on their last legs, and the heroic Ryan Nelsen is now down with cramp.

86 min "Chris Coleman's increasingly random commentary is brilliant," says Rena Patel. "Tactical advice mixed with gaffer speak is joyous."

87 min All the New Zealand fans have got their tops off and are waving them above their head. There are moobs on show everywhere, and not one of them could care less. This would be an astonishing result. Meanwhile, the referee has booked Nelsen for timewasting while he was limping off the pitch with cramp! That's extraordinary.

88 min Nelsen is back on and here come Italy again. Camoranesi wins a 50/50 with Wood and then, from 30 yards, hits a superb lifting drive that draws another good, two-handed save from Paston, diving to his left. What does Camoranesi do again?

90 min An heroic block from Nelsen keeps the score level. Zambrotta ran behind Smeltz onto a fantastic through pass, then came back inside Smith before lashing a left-footed shot towards goal. It might have been going wide of the far post, but Nelsen blocked it anyway.

90+1 min There will be four minutes of added time. Italy are charging round; I've seen less desperation on nightclub dancefloors during the slow songs at 1.45am on a Saturday morning.

90+2 min Criscito's cross is overhit and goes out for a goalkick. New Zealand are so nearly there.

90+3 min New Zealand make their final substitution: Andy Barron, who works in a bank in Wellington and had to arrange time off to come here, replaces Chris Killen.

Full time: Italy 1-1 New Zealand It's the feelgood hit of the summer: New Zealand have held the world champions Italy. Extraordinary stuff. They put in such a resourceful display, and were led sensationally by the brilliant Ryan Nelsen. Italy's World Cup minnowphobia continues, and they will need to get at least a draw against Slovakia on Thursday to qualify. But today is all about New Zealand, who have infused this World Cup with the sort of innocent, everyman charm that was seemingly lost to top-level football. After two games, they are on behind Italy on alphabetical order. Congratulations to them. Thanks for your emails. I'll leave the last word to Nick Proctor: "You Absolute Bloody Beauty! Sent from my iPhone."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pacific Sun Uses Queens Wharf


There I was on Monday morning, 14th June, minding my own business commuting to work at the ARC by ferry from Devonport. And I said, "ullo, ullo, ullo?" There was the Pacific Sun tied up at Queens Wharf, and Princes Wharf was empty. So I went to have a look from the ferry terminal.

The place was teeming with people and security guards. Could I get onto Queens Wharf?...

I couldn't quite tell what was happening from the Red Gates. Were people coming or going? What was going on? I tried to look like a tourist as I pushed my bike onto the wharf. The guards ignored me...

As I got closer I could see that whole families appeared to be getting off the Pacific Sun, piling into taxis and cars and all sorts, and heading home. Bags and all.

At one point there must've been half a dozen big buses taking up a whole lot of space, coming and going...

And there were private cars for Africa. People piling in with their bags and being sheparded out onto a busy Quay Street by those Security Guards...

At the other end of the ship containers were being loaded and unloaded, trucks were coming and going, and barriers were in place to prevent nosy members of the public from getting too close.

So I asked a Security Guard what was happening and it all became clear. This particular trip for the Pacific Sun was from the Islands somewhere, and it was terminating in Auckland. All the passengers were disembarking he explained, and another trip would be departing later that day, after the new lot of passengers were allowed on board.

The point of this blog is to illustrate the intensity of use of Queens Wharf, and the major traffic effects, when a cruise ship uses the wharf to terminate and originate a cruise.

Most cruise ship visits to Auckland are so-called "Port of Call" visits. The ship simply calls in, the passengers live on board the ship with all their baggage, and they visit Auckland as tourists while the ship is in port. The demands on the cruise ship terminal are much less for "Port of Call" visits than "Originating" or "Terminating" visits. So are the traffic demands.

The Pacific Sun is a medium sized cruise ship, holding a maximum of 1900 passengers. That's quite a few. Other cruise ships that visit Auckland are bigger - with presumably greater traffic and freight demands - should they dock here to terminate or to originate a cruise.

The question of whether Queens Wharf should be used for a cruise ship terminal is critically affected by the further question of what the terminal is for: port of call only? Or to originate and terminate cruises? And there is the additional question of whether it should be Queens Wharf (or Princes Wharf or another wharf) that functions as Auckland's primary cruise ship terminal.

These questions and options have not been properly canvassed with Aucklanders.

It is disingenuous to describe Queens Wharf as "the Peoples Wharf", when it is obvious how damaging to public amenity a "world class" cruise ship terminal designed to service terminating and originating cruises will be.

Two Faces Over Queens Wharf


These are the two faces of Queens Wharf today.

Murray McCully is a Government Minister and Minister of the Rugby World Cup. Mike Lee is Chairman of the ARC.

The Government owns 50% of Queens Wharf, and so does the New Zealand Government. An unusual arrangement to say the least. This blog provides some information and background to that arrangement and the relationship.

In Mike Lee's 26th April report to the ARC Mike wrote about the media conference where the picture was taken:
"At the well attended media conference, hosted by the Minister for the Rugby World Cup Hon Murray McCully and myself, Mr McCully revealed plans for the government and ARC to build temporary ‘cruise terminal and entertainment facility’ in time for the Rugby World Cup. I stated that given the failure of leadership of the city’s mayors which meant a new cruise ship terminal was no longer feasible in the short term the ARC fully supported the government proposal which the government will pay for. Our preferred approach subject to consultation with the NZ Historic Places Trust is to dismantle the sheds and re-use salvageable materials in the permanent structure. Consultation will be undertaken in good faith not just on the future of the sheds but on all other historic features of the Wharf."

The day before, Anzac Day, in his speech at the opening of Queens Wharf, Chairman Mike Lee ended with these words:
"...today we begin a new chapter of Auckland's historical Queens Wharf - for nearly 100 years locked away - by opening it to the people once again. 2.75 hectares of superb public open space - close to the CBD and the Britomart Transport Centre - where people can come for passive recreation, to walk, to fish, to commune with the sea. Which we believe will enhance the quality of life for Aucklanders and our visitors. This is a legacy the ARC is beqeathing to the people of the region. The ARC trusts that the new Auckland Council, the new Super City will carry on our mission to redevelop the waterfront. But one thing we can be certain about - Queens Wharf as our 27th regional park if you will - will remain in the public ownership of the people of Auckland in perpetuity. My thanks once again to the government - to Prime Minister John Key and to Minister Murray McCully. My fellow Aucklanders - Queen's Wharf is now the Peoples Wharf."

No mention of a cruise ship terminal in those words. Sounds like a park. If it was park any building - let alone 100 year old cargo shed heritage - would be guarded passionately.

What is difficult to untangle in all these words is what is really happening. And what is rational and what is emotional. The whole Queens Wharf thing got legs to begin with when the PM spoke about "Party Central". He asked rhetorically, "where will everyone go to celebrate and have a good time when it's all on?" That was his question. At the time, Ports of Auckland were cash strapped, the stars aligned and the deal was done. But the deal has transmogrified and morphed as various other individuals and organisations have got their hooks into it.

It has changed from Party Central to Primary Cruise Ship Terminal.

How has this happened?

Many ARC reports state opinions carrying the GUEDO signature. GUEDO is central government's office in Auckland. GUEDO stands for Government Urban and Economic Development Office. GUEDO is one of the organisations to have picked up Queens Wharf and turned it into an economic development project. An infrastructure project to promote and stimulate Auckland's economic growth and productivity.

Somewhere along the way, after "the failure of leadership of the city’s mayors", the ARC decided to go it alone with the Government. The sequence of events leading to today began at a barely quorate meeting, just before Christmas, when the ARC voted: "In the absence of an agreement by Auckland City Council to progress and finance the development, the CEO investigate an exclusive partnership between the ARC and Government and report back to Council in January 2010."

Then we had a wonderful summer in the sun. For a while.

In January nothing happened. Nothing happened in February either, so I asked questions at a Council meeting where we were discussing the Annual Plan. A verbal update was provided to the effect that a Joint Venture was actually under way, and that it would be reported to a subsequent council meeting. Note here, that the December resolution called for the CEO to: "investigate an exclusive partnership".

So then the ARC met in April 19th. That was the first Council meeting in 2010 where Queens Wharf and the Joint Venture was formally reported on the agenda. This was the meeting where ARC voted to approve: "the staged development of Queens Wharf to enable its use as a fan zone for Rugby World Cup 2011, and for the construction of the permanent cruise ship terminal to commence immediately after the 2011/12 cruise season", and to approve: "dismantling of sheds 10 and 11 on Queens Wharf". This latter decision was: "subject to the outcome of consultation with the Historic Places Trust".

What is interesting about the attachments to the 19th April Council meeting report is that they include a signed Joint Venture Agreement between the ARC and the Government. This was the first sighting of this document by ARC Councillors. It had gone much further than "investigation".

The Joint Venture Agreement was dated 26th March 2010. It was signed by ARC Chairman Mike Lee "for and on behalf of Auckland Regional Council", and by Murray McCully "for and on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand acting by and through Hon Murray McCully, Minister for the Rugby World Cup", and also by Gerry Brownlee in his capacity as Minister of Economic Development.

"The purposes of the Joint Venture are: General: To hold and operate Queens Wharf and manage the development of it, for the benefit of the public;
Specific: To manage the development of:
i) an infrastructure legacy site for major events (commencing with the Rugby World Cup 2011) that presents an impressive image of the Auckland region and New Zealand as a whole;
ii) a high quality cruise ship terminal facility that will provide economic benefits to the Auckland region and New Zealand as a whole; and
iii) an impressive public open space that reflects New Zealand's culture and heritage...."

The problem with this wishlist is the classic one of not being able to have your cake and eat it. You can't have the kind of cruise ship terminal that GUEDO wants on Queens Wharf - that is Auckland's Primary Cruise Ship Terminal - that supports Cruise Origination and Termination - and have the kind of open space described in these purposes. The uses are in conflict and there is not enough room. And it is ironic that the purpose speaks of a space that "reflects ... culture and heritage", but has in mind a space that is devoid of heritage buildings.

The Queens Wharf Joint venture Agreement contains the sort of detail that might be expected in such a document, including the establishment of an Owners Committee which is quorate if the Minister of the Rugby World Cup and the the Chairman of the ARC are present.

It is concerning to note however, that the agreement states that: "The decisions of the Owners Committee are binding on the parties. The parties must take all reasonable steps to give effect to those decisions. If a party cannot give effect to a decision after taking all reasonable steps, the matter must be referred back to the Owners Committee for reconsideration."

The agreement goes on to provide for the existence of a Management Committee, whose first big job is the preparation of an Approved Business Plan", which must be prepared "at least 2 months prior to the end of each financial year". The Agreement defines that date as 30 June "unless otherwise determined by the Owners Committee".

So where does that leave us all?

Hard to say really. The ARC has not been asked to agree or endorse the Queens Wharf Joint Venture Agreement which has been signed on its behalf by its Chairman. The ARC has not been provided with a copy of the Approved Business Plan which should have been prepared a month ago. And which is important because the Agreement requires the ARC to: "take all reasonable steps to give effect to those decisions..."

What has the ARC agreed to do on Queens Wharf? Be nice to know.

It feels a bit like Government has found a way to control Auckland.

And what if there's a dispute?

Imagine that the ARC is being faced with staunch arguments from the Historic Places Trust in its consultation. Imagine that the ARC is under pressure to adaptively re-use the Sheds that are on Queens Wharf. A lot of pressure. How will that pressure affect the Minister for the Rugby World Cup? What are his obligations to understand the ARC's obligations?

Interestingly, the Queens Wharf Joint Venture Agreement does have a tiny bit of light at the end of its rather dark tunnel. It says: "Any agreement entered into by the Joint Venture with a third party must not place a party in breach of any legislation applicable to it, including.... in the case of the ARC, the Local Government Act 2002."

Thank goodness for that. But what if the parties agree something among themselves that has that effect? What if the ARC - aware of the deal its has signed up to with Government and the decisions that make up that deal - in its determination to "take all reasonable steps to give effect to those decisions", steps just a wee bit over the line. Like skimping on its public duties to consult over things like: Cargo Shed removal; deciding the temporary slug/tent replacement; providing Queens Wharf Development budgets; changing Auckland's cruise ship terminal locations and functions. And the word "skimping" is charitable.

What then?

Auckland Weather and Rain Update

Well it's almost situation normal. It's winter and it's raining.
So I won't do any more blogs about this for a while.
Last time I blogged was Saturday 22nd May. It had started raining hard.
The NZ Herald rain gauges indicated that 197mm had fallen for the 2010 year.
That was just 50% of average rainfall that is recorded for that period.

Since then it has rained a lot.
Today, 15th June, NZ Herald has recorded 367mm.
That means 367-197mm has fallen since 22 May. 170mm in fact.
That's a lot of rain in 3 weeks. Feels like it doesn't it.

According to Granny Herald, average June rainfall to date is 52mm, but we've had 97mm.
That's almost double the average rainfall for June.

Overall for the year, to 15th June, Herald reports average rainfall is 454mm.
We have now had 367mm. That's 80% of average.

Quite a change from a month ago when Auckland was sitting on 35% of average rainfall, and was experiencing the driest four month period on record.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Navy Adapts Heritage Sheds


This is a great little story and I am proud to share it with greater Auckland. This is a view of North Head Devonport, from Mt Victoria. You can see the old military base buildings on North Head - now occupied by DOC. Dept of Conservation.

Looking closer, down by the water, you can see the Navy land at Torpedo Bay. That's the refurbished Torpedo Wharf.

And even closer you can see two shed like buildings on the waterfront, overlooked by residential buildings - many of them heritage villas.

This is the larger of the two sheds, and will soon open as the Navy Museum. I understand the opening of the museum is sometime in October this year. You can see Mt Victoria in the background.

The shed has been reclad in corrugated iron, but retains many of its features. The original shed was built over a hundred years ago, and was an important part of the harbour's defences against seaborn invasion.


This view of the shed frontage shows a modern style entry area has been designed for public entry and also to house a sea view cafe.

The windows are original - old drawings of the original shed showed these windows in this position. A heritage architect was retained by the Navy to get the detail as right as they could for their tight budget of less than $1.5 million for the whole job.

Inside the entry is the white reception and interpretation area. The original ironwork supporting the roof is a feature.


The main part of the museum is in sharp dark contrast. Again the original roof structure is evident. When first built this area was where the mines were assembled before being put in position across the harbour entrance.

The wooden structures are being added later - within the shed envelope - to house the Navy's collection of exhibits and museum displays.


Again, this dark space is lined with the original doors that led to the areas where the mines and explosives were stored.

There are 3 mine and explosive storage areas. These have the highest historic values I understand, and their restoration will be more detailed and painstaking. You can see on the floor the original rail tracks used for the trollies that carried the mines and their makings into the assembly area.

This picture shows the roof, which is curved, around 2 feet thick of concrete, which was poured into shape and supported by rail-lines structures that you can see in the ceiling.

The doorways, windows and walls are around 2 feet thick concrete also. Designed to withstand a significant explosion.

The explosives storage areas fit against the cliff with its coastal pohutakawa. Creating interesting spaces for education and coffee away from the wind.


The whole area has many interesting places to sit and explore. Whereever possible the design has incorporated the old and original woodwork and corrugated iron work and concrete.

Somehow it all blends into the surrounding Devonport landscape.

And here's the other shed, which sits alongside Torpedo Wharf.

It's an old structure too, needed some serious love and attention.

It was the Boat Shed at Torpedo Bay.


And inside it's a magic place.

Well done Navy.

You've shown Auckland what can be done within a tight budget, working with the Historic Places Trust, to adaptively reuse your old sheds.

Fantastic.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smarter Governance for a Smarter Auckland


Today I delivered a presentation at the Rendevous Hotel to the Smart Cities Summit Conference. I was asked to speak about the sort of governance and leadership that Auckland needs - across the Region. And to speak about whether the governance reforms will deliver. These are a few slides and words from that presentation. They cover issues in Auckland City and North Shore City...


I used the example of Mexico to begin. Mexico has a reputation for poor air quality and a lot of other environmental bads. But their streets and communities are dynamic with life and energy.


This is a typical Mexico arterial street. I know it's an old city, but what a great streetscape. Sure the air looks pretty unhealthy.


But the back streets and communities are dynamic with life and energy. A lot of attention given to public spaces without cars and traffic. Interesting.


When you come back to Auckland it strikes you what it's like here - in the hearts of our cities. This is the heart of Manukau City as seen from the air on the way to land. It's really just a huge car park. Not a great people place...


And then when you do get back to North Shore, you can't ignore the fact we have some "bad air days" of our own in Auckland. And it's not because of winter fires. It's because of our dependence on, and heavy use of motor vehicles...

This is an aerial view of where Northcote Road crosses State Highway 1 on the North Shore. The uses of the land are labelled. To get between them you really need to drive. It's a car oriented design. It's not for pedestrians or cyclists. A lot of the North Shore has been designed this way.


It's one of the reasons the Auckland Region developed a Growth Strategy. To stop sprawl, and to establish much better quality urban environments. The idea was to encourage better quality density development around centres, and corridors, but to leave other parts free of infill development so the leafy character remains. This picture is from the strategy. It shows what the vision was supposed to be for Centres....

But these pictures show the reality of residential development in downtown Auckland. Very poor amenity compared to the vision. Disappointing - both for the people who live there, and setting a bad example for other places to copy. Not exemplary. And leaky building construction adds further injury...

Another part of the strategy has been Corridor Development. Aimed at streets like Taharoto, Wairau, Dominion, Sandringham - for example. These are served by quality bus transport. Others are close to railway lines....

This is a bad example from Auckland/West Auckland. Nobody really wants to live next to a railway line that looks like this. Nothing like the strategy. Poor amenity and lowest quality urban design. We can do better, and we need to do better...

This picture shows an aerial view of Highbury, on the North Shore. Highbury is a village and centre that was built long before the Harbour Bridge was built. It is a classic "english" town design. It has good main streets with shops and cafes, it also has commercial and light industrial areas which offer employment opportunities, there are green spaces and other public facilities (like a library). And as you can see, residential development is close enough so people can walk to the shops and to work...

But this is not how the new parts of North Shore have been developed. This is part of the Albany development. To the right is the Rosedale Industrial Estate, and to the left is new residential subdivision. This is a classic single use zoning. No mixed use. No walkable relationship between different uses. This is a negative change to car based living, because of its reduction in pedestrian and cycling based living and amenity. We need to do better....

Water, wastewater, and stormwater are issues for Auckland and for North Shore - where these images were taken. Flooding and erosion are issues when it rains. Yet - like last summer - when it's dry then we seem to not have enough water!

North Shore's steep topography means when it rains hard, water finds overland flow paths, and goes downhill at great speed. Down driveways, along fences, damming up and causing floods as it goes...

And then finally, what's left after the floods, discharges at great velocity into stream beds (causing damage and erosion and scouring), and finally into the the sea - often at beautiful beaches. Like here at Takapuna. Stormwater eventually needs to get to the sea, but the pathways its takes, and the damage done on the way, need to be carefully managed.

But it's not all bad.... North Shore City Council is a leader in the Auckland region at managing water in a 3 water way. This means storing stormwater in detention tanks, for reuse, but also to slow its flow when it rains hard. Slow it down in those short, peak 15 minute downpours. The strategy is also about keeping stormwater out of sewer pipes, so they don't discharge. And those old straight concrete drains and pipes are giving way to softer, more attractive approaches which slow water down and provide storage, rather than approaches based around high flow rates...

There is some high quality urban design around corridor and station development. This station development at Newmarket marries a railway station with great urban design, new shops, public open piazza spaces, and high quality medium density housing for those people wanting to live closer to the action, but unable to afford an expensive freehold house.

And across the Auckland Region there is a concerted approach to provide improved and safe cycle infrastructure, so Auckland's potential for this form of transport can be realised, along with the change in look and feel of town centres. They come to life when more people come and go by bike or on the footpath. But they must be safe.

This simple table illustrates what Councils do, the activity areas, and the legislation that directs council activities. Good governance depends on three things: good staff; good councillors, and good legislation. Without all three it's difficult to make positive changes to the look and feel of Auckland's urban landscapes and our town centres and streets.

This picture is from the Government document: "Making Auckland Greater", which led to the legislation that will abolish existing councils including North Shore City Council, and Auckland Regional Council - and establish a single supercity council. This will have a set of CCOs to provide key services like transport and water services. But there are major questions about the new supercity.

For example: how integrated will all this be? Will the new legislation lead to better outcomes? Is it more likely that the good things in the old Growth Strategy can finally be delivered more reliably? This diagram shows one of the problems with what has been proposed. Council "3 water" services will be split up. The Watercare CCO will only provide water and wastewater services, and stormwater will be provided alone by Auckland Council. This is a very disappointing disintegration.


There was more in my presentation about these aspects. However a lot of faith is being put in a new spatial plan to solve problems around integration and implementation. But it could just be a fashion. A planning fad. Check out the blog below for more on the spatial plan. This was published in NZ Herald on 29th June. And there's more on this blog about spatial planning....

Does Auckland Really Need a Spatial Plan?

This blog contains the article I wrote for NZ Herald last week. They ran an edited version on the Dialogue page of Tuesday's Herald 29th June. At the end of this blog is a response from Owen McShane which you might be interested to read.

Does Auckland Really Need a Spatial Plan?

The seed for an Auckland Spatial Plan was firmly planted when the Royal Commission into Auckland Governance recommended one: “to improve resource management and integrated planning.” Legislation now before Parliament will require the new Auckland Council to develop and implement a spatial plan.

But what is a spatial plan?

And will Auckland be a better place when it has one?

In my time as a councillor in Auckland and North Shore I have seen planning fashions come and go: Comprehensive Management Plans, Area Plans, Precinct Plans, Structure Plans, Master Plans - and now Spatial Plans.

In each case Council officers, politicians and developers have manipulated those techniques and planning methods to get what they want. This is not really a surprise as Auckland’s local government has always been an arena for the contest of ideas and ideologies seeking to influence decisions.

Superficially a spatial plan for the Auckland region sounds like a good idea. A city spatial plan conjures up images of a big map with new road, state highway, sewer main, land subdivision, parks and new school projects - each labelled with budgets and action plans for staged completion.

In practice this is what Auckland’s current set of strategic plans already show. The problem is they don’t get implemented.

But the deficiences that are endemic in Auckland local government planning go beyond implementation. There is a lack of integration between strategy and policy development. There is poor measurement of the relationship between policy initiatives and actual outcomes on the ground. And the engagement with stakeholders (such as land owners) and communities is often little more than a leaflet drop.

This is changing.

Auckland Regional Council is developing a refined classification for Auckland’s centres, corridors and business areas, in order to provide greater certainty for the location and sequencing of growth, and strengthened alignment of land use, transport and economic development. But difficulties in implementation – such as unclear responsibilities and a lack of regional control, slow plan-changes that enable centres-based development, and a lack of incentives to encourage quality redevelopment in centres and corridors – remain. As do integration gaps such as the lack of alignment between national and regional priorities, the need to broaden planning to include social objectives, and the failure to stimulate local place-making and community building.

Best practice spatial planning in European cities breaks with traditional planning. It is directed more towards integrated courses of action that address social, economic and environmental objectives, and which supersede the narrow focus on land use planning that has shaped Auckland strategic planning to date.

Sadly, proposed reforms for Auckland governance incorporate a spatial planning approach that is little more than a tool to shoe-horn central government’s economic growth oriented infrastructure program into the heart of Auckland.

While integration between central planning and regional planning is important,
Indications are that the main purpose of the new spatial plan is to ensure that Auckland is ready to receive infrastructure projects that have been centrally planned and funded through the National Infrastructure Plan.

This emphasis threatens local place-making and community building which was central to much of the discussion that led to the Royal Commission. Those discussions recognised the importance of horizontal integration, as well as vertical integration. There needed to be better integration between regional and central government planning, but there also needed to be more integrated thinking at local level around local place-making and planning.

The Bill now being considered by Parliament does provide for a more inclusive and consultative approach to the preparation of Auckland’s spatial plan than the first drafting, but the underlying purpose of the reform remains. That is for a nationally funded infrastructure program to drive the design of an Auckland spatial plan ensuring Auckland and its communities are ready to receive centrally planned infrastructure – be it schools, prisons or roads of national significance.

That is not be a best practice spatial plan.

It risks short-changing the region by focussing on short term economic objectives.

Best practice spatial planning begins with a public process of identifying and defining a limited number of strategic issues, and building public confidence through involvement and perception that the real issues are being addressed.

Then come implementation oriented plans which take account of power structures (including land owners, businesses, local boards, central government), and decision-making processes as well as conflict solving approaches to lubricate implementation.

And buy-in is maintained throughout by committing to vertical integration with central government in regional decisions, alongside horizontal integration with local boards and local stakeholders in local decisions.

A best practice spatial plan is not a comprehensive all-things-to-all-people plan or map. To be strategic and effective it needs to target specific Auckland development issues. These must include: housing poverty, transport energy demand, community building, and meeting the needs of an increasing population. The spatial plan needs to state how it will be implementated. It needs to be about walking the talk.

The transformation of Auckland through better passenger transport systems, compact town centres, pedestrian oriented design and development - won’t happen if it’s merely seen as a regional strategy. Transformation will only occur centre by centre, commercial zone by commercial zone, and street by street. It will be project by project at local level with each project treated on its merits and according to local requirements, community hopes and aspirations, and land owner expectations.

Best practice spatial planning is as much about local place-making as it is about the construction of central government inspired large scale infrastructure. That is the kind of spatial plan that Auckland needs.

Response by Owen McShane

The Warning for the Week: The race is on for the Mayoralty and Council of the Auckland Council a critical stage in the process of creating a super city that contributes to the growth and development of Auckland, and of course to the nation as a whole.

It's going to happen so we need to make sure it has a reasonable chance of delivering the goods. So far the reporting has focused on personalities, credit card spending and almost anything except what changes we really expect to see, or should expect.

However, the reality is that one major issue is taking shape and the battle lines are being drawn. The architects of the reform introduced the concept of the "spatial plan" because they wanted at least one strategic document to focus on some general mission statement that could enable and encourage economic growth and development. Such a document might even allow Judges in the courts to have some consideration for employment and economic growth before turning down
major developments because the planners have not yet finished their plans.

However, while this might have been the intention, the Smart Growth teams have already seized on the Spatial Plan as their opportunity to implement Smart Growth writ large but disguised under the new name.

For example Joel Cayford, Auckland Regional Councillor, and long- standing advocate for Smart Growth, and declared his aims in the NZ Herald (June 29th) in an Opinion Piece ­ City can be transformed by targeting specific projects.

Mr Cayford reveals his Smart Growth intentions by scattering the code word "integration" throughout the essay from the first paragraph. In many Regional Council cafeterias might think you have dropped in on a maths symposium discussing the higher calculus. "Integration" ­ like
"co-ordination" is a code word for "control."

He lets us know that:

The Auckland Regional Council is developing a refined classification for Auckland's centres, corridors and business areas, in order to provide greater certainty for the location and sequencing of growth, and strengthened alignment of land use, transport and economic development.

The key of course is:

There needed to be better integration between regional and central government planning. But there also needed to be more integrated thinking at local level around local place-making and planning.

This spatial planning is no strategic enabling document. The Smart Growth planners are determined that:

Transformation will only occur centre by centre, commercial zone by commercial zone, and street by street. It will be project by project at local level, with each project treated on its merits and according to local requirements, community hopes and aspirations, and land owner
expectations.

City council planners are already preparing Precinct Plans for Mt Albert, Onehunga, and so on. These are highly detailed three dimensional plans that leave no room for private innovation or change. A letter to a Mt Albert resident was quite open about their intentions:

The plan forms part of the Future Planning Framework (FPF) work that the council initially undertook as a precursor to developing a new Auckland City Isthmus District Plan. The FPF, including the four precinct plans, is a policy document rather than a statutory document. ...

The Auckland City Council will be passing on the FPF, including the four precinct plans, to the new Auckland Council with a recommendation that this work be used to inform the development of the spatial plan and the new district plan which the Auckland Council is required to undertake. Although the new Auckland Council will have no obligation to implement the plan, it is hoped that they will use the plan, along with the rest of the FPF research, in the development of a new spatial plan and district plan for the region.

The difference in underlying philosophies could not be more clear.

In the run up to the election we need to advise the candidates of these competing options for managing the growth and development of Auckland and ensure they let us know which horse they will be backing.

Governments should focus on the management of their own assets and let the private investors and landowners focus on how they manage their own. If the spatial plan is going to be planned in detail "street by street" and "centre by centre" to the level indicated in these precinct plans then council will have to employ half the population as planners and no one will be allowed to do anything until the process is complete ­ sometime towards the middle of the century.

It's a long time to expect investors to hold their breath.


So there you go. The Auckland debate is alive and well and kicking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fixing Auckland Planning Framework


This diagram depicts the conceptual framework I developed to assist in communicating the findings of the research I conducted about Auckland planning towards a dissertation for the MPlanPrac degree which was about spatial planning. (You can download the research report from the link at the end of this blog.)

The diagram contains in the four sectors the main activity types of local government in New Zealand.

These activities include what might be described as the core requirements of local service delivery (roads, water services, rubbish collection, dog control, libraries and parks for example) in terms of the Local Government Act and environmental regulation and natural resource use planning in terms of the Resource Management Act (consenting, monitoring and environmental reporting for example).

Local government is also empowered to undertake initiatives which promote economic development and private investment, and to engage in community development projects such as place making and heritage protection. Economic development initiatives could include new roading projects or the provision of public transport infrastructure. Community development projects might include the provision of housing for the elderly, affordable housing incentives, and sports and recreation partnerships. City level strategies for these four types of activities are contained in the District Plan and the Long Term Council Community Plan. Regional level strategies such as the Regional Land Transport Strategy and the Regional Policy Statement also affect city development, as do certain central government strategies.

This diagram adds another layer to the conceptual framework. This represents the extent of integration or joined up governance that exists between the different functional activities of local government. This diagram is thus a picture of ‘nicely rounded’ local government. It is a picture of integrated and coherent local government. It is the ideal that might be achieved with integrated regional planning and coordinated engagement with local and central government agencies.

This final diagram is a depiction of one of the most significant problems besetting Auckland’s local governance now, and one which is at risk of intensifying under the proposed governance structure for Auckland which envisages separate entities for network infrastructure.

The RMA’s environmental regulatory functions have been in place since 1991 and are now well bedded into the institution of local government. This has inevitably led to a silo approach to activities in that sector that is underlined by the separate ‘State of Environment’ reporting noted in the research, and the associated and highly particular set of indicators that go with that activity. Regulatory functions are typically well separated from core council service functions which in any case are described by other pieces of legislation, further underlining this separation.

The Local Government Act came into effect a decade after the RMA and while the Act’s overall purpose of seeking an integrated approach across the four well-beings is consistent with sustainable development best practice, along with its requirement to prepare long term plans, it is quite another matter to change the silo patterns that exist in local government institutions. My experience of LTCCP preparation in the Auckland region is that these plans are little more than the old single year Annual Plans with more of the same plus inflation for the next nine years. They cannot be described as strategic plans. My research also shows the development of indicator led approaches to the preparation and measurement of Long Term Council Community Plans also has a long way to go in Auckland. These fall well short of even being pre-cursors to local spatial plans.

By contrast Auckland’s relatively long history of regional transport strategic planning is reflected in the quality of these strategies, and in the depth of the associated indicator sets. But transport strategies that have been prepared without proper integration with land use planning - let alone economic and community development planning - are destined to perpetuate Auckland’s silo approach.

Finally, it should be noted that central government driven infrastructure projects intended to promote regional economic development but which have not been conceived and planned in a way which also promotes community development risk further concretisation of Auckland’s silo approach.

Auckland planning will not be fixed by a nationally driven spatial plan. Nor will it necessarily be fixed by the current restructuring.

You can download my final research paper from here:
http://www.joelcayford.com/JoelCayfordBestPracticeIndicatorsandAucklandSpatialPlan.pdf

Build a Better Auckland Spatial Plan

In my time as a councillor I have seen planning approaches like Comprehensive Management Plans, Structure Plans, Master Plans - and now Spatial Plans - come and go in Auckland. Like planning fashions. And in each case Council officers and politicians have manipulated those techniques and planning methods so that nothing really changed, or so that dominant interests got what they wanted.

This is not really a surprise as Auckland’s local government has always been an arena for the contest of ideas and ideologies that seek to influence its decisions.

Spatial planning is the latest attraction for that contest and it seems that everyone wants one . The Hauraki Gulf Forum wants one. Devonport wants one. And the Government wants Auckland’s new supercity Council to have one too.

Superficially a spatial plan for Auckland sounds appropriate and good. A city spatial plan conjures up images of a big map with new road, state highway, sewer main, land subdivision, and school projects - each labelled with budgets and action plans for staged completion. Just what Auckland needs.

However proposed reforms for Auckland governance incorporate a spatial planning approach that are little more than a tool to build central government’s economic growth oriented infrastructure program into the heart of Auckland.

Government briefing papers confirm that the purpose of the spatial plan (which was closely linked with the National Infrastructure Plan) is to ensure that Auckland will be ready to receive infrastructure projects that have been centrally planned and funded.

“After reviewing international practices and considering the Royal Commission’s recommendation for a spatial plan, and the needs of central government in planning infrastructure investment”, writes the Minister of Environment in his Cabinet briefing paper, “I consider that a spatial plan, as part of the statutory planning framework for the Auckland Council, would enable growth and development, and support the achievement of broad objectives for the residents of the Auckland region and the wider nation.”



The Bill now being considered by Parliament provides for a more inclusive and consultative approach to the preparation of Auckland’s spatial plan than the first drafting, but the underlying purpose of the reform remains. That is for a nationally funded infrastructure program to drive the design of an Auckland spatial plan whose primary purpose is to ensure that the region and its communities are ready to receive centrally planned infrastructure – schools, prisons or roads of national significance.

The importance of local place-making was central to much of the discussion that led to the Royal Commission. Those discussions recognised the importance of horizontal integration, as well as vertical integration. There needed to be better integration between Council and central government planning, but there also needed to be more integrated thinking at local level around local place-making and planning.

Comprehensive approaches to spatial planning are used in other countries where, for example, there is a national spatial plan, regional spatial plans, and local spatial plans. As European countries have two decades of spatial planning experience and Auckland is just beginning, there are lessons we can learn.

Louis Albrecht is a world authority on spatial planning. He believes that the idea of spatial planning – particularly strategic spatial planning - does represent a break with traditional planning when: “it is directed more towards integrated socio-economic courses of action that supersede the mere focus on land use planning….”

In other words that spatial planning is about more than simply new roads and budgets and actions-plans on a map.

Albrecht argues that strategic spatial planning should be about a limited number of strategic key issue areas. He advises, “strategic spatial planning is used for complex problems where authorities at different levels and different sectors and private actors are mutually dependent.” He also argues for a highly engaged public process. He advises, “it is crucial that all relevant stakeholders (public and private) agree on the issues to be dealt with in the strategic planning process and recognise their problems and challenges in the overall problem formulation.”

A best practice spatial plan is not a comprehensive all-things-to-all-people plan or map. To be strategic and effective it needs to target specific Auckland development issues. These are: housing poverty; transport energy demand; accommodating growth; and better place-making. And the spatial plan needs to be about implementation.

The transformation of Auckland through better passenger transport systems, through compact town centre form, through Pedestrian Oriented Urban design and development - won’t happen if it’s merely seen as a regional strategy.

This transformation can only occur town centre by town centre, commercial zone by commercial zone, and street by street. It will be a project by project transformation at local level where each project is treated on its merits and according to on-the-ground specifics of existing urban fabric, existing transport infrastructure, community hopes and aspirations, land owner expectations, and heritage opportunities.

Best practice spatial planning is as much about local place-making through processes which constructively involve and engage local stakeholders, as it is about the construction of central government inspired large scale infrastructure.

Government split over Queens Wharf Sheds?

Letters written by different Government Ministers underline the fact they are not all aligned behind Rugby World Cup Minister McCully's demolition derby vision for Queens Wharf...

I have been forwarded Ministerial replies written in response to letters from people concerned at proposals to dismantle/demolish/remove the Queens Wharf Sheds.

In a letter to one such concerned citizen signed by Minister for the Rugby World Cup Murray McCully, we read:

"....Both the government and the ARC recognise the need to take account of the heritage value of Queens Wharf. The ARC is workin with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to ensure that the historical significance of Queens Wharf is protected and promoted in its development. If the ARC decide that there are aspects of the sheds that deserve preservation, these matters will be considered as part of the removal process."

That same concerned citizen also received a reply from the Associate Minister of Tourism, because her original email was forwarded to him for his attention. The letter from the Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Associate Minister for Tourism, contains the same paragraphs as the one from Minister for the RWC, but the paragraph above has been changed by Dr Jonathan Coleman to read:

"....I can assure you that both the government and the ARC recognise the need to take account of the heritage value of Queens Wharf. The ARC is workin with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to ensure that the historical significance of Queens Wharf is protected and promoted in its development. If the ARC decide that there are aspects of the sheds that deserve preservation, these matters will be considered as part of the Queens Wharf development process."

Spot the difference. Or am I getting desperate?

Auckland Maritime Heritage Working Group established


You might have seen the coverage of the meeting at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron building that kicked off the Auckland Maritime Heritage Working Group a couple of weeks ago. The initiative and meeting was organised by Tony Blake, Baden Pascoe and John Street of New Zealand's Classic Yacht Association. The New Herald Coverage was very positive in Saturday's Business pages. (Which I can't find on internet right now!)

The presentation I gave to kick off the meeting and discussion was based on my experience of waterfront development at ARC and through its engagement with Sea + City. It has become clear that there is a need to integrate and coordinate the various maritime heritage iniatives that are underway - some of which have been around for a while like the Maritime Museum - and some of which are getting more organised - like the collection of classic boats. And there is more. These elements form the basis of a very strong and potential success story for Auckland waterfront development that is a visitor destination - for Aucklanders as well as for visiting tourists. But it needs recognition, organisation and support to realise that potential.

Attendees at the meeting included representatives from: The Maritime Museum; Classic Yacht Association; Sanfords; Architects and heritage buildings; Historic Places Trust; Tourism New Zealand; Auckland City Council; and others. Here is the guts of the presentation that I delivered whose purpose was to encourage the different groups to work together as a partnership. It is based in a similar approach that was adopted and implemented in Seattle.

The slide presentation now follows. I have not provided any of the spoken words that go with these rather terse slides, and hope that you find them useful enough as they stand....




































All Whites are more than All Right

Just had to include something this week about the All Whites and Italy, having sat up and watched it on the edge of my seat. The way other countries have covered the match has been very entertaining and informative. The UK Guardian newspaper has an "As It Happened" approach to match coverage. And it is funny and fun and informative and memorable, so I've cut and pasted it here....

Preamble Afternoon. Italy may traditionally be the suave sophisticates of world football, bestriding the scene with an imperious elegance and in a suit so sharp that it should be illegal, yet when it comes to the World Cup they have a peculiar habit of creating a huge wet patch around the business area of their £4000 cotton slacks. Of all the superpowers, Italy have suffered the greatest humiliations against the minnows of world football: defeat to North Korea in 1966, going 1-0 down to Haiti in 1974 – before which Dino Zoff had gone a record 1143 minutes without conceding a goal – losing to Ireland in 1994 and then South Korea in 2002. You wouldn't expect them to mess up against New Zealand, who have never won a World Cup match, but then we said that about all the others. Still this, given North Korea's competence, is surely the biggest mismatch of the tournament: the world champions against the 2000-1 outsiders.


1 min New Zealand, in white, kick off from right to left.

3 min Ipswich's Tommy Smith – no, not the one who was really good on Championship Manager – concedes a corner on the Italian right. It's swung out by Pepe and produces the square root of eff all.

4 min Italy are, indeed, playing 4-4-2. "How about my wife giving birth?" says David Liversidge, although I'm still not sure what question he's answering. "She's ready to go here but as she's Kiwi wants the footy updates as she goes. Trooper."

6 min Nothing has happened. Nada. Zilch. Sweet bugger all.

GOAL! Italy 0-1 New Zealand (Smeltz 7) What the hell is going on here? Shane Smeltz has given New Zealand the lead, albeit from an offside position. Shane Elliott curved in a free-kick from deep on the left. It brushes the head of another the leaping Reid, at which point Smeltz was offside. It then hit Cannavaro on the chest and hand before plopping in front of goal, and Smeltz poked it under Marchetti from a few yards. That's extraordinary.

8 min In defence of the assistant referee, the touch off the head of Reid was so slight that maybe he thought he had missed it, or that it had come off an Italian head. But the goal probably should not have been given. Which, let's be honest, makes it even funnier.

9 min An inswinging free-kick from Pepe on the left bounces through a posse of bodies in the area and Paston, who was probably unsighted, takes the safe option and punches it out of harm's way to his left.

10 min Pak Doo-Ik, Emmanuel Sanon, Ray Houghton, Ahn Jung Hwan, Shane Smeltz.

12 min "Boo ya!" says Tim O'Sullivan. "Put a couple of coins on Smeltz to score first at 22/1! Vintage betting." You say vintage, I say senile, but you can't argue with the results.

14 min Fallon is booked for putting an arm into Cannavaro's face. He'd eased one into Zambrotta's earlier, and the Italian complaints may have got him booked. Not that he can really complain.

17 min Chiellini misses a decent chance. Pepe's corner from the right kicked up and hit Cannavaro in the chest. It rebounded to Chiellini, on the left corner of the box, and with defenders converging he screwed a laughable left-footed effort all the way across goal.

18 min "The ball is flicked on from the head of the defender - so NZ onside and goal correctly awarded," says Liz Scott-Wilson. Hmm, I'm not so sure: I'm pretty sure it comes off Reid. But the more I see it the less sure I am, so the assistant referee was right to give the attackers the benefit of the doubt.

19 min Italy are having all the ball, as you'd expect, but they've only really created chances from set pieces so far. This couldn't happen, surely?

20 min Cannavaro is down after taking an elbow from Killen in the breadbasket. It wasn't a full elbow, but he definitely looked for him and New Zealand have been pretty physical. More of the same please. There's not nearly enough thuggery in football any more.

22 min The right-back Zambrotta runs straight down the centre of the pitch and, from the edge of the box, swooshes a fine effort that goes just wide of the far top corner.

23 min "AFC Wimbledon 1 Italy 0," says Charlie Talbot. "First the Surrey Senior Cup final, now this. What a career for Shane Smeltz."

24 min It's kicking off a wee bit. Chiellini rolls around beating the ground in pain after taking another elbow in the face from Fallon, who is on a yellow card. But this is an awkward one because Fallon was only using his elbows for leverage, and he wasn't actually swinging the elbow. The referee gives him a final warning, and the New Zealand manager – who has got the battle fever on – signals a dive. It certainly wasn't that; Chieillini took a good one in the phizog.

26 min "I am on my bed lazily browsing the MBM on my comp," says Shyam Sandilya. "Is the match actually worth it to walk a metre to switch on the TV?" Too right, there is going to be some violence soon.

27 min Montolivo hits the post! It was a fantastic bobbling effort, both feet off the ground, from 25 yards. Paston didn't move as the ball flashed across him and then swerved back in at the last minute to clatter off the inside of the post.

28 min: PENALTY TO ITALY Tommy Smith is penalised for pulling De Rossi's shirt as he tried to run onto a penetrative left-wing cross. De Rossi made a meal of it but it was a clear foul, and Smith is booked.

GOAL! Italy 1-1 New Zealand (Iaqunita 29 pen) Iaquinta passes it coolly into the right-hand corner as Paston dives the other way. It was at saveable height but that didn't matter because he waited for Paston to go before putting it in the other corner.

31 min New Zealand have a problem in that Fallon has been neutered. As Chris Coleman points out on ITV, he simply can't jump for the ball properly any more because he'll get another yellow card if even a fingernail touches an Italian defender.

32 min A few of you have asked why Italy are wearing black armbands. Obviously I have no idea, as I am stupid. Anyone know?

33 min New Zealand can't keep this up. They are getting battered, albeit without conceding too many clear chances. The concern for Italy, though, is not just winning but also goal difference: they must win well here and against Slovakia to finish above Paraguay and avoid Holland. It looks increasingly likely that we will have Italy v Holland in the last 16.

35 min Jonathan Wilson – yep, that one – and others point out that the armbands are because of the death of Roberto Rosato, who played in the 1970 World Cup final.

36 min Talking of Jonathan Wilson...

37 min "Another Spanish ref?" says Peter Phillips. "I have watched the replay again, and from the footage on my tv I really didn't see a foul, much less a clear one. A bad call is acceptable and even expected but dubious diving and dramatic falling and flailing? Oh yeah, this is Italy isn't it. Sorry!" It's a Guatemalan ref, and I thought it was an excellent and brave decision. He clearly grabbed his shirt, so there's no legitimate argument that it wasn't a penalty. The trouble is, of course, that only one out of maybe 20 such instances are punished with the award of a penalty.

38 min While New Zealand have been fibrous, to say the least, some of the Italian histrionics have been a wee bit unpalatable. After a foul by Killen, De Rossi wears the grimace of a man who has just lost his Dawson's Creek boxset.

40 min Ryan Nelsen, always such an underrated player, has been immense. New Zealand have been admirably resilient in the face of a bit of a buffeting.

41 min Iaquinta chips a dainty pass in behind the defence for the onrushing Pepe, but Nelsen covers well. For all Italy's dominance, Paston has not had a major save to make.

43 min New Zealand can't keep the ball at all. They're not helped by Fallon's reduced role in proceedings.

44 min Zambrotta spins the ball up smartly and then welts a volley across goal. Nelsen again clears. He has been quite outstanding.

45 min De Rossi, teed up by Pepe, takes a snapshot from 25 yards and Paston gets down to his right to make a good save, his best yet. The ball was wobbling awkwardly and came through a crowd of bodies, so it was probably a better save than it looked.
Half time: Italy 1-1 New Zealand That was lively. A dog of a match technically, to be honest, but there was plenty of barely concealed malice from both sides and, for 20 minutes or so until Italy equalised, a whiff of one of the great World Cup shocks. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

Half-time chit-chat
"What a strange moral universe football is, when it is worse to slightly exaggerate the effects of a foul than to elbow someone dangerously in the head" – Roy Allen.
"What's all the more galling about the high-arm play acting is that it's this Daniele De Rossi" - Eamonn Maloney.
"I imagine you're receiving lots of emails from disgruntled Kiwis, snd probably a few sympathetic Aussies. Some of them will have a point by saying it wasn't much of a penalty, but the thing about fouling is it is either a foul or it isn't. Not much of a penalty is still a penalty. A bit like offside really" – Richard Finch.
"They're not thrash, but NZ weirdos Head Like a Hole would definitely liven up the showroom for Darryl Short. Unless he plays their bizarrely straight cover of I'm On Fire...which is pretty much how the Italians look when they lay on the turf writhing in mock agony" – Wade

46 min Italy kick off from right to left. They have made two changes: Antonio Di Natale replaces Alberto Gilardino, and Mauro Camoranesi replaces Simone Pepe.

47 min "It's a little known fact," says Blair Mainwaring, "but NZ's 5-2 loss to the Scots in their World Cup appearance in 1982, was responsible for the Scots exit on goal difference."
True that. Indeed it led Scott Murray to come out with this great line during his MBM of New Zealand v Slovakia:
New Zealand had assured their place on the elite list of countries who have made life hellishly difficult for Scotland at the World Cup. That list in full: Austria, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, Paraguay, France, Zaire, Brazil, Peru, Iran, Holland, New Zealand, USSR, Denmark, West Germany, Costa Rica, Sweden, Norway, Morocco and Scotland.

48 min The second half begins as the first ended, with Italy on top and Ryan Nelsen giving an epic display of over-ma-dead-body defending. He's a magnet to the ball. Di Natale spins to lash a bouncing ball towards goal from a tight angle on the right side of the box, and Paston beats it away. That was lovely technique from Di Natale.

49 min "Does anyone know why the New Zealand football team doesn't do their Haka dance before kick off like the rugby team?" says Adam. "Maybe it would help strike fear into the opposition!"
I suspect – and forgive me if I'm wrong – it might have something to do with the fact that doing such a dance would look quite strange when you invariably have your backside handed to you in the match that follows.

51 min New Zealand are playing like they have an allergy to the ball. In fact their ball-retention is almost as bad as England's.

53 min Italy are poor. For all their dominance they have created very little against perhaps the tournament's weakest side. They are going out in the second round, their backsides handed to them by Holland.

54 min "Here in Australia on broadcaster SBS, they've roped in some no-mark Englishman to host the broadcasts from a studio in Sydney," says Angus Chisholm. "He just dropped this little gem when the goal was being discussed: 'I don't mean any disrespect but they're South American referees, one is from Costa Rica, one is Honduran'. One would hope that we'd be spared from appalingly condescending and borderline racist English punditry here but alas. At the risk of sounding exactly like him, You People ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
Oh I am, don't worry.

55 min Criscito's dangerous near-post cross from the left is welted clear by the inevitably Ryan Nelsen with Iaquinta lurking behind.

56 min Chris Coleman is getting incredibly involved with New Zealand's struggle, imploring them to keep the ball and shouting random bits of tactical advice. "No need to make that challenge!" he weeps when Lochhead fouls Camoranesi. He sounds like he's on commission for their draw bonus.

58 min New Zealand get some respite when Leo Bertos skilfully wins a throw-in by the corner flag. He launches it towards Fallon, who challenges for the ball with Criscito. There was very little contact, but Criscito went down holding his face. That was really pitiful from Criscito, but thankfully the referee didn't buy it and give Fallon a second yellow card.

59 min "She's eight pounds one ounce," reports David Liversidge. "If we win I'm calling her RIckie Ryan Liversidge." You have the warmest congratulations of me and both our readers.

60 min De Rossi plays a delightfully penetrative, fast pass to Iaquinta, just inside the area, but he drags his shot on the turn well wide.

61 min Italy make their last substitution: the forward Giampaolo Pazzini replaces the wide midfielder Claudio Marchisio.

63 min New Zealand have had a really good five minutes, with the ball in Italy's half as much as theirs. Rory Fallon is replaced by the 18-year-old Chris Wood, probably to save him from a red card.

64 min A long throw from the left is headed clear by Cannavaro and, as the ball bounces up 22 yards out, Vicelic booms a fine first-time effort not far wide of the near post.

65 min Italy win a corner on the left. They still aren't really creating chances, and Montolivo overhits the corner hopelessly, all the way out for a throw-in.

66 min Italy have a flurry of corners, but New Zealand have got the battle fever on and defend effectively. In a sense, a draw doesn't make much difference from a win for Italy – they would still have to draw v Slovakia – but of course they will get pelters if they fail to win this.

67 min "As Ryan Nelsen himself admits, Skinny White Guys doing the Haka ain't exactly the most edifying sight," says Justin Lim.

69 min Italy are really pressing now, and the next 20 minutes will feel as long as Das Boot for New Zealand. I don't know how long they can keep this level of desperate defending going.

70 min Paston makes a fine save from a vicious long-range strike by Montolivo. It was arrowing towards the bottom corner, but Paston flung himself to his right and got a strong hand on it.

71 min "I know it's Always the Ball's Fault, but you'd think that after more than a week of playing and training with this ball, both at altitude and sea level, some of these very well-compensated professional footballers would think to maybe not hit it so hard next time," says Patrick Sheehan. "Or am I overestimating the problem-solving skills of the professional footballer?"
I think you've answered your own question.

72 min Reid stays down in the area after a challenge with Chiellini's elbows. Italy play on controversially, and eventually Di Natale's dangerous low cross is cleared brilliantly by Ryan Nelsen inside his own six-yard box. Reid has now gone off for treatment.

73 min "Congrats to David Liversidge," says David Harris. "I think the OBO might have a few, but is this the first MBM baby?"

74 min Reid is back on.

76 min It's a siege now, but still Italy aren't creating many clear chances. New Zealand have been marvellously indefatigable.

77 min Italy make a laughable cock-up of a short free-kick. Eventually the ball is dumped into the box, and Paston claims.

78 min I know I'm simple folk, but can someone tell me: what exactly does Mauro Camoranesi do?

79 min That's what he does: swing in a dangerous corner from the right that is headed towards goal by Iaquinta and then headed over his own bar by Tommy Smith. From the resulting corner, Camoranesi screws a desperate left-footed effort wide from the edge of the box.

79 min Di Natale runs onto Iaquinta's flick, makes a curving run infield around Reid but then drags his shot well wide from 20 yards.

80 min A New Zealand substitution: Jeremy Christie replaces the excellent Ivan Vicelich.

82 min Nelsen concedes a corner on the Italian left. It's whipped to the far post and headed wide under pressure by Chiellini.

83 min West Brom's Chris Wood so nearly gives New Zealand the lead! He wriggled away from Cannavaro on the edge of the box and then, with his left foot, fizzed a superb effort across Marchetti and just wide of the far post.

84 min "It's 0322 here in NZ and bloody cold," says Nick Proctor. "Did you know that most Kiwi houses have no central heating? Or double glazing? I can see my cat's breath. Well, this is a turn-up! The Italians are playing as if the game was taking place on the deck of an aircraft carrier on a stormy sea: falling all over the place in other words. The All Whites, well, our Prime Minister predicted 1-1, whilst I went with pedigree ... More than happy to be wrong so far. I coach eighth grade soccer over here. These guys are a product of a generation that didn't have the resources our guys now have, hence the lack of technique. Thousands of kids play every Saturday, and the Wellington Phoenix have better support than the Hurricanes. Doesn't mean we'll ever be world beaters, but, well, look at this. Look at it!"

85 min Yet another Italy corner. Di Natale swings it in from the left and Reid heads clear. New Zealand are on their last legs, and the heroic Ryan Nelsen is now down with cramp.

86 min "Chris Coleman's increasingly random commentary is brilliant," says Rena Patel. "Tactical advice mixed with gaffer speak is joyous."

87 min All the New Zealand fans have got their tops off and are waving them above their head. There are moobs on show everywhere, and not one of them could care less. This would be an astonishing result. Meanwhile, the referee has booked Nelsen for timewasting while he was limping off the pitch with cramp! That's extraordinary.

88 min Nelsen is back on and here come Italy again. Camoranesi wins a 50/50 with Wood and then, from 30 yards, hits a superb lifting drive that draws another good, two-handed save from Paston, diving to his left. What does Camoranesi do again?

90 min An heroic block from Nelsen keeps the score level. Zambrotta ran behind Smeltz onto a fantastic through pass, then came back inside Smith before lashing a left-footed shot towards goal. It might have been going wide of the far post, but Nelsen blocked it anyway.

90+1 min There will be four minutes of added time. Italy are charging round; I've seen less desperation on nightclub dancefloors during the slow songs at 1.45am on a Saturday morning.

90+2 min Criscito's cross is overhit and goes out for a goalkick. New Zealand are so nearly there.

90+3 min New Zealand make their final substitution: Andy Barron, who works in a bank in Wellington and had to arrange time off to come here, replaces Chris Killen.

Full time: Italy 1-1 New Zealand It's the feelgood hit of the summer: New Zealand have held the world champions Italy. Extraordinary stuff. They put in such a resourceful display, and were led sensationally by the brilliant Ryan Nelsen. Italy's World Cup minnowphobia continues, and they will need to get at least a draw against Slovakia on Thursday to qualify. But today is all about New Zealand, who have infused this World Cup with the sort of innocent, everyman charm that was seemingly lost to top-level football. After two games, they are on behind Italy on alphabetical order. Congratulations to them. Thanks for your emails. I'll leave the last word to Nick Proctor: "You Absolute Bloody Beauty! Sent from my iPhone."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pacific Sun Uses Queens Wharf


There I was on Monday morning, 14th June, minding my own business commuting to work at the ARC by ferry from Devonport. And I said, "ullo, ullo, ullo?" There was the Pacific Sun tied up at Queens Wharf, and Princes Wharf was empty. So I went to have a look from the ferry terminal.

The place was teeming with people and security guards. Could I get onto Queens Wharf?...

I couldn't quite tell what was happening from the Red Gates. Were people coming or going? What was going on? I tried to look like a tourist as I pushed my bike onto the wharf. The guards ignored me...

As I got closer I could see that whole families appeared to be getting off the Pacific Sun, piling into taxis and cars and all sorts, and heading home. Bags and all.

At one point there must've been half a dozen big buses taking up a whole lot of space, coming and going...

And there were private cars for Africa. People piling in with their bags and being sheparded out onto a busy Quay Street by those Security Guards...

At the other end of the ship containers were being loaded and unloaded, trucks were coming and going, and barriers were in place to prevent nosy members of the public from getting too close.

So I asked a Security Guard what was happening and it all became clear. This particular trip for the Pacific Sun was from the Islands somewhere, and it was terminating in Auckland. All the passengers were disembarking he explained, and another trip would be departing later that day, after the new lot of passengers were allowed on board.

The point of this blog is to illustrate the intensity of use of Queens Wharf, and the major traffic effects, when a cruise ship uses the wharf to terminate and originate a cruise.

Most cruise ship visits to Auckland are so-called "Port of Call" visits. The ship simply calls in, the passengers live on board the ship with all their baggage, and they visit Auckland as tourists while the ship is in port. The demands on the cruise ship terminal are much less for "Port of Call" visits than "Originating" or "Terminating" visits. So are the traffic demands.

The Pacific Sun is a medium sized cruise ship, holding a maximum of 1900 passengers. That's quite a few. Other cruise ships that visit Auckland are bigger - with presumably greater traffic and freight demands - should they dock here to terminate or to originate a cruise.

The question of whether Queens Wharf should be used for a cruise ship terminal is critically affected by the further question of what the terminal is for: port of call only? Or to originate and terminate cruises? And there is the additional question of whether it should be Queens Wharf (or Princes Wharf or another wharf) that functions as Auckland's primary cruise ship terminal.

These questions and options have not been properly canvassed with Aucklanders.

It is disingenuous to describe Queens Wharf as "the Peoples Wharf", when it is obvious how damaging to public amenity a "world class" cruise ship terminal designed to service terminating and originating cruises will be.

Two Faces Over Queens Wharf


These are the two faces of Queens Wharf today.

Murray McCully is a Government Minister and Minister of the Rugby World Cup. Mike Lee is Chairman of the ARC.

The Government owns 50% of Queens Wharf, and so does the New Zealand Government. An unusual arrangement to say the least. This blog provides some information and background to that arrangement and the relationship.

In Mike Lee's 26th April report to the ARC Mike wrote about the media conference where the picture was taken:
"At the well attended media conference, hosted by the Minister for the Rugby World Cup Hon Murray McCully and myself, Mr McCully revealed plans for the government and ARC to build temporary ‘cruise terminal and entertainment facility’ in time for the Rugby World Cup. I stated that given the failure of leadership of the city’s mayors which meant a new cruise ship terminal was no longer feasible in the short term the ARC fully supported the government proposal which the government will pay for. Our preferred approach subject to consultation with the NZ Historic Places Trust is to dismantle the sheds and re-use salvageable materials in the permanent structure. Consultation will be undertaken in good faith not just on the future of the sheds but on all other historic features of the Wharf."

The day before, Anzac Day, in his speech at the opening of Queens Wharf, Chairman Mike Lee ended with these words:
"...today we begin a new chapter of Auckland's historical Queens Wharf - for nearly 100 years locked away - by opening it to the people once again. 2.75 hectares of superb public open space - close to the CBD and the Britomart Transport Centre - where people can come for passive recreation, to walk, to fish, to commune with the sea. Which we believe will enhance the quality of life for Aucklanders and our visitors. This is a legacy the ARC is beqeathing to the people of the region. The ARC trusts that the new Auckland Council, the new Super City will carry on our mission to redevelop the waterfront. But one thing we can be certain about - Queens Wharf as our 27th regional park if you will - will remain in the public ownership of the people of Auckland in perpetuity. My thanks once again to the government - to Prime Minister John Key and to Minister Murray McCully. My fellow Aucklanders - Queen's Wharf is now the Peoples Wharf."

No mention of a cruise ship terminal in those words. Sounds like a park. If it was park any building - let alone 100 year old cargo shed heritage - would be guarded passionately.

What is difficult to untangle in all these words is what is really happening. And what is rational and what is emotional. The whole Queens Wharf thing got legs to begin with when the PM spoke about "Party Central". He asked rhetorically, "where will everyone go to celebrate and have a good time when it's all on?" That was his question. At the time, Ports of Auckland were cash strapped, the stars aligned and the deal was done. But the deal has transmogrified and morphed as various other individuals and organisations have got their hooks into it.

It has changed from Party Central to Primary Cruise Ship Terminal.

How has this happened?

Many ARC reports state opinions carrying the GUEDO signature. GUEDO is central government's office in Auckland. GUEDO stands for Government Urban and Economic Development Office. GUEDO is one of the organisations to have picked up Queens Wharf and turned it into an economic development project. An infrastructure project to promote and stimulate Auckland's economic growth and productivity.

Somewhere along the way, after "the failure of leadership of the city’s mayors", the ARC decided to go it alone with the Government. The sequence of events leading to today began at a barely quorate meeting, just before Christmas, when the ARC voted: "In the absence of an agreement by Auckland City Council to progress and finance the development, the CEO investigate an exclusive partnership between the ARC and Government and report back to Council in January 2010."

Then we had a wonderful summer in the sun. For a while.

In January nothing happened. Nothing happened in February either, so I asked questions at a Council meeting where we were discussing the Annual Plan. A verbal update was provided to the effect that a Joint Venture was actually under way, and that it would be reported to a subsequent council meeting. Note here, that the December resolution called for the CEO to: "investigate an exclusive partnership".

So then the ARC met in April 19th. That was the first Council meeting in 2010 where Queens Wharf and the Joint Venture was formally reported on the agenda. This was the meeting where ARC voted to approve: "the staged development of Queens Wharf to enable its use as a fan zone for Rugby World Cup 2011, and for the construction of the permanent cruise ship terminal to commence immediately after the 2011/12 cruise season", and to approve: "dismantling of sheds 10 and 11 on Queens Wharf". This latter decision was: "subject to the outcome of consultation with the Historic Places Trust".

What is interesting about the attachments to the 19th April Council meeting report is that they include a signed Joint Venture Agreement between the ARC and the Government. This was the first sighting of this document by ARC Councillors. It had gone much further than "investigation".

The Joint Venture Agreement was dated 26th March 2010. It was signed by ARC Chairman Mike Lee "for and on behalf of Auckland Regional Council", and by Murray McCully "for and on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand acting by and through Hon Murray McCully, Minister for the Rugby World Cup", and also by Gerry Brownlee in his capacity as Minister of Economic Development.

"The purposes of the Joint Venture are: General: To hold and operate Queens Wharf and manage the development of it, for the benefit of the public;
Specific: To manage the development of:
i) an infrastructure legacy site for major events (commencing with the Rugby World Cup 2011) that presents an impressive image of the Auckland region and New Zealand as a whole;
ii) a high quality cruise ship terminal facility that will provide economic benefits to the Auckland region and New Zealand as a whole; and
iii) an impressive public open space that reflects New Zealand's culture and heritage...."

The problem with this wishlist is the classic one of not being able to have your cake and eat it. You can't have the kind of cruise ship terminal that GUEDO wants on Queens Wharf - that is Auckland's Primary Cruise Ship Terminal - that supports Cruise Origination and Termination - and have the kind of open space described in these purposes. The uses are in conflict and there is not enough room. And it is ironic that the purpose speaks of a space that "reflects ... culture and heritage", but has in mind a space that is devoid of heritage buildings.

The Queens Wharf Joint venture Agreement contains the sort of detail that might be expected in such a document, including the establishment of an Owners Committee which is quorate if the Minister of the Rugby World Cup and the the Chairman of the ARC are present.

It is concerning to note however, that the agreement states that: "The decisions of the Owners Committee are binding on the parties. The parties must take all reasonable steps to give effect to those decisions. If a party cannot give effect to a decision after taking all reasonable steps, the matter must be referred back to the Owners Committee for reconsideration."

The agreement goes on to provide for the existence of a Management Committee, whose first big job is the preparation of an Approved Business Plan", which must be prepared "at least 2 months prior to the end of each financial year". The Agreement defines that date as 30 June "unless otherwise determined by the Owners Committee".

So where does that leave us all?

Hard to say really. The ARC has not been asked to agree or endorse the Queens Wharf Joint Venture Agreement which has been signed on its behalf by its Chairman. The ARC has not been provided with a copy of the Approved Business Plan which should have been prepared a month ago. And which is important because the Agreement requires the ARC to: "take all reasonable steps to give effect to those decisions..."

What has the ARC agreed to do on Queens Wharf? Be nice to know.

It feels a bit like Government has found a way to control Auckland.

And what if there's a dispute?

Imagine that the ARC is being faced with staunch arguments from the Historic Places Trust in its consultation. Imagine that the ARC is under pressure to adaptively re-use the Sheds that are on Queens Wharf. A lot of pressure. How will that pressure affect the Minister for the Rugby World Cup? What are his obligations to understand the ARC's obligations?

Interestingly, the Queens Wharf Joint Venture Agreement does have a tiny bit of light at the end of its rather dark tunnel. It says: "Any agreement entered into by the Joint Venture with a third party must not place a party in breach of any legislation applicable to it, including.... in the case of the ARC, the Local Government Act 2002."

Thank goodness for that. But what if the parties agree something among themselves that has that effect? What if the ARC - aware of the deal its has signed up to with Government and the decisions that make up that deal - in its determination to "take all reasonable steps to give effect to those decisions", steps just a wee bit over the line. Like skimping on its public duties to consult over things like: Cargo Shed removal; deciding the temporary slug/tent replacement; providing Queens Wharf Development budgets; changing Auckland's cruise ship terminal locations and functions. And the word "skimping" is charitable.

What then?

Auckland Weather and Rain Update

Well it's almost situation normal. It's winter and it's raining.
So I won't do any more blogs about this for a while.
Last time I blogged was Saturday 22nd May. It had started raining hard.
The NZ Herald rain gauges indicated that 197mm had fallen for the 2010 year.
That was just 50% of average rainfall that is recorded for that period.

Since then it has rained a lot.
Today, 15th June, NZ Herald has recorded 367mm.
That means 367-197mm has fallen since 22 May. 170mm in fact.
That's a lot of rain in 3 weeks. Feels like it doesn't it.

According to Granny Herald, average June rainfall to date is 52mm, but we've had 97mm.
That's almost double the average rainfall for June.

Overall for the year, to 15th June, Herald reports average rainfall is 454mm.
We have now had 367mm. That's 80% of average.

Quite a change from a month ago when Auckland was sitting on 35% of average rainfall, and was experiencing the driest four month period on record.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Navy Adapts Heritage Sheds


This is a great little story and I am proud to share it with greater Auckland. This is a view of North Head Devonport, from Mt Victoria. You can see the old military base buildings on North Head - now occupied by DOC. Dept of Conservation.

Looking closer, down by the water, you can see the Navy land at Torpedo Bay. That's the refurbished Torpedo Wharf.

And even closer you can see two shed like buildings on the waterfront, overlooked by residential buildings - many of them heritage villas.

This is the larger of the two sheds, and will soon open as the Navy Museum. I understand the opening of the museum is sometime in October this year. You can see Mt Victoria in the background.

The shed has been reclad in corrugated iron, but retains many of its features. The original shed was built over a hundred years ago, and was an important part of the harbour's defences against seaborn invasion.


This view of the shed frontage shows a modern style entry area has been designed for public entry and also to house a sea view cafe.

The windows are original - old drawings of the original shed showed these windows in this position. A heritage architect was retained by the Navy to get the detail as right as they could for their tight budget of less than $1.5 million for the whole job.

Inside the entry is the white reception and interpretation area. The original ironwork supporting the roof is a feature.


The main part of the museum is in sharp dark contrast. Again the original roof structure is evident. When first built this area was where the mines were assembled before being put in position across the harbour entrance.

The wooden structures are being added later - within the shed envelope - to house the Navy's collection of exhibits and museum displays.


Again, this dark space is lined with the original doors that led to the areas where the mines and explosives were stored.

There are 3 mine and explosive storage areas. These have the highest historic values I understand, and their restoration will be more detailed and painstaking. You can see on the floor the original rail tracks used for the trollies that carried the mines and their makings into the assembly area.

This picture shows the roof, which is curved, around 2 feet thick of concrete, which was poured into shape and supported by rail-lines structures that you can see in the ceiling.

The doorways, windows and walls are around 2 feet thick concrete also. Designed to withstand a significant explosion.

The explosives storage areas fit against the cliff with its coastal pohutakawa. Creating interesting spaces for education and coffee away from the wind.


The whole area has many interesting places to sit and explore. Whereever possible the design has incorporated the old and original woodwork and corrugated iron work and concrete.

Somehow it all blends into the surrounding Devonport landscape.

And here's the other shed, which sits alongside Torpedo Wharf.

It's an old structure too, needed some serious love and attention.

It was the Boat Shed at Torpedo Bay.


And inside it's a magic place.

Well done Navy.

You've shown Auckland what can be done within a tight budget, working with the Historic Places Trust, to adaptively reuse your old sheds.

Fantastic.