Am I Going Batty?

Just read this:

The lower Hobson St flyover should be removed to create a plaza near the Tepid Baths and keep motorists away from the waterfront, say city planners.

Here is the article.

What? They want to keep people away from the waterfront?  Oh, no, I see, they just want to keep cars away.  People are lovely.  Cars are dirty horrible global warming causing things.

So this is the way it’s going to be.  Everyone has to live in the city in an apartment and ride the bus or train, or walk or ride a bike.  If you want to drive a car, you’re out of luck.

Which is confirmed by this paragraph:

The masterplans also call for the council-owned Downtown carpark, with 1900 spaces, to become a commercial office tower with shops, cafes and restaurants at street level and some carparking.

No don’t want those carparking spaces which people might actually use.  Nope, got to get rid of those then people will HAVE to use other means of transport.  Muuuuuhhhhaaaaaaaaa!

Next we’ll all have to wear sandals and cardigans. And drink organic-decaf-soy-lattes…

Oh My God I Fear for Auckland

I’ve just finished watching this.  It’s a video of Len Brown the Auckland Council mayor talking about the various plans that are coming into force for Auckland shortly.  There are 5 plans I think plus a spatial plan and perhaps others.

Be afraid, very afraid.

Why?  Because it’s all about intensification within urban boundaries and public transport.

Sounds good right?  Smart growth right?  Well I used to agree with this but since I’ve developed some property I really really disagree with it.  Why?

Because this will make housing in Auckland much more expensive than it already is.  By limiting the amount of land available for development, land costs are going to continue to go up rapidly.

By ‘encouraging’ intensification along public transport corridors, this will increase building costs a lot.  Because what that means for the council is “if you want to build where we want you to build, then we’ll let you.  If you want to build elsewhere, we will do our best to stop you.” and that means increased fees etc.  Len Brown was asked if this was going to be done by force or with incentives.  And he said incentives.  That will turn out to be a lie.  It will be done by force, no question.

So what all this means is that housing in Auckland is going to continue to be very difficult and expensive to develop.  Government officials recently met with the Auckland Councillors to try and tell them this, tell them they are going down the wrong path.  What’s the odds of the council listening?

And of course people like me could make a submission to the council on this but I’d be pissing into the wind.  Trying to speak out against the whole public transport/smart growth ideas at this point in time is like trying to say witches are OK and we should let them be in the 14th century.  You’d be labelled a heretic and your ideas not even considered.  So I won’t be doing that.

Auckland Transport Show their Arrogance Again

Examples of Auckland Transport’s greed and arrogance seem quite easy to come by these days:

Carpark giveaways curbed

By Mathew Dearnaley

5:30 AM Saturday Aug 27, 2011 

Auckland is installing 'pay-by-plate' parking machines. Photo / APN

Auckland is installing ‘pay-by-plate’ parking machines. Photo / APN

The time-honoured practice of motorists giving unexpired parking tickets away to strangers once they have finished with them is to be curbed in Auckland.

Auckland Transport is installing “pay-by-plate” parking machines which will require users to provide their car registration number before issuing them a ticket that cannot be used for other vehicles.

Three machines have been put into the newly redeveloped Jellicoe St in Wynyard Quarter and more will be installed elsewhere in Auckland.

Takapuna will get eight machines and Waiheke Island will get four next week as Auckland Transport prepares to call for tenders for the supply of almost 950 others.

Rest of Article

Just look at the corporate-nonsense-speak:

“all about giving more choice to the customer through innovation”.

– this said whilst removing a customer choice!  It’s like the double-think of George Orwell’s 1984.

And this:

Ms Hunter denied that, saying Auckland Transport’s aim was “to put the customer first”.

First how?  First to pay?

Seldom do you Get an Article with such a Strong Title

Just look at this:

NBR Editorial: Councils must curb arrogance

Nevil Gibson | WEEKEND REVIEW

The arrogance of local government knows no bounds.

Its ability to over-promise and under-deliver are well documented.

It seldom subjects itself to critical self-analysis and is guilty of hanging on to assets and functions beyond their optimal time.

Rest of article here.

 

Well I could hardly disagree with such sentiment.

Interesting Talk on Earthquake Issues

Good video here about earthquake issues for buildings.

Quite scary really.  If you own and older building anywhere in NZ then you could be in the poo big time.

But if you own newer buildings, then you could be in the money.

But either way you’re going to be paying higher insurance costs! Bugger!

 

An Outbreak of Common Sense

This article here at the NBR (subscription required) is quite amazing.  Amazingly good that is.

It basically says that the Hamilton City Council is letting developers of houses (the bigger ones) do a lot of their own consenting processes and/or have the council process their consents within 48 hours!

So the council are being proactive in helping developers build houses.  Well knock me down with a feather.  When was the last time that happened anywhere in NZ?

Roll out this program in Auckland please!

Now of course this is just building consent. Not resource consent. Which is often the trickier of the 2 consenting processes.  But still, very encouraging.

Kung Fu Prairie Dogs

Had to laugh when I saw this:

It’s a couple of young prairie dogs having a play fight.  Looks like a scene out of a kung foo movie. Lol.

Heres the site that had it: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/8684649/Animal-pictures-of-the-week-5-August-2011.html?image=9

Wow Again

This article blew my mind:

iPad creator now richer than US Govt – report

By NZ Herald staff

9:27 AM Monday Aug 1, 2011
Photo / Sarah Ivey

Photo / Sarah Ivey

The creator of the iPhone, iPod and iPad, Apple, now has more money to spend than the United States government, the BBC reports.

According to the Latest figures from the US Treasury Department, the US has an operating cash balance of USD$73.7 billion (NZD$83.8 billion), while Apple’s most recent financial results shows it has reserves of USD$76.4 billion (NZD$86.8 billion).

The BBC report comes as the US government struggles to resolve the impending debt crisis, with the country at risk of not being able to make payments unless it extends its debt limits.

While the US government is currently spending around USD$200 billion (NZD$227.4 billion) more than it collects each month, in the past three months up until June 25, Apple’s net income was 125 per cent higher than a year earlier at USD$7.31 billion (NZD$8.31 billion).

Daniel Ashdown, an analyst at Juniper Research told the BBC the company may be looking at a spending spree, with bookstore Barnes and Noble and online film site Netflix potential targets.

“Apple keeps its cards close to its chest,” Mr Ashdown said.

By NZ Herald staff

Here’s the link to it.

Holy crap! So Apple are sitting on more cash than the USA!!!!!  This says something about the US government and also about globalization and how big companies can grow now.  To quote Douglas Adams (nearly) “That cash pile… is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is…”

Wow

Man just look at this article from the Telegraph in the UK:

Ministers go to war with green charities over planning shake-up “smears”

Ministers have launched an unprecedented attack on two of Britain’s leading environmental charities for opposing the government’s planned shake-up of the planning system.

Hampton, Peterborough

Fields at Hampton, Peterborough. The A1 is behind the trees in background  Photo: JOHN ROBERTSON

By Patrick Hennessy, Andrew Gilligan and Alastair Jamieson

8:30PM BST 06 Aug 2011

The National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) came under fire as they mobilised against new planning rules that they say put the Green Belt in peril.

The planning reforms are supposed to streamline complicated rules on new buildings, reducing 1,300 pages of national planning policy to just 52 pages. In a highly controversial change councils will be told there should be a “presumption for development”.

Conservation groups say the reforms could allow un-checked development in the countryside and lead to parts of the Green Belt being concreted over.

Rest of Article here.

Now I’m  a green capitalist.  So I dont’ reckon every bit of the country side should be built on.  Far from it.  Good farming land in particular should be kept and land with forests and/or wildlife and/or scenic value should all remain untouched.

But man, if you have a growing population, then you need to be able to develop.  If you want to have jobs for people in factories, offices and public buildings, then you have to be able to develop.

And development is now considered to be the same thing as defiling the planet.  When it is not.

I’m glad the British are trying to overturn their complicated planning rules.  Maybe some of that will rub off here eventually!

 

The Next Panic

Well the Americans have reached a deal to avoid a default, which they were always going to do so the mainstream media needs another thing to panic about.  Can’t have the public thinking everything is OK for any longer than about 37 seconds, so what is it now?

It’s Europe again.  Yep, if you believe the stories, it looks like Spain and Italy are about to implode under their debt burdens. Aaaaaaaggghhhhh!

Just listen to Bernard Hickey for 90 seconds and you’ll be convinced the sky is falling: here.  I got around 3o seconds into it and turned it off.  Just sick of the negativity.