I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to some warmer weather! This winter has been long and pretty wet.
As I sat in traffic the other morning, I spotted two of the AT Local electric vehicles, a car and a minivan – both empty apart from the driver, of course. I’m just wondering how long this expensive ratepayer funded transport service is going to go on for, after the revelations a few months ago of the significant costs it is incurring to provide this service to the residents of Devonport/Bayswater.
This publicly funded $1.3 million rideshare service has had more success in picking up walkers, cyclists and bus users than the target group of motorists it is aimed at. Taxpayers are paying $475,000 of the total budget through NZTA. This is for a service that averages less than half of the target of 1200 trips per week.
All I know about this service is that I have a few wayward mates in the Devonport/Belmont area that use this as a cheaper Uber to get to the local restaurants and bars in Devonport. They’re pretty happy about the cost, $2.50 to get to the bar and $2.50 to get back – they’re laughing all the way to the bar and the joke is on us, the ratepayers and the taxpayers.
Last month I wrote about the toxic mess at the Milford Creek and the ongoing water pollution on the local beaches that is caused by this. The problem really lies up at the end of the Wairau Valley which is a huge water catchment for the Glenfield area and this is where this problem should be closely monitored and attacked to improve the situation. I work in the Wairau Valley and have done so for 50 years and I am concerned about all the countless small industries who do nothing about keeping the yards clean and the dozens of small companies, some of them car valet industries, that wash their cars in uncontrolled environments. All these chemicals wash down the drains, into the culverts and ultimately into the Milford Estuary.
Every day I drive down Diana Drive in Glenfield, right opposite Hillside ITM and adjacent to Carters, whewre there is a huge bus company park. The drivers obviously are not allowed to smoke in their work environs so they stand just outside the gate, huddled in small groups and smoking, flipping their butts into the culvert that runs adjacent to Diana Drive. This has been going on for years, and as we know, ultimately all those butts end up down at Milford Estuary. Lawn mowing contractors used to catch all their cuttings and dispose of them in some compost pits somewhere. This no longer happens as contractors mow the lawns without catchers, and then blow all their cuttings with weed blowers into the gutters. Next time it rains, all these grass cuttings wash down and ultimately end up in the Milford Estuary. Let’s start looking at our own environment and see what we can do: we can wash our cars on the grass rather than on the side of the road or on our driveways, for a start, and compost our lawn clippings.
Last month there was an incident at 5.30am on the northern approach to the Harbour Bridge, when a truck caught fire. This one small incident brought the whole of the North Shore to a standstill, with the tail of the traffic some 15km back, of people trying to get into the city. Have I not been talking about this for years now? If something happened to our Harbour Bridge, it would be catastrophic and there is still not a word from central or local government about a second harbour crossing. These works should be happening now, when the cost of money is so cheap – in fact it has never been so cheap with interest rates being so low. All they ever do is talk about it, bring out another concept, but nothing ever happens.
Now that the Local Body elections are over, let’s wait and see if all the promises made are followed through. Ha.
There was another incident, back on September 24, a tanker and a car collided on State Highway 1 at the Brynderwyns. It closed State Highway 1 for ten hours. If Shane Jones really wanted to take that area seriously a four lane tunnel should be bored through those hills without delay, and free up the road north. We regularly hear of crashes on the main roads up north, with the injuries, deaths and disruption that goes along with these awful events. A decent four lane highway would be much safer for people travelling north, and provide employment and economic benefits for Northland. With Shane Jones’ $3 billion handout to the regions, he should have taken a closer look at that.
The sooner we get out of this Labour/Green/NZ First government the better, they’re anti farming, anti cars and trucks, anti planes (aside from their own travel) and anti any regional development. They are bringing our country to its knees and the sooner we wake up to this the better.
A good grumble this month! Next month, I might start talking about the annoyance I’m feeling about women taking over the game of Rugby Union in this country.