So, I’d told the Editor in Chief Aidan Bennett – who is in fact the Henry Luce of the North Shore, and if you don’t know who Henry Luce is then you need to Google him, that I wouldn’t be doing any columns while his two bit rag was online, and would only be coming back when the magazine was in the more formal mode of print and paper. It’s been at least four months now since this rag has hit the news stands of our beautiful North Shore.
So, Lockdown – one thing it proved is that I never want to retire. By the time I got up, checked the letterbox two or three times and had a couple of cups of tea, attempted to watch our so dreadful breakfast television, had a piece of Vogel’s and Marmite, checked the letterbox again and had another cup of tea, by that time it was 7.30 am – if this is retirement, then forget it.
At the day’s end, when I left my property for an extended walk around the Borough of Flagstaff (Devonport for all you newer Devonport residents) I’d be cursing at the beautiful weather and still skies and sulking quietly, knowing that this was the most beautiful and settled autumn weather just perfect for earthmoving and laying concrete. Also, great weather for watching Club footy, going for a sail and even a quick dip. The whole 50 days went fairly quickly, but as I said at the beginning of this column, there is no way in the world I will retire and live that sort of life.
Just at the end of the lockup I got my Electoral Commission form asking me if the information on it was correct to enable me to vote in the upcoming General Election and referendums. At the Declaration on page two of the form, it reads
“I declare that…. All the information I have privided (should be provided) is true and corrrect (note the three ‘r’s) and I understand that giving false or misleading information is a criminal offence.” You would think in this modern world, a Government issued form should have the correct spelling.
I see finally the playground in Devonport has opened, to a bit of controversy as to the safety aspects of certain parts of it. One thing I do know, and I get this from a very reliable source at the coal face, that the original budget for under a $1,000,000, has now blown out to over a $1,500,000. This, I am led to believe was due to incorrect drainage details given to the Architect by the Council, who didn’t know where the underground services were. This, combined with bad weather and the lockdown all contributed to the blowout.
It is great to see that the playground has been well used since we all got out of lockup, with hundreds of kids, parents and grandparents all enjoying themselves on the waterfront.
Talking about playgrounds, I can’t believe the cost of the Parliamentary slide and small playground that came in at over $750,000 of which I believe $186,000 was consultancy fees and $175,000 in excavation costs. That would have meant that a large excavator would have been there excavating a platform for the playground for 14 weeks and two trucks carting the excavations off site, two trucks for seven weeks apiece would have been carting away the soil. This is an absolutely despicable waste of taxpayers’ money and should be thoroughly investigated. It is nothing but a rort. It’s okay though, it’s other people’s money. What we should remember though, it is actually yours and my money, as taxpayers.
Simon Watts will be our new Member of Parliament come Election Day on September 19. I have met him on a couple of occasions and he seems to be a very, very polite and nice gentleman. He does have on his election hoardings that “Simon will get it done”. I would like to know though, Simon, what exactly are you going to get done? It’s all very well to say you are going to get things done, but we need specifics before we vote. The North Shore is a safe blue National seat for you, it has been a National seat since 1949 when Martin Finlay lost it in the election that year. Since then it has been a job for life for a National Member of Parliament.
The huge new Ports of Auckland cranes that suddenly arrived and dominated our skyline overnight, could anyone tell me please, if they have seen them working? I don’t believe I have. I’ve seen ships moored alongside the cranes but I have not seen the cranes moving at all. Maybe the gentleman from Ports of Auckland could give me a call, as he has done previously, to bring me up to date with the status of the cranes.
We have the General Election coming up in September, we need to vote for the party who will guide us out of the financial mess we are heading into. It will be like nothing we have experienced before.