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Mike's Minute: The arrogance of councils on display

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Nov 2023, 9:48am

Mike's Minute: The arrogance of councils on display

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Nov 2023, 9:48am

There is a threat of legal action in Auckland. 

It involves a group called 'Save Queen Street Society' and the council. The council is selling a parking building and with it, its almost 2000 car parks. 

The society has what they think is a better plan and one that will net the council a better return and save some car parks. They are potentially suing under a rule that says councils must consider all options when making decisions. 

The frustration is driven by the zealousness of most major councils in urban New Zealand to get cars out of cities, despite the fact we mainly love cars and have not, and will not, give them up. 

All that has unfolded over the years, as it has become increasingly hard to enter the CBD, is we go to the local mall where parking is plentiful, it's undercover and often free when you shop. 

Mall owners deal in the real world. Councils deal in ideology. 

To say downtown Auckland is a mess is to understate the matter in fairly spectacular fashion. 

We see it in Wellington with the farcical 'Let's Get Wellington Moving' and the ongoing destruction of the Golden Mile, a project still going ahead because the council knows best, even though 'Let's Get Wellington Moving' is dead. 

They all want us to look like some sophisticated European city, with our e-scooters and trams to enjoy croissants and pedestrian walking spaces. The fact public transport is as shambolic as their thought process doesn’t seem to matter. 

Those who have to try and make a living in the centre of our cities are dying. As Viv Beck of Heart of the City wrote the other day in yet another of her exasperated articles, there are 25% fewer people in the city. 

Why do you reckon that is? 

Wellington is a ghost town because the civil servants never came back and those who did got sick of the trains breaking down, and the buses getting cancelled, and there being nowhere to park. 

Christchurch, yet again, might be an exception. Maybe they can make it work. 

But the arrogance of councils is born of our lack of interest. We don’t vote, we don’t care and that’s on us, and councils know it. 

Look at Lower Hutt this week and their astonishing Petone vote. What a bunch of condescending tossers. They thumb their noses at us. 

They do as they please because they can, and in doing it, they wreck places. 

Watch this space on the downtown carpark. 

Hopefully the 'Save Queen Street Society' actually get to save Queen Street.         

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