Brian Rudman has taken a day out from bleating about public transport and theatres to attack cruise ship bludgers:
An Auckland summer wouldn’t be complete without mosquitoes taking over my backyard, the Curran St on-ramp to the harbour bridge closing for a reseal, and cruise ship operators belly-aching about their need for better waterfront facilities.
With the $18.6 million transformation of Shed 10 on Queens Wharf into a new terminal underway, you might have thought we would have been spared at least one of these perennial irritations. Silly me.
The $2.5 million automated gangplank about to be erected on Queens Wharf is no longer adequate. Royal Caribbean cruise line boss Gavin Smith says that with super-liners on the horizon, we should have two gangways to avoid bottlenecks when passengers are jostling to get on and off the boats.
The industry has also been lobbying Waterfront Auckland for an extra $5 million to be spent on strengthening Queens Wharf to handle ever-bigger liners, and a further $3 million to plant a mooring pole beyond the wharf for the use of ships longer than the 290m Queens Wharf can handle at present.
With the demands come the usual threats. “If we don’t make decisions we are in danger of the cruise ships bypassing us,” says Cruise NZ chairman Craig Harris.
If I’m sounding a little jaundiced, it’s because none of the proponents or beneficiaries of the improved facilities are offering to fund them. They’re expecting Auckland ratepayers to dig even deeper into their pockets for the economic good. Well, the economic good of cruise lines, tourist operators, foreign hoteliers and souvenir and food shops.
Maybe Brian “Where’s My Theatre” Rudman can explain why we should be funding his theatre but not docking facilities for cruise ships? Cruise ship bludgers are just as bad as theatre bludgers in my eyes.
But maybe there is something we have missed that Brian can explain?