Wellington

US diplomat no longer welcome in New Zealand

An incident involving a diplomat from the US embassy was brought to the attention of New Zealand police on Sunday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman says.

MFAT was asked by police on Monday to request a waiver of immunity from the US to enable police to undertake investigations, and did so that day.

The US government has on Friday declined to waive the diplomat’s immunity. Read more »

Nobody dares to speak the truth: Wellington is Effed

When the Kaikoura quake struck it did more than root up Kaikoura, a few farms, a road and a rail line, it also screwed up Wellington.

Buildings are being pulled down, and the port is rooted…so too is the water supply:

Quake-damaged pipes in Wellington are leaking around one million litres of water every day.

The system has been in this state since the November 14 Kaikoura earthquake, but authorities have no idea where the quake-damaged pipes are in the network.   Read more »

When will someone actually start telling the truth about how rooted Wellington is?

It looks like another building in Wellington is going to have come down since the earthquake in Kaikoura.

Wellington City Council needs to make a decision in coming months as to whether it repairs its civic administration building or demolishes it.

The six-storey pink building on Civic Square, built in the early 1990s, has been closed since the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake last November.

On Monday, council spokesman Richard MacLean said the cost of the various options facing the council would be an important deciding factor.

A decision on the long-term future of the building would not be made for some months.    Read more »

Go on, tell me again that Wellington isn’t rooted

Another Wellington office block has been vacated due to earthquake risk.

Yet, we are being told that there is nothing wrong in Wellington, despite the port and all its office buildings being damaged beyond habitation and practical use, and several office blocks being torn down, and now we have the IRD building being evacuated.

Another central Wellington office building was evacuated today, after earthquake damage was discovered during an invasive engineering inspection.

IRD spokesperson Pete van Schaardenberg said nearly 500 staff were sent home from the Inland Revenue Department’s building at 12 Hawkestone Street this afternoon.   Read more »

Tagged:

Take down the hedge or pay the money Honey

A Wellington woman has been told to rip up her hedge or pay the council $850 a year for encroaching on public land. Her hedge is along the berm and prevents parked cars from easily opening their doors. It also forces pedestrians to walk through a gap in the hedge on the other side of the berm in order to walk along that side of the street as there is no footpath.

Her argument is that it has been there for seven years and this is the first time that anyone has complained about it. Because people can walk through a gap in the hedge she feels that she is not preventing public access to the berm and she does not want to pay for having her hedge planted on public property.

After maintaining the hedge on a berm outside her Wellington home for seven years, Andrea Skews says the council now ...

LUCY SWINNEN/FAIRFAX NZ After maintaining the hedge on a berm outside her Wellington home for seven years, Andrea Skews says the council now wants to charge her $850 a year to keep it.

While I sympathise with the hassle of removing the hedge she fails to see that it is a very black and white issue. It is not relevant that no one has complained before. I might speed for 7 years before I finally get caught by a speed camera or a cop but that doesn’t change the fact that I broke the law. Even though no one pointed out to the council that she had made public land part of her property she has still made public land part of her property.

Read more »

Kaikoura Update

Our transport correspondent has another update.


Two weeks after, and all of the tourists have gone.

The echoes of laughing and spending tourists are all that remains as the residents sit and ponder what a calamitous change has struck their lives. The once busy harbour is now full of rock, thrust up from under the sea, leaving the whale boat fleet high and dry.

We deliver to the Mitre 10 store in Kaikoura. Or we did.

It is now a wreck. The wonderful people who we dealt with, doing deliveries at all sorts of inconvenient (for them) hours, are now faced with their lives crashed under orange painted collapsed walls. A rebuild is needed, and when it is done much of their tourist business will not be there. Their immediate future will at least be busy, as they will not be the only ones rebuilding, and hopefully they can rebuild themselves in time to benefit from supplying all of the others around them.

Communities like Mt Lyford may not be so lucky. They were always a remote and small settlement, and only time will tell whether their lack of size is sufficient to sustain the energy needed to rebuild their tiny town.

I am enjoying the wide variety of views from the new experts in freight and logistics. There are many suggestions as to how and where SH1 should be rebuilt, or whether it should be rebuilt at all. The important thing for me is to realise that politics should have no place here. This is not the emotional surge of repairing thousands of individuals houses, and dealing with the considerable loss of life that occurred in Christchurch. This event is way bigger, and as infrastructure damage is becoming more evident in Wellington, the task is growing, as inevitably it would.   Read more »

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester in a mild panic about government departments leaving town

Justin Lester was on Q+A yesterday, showing mild panic:

Wellington mayor Justin Lester says Wellington is “well-placed” to manage further earthquakes, and he doesn’t back the idea of moving government functions to other parts of New Zealand.

Speaking to Q+A’s Jessica Mutch, Mr Lester said he thought that was a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“Look, let’s be realistic, I mean, Auckland sits on volcanoes; Christchurch, no one expected to have an earthquake down there, and that was an absolute tragedy; various different parts of the country face natural disaster events. So this is an occurrence in New Zealand, as it is in any other city in any other country in the world.

We need to live up to the risk. We need to manage the risk, and I think Wellington’s well placed.”   Read more »

Fat Tony on Wellington’s building crisis

fat-tony-3

Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams discusses the Wellington CBD issue after the earthquake, amongst other things.

With just a year to go before the next General Election in New Zealand, yet another disaster in the shape of large earthquakes has struck in the South Island and reverberated badly as far as Wellington.

The locations of these shakes, mainly thinly populated rural areas, has meant that the cost in human life has not been near the scale of the Christchurch earthquakes or the Pike River mine explosion, but it will still be expensive.

The roads, particularly the one on the coast north of Kaikoura and rail line in the same region will be very expensive to restore and the infrastructure in the small towns that dot the region will not be cheap to set right.

Read more »

Water, rubbish and roads? Nope. Wellington mayor will drop house prices

Wellington ratepayers will be so pleased that their new mayor, Justin Lester, wants to drop the value of their houses.

A taskforce to tackle the affordability of housing in Wellington is being set up by new mayor Justin Lester.

It will examine issues including homelessness, social housing, schemes for first-home buyers, the rental market and housing density.

The council is hoping to report its recommendations by April so it can become part of its three-year plan.

Mr Lester said he wanted to make sure housing was affordable for all Wellingtonians.   Read more »

A stunning 20% return rate in Auckland’s local body elections

Barry du Plessis-Allan writes

So far, early voting in our biggest city, Auckland, is woeful at just under 20 per cent and even in the capital, which was the only city to lift voter numbers three years ago, the enthusiasm at this stage is about the same as Auckland.

Even Prime Minister John Key admitted the other day he hadn’t voted, even though he’d filled out the forms, because he was still looking for a postbox.

That, if nothing else, is a good reason we should have at least trialled online voting this time round, but the Beehive flagged it because they had concerns for the security of the ballot and said it was too early for a trial.

Now this, as much as anything else, is a shout out to the young who have an abysmally poor voting record when it comes to putting their ticks alongside the names for City and Regional Councils, for local wards and health boards.

Do you know how many people are standing for mayor, council and boards in Auckland?  Once you realise there are over 200 positions to fill, and most of them are contested, how on earth does any voter care enough to understand the people involved?    Read more »