Thursday, March 26, 2009

National Party is messing up transport in Auckland now

Did you mark my words..?... oh wait I did...where I posted here about how National Party was doing OK but needed to do something more with sustainable transport.

Well they messed up by reallocating all of the money set aside for public transport to more state highways. They divert your attention away from where the money came from by saying it was through administration costs. This doesn't stack up because how can they have streamlined $420 million on administrative costs if they haven't laid anybody off? Yes they have probably saved some on paper letterhead costs but the organization still has the same people, just governed by a different board. That money is coming out of money set aside for public transport, and walking and cycling funding. They've conveniently left out that sound bite.

I understand that Mr. Keyes may be hesitant to try to 'force' people from their cars. But the Auckland Northern Busway is an example of a well run public transport system that is packed full of people who find it more convenient and cheaper to use than driving.

In the rural areas, yes, roads are better for transporting agriculture goods. But a rural solution cannot be imposed on a growing metropolitan area constrained by the harbours. It's just not going to work and now it's going to take another year for them to figure that out, just like it took the Labour party to figure this out . It's just a matter of time before the gas prices rise again and little ol' NZ will be at the bottom of the proverbial barrel.

The logic is by investing in more infrastructure New Zealand will boost the economy with jobs. Well this logic applies equally to public transport in the Auckland area. Auckland is geographically constrained. There are no more places to build roads so now they are just gold-plating the motorways. Well if that is the case they might as well gold plate them with cycleways.

Bring on the Auckland Royal Commission, as the system we have now is not delivering, no matter what party is in flavour. Maybe they'll be able to provide some leadership.

We're making our engagement rings

We're taking a jewelry making class at workshop 6 in Kingsland here's a picture of our first silver rings, pendants (with brown stone), engagement mock ring (copper silver) and the beginnings of our wedding bands. For our engagement rings we are essentially piecing together three different bands trying to keep it simple yet interesting.

The gold came from these mini 'bars' of gold that we stretched through a 'ringer'.

We bought the gold through there wholesaler, but it wasn't cheap like silver that's for sure.

Monday, March 02, 2009

4 Things the National Party is Doing Right

I'll just say it right now I did not vote for the National Party (it's the republican equivalent). I was very excited to vote at a poll in NZ, as I have always done mail ballots in Oregon.

So here are 4 things the National Party is doing right.

1. They didn't mess it up with a bad copyright law and made it onto boingboing.
2. They are reviewing the Resource Management Act. It's their version of land use planning, but it really sucks, as it doesn't achieve good results. Whenever you say that to planners in NZ they look at you like your a pariah. In their minds, the only other alternative is going to be horrendously bad. The problem is it takes twice as long to permit projects as most other countries and this costs MONEY! As I've been told, the RMA was the national party idea, and they can now fix it. ...nuff said
3. The National Party is talking about a national cycleway. A cycleway? That's right, while most local councils are cutting back on walking and cycling infrastructure, they are talking about a national cycleway.
3. The National Party is continuing to invest in broadband infrastructure, despite telecos 'promising' they can deliver better than the govertnment. Yeah right! Cell phone reception sucks and the pricing structure is really expensive. Last week vodaphone voicemail went out for a day. They are barely keeping the systems running as it is. They have no incentive to provide cheaper more reliable services. We had better internet connection in Costa Rica than New Zealand.

Some things that are questionable - They are increasing spending in State highways. However, these projects are mostly in rural areas where the permit process had been completed. Somewhat logical but they still need to find some ways to quickly support sustainable transport in Auckland. This is urgent.