City Watch #8

It’s here! Our eighth round up of recent news and events around Wellington. If you think we’ve missed anything or have any information please contact us. Thanks to those who have been sending things in.

Views of the Wairarapa “Downfall” Hitler parody are up by over 50% after South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples and her diplomat husband engaged lawyers to try to have it removed and started threatening people with legal action. Streisand Effect anyone?

The Local Government Commission confirmed it will investigate the proposals it has received for local government amalgamation in the region, which could see the three Wairarapa councils break away and either form their own unitary authority or be merged into a Wellington Super Council.

Upper Hutt will not be supporting a Super City, instead applying for an enhanced status quo, supporting the ongoing collaboration between Upper Hutt and Hutt City, and a collective approach to key matters across existing Wellington Regional boundaries. Yeah, good luck with that, just wait until they’re engulfed by a Super City.

Harvard academic Edward Glaeser, who is ranked among the top 40 economists in the world, delivered a lecture at Te Papa this week on what makes a successful city tick.

A high-pitched train noise on the Johnsonville line is still frustrating residents, KiwiRail and Wellington Regional Council and is proving difficult to fix.

Invisible mayoral candidate Keith Johnson’s new favourite word seems to be “omnishambles” and has attacked the Council by saying “they couldn’t even grill a sausage on a hot-plate in hell”. I doubt he will pull more votes than he did in his terrible 2010 Southern Ward campaign.

Onslow-Western Ward candidate Hayley Robinson thinks we should get rid of public transport subsidies for Wellington’s buses. (Tip – don’t tell people to stop reading your press release and keep things succinct).

Wellington’s rarely heard from Economic Portfolio Leader, Councillor Jo Coughlan, got some oxygen with a real mayor boasting of a recent survey that shows Wellington’s small businesses are the most optimistic in the country.

Wellington City Council launched its “alternative giving” campaign, with posters in prominent begging spots in Cuba St, Courtenay Place and Willis St encouraging people to give to charity instead. Stephanie Cook labeled Auckland’s version “harsh” compared to Wellington’s “compassionate” option. Giovanni Tiso has a good critical assessment of the whole project.

Onslow-Western Ward candidate Sridhar Ekambaram is defending Celia Wade-Brown’s record as mayor.

The president of the Wellington branch of Hospitality New Zealand says recent survey results strongly suggests that the Council should take a careful, evidence-based approach towards deciding its Local Alcohol Policy. Their survey (despite their obvious interests) makes for insightful reading.

Ian Apperley argues that Public Transport has been seen as the ultimate solution to Wellington’s traffic issues over the last decade, however, little has been done to invest in the service and in my opinion the quality has dropped in the last few years.

Wellington City Council’s attempt to slow the resource consent process for the Basin Reserve flyover by having the consent application heard by the Environment Court, rather than a government appointed board of inquiry has failed.

The Environmental Protection Authority, headed by Kerry Prendergast – who is on record as supporting the flyover, recommended a board of inquiry to the Minister Amy Adamas. Iona Pannett pointed out that Boards of Inquiry set up under the National Government to fast track projects have so far given approval for all projects.

Wellington.Scoop have a good piece on the recommendation from the EPA to refer the Basin flyover resource consent to a board of inquiry and how it seems to reflect a rift between the Agency and the Environment Court and how it undermines the reputation of the Court.

All Wellingtonians eligible to vote in the upcoming local body elections should have received an enrolment update pack in the mail this last week.

Michael Forbes has done a lengthy investigation into the demise of Celia Wade-Brown’s light rail dream and if Wellington’s much-promised public transport solution look sleek and sexy, or will it be more like the back end of a bus.

The Green Party has been delivering a joint flier (see below) for their Eastern and Southern Ward candidates Sarah Free and David Lee (both of whom don’t seem to live in either of the wards they’re contesting). It will be interesting to see if that’s an issue.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett appeared on TVNZ’s Q+A and talked about the fluoride debate. Good to see he’s not apart of the tinfoil hat brigade like his counterpart in Hamilton and too many other cities in New Zealand. Meanwhile the Wellingtonian’s editorial looks at what might happen when the debate returns.

Westpac Stadium will again host the All Whites’ qualifying game on November 20, the last hurdle for a place in next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Led by Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington won the hosting rights to the game after fending off a bid from Auckland. John Morrison is still probably having a cry.

A loophole in the Hutt City Council’s bylaws has been uncovered by a Victoria University of Wellington student who stumbled on the matter after he was ticketed for parking longer than two hours near his Seaview office. Unsurprisingly the Council is denying it and waving around its own legal advice.

Save the Basin Campaign have an enlightening fisking of John Morrison’s recent comments on the Basin fly-over and proposed new stand.

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