Home' The Wellingtonian : January 19th 2012 Contents 10 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JANUARY 19, 2012
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
to be discussed
Congratulations to The
Wellingtonian for trying to
breathe some fire into the
corporate bellies of the Mayoral
Forum over the Wellington super-
city issue (January 5).
But it is premature to suggest
that the only way to go is
Auckland s way.
There are several options, each
with strengths and weaknesses.
They need to be evaluated and
discussed with the affected
The problem with the Auckland
experiment is that it weakens the
link between the governed and the
governors, particularly when non-
organisations get so much power.
But Kerry Prendergast was
right to argue that the Wellington
region should try to find its own
solution rather than have one
imposed by central government.
The agreement between
National and Act provides for the
two parties working together to
ensure there is only one plan (a
unitary plan) for each district.
What exactly that means we
will no doubt discover later in the
year but it seems very likely to
have repercussions for local
It would be a pity if the Mayoral
Forum was caught frozen in the
middle of the status quo,
transfixed in the headlights of
Minister Nick Smith s advancing
I m with your editorial, all the
way. All New Zealand must surely
go the way of big city/district
However, it s amusing to think
we are going full cycle and are
reverting toward local
government analogous to the
Provincial Councils New Zealand
had from 1855 to 1877 before they
were abolished and were replaced
by cities, boroughs, town boards
That pattern endured till 1989,
by which time everyone realised it
needed to be simplified to our
present system of city and district
councils mostly grouped under
But it was still a half-pie
reform, even then.
Surely our local government
could easily be condensed into no
more than 10 provincial councils
for the whole country.
You rightly imply we now have
too many people who like being
big fish in a little pool.H WESTFOLD
over spy car
It s not surprising that criti-
cism of Wellington City
Council s so-called spy car
We at The Wellingtonian
receive phone calls and letters
complaining that the car, intro-
duced in August 2010, is
nothing more than a council
fundraiser in disguise.
When the car was introduced,
the council announced that one
of its key roles would be to
police school pick-up and drop-
off zones, where just before 9am
and just after 3pm there are
often hectic scenes.
There s still frenetic activity
outside the schools, but in the
meantime the car has issued
more than 17,000 tickets in 17
months and has raked in more
than $900,000 for the council.
It does most of its business
not outside suburban schools,
but on The Terrace, in Lambton
Quay and in other parts of the
Complaints about the car
include the fact that it tickets
drivers who are waiting a few
moments while another car
pulls out of a parking space,
that it tickets people who stop
for four or five seconds to let off
passengers, that it tickets taxis
for stopping to allow people out,
and that it unreasonably tickets
drivers who are briefly parked
on loading zones so they can
Wardens in the car, a Toyota
Yaris, can photograph offences
from 100 metres away, which
adds to the impression that the
concern is more about issuing
tickets than keeping traffic
Given the incredibly intoler-
ant attitude towards transgres-
sing motorists, it is difficult to
believe the car is regarded by
the council as anything but a
Not surprisingly, in view of
mounting criticism, several
embarrassed city councillors
are now calling for the spy car
to be dispensed with.
Parking wardens patrolling
the streets will often warn an
infringing motorist to move on.
The spy car offers no such
When tickets are challenged,
the attitude seems to be to pro-
ceed with the fine if at all poss-
ible. Seemingly reasonable
explanations for perceived
infringements are rejected.
A few years ago when Auck-
land mayor John Banks decided
he would use parking tickets in
the city to boost his council s
coffers, he was upfront about
his intentions. He announced
the council was hiring more
parking wardens with the pur-
pose of raising money.
It didn t make him popular,
but Banks could at least claim
the moral high ground.
Wellington City Council is
just being sneaky. No wonder
motorists are fed up.
The council s infrastructure
director, Stavros Michael, has
spoken about sorting out the
chaos on the streets , but that
is difficult to take seriously.
Most of the time the spy car
is not sorting out chaotic
situations. It is just raking in
money by issuing more than
1000 tickets a month, or an
average of 34 a day.
There were 267,552 parking
tickets issued in Wellington in
2010-11, infinitesimally down
on the previous year s total of
270,051. By some strange
convoluted logic, Michael used
that fractional drop to defend
the absurdly high number of
That [the lower figure] lends
the lie to the oft-stated claim
the camera car has been put on
the road to generate extra rev-
enue, he said this week.
It does no such thing.
The fact that Michael has to
draw such a long bow to defend
the spy car s activities merely
reinforces that he is trying to
defend the indefensible.
Darcy Waters from Ngaio is the
winner of our ''What is this?''
He has won a copy of Capital
People having correctly ident-
ified the fragment of the photo
we published last week as the
Umbrella sculpture in Cuba
The Umbrella was designed
by Peter Kundycki and originally
stood on the corner of Cuba
and Manners streets. Last year
the sculpture was moved to the
corner of Cuba and Dixon
streets to make way for the
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