Paul Holmes: Brilliant Ugly Whatever, we've all been suckered

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At least we'll be able to have our World Cup parties in the Cloud. Photo / Supplied
At least we'll be able to have our World Cup parties in the Cloud. Photo / Supplied

And then, out of the blue, ladies and gentlemen, just when we thought we'd seen everything, along comes a 60-metre, $2 million plastic waka, the brainchild of Ngati Whatua, which they'll plonk down on the waterfront, at the Viaduct.

It is hard to get a handle on it. Maori seem to think - well, the Maori who spend the money seem to think - it'll be a brilliant showcase for things Maori. What's more, they will be able to transport it. Yes, they'll take it to Singapore, someone said.

It might be a beautiful thing with the lights on it at night and all that but the public think it's daft.

What's more, it's dodgy how the money is being spent. Bill English assured Parliament the job had been put out to tender, then had to come back and say it hadn't been tendered at all. Ngati Whatua, apparently, have simply decided who'll get the job of building it.

So it'll sit down there at the Viaduct, some distance from the Cloud. The Government and Auckland City appear to be holding their noses about the Tupperwaka. Neither wants to own it. I have a feeling it won't look flash for long.

This is not good spending. The Government has been suckered. Shane Jones is right. It's a taxpayer gift to one single hapu. After the World Cup it will wander the world, a big, ugly, battered, bruised, unwanted plastic thing.

And then it seemed that we, the punters, won't be allowed into the Cloud. It'll be a trade show pavilion, is what we learn. In other words, it's been stolen from us. Well, I'm sorry, the impression given was that this structure was to be Party Central. You could go in and watch the games on big screens.

It was reported that the many visitors to the country will stand outside watching the screens in the cold. That's what we were told. That the IRB insisted there had to be a place for fans who didn't have tickets to the grounds or who could not afford tickets, could go and be part of it all. No one mentioned trade shows.

But I checked with Michael Barnett of the Chamber of Commerce, who is rather jaundiced by recent reporting. In fact the Cloud will be entirely flexible.

It will tell the New Zealand story with all kinds of great audiovisual presentations, but when the big games are on, they can roll it all back and accommodate between 4000 and 5000 people with bar facilities. Phew. So all is not lost.

So it's going to be flash. It should make us proud after all. It won't be dour suits standing round with varieties of fencing wire and manuka honey.

Bob Harvey says the Cloud is going to be beautiful, that Auckland will come to love the Cloud. Well, we won't if we're not allowed near it, Bob. We'll stand back and throw stones at it instead. And Bob's right. We don't want thousands of drunks hanging round but there are going to be thousands of drunks hanging round whatever you say, Bob, so they might as well be at Party Central.

It's been a bad week. We've had to look at pictures of the insufferable murdering narcissist Clayton Weatherston again. What a bizarre defence his lawyer came up with, that he didn't get a fair trial. He got as fair a trial as anyone who thrust a knife into a young woman more than 200 times was ever going to get. Like, he was going to get off ?

The Pike River receivers were insufferable this week, too, asking the Government to help pay for their contribution to the royal commission of inquiry. Pike River must be made to take a central part in the inquiry. Twenty-nine men died, after all.

One of the problems I can see looming right now in the discovery of the truth of what happened at Pike River is that there are too many inquiries. There is the police inquiry. There is a Labour Department inquiry. These will be little empires, finding out their own various things, reaching their own conclusions. Now there is a royal commission.

When a royal commission of inquiry is instituted, surely the results of the lesser inquiries should not be released publicly - certainly not before or during the hearings of the royal commission - but should merely be presented as evidence to the royal commission itself.

What we might end up with is several conflicting determinations of what caused the accident. That would mean uncertainty forever for the families of those who died.

It was the release of the Chippindale report a week or so before the hearings of Justice Peter Mahon's royal commission that led to the eternal confusion in the public mind as to why the DC-10 crashed into Mt Erebus.

- NZ Herald

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