Paul Little: Mercurial mayor goes parking-mad

'Planking' is unlikely to cause death - unless mixed with booze. Photo / Supplied
'Planking' is unlikely to cause death - unless mixed with booze. Photo / Supplied

That didn't take long. Six months after being elected mayor of Auckland, partly on his reputation as a prophet of public transport, Len Brown is finding ways to park more cars.

This week he announced a multi-million-dollar scheme for improving our quality of life by providing more parking at Manukau and buying half of the new Britomart carpark.

He said Britomart would be a nice little earner and the revenue would be used on ... public transport.

This madcap plan was announced the same day as a report to the council showed public transport use at a 60-year high, up 8 per cent in 12 months. The message is obvious.

Aucklanders do not agree with their mayor. They don't want more parking spaces. They don't want more traffic in the CBD. They want to use more public transport. The other problem with the plan is that, once you get used to a source of money, it's hard to give it up.

Pretty soon you're finding all sorts of good reasons to not turn that parking building into apartments - which is what is supposed to happen at Britomart.

Over at Manukau, more parking will apparently encourage the use of public transport. Possibly. But it sounds suspiciously like eating KFC to fight obesity.

Once, the council had a plan, called Vision 2020, to encourage medium growth in a few centres so that people could live, work and play within a small area.

You can see a version of it in Newmarket, where the improved rail service, new apartments and old shops support each other. Despite many faults, it was a worthwhile plan.

It should be revived.

In a city that can't find room for bicycles or pedestrians on an eight-lane bridge, and whose mayor thinks more carparking will reduce dependency on cars, it's hard to predict when we'll solve this long-term problem.

IF YOU drink, then go and lie on the edge of a building, you're a bloody idiot. Reports of the death of a young Australian man engaged in "planking" focused on the connection to social media and mentioned only in passing that he had been drinking.

This is yet another example of alcohol getting away with murder. The incident was described as a "viral internet stunt gone wrong" and planking as "a killer social media craze".

In fact, the young man almost certainly died as a result of excess consumption of alcohol. Sober people tend not to perch on the edges of multi-storey buildings.

Acton Beale was just one of many young people - mostly male - whose death in motor vehicles or other accidents that weekend was directly attributable to the most lethal and widely available drug in our community.

IT WAS great to see the quaint expression "love child" dusted off this week, thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And it was also great to see his wife, Maria Shriver - part of the Kennedy clan - reacting to a crisis with normal human emotions for once.

- Herald on Sunday

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