COMMENT:

Consent has been granted for an extension to Queens Wharf which will allow huge cruise ships to berth in Auckland. It will be temporary, apparently, and will have to be removed after 15 years.

Examples of other temporary structures around the world include the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye ferris wheel. If you believe Auckland's wharf extension will be any more temporary than those, especially once we've got addicted to all the economic benefits it will bring, then I have a very large downtown tower I can let you have for a good price once my paperwork from Nigeria comes through.

The consent is at odds with Mayor Phil Goff's view that "not one more metre of the harbour should be infilled for commercial activity". That statement was subtly worded — it's an opinion, not a promise. Just as well.

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Extravagant and unprovable claims have been made for the financial rewards that will come our way if we will only enable ever larger ships to berth. Tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs have been promised, and for this to happen, all we need to do is pave more of a harbour that's already been encroached upon to an absurd extent.

And there's no need. It's as though the people in charge of cruise facilities have never been on one, for the truth is that many of the world's most popular and glamorous ports do not have the capacity to let today's giant cruise ships pull up at their wharves.

Instead, dozens of destinations require passengers to get to land via tenders, small boats that transport passengers from their floating behemoths to shore. This is usually because the harbours are too shallow, but sometimes because the residents value their harbours too much to vandalise them. And if you don't build it, they will still come. Bora Bora, Monterrey, Monte Carlo and Santorini are all ports at which tenders are used. Passengers are quite used to them.

Soon the question of whether we choose a bridge or tunnel for a second harbour crossing will be irrelevant. We'll simply be able to walk across Queens Wharf to get to Northcote Point.

This week, 360,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi are getting the first malaria vaccine. It's been a long time coming in the battle against the disease that still kills 3000 children a day. Amid all controversy over vaccinations, this is a win-win. The vaccine works in about four out of 10 cases, so anti-vaccine campaigners can be confident at least 60 per cent of kids will still be susceptible to the disease. How they will react as the vaccine's reach is extended remains to be seen.

There are signs the age of the Instagram influencer may be over. Influencers are people whose endorsement of something inspires others to go out and get that something for themselves.

It started as something to occupy the Kardashians. Then they turned it into a billion-dollar industry. Pretty soon, genuine endorsements became paid-for product placements. Their authority was lost when followers couldn't tell whether an influencer genuinely liked something or was being paid to like it.

Now, Wellington City Council is paying blogger Lucy Revill to influence young people into giving their views of its policies. Once your local-body bureaucracy cottons onto the latest cool craze, it's officially over.