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Residents Associations and the Communities they serve

The herald today has pulled the veil back on some of the key opponents battling Skypath in the Environment court and how they’re not at all representative of the views of the communities they claim to serve.

But three associations were not cheering – two based in the northern landing at Northcote Point and a third at the southern landing at Herne Bay – and appealed against the consent in the Environment Court.

With two groups from one neighbourhood opposing the project, as an outsider you would be forgiven for believing the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) and the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society represented the views of a community with genuine concerns about the project.

However, of the 382 submissions from Northcote, 29.8 per cent were opposed.

From what I’ve seen over the years, resident associations tend to be best understood the hobby horses for one or two individuals to pretend they have legitimacy to force their views on the wider community. They’re usually run as the personal fiefdoms with those in charge and are often very protective of who can join so they can retain control of the narrative. Take the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) as an example. The association say they cover the following area which is home to about 10,000 people.

Northcote Residents Association Ma

And their rules state that anyone from within that area can join

4.1 The number of members of the Association is unlimited and any person who is a resident or ratepayer of Northcote is eligible for membership and shall be admitted as a full member on

(i) payment of the subscription specified by the Executive;
(ii) completion of a membership 2 form; and
(iii) agreeing to abide by the Rules of the Association;
(iv) approval of the Executive in accordance with Rule 4.3 below.

But rule 4.3 is the kicker

4.3 A majority of two thirds or more of the members of the Executive, by resolution, may determine that any person’s application for membership be declined. The Executive shall not be obliged to provide any reasons for its decision.

So effectively the executive can kick out anyone who doesn’t agree with them, or in the case most rational people, they’ll leave once they realise they aren’t being represented and those in charge are using the association to further their own personal aims, not those of the wider community. And that’s exactly what has happened.

 

NRA chairman Kevin Clarke said there were no longer any members in the association who supported the SkyPath because they had all left.

“Thank God for that. They provided nothing. They did nothing. They were there to destroy and they damn near achieved it. They didn’t do anything positive. They didn’t do anything constructive.

“They didn’t do anything useful and they didn’t do anything to engage their mind in any of the problems that were blatantly presented by SkyPath’s hopelessly ill-resolved proposal.”

A quick search shows almost all of the ten executive members live on Northcote Point itself, living south of Stafford Rd/Rodney Rd.

The herald article highlights two former executive members who tried to have the NRA find out the actual views of the community but were shut down. This is something I first heard about at the time the Skypath submissions were under way. I also understand the executive had taken an official position of not supporting or opposing the project but then at the very last minute a core group submitted one anyway.

It’s also worth highlighting another issue raised

Mr Barfoot said having multiple societies set up made “it seem like there’s a grassroots movement against the SkyPath which is simply not the case”.

He’s referring to the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society which was set up in December 2014 during the submission period for Skypath. Many of the founding members are also on the NRA executive.

Of course these Northcote groups aren’t unique and there are plenty of others in various areas that will be similar. And there’s nothing wrong with associations supporting or opposing any project or plan. The issue comes when they claim to represent a community who most within that community probably don’t even know they even exist. Particularly on big discussions and especially RMA processes, perhaps these associations should be required to show the demographics of their members, the demographics of who within the community they’ve consulted and as a comparison to the demographics of the community they claim to represent.

To be fair, addressing the consultation problem is something we’ve talked about before and it extends much further than just residents associations. It applies equally to council’s and the government.

176 comments to Residents Associations and the Communities they serve

  • Git

    Yep, and as usual most of these things act as a proxy for resources (particularly financial and time) so those within such groups represent a tiny and extreme minority of the wider community.

  • The Real Matthew

    “From what I’ve seen over the years, resident associations tend to be best understood the hobby horses for one or two individuals to pretend they have legitimacy to force their views on the wider community.”

    Also true for Generation Zero

    • I was waiting for that. Difference is Gen Z don’t purport to represent the views of all young people, just their members. They also present the views based on surveys, forms e.g. with Skypath they represented the views of those who filled in their form.

      • J.R.

        *** Editors note: See our note below with regards to the person with whom this comment originated. ***

        But Gen Zero is actually the Green Party youth wing, so their true objective is to grow younger members into the Green Party.

      • Matt, you’ve written some good posts but this is not one of them. Now, with reference to your piece concerning a Gen Zero survey:

        http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/07/30/guest-post-why-northcotes-residents-are-wrong-about-aucklanders-parking-at-skypath/

        The survey results are based on 1113 (or 10%) respondents of the 11K Skypath supporters (who represent less than 0.08% of the current Auckland population), from which you conclude your analysis for the benefit of the resource consent commissioners:
        “…. these results show, more conclusively than anything else we’ve seen, that most people, most of the time, intend to use Skypath in a way that will have minor effects on parking or traffic….”

        Using that survey to reach that conclusion was misrepresentation, so before you throw stones make sure you’ve got your own house in order.
        By the way, I support a pathway over the bridge, but not Skypath. I want NZTA to build the link as part of the national cycleway, make it free and seamless with the so called Seapath and make it future proofed without mitigation, or litigation for that matter.

        • Kowhai

          Agree Shard. Would rather see NZTA or council run the project and process . The major share partnership projects with Council / Trusts have resulted in significant financial issues including deregistered trusts and unaudited incomplete accounts. Politicians are trustees in a small non representative group who have control and power to appoint other trustees. It’s a risk as it takes the money out of the council hands and the trust isn’t subject to the local government OIA or transparency rules . While North Shore residents may not be representative, Skypath only includes 1 of the 3 trustees lives anywhere near the skypath. The rest live in Rodney and are political. What experience do the trustees have on large scale infrastructure.? Anyways a few issues with the delivery model that should be robustly considered.

    • Doug

      That’s a pretty weak straw man.

    • Matthew W

      Didn’t several thousand people actively and voluntarily support Gen Zero by submitting with their form? That’s more than 1 or 2.

      • Stu Donovan

        yes, and Gen Zero organises activities in several cities across New Zealand, such as Wellington, Dunedin, and Christchurch. So to suggest Gen Zero is a hobby horse for just a few people is incorrect.

        Also, my understanding is that, unlike NRA, Gen Zero’s constitution doesn’t allow them to expel members for any reason in the way that NRA does. So Gen Zero would seem to be more open and tolerant of a range of views than NRA, which I think is the main point of this post.

    • Ricardo

      Also true for this transport blog. Any opposing views and you get name calling. All vested interest groups are the passion of a few individuals.

      • harrymc56

        Nice bit of whataboutery. Still it saves having to actually address the issue.
        As to name-calling. Have you any self awareness at all? Just a little bit?

        • Konradk

          Except every 3rd party survey of Aucklanders shows they support more and better public transport, so Transportblog pushes a cause with wide public support.

          • Yolanda

            I reckon that most people do support better public transport and modes. However, the skypath is agreat idea in concept, but the access to it is terrible and i dont blame who live in the vicinity of it to be upset. Remember that most people who will use it and are the vocal supporters dont live there. The curly wurly under the bridge deck on the northern side is going to be a poorly lit, shambles.

          • Matthew W

            Poorly lit? That sounds easy to fix. As for access, cycles don’t take up a huge amount of road space.

      • Ricardo you start a ‘moar roads’ blog see if anyone gives the slightest notice. This blog is influential and continues for the simple reason that the views it discusses have widespread interest and support. It is easy to start a blog but very hard to get anyone to care; many do here, so we are clearly onto something that rings true with many. Same with GZ; if they had no real support it would wither.

      • J.R.

        *** Editors note: Readers may be interested to know that this comment appears to originate with Jon Reeves, who was a candidate for NZFirst at the last election. As such his accusations of being a “political mouthpiece” are curious to say the least. We further note that TransportBlog openly works with any and all groups with which we share common objectives, and with whom we have mutual respect. This includes, but is not limited to, Gen Zero, Cycle Auckland, GetAcross, Campaign for Better Transport etc. In terms of political allegiances, we understand that Gen Zero is an independent organization that is not affiliated with any political party. However, even if Gen Zero was associated with the Green Party this is a matter for them, and not something that necessarily reflects on the political neutrality of the Blog. For example, in recent weeks we published a guest post by Labour MP David Shearer, in which we indicated that we welcomed (quality) guest posts from politicians of all stripes and hues. Finally, we note that Jon Reeves has previously been warned against making comments under a pseudonym, as such we have less tolerance for his behaviour. ***

        Except Transportblog is well connected with Green’s youth wing, Gen Zero, which undermines the “political neutality” of the blog. It becomes a mouth piece for a political party (which choses to use a different name).

        • Jon – I’m happy to disclose my political affiliations, there are none. I am not and have never been a member of any party. I can also tell you that I’ve met and discussed transport with numerous politicians from different parts of the spectrum, this includes both a national and local level as well as a number of mayoral candidates. In addition I’ve discussed transport with people from AT, NZTA and MoT. The point is we don’t care who makes good transport and urban policy, we just want it made.

      • Early Commuter

        Oh that’s ridiculous Ricardo. I sit here waiting for stupid TB posts (and then eviscerating them) and they don’t try to evict me. They’re generally pretty good sorts here. Misguided, but the heart’s in the right place

  • V Lee

    As a resident of Northcote (I live pretty much in the centre of the area they claim to represent) the NRA’s claims of representing my views has bugged me for years. A few years ago I considered organising friends from greater Northcote to join NRA and with the aim of changing things to make it more representative. However, once I read their constitution I realised how pointless this would be as it so blatantly puts the power to exclude people in the hands of a few on the executive. I’ve never met anyone from greater Northcote who is opposed to the Skypath. In fact, most people I talk to from Northcote Point are also not opposed to it either. It really seems to be just a small group of vocal opponents.

    • Jeff T

      Is there a case in law to be bought against such groups for misrepresentation of the views of the community they claim to represent?

  • mfwic

    Not sure I understand the reason for the hatchet job. Are you trying to say that residents associations dont represent all residents? I would have thought most people understand that. Are you suggesting people opposed to something shouldn’t group together? Surely it is more efficient for all parties if like view group together and advance a common argument. Are you suggesting they should be associations? It would be particularly dumb to appeal anything to a Court that can impose costs without incorporating. I think it was The Friends of the Remarkables that proved that point. Are you opposed to them because they oppose something you support? OK well good on you for supporting something but maybe you could address the issue not the people.

    • Dan C

      ” there’s nothing wrong with associations supporting or opposing any project or plan. The issue comes when they claim to represent a community who most within that community probably don’t even know they even exist. “

    • Bryce P

      They should rename the group to ‘Anti-Skypath Association”. Then the stand would be transparent.

      • Steve Cable

        no, that title would be too limited, include the “Anti Stafford Rd busway station” (the subject of considerable recent comment on the forum) and the “Anti PT through Shoal Bay” association and you’re getting closer to the truth

        does a “resident’s association” have a monopoly or stranglehold on the area? could a “Northcote Progressive Association” get some traction?

    • Jeff T

      I quite agree, everyone has a right to fight their corner. For me this is about representation through the NAME of your organistion. You shouldn’t name your association, e.g., Northcote’s Resident Association, if it doesn’t represent the views of a majority of the particular community. I think this type of representation should be contestable in the courts. If so, I’ll chip in.

    • V Lee

      I understand that resident’s associations (and others with a similar advocacy purpose) by their very nature will be biased towards representing the views of the most active members. My personal issue in this case is that the blatantly claim to represent my views while actively ensuring that if my views were in opposition to their own they can exclude me. They are attempting to gain legitimacy by claiming to represent a wide group while simultaneously actively excluding opposing views from that group. The NRA is not only active on opposing the Skypath, they seem to me to oppose any project that will result in any kind of change to Northcote Point (they don’t seem to me to care about the greater Northcote area at all despite claiming to represent it).

    • From the home page of the NRA http://www.nra.org.nz/
      “We act on behalf of Northcote Residents in protecting our quality of life and developing the natural, historical, infrastructural and community assets in our area.”

      So which residents are they acting on behalf of when oppose Skypath, all Northcote residents or just those they’ve allowed on the association. I’m aware of residents in the area trying to join but being harassed and bullied away from doing so because they didn’t oppose Skypath.

      As I said, they’re fully welcome to oppose Skypath but they should make it clear they’re not representing the views of the whole community if they haven’t fairly gauged the views of those within the community.

      • mfwic

        OK I accept that is misleading. A bit like Citizens and Ratepayers. I have been a citizen all my life a ratepayer now for most of it and they hardly ever spoke for me.

    • Matthew W

      It’s deceptive mfwic. It may not be the case for all residents associations, but clearly the NRA is quite deliberately advancing a position against the views of the residents. If you have a group with a range of views on an issue, you don’t kick out legitimate members who have opposing views, particularly if the primary membership criteria is living in a geographic area.

      • Messrs. Barfoot and Pearson appear in the Herald video as paragons of white truth but let’s not be naive here, they had their own agenda in joining the NRA and exercised their choice to leave it. To me the video looks like 1). sour grapes, 2). an attempt to subvert the Environment Court, 3). A pitch to become running mates of Donald Trrump because as we know, the Republican Party (the wealthiest self-interest group of the most powerful nation in the World) is undemocratic and needs them to sort it out.

        • Matthew W

          Regardless of their personal agenda, the fact is if a substantial portion of people say that they support the skypath, then if you are trying to represent the views of the community you don’t put forward a controversial view as being the voice of the community. It’s just lying.

        • JimboJones

          If only the process was more democratic! I think if all aucklanders got to vote whether sky path went ahead or not instead of asking the courts to decide it would be complete by now!
          What case do these muppets have in court anyway? That the council should never be allowed to build a cycle way in case people use it? Shouldn’t the court just throw it out instead of wasting everyone’s time?

    • V Lee

      It’s not just their name, they often claim to represent all of Northcote in submissions to council etc. This was from their submission/feedback to the Council on the Draft Unitary Plan: “The Northcote Residents Association (NRA) is an incorporated society representing the interests of residents and ratepayers in the area generally known as Northcote bounded in the north by Northcote and Ocean View Roads, the east by the Northern Motorway, the west by a line running south from the intersection of Raleigh and Ocean View Roads and in the south by the Harbour’s edge.”

    • J.R.

      At the end of the day, all associations and blogs, like this one, have a raison d’etre.

      The people involved has reasons for being there which may, or may not be made public. They may be connected to businesses or lobby groups or have partners and ties in political parties. While I appreciated reading the post by Matt L, it probably isn’t really what Joshua Arbury had in mind when he set up Transportblog. If it has evolved into postings like this, well, gravity pulls the blog down the slope.

      PS.. I personally cannot wait for the SkyPath to open and want it to be toll free, like the motorists enjoy.

      • Matthew W

        There is a difference. This blog can have whatever sinister agenda it wants in the background, but it doesn’t matter. That’s because the blog is trying to advance an argument. It is battling in the contest of ideas. It will only succeed if it can convince people of the merits of its argument. On the other hand, an association that claims to represent a large group of affected people claims validity on the basis of that representation. Hell if everyone in Northcote was against the skypath, that’s significant in and of itself and would add substantial weight to the issues they raise. The blog on the other hand isn’t saying it’s right because everyone in transportblogville agrees with them.

        • Jeff

          It actually does. The blog actively deletes or edits posts that do not conform with the narrative. That is the worst form of censorship. They should be left up and argued.

          However, it doesnt appear that all of the editors do it.

          • Matthew W

            I have spent a lot of time on this blog not conforming to the narrative, can’t remember ever having a comment deleted (although I did notice an entire post go down the memory hole once but I’m guessing that was a glitch). Anyway whatever, if a blog wants to delete comments or not even allow comments, that is their choice. It is up to readers to decide if they agree with the argument put forward. Or if they want to read it at all.

          • Stu Donovan

            Hi Jeff,

            The Editors only ever delete or edit comments which contravene our user guidelines, and only after pointing the people involved to our user guidelines. It is not about controlling the views that they express (which would be censorship), but managing the way that they are expressed. Editing is kept to a minimum and often simply seeks to remove slanderous accusations and/or offensive language (NB: Arguably we’re legally obliged to remove such content).

            It is instead more common for the editors to add notes to comments, which seeks to clarify the issues we have with the comment for the benefit of the person involved and any readers, e.g. by highlighting how the comment is in breach of our user guidelines.

            More generally, we try and facilitate a relatively civil online community, which evidence suggests requires some minimum standards of behaviour. We may not be perfect in the way that we uphold those standards, but nonetheless the objective is not to censor opinions but instead to foster informed debate. I accept that it’s a tricky balance, and that we may be imperfect, but don’t delude yourself that it’s about censorship. We simply don’t care that much if people disagree with us on transport/urban issues! We do care, however, if people come here and make personal attacks on individuals..

            We welcome feedback via email, which if you have issues that you’d like to discuss is probably your best (first) port of call.

          • Jeff

            So why were JR’s comments edited? The fact that he is nzfirst should irrelevant. There didnt seem to be any issues with the comments as i read them. You also didnt refer to the compromised guideline as to the reasoning for the edit

          • Stu Donovan

            “JR” alleged that other people/organisations have political affiliations, but did not use his real name. In this context, his own possible affiliations and motivations are not transparent. I think it’s reasonable for us to expect that ***if*** people with political affiliations are criticizing other people/organisations (with no evidence) on grounds of their supposed political affiliations, ***then*** those allegations should be made transparently, i.e. under one’s real name – rather than under the cover of anonymity.

            General message: If a person with a public profile wants to criticize the Blog and/or the organisations with which we work, then we expect them to use their real names when doing so. This is in accordance with our user guideline, specifically guidelines #2 and #8 (iv).

            Postscript: In the recent weeks we encountered another situation where Jon appeared to use a pseudonym in an questionable manner. In that case he expressed support for a transport project that he has also publicly supported. The use of a pseudonym is presumably a ruse to make it appear as if there was greater public support for this particular project than what there is. This prompted us to edit Jon’s comment to let people know that we don’t have much tolerance for this kind of shenanigans. So Jon has been warned about this stuff before, hence why we have less tolerance/patience for it.

  • luke

    another case of squeaky wheel gets the oil, there is a similar group called ‘friends of Evans bay’ in Wellington trying to stop progress.

  • Kelvin

    Same issue with some of the group that protest against unitary plan.

    For example, I wonder how representative is the Anti-apartment and terrance house group, or auckland 2040.
    They could be just a few extremists who claims they represent a lot of people.

  • Anthony

    Nothing to stop the formation of the New NRA, and giving support to skypath

  • Kelvin

    I think a group should only be legally a representative group only if they satisfy a few conditions:

    1. A member could not be rejected or dismissed as soon as their member is consistent with the group name
    2. Executive are democratically elected by all members in an open way
    3. The number of members must be at least significant
    4. Opinions from the representative must be from a democratically elected person from the group and represent the group.

  • An observation of Resident and Business Associations much focus goes on stopping change and critiquing proposals. Ideally an effective Resident Association should be able to represent a range of views from a community and prioritise them based on objective analysis. Better still RA’s should be proactively driving change through the development of fresh proposals and initiatives. The viscous behaviours I’ve witnessed I’d wonder why our Council and elected representatives bother to try and improve our suburbs.

    • Nik

      In my experience this isn’t quite true. When living in Manukau I attended a few meetings of the Manukau business association and I thought they were actually looking to improve the area and included residents like myself in the discussion, so tried to be as representative as possible.

      • Good to hear and I hope Manukau enjoy great success by getting an unfair share of the regions resources. Admittedly my own representatives St Mary’s Bay RA have turned things around and have resisted the temptation to follow the NRA and Herne Bay down the Skypath opposition long drop. Huge change from a couple of years ago when a “meeting” consisted of sitting obediently while the great unwashed were lectured to by the executive with lashings of self sacrifice and entreaties of why we should be grateful.

      • wayne

        It is good to hear that some RA work. My own experience of an RA left a very bad taste. Small membership, dominated by a very small executive. You couldn’t get anything on the agenda they didn’t approve of. You could try to raise it in general business. Most times you couldn’t get a seconder. In the end I found it more productive to email members of the local board and councilors to raise concerns about local problems.

  • Stu Donovan

    It’s clear the NRA consist of a small number of people who have formed an incorporated society to strengthen their claims to represent the views of their community, while simultaneously excluding any and all residents who don’t share their views.

    Is this legal? Yes.

    Is this ethical? Questionable.

    Is this newsworthy? Definitely.

    Matt’s post should be viewed in that light: Nothing that the NRA has done is necessarily illegal. But nor is what they’ve done particularly ethical. And (thankfully) I suspect most people consider the law to set minimum standards for behaviour, rather than set the level of our expectations. That is, we generally expect people to behave in ways that are not just legal, but also observe certain ethical norms – like accurate representation.

    That’s why Matt’s post is interesting. I think many people, e.g. Councillors and Commissioners, would be interested to know that the NRA has actively expelled members who don’t share their views. That’s not to say that the NRA legally can’t keep doing what they’re doing, but it is to say that greater public understanding of the NRA’s methods would likely undermine their claims and credibility.

  • Dave K

    I think the issue is in the name itself which implies the association relates to more than a single issue and also has the capacity to alter its position. In reality, neither is true. So instead of NRA, perhaps it should be called the ANROS, or the Association of Northcote Residents Opposed to Skypath.

  • Early Commuter

    Most (all?) residents’ associations are stupid, because they lack analytical capability.

    For example, a residents association might say “WE NEED A LIBRARY SO OUR KIDS CAN READ”. Now, wanting kids to read is good, but a library might not be the right solution. Maybe they need a mobile library service. Maybe it’d be cheaper for the council to run a free half-hour shuttle from this neighbourhood to the library in the next neighbourhood. Maybe it’d be cheaper for the council to provide extra funding to the local primary school so it can expand its library into a bigger dual use facility.

    Residents associations often (always) confuse means and ends.

    • Dan C

      Isn’t that what local boards are for? To argue the case to the large council about local residents needs? What do residents association add to this?

      • Early Commuter

        Local Boards just as bad.

        Logic goes like this
        “Too much youth crime!” “Kids have nothing to do!”
        “Let’s build a skatepark”
        build skatepark, no change
        “Maybe they need youth programmes at local community hall”
        programmes implemented, no change
        “more lighting! that classical music idea!”
        lights turned on, pavarotti on blast, no change

        What they *should* do is if they think there’s a problem with youth crime, set a target and then let the rest of Council and/or Police solve the problem

    • Mike (the longstanding one)

      EC: so many sweeping generalisations, zero evidence!

      In my experience residents’ associations are by no means stupid, but are well meaning and do a pretty good job in relation to detailed local issues. But they do suffer from the difficulty of being truly representative when faced with lack of interest and/or time on the part of those they try to represent, and their active membership tends to be older and greyer than average. It’s easy to mock (or denigrate) these people, but generally they are doing their best for what they genuinely think is best for their community.

      • The great problem is that these little organisations have no process to validate and check on how representative those involved are of the concerns of the people in the area. They are perfectly structured to attract time-rich cranks and bullies, carving out little empires to express often very particular and peculiar personal obsessions. In the example above the little emperor in question admits to expelling everyone who doesn’t agree with his particular campaign. It turns out Clarke has been on the NRA since it’s inception in 1974; he’s like one of those despot rulers who repeatedly gets ‘re-elected’ with absurdly high numbers simply because dissent is strictly controlled. He has no credibility.

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          But they also attract good people (declaration of interest: I used to be president of one), and tarring everybody with the same brush is neither fair nor realistic.

          And it takes three-quarters of a general meeting to expel someone, so an individual can’t do it without support.

          • Sure, good people are always possible, but there is no system to either help attract good people nor ensure the legitimacy of the views of those who do put themselves forward. As Dan points out above there are Local Boards that at least go through elections, however imperfect. And these associations at the very best are duplicative of Local Board functions, and at worst vehicles for the cranky and busybody.

          • I cannot resist it! Who elected you? Most of Auckland has no idea who you are. I don’t think you were elected any more than the NRA to speak for all of Auckland but then I could be mistaken.

            It is Monday morning and I am just recovering from reading a blog which in my day I should be ashamed to own. Call me old fashioned but I dislike character assassination of any kind especially from people you know at the moment cannot defend themselves. One of your last posts was not worthy of you. It was pure hate. Ten Hail Mary’s and a firm purpose of amendment is in order for that rant me thinks!

            One can have differing opinions but one at least one can be civilised. You may wish local representative organisations did not exist especially when they oppose your baby but they do to keep people in check. You are enthusiastic and passionate about cycling. You want helmets removed, you want cars removed, you want the NRA removed but some don’t. They are allowed to say so.

            I shall now refrain for any further comments. I think you should close this stream.

            This was kindly meant. Ta ta for now!

            PS. I do wish your blog had a preview so that one could correct my typos and grammar. It would help.

          • V Lee

            Janette, neither Patrick nor transport blog ever claims to be speaking for all of Auckland. In fact transportblog provides a forum for all views to be expressed even when they are opposed to the editor’s views, such as your own. In contrast, the NRA literally claims to be representing the views of all of Northcote but ensures it can exclude anyone from Northcote who holds opposing views to those of the executive. Can you really not understand the difference?

          • In an earlier comment I think I said that I agreed with you that NRA should change its name as really it does only represent the interests of the Northcote Point area. The two areas of Northcote are very different and at the moment have different needs. Although I do no belong I have seen what amazing work this association has done to save Little Shoal Bay from being sold off and built over and now the problems with SkyPath which are real I am afraid and need addressing. There are many answers and some of these should be explored together instead of unpleasant comment’s battles where nobody wins.

            I know that this association has heard and has understood and I understand that it is hoped there will be a name change very soon that reflects that it is the triangle of land that comprises of Northcote Point which the association represents. I think there is some regret that this was not done sooner but better late than never. It has fought to retain the heritage character and the result is a magical place to live and share. Without them this area would be very different. What is being said about the residents by those who live in different areas and have no idea of the distress SkyPath is causing, is very hurtful and frankly not true. Again I am prevented from elaborating but I know you will understand.

            When the NRA was set up in 1974, which is the year I came to live in NZ Northcote Point, it was a very undesirable place to live and probably slotted into to Northcote Central more easily. Sadly the amalgamation into North Shore City meant that Northcote which had a huge financial surplus was shafted and all Northcote’s savings were used on the Milford Shopping Center and resanding Milford Beach. Northcote Central was allowed to run down and very little has been spent by North Shore City which I think is a great pity. One has to thank the then Mayor Jean Sampson for this for not putting up a fight on our behalf.

            I think this is a very good outcome for everyone and now hopefully the matter can rest.

          • John

            V. Lee….. Matt said exactly that in the original post and Shard pulled him up on it…

            “……The survey results are based on 1113 (or 10%) respondents of the 11K Skypath supporters (who represent less than 0.08% of the current Auckland population), from which you conclude your analysis for the benefit of the resource consent commissioners:
            “…. these results show, more conclusively than anything else we’ve seen, that most people, most of the time, intend to use Skypath in a way that will have minor effects on parking or traffic….”

            I note that there was no response from Matt. Jannette is correct that people need to be more civilised and respect other peoples views even if they don’t agree with them.

            I also think that the editors on here should reign some of the commenters in. Whenever a post goes up that is a bit divisive the editors step back and let their loyal supporters rip into anyone without care.

          • V Lee

            No Matt never said that he was speaking for all Aucklanders either in this post or the older one that you quote is from. The post that you quote from is about a survey done by Generation zero of supporters of the Skypath. It was not written by Matt but rather it is a guest post from Generation zero. That post is also very clear and transparent about who was surveyed and therefore who’s views it reflected. It did not pretend to reflect the views of all Aucklanders. It was a survey of Skypath supporters and it is meant to be a survey of those who are likely to be the most frequent users of the Skypath, which I find reasonable. I agree that the conclusion that you have quoted is a bit overzealous but is very far from misrepresentation.

            In contrast, the NRA is happy to state things like: “The Northcote Residents Association (NRA) is an incorporated society representing the interests of residents and ratepayers in the area generally known as Northcote …” in submissions while refusing to survey those residents of Northcote who they claim to represent to determine their views. They also have rules that allow the executive to exclude people from Northcote from the organisation with no reason needed.

            Transportblog allows all kinds of views to be expressed openly. In many cases, these views (from either side) may not stack up but they can be expressed and others can challenge them. In contrast, the NRA seeks legitimacy by claiming to represent a large group while actively excluding opposing views from that group. This seems completely different to me.

      • Early Commuter

        My point above comes directly from personal experience. They ask for bus stops or libraries or parks, they don’t actually think about the problem they are trying to solve.

        E.g. in the example stated, there are multiple solutions that don’t involve building a library.

        In this case, the NRA have decided the only technical solution to an implicit goal of “no crowding in our neighbourhood” is to can Skypath. There may be dozens of alternative solutions e.g. a “surge” priced Skypath to reduce maximum demand

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          EC – your specific experience does not justify your apparent conclusion that they all behave like that. My experience is to the contrary, that there are such associations that think about the problem they’re trying to solve, and therefore negates your generalisation. I’ve come across many that aren’t like yours!

  • Wow! What a case of the pot calling the kettle black!

    I live on Northcote Point. I do not belong to the residents association and I oppose SkyPath simply because I have lived in the area for 40 years, I deal in crowd safety for most of my career and I know from the experience of living here, which most of the people who want SkyPath don’t, that the plans that SkyPath has proposed are not possible as the area under the Bridge at Northcote Point is too small for a major transport hub and really that is it!

    It is possible and possibly desirable to build SkyPath but it is not possible with the Northern terminable designed to land where it is to run it. SkyPath has been brilliantly promoted. It sounds as if all the problems have been sorted out and the only thing that is blocking it is a few Nimbys. The problem is that SkyPath is still not sure if the structure can be attached to the Bridge and yet is carrying on as if this were a minor issue and it certainly has not come up with a plan to run the 20,000 people a day that are expected to use it. Yes I know it is only 14,000 to begin but in five years 20,000 a day are expected but there is no more land available to utilise so this number has to be planned for now.

    Have any of the supporters any idea of what 20,000 a day looks like. Well it is half of Eden Park. The space under Northcote Point for the crowds that have use it is around 50 sq meters. Imagine trying to funnel 10,000 people into an entrance that is designed at the moment to be about 5 meters wide blocked by 5 turnstiles on to a gradient ramp that has two turns into a 4 meter wide caged tunnel while at the same time 10,000 people are trying to get off through the same exit on to a concourse that is about the size of a tennis court. Admittedly only 2000 will be allowed to do this at one time but the rest have to wait somewhere. SkyPath thinks this can be done with two security officers based over the other side of the Bridge looking at CCTV cameras.

    The Resource Commissioners and the Mayor and this blog thinks this is more than adequate and of course it isn’t. If those numbers turn up the only answer will be to open the Bridge via Stafford Rd to avoid a crush. This is what happened in 2009 and will happen every weekend if these numbers turn. up. Perhaps someone on this blog could explain how they are going to do this every weekend in the space available?

    SkyPath has to be paid for and The Auckland Ratepayers are going to pay for it. SkyPath has asked for a subsidy for each unsold ticket based on their official research of 2014 that is endorsed by the Mayor and the present Auckland City Council. SkyPath has been highly promoted but it is doubtful whether these enormous numbers with be reached and on the present designs can be accommodated safely. The result will possibly mean a $6,000,000+ subsidy each year!

    As I said I do not belong to any residents association but I as an Auckland Ratepayer do oppose SkyPath! Yes I live on The Point and other than never being able to exit the Onewa Rd without a wait of about an hour which can happen already in the morning rush as it is one of the 15 worst bottlenecks in NZ it will not bother me at all. There is no parking in my street anyway and The Point is already over parked over the summer. To stop traffic jams on the Point there will have to be longer exit times onto the Onewa Rd, at the moment during rush hour it is just 11 cars every 7 minutes which will delay all the other NorthShore Traffic coming from Northcote, Birkenhead and Beachhaven.

    Sadly most of this is now sub judici because it is before the courts so I expect none of the residents who are target of the very biased article will be able to respond. The Herald is very biased on this topic as Mathew Dearnaley late of this paper, is greatly in favour and demolishes the opposition by ignoring the problems. This blog to is run as a mouthpiece for a few interested people, mainly cyclists so it is not representing us all without blame itself

    The obvious answer if the cyclists can prove that 20,000 per day will cycle the Bridge daily is to give them the lanes now to do it in safety. They have Quay St and Hobson St. and a $19 million LightPath. It could be easily arranged with a few traffic cones now. Safe, easy and free. But are the numbers there? Is SkyPath going to be a $6 million a year white elephant?

    I apologise for such long copy and I expect to see this all published.

    • Early Commuter

      Hi Janette

      Surely if some of those cars bottlenecking Onewa Rd start cycling via Skypath, it will actually make it EASIER for you to drive? One of the best thing for drivers is good PT. As more people take the bus, train, or cycle, there is more space on the road for drivers!

      PS you seem to be playing both sides here. you say “20k cyclists will clog it up” then say “there won’t be 20k cyclists”. Which is it?

      PPS I live in New Lynn, take the bus to the CBD, think most of what Transportblog says is hipster bullshit, but can’t understand why you’d be against *adding* capacity i.e. Skypath isn’t reducing space for cars or buses.

      • I am 73! Where I live it is three buses a day to the ferry! There is no way I, at 73 can use SkyPath and even if I wanted to do so there is no way that I could afford to use it as I think the cost is $7 each way. I am a senior citizen who has lived on the Point for 40 years and bought when this area was unfashionable.

        Now to answer your other points.

        SkyPath and Auckland City Research 2014 on which all the official patronage figures for SkyPath were considered shows the exact usage culminating in the usage in five years time so for a Summer Weekend first year is approx 14,337 per day with 6,000 movements between noon and 3pm. I am not making this up. In five years the patronage is supposed to be up to 20,000 per day and SkyPath has requested 5,000 movements per hour. I repeat these are SkyPath’s and Auckland City Research figures not mine and they have to be taken seriously and planned for. The usage has to be as high as this to make it pay. The funding relies on a subsidy from the Auckland Ratepayers.

        Sadly the area and infrastructure under the Bridge at Northcote Point is not able to sustain these numbers. It is roughly 50 sq meters or a small tennis court. If you do not believe me make a journey and look. It is tiny and worse still there is only one small road into it for the crowds coming on and off. Nowhere to go and nowhere to queue.

        I have dealt with crowds all my life and I know the danger of crowds panic. I have had to take safety seriously all my life. If you think panic can never happen think again. It does regularly. Crowd panic, it is known as crowd stampedes which is dramatic so panic maybe a more comfortable way of describing, can happen with as few as 50 or even 30 people. SkyPath is a 4 meter wide, 1K cage with only two small egresses which are blocked by turnstiles. This is the design. I am not making this up. The turnstiles are there because they have to limit the number on the Bridge but they impede a fast exit in case of say fire or a yacht hits the Bridge, both happened last year. If you were at the middle of the Bridge and you smelt smoke and you had children with you what would you do? You would rush for the exit and so will everyone else. At the moment there is no other way off. The unattended fixed turnstiles would block the path and a crush will soon follow. Crowds are not like road transport. Crowds do what they want and usually get what they want too.

        Point 2 Research has shown that most SkyPath users want to approach by car and park nearby on the Point. That means they have to return using the turn right at Onewa Rd and because of the numbers this will not only happen in the morning rush but all day. We already experience queues of up to an hour because the lights only let out 11 cars every 7 minutes. I have sat and waited and counted and so expect long waits when returning from a walk on SkyPath if you are lucky enough to find a park. Actually as I am retired this does not bother me.

        Point 3 I am against Auckland City subsidising SkyPath because unlike the research I think that SkyPath may quickly become an enormous white elephant. With the subsidies requested based on the research figures this could work out at $6+ per year if the patronage turns out to be as poor as Lightpath and remember no one has to pay for Lightpath. How often would it get used if pedestrians had to shell out $7 each way and say regular cyclists $3 each way. This is the suggested cost for using SkyPath. I don’t want to subsidise SkyPath. I used to promote events in Auckland and I know just how difficult it is to make Aucklands part with their money. Cyclists hate paying for anything and having to pay a toll each way may not be to their liking.

        Lastly you live in New Lynn not Northcote Point. Believe me the residents who live here are not anti cycling or walking the Bridge but this plan is not fit for purpose. We live here. We know the problems. If 20,000 turn up on the first day which is what is deemed to be normal then NZTA will just have to open up the Bridge as they did in 2009 and then there were only 2000 to avoid a crush. Bikes add to the volume as well so much more room is needed. It is a puty I cannot attach the photo of 2009 which shows the problem.

        Lastly the sub judici laws prevent me from answering more freely. I am not a member of Northcote Residents Association but they will be under the same restrictions. I am an independent and concerned with the safety aspect.

        I know this is long opposition to SkyPath is never really given a chance. This blog is biased in favour as one can expect it to be and sometime bans comments like this. Today will be an exception as they do not want to be tarred with the same brush. That is Ok but it is important to hear all sides of a problem not just call people who do not agree stupid.

        I know I sound like Cassandra but at least I have given the warning and I hope will help you understand why I am so passionate about crowd safety.

        • Bryce P

          How can you say it will be a white elephant AND be concerned about 20,000 paying people using it? I’m confused.

          • John

            Because the Skypath team haven’t done a good enough job in their assessment, or at best, have not been able to promote and explain the project properly to the layman.

            1. “If” 20,000 people a day do actually descend on the point how will the local infrastructure be able to cope. I don’t think that it would be able to and Skypath hasn’t provided any realistic measures to mitigate it.

            2. The proposed figures that Skypath have come up with are a thumb suck. Yet these high figures are what have been used to build the economic business case. The very real risk is that if these numbers and the subsequent tolls don’t stack up then the council (i.e. ratepayers) are on the hook to cover the costs.

            This is a typical example of interest groups providing vague reports with varying sections of said reports not relating to each other. These issues are very real will effect all of Auckland if it doesn’t work out.

            How and why the council agreed to underwrite the costs is a rort and just goes to show how little they are aware of risk. Hopefully the current mayor and his cronies will be rinsed at the next election and somebody with some business skills will get involved.

            There is no doubt that a cyclist/pedestrian link across the bridge will be awesome but the skypath proposal is half @rsed and could be so much better if went to the east of the bridge. My take on skypath is that it is getting rammed through and once its built its the council’s problem, who cares. Skypath team will be long gone.

          • Bryce P

            My POV on what will happen? Once built, NZTA will eventually take over ownership.

    • Janette it is very hard to make any sense of your position as you claim that A. none one will use SkyPath and B. it will cause stampedes.

      Furthermore you want to stop a walking and cycling project because there are too many people driving in Auckland.

      It is hard not to conclude that in fact all of your views on this matter are entirely incoherent, factually baseless, and just plain silly.

      The only theme that seems at all intelligible is that you seem want no change, well fair enough, that is a common human urge, but unrealistic; change is a constant of all that lives.

      • Thank you for your comment! I was going to reply as I am perfectly capable of standing up for myself although not able to mention any matters that are sub judice makes life difficult so although I would love to discuss this with you I think it would be wiser not to do so at the present.

    • “It’s half of Eden Park in a death stampede!” then “actually what I just said was a complete fabrication and it’s only 2,000 people a hour”. Never let the truth get in the way of scaremongering eh?!

      • Unfortunately your question is not on topic as was pointed out to me and also this is before two courts so it would be unwise for me to comment further even if I can. I am happy to let the NZ Justice system sort this out.

    • Mike (the longstanding one)

      Clearly the resource consent commissioners haven’t agreed with you about crowding, so every statement about that issue that you present as fact is actually a personal opinion that has (so far) been rejected by the decision makers. It would be good if you acknowledged that.

      But if you read the original post carefully, it says nothing about the merits (or otherwise) of Skypath, nor about the decision-making process: it’s purely about the representativeness (or otherwise) of the relevant bodies. And (very fortunately for you!) sub judice rules don’t apply in cases like this, so there’s nothing stopping anybody (“target” or not) responding.

      But it does help if the responses are on topic – there are other places (including on this blog) to express opinions on the proposal.

      • Sadly these matters are now sub judici so it is better that I do not reply to your comment just now. The matters you raise are before the courts and thus subject to confidentiality.

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          Janette, neither sub judice nor confidentiality requirements apply to appeals to the Environment Court – anybody can say what they like. (I have personal knowledge of this through taking such an appeal.)

          • Hey, true as that may be, it’s the stated albeit completely mistaken belief of the NRA for some reason, and it’s entirely Janette’s choice if she wants to repeat it multiple times over, for some reason, as a reason not to engage with opposing viewpoints, although she is definitely obviously not in any way affiliated with the NRA at all.

            Funny old world.

          • No but I am with the SkyPath mediation process. The two sort of cross over each other so I do have to be very careful what I say. We all do. In fact the judge made this very clear to me personally. It is not that I do not want to comment but I feel I cannot at the moment. Hope this clears this up. Sorry to have to repeat myself.

    • patrick M

      What particular black hole did you pull that 20,000 users per day figure out of. According to the independent study by Angus & Associates for Auckland Council August 2013 – http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/hearings/08SkypathChrisGuenterevidence(patronage).pdf OR HERE – http://www.skypath.org.nz/the-skypath/business-case/ – the year 1 figure was 781,384 – about 2207 per day – and then will grow by year 20 to 2,136,513 or 5853 per day.

      Even your Response – see bottom of second link above – on 21 June 2104 to the business case you use the year one figure of 2142 to critique the proposal as being wildly uneconomic. So may I ask again where did you fantasise this 20,000 figure from again? Prey tell.

      Lets get back to the data. 2207 per day from the opening hours of 6 am to 10 pm is 16 hours of operation. Thats 138 users per hour split in half per direction.

      Eden Park can have between 40,000 to 45,000 fans entering and then leaving in 2 one hour blocks. Claiming this is going to be half that amount of users is bordering on hysterical and plainly horrible MATH! Or are you lying for your own agenda!

      • The figures are all taken from the SkyPath and Auckland City Research Document 2014. It is designed to confuse but the figures are there for all to read. There are two sets one for the opening years and one for five years. One has to plan for the largest number. They are designed to confuse but on a Summer Saturday for the first year it is 14,337 with 6,000 between noon and 3pm. That is 2,000 per hour! It gets larger 5 years on to over 20,00. No it is not 2207 per day for a Summer Weekend. If it was I might not be so worried. The figures are so huge as to be almost unbelievable but they are there for all to see. Just Google it.

        Eden Park has plenty of exits and entrances. I am not sure how many but Northcote Point SkyPath has ONE! I am sure of that and through it has to pass in 2,000 people per hour from noon to 3 pm on a Saturday and slightly less on a Sunday afternoon. The terminal will be about the size of a tennis court and there is one road in of about 10 meters.

        Why is pointing this out hysterical? It is 20,000 per day all going through one 2 meter entrance/exit blocked by turnstiles into a 1K long 4 meter cage and worse still traffic both ways. This is what is planned and must be managed.

        Would you or anyone in favour tell me how SkyPath is proposing to manage SkyPath at the Northcote Point end using the numbers that SkyPath has project in the research document that was the basis of their consent? Leaving it to the experts is not an answer because like it or not in this field I am the expert and I would not do this for $1 million!

        20,000 a day needs two lanes on the Harbour Bridge and it you can get 20,000 a day you deserve them. If that number turn up on the first day NZTA will have to open the Bridge for there is no way that The Point can handle safely at the moment. I await you reply as you seem to be certain that Northcote Point can handle it.

        • patrick M

          The busiest day – i.e. with multiple cruise ships visiting Auckland – is expected to peak at under 8800 users. Most of these will be the expectant tourists who will travel from the southern portal to the summit and then back. Most of these numbers are not expected anywhere near Northcote. The ‘top and back’ trips.

          8769 trips on a sunny summers day does not make 20,000 trips spread over the day – table 1 page 7 http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/hearings/08SkypathChrisGuenterevidence(patronage).pdf. This is the 2015 document. This has been further modelled to show hourly blocks of up to 1,900 trips per hour at the busiest hours of the day – 9 am to 3 pm.

          So nearly 9,000 on a peak day at the busiest time of the year would equal maybe 12 Saturdays. The way you have written your original post implies 20,000 per day every day. This is factually not true. Maybe 12 weekends of the year it may get near half of this. At the 20 year mark your numbers may come to pass, but Sea Path might be running my then and who knows, Sky path might even become redundant after the Harbour bridge it pedestrianised?

          • I am afraid I do not think it would be right to comment any further. I have been told off for not keeping on topic and I do not want to be led into matters that may be considered sub judici. I only meant to comment that this is a blog that promotes the desires of cyclists so can hardly complain about other groups and blogs doing the same. I made the mistake of answering off topic ‘needles’.

            Learned lesson will stay on top in future and so can you!

            Who are you by the way. You know my name. Would you do me the honour of giving me yours? Or do you need the anonymity?

          • V Lee

            Janette, no one is saying there is anything wrong with promoting your opinion or that other organisations do so. The problem is when organisations claim to be promoting the opinion of a certain group while actively ensuring that anyone with opposing views from that group are excluded from the organisation. The NRA does this, transportblog does not. This was clearly stated in the article: “And there’s nothing wrong with associations supporting or opposing any project or plan. The issue comes when they claim to represent a community who most within that community probably don’t even know they even exist.” and has been reiterated multiple times in the comments.

          • I agree. I do not belong to any associations as they are so easy to hijack. Anyway this is all before the courts at the moment so even if it is safe to comment I think it is wiser for all to leave it to NZ Justice which is very fair.

        • Matthew W

          The functionality of the path vis a vis crowd control isn’t a resource consent issue, that would fall under the Building Act and would be a building consent /building code issue. The current court case is about the resource consent so crowd control ain’t relevant. Perhaps talk to the Building Consent Authority if you are concerned.

      • Could not find that page by the way! I don’t think it is available to the public. Do you have access? The pdf of the SkyPath/ Auckland City Council Research Document 2014 is and are the figures I used correctly in my first SkyPath video as they are the only ones available. Other than that I am not commenting further at present.

  • Jeff T

    Anyway, when’s this Environment Court proceeding being heard? Need to get this project underway.

  • Mike (the longstanding one)

    To be accurate, clause 4.3 of the NRA constitution does not allow members to be thrown out: it allows the Executive to stop someone becoming a member (itself a bit bizarre if they’re a local resident).

    To throw someone out is much harder (as it should be), and requires a three-quarters majority at a general meeting on the recommendation of the Executive, a not uncommon way of handling disciplinary issues – see clsuse 4.4(b).

  • Wow, so many “I cannot comment” comments.

    • Greg N

      To be fair to Janette, if she is a party to the SkyPath appeal/mediation process as she said (and I have no reason to doubt her words on that).
      Then she, like others, [Auckland Council, SkyPath Trust, Bike Auckland, NRA, NPHPS etc] are all bound by the same confidentiality (‘no comment’) rules.

      So she is simply doing what the court requires of all the appeal parties.

  • Buzz

    And don’t forget the “NORTHCOTE POINT ACTION GROUP INC” of which the NRA’s Chairman, Mr Clarke was a founding member in Dec 2015. It was formed with the objectives of stopping SkyPath and AT’s Northcote Safe Cycling Route (see their constitution online @ http://www.societies.govt.nz/ ).

    I wonder if these groups are also opposed to ‘SeaPath’?

  • It is before the courts, so let them make a judgement on the evidence that has been put before them. Why don’t you lot just butt out and let natural justice prevail. You cant just manipulate the facts to suit your own agenda. safety of the public is important here and it has to be both practical and financially viable, don’t forget the rate payer, and thats you and me are responsible for this debt. Also i wish you would stop bullying Janette Miller she is a smart older lady who was once women of the Year, grow up we have a good justice system, let it judge the case on the facts.

    • Matthew W

      The post is actually about the dishonesty of residents associations, not the court case.

      • Matthew W – “The post is actually about the dishonesty of residents associations, not the court case.”

        I do see what you mean about the dishonesty of interest associations with misrepresentation. I think we should all agree that this is unacceptable

        Getting people from outside of the area or even another country to make formal submissions as if they were living in the area when they are not involved or know little about the subject and thought they were signing online petitions to help a good cause is really below the belt don’t you think? A formal submission to a registered authority is not a simple on line petition but few foreigners would know the difference.

        I mean Transport Blog would never condone that would they?

        • Matthew W

          This is a project of national significance. Its great so many people took the time to submit. Are you against free speech?

          • Northcote Central Resident

            If Skypath was such an important project, why did Barbera Cuthbert, Chairperson of Bike Auckland write ‘The SkyPath resource consent application is a stunning comprehensive series of documents. We’re not asking you to read them’?
            Do you not think it a little dishonest for Bike Auckland to urge Aucklanders to submit a quick form submission to resource consent on documents that have not been read?
            This is of course the very same Barbera Cuthbert that said publicly on radio NZ that the patronage figures would NEVER happen.

          • Stuart Donovan

            Your logic don’t make any sense.

            It’s perfectly reasonable for Barbara to say that 1) the documents are comprehensive and 2) please submit even if you don’t have time to read them. Of course the more time people have to read and understand the better, but not being able to do so does not invalidate their opinion on a project.

            And you seem to be advancing a similarly confused line of reasoning as Janette: The patronage figures are both simultaneously too high and too low. Can’t have it both ways; which is it?

          • Matthew W

            “Do you not think it a little dishonest for Bike Auckland to urge Aucklanders to submit a quick form submission to resource consent on documents that have not been read?”

            Has she misrepresented the nature of the proposed development? If it in fact isnt a shared path across the harbour and is actually a 24hr casino you might have a point.

  • Matthew W

    What is the crowd control problem associated with a stream of cyclists. FYI cyclists don’t cause parking problems. Underpriced /unmanaged parking causes parking problems.

    EDIT: this was in response to a comment that appears to have disappeared.

  • These volume ‘concerns’ are so desperate. Why don’t these catastrophising worriers just tell us what is their real problem with the project? Is it too shameful to be uttered? The intensity of fear mongering around some bike projects is so extreme it’s close to hilarious…. they might look out their window and see a person on a bike, then what; the sky falls in? It just makes no sense.

    • The 20,000 seems to have come from my original post where I said that due to the promotion I can guarantee that 20,000 will turn up on the first day! Everyone wants to be in on the first day and as it is a public thorough fare they will expect to use it. I might have underestimated.

      The official Auckland City & SkyPath patronage for the 5th year for a Summer Saturday is 14,337 with 6000 visits between noon and 3 pm. You can see an image of this page in the YouTube Is Sky Path Safe?

      I hope this clears it up.

  • All of this concern over some use projections, which of course are simply a guess, the actual demand, as is the case for all transport projects, will simply be managed in realtime as it occurs. This is surely perfectly straightforward as the route has precisely two entry/exit points that are hardly difficult to control. That these fears of too many or alternatively not enough people using the path seem to the only thing this small group can find to use to attack the project [for reasons they won’t reveal], shows just what a positive project this is, one with few if any disbenefits unlike many transport projects. This will cause no severance [in fact helps heals a very big one], no pollution or carbon emission [ditto], no congestion disbenefits [same again], no health disbenefits [again; entirely on the other side of the ledger]…. etc etc

    It is interesting that these dual claims of both ‘no one will use it’ and ‘it will cause death and injury’ are exactly the same hysterically voiced accusations against the Island Bay Cycleway by a similarly small group of vociferous opponents. And the same in fact all over the world, where for some reason, a handful of contrarians seem to become threatened by the very idea of people travelling differently to how they choose to… the psychology of this is fascinating.

    • Isn’t this comment ‘Off topic”? The subject is the deceptions used by residents associations and it seems other organisations. Perhaps you could address the SkyPath’s/Generation Zero’s method of obtaining submissions? Do you agrees with this method? It is legal but is it morally right?

      • Matthew W

        What is the moral issue you speak of? Making it easy for people to have their say?

        • Matthew W ‘What is the moral issue you speak of? Making it easy for people to have their say?’

          You know very well what I mean.

          The SkyPath/Generation Zero submission was clever but sneaky. It is legal and so is a resident’s association. SkyPath/Generation Zero is just as guilty if not more so than the name of the Northcote Residents Association which was formed in 1974 being misleading today. I believe NRA are happy to change it when they can.

          Do you think that asking people all over the world who will never come to NZ and use it and who know nothing of the problems of SkyPath is fair? Even to ask them to untick a box that limited the hou People in Seattle, Paris and Delhi would have had no idea that they were making a formal Council submission that would count. Yet you complain about the dishonesty of the NRA.

          “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

          For interest and I feel sure you will not object may I know your real name please? It is nice to know who you are chatting with.

          • Nick R

            Funny how you complain about people submitting from abroad when the biggest moaner in Northcote Point is an absentee rentier who lives in England.

          • I do not belong to any associations and I have no idea who you mean. My concerns are considered sub judici at the moment.

            But if the person owns the property I think he is entitled to submit. If a person lives say in Seattle but may one day visit NZ or may not and might like to walk the Bridge is a different question as you mean. I think a check of the submissions list would be interesting. It matters not because as things stand legally at the moment they count and were taken into consideration but it was you must admit sneaky.

            Obviously I have a different moral standard to you.

          • Matthew W

            How do you know they will never come to NZ? Where have you got this information from as to the intentions of the submitters. We are a nation of immigrants. One of the issues with the current planning process is it privileges existing residents over potential future residents. Good to even up the ledger somewhat where we can.

          • If legal cheating makes you happy you go for it! It is OK till you get found out and then you look silly.

            Anyway I think SkyPath/Generation Zero are just as guilty of misrepresentation as the NRA. If I were you I should drop this subject because on the next submission this may come back to haunt you.

            I now have to do some work. It has been an interesting weekend discovering this blog. Still don’t know your name. Courage mon brave! Put your name to your convictions. Bye for now.

          • Nick R

            I’m not talking about you Janette, no need to be so conceited.

          • I don’t think I am the one taking the moral high ground. Conceited? Oh really that is unworthy of you! If you criticise others behavior make sure that your is pretty pristine too otherwise you will get found out and this time you have. SkyPath/Generation Zero and supporters are guilty of the very behavior that they accuse the NRA of.

            Now I do not think I am actually conceited considering what I have achieved in my life. It has not been easy as being a young I was barred from job opportunities and education that was available to my male peers. They were given everything. I have had to fight and now I am happy to say my daughter can have what was denied to me. I am proud of that. It was not easy.

          • Matthew W

            “cheating”.

            could please provide some evidence to back up your accusations? What proportion of submissions were from overseas? Of those, what evidence do you have the people have no connection to New Zealand.

            When I am 73 I will look forward to using my full name – God help you all then!

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Well SkyPath and the Auckland Council has the evidence. Let’s see it and if I am wrong I shall happily apologise. I know there were many from overseas as the Council told me that there were and that they did not like it but that there was nothing they could do about it. I am happy to have a look when I have the time.

            NRA has been representing the Point for many years and is, I believe, going to have a name change to avoid any confusion,so you can be happy now. Lawn tennis has this problem too for years as originally it was for croquet but times change. Croquet is still there but the association deals mainly with tennis so I suppose the croquet players could cry misrepresentation. Generation Zero’s effort was truly gob smacking. I know these things haunt one afterwards so lets find out. I wonder how many lived within a whisper of The Bridge?

            I feel I was misled into signing what I thought was a petition but turned out to be a very formal submission and like those two gentlemen I know I was misrepresented. I didn’t want to sign I just clicked on what I thought would take me to another explanatory page but no auto fill kicked in and Bingo I was in favour of SkyPath. You can find me on the list.

          • V Lee

            Janette, I don’t understand how you can claim that the Generation zero submission form was “sneaky” or “cheating”. The form was completely transparent as to what it was for and the results were presented to the commissioners in an open and transparent way. The commissioners knew where the submissions originated and how.

            As for the submissions originating overseas, do you have evidence that there were significant numbers of submissions from disinterested parties overseas (or even significant numbers from overseas)? Just because someone lives overseas does not mean they are disinterested parties. Many New Zealanders live overseas and are planning to return. Many people overseas are planning on immigrating to Auckland or visiting as tourists. All these people have a valid interest in the Skypath. It seems very unlikely to me that many people overseas would submit on something they will never see or use.

            As for encouraging people to submit without reading the proposal in detail, it is the job of the commissioners to evaluate the proposal (together with the submissions) not the submitters. Why should you have to read and evaluate the whole proposal in order to be able to submit? The submission process is a means of gathering opinions of interested parties as to the benefits and disadvantages of the proposal. Anyone with an interest (however small) is and should be allowed and encouraged to submit their opinion. The submissions can be as detailed or as brief as the individual submitter feels it should be. I see nothing wrong with someone only understanding that the proposal is for a walking/cycling link across the harbour and submitting that they think it is a great idea and they would use it (and that it should be open for a longer period). They do not and should not need to evaluate the proposal themselves. That is the commisioners’ role. The Generation zero form demonstrated the huge benefits the Skypath would bring. This is valid information for the commissioners who’s job it is to evaluate the advantages vs disadvantages of the proposal.

          • There is a great difference between signing an online petition and a formal submission. I sign lots of petitions but SkyPath’s is the only one, other than SeaPath which has done this recently. It is as far as I can see unique.

            I signed it but accident and when I rang the Auckland Council to see if I could un submit I was told is was not possible and in fact the Council was perturbed about the number of submissions that had come from abroad but legally there was nothing they could do about it.

            It was very clever. 11,000 in favour of SkyPath even though most of them do not live in NZ let alone Auckland. Makes the NRA name problem look minor Take my hat off time but sneaky. Justifying it to yourselves must be challenging. Personally I could not do that but them I am old fashioned.

            Would be interesting to see the submissions from the online form by area and nationality, I know there was one against. Me!

          • Matthew W

            Can you provids a link that shows the majority of gen zeros submitters were offshore as you claim. I didnt realise it was that high.

          • Could you please provide some evidence to back up your claim that most of the submitters on Skypath were not from Auckland or New Zealand?

          • V Lee

            There is no deception on Generation zero’s form, look at it: http://www.generationzero.org/skypath

            It is very clearly states that it is a submission form not a online petition. There is no sneaky behaviour here but instead it was a successful means of enabling busy people to make a simple submission to say that they are in favour of the proposal. You may have been confused by it but that is not evidence that most people who filled it in were confused by it.

            Equally, being told by some identified person from the Council that there were a lot of submissions from abroad is far from proof of your accusation that “most of them do not live in NZ let alone Auckland”. If you bring up such outrageous accusations of deceptive behaviour you should at least be able to back those accusations up with solid evidence. Just saying “prove me wrong” is not enough.

  • No! The official numbers for those who Biked the Bridge that day were just 2,000 not 10,00 but it looked like 10,000. 3000 was the official overall number for the event because young children were not allowed but could bike the Bus lanes.

    • jezza

      Janette – at 8:21am yesterday you said ‘I shall now refrain for any further comments’. I count six you have made since then.

      • Yes I know. I love commenting. I have a big following in UK and YouTube and I am not going to tell you what it is either.

        I can comment ‘on topic’ on this strand but not if it strays ‘off comment’. I believe comments are good for democracy. They allow ordinary people to have a say. One may not like what the comments ‘say’ but at least one can ‘say so’. I have a YouTube that has thousands of Like comments and an equal number of Dislike comments and I am proud of all of them. I believe restricting comments as can happen here and is happening on this blog right now, is not a good idea.
        One has to stand up for one’s views and if necessary be ready to make a paradigm shift if one is wrong. I can make these. Many cannot.

        Sadly I am restricted at the moment on SkyPath and if the subject strays off topic I have to say ‘no comment’ even though I know I can demolish the argument in a moment. I find this frustrating.

        I try to remain pleasant as it make life nicer. We all have to live with each other and if ‘one wins’ one has to understand and take care of the loser. This I find is not generally understood. So this will make number 7 and it is a comment.

        PS I do wish there was a preview!

  • Mike (the longstanding one)

    Those submitters etc will have made it clear where they live, and that can be taken into account when considering their views. No way is that cheating, and such allegations just serve to weaken your case.

    An organisation claiming in its submission to be representative when that is not the case is a rather different matter.

  • I’ve only been skmming over the comments but things seem to be going around in circles. Unless there’s anything new I’m not sure there’s a lot of value in this discussion

    • Matthew W

      Janette is about to provide us with evidence that the majority of gen zero skypath submitters were from overseas.

      • No you are! Get it right. SkyPath. The Auckland City Council and Generation Zero has the submissions list. Do get it right! They have the evidence. It is like arguing with a paper bag. What is your real name by the way. I

        • V Lee

          If you don’t have the evidence yourself then you can not possibly know that it is true. In science the technical term for this is “making things up”.

          • The evidence is there in The Auckland City files! But it is legal. SkyPath did it. When I have time I shall find it. In the meantime I am tolerant but I do not appreciate being called a liar. What is your real name by the way? I don’t hide mine but you hide yours. Enough. Someone has to stop before this gets too nasty.

          • V Lee

            Janette, I’m sorry. I did not mean to intimate that you are lying but I got overzealous in refuting your accusations. I’m sure you sincerely believe what you are saying.

            I have found the evidence on where the Generation zero submitters’ are from:
            http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/hearings/SkyPath21Subs20150608.pdf

            The submissions via the Generation zero form are all listed at the end of this file, with almost all of the submitters’ addresses listed. While I have not counted exactly how many live in Auckland, merely scrolling through the list will show you that it is by far the vast majority. Very few actually live in other parts of New Zealand let alone abroad.

          • That’s OK. I have asked for the information from Auckland City too. I know we locals were disappointed that the local dairy owners petition of 2,000+ locals was counted as one while Generations Zeros was counted individually but that is how it goes. One has to accept it. I want to walk over the Bridge too. Representation is tricky. But again hats off to Generation Zero it was very effective scheme and we locals have to live with it.

            The point is everyone does their best and obviously the locals best was not as good as yours. I must stop now as I have to work. Nice to have chatted with you. When I have time I shall hunt for my name as it is there somewhere. You got me too! Bye bye over and out.

          • Thank you for your lists. Actually I found the comments fascinating and I do see why many want to cycle and walk The Bridge. More about this later.

            I did a quick count of your list, approx 320 pages with approx 20 per page gives 6,400 and yes mainly Auckland. Couldn’t find me but I expect I am there because I filled in the form but opposing in subject matter so I might have been removed. Generation Zero gave out 10,000+ and still does. I know that some editing may have had to take place but I now have the Official Submissions for the Resource Consent and they only allowed approx 3,500 submissions and only close or near Auckland like Warkworth. I know some came from abroad because I messaged them on FB and asked why they had submitted and none of these show up. I only did about 10 but they were not there! Very few of these that were against but that is not surprising as it is a good idea at first sight and submitters don’t care about little things like how does it work. I do know also that there was a fuss about Off Shore submissions so something must have happened. At that time I was not really interested in SkyPath as it really does not affect me. Only later did I realise I must do something. So officially there are only approx 3,500 submissions with the majority in favour. Phew.

            Have to do this in two parts. Really for you but only way.

          • Part 2
            Reading the submissions made me realise that my alternative to SkyPath which I only thought about when I went to the SeaPath presentation is really the only sensible answer at the moment. Two lanes on the Bridge now. Entrance by Stafford Rd and off the other end. It is so simple. Few traffic cones would do it. If one opposes something for other reasons one has to have an alternative and this would be mine. If you have the numbers go for it. You have the power. You have won on Quay St. and Nelson St. You have the LightPath. I know there would be a fuss but hey you are all used to that. Two lanes on the Bridge now would be so much better than SkyPath. It is safe, easy to do and it would be free. There is an awful lot of you and it is the answer. The central business district is now fairly empty of cars and will get more so. Two lanes removed off the Bridge would be nothing. It was done on a smaller Bridge was it in Vancouver?

            Console yourselves with the knowledge that if 20,000 turn up on the first day which they will as the whole of Auckland wants to do it or any day NZTA will be forced to open the Bridge and this is how they will do it. You can win this. Why not have a trial run for three months and see what happens?

            Instead of screaming at each other we all need to be creative to solve our problem and the problem is no room on The Point for large numbers of cyclists but there is room on the Bridge and it won’t cost Auckland anything. Sorry this is so long. However I am not too sure how many Aucklanders will give up their car lanes easily but they can do so. SkyPath is an excuse for doing nothing as it will drag on and onwhen you all could be up there now. I am too old to promote this. Might make you a film though. Only joking.

          • jezza

            An hour or go you said you had to go to bed, now it’s work!?

          • I was being ironic! It is a quotation by Samuel Pepys when the business of day has finished. I really do have real work to do.

          • Matthew W

            “I did a quick count of your list, approx 320 pages with approx 20 per page gives 6,400 and yes mainly Auckland. ”

            I have had a look also. There are about 620 pages, so consistent with Gen Zero’s total numbers. So what were you talking about saying most submitters were from offshore. Why are you just making things up that are factually wrong? This has really been a waste of time and I think you should retract your accusations made upthread.

          • If you say so that gives 12,400, however Generation Zero says 11,000 and sometimes 10,000. I have recounted the Official Figures of submissions and it is exactly 3298. So why were so many of the Generation Zero’s submission forms that went to the Council left out? Let’s be kind and take the 10,000 figure that’s 6,727 that were not counted. Why?

            I do know there was a problem with these submissions. I talked to the Council Officers about it when I tried to get my mistaken ‘support’ removed and she told me then that they had had a lot from abroad but there was nothing that could be done they would all be considered. Mine is in there somewhere. But they were not included in the official list so something happened.

            I did comment to overseas supporters at the time on the FB page that came from different countries.

            No it is not a waste of time. The topic was that the residents association misrepresent the facts but Generation Zero also misrepresents the facts too or bends the facts to get it’s way. None of us is perfect. Anyway I am much wiser for the exercise and hopefully you are too. Don’t believe the figures.

        • Frank McRae

          “really the only sensible answer at the moment. Two lanes on the Bridge now. Entrance by Stafford Rd and off the other end. It is so simple.”

          You want to reduce the traffic capacity of the bridge by 25% just so the path doesn’t have to go near your house? lol

          • That is borderline insane to suggest that NZTA would be happy to take two lanes off SH1 over the harbour bridge. Anyway, NZTA has confirmed skypath is their preferred option for walking and cycling across the harbour so its kinda moot.

          • Skypath will make no difference to me. My area is overused and over parked already. However there does seem to be an awful lot of cyclists who want to Bike the Bridge and why shouldn’t they? As you so rightly say the wealthy, time rich and entitled don’t allow any change without screaming and shouting no matter how mundane or innocuous.

  • KLK

    If numbers are too low, then the ratepayers pick up the tab. That is an issue for all of Auckland, not just Northcote, hence the wider region being entitled to submit their approval (or disapproval). And I am assuming that as this is an appeal on environmental grounds, that issue is done and dusted anyway.

    Notwithstanding that fine folk like Janette can’t have it both ways, if the issue is too much use, then then the approach should be how to manage that to the residents satisfaction, not to stop the project entirely. After all, this is surely a good problem to have and one that deals with issue #1? Residents parking permits seem the obvious, although suggesting a walking and cycling initiative would result in an influx of cars seems a little disingenuous. I expect quite a few drop-offs on the northern side, but that would only be walkers.

    What bemuses me is that this cycle/walkway will apparently make such a negative impact over and above the elevated 6 lane motorway already there…..

    • Stuart Donovan

      Well said.

      My thinking is that if the demand is higher than expected, and this is causing substantive issues for local residents, then why not simply require SkyPath to raise the toll?

      That’s actually the sort of consent condition that would be reasonably simply to apply. Monitor demands, if it exceeds some set upper bound, then require SkyPath to increase the toll. Voila.

      And the additional revenue raised could then be used to fund another walk/cycling connection to Devonport :).

  • You know, a year after Sky Path and Sea Path are built and things have settled in; everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about.

    • Stephen Davis

      In a year, no-one will remember that there was a fuss.

      In five years, the Northcote Residents’ Association will be lobbying for the council to buy it and remove the toll.

      In ten years, no-one will remember that Skypath wasn’t always there.

      In fifteen years, no-one will remember that Skypath ever had a toll.

      • Frank McRae

        Exactly. It is amazing that something as mundane as a footpath could ignite such passion. But the wealthy, time rich and entitled don’t allow any change without screaming no matter how mundane or innocuous.

        • Linz

          The comments on this post are pure gold and illustrate perfectly the point of the post about tge insanity and irrationality of the RAs and their supporters.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Nonsense, sorry – this is about just a single RA and some of its supporters. There’s no way that that can be used to draw any conclusions about any other RAs and their supporters.

          • It’s fair to say that RAs in wealthier areas are more prone to the sort of abuse evident at the Northcote one until recently at St Marys Bay too. A heady cocktail of entitlement, fear of loss of status, and crackpots with too much time seem to make these areas prone to finding little emperors like Clarke. Remember the Shore has also given the city the unique vision of Richard Burton too, he of the single storey city, while living in a three storey house!

        • Matthew W

          Surely not Richard Burton! I assumed he was a creature of the Eastern burbs.

  • Nick R, NZTA had not confirmed that SkyPath is their chosen preference when I spoke to them. Could you give me the date that this happened please. NZTA told me that SkyPath was not their chosen preference so when did this change? You obviously know.

    • Nick R

      Three citations for their support, the first from 2013.

      “NZTA used to oppose SkyPath too, but now endorses it. The government transport funding agency says it will save the $25 million in taxpayer money that would have been required for its earlier plan to extend the eastern clip-on for cyclist and pedestrian use.”
      http://www.metromag.co.nz/current-affairs/skypath-the-path-of-most-resistance

      “NZTA are supporting it and it doesn’t make sense for them to issue the licence-to-occupy until we’ve got council consent and can then finalise operational detail.”
      http://m.nzherald.co.nz/transport/news/article.cfm?c_id=97&objectid=11614144

      And this from a few years ago:
      http://www.skypath.org.nz/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/130410_Stephen-Town-KLB.pdf

      • Thank you for your links. The first is pre-Resource Consent Hearing 2013 so is out of date.
        The second link that Mr. Woodward who is saying that it makes sense for NZTA to support SkyPath. However the article continues:
        “NZTA classifies SkyPath’s status as an “investigation”, and confirmed it is still some way off making a decision on whether to allow it to go ahead”.
        The third as you put it “is a few year’s ago!”.

        After the hearing Resource Hearing I was invited to meet with the NZTA by the Minister which I did. This meeting in the middle last year was not in confidence and I was told that I could relate anything that went on at that meeting. The first thing I was told was that the NZTA have an obligation to supply cycle and pedestrian traffic but it was pointed out that SkyPath was not their first priority.

    • Greg N

      NZTA Engineers confirmed at the SkyPath Consent Hearings last year – in sworn evidence presented to the commissioners, that Skypath *is* the NZTAs preferred option to add walking and cycling to across the harbour using the existing AHB eastern clipon to do so. So whatever you or the minister may have heard or were told, the sworn evidence says it is.

      You can google up the rest of the evidence, its all public.

      I know this evidence as it came right after my evidence, and I sat and listened to all the NZTA evidence in which they presented sworn evidence from about 6 different engineers on various aspects of the AHB maintenance,
      on wide ranging topics such as [but not limited to]:

      Preferred walking/cycling option [Skypath]

      AHB and clipons lifespan [infinite from now on the engineers said if maintained as it is now],

      Load bearing capacity [Eastern side clipons is the only part with capacity for the Skypath or any pedestrian/walking facility because the bulk of the heavy trucks using that clipon are typically empty/returning to POAL for another container, so there is capacity to add Skypath to the bridge, but only on the eastern side.

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