October 28, 2005

An island in foment

Things are afoot on our little rock in the Pacific Ocean.
The natives are stirring against the powers-that-be in the Babylon city 17 kilometres to the west.
The City Council bought a piece of land - currently the car park for all commuters who take the ferry daily into town - from private developers for the incredible sum of $12 million. This was not an open market price or transaction but city ratepayers, including us islanders, and island commuters will have to foot that endless bill, since the Council has not set an end date for paying off the purchase amount, by way of car parking charges, which come into force on November 1 ("Fee Day").
Also, from Sunday, all bus fares in Auckland City are going up by about 10%, which in New Zealand is standard policy when they try to entice more people to use public transport.
On top of that, petrol prices have been going down lately but that reprieve is surely only temporal.
And ferry prices can't be far behind, even though they went up from $245 to $260 only in August.
So in all a fair whack to your island hip pocket - but never mind, only rich people live here.

UPDATE: Two days into the car parking charging and there are FUG (Ferry Users Group) pickets every morning dissuading would-be parkers. Result: the car park is more than half empty. Will this mean doubling the charges soon to "protect the revenue"?
Good newspaper reporting here.

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