McMadness Continues


The madness over Party central tonight continues with the Government moving fast to seize control of Auckland’s waterfront before this coming weekend’s Rugby World Cup festivities there which include a Che Fu performance.

This is despite the Auckland Council CEO Doug McKay insisting at this afternoon’s special Council committee meeting that Auckland Cuncil retained control, was itself planning to close Quay St this weekend for which it did not need the Government’s permission and that the media description of the Government seizing control was not accurate.

The Ministry of Economic Development today lodged an urgent application to extend the Queens Wharf fanzone, festival and showcase event area to cover neighbouring Captain Cook Wharf to the immediate east of Queens and to close Quay St.

It gave the public only until 6pm tonight to make a submission and there will be a hearing of any tomorrow afternoon in Auckland.

Captain Cook Wharf is a commercial wharf operated by Ports of Auckland Ltd. It’s currently used for the temporary storage of imported vehicles. The wharf is approximately two-thirds as long as Queens Wharf (270 metres) and has an area of some 19,000m2

The Government says the Ports has consented to the use of Captain Cook Wharf.

Captain Cook viewed from Party Central, Queens

The application was submitted to the Rugby World Cup Authority to be approved under Part 4 of the Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Act 2010.

The Government insists it has taken over management of the Auckland waterfront for the remainder of the RWC. It says the extension will accommodate more fans, provide a safer environment and avoid the problems of the crowds outside interfering with the running of the ferry services.

The Prime Minister John Key, answering questions in Parliament this afternoon said that the legislation, and the use of the Government’s place in that legislation, is required in order to get those consents in a time frame that would allow Captain Cook Wharf to be used as a back-up facility by Friday night.

“The Government has taken, I believe, the appropriate steps to ensure that it is in a better place. In terms of the environment on Queen’s Wharf, it operated very effectively on Friday night. That was the bit that did work well, because it was a controlled environment where there was access. It was co-managed by the Government.
“I would say that what was demonstrated on Friday night was a situation where an enormous number of people went down to the waterfront or attempted to use Auckland transport, and, at some point, for some people, that failed. It is unacceptable, and it has to be fixed.”

The application even covers the question of portable toilets, after complaints the 200- odd downtown last Friday were inadequate.

It says its plans include installing temporary public toilet facilities along the closed area of Quay Street to ensure that the needs of any assembled crowd can be catered for.

It is proposed that a number of temporary structures (including viewing screens, food and beverage kiosks, toilet facilities and temporary fencing) will be provided within this area to provide appropriate amenities for crowds in the event that the area is required.

These will be generally be mobile structures, rather than fixed to the wharf and will generally be less than 8 metres high. The Applicant may also locate a small stage facility on the wharf to allow the Queens Wharf music programme to be fully integrated into an offering on Captain Cook Wharf. The stage would have a maximum height of no more than 12 metres.

Access between Captain Cook Wharf and Queens Wharf will be via Quay Street rather than the breastwork area which is currently occupied by the Queens Wharf services enclosure and the temporary NZ Police facilities. Quay Street will also provide the space within which the applicant can manage queuing and the egress of patrons from the site.

The application goes on: “Public access effects are considered to be addressed in a positive sense, in that provision for a further area for the visiting public would enable crowds to be dispersed along Quay Street thereby avoiding the creation of queues directly outside Queens Wharf.

“The temporary access to the wharf also facilitates a higher level of public access along the waterfront environs of the central city. It is also proposed that Captain Cook wharf would only be activated at the same time as the closure of Quay Street. This measure enhances the ability to provide safe and secure access to and egress from the site.”

Quay St and around Party central was nuts

The Council argued it would be the one closing Quay St. But the Government application covers its plans to do this saying the closure of Quay Street is the subject of a separate approval process that is being dealt with by Auckland Transport.

The plan is to close Quay Street from the intersection of Lower Albert Street to the intersection with Britomart Place, and possibly as far east as Tinley Street.
This road closure will be accompanied by traffic management safety treatments and both fixed and variable signage designed to direct both vehicles and pedestrians.

As Quay St filled up people got up high

At today’s Council Accountability Committee meeting, which considered reports on Friday’s failure and moves to make improvements, Mayor Len Brown, saying he was practising calm, did not want the Rugby World Cup turning into political football.

Sorry, Mayor. It’s too late.

The post-mortem into Friday and changes to be made.




  1. Nick says:

    “In terms of the environment on Queen’s Wharf, it operated very effectively on Friday night.” -Government fail

    Queen’s wharf was so effective it blocked all ferries from coming into the city, and almost crushed a few thousand people. When does the army move in for this weekend’s festivities?

  2. Cam says:

    Ok can we please,please just let this go now and move on? I can’t be the only one who’s bored with it?

  3. San Luca says:

    They do realise less people are going to turn up this weekend right?

  4. GJA says:

    San Luca you are far too logical. A word that does not exist at government AND council level.

    How is it that we had years to plan for this and it failed? It will be interesting to see how it goes going forward and if these short term plans work better than the plans that were formed over months and months.

  5. Ben says:

    Good question, when does the army come in because hell they were needed Friday night down there.

    Now then I have had my whinge else where for the last 5 days, it is time to go back to my naturally optimistic self and say BRING ON SATURDAY and HELLO RWC FANS (won’t place a wager on who will win ;) ) .

    Note to self and blog, if it goes to utter crap on Saturday I am going on holiday til the end of the RWC!!!

  6. Ingolfson says:

    “Good question, when does the army come in because hell they were needed Friday night down there.”

    What an overblown comment. The army? What for? Maybe you should go to some overseas countries that DO call in the army when they get big crowds. It usually ends up with dozens of deaths.

    Friday was no “meltdown”, it was a bloody TRAFFIC JAM. Auckland should be used to traffic jams, but instead everyone’s running around like headless chickens, when they aren’t blaming each other.


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