Posts tagged ‘privatization’

By all means, enforce parking, but it’s not a licence to write fiction


Today was a good reminder why we cannot trust a foreign company to look after our parking, and why things need to be brought back under council control.
   Parking enforcement is not about profit. Karen was unduly issued with a parking ticket in a P5 space after hours. And I received one today. You can figure out what the allegation was in my response to the WCC’s Parking Enforcement department.

Wellington, October 7, 2010

Parking Enforcement
Wellington City Council
PO Box 24-344
Manners Street
New Zealand

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Re. Infringement notice 84836907 for registration FJJ336, BMW 330d, issued the 7th inst. at 2.33 p.m.

I refer to the above infringement notice, which alleges I was parked at Kelburn Parade from 10.19 a.m. to 2.33 p.m. today.
   This is a great work of fiction.
   I enclose an excerpt of my email outbox, marked (1). Our office works on GMT, which is 13 hours behind New Zealand daylight time. This shows that I was still in my office in Rongotai at 10.30 a.m.
   I also enclose a screen shot of my Twitter account, marked (2). These Tweets were sent from my office, and shows that I was still at my office ‘4 hours ago’. This screen shot was taken at 3 p.m., i.e. I was still in Rongotai at 11 a.m. Indeed, one of the Tweets refers to my arriving at Victoria University at 11.40 a.m.
   In fact, I did not arrive at Victoria University till noon, after which I sent another message which appears on my Facebook (‘3 hours ago’). A screen shot of that is also attached, marked (3).
   I have one witness at Scots College who can confirm that I was at their reception at 11.40 a.m. I could not possibly have arrived in Kelburn till 11.55 a.m. at the earliest.
   I have two witnesses who can confirm that at 1.45 p.m. I left them to move my car as my two-hour slot was approaching an end.
   From 12 to 1.45 p.m. today I was parked at the last (bottom) car park on the eastern side of Kelburn Parade. A woman in a dark grey 1990 BMW 5-series vacated that spot.
   From 1.45 p.m., I drove around Kelburn Parade looking for a new parking.
   From 1.50 to 2.40 p.m. I was parked at the position referred to in your notice, at around 12 m north of one P120 sign, after a motorist in a white 1985 Honda Civic hatchback vacated that spot.
   In fact, your enforcement officer (I presume the same one, no. 188, who issued this notice) saw me just after 1.50 p.m. I walked past him as he was issuing a notice to a car (it may have been a brown 1992 Nissan Sentra five-door—I did not intentionally register this) parked in a P5 space outside Victoria University. Your own records will confirm this and his whereabouts. I made a comment to him about how lucky I was to have moved my car in time …
   I believe, therefore, that the ticket has been issued due to an innocent error …

   The last paragraph is my being nice. Remember, the officer is innocent till proved guilty, and that judgement is not for me to make.
   But to outright lie on a ticket to say I had been there when I could not possibly have been—that’s one problem we have with parking in Wellington today.
   It undermines the actual good work done by many wardens who are there to honestly and fairly enforce the law.
   Maybe the culture of Dennis Kozlowski still remains with some Tyco employees.
   What if I never Tweeted? Or had no witnesses? Or never saw the parking warden? Or could provide circumstantial evidence? It’d be my word against his. And that’s not a good deal for the ratepayer.
   If you can’t deal with the city’s debt, then rob from the people. Not the most creative way—but again, a reactive way.

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Thoughts toward 2020


This weekend was spent in recovery mode after getting some weird stomach bug before Anzac Day. Without getting too gross, let’s say it took a lot out of me. That’s right: I was energetically drained.
   But it’s not to say that the campaign has stopped or slowed. Things seem to be proceeding at a good pace—sometimes so well that I have to admit I have less time to blog.
   I met with both a Mr Andrew Jackson and a Mr Calhoun in the last two weeks, which I am sure our American readers will be getting a chuckle over. While the Andrew Jackson I met is British-born and not related to the American president of the $20 banknote, Brian Calhoun of Silverstripe is directly descended from the seventh vice-president.
   Both gentlemen shared the same visions as I did. Andrew, who was introduced to me via my fellow Medinge director Patrick Harris, looks at the Wellington region over the next 10–20 years in his job with the Ministry of Economic Development. While I stated that I did not believe in a super-city for Wellington in 2010—we are governable, after all—I had to admit that there would come a time where the capital would have to compete for resources from central government as a region. And that region might look very different in the 2020s with a second international airport and a light rail service. If elected mayor, it’s not going to be something that will be built between 2010 and 2013, but I’d sure need to be aware of long-term developments for the region. (It also highlights the need to grow jobs under the creative cluster plans, so we can begin talking options.)
   On that note, it would be prudent to recommence the regional mayoral meetings in a slimmer form. Right now, mayors from all over the Wellington region come with entourages, ensuring nothing gets done. Let’s take that back to meeting with mayors and regional MPs without all the red tape and get some high-level agreements made after October 2010.
   Meanwhile, Brian presides over one of the most successful software companies in the land—and I like Silverstripe’s current mantra, ‘Be more human’. It links to my own ideas that humans are in charge of technology and not vice versa. And Silverstripe, under his leadership, has done remarkably with annual growth rates of 63, 70 and 57 per cent.
   His belief is that Wellington businesses can grow if they have the right advice and adopt a leadership posture to what they do. It’s a good cultural argument: let the brand be well defined, and live the right attitude within the organization (these are not Brian’s words, but what I took from what he said). I remarked that that was largely how I got my own businesses to where they were.
   But here’s something significant: Brian, as I, believes that Wellington can be one of the world’s leading cities. We can lead in terms of web, tech and software development, for starters, being the sort of place that attracts both talent and envy. We’ve both been around the world, we’re aware of what ingredients need to be in place to make this happen, and we’re certain on the steps we need to take to make some of Wellington’s businesses world-class champions.
   I’d rather have free wifi in the central city and a vibrant creative cluster than another sculpture (as much as I like the ones we have) or another stadium suffering from a NZ$20 million cost overrun. And I know we can build these businesses from the ground-up and keep them Kiwi-owned—rather than asset-strip and have foreigners snatch them up, which still seems to dominate the thinking of central government.
   Speaking of which, I see that a bill amending the Local Government Act 2002 has been tabled. And that bill says that if a private corporation wants to control our water, it can do so for 35 years. That company set up to sell our water back to us no longer needs to be majority council-owned.
   This is madness. Not only have we owned our water from day one, it is anathema to my thinking that some foreign corporation raking in US$50 billion per annum could control it. These corporations exist, and you can bet they are eyeing New Zealand up lustfully in the hope that the law is changed.
   Better to have water stay in public hands and have all of us contribute to proper conservation programmes, I say. But, say the privateers, surely we can charge for water? ‘What? The poor can’t afford it? It’s not as though they need to wash every day, is it?’
   The ghosts of Slater Walker and their ilk still walk the hallways at some political parties’ HQs. And they still think they are in charge.

Incidentally, I seem to be getting decent (and by ‘decent’ I mean ‘fair and balanced’) air time on the radio airwaves. So far I’ve done Newstalk ZB a couple of times, as well as their competition over at Radio Live. Laura Daly at Access Radio did a wonderful interview with me earlier in April (I will be back on that station with my opponent Celia Wade-Brown in Espace Français on May 15 in my first political interview in French). Radio New Zealand National, meanwhile, interviewed me a few times during the whole Wellywood saga, but I am glad that I had a more personal one-on-one with Sonia Yee during her Asian Report last week. Here’s the link to the programme for those who might want a slightly less political broadcast (the MP3 is here).

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