Tuesday, February 19, 2013


In an era when nearly all significant developments relating to road use are subjected to increasing, often costly and frustrating delays, the legislative "net" sometimes ignores it or avoids interference.

The diversion of "cruise boats" to Akaroa is one such case.

Following the severe damage to port infrastructure at Lyttleton from seismic events, upwards of one hundred such diversions have occurred this summer.

Anyone with a slight involvement in a change of use connected to access or use of a State Highway or even minor secondary roads with minimal traffic flows, will have come up against the pedantic and often unnecessary requirements for a "traffic management" plan that can be so onerous and or expensive as to cause abandonment of what might have been  a laudable activity.

So say 90 cruise boat movements involving say 2000 passengers average, employing the rule of thumb that 1/3 stay aboard, 1/3 stroll around Akaroa and the final 1/3 take a tour, that results in around 16 'A' class coaches on SH 75 four times a day or 64 "movements". This on a Highway that is only marginally substandard to Little River but then is a challenging narrow and demanding bit of road to Akaroa. Add in an upsurge of traffic involved in the rebuild along with the 'normal' flows, a significant alteration to safety and congestion is apparent.

Had an entrepreneur proposed such a significant additional activity for the summer season I wonder what Transit NZ's reaction would have been, considerable I suspect, but with the demon god "Tourism inc" involved there has been very little interest shown by those charged with maintaining and monitoring our link to the world that for much of its length has no viable alternative options for detour.

I have on three occasions been involved in extreme danger from coaches (where do the drivers get a licence? from the back of a weetbix packet) crossing the centerline, encroaching into 1/2 of my lane with a bank on my left leaving centimeters of tolerance and a forth incident when one of the monoliths scooping up money here in paradise, ran a giveway causing a violent braking maneuver from me to avoid a 't bone'.

I am a sporadic user of SH 75 with my sometimes extended times away and a natural inclination to hunker down when the madness descends, the potential for a disaster looms large in my mind with my association with ER activity and it seems a case of 'when' and not 'if'  potential.

Question: was there any inquiry as to traffic involvement in the ramifications of diverting the large volumes of additional tourists  to Akaroa.

Oh as a relevant point, during a canvas of our village yesterday on a charity matter, an impression formed that the "boats" are creating extra business for a few but a vacuum has been created on non boat days with what could be best described as avoidance by the traditional 'visitor'  due to the perceived chaos caused by the "visits from the sea".

Any notion of a widespread advantage to our town are seriously exaggerated to an increasingly concerned number among us including some significant players in the local business community.
The big winners are the shipping companies and inland tourist activities who have scant regard for the effects that the steam roller approach is having  on many who chose to live in paradise.


Tinman said...

"The big winners are the shipping companies"?

How the hell do you figure that?

The big winners are the people of Akaroa businesses who are raking in $$$ like it's going out of fashion, not just from the boat people but from those locals who now have have considerably extra cash to spend in, among other places, Akaroa.

That a few malcontents who no doubt have been found wanting when it comes to providing services are unhappy surprises no one, those who fail to provide acceptable service due to having a captive audience will always be unhappy when donations stop.

You complaint re drivers and driving is correct but certainly not limited to the NZ tax-payer and CHCH rate-payer funded roads of the Banks Peninsula.

The standard of driving in NZ is appalling at best including many professional drivers. Your complaint should be addressed to those who sit on their fat asses trying to catch some poor bastard going 1kph over the arbitrary allowance limit and their pathetic bosses rather than the boat people and their conveyors.

In conclusion I, my bank manager and many, many others will be more than happy when the cruise boats no longer venture into Akaroa and would appreciate it if you stopped your selfish moaning and whingeing.

Try instead smiling and waving while working out a way to cash in to those CHCH's disaster has sent your way, pockets loaded.

You and your wallet will feel better for it.

gravedodger said...

Tinman you and I are never going to agree on this and you are welcome to express your views but after a significant information gathering exercise during yesterdays canvass, your take on business advantage is either ill-informed or you have fallen for the meme that "it must be good for Akaroa".
I am not whinging, just observing and commenting. Come over some day, we could have a cup of coffee and I will show you some evidence especially on a non boat day. The town is remarkably similar to early winter / early spring vis a vis tourist numbers on non boat days. Then there is the almost devastating drop in B&B activity. Your info is contrary to what my business associates are saying.
I accept we were lucky in that no one died in the siesmic events but with the closure of the Boat club building,the Coronation library, the Gaiety Theatre, Duvauchelle Hall, the old Post Office service center/ information office,the Museum complex and the local Hospital, many services and facilities are lost for many of us with little prospect of reinstatement to bring hope in the near future.

But thanks for the comment and cheers.

Marc said...

I confess to being reluctant to being a visitor to Akaroa at present, as there is little information available to us in Christchurch as to when one (or even 2) of these cruise ships are in port. I have no desire to be caught up in a scrum for lunch with hundreds of cruise passengers in such a small village as Akaroa. Are you listening Chch Press? Including this information in the daily shipping notices would be very useful to your readers and the visitors to peninsula townships. Surely some harbormaster somewhere has advance information regarding these ship visits.

gravedodger said...

Hi Mark
Thu 21 x 2
fri 21 x 1
sat 23 x1
tue 26 x2
wed 27 x 1
fri 1 x1
mon 4 x2
tue 5 x1
wed 6 x 1
mon 11 x 1
tue 12 x 2
thurs 14 x1 Queen Mary2
fri 15 x 1
wed 20 x 1
fri 22 x 1 sun 24 x 2
sun 24 x 2
mon 25 x 1

thu 4 x 1
fri 5 x 1

from Saturday 6th we get our town back.

Marc said...

Hi GD,

Cheers for that - can you please become chief reporter for the Press! I hope to be in your hidden gem of a village in the first w/e in March now.

Cheers, Marc (not Mark! I spend my whole life on this quest :) )

Tinman said...

GD, I was in Akaroa two Sundays ago, I've seen how many people were wandering around, spending money at all the restaurants and bars.

I have, over the years brought several groups across to Akaroa (I had a good friend who ran two restaurants there over the years) and one thing has stood out in the town (my friend excepted, of course), that being the abysmal service provided by many of the local businesses.

The attitude once leaving the Hilltop has been one of "Well, they came all the way here, why bother serving them when they'll spend anyway".

While there might be the odd Cantabrian put off by the crowds the fact that cruise boats are in port will not deter tourists.

I suggest that problem is caused by there being no accommodation in ChCh, therefore no tourists staying in the area to come over the hill.

Of course Akaroa's reputation for service (or lack there-of) may be catching up with it.