Friday, December 9, 2016

Janette Miller/Heffernan Wikipedia BBC 100 women

BBC 100 Women 2016 : Season ends with record breaking Wikipedia edit.

"It is one of the worlds most popular websites. A source of information on  many things but there is one area where Wikipedia - the online encyclopaedia - is severely lacking. This is articles about and by women. This is something the organisation is trying to tackle and today they have teamed up with the 100 women season to do something about it. Nuala MacGovern has spent the day at a very special event." BBC World Service Radio
Women through the centuries have been airbrushed out of history and it is still happening today. Sadly only 17% of Wikipedia's articles are about women and only 15% are edited by women and today the BBC set out to reverse this. I am one of the 15%. I am fortunate I can edit because I have a coding background as I used Dreamweaver and now Adobe Muse but that was in the early days when one could have a go.

Technically it is supposed to be easier in 2016 using Visual Editor and I had a try. I still do not find it any easier and I am good with computers. The video training is not up to standard

Today all Wiki articles need published references and for many amazing  women these are hard to come by. I should love to have my own Wiki page but sadly I have no one who will take the time and effort to put it up for me and being a woman I don't cheat and put it up for myself. You are not supposed to put up Wiki pages about yourself so how do all these men get one? So I have done the next best thing I have put a Wiki style bio on my blog and that will have to do until one day someone does it for me. I can supply refs and citations for everything and all can be checked but it will take hours.

Once I did get an offer but sadly it never materialised. May be if I send him this and ask nicely he may relent and upload it for me.

I have been lucky. I have really solid references because being an artist I get written about in newspapers but thanks to the fact that I can edit Wiki I got the most respectable reference one could have on an International DVD,  and it is such a strange tale it is worth telling.

I use Wiki a lot and I was researching a one of Britain's foremost documentary producers Tony Palmer. Palmer has a list of productions and awards that take one's breath away. It was all there on his Wiki Page but no references or citations. In the early days these were not essential. Palmer does not need references as everyone knows who he is but there on the page was a huge warning saying that unless references were supplied and proof that Palmer was notable and worthy of inclusion on Wiki this page would be taken down within days.

I did not know Palmer. I live in New Zealand but I thought this was so unfair and I wondered if Palmer knew. I felt I had to warn him because it was so unjust. With great difficulty I found his email and got in touch with him and he rang me up to say thank you. As one is not allowed to put up one's own page or edit it he was stuck. He had no idea where the page had come from but obviously did not want it taken down.  Timidly I asked would he like me to try and see if I could put up a few refs. I had no idea how to do this but I could have a go.

Somehow I managed it. It was not easy and I only managed one or two. I also had to deal with an editor who obviously had a grudge against Palmer which was not pleasant. You can see it. Only three refs.It was enough and the page is still there! Really everything else on the page was enough but rules is rules, as they say but today Wiki wants citations for nearly every word.

Palmer was so grateful. He only knew me as an unknown woman from Auckland NZ. I remember he rang and said "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" He said he was going to send me some of his DVDs as a present. He did. He knew I liked opera and ballet. Imagine my surprise when I found myself in one of them on Benjamin Britten. I knew Britten well and so did Palmer. In fact I think Tony Palmer knew Britten as well as anyone. His Britten DVD of Death in Venice is definitive.

Years later in 2013 Tony Palmer featured me in his centenary film on Britten. I felt so honoured. If it had not been for my edit on Wiki we should never have known each other. I also got to feature in The London Times and asked to contribute to The Britten's Centenary Collection, my essay just after that of Alan Bennett! It was edited by Hannah Nepal.

I still await a Wiki page. I think I deserve one even for being  Auckland's Plunket Woman of the Year 1981/2 for services to the Arts. ref NZ Herald Now that is an honour but like most women I won't get one which is a pity. It is because of the fight that I and my sisters put up that women are better off now than they were in my day. Not equal yet but getting there. Wiki should change its  policy and let people like me post a Page with as many refs as possible that can be verified to encourage other young women to have a go.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Janette Miller's Xmas Cake Best Ever Recipe

Janette Miller - Xmas Cake  Secret Recipe

This recipe was given to me a long time ago in the 1980s by an old friend. I found out later that she had made it up with food she had had in her larder and had no idea what she had done! It was magic then and magic now. My friends and family think it is the best ever and it is truly delicious but takes an age to make. So I thought this year I would share the recipe with you and what is more the best way to make it. For Xmas it takes 4 days and I cook it in last weekend in October. It takes about 8 weeks to age and feed with a little brandy. ( seriously not too much as if you over do the brandy it ruins the lovely flavours.)

Day 1 Buying and collecting Ingredients

(maybe 2, 3 or 4 days if ingredients hard to find. Last year no almond essence, not even for ready money!)


  • 375g Raisons
  • 375g Currants
  • 400g Sultanas
  • 100g Figs finely chopped (Absolute must)
  • 300g Cherries glace real (2pkts)
  • 150g Peel
  • 150g Ground almonds
  • 150g Almond slices (for crunch)
  • 250g Dark brown sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 250g flour, plain or self raising
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt, cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, allspice,  grated nutmeg 
  • 2 dps Treacle (must for colour)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla and almond essence (go easy on this) grated orange peel and juice
  • Grated lemon peel and juice to one cup
  • Grated orange peel and juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 5 large eggs.
  • A good square Xmas Cake tine 9 inches, 20 cm

Try to buy real glace cherries but if stuck and you have to use red gelatine blobs for colour give them a good wash. I do not use angelica or the green blobs!

I find cooked walnuts make cakes bitter so do not add to cake. You can decorate with them though. I add sliced almonds for crunch.

2nd Day - Preparation

Prepare to soak all the fruits, peel, figs, glace cherries in the brandy and sherry and leave to soak overnight. I wash my fruit but I suppose the brandy would kill off any nasties. Do not bother soaking the currants as they don't soak.  I wash  these. Waste of effort! I prepare the baking tin brown and non stick baking papers and line the tin box with foil and grease proof paper and I get out all the packets of ingredients. I write a list so I can check them off as it is easy to forget something. Before I begin baking I add everything that is wet, like lemon and orange juice, currants, almonds, treacle,essence, coffee etc.

I leave the butter out over night too to soften. If you forget this give a very quick 10 sec micro wave when it is cut into pieces, no more. Overnight softening makes life easier.

Day 3 Cooking and baking 

First I was my hands really well and I get out all of the utensils that I think I might need. I shall forget some but having most of what I need to hand helps as this is a massive job. 

I paste inside the tin with melted butter and stick the baking papers to it. Then I give a good melted buttering to the inside. I take care over this as it protects the cake from burning when cooking.

I use the Delia Smith method and take ages over the creaming of sugar and butter. See YouTube. down below. I am very careful about adding the 5 beaten eggs. This can take many minutes, 20 in fact as you do not want the mixture to curdle.  I do it desert spoon at a time, little and beat in well. If it does it does not matter but cake won't rise as much.You can add a little flour to try and get it together but I don't find this helps. If you are brave you can use very dark Demerara sugar in NZ it is Billingtons but this is harder to use than soft dark brown sugar as it is gritty. Makes a wonderful cake though.

Then when all is mixed and sort of fluffy fold in flour, and I mean fold with figure of 8 gently all the dry goods, salt, ground almonds, spices and anything that you have forgotten. This is hard work if you do not have a big chef machine. (coffee?)

When all dry goods are in add the fruits. I have to do this in two batches as my bowl is not big enough. I do this with my hand mixer but it does not take long. Then into baking tin. Mine is 9 ins 20 cm I think. All the mixture goes in surprisingly.

Then place brown paper on outside held with string and into oven at 140c. For me with a Bosch oven it is on the lowest shelf but for other ovens one shelf below centre.

I  pre-heat my oven  but ovens go down to zero when a cold dish is inserted so you could start from cold I suppose. I do sprinkle a little water on top and place 2 folds of baking paper lightly on the top with a hole in the middle.

Now here is the spooky bit. For a nine inch tin bake at 140c for 4.5 hours and do not, repeat do NOT be tempted to open the oven door until 4 hours is up. Then you may. Your cake may be cooked. You can see I have an oven thermometer for accuracy but the Bosch oven is absolutely accurate so I ned not have bothered. This timing is for Bake NOT Fan bake. I don't like fan bake as I find it dries my cakes up. 

I won't patronise you by telling you how to check but if the pin does not come clean just keep on testing every 10 minutes till it does. Mine was cooked at 4 hours but I gave it a bit longer.

During this time you can wash up. The washing up is colossal and will take 4.5 hours even with a dishwasher.

4.5 hours later and here it is! Wow what a smell. Leave in tin till cold.

This one rose beautifully!

When cold wrap in grease proof paper and foil and put away for a month in a cool place. Not the fridge!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

SkyPath & Auckland Councils Win in Environment Court

Northcote Point lost its appeal against SkyPath in the Environment Court.  Judge Newhook indicated that conscent would be granted and that SkyPath can go ahead without virtually any restrictions to begin a few may be granted later if the effects on the Point are unacceptable.

It was greeted by those in court in a very somber and restrained fashion especially by the victors for perhaps everyone  realised that the Northcote residents have been the subject of much abuse and  downright bullying especially by media, cyclists and council and they now have to live with this decision. It is a bitter outcome for a supposedly heritage area and does not inspire confidence for heritage protection in the future. The judge said that there will be change! whereas the Team SkyPath say the effects will be minimal. Who is right? The judge has allowed SkyPath to be built first and then find out how to manage it after it is open. He is  courageous!

Hooded  down trodden green cyclist attacked by a Northcote Point NIMBY.
The faces were obscured to avoid recognition while these two cyclists harassed theatre goers
The cinema manger is asking them to cease and desist!

The case did not start well for  Northcote Heritage. The Environment Court Judge Newhook began the proceedings by beaming warmly at the expensive Council funded Team Sky lawyer and publicly congratulated Daniel Minhinnock of the prestigious law firm of Russell MacVeagh for being made a partner.  It was an unfortunate beginning for this was a serious case not a celebration party for the lawyer.  It appears this sort of banter is tolerated in courts but perhaps it is time to stop as it gives a bad impression to the public and a loss of confidence in the fairness of the court for those not aware of its quirky ways.

The case hinged on a change of a definition of SkyPath. SkyPath Ltd gained conscent as a tourist attraction not an NZTA approved road/footpath. It was and is still a commercial operation for tourists and was subject to certain laws conditions which would have protected Northcote Point and its heritage. NZTA rules would have been much tougher. If this case had been tried under the old laws as in law it is required to do it was doubtful if SkyPath conscent would have been granted so a few weeks ago Auckland City Council changed the rules under the new Unitary Plan and came up with this special definition of Off Road Cycle and Pedestrian Path that allows SkyPath to be built under any circumstances and until challenged in a further court can do what it likes in a heritage area. This change meant the case was over before it had begun.  It is a pity to see the law treated in this way against citizens even if you do not agree with them. One felt at the end that most were uncomfortable about how this result had been achieved. There was no sense of elation.

This case proves that it is extremely difficult for individuals and societies to fight against authorities and companies who are fully funded by a City Council. Even the grant of $50,000 that is available by the government to do this was denied to the Northcote Point and Westhaven residents who have had to fund this themselves.  This grant would have enabled them to pay experts which appeal courts require these days. But are paid experts reliable and trustworthy? Like lawyers Paid experts produce what their employers want them to say so their evidence is biased and any child of average intelligence can see that. 

At the moment Russell MacVeagh lawyers are fighting both sides of the Unitary Plan parking rules. For SkyPath having to produce no parking at all for SkyPath under the new Unitary Plan is acceptable and R. MacVeagh will produce a paid expert if required to say this but for their clients Progressive Industries who oppose new developments that do not supply parking under the Unitary Plan it is not and if necessary R. Macveagh will produce another paid expert to argue this. This appears to be a money making cash cow for lawyers and experts and has little to do with justice! The courts and judges should be wise to this by now.  The public are not to be fooled.  Time and again Daniel Minhinnock, Russell MacVeagh reminded the judge that because his paid expert witnesses were paid they were infallible and the other sides unpaid witness was not worth listening to!   If Heritage Trust could afford Mr Minhinnok he would argue with equal force for Northcote Point. It is his job and he is paid to do it. He does not have to believe in it and neither do the paid experts. Unpaid expert witness who come forward on their own with no payment because the believe in what they are saying are far more valuable but not it appears in NZ courts at the moment. The richer side wins. Not quite cricket.

Two local resident societies withdrew. Westhaven withdrew their appeal because they felt that SkyPath will not be built and were not willing to pay huge sums to lawyers. They may live to regret this as the majority of SkyPath users are now being re-directed to their landing as everyone realises that the Northcote Point landing is totally inadequate for the traffic expected. NRA withdrew under the threat of the Council lawyers of exemplary expenses if they lost the case which could have cost millions and ruined many personally. 

I do not belong to either local society although I do live on Northcote Point so this was not my personal fight.  My major concerns do not lie in parking, noise and inconvenience issues although these are all valid. I live near the cinema/ restaurants/shops complex and I am used to crowds and no parking. Because of my professional crowd management experience with large events I am concerned with the safety aspects of SkyPath which are serious, many and have to be addressed. 

It seems Health and Safety is the last item to be addressed whereas I feel it should be the first. No good building SkyPath if it cannot be managed safely. Northcote Point is an unsuitable landing for what is now no longer a tourist attraction but a major transport hub serving thousands a day and many thousand on weekends, up to 20,000 a day in five years time and it is a pity that the resource consent was not judged under this category as NZTA would have had more input and maybe a better cheaper solution, perhaps two Western lanes on the Harbour Bridge now, approached by Stafford Rd and Westhaven. Could be done immediately, cost nothing, free and safe. This is my preferred option. Car owners have already given up many lanes in Auckland so two more would hardly matter. This is not going to happen! Even AT and NZTA who are happy to slice lanes off Auckland Streets dare not give up one lane on the Harbour Bridge although that is the solution. Try it for a month or two and see the patronage. If it works keep it if not shelve it. Cost nothing!

Although many residents can put this behind them because of my professional knowledge and experience in the field of crowd management and safety  I feel  I cannot stand by and leave it to others. It would be morally wrong of me to do so. Annoying as it maybe, and cyclists do think I am a spoil sport one thing is certain eternal vigilance not only applies to freedom but crowd safety. Just do it and see what happens in this area is a recipe for disaster. Traffic planners are not experts in crowd management as they deal with objects/cars that they can control. Crowds cannot be controlled like this and have to be managed. Crowds left to themselves are dangerous. Crowds need space even more space if they have bicycles. Big difference! Even though I may be unpopular at least SkyPath will be safer  when it is built than it is under the present design. I realise nobody in authority in Auckland wants to hear this, the council and some in government want a crowd pleaser up and running, bread and circuses, to take ratepayers minds off rate rises and economy and that is why SkyPath gets an easy passage from politicians and councillors who do not wish to lose votes and who can blame them. 

NZTA, AT, Councillors,  local MP Jonathan Coleman and the Transport Minister Simon Bridges are aware of SkyPath's safety issues and although the elected members have no responsibility of due diligence to ensure SkyPath is safe the other parties do. Health and Safety have heavy penalties for unwise risks to safety. I have been assured by the Minister and NZTA that they will be taking the safety issues very seriously indeed. I was impressed with the Minister and NZTA and I believe them when they say that no ones safety, user or resident, will be sacrificed for the greater good they mean it.

The CEOs have to sign off on this project and will be responsible for any injuries or worse that arise.   If I were a CEO at the moment I should have difficulty in doing this even for one million dollars+. Experience has shown with new bridges, it is the early days when problems arise. This year, 2016, two new major bridges have had to shut  because of safety and overcrowding problems that should have been addressed and were overlooked in the haste to get them built.  A wait and see basis  in this day and age is not acceptable but this is what the Judge Newhook has gone for. 

As ex Councillor and new Local Board member George Wood said at the Council meeting before the councillors voted unanimously for SkyPath the residents of Northcote Point have been very badly treated and I think this was obvious as well at the end of the Environment Court hearing. Like the council the judge gave every indication that he understood the problem and then voted for the opposite. The Environment Court was not asked to consider safety issues as this would have been dealt with by NRA,  just patronage numbers which are still anyone's guess. Auckland may take to SkyPath or may not but planners have to plan for the largest number. The judges conclusions when published will no doubt address this.

Now we all have to wait and see what happens next. There will be a big hiatus while NZTA works out how to mange SkyPath and if the Bridge can take it safely. Lets us all hope that the effects on Northcote Point as promised will be minimal and the SkyPath safety issues raised will be solved but whether I am around or not SkyPath must be safe and  fit for purpose for cyclists and Northcote Point residents alike. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Northcote Point Residents SkyPath Appeal crushed by Council-funded blackmail

Residents’ concerns crushed by Council-funded blackmail

Northcote Residents have withdrawn their Environment Court appeal against SkyPath, which they consider to be a financial, functional and environmental failure. They also consider that SkyPath is unlikely to ever be implemented and that its blatantly obvious safety hazards alone, should have prevented it from seeing the light of day in the first place.

Although Council tells itself that SkyPath is merely a $33M project, its real costs are set to deliver yet another Council blowout, this time set to amount to hundreds of millions. In turn, Auckland’s ratepayers are now unwittingly set to pay for that blowout, via Council’s underwrite for SkyPath. To approve the underwrite, Council acted illegally and violated its statutory obligations, in the emphatic opinion of a legal specialist in the area of government regulation, Dr. Grant Hewison. 

SkyPath is funded via a PPP arrangement. Every failed PPP arrangement world wide, exactly replicates Council’s PPP arrangement for SkyPath namely - SkyPath’s claimed patronage is pumped through the roof, patronage shortfalls are underwritten by Council and the funders interest charges are about double the rate at which the underwriter (Council) could borrow finance. The PPP funder must be delighted. SkyPath can lose as much money as it likes, while the PPP funder gains its full interest charges, management charges and debt repayment. A picture-perfect PPP plunder (PPPPPP).

That goes some way to explaining why some Auckland ratepayers such as Northcote Point residents, faced rate increases this year that were 60 times the rate of the country’s residual inflation rate. We’d be better off living in a banana republic, than continuing to rely upon this Council’s fiscal literacy.
Council has aggressively supported the development’s comprehensive violation of its own regulations regarding zoning, parking, amenity, pathway design, emergency egress, emergency management and public safety. The extent to which SkyPath violates those regulations would be a joke, were the consequences not as grim as they are. Violations of public safety provisions alone, are certain to cause many serious injuries and worse. Aggressively promoting a patently hazardous facility is not quite in line with delivering “one of the World’s most liveable cities”. Particularly if SkyPath turns some living customers into half-dead customers or worse.

SkyPath’s is primarily a commercial tourism and leisure facility, since that’s what 87.5% of its customers are projected to be. Council’s regulations sensibly do not permit any large-scaled commercial developments in residential areas such as Northcote Point, yet that is where Council wishes to locate SkyPath’s North Shore landing. Council claims that SkyPath’s patronage, will “conservatively” amount to 13,000 - 20,000 visitors at the end of Northcote’s cul-de-sac peninsula suburb, every summer weekend day. Eden Park’s averaged attendance ranges from 13,000 - 18,000, depending on what is happening in any given year. The effects of these perpetually huge crowds are “not more than minor”, say Council’s and the Applicant’s so-called “experts”.

The Northcote Residents Association (NRA) withdrew from its appeal under severe duress. The Council-funded and underwritten Applicant, threatened to claim costs against it “to the maximum extent possible”, in the event that NRA lost the appeal. Those costs would likely amount to many millions - the amount both Government and Auckland Council have provided in support of this purportedly private commercial development. The developer has previously claimed it doesn’t have enough money to pay for postage, but that has not stopped it from threatening rightly concerned residents with multi-million dollar claims of costs that Auckland Council has already fully underwritten.

Nobody yet knows if SkyPath’s implementation will ever be possible. That is so, because before SkyPath can be implemented, it needs NZTA’s approval. If that approval is ever granted, that can’t happen for another year according to NZTA. For obvious common-sense reasons and for reasons we are advised are duly backed by case law, resource consent hearings are not supposed to start until such basics have been resolved. They are not, yet the appeal hearing is proceeding regardless.

Another issue that calls SkyPath’s viability into doubt, arises from recent discussions with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). Information provided by NZTA states the Auckland Harbour Bridge “will allow for ....walking and cycling facilities” and, “four lanes on the existing Bridge, will become redundant” when the next Harbour crossing is installed and that, “the Bridge’s box girders need strengthening to accommodate SkyPath” and that “further strengthening of the Bridge’s box girders is not physically possible, except at connection points”.

The SkyPath function could occupy less than two of the four redundant lanes freed up when the next Harbour crossing is implemented, without adding additional stresses to the Bridge and without decreasing its usable life, as SkyPath will. That could be achieved at virtually no cost and far better than SkyPath, since cyclists and pedestrians would be safely separated and would access the facility without causing any neighbourhood any detriment. SkyPath’s genuinely huge costs, amenity detriment and safety hazards are wholly unnecessary, since the Next Harbour Crossing solves all the problems SkyPath does not, never could and never will.

Since NRA’s supporters have always supported the idea of walking and cycling from one side of the harbour to the other, we say, “bring on the Next Harbour Crossing so we can all enjoy cycling or walking across the Harbour Bridge, but in a way that works functionally, financially and environmentally”.

Too logical? Too workable? Too environmentally friendly? Too cost effective? Apparently. Maybe the consenting authorities need a pile of serious injuries to awaken them to the responsibilities they are paid for, even if they don’t care less about SkyPath’s fundamental and glaringly obvious environmental, cost, funding and design problems.

Kevin Clarke

Chair, Northcote Residents Association Inc. SkyPath Appeal Committee 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Olympics - Bravo Brazil

Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Rio de Janeiro 2016

Let's face it. The Rio Opening Ceremony was wonderful. It made Beijing look vulgar and London second rate bourgeois by being classy, creative and coming in at one twelfth of the price that London paid for the expensive over produced, embarrassing hotchpotch that began the 2012 Games. When you don't have enough money to splash out the best idea is to feature it and Rio did, brilliantly. 
Rio is famous for its carnival but some of the teams mistook it for a funeral. Pity the teams did not go for more colourful uniforms for a South American country. Worst designed were the Swedish yellow satin efforts. Had I been a Swedish woman I would have refused to wear it. Germany's uniform was grey and depressing and even UK could have done with a bit of colour. 

Could have done without the speeches. These should be cut to 2 minutes each at the most and only two.

Personally I still prefer the UK 1948 Wembley style of Opening Ceremony. Play National Anthem. athletes march on, pigeons, balloons, light flame and start Games.  I was there for that one and really none has come up to it since. 

So well done Rio! Now for the fun. 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kevin Roberts, Saatchi Advertising, vs Cindy Gallop & Janette Miller

New Zealander Kevin Roberts, chairman of the prestigious New York advertising agency has been forced to retire after making extremely 'offensive' comments about the lack of women executives ambition.

This did not really surprise me because ever since I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand in 1975 I had met with this attitude from the local advertising agents. At the time I was doing pioneering work in opera and ballet trying to drag the traditionalist opera and ballet companies into the late 20 century by using film and transparencies in my productions. By the early 1980s I was video taping these and the results  showed, even though I had virtually no equipment because owing to trade restrictions I was unable to import the cameras and projectors I needed, that it would have been obvious to all I was extremely talented. Even the Royal Ballet Covent Garden knew I was something special in the area and allowed me to use their artists.

I was also a brilliant marketer and won the New Zealand TV Marketing Award in 1982 for my exceptional marketing of children's ballet and serious opera and ballet productions. I came in after Rugby and Cricket so I was good but I met with a brick wall from the local advertising agencies. One effort to woo one of the main operators Bob Harvey, who later went on to become Mayor of the West of Auckland convinced me my chances of being gainfully employed was nil. Why? Because those in power in the advertising industry even if they did not hate women although many did, just did not see them as employable or creative.  I was just dismissed. What a mistake!

But in Cindy Gallop and articulate women like her, Kevin Roberts has met his match. On BBC World this morning Cindy Gallop gave and interview of such clarity and substance that must have shattered Mr. Roberts confidence. Cindy Gallop spelled it out to him and the male advertising executives in words of one syllable that even they could understand that the male attitude to women today is just plain wrong. I am full of admiration for Cindy Gallop because I was unable to do this in Auckland and still today Auckland finds me uncomfortable because I am a woman. Sadly I cannot find a podcast of this exceptional women to link to. Maybe her comments are too uncomfortable for the BBC too. She is a lesson in how to give a BBC interview.

We need more Cindy Gallops to speak out and confront these selfish and biased white male executives in all areas who dismiss women's opinions just because they are women. Young men these days are guilty of misogyny as well. Young males can be just as devastatingly rude and vicious to women as any Kevin Roberts because they are trained to do so by their male elders. In fact some of them are worse, as being unmarried themselves, many are unlikely to have children, they see their career paths as a straight line to the top as any female competition will be removed and dismissed on the way. 

So was I good enough to compete with the boys? Well the video below was edited on video tape in 1985. It still looks good today. Think what I could have achieved.

I count myself lucky that women in future will no longer have to put up with this rot and will stand up say so and get the man removed fast. I do hope Kevin Roberts stays in the USA and does not return to NZ. Women in NZ can do without men like him. Well done Cindy!

Friday, July 22, 2016

SkyPath - Generation Zero helps Northcote Point Residents with Parking

Once again Generation Zero and SkyPath have decided help Northcote Point out with a few thousand submissions of their own on the Parking audit for the judge of the Environment Court

SkyPath is progressing on a number of fronts:Parking Management Scheme for Northcote PointWe’ve been pleased to assist Auckland Transport in developing options for parking schemes at Northcote Point.  Our goal is to ensure the parking in the area by SkyPath users is discouraged.  We encourage you to review what’s proposed and to have your say.  We think that having a maximum 60 minute limit in the area around SkyPath’s landing along with a residents-only permit scheme will work well.  If you agree then please support Option B for Area 2 (Question 6 of the online survey).

As if the despised residents of Northcote Point have not had enough to put up with SkyPath which will  transform their small residential heritage area with just a couple of streets into a major traffic hub with hourly attendance figures to rival Auckland Airport the residents now have to be consulted about the parking problem by Auckland Transport.

PurposeThe purpose of this proposed parking scheme is to assist with the management of the
potential increase in parking demand associated with SkyPath - the proposed walking and cycling path across the Harbour Bridge. If constructed, SkyPath will land at the southern end of Princes Street in Northcote Point.While it is expected that many people using SkyPath will walk or cycle to the facility, some may choose to travel to the area by car.The unrestricted parking on residential streets around Northcote Point could be attractive for people using SkyPath, particularly on weekends during summer. This could result in a lack of parking for local residents and other visitors to the area.

Well actually there is no parking now at peak times on Northcote Point at the moment. Most houses have their own parking but the shops, restaurants and cinemas who have no parking of their own due to an ancient anomaly which allows a few industrial areas in a residential Heritage zone need some for their customers.

This is supposed to be just for the residents but to be helpful SkyPath and Generation Zero have sent the  Auckland Transport's online form by email to all it supporters encouraging them to submit and telling them which option to choose. Actually Choice B which limits parking to 60 minutes but allows residents if they pay a yearly fee to park all day, as St Mary's Bay. This is because SkyPath wishes to discourage its patrons turning up by car and trying to Park.

Hint to all SkyPath users don't even bother to do this unless you arrive a 6 am! Many SkyPath users will do this and the early birds can park and then ride across and back at night. The parking other than the three marked areas is to be unrestricted.  SkyPath potential users the spot outside my house which is unrestricted will not be available because my car will be parked there all day and if all the residents get together on this there will not be one unrestricted park on Northcote Point. I think it is called direct action and legal too.

The residents have been invited to meet with AT at the Birkenhead Library Monday 25 July 2016  between 4 pm and 7 pm where the can have their vocal and personal import. Isn't that just so nice of them. Problem is all the data provided is out of date so another waste of money but it looks as if the residents are being involved. The residents are hoping their Kaipatiki Board members who to a man solidly supported SkyPath to turn up and give their input to this tiny problem but after the Finance Planning meeting I don't think any of them will show their faces. We shall see. Quite a few votes on Northcote Point and this area is mature so they know how to place their tick.

SkyPath wants to discourage users coming by car and Northcote Residents are all so grateful. Evidently most of their customers want to drive up and park near the attraction. Some hopes!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

SkyPath - Generation Zero gets to pay!

SkyPath gets Auckland Council funding for SkyPath and one really has to congratulate all involved, Even though a barrister told the Finance Planning Committee that it was illegal to vote on this  proposal before it had appeared in the Auckland City Ten Year Plan it made not a jot of difference as the Council unanimously voted for this to go ahead even though council were warned that this was the last time they would be allowed to debate this matter. Now it is in the hands of the CEO. The Council although told  about this did not take this on board and think they will have another crack. No such luck. Tis done! Well and truly done. Auckland starts paying today.

Even though there was a very eloquent presentation on the safety of SkyPath.Even though it is still highly unlikely that after all the expense of plans and wind tunnels, the design will pass the Health and Safety regulations, it was voted unanimously at the last moment, have you noticed that in NZ committees the one who shouts the loudest gets, in this case, her way. Dogs on leashes are to be added to the mix of pedestrians, bikes, electric bikes and wheelchairs. No problem, and children under five do not have to pay. Big cheers.

Win, win for everyone. Everyone was thanked, even the residents of Northcote Point who have been bulldozed over completely as if their concerns were irrelevant. Councillor George Wood who was expected to vote against with Dick Quax and Cameron Brewer, felt that he had to say that the residents of Northcote Point had  been unfairly treated.  The three of them looked like characters from Alice in Wonderland  with the residents of Northcote Point playing the oysters who trusted them to see fair play  but get hoodwinked  by these shifty characters and are eaten up without so much as a by your leave:

      I weep for you,' the Walrus said:
      I deeply sympathize.'
With sobs and tears he sorted out
      Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
      Before his streaming eyes.

All three of them voted for SkyPath. I feel sure all the councillors are proud of themselves. Cheers all around except for Northcote Point which will now be deluged by visitors it is not equipped to handle as everybody who tries to use SkyPath will find out in two years time. But that is two years away and a miracle might happen and someone in authority might come to their senses but now Auckland will have to pay penalties.

Caution was swept to the wind. Nothing nasty is going to happen. The Ratepayers have nothing to fear. It is all going to be Lovely.  The Ratepayers have heard that one before.

So who are the winners? Difficult to say but Generation Zero have definitely won. I hope they enjoy their triumph because they will be paying for it for the next 25 years in tolls, taxes and rates. So will the rest of us. I wonder if those who opposed can opt out. For the residents of Northcote Point paying for this is a bit like paying for your own execution!

Not one of Auckland Council's better days and certainly not for the Ratepayers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SkyPath - Does Generation Zero want to pay for SkyPath?

Auckland Council votes to fund SkyPath tomorrow although they may not be entitled to do so! The decision cannot be reversed. This is it!  But do Auckland  Ratepayers know what they are signing up for? That includes Generation Zero.

Tomorrow Thursday 21 July 2016 The Auckland City Councillors vote on underwriting SkyPath. This is a momentous decision as it will mean that whatever happens in the future, for example SkyPath at just 4 meters wide and 1.2 K long with a low headroom and steep gradient may not be usable as a shared path because the accidents that are bound to happen when pedestrians and cyclists share the same cage. No research has been done in this field it, Auckland Ratepayers take the risk.

If this happens SkyPath may not be able to function but the Auckland Ratepayers will be stuck with it. The Ratepayers will have to pay the full subsidies as if  SkyPath was open, up and running. This is just one scenario but SkyPath has many other clauses that safeguard its investment, like compensation if NZTA allows cycling and pedestrian lanes  free once the second crossing is built. This will continue for 25 years!

“All ratepayers are affected by the proposal to underwrite this project ( as general rates will cover any shortfall in revenue from patronage with patronage demand being the biggest unknown factor in the whole project (p 138 of the Agenda) 
"The decision to proceed cannot be reversed without Council incurring considerable penalty costs ( pages 42 to 43 of the Agenda)” NRA letter to AK Council

The Council should have notified Auckland Ratepayers under the current 10 Year Plan but have failed to do so. Without this notification and consultation this vote should not take place and in fact the Northcote Residents Association has asked that this vote be deferred until it is included in the next 10 Year plan so that Auckland Ratepayers have a better idea of what they are being asked to back. It is not the senior citizens who will be paying for Skypath all their lives but Generation Zero.

SkyPath is unique. Nothing like it has been tried before anywhere in the world. For those who know nothing about SkyPath’s operational problems, and for those who find SkyPath’s visual images and promises appealing, there is widespread support for SkyPath. However, Council’s Agenda reports and media seriously misrepresent the level of opposition that exists to SkyPath’s implementation. 

In particular, Councillors should know that every community organisation, yachting club and residents’ association directly affected by SkyPath, has formally notified the Environment Court of its opposition to SkyPath’s implementation. Those organisations democratically represent more than 13,000 directly affected people and include RNZYS, WMUA, RYC, PCC, SMBA, HBRA, LSBPS, NPHPS and NRA.

  1. ”Should Auckland Council build an unworkable, unsafe, short-term, white- elephant extravagance now, or would it be better to wait another few short years, to implement a safe and workable facility that achieved the same function SkyPath promises, but at no cost, safely and much better?" NRA FAQ's 
It will be interesting to see how many of the present councillors do the right thing by the Ratepayers and decline  to vote until Aucklanders are better informed.