On Wednesday, May 1, a power outage hit our area. It had dire consequences over a wide area from Puhoi to Mangawhai and beyond. Not just for individuals, but for businesses like banks, supermarkets, medical centres, dentists, cafes and other retail outlets. Total cost? Hundreds of thousands; perhaps even millions. What caused the outage? According to a spokesperson for Transpower, as reported in Mahurangi Matters (MM May 8), it was all unforeseen, not planned; just an accidental wire failure at a Maungaturoto substation. But this story can’t be true.
Another company involved in the distribution of power throughout the area, Vector, said the outage had been planned for weeks. Accordingly, they emailed their customers on April 17, forewarning them of the outage planned for Wednesday, May 1. And they followed that email up with a reminder on April 28. My neighbours received both warnings and have subsequently forwarded them to me. Unfortunately, Vector had neglected to send them to me. I complained and have been offered $50 as compensation. But who will pay compensation to all those other individuals and businesses who were victims of the outage? Will it be Vector? Or will it be Transpower? Transpower took no steps whatever to advise their customers. Will they suffer the fate that Justice Duffy levelled against Vector when he fined Vector $3.5 million a few weeks ago? He used the occasion to remind us that the Commerce Act allows anyone who’s suffered losses or damages due to a power outage to bring a claim within 12 months. How about it, guys?
Prof Raymond Bradley, Omaha
How much more procrastination can we take? What has Auckland Transport (AT) done for Warkworth?
• We submitted our Fix Hill Street
Now petition to Parliament in February 2017.
• Because the petition was to be tabled, NZTA/AT suddenly funded a $2 million study to look at the options and come up with a business case.
• It took AT nearly one year to appoint a consultant to carry out the study.
• AT gave the consultant one year to produce a business case. Four months would have been more than enough.
• AT reported back in November 2018 with two options. One was clearly unacceptable. The other did not show if the roundabout was to be two lanes and totally ignored the Sandspit/Matakana part of the intersection.
• In May this year, AT came back to say that further refinement work was being undertaken on the assessment of the two shortlisted options so that a preferred option could be confirmed.
• They now think they might have a preferred option in June.
• They then have to work on the business case itself.
Why is the business case important? Because no funding for design and then construction can be put in place before the case has been approved by both the AT and the NZTA boards. Why are they procrastinating? They simply do not want to take any action until the motorway and the Matakana link road (MLR) will be in place. Which brings me to the next problem. The MLR Notice of Requirement was submitted in April last year and promptly withdrawn. It was resubmitted in December 2018, nine months later. Hearings have now been held and the recommendation is due to be issued. Appeals are expected because AT failed to discuss and make an obvious change to the MLR/SH1 intersection adjacent to the Pak’nSave site. To complete the MLR at the same time as the motorway is impossible as AT would have to let a contract by July to capture the next construction season. They still do not even own the land for the MLR. What happens if the MLR does not open in October 2021? Traffic going to Auckland from Sandspit and Matakana via the motorway will turn right instead of left at the Hill Street Intersection. This turn is more than twice as difficult as the left turn. Anyone from Matakana Road or Sandspit Road will be totally blocked from going to Warkworth. If you think traffic congestion at Hill Street is bad now, then it will be twice as bad when the motorway opens. Auckland Transport board and staff have completely forgotten that they are employed by us. This is not simple incompetence, it is planned procrastination. Do we have to sack the Mayor and the AT board to get any action, or do we take another petition to Parliament?
Roger Williams, Fix Hill Street Now