Snow as sparse as good mayoral candidates

Snow in Dunedin! Well, a very light smattering on some of the hills. There’s a few sparse patches here at home, at about 100 metres. There’s  very cold wind, and it’s 3.2 degrees outside at present (up a degree from an hour ago). But it isn’t unusual to get cold snaps here at this time year. The high for today is predicted to be 11, but up to 16 tomorrow and 19 on Saturday. Variety is normal.

The northern motorway has been affected with trucks stopped on the Leith Saddle at 300m.

(Update – traffic was moving by 7:15 am)

And where people live there’s barely a smattering.

The snow there is as sparse as good candidates in the local body elections.

There are 14 people standing for mayor with none standing out as a good prospect.

The two apparent front runners, multi-term councillors may or may not be the best of an uninspiring lot.

Aaron Hawkins seems to have been a hard working councillor and I think deserves getting back on council, but is fairly hard left and is standing officially as a Green party candidate. He’s been a strong promoter of the grossly underused cycle lanes tacked onto the side of the busiest streets in the city (the state highway), and on other cycle lanes it’s unusual to see cycles.

He was recently accused by first term councillors as treating them as juniors – Race heats up as mud flies online

Cr Hawkins triggered the exchange by publicly questioning Cr O’Malley’s decision to endorse Cr Lee Vandervis, during a candidates’ meeting in Opoho last week, as his second pick for the mayoralty.

Cr O’Malley hit back on Sunday, accusing Cr Hawkins of attempting “character assassination” during an election campaign.

He went further, claiming Cr Hawkins had “blocked or sabotaged” every one of Cr O’Malley’s attempts at progressive initiatives over three years.

“He is part of a bullying and controlling group which have frozen out all the new councillors that came on in the last election and even referred to us as junior councillors for the first two years.”

Cr Hawkins denied the claims and fired back, accusing his colleague of promoting “baseless suspicion”.

The exchange divided supporters, as Cr David Benson-Pope weighed in to accuse Cr O’Malley of being motivated by securing a committee chairman role if Cr Vandervis won the mayoralty.

Others – including Cr Andrew Whiley and candidates Mandy Mayhem-Bullock, Scout Barbour-Evans and Richard Seagar – all backed Cr O’Malley.

Scout Barbour-Evans went further, contacting the Otago Daily Times to say Cr Hawkins’ bullying behaviour was one of the reasons the candidate resigned from the Green Party in April.

“Hawkins being a bully goes much further than within council … His signature move is the cackle every time certain people speak. Within the party I was one of those people.”

Lee Vandervis was second in the last mayoral election so must rate a chance, but he is best known for opposing things and getting into trouble for allegedly abusive and bullying behaviour. I know from personal experience he gets agitated easily. Working together with a council would seem to be out of character for him. He’s just clocked up the 12th complaint against him this term.

ODT: Complaint made against Vandervis

Dunedin city councillor and mayoral candidate Lee Vandervis is the subject of a fresh complaint, after becoming embroiled in another verbal altercation with a Dunedin City Council staff member.

The councillor already has 11 complaints against him this term.

The Otago Daily Times has been told by several sources Cr Vandervis received a parking ticket last week, and went to the council’s customer services reception to complain it was unfair.

While he was there, an exchange with a female staff member descended into shouting by Cr Vandervis, the ODT was told.

Voting may be as sparse as the snow, with ‘who the hell do I vote for?’ probably being the most common question asked.

It seems to be a real problem with both local body and national politics these days. It’s something that seems to attract more and more career politicians, and less quality candidates.

 

Growing anger in Dunedin over traffic and cycleways

There is growing annoyance and sometimes anger over noticeably worsening traffic congestion, while the obtrusive cycle lanes that have been installed are only often empty of cyclists.

Yesterday on Facebook Clint Dane posted:

Right, before I start I want to make it clear I don’t give a flying fuck about Aucklands traffic problems, they’ve had problems for years and that’s their business.

Now then, is there any way of bringing the sudden problems with our traffic to someone’s attention that might be able to get something done about it?

I left work tonight near McDonalds on Andy Bay Road and took 30 minutes to get to centre city New World!! This is becoming a regular occurrence and I put it down to the cycleway and cycleway alone.

There are no longer places to pull over heading north on the one way system if you’re wanting to park somewhere so if you’re wanting to parallel park you now hold up a massive line of traffic. As well as this the timing of the lights is all kinds of fucked up and is in no way helped by the stupid bicycle red/orange/green lights. I’ve waited time and time again to turn and couldn’t because of those lights and you know what? I’VE NEVER SEEN A FUCKING CYCLIST! The world is going all in on trying to make things gs as eco friendly as possible yet the council and NZTA have done a bang up job of forcing a huge number of cars to idle for extended periods which only increases the amount of pollution they pump out so in reality they’ve made it worse.

I propose we gather everyone that was involved in the decision making regarding the cycleway and stone them publicly, who wants to join in?

I must admit to being frustrated when prevented from turning because of a read cycle light, with no sign of any cyclists. And roads and lanes have been narrowed to make way for hardly used cycle lanes.

There have been over 200 comments, many in agreement but with some other views, like;

I think Dunedin is just a lot busier with more cars on the road in general, right along Highgate at 3pm and 5pm is crazy!

2:30 pm onwards (and also 8-9 am) is noticeably congested except during school holidays.

But things seem to be worse after the cycle lanes have been installed. there also seems to be growing cycle rage.

More reasoned criticism from Carmen Houlahan:

I agree it is kaos out there. People need cycles ways. However, i do not think cycle ways should have been put on a busy one way. I think bike lanes could have been put around the back streets that is safer for the cyclists. There is no where to park any more and the concrete slabs are dangerous as they are hard to get around. To make matters worse someone seems to jave gone around changing lanes so you go into one lane that used to go one way then you have to try to get to the other lane. There should be signs warning that road lanes have changed.

And who put the circles every where? I don’t know what consultation was done on this but they aren’ t even round abouts. I have raised this before.

Recently a number of intersections have simply had raised round bits plonked in the middle of them, with no reforming of the roads. They are sort of roundabouts, but seem to mostly just cause confusion and make it harder to drive through intersections.

Sadly we are going to have disruptions for years to come. I am running for mayor and council at the DCC this year and I will be pushing for things to improve. Surely it has to be better than it is?

Traffic, parking and cycle lanes are likely to be a feature of this year’s local body elections.

I have noticed a slight increase of cycle use, from hardly any to a few. But days like today in particular (heavy rain, high winds, cold) there will be few on two wheels, while everyone has to negotiate the reconstructed roads.

 

Dunedin student charge with making ‘anti-Muslim slurs”

A student with name suppression appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour (likely to cause violence).

ODT:  Anti-Muslim slurs day after attack

A Dunedin student has admitted making expletive-laden anti-Muslim slurs just one day after the terrorist attack in Christchurch.

The student admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour (likely to cause violence), which holds a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.

Police saw the man on the street in the student sector yelling words to the effect of: “Muslims are not welcome in our country, go home Muslims!”

Other revellers told officers there had been repeated earlier slurs too.

Police, who were patrolling areas around the mosque, were on Castle St, clearing up to 200 people from the road.

At the intersection with Dundas St, the defendant approached their vehicle and shouted his racist message.

“He yelled this repeatedly amongst the crowd of people on the street,” police said.

The teen was firmly told that his comments were “inappropriate and insensitive”.

However, the defendant was unapologetic, stating he was entitled to his opinion and freedom of speech.

He accused officers of trying to intimidate them and accused them of being “right-wing fascists”.

While this discussion was ongoing, three women told police that earlier in the evening the teenager had repeatedly shouted “f*** the Muslims”.

Others on the street began to abuse the defendant for his comments and police arrested him.

What this person was doing was awful and inappropriate. Is arresting him the best way to deal with it? In those circumstances it may have been.

Defence counsel Andrew More told the court his client’s father was at yesterday’s hearing and had been “surprised and disappointed” in his son’s behaviour.

Judge Michael Crosbie called it “no more or less than overt racism”.

It’s kind of weird for me to see this – I have appeared before Judge Crosbie (in the dock once), and Mr More appeared  for private prosecutor Dermot Nottingham at one hearing when applications were made to have the charges dismissed (charges were withdrawn at the next hearing).

He refused to sentence the teenager on the spot because he wanted to know what the repercussions would be with the University of Otago.

A university spokesman said any students who committed criminal offences were dealt with once any court process had concluded.

The student will be sentenced in June. The charge has a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.

 

 

“Never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days”.

Jacinda Ardern has continued to engage with and reassure Muslims around New Zealand. Yesterday she visited the Dunedin mosque that was considered as a target by the Christchurch terrorist, and also a Muslim child care centre.

Newshub: Dunedin Muslim’s ‘astounding message’ to Jacinda Ardern about New Zealand after Christchurch attack

A Muslim woman in Dunedin told Jacinda Ardern she only feels at home in New Zealand since the Christchurch terror attack.

The Prime Minister visited Dunedin’s Al Huda Mosque on Wednesday, which the alleged 28-year-old gunman reportedly said in his manifesto was the original target of the March 15 shooting.

The Prime Minister said she felt it was appropriate to visit the Dunedin mosque to reiterate her message of safety and inclusion for the Muslim community in the wake of the attack that left 50 dead and dozens injured.

Ardern said there was one woman in the mosque who told her she had lived in New Zealand for more than a decade but had “never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days”.

“I found that such an astounding message in the wake of what the community has experienced,” the Prime Minister said, adding that she discussed safety with the community, particularly with Muslim women who “wear their faith”.

I think that there is no doubt that many New Zealanders have increased their understanding and reduced suspicion of Muslims living in New Zealand, many of whom are immigrants.

It’s good to see that this has had a positive spin-off.

ODT:  City’s Muslims say thank you to PM

As the Prime Minister consoled and consulted with Dunedin Muslims yesterday they had only two words for her – thank you.

Jacinda Ardern travelled to the city yesterday to show solidarity to the Islamic community following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Parents huddled outside the Au-Nur Child Education and Care Centre in South Dunedin awaiting her arrival in the morning.

Ms Ardern, wearing a hijab, hugged parents and Muslim community leaders before entering the Islamic kindergarten.

Centre head teacher Rosy Jaforullah said Ms Ardern’s presence was reassuring to the parents.

”They now feel safer sending their children to Au-Nur.”

She admitted this would not be the case for some parents who still kept them at home out of fear.

”For that I don’t know what to do.”

It has been a difficult time for many Muslims.

In the early afternoon, Ms Ardern spoke to hundreds of Dunedin Muslims at the Al Huda mosque, which was the gunman’s original target.

University of Otago student Aisya Ahmad Zamri said there was a sense of gratitude among the people there.

”We feel overwhelmed by how she showcases her leadership skills. Not every prime minster would come here and do that.”

Otago Muslim Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said mosque members largely wanted to thank Ms Ardern.

”We are quite happy with how she has handled this.”

Some at the mosque questioned how the Prime Minister would keep the country safe in the future. She assured them this was at the top of the Government’s mind.

Further engagement with the Muslim community is being encouraged: ‘Talk to us’ – open day at mosque

The large number of Dunedin residents asking to pray alongside the Muslim community at Al Huda mosque has prompted the Otago Muslim Association to hold an open day this Sunday.

Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said the Clyde St mosque would be open to the public between 10am and 5pm.

”Heaps of people have been asking if they can come and visit the mosque and pray with us, and out of safety, we have been saying no to them.

”But now we have decided we should have a mosque open day, just to invite people to come and see what it is like inside and they can see us, they can talk to us, we can talk to them and we can have activities inside the mosque.”

He said the event aimed to show appreciation and acknowledge the great support being received from the wider community.

I don’t want to go and pray, but I think I will go on Sunday to talk.

Dr Rizwan was delighted to see support for the Muslim community was not waning.

He said it was possible groups of all nationalities, cultures and religions would get together to organise an event celebrating Dunedin’s diversity, and ultimately creating unity.

I think that all of us could work on this more, and not just at specific events. There are immigrants living in five of the six households in my immediate neighbourhood.

 

Updates – 49 confirmed dead in Christchurch terrorist attacks

49 people have been confirmed dead as a result of two near simultaneous terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. One Australian man has been arrested and charged with murder.  Another  man and a woman have also been apprehended. A fourth man was arrested but that was not related to the mosque massacres. Parts of a street in Dunedin has cordon off in a related investigation. Mosques around New Zealand are under police protection.

Military style rifles were used in the attacks, and two bombs were found on the vehicle of one of those who was apprehended.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush put out a number of updates on what had happened. Here is the latest from late last night.

Police continue to deal with what is an unprecedented event for New Zealand. The loss of life and the number of those who have been injured is tragic.

As the Prime Minister has stated, this has been designated a terrorist attack.

This has been an abhorrent event and my thoughts are with all of those affected in Christchurch. Be assured NZ Police stand with you all tonight.

We now know that 49 people have been killed in the attacks, 41 people at the Deans Avenue mosque, and seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque. One person died in hospital.

The number of those being treated in hospital has been updated to 48 people.

A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.

Two others remain in custody. Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.

This is still an ongoing situation and Police has a significant number of staff on the ground in Christchurch

We are unable at this stage to provide details about matters leading up to the attacks. It is very early days and these matters will form part of the investigation.

There is an increased Police presence across Christchurch and surrounding areas. Our priority is to keep all New Zealanders safe.

There are community events planned across the country this weekend and there will be a visible Police presence at these events for safety and reassurance.

We thank the public for their ongoing co-operation and we would like to reassure members of the public that a large Police presence will remain in the city for the time being. The safety of the community is our priority.

Police wish to notify the public of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website(link is external) where people can register missing persons or register themselves as alive. People living in New Zealand can also register missing persons on 0800 115 019.

Information will continue to be provided as it becomes available.

Our thoughts remain with all of those affected.

And:

Police are currently in attendance at a property on Somerville Street, Dunedin. This is a location of interest in relation to the serious firearms incident in Christchurch today.

Evacuations of properties in the immediate area have taken place as a precaution.

Alternative accommodation has been provided for residents requiring it and cordons are in place in the Somerville Street and Everton Road area.

There is no further information available at this time.

From the police page on Facebook:

Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.

I don’t want any of this footage or links to the footage on Your NZ. One aim of the killings was to attract media attention and pub


Saturday morning: Update 9

We are continuing to make enquiries after yesterday’s tragic events in Christchurch.

As the Prime Minister stated yesterday, this has been designated a terrorist attack.

49 people have died and 42 are being treated for injuries. Two of those injured are critical and this includes a four-year-old child who is being transported to Starship Hospital this morning.

A 28-year-old man will appear in Christchurch District Court today charged with murder.

Two others remain in custody.

Our investigations are in their early stages and we will be looking closely to build a picture of any of the individuals involved and all of their activities prior to this horrific event.

There is no guarantee the risk is limited to Canterbury and we need all New Zealanders to be extra vigilant.

Our message to you is simple: if you see something suspicious, say something – call 111 immediately.

Police is aware there are distressing materials related to this event circulating widely online. We would urge anyone who has been affected by seeing these materials to seek appropriate support.

We would also like to remind the public that it is an offence to distribute an objectionable publication and that is punishable by imprisonment.

Once again I want to reassure the public that a large Police presence remains in the city for the time being.

There will be a heightened Police presence at community events today for safety and reassurance.

Dozens of officers continue to be deployed into the region today, and Police’s Eagle helicopter has flown to Christchurch to assist those on the ground.

Police and the wider government will be working with leaders and members of the Islamic Community to provide assistance, reassurance and support.

Deputy Commissioner of Māori and Ethnic Services Wally Haumaha has travelled to Christchurch alongside 15 ethnic liaison officers to support the community.

These specialists will work alongside local staff to support the families and help repatriate them with their loved ones in a way that is consistent with Muslim beliefs, while taking into account these circumstances and obligations to the coroner.

I also plan to fly to Christchurch this morning, and will be speaking to media at the earliest opportunity. More detail on that will be advised in due course.

Again I want to offer my sincere condolences to those affected, on behalf of New Zealand Police.

Presuming more updates are released they will be added to this post today.

From Update 11:

The 28-year-old man charged with murder in relation to this attack has appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.

While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid. Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

2018 citizenship numbers

The top ten nationalities who got New Zealand citizenship last year:

  • United Kingdom including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – 5471
  • India – 4845
  • Samoa including Western Samoa – 3185
  • Philippines – 3079
  • South Africa  – 2691
  • Fiji – 2542
  • China including Hong Kong, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Macau and Macao – 1175
  • Tonga – 848
  • Australia – 767
  • United States – 756

Totals:

  • 2017 – 36,450
  • 2018 – 35,737

A small drop.

From ODT who also show for  Dunedin a slight Drop in citizenship numbers but still well up on previous years:

Nationalities becoming citizens in Dunedin in 2018:

  • United Kingdom – 145
  • India – 52
  • Philippines – 43
  • South Africa – 42
  • United States – 28
  • China – 23
  • Australia – 23
  • Sri Lanka – 17
  • Thailand – 15
  • Tonga – 12
  • Other – 153

While featuring in the top ten for New Zealand, Samoans and Fijians are presumably in Other.

New Zealand is the fifth most ethnically diverse country in the OECD, with 25% of the population being born overseas. And the above spread of ethnicities indicate to an extent the spread of ethnicities.

 

Eagles impress receptive crowd in Dunedin stadium

In their first visit to Dunedin the Eagles played to a near to packed stadium last night, with the crowd cheering, clapping and singing in support all the way through an impressive two and a half hour gig. While not an avid fan I like a lot of their songs, and I thought that live they were bloody good.

ODT report attendance at 33,000. Earlier in the week they played twice in Auckland.

The Eagles delivered an immaculate performance at Dunedin's Forsyth-Barr stadium.

Most of their songs are very well known, which is what everyone wanted to hear. The Eagles have many big hits, and they were all played professionally as well as with pride and energy, but one that I had not hear and still don’t know the name of, that followed a rapturous reception for Hotel California, was one of my favourites.

I was sitting high in the south stand, a long way from the stage at the east end of the stadium about 100 meters away, but the three large screens ensured I saw enough of the action.

The sound quality was very good, with vocals and and instruments coming through clearly, and the bass drum bang on the mark for oomph and feel. This is a huge credit to those who set up the sound system. The stadium must be very difficult to deal with, being a large and oddly shaped enclosure – at rugby matches it has a large swimming pool type crowd echo.

Sure there were some songs that were just ok. The Eagles cater for a wide range of musical tastes. But there were enough highlights to make it one of the best concerts I have been to.

Apart from having great songs the Eagles are a bunch of very accomplished and multi talented musicians. Five of them shared lead vocal duties with all joining in backing harmonies. Their contrasting vocal styles add to the variety and interest, from crooners to the more rough rock of Joe Walsh, who also lifted the act with his lead guitar.

Drummer and sometimes guitarist Don Henley, guitarists Vince Gill and Deacon Frey, and bassist Timothy B. Schmidt all had turns in the spotlight.

Henley formed the Eagles in 1971 with Glenn Frey, who died in 2016 and has since been replaced by his son Deacon (who fills his shows very capably) along with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Walsh replaced Leadon in 1975, and Schmidt replaced Meisner in 1977. Gill, who has a long musical history of his own, was enlisted in 2017.

Apart from the youthful Deacon Frey the Eagles are all old rockers. Henley, Walsh and Schmidt are all in their seventies, and Gill is about a decade younger. But their voices and energy still keep the Eagles up there with the best.

It was a very enjoyable evening. There’s other music I listen to more than the Eagles but they were still well worth hearing live – it was better than recorded versions.


I’ve worked out what the penultimate song was from set lists from earlier in their world tour – it looks like it’s the same as last night, even the encore and encore #2 charades are the same.

Here’s a version of Rocky Mountain Way from last year:

One of their rockier numbers, a style of music I prefer.

That video performance looks much the same as last night.

Lime scooters returning to Auckland, Dunedin, but remain controversial

After being suddenly removed from Auckland and Dunedin streets a week ago Lime scooters are set to return to the streets and cycleways and footpaths.

ODT:  Lime scooters back next week after assurances

Lime e-scooters have been given the all-clear to return to Dunedin streets but fans may have to wait until next week for their next trip.

Lime voluntarily withdrew its e-scooters in Dunedin last week, hours after Auckland temporarily suspended the company’s licence to operate, citing concerns about random brake lock-ups causing injuries to riders.

Auckland Council also announced yesterday it would allow Lime to operate again, providing it meets certain conditions regarding reporting safety incidents and concerning scooter maintenance.

Representatives from Lime and the Dunedin City Council met yesterday to discuss the e-scooters’ return after their voluntary removal more than a week ago, due to safety concerns.

Council community services general manager Simon Pickford said Lime had agreed verbally to a set of five conditions and once they agreed in writing the council would be happy for the scooters to return.

Conditions included reporting any serious safety incidents, anywhere in the world, to the council within 48 hours, the weekly inspection of e-scooters used in Dunedin and more information about safety and rider behaviour.

“Once we have written confirmation that they agree to these conditions, Lime scooters will be back on Dunedin streets.”

When the Lime scooters first arrived inn Dunedin earlier this year they were welcomed by some as a revolutionary wave of green transport. I saw them parked and ridden around town, and saw no problems apart from them being parked in  some silly places – someone left one right outside the entrance to the building I work in one morning. That isn’t the scooter’s fault, it was an inconsiderate rider.

How much have they changed things? Apart from helping some people get around town and annoying some other people it’s hard to judge.

They seem to have been used by people for fun or as an alternative to walking. I have seen little sign of them replacing cars for commuting. I saw one guy ride one into a central city car park, get of fit and get in his big black SUV and drive away. There would be far more environmental good from reversing the shift to bigger vehicles often transporting just one person.

Apart from the technical problems and accidents I think the main problem has been the sudden change – 300 hundred scooters appeared literally overnight. Usage and acceptance takes time to adapt and evolve.

It’s impossible to judge their effect on traffic in Dunedin, because they were introduced here at a time of major seasonal change. They arrived at one of the quietest times of year, the January holidays.

At the end of January, early February there is always a big increase in traffic when schools start back. And that builds considerably through February as tertiary students return in force. In the last two weeks traffic has been at least as bad as I have seen it in central Dunedin.

Maybe a few hundred scooters will help, but I suspect the (minority) stupid use will keep being highlighted, some of the moaning about cyclists will divert to moaning about scooterists, the council will think about changing laws and redesigning everything yet again for a small number of road users, and life will adapt one way or another.

One (small) change I have noticed that I haven’t seen before – I have seen a few people riding their own scooters. If I used one I’d prefer my own to taking a Lime lottery.

Microscooters advertise two:

  • Emicro Falcon (compact) $1799.95, range 10 km, charge time 1 hour
  • Emicro Condor $1995.95, range 20 km, charge time 3 hours

If I used the Falcon to go to work I’d have to charge it during the day for the return trip. The Condor would make the distance on an overnight charge, but it probably woukldn’t make it up small but steep hill at my work end (not a major), and a large steep hill at my home end, going up about 100 metres. A harbour cycleway would be good too ride, but having to come across town and traffic (main street and state highway north and south included) would be a pain and hazardous (the cycleways only run north-south).

Blacksheeptrading have e-scooters as cheap as $950:

  • RIDE FASTER & TRAVEL FURTHER The Ninebot KickScooter by Segway (ES2) can go up to 25km/h and travel up to 25 km. Its rear shock absorption ensures a comfortable ride and the customizable ambient and rear lights are not only fun, but allow riders to be seen in low light.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & FOLDABLE The one-click folding system allows this lightweight electric KickScooter to be carried on public transportation, stored in your car and more. It conveniently goes anywhere.

Related (ODT): Residents must adapt: Staynes

Dunedin’s one-way cycle lane network and subsequent changes to traffic and parking are things residents will have to adapt to, officials say.

The NZ Transport Agency and Dunedin City Council project was officially opened yesterday, on budget at $8million.

Other cycleway projects in Dunedin have gone way over budget. One redesigned intersection had to be reredesigned after it was found that fire engines coukldn’t negotiate it.

Dunedin deputy mayor Chris Staynes said whenever there was a perception the council was taking something away from motorists “we all get bombarded by unhappy people”.

He said people would have to adapt.

Adapt to more traffic delays and inconvenience so a few can ride more safely on some routes only?

This week the Otago Daily Times counted 90 cyclists using the lane running south on Castle near Dundas St in one hour between 7.50am and 8.50am, and 38 in the same time period travelling north towards Stuart St on Cumberland St.

From what I have seen usage has increased, from hardly any to a few, especially on Anzac Avenue which had all car parks over two blocks replaced with a painted cycleway on both sides.

A count of cyclists on the lanes this week showed they are being used, but NZTA regional relationships director Jim Harland said he would like to see more.

Mr Harland described that as a good start, but hoped it would get “a lot higher”.

The cycle lanes had only been built recently, and he hoped the numbers would increase.

After spending millions of dollars they ‘hope’ numbers will increase?

 

 

 

Lime scooters suspended in Auckland and Dunedin

 

Dean Kimpton, Auckland Council Chief Operating Officer said that he met with Auckland Transport (AT) and Lime representatives to discuss the issues, and had decided on a temporary ban.

“We have been clear with Lime representatives that the equipment used on our transport network must be safe for use.

“The safety of people using e-scooters and those that share the environment with them is our number one priority.”

The suspension will last until Monday, when Lime will have another opportunity to present information to AT and the Auckland Council regarding equipment safety.

Mr Kimpton said there had been 92 reported “irregular braking incidents” in Auckland, which resulted in 19 separate injury claims.

If the suspension is then lifted, AT and Auckland Council say Lime will have to adhere to a new list of operating regulations.

These include Lime providing incident reports every 48 hours and meeting weekly with relevant staff to discuss Lime’s response to any incidents.

Auckland Council will also be appointing an independent reviewer to overlook Lime’s safety management and processes.

Mr Kimpton said Lime agreed to the conditions and once the council is provided with the necessary information, “we will make a further decision on whether Lime’s license suspension will be lifted.”

 

The decision was confirmed by Dunedin City Council community services general manager Simon Pickford late this afternoon, following a meeting with Lime’s Dunedin representatives earlier today.

Mr Pickford said Lime’s Dunedin representatives had volunteered to follow Auckland’s example and remove the scooters from Dunedin streets.

The scooters would not be able to return to Dunedin streets until issues in Auckland were resolved to the satisfaction of Auckland Council.

Lime scooter introduction has had mixed response

Since the introduction Lime scooters were launched in Dunedin 10 days ago there has been a lot of free publicity for a commercial enterprise, but not all of it has been good.

It is now common to see clutters of scooters cluttering footpaths in the mornings, but they get scattered during the day. Out and about yesterday there were quite a few being used.

There has been some stupidity. It only took a day for someone to try one down Baldwin Street – I didn’t see it explained how they got it up. The electric scooters don’t do well on hills. I saw someone having to push one up London Street (just off George Street) after giving up trying to power up. There’s a lot of hills in Dunedin, but there’s quite a bit of flat too, especially around the CBD and University and Polytech campuses.

There have been reports of a steady stream of injured riders going to the Emergency Department. This isn’t surprising. I haven’t seen anyone wearing a helmet, and I saw someone riding one wearing jandals, so feet are obviously at risk.

There has been one serious accident that has raised serious questions. An international student was knocked off a scooter by a truck in the early hours of Friday morning – Scooter rider out of surgery, remains serious.

There has been an unconfirmed report that the scooter went through a red light, but regardless of that questions are being asked about being able to use one at night, the scooters don’t have lights and are supposed to be taken off the road at night.

ODT:  Don’t ‘demonise’ Lime scooters over crash – Bidrose

An investigation is ongoing, but the ODT has been told the woman rode through a red light at the intersection and into the path of the truck.

A police spokeswoman would not confirm that, saying the Serious Crash Unit had examined the scene but “we are not able to speculate on the cause of the crash while the investigation is ongoing”.

Lime also refused to answer specific questions about why the scooter was on the street at that hour of the morning.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dunedin City Council that included a requirement for scooters to be removed from public places each evening.

The ODT understands “juicers” — those who collect and charge the battery-powered vehicles — have been told to collect scooters needing charging from 9 o’clock every evening.

All other scooters were to be off the streets by midnight, and were not to be returned again until the following morning.

There have been inevitable reports of pedestrian clashes with scooters on footpaths. This has also been an issue in other places where the scooters have been introduced. And this has prompted calls for speed restrictions.

Stuff:  Government looks set to impose 10kmh Lime scooter speed limit

Work is under way on law changes that will impose a 10kmh speed limit for Lime electric scooters, with the Government set to consult on the new rules early this year.

But the scooters soon became a topic of controversy, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff ordering an urgent scooter safety report in October after councillor Christine Fletcher was almost hit by a rider.

Goff later raised safety concerns with Transport Minister Phil Twyford. In his letter, he asked that the Ministry of Transport instruct police to pull up “dangerous scooter use” and raised the possibility of a e-scooter speed limit.

Stuff has been provided with a copy of Twyford’s response.

It shows the Government is considering a package of law changes called Accessible Streets, which aim to increase the safety of all users on the footpath.

“Among the proposed measures is a proposed maximum speed limit for all vehicles that are allowed on the footpath,” Twyford wrote.

“I expect that this package will be ready for consultation in early 2019.”

A spokeswoman for duty minister Grant Robertson said the maximum speed limit proposed under Accessible Streets was 10kmh.

If implemented, the limit would apply to Lime scooters being used on the footpath, she said.

A spokesman for Goff said the mayor would like to hear from the public on what speed would be appropriate.

10 kmh seems too over the top, I can walk that fast.

I don’t know how they could be just limited to that on footpaths. A blanket 10 kmh limit would possibly stuff the market for Lime.

A speed limit along with compulsory helmet wearing would be more of an issue. And what about requiring safe footwear, and even knee, elbow and hand protection? Scooters could easily be regulated out of contention as a viable transport alternative.

Like anything new the Lime scooters in Dunedin have received a mixed reception. They could be a good thing, but are not without their problems.