59 days ago

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4 days ago

Queen Street standoff softens after talks between council and businesses

Caryn Wilkinson Reporter from Community News

Todd Niall

Court action over a planned upgrade to Auckland’s Queen Street may be averted after peace talks between a group of businesses and the council.

Parties are tight-lipped with the Save Queen Street group set to seek an injunction on May 5, but in a joint statement described Friday’s 90-minute meeting as “productive”.

“Save Queen Street, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport had a productive meeting this afternoon and are working together to reach a resolution,” they said in a statement.

The group of retailers and landlords argued that the council was breaking the law in using the restriction of traffic lanes brought in during Covid-19 in 2020, as the basis for a new upgrade due in May.

The “emergency works”, carried out last year, widened pedestrian space by reducing traffic from four lanes to two on the CBD’s main retail strip.

The council plans next month to partially close a section of lower Queen Street to general traffic, and make it more pedestrian-friendly with pocket parks, widened footpaths and seating, in a $1.1 million trial.

Save Queen Street wants all the Covid-19 changes stripped away, before new discussions can begin on making the struggling street more attractive.


The society partly blamed the changes for the declining health of the street, which now has dozens of empty shops, following the loss of tourists, foreign students, and a trend to office employees working more from home.

Today's talks were chaired by the Auckland Council chief executive Jim Stabback, with senior officials from both council and Auckland Transport, but without the mayor Phil Goff.

Goff had previously told Stuff he supported the changes in the council plan.

Hi neighbours, what do you think of the planned upgrade to Auckland's Queen St?

*Please put NFP if you do not want your comments used by Stuff.

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3 days ago

Poll: Do you support the fine increase for using a mobile while driving from $80 to $150?

Caryn Wilkinson Reporter from Community News

Drivers have been captured on camera boldly using their phones while driving, to video call, text and make calls.

The footage, taken in Auckland, comes as the Government increased the cost of a fine for using a cellphone while driving from $80 to $150.

Over the course of a week, ahead of the fine increase, a Stuff visual journalist captured numerous people using their phones while driving, including a woman who appeared to be on a video call while passing through an intersection, a man speaking on the phone and numerous people texting or looking at their phone.

Last year, police issued more than 40,000 infringement notices for the offence.

A driver for Dingo Groundworx NZ was captured using their phone while driving a truck along Williamson Ave, in Ponsonby.

Owner Cameron Hadley told Stuff all employees were very aware they should not be using their phones while driving.

He said he would be raising the issue in a staff meeting.

AA road safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen told Stuff he wasn’t surprised to hear about the woman video calling while driving.

While AA supports the Government’s fine increase, Thomsen said it wasn’t going to solve the problem.

“People just can’t resist the temptation if they hear their phone go off ... it’s not something you do by accident.”

“A lot of people use their phone behind the wheel and don’t do other risky things.”

He hopes as there are further advancements in technology, phone companies can have default “do not disturb” modes that activate as soon as drivers start moving in their car.

“Until we change the mindset it will be hard with enforcement alone, people don’t appreciate the risks until it’s too late,” Thomsen said.

To see video footage, go here:

www.stuff.co.nz...

*Please put NFP if you do not want your comments used by Stuff.

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Do you support the fine increase for using a mobile while driving from $80 to $150?
  • 90.2% Yes
    90.2% Complete
  • 8.1% No
    8.1% Complete
  • 1.7% Unsure- it's too complex
    1.7% Complete
1514 votes