Rugby really isn’t my favourite game in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the game. And being a New Zealander, I was brought up with rugby.
But I was having a discussion with someone before I’d even heard any of what had happened in Auckland tonight. This was about 5:30pm – I’d been pretty busy so hadn’t been on Twitter or any news sites. At the time, I said, “Auckland is not ready. They’ve got roading projects going on that should have been finished a while back, and their public transport is not even close to ready. I hope I’m proven wrong, but I don’t think I will be.”
And oh how right could I have been. Auckland screwed up this worse than I expected actually. Over 100,000 people were trying to get into “Party Central”. At most, Queen’s Wharf would fit about 50,000. But because some raving idiot decided to put a huge inflatable rugby ball in there, it could only fit 12,000. So 12% of people trying to get in to Queen’s Wharf were able to.
Then there was the hundreds of people who couldn’t get to Eden Park because of Auckland’s failing public transport system. Trains that were supposed to be “direct” services sat at a train station on the route for 35 minutes. Britomart even closed it’s doors after a while. Ferry services were cancelled because of the number of people on the ferry terminal trying to get past the tens of thousands of people trying to get into Queen’s Wharf.
Those who actually managed to get on to Queen’s Wharf weren’t safe though, with police having to rescue three people who had ended up in the Waitemata Harbour. Reports of excessive alcohol consumption are not surprising given the price of a beer within Queen’s Wharf was $7.50 when the average price at a bar nearby would have been $10 minimum.
Four people ended up in hospital, two from being hit by a bus on Fanshawe Street which had previously collided with a car, the remaining two being victims of assault. Following the assault, Police put out a media statement advising all people to avoid the central city.
Transport wasn’t good for the return trip either, with Auckland Transport sending a tweet:
Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Police and other authorities have a month to sort this out. Crowds were big because it was the opening. I expect they won’t be as big until the final and closing ceremony now – and even then only if New Zealand makes it that far. The image of New Zealand depends on the final being perfect and this debacle not reoccurring.