Monday, December 11, 2017

Thirsty at Auckland Transport stations?: No problem - drink from Council toilets

The Kiwi culture of drinking water from public toilets in the Super City

Thakur Ranjit Singh

While the mainstream New Zealand media is oblivion to this fact, FIJI PUNDIT is again raising an issue that escaped their radar. Perhaps they are too busy muckraking over who mistakes our PM as somebody else’s wife. So, we tackle something important and relevant to all of us.

Auckland Council appears to be promoting a new culture of drinking water from toilets. This is because planning of Council facilities are bereft of any human, health, hygienic or public-need considerations.

Auckland Transport  Bus and Train Stations do not have the essential amenity of drinking fountains and it reflects on lack of compassion and planning skills of those who needs to care. They need to learn from a Third World Fiji bus stations.

We do not have free drinking water at all its railway and bus station network, except two. There are no separate taps or drinking fountains-you drink in toilets.

The bigger irony is that the Western Springs Lakeside Park which is built on the site of former Auckland Reservoir, which provided water to early settlers, is as dry as Sahara Desert. None of its fountains in the park walkways have running water. 

Another irony is that the $28 million dollar Otahuhu bus and rail station which opened in October, 2016 and which has won an award, also has no drinking fountains. People are forced to drink from toilets, as no separate hygienic free water is available at any of Auckland’s bus and train stations (except two).

I wonder who were the judges who granted this $28m Otahuhu station an award? Like Auckland Council planners, these judges are too rich and never use these facilities for the poor to realise we need drinking fountains. This award-winning Bus/Train station is also "dry", unless you drink from its toilets.
This article was written seven months ago, in April, 2017, and sent to all councillors, Mayor Phil Goff and CEO of Auckland Council. But as usual, it seems to have ended in the Council trash bin. That is why I am rekindling this water issue as the summer heat makes us thirty, and we have a new Government which can whip a dead horse - Auckland Council. This is especially because the Super City’s lead jockey, riding and Uncontrolled Auckland Council is Labour’s former leader.

You travel on a train or a bus network from Waitakere Station in West Auckland to Pukekohe via Papakura (including Sylvia Park network) in South. If you have an empty water bottle, you will find no place to fill, except in Auckland toilets. Same thing applies if you travel on Northern Busway, from Albany Station to all stations (Constellation, Sunnynook, Smales Farm and Akoranga) to the city. 
In Britomart, you now have a sole fountain for hundreds of thousands of commuters and visitors. New Lynn has a low-pressured lone drinking fountain. That is the sum total in Auckland- JUST TWO. As mentioned earlier, the most recent multi-million dollar showpieces at Otahuhu and Panmure stations are also ‘dry”. 

"Water Water everywhere, not a single drop to drink". This Western Springs Lakeside Park which is built on the site of former Auckland Reservoir, which provided water to early settlers, is as dry as Sahara Desert. None of its fountains in the park walkways have running water. It appears many at Auckland Council are sleeping on the job.
Auckland, as a supposedly most liveable city needs to live up to that name. Health and well-being of its citizens is it prime priorities. Free water contributes to healthy bodies. Tens of thousands of school children use these facilities, and are encouraged to buy frizzy and sugary drinks instead of free water supply in a country overflowing with so much water. 

Ironically NZ does not blink an eye-lid to give free water to overseas companies who profit on our natural resources. Yet our city is unable to provide it to us. Some stations, apart from pricy water, also sell Coke products and supposedly healthy glutton and fat free products, but fail to provide water fountains. Does Auckland Council have shares in Coke or water bottling companies, selling water at twice the price of petrol?

I suggest Mayor Phil Goff to take a ride on his motorbike, thirsty and with an empty water bottle, and verify where you can have clean free fill or drink of water, away from a toilet. The Mayor can have the new Minister of Health, Hon Dr David Parker, and Minister for Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta in tow to give them a first-hand look at wanting Super City and its heartless and blinkered planners.

It seems the Mayor, Phil Goff and his planners are so high up the salary scale , and up the ivory tower that they have no consideration for the common people on earth. They are too busy in activities that have little to do with immediate objectives of a City Council. They cannot even provide us basic drinking amenities in the City - a very blinkered planning.
I suggest Phil Goff also send some highly paid Auckland City planners on a junket to Fiji, a Third World Country on first class tickets to see how we do it there. All Fiji municipality markets and bus stations throughout Fiji have separate pipes and free water for its thirsty citizens -not in toilets. Fiji may be poor, but its decision-makers have a heart and compassion for the people who pay their salaries.

Cash-strapped municipalities in Fiji can teach Auckland Council how to manage people facilities. We can teach them a lot, if they listen. 
Public transport network in Fiji municipalities do NOT make our people to drink from toilets. 

Auckland Council does.

Cry, a beloved, most liveable, Super City

[About the Author-Thakur Ranjit Singh manages blog site FIJI PUNDIT and also manages the Facebook Page- “”Auckland Council WATCH”, where he raises pertinent issues relating to Auckland Council, hoping somebody, some day, will take notice. This article was posted there, and also sent to Auckland Mayor, its CEO and all Councillors in April, 2017. Nobody seems to have taken any notice.]

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