"Kiwis must make room for improvement at World Cup"We came across another article raising concerns about New Zealand's ability to successfully host the Rugby World Cup, this time in the Sydney Morning Herald, where Greg Gowden spoke in less than glowing terms about the way spectators and fellow colleagues were treated as little more than just sheep at the recent Christchurch test - widely viewed as a dry-run for next year's tournament.
In his article Gowden talked about how the Christchurch test was good opportunity to see how the facilities would cope with a major international event. The Wallabies flew into Auckland to check out how efficient the customs facilities were for visiting teams.
Here are a few of his observations, firstly the Auckland arrivals hall that :
"...can be a debacle. Sure, New Zealanders are proud they are a wool nation, but it doesn't mean tourists have to be herded into a sheep pen. If you can get through the baggage area in less than half an hour, think yourself lucky. And then you have to confront the nightmare of travelling into Auckland where a highway suddenly dissolves into a one-lane suburban street, prompting delays and further frustration."Both are major inconveniences - international travellers are well advised to allow for 60 minutes to clear baggage reclaim, get sniffed-out by a beagle and undergo customs and immigration formalities during busy periods at Auckland airport.
Once out of the terminal the Southwestern motorway abruptly discharges into the suburban streets of Epsom and nearby Mount Eden, before travellers jet-lagged and weary eventually find their way onto the Southern Motorway and into the haven of the CBD.
Talking of Mount Eden, Gowden dryly comments that the locals tell him that getting to and from Eden Park (venue for the final) is like escaping Alcatraz. Take a quick look at the google map for the area and you'll see why:
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Surely in a country with a little over 4 million inhabitants it's not unreasonable to find a little bit of space in which to move?
After writing about the not inconsiderable problems getting to the AMI stadium in Christchurch and being herded into cramped conditions in a press box with limited visibility (again there is that sheep anaology) Gowden delivered the now customary "great scenery, friendly locals" salve before the "Gunna Country" coup de gras:
"But a constant irritant is that New Zealand is the ''gunna'' country. They're gunna do this. They're gunna do that. They were doing it straight after being granted the World Cup. Politicians and officials were promising they would dramatically improve facilities, particularly accommodation, so visitors wouldn't have to sleep on park benches. What has happened? Not much.13 months out from the tournament things should be a lot better organised by now, isn't it long past the time to pull out the proverbial finger - before Gunna turns into Shudda.
Now they're saying fans will be berthed on ships, anchored offshore. Are they kidding? No wonder, when confronted by the exorbitant prices asked by the few hotels that have any rooms left, so many Australians believe it will be wiser to just travel over on game day, and take a flight home that night. New Zealand is better than this. We can only hope those who can make something change over the next 13 months get off their butts and sort it out."
If you have time it's well worth reading the whole article at the SMH, you can find it here "Kiwis must make room for improvement at world cup"
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