An interesting link to our site today, and a classification I didn’t know we had – it seems that Eye of the Fish has been ranked at 51st in the latest nz political blogosphere rankings on the tumeke! website. Initially I was excited: and then confused, and then: moderately proud. Isn’t that a sort of back-handed compliment like “fourth most popular folk comedy duo“? Of course, if we had the kind of cult following that Bret and Jemaine do, we’d be well stoked. Still, while we’re a fair bit away from position #1 : David Farrar’s rightwing Kiwiblog with 7000 daily visitors (never heard of it myself), or #2 : public address, by Russ Brown et al (3000 daily visitors), we’ve got a more reasoned 100 daily visitors, which is not bad for our more narrow focus on “urban life, design, architecture in Wellington“. We’re probably not getting that many visitors from Auckland, or Azerbijian, or much in between, but hey – we’re not far behind John Keys – his blog is just 8 places ahead of us, at #43, with 160 visitors a day: and presumably he’s meant to be appealing to the whole country! And we’re ahead of Bill English (#57), the Maori Party (#84 with 60 visitors a day), and United Future’s blog “When Peter Dunne talks, people listen” (umm, Peter, at position #112 with very few visitors, perhaps you may want to re-think your slogan…). Still: if you want us to rise higher in importance than other minor polititians and political parties, then please link our site to your blog too! Who know, perhaps one day we’ll even beat Rodney Hide (but not at dancing).  

But enough self-indulgent puffery. We’re amused and bemused, but not bewildered that we have been ranked as a political website. But its not Party politics we’re talking here – it shows that debate about housing, roading, transport, and yes, even good design are all Political too. And probably the biggest political news here in Wellington this week is that once more the much-rumoured Transmission Gully reared its ugly head once more, with a Dom Post front page story one day “Gully route breakthrough” saying that it was highly likely (or certainly more highly likely than it was before – which was not very much at all). Quote of the month from our beloved afore-mentioned Peter Dunne (yes, he of the snide lip curl, curious hair curl, and unpopular blogsite) regarding the Gully was “This now really says, look, it’s all go“. D’oh ! Spoke too soon there, Peter – today’s headline says “Leaders see Gully Funding hurdles” and by that they are referring to a mere half billion dollar shortfall, and a complete lack of political will to tax the ratepayers to provide that shortfall. That lack of interest is especially notable from Wellington City Council, whose Mayor Kerry Prendergast has intimated that the Gully route is low on her list of priorities, and that she wants to get the City running smoothly first. Perhaps it is more realistic to say that the Gully is a pipe dream for the long distance commuters, and that a finished road will probably never see the light of day.  

Why? Well apart from the money, or lack of, there is the simple fact of it being steeper, and steep for longer (3 times longer) than the Ngauranga Gorge, so its never going to be that popular for trucks. They’ll always take the shortest, simplest route that they can. Coupled with that, it has to cross twisty earthquake faultlines, it has a route on shifty unstable soil, is 27km long through farmland, and more beside: but ultimately is doomed to failure through tolling. How so? Well, faced with a choice between a Toll Road, or a non-Toll Road, my hunch is that the average motorist will not be that keen to pay another $5 or $10 per day on top of the petrol bill, and enough will avoid it for it to make a huge loss. The other option would be for the ‘authorities’ to lump a toll on both the Gully and the Gorge – and guess how popular that would be! They’ll be driving en masse down through Khandallah’s Onslow Road in protest – and that’s really not going to help matters either. So in the mean time, I’m lumping it with Mother Goose and other fables, and will concentrate more just on our city by the sea, and getting there on public transport.