Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mike Lee's vision for the future of Fullers

Outgoing ARC Chairman Mike Lee is running for the Waitemata Council seat on the new Auckland Council. He has outlined his vision for the future of Fullers on his campaign blog:
Another concern which the island should be debating is our ferry services. Despite relatively high fares the island has had in general pretty good service from Fullers, the company founded by the visionary George Hudson in the 1980s. However with the long periods out of service of the QuickCat, SuperFlyte, the realisation is dawning that along with the Jet Raider these vessels are now past the expected economic life of a ship. And given that the recent owners’ (Infratil and now Scotland-based Brian Souter) main objective has been to extract as much profit from the Waiheke run as possible, there are no signs of interest in investing the significant amount of money needed to buy new ferries to cater for Waiheke’s needs for the next 20 years or so.

This should be a major concern for Waihekeans. We have some choices. We could lobby the Auckland Council and request that the new Auckland Transport Agency buys out Mr Souter and takes over Fullers. Or failing that we should think about as a community buying a new vessel ourselves. The new vessel or vessels could be owned by a Waiheke residents’ Trust and could even be run by a management company in turn also owned by such a trust. Or we could get Fullers to operate under a management agreement. I would also like the Rakino service currently run on a limited basis by Pine Harbour Ferries for a very handsome ARTA subsidy to be run as a regular twice a day feeder service to Matiatia and be run by a Waiheke or Rakino-based business.
I am open to ideas and would like Waiheke residents to think seriously about this issue.
Worth your vote, I reckon!

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