Stop whining Deb

Waiheke Island’s new ferry operator says it cannot keep offering pensioners free passage without sharing a subsidy the Government pays its competitors.

The Explore Group says it will serve notice next week of an intention to charge fares for holders of SuperGold cards, most of whose travel at weekends and after 9am on weekdays on the rival Fullers passenger and Sealink car-ferry operations is reimbursed by the Government.

Explore chief executive William Goodfellow said older passengers, who had received free trips on his vessels since they started on the Auckland-Waiheke run in late October, would receive a grace period “of weeks rather than days” before having to buy tickets.

But after that, they would have to pay $16 for a one-way fare or $29 for return passage.

“The reason we have accepted them to date is that we believed we’d get a fair outcome from the Ministry of Transport for the whole SuperGold Card scheme,” Mr Goodfellow told the Herald.

“We’re doing it simply out of goodwill, because we thought fairness would prevail, but it obviously hasn’t.”

He was referring to a moratorium the Government has imposed against new services joining the SuperGold travel concession scheme while it is being reviewed to ensure its costs “remain sustainable.”

The government turned off a leaky tap. ?And the free taxpayer money rort has come to an end. ?So now?William Goodfellow and Deb are running a nice campaign with the Herald to put pressure on the Government; ?to be “fair”.

Listen up William – you knew the business conditions going into this. ?The goal posts haven’t changed. ?There is no taxpayer money for you. ? I presume you’ve hit the wall getting the money by approaching the various agencies directly, but now you’ve run to the paper to try and get the public on your side with a nice grey haired old lady.

And Deb, if you like?The Explore Group enough to shill for them in the paper, then cough up the money. ? If they run a good enough service, people will be willing to pay the difference.

You might have noticed the public didn’t like their money being given to SkyCity. ?Well, they don’t have any sympathy for you and your?The Explore Group mates. ?If money is an issue, use the other crowd. ?If you want to support?The Explore Group, pay up.

But get your nasty claws out of the taxpayer’s wallet. ? ?Because if it’s “fairness” you are after, I think the whole taxi industry could claim they need some when competing against subsidised buses and trains.

Lobby government for change if you must, but stop selling sob stories to the ever compliant NZ Herald.


– Matthew Dearnaley, NZ Herald