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Pocket Raider Sails In Waiheke Santa Parade!


Pocket Raider Sails In Waiheke Santa Parade!

The Campaign for Fair Ferry Fares (C4FFF) will be spreading a humorous Christmas message in this year’s Waiheke Santa Parade on 13 December. The group is making an anti-monopoly statement with its float, Pocket Raider, a bevy of Fair Ferry Fare Fairies, an Infratil character covered in monopoly money, and the Infratil beauty queen, Ms Monopoly.

C4FFF is winding up 2008 with a strong statement about Waiheke’s current predicament, which leaves the community at the mercy of a large monopoly when it comes to price setting on the main ferry route. Although Fullers and its parent company Infratil announced a temporary reduction in some fares (for December and January only), C4FFF spokesperson Dr Cathy Urquhart says it’s not nearly enough.

‘The price of Brent crude is now $45 a barrel, and diesel $1.20 a litre. These are fuel prices not seen since 2005. When we consider that the monthly pass was $260 in April 2006, it’s clear that Infratil share holders will receive the Christmas bonus, while ferry passengers get the scraps.’

Dr Urquhart says it is urgent that Fullers introduce fair and transparent ferry fares for the long term, especially given the disastrous impact the higher fares are having on the Waiheke community and local businesses.

‘A month by month approach is a regular reminder that we are at the mercy of a monopoly who can put up fares on a whim. We need Fullers to enter into a long term, transparent relationship with commuters where pricing is well understood and seen to be fair to the community.

Dr Urquhart also commented, ‘Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard has publicly said that businesses should be passing on the savings in these hard times. With the sharp decline in oil prices, and the falling interest rates, we want to see Infratil and Fullers playing their part.’

The Waiheke Santa Parade will take place on Matiatia Wharf on Saturday 13 December, starting at 3pm, and proceeding through Oneroa Village.

2009 Campaign
2009 will also mark a change of direction for C4FFF, which will move to a long-term strategy of consultation with ARTA and elected politicians for a fairer and more affordable pricing regime under the Public Transport Act.

C4FFF is meeting with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and Hauraki Gulf councillor Denise Roche on Monday 22 December and is also in contact with ARTA and Mike Lee.

The group is planning a public meeting on Waiheke on Sunday 15 February next year and Dr Urquhart is urging the local community to attend.

‘We know that islanders are concerned about a range of important issues at the moment, from fair ferry fares to wheelie bins and cell towers. The price of ferry travel affects our social and economic well being and is jeopardising our community long term. So please make a New Year’s resolution to come to the meeting and join our campaign!’

People wishing to join C4FFF can email: campaign4fairferryfares@gmail.com


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