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Pirate Protest Targets Robbery On The High Seas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 24/10/08

Pirate Protest Targets Robbery On The High Seas

Commuters and ferry users coming down to the 7am and 8am sailings on Friday 31 October will be greeted by a band of pirates - but, in this instance, they will be able to part voluntarily with their Pieces of Eight!

The Campaign for Fair Ferry Fares (C4FFF) is striking a humorous note as it takes its latest protest to the High Seas. Members and their supporters will be dressed as pirates to draw the attention of commuters and ferry users to the issue of affordability, and to the continued price gouging by Fullers on the Waiheke ferry route.

C4FFF spokesperson Cathy Urquhart said: 'Our tagline is 'Robbery on the High Seas'. Many islanders do feel they are being robbed, or more accurately held to ransom as Fullers have a monopoly on getting to the CBD. The aim is to have a fun morning but to continue to point out that these fares are unaffordable for many people in the community.'

After the latest price increase of 12.7% in September of this year, and with news that oil prices have now dropped dramatically, C4FFF will be urging fellow commuters and the community to keep pressure on Fullers to agree to a reduction.

Cathy Urquhart said: 'Douglas Hudson, CEO of Fullers, has stated publicly that if fuel prices continued to go down, then they would take steps to reduce fares. Well, oil is now at its lowest level since mid 2006. We call on Fullers to make good on their promise to the community'.

C4FFF will also be alerting fellow islanders to the need to make submissions to ARTA during public consultation under the Public Transport Management Act, due to come into effect January 1 next year. Under the new Act, price controls could be imposed on the route or it could go out to open tender.

'We need to emphasise to ARTA that affordability is our key issue. Unlike other communities we have no alternatives for getting to the CBD. ARTA has maximum fare schedules in place but we need to ensure that these are within the reach of all islanders. Ideally, a monthly transport bill should not be more than 10-15% of income.'

The Robbery on the High Seas Pirate Protest will take place on Matiatia Wharf on Friday October 31, from 7-8am. A donation bucket will be at hand for those who wish to contribute their Pieces of Eight.

Ends

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