My private holiday in China – mainly because of the Queens Wharf crisis proved to be more of a working holiday than I had originally anticipated. In fact at one stage I seriously considered returning to Auckland. However, with Cr Walbran and Peter Winder at the helm I was reassured the Council was in safe hands. Nevertheless, I maintained a continuous communication stream via text and phone with Paul and Peter and where appropriate to Minister McCully and the Prime Minister.
Though I paid my own way to China I did undertake some official duties, notably by attending the World Expo at Shanghai on the occasion of the NZ National Day on which I attended a number of official events and had occasion to have a discussion with the Prime Minister at the NZ Pavilion (which by the way was excellent). The meeting was useful because I was able to make my case directly to the PM without intermediaries, to look him in the eye and assure him that ARC was sincere and absolutely committed to a sustainable solution on Queens Wharf. I was also able to give him a copy of our council agenda for 6 July which included Peter Winder’s detailed report and the complete correspondence record between the ARC, NZHPT and the Minister for Rugby World Cup.
Reading the newspapers on my return and discussing the matter with Paul Walbran and Peter Winder I have become absolutely convinced that it was the Prime Minister who stepped in and was instrumental in persuading Minister McCully to accept the sensible compromise choices offered by the ARC acting chairman Paul Walbran and CEO Peter Winder at their meeting of 13 July. Therefore, I believe the meeting in Shanghai proved to be extremely helpful in settling what shaped to be one of the biggest crises faced by the ARC during our six year term of office.