As a white middle class dude who likes to spend too much on clothes, I’m often shopping at Ballantynes. I probably pop in every week or two, just to keep an eye on what’s new, what’s good and most importantly, what’s on sale*. I wander in on my way home, or bike over on a Saturday morning. So I was pretty surprised when their new head said the idea that people would bike to his store – as I do – was “crackers”. Talking about the central city and the insatiable desire for car parking, new Chairman Bill Luff said:

The idea that people are going to use public transport and bikes is crackers.

Ballantynes wanted to appoint a visionary new chair, but instead they plumped for a guy who thinks the idea that people would walk, bike, or use public transport to visit his store is crazy. The store is literally across the road from the current bus exchange, and will be diagonally opposite the new bus exchange. Thousands of people go through there every day – maybe they could try and do something to attract some of that custom, rather than whinging and hoping the council stumps up for millions of dollars of infrastructure for their benefit. They have a privileged position in a pedestrian mall, which thousands of people walk through each and every day. Luff then pretty much issues threats to the council:

I come back to my old hobbyhorse. I’m not going to risk another cent of shareholders’ money unless we have some confidence that we have that infrastructure in place and that comes back to visitor car parking.

I’ll definitely be thinking twice before spending any money with a company who thinks so little of people who don’t drive an environmentally destructive Merivale tractor to get to their store.

* I haven’t bought much from Ballys for a while. The last thing I got was some Yeastie Boys beer that was stupid cheap because it was close to its us-by date. Their range has definitely suffered post-quake, and while I try and support them, it’s harder and harder when there is little that I like.

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