What every Aucklander knew – the ‘Wellington Syndrome’

By   /   October 12, 2013  /   45 Comments

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NZs largest city is being purposely robbed of taxation revenue and is being underfunded, if we had a SuperCity prepared to flex its political muscle, we could push back against Wellington, the anger these stats should generate amongst Aucklanders should be focused and mobilized.

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Aucklanders know that the rest of the country despise us, we call it the ‘Wellington Syndrome’.

Wellington Syndrome
People in Wellington talk constantly about how much they dislike Aucklanders, dislike the way Aucklanders do everything and dislike the smell, taste and feel of anything from Auckland.

People in Auckland never waste time talking about Wellington. Ever.

This fetish with hating Auckland is heightened because Auckland doesn’t really give a stuff about what anyone anywhere else in the country is doing or saying about them – why? Because Auckland is far more interesting.

The rest of the country hates us and we don’t really ever care. But the latest research into how Wellington has screwed Auckland should wake some real anger at how Wellington has short changed the country’s largest city…

The NZIER report shows the Government spent an average of $7109 per person on social security and welfare in Gisborne, compared with $6756 in Northland, $5291 in Auckland and a national average of $5721.

Aucklanders received less than the national average for health ($3077 compared with $3311) and education ($2729 against $2854), but was $5 ahead of the game in transport and communications ($928 against $923).

…so not only do Auckland get currently underfunded, but this underfunding is on top of a historic agenda by Wellington to stymie Auckland growth and reign in our influence. There may however be a slither of hope in rectifying this blatant economic discrimination with the demolition of the Wellington political elite in the form of Cunliffe’s devastating win carried by Auckland.

Between June 1990 and June 2005, Aucklanders contributed $7billion into central government coffers from a fuel tax, road-user charges and motor vehicle fees, yet Auckland only got back a mere $3billion in transport-related expenditure. Pointing out the long history of Wellington robbing Auckland to stymie Auckland’s ability to pay for its own infrastructure is a fact, not some conspiracy.

NZs largest city is being purposely mugged of taxation revenue and is being underfunded, if we had a SuperCity prepared to flex its political muscle, we could push back against Wellington, the anger these stats should generate amongst Aucklanders should be focused and mobilized.

Being hated by the rest of the country is a base jealousy most Aucklanders can tolerate, but being robbed of the taxation needed to build the infrastructure that has been depleted due to historic underfunding is a offense that can’t be allowed to stand.

PS: I assume that Brian Rudman is also part of the ‘conspiracy’ claiming Wellington underfunds Auckland as well is he?

Or is it starting to dawn that it is indeed fact?

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45 Comments

  1. Raymond A Francis says:

    “Aucklanders know that the rest of the country despise us – ”

    And how ,apart from the figures supplied (ever heard of economy of scale) do you know this?

    Because the rest of New Zealand cares as much about Auckland as you care about us

  2. Pete says:

    Here in the south, I don’t pick up any genuine hate for Auckland. There is some resentment for the power that the city wields, but that’s just a function of demographics. The regions are hurting too, and while Auckland enjoys economies of scale, the kinds of services needed down south simply cost more. An MRI machine in Dunedin costs as much as one in Auckland and serves a clear need, but of course fewer people are going to use it. From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs.

    Curious, is it not, that the government has been led by Aucklanders for the majority of the past 35 years (Muldoon, Lange, Clark, Key) and yet they are ensnared in some conspiracy to subjugate the city.

  3. Donnelle says:

    Economy of scale?

  4. Kate Kate says:

    The super size me attitude is what annoys everyone outside of Dorkland. The conversation goes like this, Aucklander “my house is a zillion square feet”. Me “yawn”. Aucklander “I have a Beamer, boat and a Batch” me thinking OMG is this a Auckland mantra, or something, or are most of them just so used to this conversation with other Aucklanders they don’t realise how corny they sound. As for jealousy why would anyone be jealous of such fake conversations with fake people? I have no idea why anyone would WANT to live there. Auckland is the byproduct of money, which surprisingly smells like bullshit! All hair oil and no socks! Sounds like fun, not! Where the banks run the city rather than councillors. Where Aucklanders egos are more inflated than their house prices! Poor Auckland – not!

  5. James says:

    First sign of madness. Thinking that everyone is talking about you.

  6. Richard Christie says:

    ….the country hates us
    ….Being hated by the rest of the country
    ….Aucklanders know that the rest of the country despise us

    (*facepalm*)

  7. Kate Kate says:

    Besides where does the Biggus Dickus live – Jonky? Need I say more. Jonky was quite happy to tell the media that he had kicked Wellington in the guts and left it to die. And what about my hometown of Dunedin? Invermay, Hillside … this is the reason Cunliffe is spokesperson for regional development. Travel out of Auckland and you can see what is happening to the rest of the country, especially the South Island. The South Island is the heart and soul of this country with its abundant wildlife and amazing vistas. The hedonistic attitude of Aucklanders threaten the South with their rapacious drive to exploit it for more mineral wealth, oil, gas and milk! Stop turning the South into Mordor!

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      Besides where does the Biggus Dickus live – Jonky?

      Hawaii?

      The hedonistic attitude of Aucklanders threaten the South with their rapacious drive to exploit it for more mineral wealth, oil, gas and milk!

      I suggest you look to who’s actually doing that because it’s not Aucklanders. Last time I looked Bill English comes from Southland.

      • Kate Kate says:

        Look at the previous polling results in Auckland and you can see the economic segregation there. I have lived in Auckland for a time. But if you have lived there then you would have also experienced the underlying culture of greed that pervades the place. Although greed isn’t unique to Auckland, they have embraced it more so than any other place that I have ever lived. Auckland and its unjust set of economic principles are then used as a shining example for the rest of the country!

        • Draco T Bastard says:

          But if you have lived there then you would have also experienced the underlying culture of greed that pervades the place.

          I’ve found that everywhere I’ve lived in NZ.

          Auckland and its unjust set of economic principles are then used as a shining example for the rest of the country!

          That didn’t come from Auckland but from Wellington and the neo-liberal revolution that it staged against the rest of us.

      • Daveosaurus says:

        Last time I looked, Bill English came from Wellington.

  8. Rosie Rosie says:

    Geez, get over your precious selves! No one I have spoken to has ever expressed a jealousy of Auckland.

    If there is a funding inequality as you have reported, would it not be better to discuss this in a non emotive way instead of spitefully attacking “Wellington”? Instead you have potentially turned off readers who may be otherwise interested in this very valid topic. Talk about way to get people on side!

    As well as making a grand and false assumption that “People in Wellington talk constantly about how much they dislike Aucklanders, dislike the way Aucklanders do everything and dislike the smell, taste and feel of anything from Auckland”. You further alienate your readers by talking about “Cunliffe’s devastating win carried by Auckland”. So only Aucklanders are behind Cunliffe then? Can not every town and city around the country be behind Cunliffe? This statement suggests that Cunliffe’s leadership win is owned by Auckland and the applause for the win can’t be shared by all those members all around the country that voted for him. Geez guys, there would have been bubbly corks popping all over the countryside on that Sunday. It wasn’t Aucklands victory alone it was the whole country’s victory.

    My longest span of living in one city was in Auckland, its’ where I spent the bulk of my life to this point. It’s sad to see that this sometimes inflated sense of self held in the regions’ psyche still exists, if this article is anything to go by.

    It is disappointing that you’ve chosen to write in a provocative and divisive way when the left needs to be unified and share again a sense of camaraderie and solidarity if we are to reclaim our country and boot the Key govt out next year. We, all of us need to work hard to make this happen and there needs to be goodwill between us for that to be achieved.

    • The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury says:

      The second Auckland get’s what its due, you can get your good will. Screw the Beehive.

    • Rosie Rosie says:

      And to extend the hand of friendship to our Northern brothers and sisters I will provide a list of good thing about Auckland to demonstrate that not all Wellingtonians hate you:

      Waitakere Ranges and West Coast beaches
      Cornwall Park
      Nice noms
      Ferry rides
      Great hospitality from Westies of Dalmatian descent, and also from Pacific Island households of the South.
      Good TV drama being produced in Akld over the years: This Is Not My Life, Blue Rose, and from the wonderfully hilarious and talented Madelaine Sami, Super City.

      So cheer up and address the issue, not the imagined hate. Hugs.

      • The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury says:

        Goodness, 30 years of personal experience of Wellington hating Auckland must have all been one big imagination on my part and the decades of underfunding Auckland’s infrastructure while Wellington’s remains gold plated must be all one big misunderstanding.

        Auckland being a SuperCity of Poverty must also be a mistake – http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/09/03/auckland-the-super-city-of-poverty/

        Silly us.

        • Rosie Rosie says:

          Come on Martyn, this sarcasm doesn’t suit you.

          No one, who knows Auckland, would deny the sheer level of poverty that exists there. I eventually got out because I could not afford to live there and took on considerable to debt to get out. I worked within the community sector and witnessed the downhill slide back in the mid 2000’s. TDB has published good articles on the work of AAAP , readers will have gained a feeling of the desperation of those living in a city that has a housing crisis and higher cost of living than elsewhere. Even the MSM discusses the poverty within Auckland. People know and people care – no need to take it out on “Wellington” or the rest of the country.

          Do you think that it’s Wgtn born and bred policy writers that are intentionally bringing your city down when a good chunk of poli’s in parliament are representative of Auckland, including as its been pointed out, several PM’s?

          You know that CHCH is suffering too, people left behind by our govt in their time of crisis.

          Wellington isn’t gold plated as you say. We have increasing homelessness and have recently opened our first womens night shelter. In my last job I dealt with the lowest paid and most marginalised of our region. I heard the stories day in day out. Every region is suffering in NZ, and I understand that Auckland may be disproportionately represented in the stats but don’t take it out on us, and don’t think you are alone.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      No one I have spoken to has ever expressed a jealousy of Auckland.

      And yet we’ve seen it across the blogs and in the MSM.

      If there is a funding inequality as you have reported, would it not be better to discuss this in a non emotive way instead of spitefully attacking “Wellington”?

      We’ve tried that, pointing to the actual figures – didn’t work.

  9. dwnats says:

    What the other parts of NZ don’t seem to understand is that a lot of people are locked in the city by poverty, and the lack of manufacturing jobs elsewhere–like there used to be. In addition, some of us don’t want to live in a city, but have no way to move outside. Those people who have been born to rural land or small towns are the lucky ones, to have started life in the countryside. I believe rural industry and manufacturing are to be supported instead of closed down by the Wellington servants to international commerce. For example: adoration of The Red Shed– importation of cheap crap that undercut the production of quality NZ goods, and advertising that told us–buy more cheap stuff–look rich, don’t buy NZ made, give your money to Asia. Believe me, I admire the rural NZ, and wish the residents there knew how many Aucklanders wish they were you.

  10. adam white says:

    Sheesh Martyn, You gotta get out of the central city sometimes bro. Come out west, were the sun does shine and the trees do grow. Yeah were underfunded, and yeah the super-city has proven to be a bloody stupid idea – it came from the ACT party what do you expect.

    I hate to say most of what your talking about Auckland is not a city v city thing. I think it’s racism and class. Yeap that old chestnut – here in Auckland we have the majority of Pacific islanders in the country and yes we have a huge Maori population – and guess what – most are hard working and in low paid jobs. The young adults in those groups are being shafted the most by current policies. And bugger me – if the class divide is not here as well. The majority of working poor – Auckland, The majority of working people struggling – Auckland.

    While Auckland has been able to absorb a lot because of immigration and economies of scale – Martyn is right – that absorption is over – and unless money and a lot of money is plunged into this city – the wheels are going to come off fast.

    And if the wheels come off Auckland, the whole Country suffers.

    • Danyl Strype says:

      The wheels are going to come off Auckland pretty much no matter what we do. Where are 1 and a half million people packed onto a relatively tiny isthmus going to get their food from as oil declines? When the false plateau created by fracking and tar sands and other ultimately doomed tactics for propping up the oil-driven economy ends, and energy descent really kicks in, large numbers of Aucklanders will realise what the rest of us realised a long time ago: the SuperCity is a totally unsustainable time bomb, waiting to go off.

      Mind you with a more realistic population, food production integrated with living/ working space (eco-neighbourhoods like Earthsong, not more fucking apartment buildings for human battery hens), and a network of free ferries connected with bus/ light rail lines from the coast to inland destinations, it could be quite a nice place to live.

      • Draco T Bastard says:

        Cities are the result of improved productivity. Auckland will remain, it will also remain a centre of industrialisation and art. Same with Wellington and other cities. Getting food into them really won’t be a problem.

  11. Ed says:

    These statistics alone don’t mean anything. The disparity in social security and welfare spending could quite possibly be explained by looking at the demographic differences between Auckland and other districts which may receive more funding. ie. an older population in rural NZ is of course going to require more government support.

    Rather than ranting about how Auckland is not getting as much pudding as the rest of us how about giving a bit more context as to where the shortfalls are in relation to everyone else, surely that would be a better way of getting people to see things from your point of view.

  12. Andrea says:

    Woohoo! Tinfoil hat time!

    Is there a trend with these numbers?

    Are those Aucklanders who sneer about ‘Wellington bureaucrats’ (frequently heard) actually asking The Dying City for ‘help’?!

    I’m shocked.

    That it should come to this…

  13. PB says:

    Uh, cities don’t do anything. People do.

    And those numbers, don’t they just indicate there is more need for welfare and gisborne, per head, than Auckland? If they are underspending per person actually receiving welfare – give me those figures.

    So,
    “Although that was 32 per cent of a national spend of $79 billion, it was against Auckland’s 34 per cent share of New Zealand’s population.

    Each Aucklander received an average of just $16,839 – a figure exceeded by every region except Tasman in the South Island, where $16,555 was spent on each resident.”

    Doesn’t this just indicate there is a far greater proportion of Aucklanders not consuming many government resources – Ie, the logical extreme of private wealth in akld is counterbalancing these stats? Which is why Tasman, well to-do retreat, is the region to top our largest city.

    so really this is just a lazy weekend rark up in an Auckland paper, and you’ve kinda jumped n it like an Aucklander who DOES complain about Wellington a lot, and therefore fallen into the “bloody Wellington, taking our tax dollars” meme so typical of the NZ elite and intendant class. Which was exactly what the article was pitched towards.

    For me, it’s this sort of reactionary posting is what dilutes the Daily Blog’s quality and standing.

  14. Dave says:

    Wellingtonians hate Auckland because we’re jealous of their systemic underfunding. Do you read these before they’re posted?

    It’s economies of scale, by the way.

  15. Chris Miller says:

    The only time I think the slightest thing negative about Auckland is when Aucklanders start accusing everyone else in the country of being jealous of them, and it’s the same of a hell of a lot of other people I know. Big cities aren’t for me, other people love them. People should live where they want to live. As for funding inequalities – it’s our biggest city. People have very conflicting ideas of what that should mean for spending (eg more roads vs better public transport, sprawl vs urban density, encouraging more growth there vs achieving balance in the rest of the country) and it’s quite possible that that conflict leads to confusion and mismanagement. I’d be extremely surprised if anyone with any influence was deliberately trying to underfund AUckland though. That’s a little paranoid.

  16. Daniel says:

    Auckland has enough wealth accumulation to sort there own problems out … capital gains tax anyone?

  17. Interesting discussion / reactions to the blog today Martyn. I use the same process in my head to compare average house sale prices in Auckland to those around the rest of the country. When you look at those houses actually selling the average price is always higher as those at the top end of the income field have the money to buy the more expensive houses. Same with welfare and social support. When more of the top earners are located in Auckland than elsewhere the rate per head will always be lower. As has been commented several times it’s economy of scale, nothing else.

  18. Marc says:

    Sad this is, divisions exist, but do not need to be incensed further by creating frictions between the provinces and urban centres, between Wellington and Auckland, between South Island and the North Island. Perhaps a look at some raw data gives a better picture of the real economy and importance of Auckland:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1307/S00387/aucklands-housing-market-boosting-wider-economy.htm

    Scoop, from 15 July 2013:

    “Auckland’s housing market boosting wider economy

    Strong house price growth across the Auckland region is boosting other parts of the economy including construction, finance and real estate industries, according to latest economic figures for the region in the first three months of this year.”

    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/theaucklandplan/economicdevelopmentstrategy/Documents/economicquarterly2013april.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland_City

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10876754

    http://businessaucklandnz.com/invest/economic-development

    So Aucklanders do on average earn more than the rest of New Zealanders, but they also have to pay heaps more for housing, rents and so forth.

    Indeed one has to ask also, is much of the economic “growth” not simply based on the domestic real estate market, having led to more lending and borrowing, more inflated house prices, more “services” delivered by the finance sector, a bit more construction and what comes with it? Services are delivered mainly to the local market, it seems, and at least some provinces would earn much more export earnings per capita than Auckland, I suspect.

    Also the port of Auckland is primarily an import port, meaning it caters largely for the consumption of the local market, rather than exporting products overseas.

    It seems that the size of Auckland gives it the weight and importance, but as for actual productivity and value of services and products generated in Auckland, a closer scrutiny is needed, to get a clear picture.

    Wellington has always benefited a bit from being the place where government is centred, but I do not think that Auckland is as hard done by as Martyn feels.

    Personally I would not mind leaving Auckland, but living on a meagre benefit (due to health reasons) has kept me in a “trap” here, out of which it’s hard to get.

  19. Ben says:

    That’s it I’m done, I’ve commented on your ludicrous attacks on generation zero and your opposition for the Greens standing in Auckland but this has gone too far. I have to wonder if you substitute out Wellington and Auckland for Washington and Texas if you’re blog would read too differently to secessionist movements. Also, while we’re on the topic you’re cherry picking evidence Auckland received 75% of transit New Zealand funding a few years back(LTNZ figures are harder to locate). Even if your statement is true why would Wellington be envious of receiving lower amounts of government expenditure?

    I’m from Christchurch and while I too get sick of the hating of Aucklanders its comments like this that led to Aucklanders complaining about their taxes funding the Christchurch rebuild. This is not the egalitarian principles the left stands for, it’s the politics of division promoted by the right.

    • The Daily Blog martyn says:

      If pointing out that Generation Zero are just a middle class sort to gain taxpayer dollars, I won’t miss any sleep by you leaving.

      You ignore the 1990s and the billions taken from Auckland from its infrastructure development and you miss the decades before that where Wellington has done all it can to stymie Auckland’s growth.

      Pointing out that Auckland is a SuperCity of Poverty and that it has been underfunded by Wellington for decades is a statement of fact, and are actually the very egalitarian principles the left stands for.

  20. Danyl Strype says:

    One way to fix your city could be to de-corporatize the public organisations, and instead run them as multi-stakeholder co-ops, with a governing body made up of representative from the different kinds of people involved, particularly workers and service users.

    From: http://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/oct/10/coop-brands-collaborative-complications
    >> For example, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing , which since 2012 has had responsibility for Rochdale council’s housing stock, has been structured as a membership organisation, open to both tenants and staff. Tenants (15 representatives) and staff (eight) make up the bulk of the 31-strong representative body, which in turn appoints the majority of the board of directors. <> Auckland doesn’t really give a stuff about what anyone anywhere else in the country is doing or saying about them – why? Because Auckland is far more interesting. <<

    This kind of sentiment is what gives rise disparaging nicknames like JAFA. We like to pretend we don't give a stuff about you lot either, but actually we probably do, and you probably do too 😛

  21. Danyl Strype says:

    Divide and rule. Does hyping up minor squabbling between people from different parts of the country help us unite against parliamentary supremacy, which affects kiwis everywhere (including those living on the West Island)? I think not.

  22. The Daily Blog martyn says:

    I’m glad my post has aroused so much spite. The point some here are claiming is that this is all a case of economy of scale.

    Nonsense.

    Economies of scale do not explain the following…

    Although that was 32 per cent of a national spend of $79 billion, it was against Auckland’s 34 per cent share of New Zealand’s population.

    If this was just a case of economies of scale, that doesn’t explain that Auckland is a full 2% lower in resource than the population base.

    How about Wellington give Auckland its 34% and then you can bitch about economies of scale.

    The underfunding of Auckland’s infrastructure is historic, in the 1990s Auckland was underfunded by billions and that’s on top of the previous underfunding of the city.

    This all adds to the unique poverty issues Auckland faces.

    The reality that many on this thread refuse to accept is that Auckland HAS been underfunded for decades and decades and that the only way to force Wellington to change its position is to fight for it.

    Wellington ain’t going to do Auckland any favors unless Auckland forces Wellington to do it.

    • Spite? A useful (thank you), discussion on a fascinating subject is more the vibe I get. Even if it did begin as a vigorous dig in the ribs. No offense but maybe you live in a somewhat rarefied atmosphere? One would need to be in possession of a mean spirit to tar us all with the same brush, even if it were momentarily.

  23. lloyd jordan says:

    How about saying the beehive rather than wellington, most wellingtonians have nothing to do with any disparity in funding, wellington continues to battle the beehive to pay rates on all government owned property in wellington.

  24. Caleb says:

    “$7109 per person on social security and welfare in Gisborne, compared with $6756 in Northland, $5291 in Auckland and a national average of $5721”

    Yes, this is clearly a conspiracy by those over-privileged Gisborne and Northland people taking advantage of their so-called ‘poverty’ to steal money from those hard-working Aucklanders who we should be thanking for providing so much tax revenue.

    This is literally the exact same logic as Pakeha people complaining about “the Mowries getting too much.”

    And pointing to the poverty problems in Auckland (as you are repeatedly doing instead of actually answering people’s critiques) is just the same as pointing out that there are poor white people too. Yes, there are, but that doesn’t mean you can deny that Auckland people are on average privileged compared to the rest of the country. Poor people in Auckland and elsewhere need government support, and there’s nothing in the article you cite to show that Auckland poor people get less support than poor people elsewhere.

    Instead of cherry-picking statistics and leaving crucial gaps in information/logic to support the unsubstantiated axe you want to grind, how about a statistic comparing North/East Auckland incomes and funding (it’s probably similar to Wellington), and West/South Auckland incomes and funding (it’s probably similar to Northland/Gisborne).

    • The Daily Blog martyn bradbury says:

      Between June 1990 and June 2005, Aucklanders contributed $7billion into central government coffers from a fuel tax, road-user charges and motor vehicle fees, yet Auckland only got back a mere $3billion in transport-related expenditure. Pointing out the long history of Wellington robbing Auckland to stymie Auckland’s ability to pay for its own infrastructure is a fact, not some conspiracy.

      If you wish to ignore the reality that there is deeply entrenched poverty in Auckland, that’s fine, but to claim the numbers are being cherry picked is a real slap in the face to those Aucklanders. I am pointing the finger at Wellington for making the decisions, not at the provinces.

  25. The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury says:

    I assume that Brian Rudman is also part of the ‘conspiracy’ claiming Wellington underfunds Auckland as well is he?

    Or is it starting to dawn that it is indeed fact?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11140617