Lesser quality suburbs

By   /   February 25, 2016  /   15 Comments

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Auckland is fast becoming a gentrified city where more and more Maori, Pasifika and poorer families are facing the stark reality of having to leave the city to find affordable accommodation.

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I’ve heard people make some pretty shocking comments before and watching your show 5th Estate last night reminded me of how disconnected and selfish many people are in this city. One of your guests commented that some people in Auckland needed to accept that they would have to live in “lesser quality suburbs” to start off with. Yet after being pressed a number of times he wouldn’t name the suburbs he deemed to be lesser quality. I can only guess he was inferring to suburbs of low average incomes, a higher density of state housing and low decile schools. Perhaps he was talking about suburbs like Otara, Clendon or Manurewa?

I wonder if your guest is aware that you’d struggle to find a 3 bedroom house in Otara for less than $550,000. I wonder if your guest is aware that the average income in Otara is approximately $21,000. Quite frankly, I wonder if your guest is aware that people live outside of New Market? His presumption that most of us wanted to eventually end up in a 3 bedroom villa in Ponsonby was entertaining at best. The so-called Kiwi dream of owning your own house has been a red-herring for Pasifika communities for decades and the current housing crisis turns up the volume on that issue all the more. Adding further insult to the situation was Paula Bennett’s offer of financial support to Pacific families who wanted to relocate to Ashburton.
Auckland is fast becoming a gentrified city where more and more Maori, Pasifika and poorer families are facing the stark reality of having to leave the city to find affordable accommodation. All the while, the dear folk of our more leafy suburbs are crying foul that they might have to endure intensification in their backyards. The city is being geographically segregated on the basis of average income, life expectancy and health outcomes. That’s not the kind of city we want for future generations. An evolving, dynamic and thriving Auckland will cost – it’ll mean careful planning, compromise and a sea-view or two. But like Diwali, Pasifika and the lantern festivals that are celebrated in the central part of town, Auckland needs to embrace diversity at its core. Rather than leave it to the fringes that create these supposed “lesser quality suburbs.”

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15 Comments

  1. Brendon Harre says:

    Well said Efeso. Your voice as an articulate man speaking for your community and your generation needs to be heard in the heart Auckland.

  2. Olwyn says:

    I agree with this piece 100%. The high prices in the so-called desirable suburbs offer a marker as to what you can get away with, and prices go up everywhere else in concert. It sickened me a few months ago to see Key leering out of the TV – “People looking for their first home should go for apartments.” It was impossible to read it as anything other than a nod to “investors” – better get in quick mate. More dwellings are to be poured into the Ponzi scheme, and you don’t want to miss out.

    We would be a lot healthier as a society if just about all areas were able to accommodate a mixture of high through to low income people. As it is we are turning the entire city into a place where artists are driven out, workers can’t afford to live anywhere and managerial types prance around like celebrities, or like bower birds that have scored a pile of discarded Christmas decorations.

  3. Mike in Auckland says:

    Oh, and I thought the politicians were honest and right, when they went on about our “egalitarian society”.

    Take a stroll through the Viaduct Harbour developments, through Parnell, Newmarket and Remuera, and you can see the “more equal” ones that live in New Zealand.

    What happened, has the wealth not trickled down yet on you south of the Mangere bridge?

    Perhaps it rained money, but nobody noticed, so it was flushed away through the stormwater pipes?

  4. Kim dandy says:

    I think it’s called ‘sucking the life out of the city.’

  5. Pete says:

    That attitude is – We want you for your Diwali, Pasifika and lantern festivals and so we can say we are a ‘culturally rich’ city but as far as anything else? – bugger off out of sight please.

    • GettingOn says:

      Who’s going to clean the jacuzzi if all the poor people leave town?

    • darth smith says:

      Paula benefit wants to ship the poor masses off rural black holes so the wealthy s bubble world wont pop didn’t another group in 1940 single out a minority for deportation as well ???????

  6. saveNZ says:

    Totally disagree. The poor are being fed a line that if we relax urban standards & RMA then somehow someone will actually build them a house they can afford. Dream on!! The new houses are worth more than the old houses!! It costs more per square meter for an apartment and you have to pay body corp on it! The houses they are building are big, no one builds 100m2 they build 200m2 – houses cost more, because they are bigger and the monopoly in building construction by Fletchers.

    (Don’t worry Penny and Auckland Council and the government and productivity council are looking into it – yeah right)

    The poor are displaced for a range of reasons not the least because 64,000 migrants are coming in each year and all the property expenses are going up, rates, insurance, construction, BC levies, power, water etc.

    The “Blaming baby boomers against millennial” is just a rout and playing into the hands of the government.

    The National governments want inter generational division. Go to the protest marches for climate change and TPPA – more baby boomers there than youth for the most part!

    Most pacifica can’t afford to rent let alone get a deposit together for a home no matter how affordable. They are lucky to have a job, let alone guaranteed hours.

    And what about the government selling state houses, is that baby boomer’s fault too?

    P.s I am not a baby boomer and paid 11% compounding interest on my student loan!! Some of us did not even get free interest, let alone a free education, but I don’t blame baby boomers I blame Rogernomics and the Labour and National party!!

    P.s I would NEVER vote silver tongue Penny who voted to chop down the ancient tree in Titirangi on behalf of the developers who ringbarked it anyway. That is who she is working for, developers and oil speculators!

    • andrew murray says:

      @ save nz,

      I spent two years looking at this issue for a MA. I certainly agree with much of what you argue, however I don’t think you sufficiently address the issues of demand via investment bank money creation, prices will always rise to absorb spending power, even debt funded spending power.
      Secondly there is an issue of global citizenship via a new breed of neo- liberal super citizen. these are people who, through their wealth and skills, are able to live any one of a number of global cities. It is for these people that global cities are being deliberately gentrified and freed of the annoyance of poor people.

      Sorry these descriptions are unreasonably brief but I hope it conveys the idea.

      • saveNZ says:

        I have no problem with super citizens with wealth and skills migrating into NZ. However that is not who is migrating here. If you read the migrant tales, it tells of people offered citizenship here but have no relevant skills or can’t find a job. You used to have to pass an english test to live here, now don’t bother. (You don’t need to speak English if you don’t live or work here and are just a property investor). The so called skills shortages are pathetic here, chefs, Project managers and so forth. It seems that NZ companies can’t be bothered training any local people any more when they can get cheaper foreign labour in instead.

        http://skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz/assets/uploads/long-term-skill-shortage-list-2015-03-30-.pdf

        Once you have a passport, ageing parents can also settle here, other family members etc.

        In addition NZ is not attracting super migrants and they don’t really stay here – they are driven out by poor labour conditions and wages ! i.e.

        “Wellington Hospital lost its leading cardio-electrophysiologist, Dr Alejandro Jimenez Restrepo. Born in Colombia and trained in the US, Jimenez had arrived here in 2012 with his wife and young family, intending to settle permanently in New Zealand. Within two and a half years, he was gone.”

        http://werewolf.co.nz/2014/12/public-health-the-silent-crisis/

    • andrew murray says:

      @ save nz,

      I spent two years looking at this issue for a MA. I certainly agree with much of what you argue, however I don’t think you sufficiently address the issues of demand via investment bank money creation, prices will always rise to absorb spending power, even debt funded spending power.
      Secondly there is an issue of global citizenship via a new breed of neo- liberal super citizen. these are people who, through their wealth and skills, are able to live any one of a number of global cities. It is for these people that global cities are being deliberately gentrified and freed of the annoyance of poor people.

      Sorry these descriptions are unreasonably brief but I hope it conveys the idea.

    • andrew murray says:

      @ save nz,

      I spent two years looking at this issue for a MA. I certainly agree with much of what you argue, however I don’t think you sufficiently address the issues of demand via investment bank money creation, prices will always rise to absorb spending power, even debt funded spending power.
      Secondly there is an issue of global citizenship via a new breed of neo- liberal super citizen. these are people who, through their wealth and skills, are able to live any one of a number of global cities. It is for these people that global cities are being deliberately gentrified and freed of the annoyance of poor people.

      Sorry these descriptions are unreasonably brief but I hope it conveys the idea.

    • Waz says:

      An insightful post Savenz. Yes, let’s put the blame exactly where it should be, on the politicians and the 1%.

      I believe the boomer generation is hanging on for dear life to what they have because they perceive the consequences of low assets and income in modern New Zealand to be extreme. The safety net is far too close to the bottom of the cliff. That’s why National and Labour are getting away with not fixing the fundamental problems of our economy.

      Fixing things is going to require a massive upheaval, possibly as bad as Rogernomics, if not worse. The 1% will fight hard and dirty.

      http://www.commondreams.org/views/2012/01/26/how-swedes-and-norwegians-broke-power-1-percent

  7. Winnie says:

    And I’m sure Seymour and Whyte’s little ACT enclave (pun intended) of the Epsom electorate, is way out of the reach of poor people and young Kiwis wanting to buy a house.

    The electorate that supports the ACT Party, the original architects of Rogernomics, would certainly not be entertaining any high-density poor people housing there.

    The NIMBY attitudes certainly are supported by the party creating NZ’s worst ever inequality, National and its coalition of the damned. Interesting to hear Bill English say that if the NIMBY’s in Auckland did not adopt the unitary plan, the Government would step in and override and take control (like they did in Christchurch with CERA). Disaster politics at work again, but this time it’s a disaster looming for the do-nothing party – National and its damned coalition.

    So National will step in and force Aucklanders to accept 3 storey, high density housing in their elite suburbs? Will they force Epsom or Remuera or ex Jaapie North Shore voters to do this? No, it will be Otara, Clendon and Manurewa forced to ghettoize their suburbs, so that rich National-voting NIMBY Aucklanders can survey their 1/4 acres kingdoms over a croissant, a bri and a Maccona.

    National got their arse kicked by Winston in the Northland by-election. Key is about to get his arse kicked in the flag referendum. The electorate are sick to the back teeth of the Slime Minister, who thinks he is teflon-coated and nothing will stick to him. Time to resign and become New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Hawaii before it’s too late.

    National held on to Brash too long and look what happened to National then. It took 9 years to get back in. 108 months on the Opposition benches to get back in. Act now National and Ditch John Key.

    A PM who is booed everywhere he goes in NZ is a liability that the National party need to rectify. The emperor has no clothes, an empty smiling assassin that has ruined New Zealand in his three terms as PM.

  8. Winnie says:

    And I’m sure Seymour and Whyte’s ACT enclave (pun intended) of the Epsom electorate, is way out of the reach of poor people and young Kiwis wanting to buy a house.

    The ACT electorate most represents the self-absorbed, anti-social values of the NIMBY’s. ACT, the original architects of Rogernomics, would certainly not be entertaining any high-density poor people housing in Epsom. The market will not provide social housing in rich suburbs.

    The NIMBY rich in Auckland, are nurtured by the party creating NZ’s worst ever inequality, National and its coalition of the damned.

    Interesting to hear Bill English say that if the NIMBY’s in Auckland did not adopt the unitary plan, the Government would step in and override and take control (like they did in Christchurch with CERA). Disaster politics at work again, but this time it’s a disaster looming for the do-nothing party – National and its damned coalition. ADHD (Auckland Disaster Housing Department) will be spawned under Bill English and National.

    So National’s ADHD will step in and force Aucklanders to accept 3 storey, high density housing in their elite suburbs? Will they force Epsom or Remuera, North Shore or Ponsonby voters to do this? No, it will be Otara, Clendon and Manurewa forced to ghettoize their suburbs, so that rich National-voting NIMBY Aucklanders can breath a sigh of relief that JK’s party, supported by Richie, Brendan and Dan, are in charge.

    Well, National got their @rses kicked by Winston in the Northland by-election. Key is about to get his @rse kicked in the flag referendum. The electorate are sick to the back teeth of the Prime Sinister, who thinks he is so teflon-coated and nothing will stick to him. Time to resign and become New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Hawaii before it’s too late.

    Pretend it’s “for personal reasons and that Bronagh and Max are cumftbl with the family decision”.

    National held on to Brash far too long and look what happened to National then. It took 9 years to get back in. 108 months on the Opposition benches to get back in. 468 weeks to get back in. Over 3,000 days to get back into power. Nearly 200,000 hours to get back in. Nearly 12 million minutes in opposition when Key loses. Act now National and Ditch John Key.

    Ditch a PM who is booed wherever he goes in NZ and who is a National liability that the NACT hierarchy need to rectify.

    A PM who can no longer work with Maori because he would rather be seen at the Auckland 9’s wearing the fishy Lockwood flag on his shirt than attend Waitangi under a New Zealand flag or a Tino Rangatira Flag and explain TPPA to Maori on Te Tiriti o Waitangi Day!

    The National Party emperor has no clothes, an empty smiling assassin that has ruined New Zealand in his three terms as PM. Time to ditch John Key and his fishy flag.

    The National Party and the NACT coalition parties need to call a crisis meeting while there’s still time to invest in a fresh new leader to contest the 2017 election.

    12 million minutes in opposition to consider for National.