Political Caption Competition

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I will do as you wish master. I will run Wellington for you, your museums and any future project requiring vast sums of public money. You are my precious.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Thank god Andy Foster’s standing for Mayor! I don’t give a toss who’s supporting him. Also Diane Calvert and the others: anything to get that Lester fellow out.

    • Andy Foster has a good clean record on Town Belt issues. We fought commercial development of the Wgtn Town Belt in 1987 and 1984, and in 1987 a Wgtn City Councillor, Rex Nicholls, was actually one of the parties seeking to “develop” the Wellington Town Belt. They were massive battles, but the lungs of the city are now fairly well protected – just like Boston Common and London’s green spaces are.

      Presented with the surreal horror of Shelley Bay I started urging anyone who saw Foster to ask him to run for mayor again on Facebook, and I kindly provided details of where he does his supermarket shopping…

      The ex-Top Mayoral candidate looks good, but I’ll be voting for Andy Foster – and this could be the best thing that Peter Jackson has ever done in his life.

      • Snow White: “….Wgtn City Councillor, Rex Nicholls, was actually one of the parties seeking to “develop” the Wellington Town Belt.”

        I’m pretty sure that he is (or was) the partner of former mayor Kerry Prendergast (cliffghast, we called her in this household: a nod to Philip Pullman, whose books were being read by offspring at the time).

        During Mark Blumsky’s tenure as Mayor, we citizens also came out in force to protest against Variation 17, which allowed further building on the waterfront. We filled the old town hall, I recall: Prendergast (deputy Mayor at that stage) was there, looking as if she’d sucked on a lemon. It was one of aforementioned offspring’s earliest experiences of protest action by the citizenry!

        “…the lungs of the city are now fairly well protected…”

        I remember that battle. We watched most of it from afar, not returning to Wellington until the early 90s, when it was all but won. We were relieved at the outcome. We live fairly close to part of the Town Belt now, and it enhances the local environment in so many ways, not least the birdlife. Although we could live without the mountain bikers on our walking tracks there….

        “…the surreal horror of Shelley Bay…”

        Oh god….we can’t believe that anyone would be so goddamned STUPID as to even conceive of the notion of building there. It’s an insane idea. One doesn’t need to be an environmentalist to see what’s wrong with what’s been proposed.

        We’re very hopeful that, if Foster wins the mayoralty, the project will be canned.

        With regard to Shelly Bay and who owns which bits of it, I note that somewhere in the furore over Ihumatao, some Maori were claiming that Shelly Bay is stolen land. Not a bit of it; it was sold in 1839 by local Maori to the NZ Company as part of the Wellington block.

        Then in the 19th century, it was taken for defence purposes by the government, from the then pakeha owner. Anyone my age or older will remember the Air Force having a base there.

        Parts of the land were returned to the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, as part of their treaty settlement. And it was that entity which sold parcels of the land to the developer, Ian Cassels of the Wellington Company.

        If any Maori group wants to buy their land back and preserve it from development, all power to them. They’ll get no disagreement from Wellingtonians such as me. But let’s be having no further divisive nonsense about stolen or confiscated land.

        • D’Esterre – Yes, Rex Nicholls became the second husband of Kerry Prendergast and Kerry became Rex’s second wife. Ironically Kerry P chaired the WCC meeting I spoke to during the 1994 battle. Belich was mayor 1987, and Fran Wilde (thank goodness) 1994. We were well organised and hard working – I was doing Hons at VU, plus tutoring, and door knocking at nights, and petitions went in from O Bay and Mt Vic residents. Most of the Mt Vic work was done by three women, but time and again I’d knock at a door and someone would answer saying they were hoping someone would come around about it – but we had good turnouts at public meetings in O Bay and Mt Vic. National MP Bill Young was pretty good – Annette King – and Simon Collins recording everything so meticulously in City Voice. (That was the year my migraines started.)

          The Friends of the Town Belt was set up after the 1994 battle, and the residents and WCC are now on the same page, but as with most politicians,
          the bottom line is that they’re politicians and God knows who they represent.

          I thought of “occupying” Shelley Bay, but it’s too cold, and I’m too old – and folk sometimes shoot rabbits round there at night… Land ownership issues are interesting and often over-simplified – what was done to the Ngati Whatua at Orakei, was shocking, in terms of damaging a community. Plain outright bad.

          I have been reading Hugh Kawharu’s ” Orakei”, and inadvertently relating it to what is happening at Ihumatao, pondering whether Maori should also start laying claim to the lands which Kawharu records them as swiping from each other – Pakeha certainly weren’t the only land thieves.

          Shelley Bay, is from ChCh memories, similar to the topography around Red Cliffs and Sumner, so not the wisest choice with future earthquake issues – plus, of course, the sea. I think hunks of Redcliffs fell down onto Sumner, and Shelley Bay developers don’t have to worry about rising sea levels, they’ll have the money tucked safely away in their pockets by then.

          Jackson is correct comparing the proposals to soviet-style apartment blocks – they look like a lunatic’s been playing with Lego, soulless, and a brutal assault on a beautiful spot – if Pakeha can stop it, well and good.

          • Snow White: “….we had good turnouts at public meetings….”

            Heh! Yup: we’re in Khandallah, close to Mt Kaukau and the northern walkway. WCC has discovered that we’re a stroppy lot, not disposed to tolerate the idiocy of Council planners or developers and the like. Much of the protest action over various issues has been initiated by women, though all sorts of people turn out to public meetings and make their feelings known.

            “….what was done to the Ngati Whatua at Orakei, was shocking, in terms of damaging a community. Plain outright bad.”

            I couldn’t agree more. I was among many pakeha at the time who were firmly in support of Hawke and the occupiers. We had many a vigorous – er – airing of viewpoints about that issue in my workplace. The difference there was that the government owned the land, so was in a position to return it. Muldoon eventually saw sense, I recall.

            Unfortunately, the land in question at Ihumatao is privately-owned; thus the government cannot intervene. Were it to do so, it would put at risk all private property rights in NZ, Maori included. In my view, Ardern has already stepped into that situation, in a way that risks dragging the government down a dangerous rabbit hole. I’m surprised that she did: I’d expected wiser counsel to prevail.

            “….whether Maori should also start laying claim to the lands which Kawharu records them as swiping from each other…”

            And that’s exactly the rabbit hole to which I referred above, and down which we here do not need to be dragged. I’m well aware of much of that history, having done a fair bit of reading about NZ over the years. Though it appears to have been forgotten – or not known – by many of the protesters at Ihumatao.

            “Shelley Bay, is from ChCh memories, similar to the topography around Red Cliffs and Sumner, so not the wisest choice with future earthquake issues – plus, of course, the sea.”

            Not dissimilar to the Redcliffs area. When we lived in ChCh, we avoided buying there because of earthquake risks. Even without earthquakes, bits used reasonably often to fall off those cliffs.

            I wouldn’t want to be living in Shelly Bay during an earthquake: I wouldn’t trust the land above not to fall. Then there’s the sea: it’s a very low-lying area. I believe that surges are, even now, a bit of an issue at times. And the access road is appalling: narrow and winding, no room to widen or straighten it. The other major obstacle is infrastructure: water, stormwater, wastewater and sewage. Megabucks to install, I think, and pumps’ll be needed. Pumps break down: really bad idea for an area of that size.

            Our best hope is that common sense will prevail. Or the lack of the requisite cash will stop the project.

  2. Correction. 1987 and 1994 were the two big battles to save the Wellington Town Belt from predatory commercial developers.

    I will admit to anguish about the proposals for the trashing of lovely tranquil Shelley Bay by more ugly money grubbers hell-bent on despoiling mother earth, and Foster is now the man that Wellington needs.

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