Democratic Socialism From The Ground Up? Not In Neale’s Backyard.


IF YOU WANT to understand what’s rotting the Labour Party’s political soul, read Neale Jones’ latest posting on The Spinoff.    A really good novelist would struggle to create a more self-characterising narrator than Neale. With refreshing candour, he pours scorn on all the elements of participatory democracy and heaps praise upon the crushing power of the centralised state.

As Chief-of-Staff to both Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern, we can only assume that Neale ticks all the boxes of the contemporary Labour Partyapparatchik. As the current CEO of the PR/Lobbying firm, Capital Government Relations, it is equally safe to presume that he knows his way around the capital city’s power grid. In short, Jones is the very model of a modern Labour mover-and-shaker.

Which is why we should all be very worried.

Neale’s posting is all about the Wellington City Council’s spatial plan and to what degree it will clear the path for wealthy property developers to bulldoze the capital city’s architectural heritage into a pile of rubble. Not that he puts his case quite that bluntly. Rather than present himself as the friend of soulless high-rise property development, he has cast himself in the role of the poor and downtroddens’ fearless champion. The homeless must have homes, and Neale is adamant that the same beneficent state that gave us Kiwibuild, is going to provide them with shelter from the storm.

And who, do you suppose, is the villain in this local government morality play? That’s right! It is none other than our old friend “Nimby”. Those ageing, selfish, well-heeled, owners of Wellington’s architectural history, whose lovingly maintained homes make Wellington the finely-cut cultural gem New Zealanders so admire. It is these, the not-in-my-backyard Baby Boomer bastards, who have dared to object to the idea of replacing the city’s rich housing heritage with buildings that look like the boxes the buildings that should have been constructed came in.

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Worst of all – from Neale’s perspective – Nimby is winning! All these devilish defenders of antique weatherboard and roofing iron; red-brick, stained-glass and ceramic tiles; are defeating the forces of concrete and steel by arming themselves with  – of all things! – the instruments and processes of democracy. And, boy! does that make Neale mad.

This is how he describes the way the Wellington City Council’s planning process used to work:

“It’s fair to say that until recently Wellington City Council planning processes had not been a subject of fierce public debate. The council would put out consultation documents, residents’ associations and a few local government anoraks would respond and nothing would ever change. Property values rose regularly, home owners’ views and amenity were protected. Capital gains were leveraged and property portfolios built. From the perspective of home owners, the system appeared to be working well.”

Those “home owners” – just in case you were wondering – comprise the overwhelming majority of Wellington’s ratepayers. So, yeah, the system was working exactly the way democratic theory says it should work.

And, just in case you missed it, note the use of the word “anoraks”. Clearly, any citizen who takes an interest in the life of their city is some sort of sad obsessive; someone urgently in need of getting a life. Isn’t it great to know how Labour’s movers-and-shakers view the active citizen? Apparently, only the CEOs of PR/Lobbying firms are allowed to influence the outcomes of official decision-making processes. CEOs and Big Government. Because Neale was just getting warmed-up with his snide reference to anoraks.

Try this on for size:

“The evidence around the world shows that local government is structurally unable to stand up to nimbyism. Low voter turnout heavily favours existing property owners, leaving councillors too exposed politically. Public consultations are dominated by vested interests: those who suffer the most from housing shortages are the most transient, the least engaged. The answer is for central government to simply force councils to allow more housing.”

Hooo-weee! Ain’t that a doozy? The answer is for central government to simply force councils to allow more housing. Neale wants the full force of the state to be brought to bear against anyone – Nimbies, anoraks and city-councils alike – who dares to get in the way of “the most transient” and “the least engaged”. (Although, if you think about that for a minute, you’d have to question how, in the absence of full-on political organisation, the transient and the least engaged could ever get themselves in a position where anybody needed to get in their way.)

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t all good socialists be cheering Neale on at this point? Isn’t Labour supposed to be the party that brings the power of the state to the aid of the poor and needy? Well, yes, it surely is. Unfortunately, this Labour Government does not contain the modern day equivalent of John A. Lee, or Mickey Savage, or Peter Fraser. All we’ve got is Phil Twyford, “Jacinda” and Grant Robertson – which isn’t quite the same thing!

No. Neale’s solution has very little to do with the democratic socialism of the 1930s and 40s. The Labour Party of the Twenty-First Century isn’t about organising the poor and the marginalised into a mass political movement capable of taking over city councils and winning majorities in Parliament. It’s about clearing the way for private enterprise to make its profits. And if that means clean-bowling people’s homes to make way for high-rise apartments: dwellings in which you may be very sure the “transient” and “least engaged” will never set foot; then so be it.

I’ll tell you what, though. I could be persuaded to change my mind. If Neale was to give up his CEO’s job at Capital Government Relations, and become a community organiser dedicated to seating the transient and the least engaged at those City Council planning hearings. If he could rope-in the country’s best and most progressive architects to work with the poor and downtrodden in designing the sort of housing they would like to live in. And, if those same poor and downtrodden – now with something to vote for – could be persuaded to cast their ballots for candidates pledged to building those houses. Well, then I would know that Labour’s soul has not rotted away, and that its movers-and-shakers are moving and shaking for somebody other than the rich and powerful.

Otherwise …..



  1. Well said Chris, and about time people faced up to the fact that labour party, like pretty much every other left leaning party across the western world has been co-opted by rich and powerful to adhere to greed – opps forgot the pc word – profit.

    Greed, a desire never fulfilled no matter how much you get. A destructive part of our nature, one which so starkly on display by Neale in his post on the spinoff – no matter how much magniloquence he throws at us.

  2. Neale is just another wellington elite that just wants to control and thinks he has all the solutions to everything. He only pretends to care about democracy as long as people vote the way he agrees with.
    His focus should be on the failings of the current govt- especially the vaccine roll out abomination.

    • Adding the unbridled arrogance displayed in todays Labour announcement on their proposed Hate speech legislation, my question is will it be Winston or David Seymour who holds the balance of power at the next election ? Winston wont go with Labour twice & the nightmare scenario for Labour & National is that it both NZF & Act could together form a significant bloc representing the disaffected “deplorables” – who might now be many of us

  3. Great post Chris. Thanks.

    As a committee member of a Residents Association here in Auckland I can only agree. On a regular basis now, we’re having to fight proposals from developers that should have been knocked back by the Council’s internal process because they drive a coach & horses through the unitary plan. Why have a unitary plan if it’s going to be ignored?

    Often we use our confidential informants within Council to find out about development proposals otherwise the first thing we’d know about them would be the arrival of the piling machine on site. This is because the default position of the Council is too often that developments are ‘non notifiable’.

    Typically it’s a ‘Chinese Developer’ who wants to build a monstrous multistory apartment block on a site zoned as ‘single house’ in a quiet street. Sometimes there are mature native trees on the section that are mysteriously poisoned or sawn down, thus allowing for more expansive construction. On one occasion, in Takapuna, there was evidence of bags of cash being offered to neighbours to lubricate the approval process.

    My impression is that it’s a case of ‘graft meets ideology’:

    1. The left leaning councillors are convinced we need to fill the satellite suburbs with apartment blocks so as to jam more people into them. At the same time they they’re ideologically opposed to the car so refuse to consider the impact of higher density living on traffic and parking (in Auckland one cannot practically survive without a car except if one lives in or very near the CBD ).

    2. There is just too much cash, mostly Chinese, floating around the property development business and the Council’s approval process is too opaque. It lends itself to corruption. Some instances of dodgy behaviour we have observed should have prompted internal investigations and the fact that there were none makes me think that cash is being spread far & wide…

      • That’s one option. The UK did it back in the 60’s and it worked: Milton Keynes and Corby.
        Large cities eventually develop into conurbations and in the case of Auckland, because of its geography, it will naturally and inevitably turn into a string of connected centres from Wellsford to Huntly. Where people live, work and play while rarely if ever needing or wanting to travel to the CBD.

        But for the moment a turnout of 32% in local government elections is not real democracy and is enabling the pigs to take over the farm.

      • Is he another Pommy hit Shona ? Genuine question. I’m getting fed up with them, editing newspapers and popping into our Parliament and blithely interpreting our history and spouting aphorisms and tinkering around like two- bit charlatans – and I am an Anglophile, agree 100% with Chris Trotter and Countryboy, and enjoyed working with them – over there. You can bet your bottom dollar that Neale has another agenda, they all do.

        I worked hard in 1987 and 1994 to stop the trashing of Mt Victoria with the commercial development of the Wellington Town Belt, and gondolas running up past people’s bedroom windows, and packed with tourists wanting a luge ride down Oriental Bay, like a poor man’s Battersea Fun Fair tacked on and around the lungs of the capital city just to make money for greedy developers – with a bullying talkback radio host nestling in the developers’ pockets, and at least one slimy WCC councillor also unashamedly and overtly part of the plan to ride over residents and their quality of life with bus loads of Asian tourists with pocketfuls of transferable money.

        There were meetings held with the WCC, and public meetings in Mt Vic and Oriental Bay
        – all scrupulously reported by Simon Collins of now-defunct City Voice – and night after night, I went door to door in Mt Victoria, collecting signatures for one of the huge petitions presented to the Mayor. Back then, we were lucky to have some high profile professional persons lending support – you know, people working at real jobs, not the waffle and piffle influencers who throw their weight around now.

        The WCC did listen, but possibly because the second Mayor, Fran Wilde, was a decent
        and probably very astute politician, but one thing I learned is to never to turn one’s back on the Wellington City Council, never relax, and never assume anything – and they were less tricky back then than they are now, and I think, less inclined to clobber us with their own personal agendas and foibles which do nothing to improve the quality of life for any, and I mean any, of the citizens stuck with actually living here.

        Apartment living can be ok and Europe and Nth America have lived that way for generations, and many of us here have too. It does not have to be at the expense of our developmental history, or of our history, which we should be holding onto with both hands. But given that the trite John Key clones who constitute the Wellington City Council are modelling themselves on the brains of a mythological octopus, do not expect housing solutions which give recognition to the human soul.

        They look stuck back in post WW2 England, where so many of the tower blocks constructed as much needed housing, have since been demolished, and lead to major health and social problems. This, of course, could be what those perfidious creeps want.

        • Snow White: excellent comment. I agree with all of it.

          “Apartment living can be ok and Europe and Nth America have lived that way for generations, and many of us here have too.”

          Exactly so. But all those advocates for high-density housing need to remember that:

          a) this isn’t Europe or North America. And many citizens from those parts of the world who live that way would give their right arms to come here and live as most of us do: in a house with a garden. I’d add that in Central Europe, most or all of the old apartment buildings are built around a central open space, which residents can use. Newer ones, with which we’re familiar, are medium-rise (3-4 storeys), with gardens surrounding them. There’s nothing like that in the inner city here in Wellington that I know of.

          And b), if people would see what high-rise apartment-building done badly looks like, go walk around the Auckland CBD. Look at the buildings jammed up close together, such that many apartments have next to no sunlight or views of any sort, even if they face north/northwest. And while you’re at it, have a good sniff of the air in Victoria St, between Nelson St and Queen St. Man, does it pong of sewage! That’s the stink of overstretched infrastructure.

          • Maybe bear in mind the roof gardens of Rome, and the open spaces and parks and common land all over England. I had key access to a private fenced garden in a London square, but rarely used it, there were many other alternatives in protected public spaces which dated back centuries. I’m on TOP’s mailing list, and was dismayed when they mentioned building on city council reserve land.

            You can get used to the pong of pooh – my loo propels me back to Sth Korea – where there are still uncovered drains, but where they also purposefully embarked on a socially cohesive (!!!) tree and park building program in the aftermath of the Korean War, better than parts of Europe did post WW 2 – and they did so beautifully.

            I get the impression that the multi – story blocks being proposed here now, may be primarily geared towards immigrants from Asian countries where the bulk of the population tend to live in e.g.concrete tower blocks in a different sort of life pattern from the quarter acre mentality which Kiwis have grown up with, and which others may not necessarily want, or be able manage – that which ordinary NZ’ers took for granted, was actually very privileged in world terms – up in the top 20% globally.

            However I agree with you about philistine powers being negligent about
            the aesthetics of people’s lives, and in this they are being very negligent, and no poppycock or legislation or pretty words about social cohesion can remedy this. The fact remains that the the incidence of schizophrenia among housewives mushroomed in the tower blocks built in London post WW2, to house human populations used to living close to the earth.

            Terraced houses, often in slums, also had the benefit of establishing close-knit social communities, but again, that may not be what the ‘divide and rule ‘ wallahs want or care about, and the greedy-piggy property developers certainly don’t.

    • @ Sam.
      This may make your toes curl.
      We must nurture ties with The Crown. We supply the UK with an enduring guarantee to supply foods and wools etc and in return they’ll send in the Navy, the military and the Air force as and when it’s needed.
      And as we can see, the climate is changing the entire landscape of our planet and the way we interact with [it] and each other and when bellies are empty shit gets real. If you’re lucky enough to have food to excrete, that is.
      Where’s that fucking moron damien o’conner when we need someone to hopscotch over AU’s Sco Mo ?
      “UK and Australia agree ‘comprehensive and ambitious’ free trade deal”
      Damien? Yoo Hoo? Hello?
      damien o’conner has the most important portfolio’s in AO/NZ politics and yet we barely hear from him and when we do it’s like getting a puff of anesthetic in the ears.
      Sucking up to his masters in the neo liberal element within national and its kissing cousin labour would be my suspicion.
      We can’t defend ourselves. It’d be absurd to think we can based on what I know of our military/navy/air force and it’d be unwise to pretend we can. We need the UK’s military might and what better way to enure that, that support would be enduring than to have the UK be reliant on our ability to provide [it] with fresh, seasonal food during their northern hemisphere winters? ( Aye Boys? You fucked it. You fix it. )
      And if you’re thinking that perhaps the USA would be a better body guard to we, once described as the ‘market garden to Europe’ ? Think again. We’d become a zionist state and we’d all be pushed onto Rakiura to be used as target practice off Bluff Hill before we could say Oi vey !
      And while on the subject of sketchy, greedy yanks, how about this now AO/NZ citizen?
      The Guardian.
      “Billionaire Peter Thiel amasses $5bn tax-free nest egg in retirement account”
      ” Thiel, a vocal opponent of higher taxes, is one of a number of ultra-rich Americans to use a Roth individual retirement account (IRA) to amass a tax-free fortune.”

      Once he’s taxed by us on that $5 Bil it’ll sort out homelessness and child poverty here aye? Since he’s an AO/NZ citizen and all that.
      Fucking scum! And I don’t mean thiel. He’s just a psychopathic opportunist. They’re a dime a dozen. The fucking scum are the Kiwi-As scum who are our own who sold us to this fucker. That’s nothing less than polite, 21 st century slave trading.
      @ Sam. Our real enemies are among us. I say, know your enemy. Was that Sun Tzu ?
      “Know your strengths and weaknesses: if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

      • It is an operational transgression of the highest order for Jacinda, Grant, Peeni and there Natiinal Party equivalent to ignore the fact that the three largest airforces and navies operate in our ocean because they’ve already fucked there own front yard and are after what we’ve got. The more they fuck around with budget cuts the more creative we will get. If they’re no good, if they can’t get the results, we will find another way.

  4. Fantastic Post @ Chris Trotter.
    You’ve swivelled the stage lights around to spotlight yet another confederate, neo liberal arse hole sitting down among the scraggy, coughing, snivelling, powerless, anorak wearing, exploited AO/NZ audience.
    I watched this last night. It’s a film on Neon and it was brilliant. Be warned. It’s cringe worthy so make sure you have a sofa to hide behind.
    ‘Greed’ is a 2019 satirical film written and directed by Michael Winterbottom. The film stars Steve Coogan, David Mitchell, Asa Butterfield, Dinita Gohil, Sophie Cookson, Jonny Sweet, Asim Chaudhry, Shirley Henderson, and Isla Fisher. The film centres around Sir Richard McCreadie, played by Coogan, a billionaire high-street fashion mogul loosely based on Arcadia Group chairman Philip Green,[4] and events surrounding the build-up to his 60th birthday celebrations on the Greek island of Mykonos.
    Taken from the plot:
    “ It becomes clear that, despite McCreadie’s self-image as a hard-nosed and savvy businessman with multiple celebrity friends, much of his wealth is in fact based on ruthless exploitation and financial corruption, including a reliance on sweatshops in Southeast Asia for his fashion lines, tax avoidance, asset stripping and similar ethically questionable financial dealings. “
    A lion on cocaine isn’t the same as a stoned house cat. Don’t ask me how I know these things?
    Can I make a sweat shop analogy on the back of your Post @ CT?
    AO/NZ farmers, right? They’re sweatshop workers.
    Starting up a farm means the farmer is immediately vulnerable to exploitation and here’s how and I’ll be as brief as I can be which means I’ll be writing here for hours.
    I’ll use a sheep farmer analogy but this applies across the entire agrarian industry.
    Daddy sheep meets mummy sheep at a bar. He buys her a nice Pino, she smiles while toying with her udder wool.
    Daddy sheep rests his testicles on a bar stool while mesmerising Mummy sheep with tall tails and true as he elegantly shits on the floor. Mummy sheep responds by taking a piss on her feet while trying to be nonchalant by eating a pot plant. She’s not hungry… but she eats it anyway.
    Daddy sheep bends over and sniffs mummy’s bum then claws at her hair while making huffing, grunting noises… Tables and chairs are sent flying to the sounds of clattering footwear, then silence. Mummy finds another pot plant to eat while daddy sheep drags his testicles off to fuck the 32 other women-sheep in the club while the bar owner sends off for more pot plants.
    ( I hope the above helps to inform urban people of the nuances of animal husband and wifery. )
    Mummy, now alone in a cold muddy paddock and rolling about as black back gulls circle when suddenly, while howling in labour pain out pops tomorrows mutton pie and an alpine fashion garment in trendy colours for the discerning sporty human to wank on about while sipping a Latte dahlings.
    .70cents a kg for the wool, $12.00 for six sausages at the money launderers AKA the supermarket.
    Farming is such a complex and enduring enterprise involving surgically precise relationships between the farmer, their animals, as in the above case, and the weather coupled with having to fathom the polished cocks on the banksters, money lenders, accountants, lawyers, local councils, bewildering gibberish falling from the sky re health and safety and every Woke Wanker bleating about water quality while shitting out mummy’s jersey and sausages … Farmers must keep farming. Or suicide.
    And they must choke back the rage they feel when, while they’re waiting outside the burger bar in their muddy 4×4 a real esnake agent floats past in a $245,000.oo car bought because they’re brokering deals using fama money dahlings now that it’s been laundered through the corrupted IRD and sundry money fiddlers….
    And while the farmer understands the nuances of money laundering and just like the sweatshop women of Sri Lanka etc they can’t simply unplug their farms/ stop work and wait until the greedy elite get peckish. Farmers are so trapped within a scam they can’t see the scam for the banksters.
    Farmers? You’re being ripped off by an entire financial system. Watch ‘Greed’. Any information is useful information.
    Sorry @ CT. I didn’t mean to hijack your Post. When I grow up and become a Real Boy I’ll author my own blog and you will be invited.

  5. Chris, I have to respectfully disagree with your premise. Whilst Neale’s language is somewhat disrespectful towards those who are engaged in their local communities I believe his ambition is to create more housing and if not in the city then we have to ask where else do we house all our people in need of somewhere to live?

    We have a massive shortage of housing and whilst building ever expanding suburbs might be cheaper and allow those who have already bought to maintain their little kiwi paradise quarter acres it won’t begin to solve the problems we face.

    At some point we are going to have to infill, build up and intensify along main arterial routes and by public transport hubs. This will mean neighbourhoods will change and some will lose their piece of paradise but the alternative is increasing homelessness and whole generations locked out of home ownership forever.

    I am one of the lucky ones – I own a home but I work with younger people who have given up the idea of ever owning and I worry hugely about the chances of my own children being able to enjoy the same quality of life that I have.

    The current system isn’t fair and something has to change or society as we know it now will fail.

  6. “With refreshing candour, he pours scorn on all the elements of participatory democracy and heaps praise upon the crushing power of the centralised state.”

    How on earth does a so-called left-wing party allow itself to be captured by people of this sort? Remembering Roger Douglas and the bulldozer he drove through the economy all those years ago. Nothing democratic about that, either. And we’re still dealing with the consequences, aren’t we.

    With regard to the Wellington situation, ideology rules, that’s become abundantly clear. It simply isn’t possible to put a counter-argument to Labour Councillors and to affordable housing advocates, without being accused of being Boomers! or of nimbyism! and colonialism! (yes, really). They haven’t yet accused dissenters of racism! but I’d say that it’s only a matter of time. They don’t present arguments in support of their stance: all they do is fling the above epithets.

    Those of us who are older can be forgiven for concluding that the Left and the young wish to punish us for the sin of being older and owning houses in nice suburbs which we wish to protect. Never mind the fact that most of those campaigning for protection are in fact younger than we are by a considerable margin.

    I note that in the Spinoff article, Jones quotes debunked figures for projected population growth in the city. This is also something the Left et al do: use discredited stats to support their stance.

    I’m an old Lefty, born very soon after the war. I’ve voted that way pretty much all of my longish life. Now I’m done with Labour. I didn’t vote for it last election, very likely will never vote for it again.

    • ” haven’t yet accused dissenters of racism! but I’d say that it’s only a matter of time. ”

      and because you say racist things it is only a matter of time .

      • Cuz, you’re confusing Woke policy and Toxic Positivity fundamental values with racism.
        These are all weapons the yoof & Mels carry when going to a fight, albeit on the internet or on lamestream media or social media.
        Armed with what about my feelings first etc … This is where the wheels are coming off Labours big red bus!

        Aspirations are like how that dude in the “Castle” said,”You’re dreamin mate!”

        Designed to fool the meek, and the idealistic yoof and other suckers who are bored with their meaningless little lives. They feel that they have the right to fuck everyone’s else’s up so that we’re all equal.

        Neal is and has been hiding behind this army of red retards.

      • Hemi: “….and because you say racist things it is only a matter of time.”

        Be specific: what have I said above that is what you call “racist”? Can’t adduce anything? Thought not. In which case, unless you have an actually pointful argument or comment to contribute to this thread, go find something else to do.

      • D’Esterre: ” Be specific: what have I said above that is what you call “racist”? Can’t adduce anything? Thought not. In which case, unless you have an actually pointful argument or comment to contribute to this thread, go find something else to do. ”

        good advice you should take it .

        • So, Hemi: still nothing of substance? Like some other commenters here, you’re not strong on debate, are you?

        • So, D’Esterre: ” still nothing of substance? ” ” you’re not strong on debate, are you? “

        • my , debate and however is gold standard along with this so called substance you speak of

          but , D’Esterre you still have nothing of substance ? and you’re not strong on debate , are you ?

    • Labour have not been a left wing party for many many years, probably the most left wing are the Maori party right now.

      I am left wing, I haven’t vote for Labour since the mid eighties surprise surprise. The only good performer in there is Andrew little I think, and some have done a few good things, but frankly most of it is tinkering around the edges nothing bold or big, just frightened of their own shadow!

    • D’Esterre – Discredited stats are often used for debating purposes, lots of people don’t really understand them,
      and their collection can be skewed anyway.

      This issue has made me look at the WCC again, and I don’t like seeing an opportunist female rabble rouser who makes Day look like a repressed Carmelite nun, who talks in slogans and cliches, looks unreasonable, and single- handedly provides good reason as to why the WCC could benefit from having adult input about housing – except that central govt’s track record is totally abysmal – which is a shame.

      There are probably groups of workers who don’t need to be physically located in Wellington – not that I support NZ companies outsourcing eg call centres to exploit cheap Asian labour. Changing work patterns resultant from coronavirus will almost certainly be starting to evolve, and the use of robots in ways possibly not generally
      envisaged, is also likely.

      None of this excuses current discussions about Wellington’s housing being so very polarised, either deliberately, or dumbly, or as a platform for big egos who seem to lose focus in being so. Various alternatives are being publicly tossed around from one extreme to another, possibly just to point score, or to show off, and it may all just have to get played out.

      • Snow White: “…an opportunist female rabble rouser who makes Day look like a repressed Carmelite nun, who talks in slogans and cliches, looks unreasonable, and single- handedly provides good reason as to why the WCC could benefit from having adult input about housing…”

        Hahaha… hilarious and apt characterisation of you-know-who! It occasioned a lot of laughter in this household. Also that one is bad-mannered and sometimes downright rude.

        Our current Councillors neatly illustrate why the young shouldn’t be let anywhere near governance: they have neither the skills nor the experience for it.

        And couldn’t we just do with a few more adults making decisions about housing! Plus, it’d be good if the adults who are there could stand up to the young ones: at present, it looks as if they’re too scared of them to tell them politely to pull their heads in. It’s only ideology, to cleave to the view that the young would make a better job of running the city (or the country). Our experience with WCC (and the govt, unfortunately) says otherwise.

        I note your comments above about the fight in which you were involved, to preserve the Town Belt from development all those years ago. The early 90s is when we returned to Wgtn, and I remember that stoush. It seems to me that all of us ought to keep a beady eye on the current crop of baby Councillors, lest they get ideas about that area as well. They have no respect for heritage: it’s only a matter of time before one or more of them decides that we could use some of it for housing. Ideology is like that: it blinds one to the value of such things.

        I note further your observation that the Council cannot be trusted – or words to that effect. I think we’ve just seen stark evidence of that. It’s farcical: Clochemerle-ish, in truth, but absent the humour. Nothing remotely amusing about this lot. But we all need to keep a weather eye on them, that’s for sure.

        “There are probably groups of workers who don’t need to be physically located in Wellington…”

        Doubtless there are. But advocates for remote work, or for shifting government departments out of Wellington, need to ask themselves who’ll be living in the CBD if these workers are no longer in Wgtn? And where would CBD residents be employed, if most or all of those government jobs have migrated away from said CBD? This sounds to me like a “be careful what you wish for” idea.advocates can’t answer that one. Or won’t.

        • I don’t think the ‘young’ can be blamed for WCC housing proposals – there appears to be a dominant older posse involved; the ‘ young’ may be ill-bred and ignorant, but the future of the capital is too important for student level politicians bulldozing over history like cultural vandals ,and justifying themselves by
          designating everything they don’t like as colonialist. So what ?

          • Snow White: “I don’t think the ‘young’ can be blamed for WCC housing proposals – there appears to be a dominant older posse involved….”

            I checked the voting patterns of Councillors at the most recent meeting. It was the young Councillors who voted to – put bluntly – wreck much of the city. With the possible exception of Rush (looks youngish to me, but others may see it differently), of course.

            The older and wiser ones voted against.

            The tragedy is that none of this will bring “affordable” housing to anyone who needs it. Developers will recover their costs: the result won’t be cheap apartments. Unless possibly what’s on offer is the shoebox apartment: and even they aren’t cheap in Auckland. No reason to suppose that they would be here.

            What advocates fail to realise (or accept) is that in many parts of Wellington city, houses and apartments are mouldy because of their location, not because they’re old. They’re in areas which don’t get much or any sun in winter: even in summer, some areas are shaded by hills. Now the proposal is to add tall buildings, which will create further shading. This is already a problem in parts of the CBD: some apartments face south, so no sun at all. They need heating, or they’ll be mouldy. We know: we’ve seen such places in Auckland. A fortiori in Wellington.

            • Ok. A few years ago relatives looked at buying a property in Aro Valley. When the estate agent realised that they wanted it for themselves, he exclaimed that they couldn’t possibly live there, it was too cold and damp etc, and said he’d assumed that they were intending to let it.

              That’s a separate issue from the wilful destruction of lovely old heritage buildings and character houses which many people do enjoy living in, and replacing them with shoeboxes whatever, which turn a quick buck.

              Where I now live, it is cold and damp – massive condensation when I first moved in, and ice on the inside of windows. I’ve
              overcome this by opening doors and windows around the clock, and leaving many windows ajar at night. Others have massive electricity bills, but the houses were built on swamp, which probably should have been built on with greater care than it was ; I had cheap central heating everywhere I lived in the UK, which is where we did miss the bus in New Zealand. Exposed hot water pipes in bathrooms were fairly standard, and useful, and make more senses than enclosing them within walls.

              Living without sun can be grim – hence rickets, deformities etc in the Brit slums, but I have no idea whether local NZ councils are required to take health considerations into account, it looks as if they don’t, and our children presenting at hospitals with chest infections and third world diseases is a disgrace, as is no longer being able to afford to keep cold homes warm, for which I do blame central government.

  7. I once believed that all socialists must be village idiots. Look at Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot – how could anyone be so stupid to support this?

    However, I recently realised that socialists are often extremely intelligent. The socialist just believes that the utopian plan in their own head is so good it should override institutions like freedom, justice and property rights. Furthermore, where all other socialist plans in history were wrong, their own plan is different and correct. It’s a smug world view, that intelligent people can believe, due to the deadliest of the deadly sins – foolish pride.

    The failure of the socialist is therefore their conceit. They overestimate their own intelligence.

    Now we have socialists in power, so things become interesting. On the face of it, all the socialists should be happy. However, the utopia of one socialist is another socialists’ dystopia.

    All socialists share the love of central plans, but alas, every socialist has a different plan in their head…

    • Absolute hogwash. Lenin believed in socialism and may be the rest of them might have but they never enacted it.

      To suggest any of the current lot are socialists makes me wonder whether you seriously know what socialism is. True socialism has never been achieved anywhere in the world that I am aware of, perhaps Cuba got closest with a socialist dictatorship and would do well if it the Yanks stopped the blockade. The UN Assembly voted just two days ago to stop the blockade the vote was overwhelmingly in support of the motion but the US and their poodle Israel voted against.

  8. An interesting mental exercise would be to imagine which of the current Labour cabinet ministers would slot straight into a National cabinet, holding the same portfolios, without us noticing any difference in their performance.

  9. Pretty bloody disappointing that it is from people such as Neale who profess to be of the ‘Left” perpetuating a lot of the bullshit surrounding the heritage versus intensification debate and marketing it all as NIMBYism.
    More like their theories versus the practical. Quite sad really. Neale should ekshully know better – I now know why the work-life balanced, award-winning and all-round regular gal Ryan sometimes gives him a prod on monday’s N2N. Sometimes he’s full of shit and I can’t even tend to agree with him.

    Sure, in my area of Mt Vic, there are a small number of highly paid gentrifiers seizing all the ‘character’ homes they can get their hands on, and rebuilding them – and usually putting them behind gates, monitored by WiFi CCTV cameras – which it’d be quite enjoyable to hack if I didn’t have better things to do. Accidentals are sometimes mildly amusing though.
    Some of that ilk go off to their senior private corporate or neo-liberally corporatised senior management jobs in the public service as they plan how best to maintain their work-life balance and stock market portfolios. They’re the smudges and skid marks, and in the minority around where I live.
    Christ!. And to think I voted for Tamantha Paul who I now know is merely attempting to make a name for herself as an activist with as many followers and ‘likes’ as she can get. She should go far in the current Green Party.

    But apart from those smudges and skid marks who park their boats and SUVs in the ever decreasing number of residents’ parks, and who try their very best to have everyone else pay for their expanding developments and footprints, most of the owners or inhabitants of some of those ‘character homes’ are actually not NIMBYs. Usually they’re not particularly wealthy and see their houses as homes rather than assets in order to make a capital gain.
    Jones and Paul are actually enabling a lot of that even if they don’t have the smarts to realise it yet.

    So while Tamantha Paul and Neale Jones would love to see what they think are warm, dry homes in some/ANY of the area close to the city they seem to think they know everything about, and as they ponder the theoreticals, practically existing infrastructure just ain’t gonna support their vision of utopia.

    Shit pipes that regularly block, no – or very poor stormwater that leaks into the crumbling sewers, electricals that are on the verge, and already rolled out fibre that the likes of Spark and others now want to undermine, etc.
    And so anybody that is going to do this intensification in some/ANY of the areas they propose is going to be up for providing the stormwater, shit pipes, electricity upgrades and internet connectivity to support it.
    Sure as hell the WCC/gummint are not going to pay for it under existing neoliberal settings – no matter how many different levers they pull.
    Given that – how “Affordable” are these intensified developments going to be for purchase OR for rent?

    And meanwhile there are places where “warm, dry apartments” could go for those that want them where existing infrastructure could cope at a pinch, or at least with less expensive upgrades.

    Pffft. Next

    • Tim – Much of that warm dry home stuff is just government spin to get them off the hook for not building enough houses : “We won’t do it unless we can do it properly” blah blah blah. Best houses in New Zealand were built early and mid 20thC; my three 1930’s homes were much better builds than my present 1980’s abode. State houses were wee beauties.

      We South Island born grew up in old wooden houses without double glazing or costly draperies or heat pumps or expectations of every damn room warmed up, and survived pretty well by dressing in sensible sort of clothes – often Grandma-knitted – of real wool not synthetic crap, windows opened daily to air and dry houses, running for the school bus or just running, when cars to drive in, or be driven in, let alone live in, were by no means a universal.

      People moved into social housing or public housing today, are provided with a much higher standard of housing and fittings , than those who may be doing the moving and having to provide everything personally paid for by themselves and that’s a simple fact.

      • Snow White: “We South Island born grew up in old wooden houses without double glazing or costly draperies or heat pumps or expectations of every damn room warmed up, and survived pretty well by dressing in sensible sort of clothes…”

        Ha! Yes, and many of us in the North Island too. I have memories from my childhood, of running barefoot through paddocks in the winter, on my Taranaki families’ farms, and breaking the skin of ice on the puddles with said bare feet. We lived through the polio epidemic (didn’t get it) and the Asian flu epidemic (did get it), along with all the usual childhood illnesses, some of which I got, and some I didn’t (chickenpox, annoyingly, despite siblings being ill) but by and large, we were healthy and not plagued by winter bugs.

        “People moved into social housing or public housing today, are provided with a much higher standard of housing and fittings, than those who may be doing the moving and having to provide everything personally paid for by themselves and that’s a simple fact.”

        Agreed. And those who expect the gummint to provide housing with all the bells and whistles need to remember that.

  10. Planning in NZ is a total farce. The idiots who do the planning assume that energy to run everything will magically arrive when required, even as we slide down the Peak Oil curve that leads to the collapse of industrial civilisation by around 2030,

    What is more, the idiots who do the planning have not heeded any of the plethora of warning about the effects of the emissions they are so keen to promote, nor the dire consequences of Planetary Meltdown they have orchestrated

    ‘ As the current CEO of the PR/Lobbying firm, Capital Government Relations, it is equally safe to presume that he knows his way around the capital city’s power grid.’

    Ha! What is this idiot going to do when the grid fails? (around 2030, if not before) and nothing in his world works!!!

    It’s nice to see the level of Lake Mead continuing to fall rapidly because the termination of the US will terminate the entire toxic globalised system. Now just over 1069.

    A few more months of the kind of scorching weather (climate) they have been experiencing
    recently should finish them off.

  11. Sorry all you Labour fans, but you wanted this govt, you wanted Jacinda, did you not? You wanted the country run by the left, right? You wanted big govt and state control? So why all the bleating now? You all got what you wanted. So what is the problem?

    • More nonsense. The lesser of two evils really.
      I want a ‘no confidence’ option on the ballot paper!

    • TheKraut: “Sorry all you Labour fans, but you wanted this govt, you wanted Jacinda, did you not?”

      Nope. I’m an old Lefty, voted that way pretty much all of my life. I was most unhappy when Ardern took the leadership. There was something about her that made me uneasy. Turns out I was right.

      But still, in 2017 I held my nose and voted for Labour, because they were promising to help the very poorest: those with no home, those managing on seriously inadequate benefits. And also the thousands trying and failing to buy their first home.

      However. By the end of 2018, it was clear that Labour couldn’t even begin to do any of things they’d promised. I’m not interested in excuses for non-performance: this is politics. Do the hard political work already and get allies behind your programme!

      That’s when I decided not to vote Labour again, certainly not at the 2020 election, perhaps never. All they can do is to propose wokery, and to erode our democracy. Moreover, they’re so laughably inept that they can’t even manage to get any of this from proposal to reality. But the very fact that they’re proposing it makes them potentially dangerous.

    • Why can’t you just do what you’re told and wake up to tourself? You can piss off with your petty little changes. I’m not fucken calling a pregnant woman as a pregnant “person.”

  12. Supply side all day, every day. The only side we ever hear.

    We have plenty of houses, we even have 200,000 empty ones.
    It’s just the multi level marketing scheme we dare not mention requires a load of clients to come in at the bottom of the ladder every year.

    And beware anyone who sits in the way of the crew making a living out of this stuff. If the politicians won’t make the required decisions, we can always find commissioners who will.

    A few excerpts and links – NZ Immigration, The Year at the Border…..


    2017/2018 by the numbers

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