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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Leaving Las Auckland 

The great man of letters is moving on to parts unknown.

He appears to rule out Tauranga and Nelson (there goes my theory about the NZ Herald relocating to become the Tauranga Herald), but the rest of the country had better keep a look out for an elderly curmodgeon with a writing style that mixes small doses of common sense with large measures of moral panic, quoting of Scripture, and climate change denial. And a bad moustache.

As to why Auckland is going to hell in a handbasket, Darth offers the following insights: ever more crowded and unfriendly environment in which privacy is but a memory, scarred by big, ugly apartment buildings rapidly becoming slums.

Am inclined to agree on Auckland apartment buildings being ugly ... but how exactly they are becoming slums I know not. In any case, how such trends affect Darth in his leafy North Shore suburb is an interesting question.

And spreading suburban ghettos based on ethnicity and religion.

Well, I live in a one-up-from-the-ghetto suburb and there's no evidence of ethnic or religious homogeneity whatsoever. Quite the opposite. Ethnically it's diverse, and as for religious belief, it goes unmentioned in polite society.

And more and more infill housing so you can shake hands with your neighbour out the kitchen window (although your neighbour is more likely to shake his/her fist at you).

Again, I can sympathize with aesthetic objections to much infill housing (building a cheap fucking "minor dwelling" on exposed wooded piles is not proper fucking housing, people!) I don't see a lack of neighbourliness in Auckland.

And it's definitely not unfriendly by the standards of medium-to-large sized cities. I find it considerably friendlier than Vancouver. Interestingly, Vancouver ranked 3rd equal, and Auckland a close 5th=, in a recent international survey of urban quality of life. One suspects neither would be good enough for our moustachioed friend.

Hours of time and buckets of money will be wasted trying to get from point A to point B by car or bus as the city's roading infrastructure falls further and further behind the needs. Even today many of us stay close to our homes at weekends because we won't put up with the frustrations of trying to go anywhere.

Like I said, the man is not always bereft of common sense. But really, a sense of proportion can help here. Lots of sprawling, automobile oriented cities have bad congestion. Sydney. Seattle. Toronto. Etc. Given Darth's professed love of his 4-litre Ford, methinks he doesn't spend much time on the bus anyway. He just threw that in there so that people who actually do use public transport might sympathize with his complaints.

Local body services, inadequate as they are already, will struggle with increasing lack of success to deal with sewage and stormwater disposal and rubbish collection. Heaven knows the inner harbour is polluted enough as it is but I fear we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Err, OK, but at least Auckand treats most of its sewage to a reasonable level, something many smaller towns and cities can't or won't do.

My suburb right now resembles a Third World slum with the streets piled high with inorganic rubbish, some of which has been there for weeks uncollected by council services obviously not well enough organised or manned to get the job done efficiently.

Yes, that is a bugbear for many uptight Auckand residents. It would be pleasant if the Council would pick up inorganic garbage more quickly, but I'm not about to leave the city because of it.

Neighbourliness and community spirit, already at a premium, will, like privacy, become an ever-dimmer memory; our parks will deteriorate as they become too crowded to cope; and those Aucklanders so inclined will have to travel further and further to get away from it all.

Has Darth been to a park lately? Unless there's a festival or free concert on, they're practically deserted.

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I see vague parallels between Garth George's views on the world he lives in and Cho Seung-Hui's. Albeit considerably less mental illness on George's part.

Seriously, george can piss off. the city will be better off without him.

What I would like to see is how many of those people leaving Auckland are merely going back to the communinity where they came from. And how many are leaving simply because they can't afford to live in Auckland, not because they don't want to.

One other thing. he mentions people staying near home in the weekend because of the traffic.

We have gone for several drives from our ghetto out west to east Auckland, to Maraitai, to Pukekohe, around the north shore, all around Auckland and up north several times in the weekends.

AND THERE'S BEEN NO FUCKING TRAFFIC. With one exception. A few parts on the North Shore are shit. Couldn't have happened to a nicer community.
On another note. Don't want to blog on it because it's really not worth the effort. but check out the comments by US citizens in the NZ Herald regarding our views on guns in the US. Some REAL ignorant shit being spouted there. But what would you expect from from people who voted in Bush.... twice (OK, so it was actually only once).

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