Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Bob each way

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  • Mark Easterbrook,

    I'll agree they've put Helen in a bit of a spot, but if John Key wants to use McGehan Close to score political points, he better stop refering to it as being in "South Auckland", as he did when talking to Havoc on bFM this morning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 265 posts Report

  • merc,

    Hey this is creepy, 9 months ago we lived just a couple of streets away in Owairaka. Sure it's not pretty but I lived right there and it's a helluvalot more interesting story than Key or the Herald are letting out. You know it's funny when you've actually lived somewhere that is being used as a polical media poster child. And boy, what a selective interview technique, Campbell Live use it also.
    1 year ago I was interviewd off the street (at PaknSav) with regard to what I knew about The Treaty...as I had studied it quite comprehensively I bent the Herald interviewers ear for quite a while; as it stood the published article did have me photo and one line of quote...I had got the date wrong! All the other selected interviewees were recent immigrants and so you can guess the headline outcome.
    Don't for a minute believe the hype, go to Owairaka yourselves and take a walk round before Key (whom I dearly want to believe is intelligent) steals the Owai meme.
    BTW, there is a great Mosque down the road, lots of burqa clad women, all sorts, and guess why we didn't buy a house there?
    We couldn't afford one!
    Oh, I had a great Polloing Booth experience there too, there was every kind of people trying to vote but English was a problem for many, the couple I helped (everyone was helping it was a very cool vibe), the women was facially tatooed, I thought to myself, I wonder who she's voting for!
    I have also stayed in the Algerian quarter of Paris, a Basque village during a bombing, been to Sao Paulo, got lost in Brixton, LA and Granada, been robbed in Lisbon, and evacuated from the Tube in London (fire), and I can tell you, in Owairaka you have nothing to fear except fear itself (normal conditions apply for personal safety of course).

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks Merc. I live not far away, so I thought I'd actually pop over and beat John Key there. You''l know this, but for others, McGehan Close is a pocket of state housing in a cul de sac in Mt Albert: mostly modern well-kept townhouses, with a 60s-vintage block of pensioner flats at one end. The pensioner flats are being upgraded at the moment, as are the footpaths. It doesn't look like a slum: I lived in far worse places in London, and the houses are in much better nick than the older Housing New Zealand properties in my street.

    OTOH, there was broken glass crunching under my wheels as I turned around, which might be testament to the local youth crime problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Ben Austin,

    I spent 5 years living in North Dunedin, to me, broken glass on the streets and public alcohol consumption were normal.

    It was really weird moving to Wellington and no longer living in such a ghetto.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report

  • merc,

    I meet the local youths, there are Sudanese, Iraqi, Tongan, Brazilian, Asian (broad I know, Tze) and more. There is a soccer vibe and a basketball vibe. Yes, if you go down to the park on Sunday morning, there will be smashed alco-pop glass and yes there will have been ruckus and yes somedays walking along there would be people drinking on their front lawn all day long, but I got that in Mt Eden too.
    Yes some local youth would make noise outside my house, and if I thought it was getting too loud I would go out there and talk with them. ALL were respectful, a little shy and quickly moved on, or we chatted, you know, where are you from originally, how long have you been here, ask about the family. Now I know things got heavy on occasion and there was stabbings (Avondale), but hell I know of 3 stabbings in Remuera (one fatal) in the 70's.
    I'm in Key's electorate now and I can't help feeling this is all a very sly way to undermine. Hell, what would change under National? But lookout because the Owai onion has more layers to exploit.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Tze Ming Mok,

    he better stop refering to it as being in "South Auckland"

    It's SouthWestCentral, mUthAfuKKaZ! Where the Roskill Rock meets the Albert Hardass place.

    Today's Herald looks deeper into the multi-ethnic locally driven community development that's been happening in Owairaka since the infamous Somali:Tongan stabbing of 2002 (resolved, less famously, through constructive community conciliation). Some good, and pretty typical details and quotes, on how they've scraped around to find public funding of things as simple as a community garden and a local basketball tournament. I wonder if those community leaders are asking themselves: 'so... is John Key going to give us the cash then? Cough up, white boy!' I expect, that once Key gets around to formulating some policy to go with the rhetoric shift (you'd think they'd be honour-bound to do so, but you never know), he'll end up pushing private rather than public funding of community development projects, for sheer lack of a point of difference. After all, Mad Ave was literally erased - perhaps McGehan Close could bloom into Vodafone Parade.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 154 posts Report

  • Gareth Elliott,

    There's broken glass everywhere these days. Thanks to the regular vandalism of Bus stops.

    But its quite easy to make any street look like a 'slum' or at least at the seedy end of society.

    A news channel did it some time in the nineties with Balmoral Shops.

    All they did was shoot the shops from a low angle so you get the grimy tops of the buildings, (which are grimy in any area), at the same time as a couple of bits of paper was blowing across the street during an overcast day as they drove past in a car (to imply that its unsafe to walk through). It was then all played back in slow motion to make it look like the sort of place where war crimes take place.

    Hey presto! instant slum.

    I think they even made sure to show a Pacific Islander crossing the street at the same time. Nice!

    The piece was all about how Christine Fletcher had let Balmoral 'go' while the Mt Eden shops area was thriving. The Mt Eden shops footage was of the KC Loo grocery in the sun I think (no low angles).

    So anyway, even if McGehan Close is a nice street you can be sure it wont look like one on TV if that's how they want to play it. :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report

  • merc,

    As the cavalcade glides by..."John, look, Owairaka loves you!".

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    Also from the "Northern Advocate: "Voters alienated by almost three terms of an increasingly arrogant and non-accountable Labour Government.."

    Thats the sort of lazy passing off of repitition of opinion of fact that pisses me off most about the media in New Zealand.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    repitition of opinion AS fact. Grrrr. Fatiigue from to big a gym session right there.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie,

    There were a few pockets of state housing "pepper potted" just off Memorial Ave in Fendalton (Chch's Remuera) - for example, the interestingly named Otara Street - and until the Shipley era and the introduction of 'market' rentals they integrated rather well. Developers offered financial inducements to tenants to move out, 'freeing up' Housing NZ (or whatever they were called at the time) to flog off suddenly prime real estate. Hit with onerous rent increases, most tenants jumped at the offer, and the slack was taken up by Chch city Council's relatively enlightened public housing policy.

    Under Key, things'll be "kinder 'n gentler", eh?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    After all, Mad Ave was literally erased - perhaps McGehan Close could bloom into Vodafone Parade.

    I never visited Mad Ave, but I increasingly get the impression that comparisons between it and McGehan Close are preposterous. The major reason for its namecheck seems to be that it is in Helen Clark's electorate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    I too grew up just around the corner from this now infamous 'street of shame', and I have to say I find all the fuss a bit...silly.

    Sure, it's not the nicest street; but at the same time, there are plenty worse.

    And I find it interesting that Key's discussions on this topic so far seem to ignore the fact that there are many, many dysfunctional families living in wealthier areas all around New Zealand...I attended a rather 'upper class' private high school, and I can tell you that the 'upper class' is just as messed up, if not more so, than Key's 'under class'. He's raised some valid points, but I just think his scope is far too narrow, and almost too 'easy' to be of any consequence.

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report

  • Martin Lambert,

    John Key's own Helensville electorate is not all glamour and lifestyle blocks either, remember. Head 'over the hill' at Helensville and there's a side of Helensville where youth can (and do) run amock too. Maybe John should check his own backyard first before pouinting out Helen's, or is Helensville a bit too far from his home in Remuera?

    North Shore • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report

  • dc_red,

    It was not an accident that Key chose a street in Clark's own electorate.

    It is actually in the Mt Roskill electorate (Phil Goff's territory), albeit barely. If you scan to the NE corner of this map from Elections NZ you can see it.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report

  • Michael Healy,

    Is it just me or is "the Kiwi way" just "mainstream New Zealanders" recycled?

    Also, John Key would seem a little more sincere if he would acknowledge the 1990s National Party's role in getting us to where we are in terms of social welfare and income inequity.

    Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report

  • dc_red,

    John Key's own Helensville electorate is not all glamour and lifestyle blocks either, remember. Head 'over the hill' at Helensville and there's a side of Helensville where youth can (and do) run amock too.

    Indeed, Martin, and don't forget some rather dubious parts of Massey are included in Helensville too. You wouldn't always want to wander the streets of Royal Heights at night. Especially on a weekend. Why, I saw all sorts of stuff going down in the carpark outside the rugby club in Moire Park just last night.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report

  • merc,

    Yes, we have real youth problems out West. Cars, speed, drugs and boredom, a lethal cocktail. But we also have some really great local youths too, I know I surf with them.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    To me (as a recent arrival) I think a lot of rural areas in NZ are scarier than the cities. Most of the smart people leave at 18 to go to college and work, there are few decent jobs, there's a culture of violence that isn't really challenged...

    Or are the scary looking people in towns like Paeroa or Huntly really harmless and I've been reading too many Craig Marriner books?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • merc,

    Ask them (the scary people), you might be surprised at the answer.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

  • Charles Mabbett,

    I can't resist this. It's The Burnside Message by Grandmaster Key and the Furious 48 (or however many Nat MPs there are). Well, here's the original. Yow!

    Broken glass everywhere
    People pissing on the stairs, you know they just
    Dont care
    I cant take the smell, I cant take the noise
    Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
    Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
    Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
    I tried to get away, but I couldnt get far
    Cause the man with the tow-truck repossessed my car
    Dont push me, cause Im close to the edge
    Im trying not to loose my head
    Its like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder
    How I keep from going under

    Standing on the front stoop, hangin out the window
    Watching all the cars go by, roaring as the breezes
    Crazy lady, livin in a bag
    Eating out of garbage piles, used to be a fag-hag
    Search and test a tango, skips the life and then go
    To search a prince to see the last of senses
    Down at the peepshow, watching all the creeps
    So she can tell the stories to the girls back home
    She went to the city and got so so so ditty
    She had to get a pimp, she couldnt make it on her

    Its like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder
    How I keep from goin under

    My brothers doing fast on my mothers t.v.
    Says she watches to much, is just not healthy
    All my children in the daytime, dallas at night
    Cant even see the game or the sugar ray fight
    Bill collectors they ring my phone
    And scare my wife when Im not home
    Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
    Cant take the train to the job, theres a strike
    At the station
    Me on king kong standin on my back
    Cant stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
    Midrange, migraine, cancered membrane
    Sometimes I think Im going insane, I swear I might
    Hijack a plane!


    My son said daddy I dont wanna go to school
    Cause the teachers a jerk, he must think Im a
    And all the kids smoke reefer, I think itd be
    If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
    I dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
    Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
    Cause its all about money, aint a damn thing
    You got to have a con in this land of milk and
    They push that girl in front of a train
    Took her to a doctor, sowed the arm on again
    Stabbed that man, right in his heart
    Gave him a transplant before a brand new start
    I cant walk through the park, cause its crazy
    After the dark
    Keep my hand on the gun, cause they got me on the
    I feel like an outlaw, broke my last fast jaw
    Hear them say you want some more, livin on a


    A child was born, with no state of mind
    Blind to the ways of mankind
    God is smiling on you but hes frowning too
    Cause only God knows what you go through
    You grow in the ghetto, living second rate
    And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate
    The places you play and where you stay
    Looks like one great big alley way
    Youll admire all the number book takers
    Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers
    Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
    And you wanna grow up to be just like them
    Smugglers, scrambles, burglars, gamblers
    Pickpockets, peddlers and even pan-handlers
    You say Im cool, Im no fool
    But then you wind up dropping out of high school
    Now youre unemployed, all null n void
    Walking around like youre pretty boy floyd
    Turned stickup kid, look what you done did
    Got send up for a eight year bid
    Now your man is took and youre a may tag
    Spend the next two years as an undercover fag
    Being used and abused, and served like hell
    Till one day you was find hung dead in a cell
    It was plain to see that your life was lost
    You was cold and your body swung back and forth
    But now your eyes sing the sad sad song
    Of how you lived so fast and died so young

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report

  • WH,

    I grew up in Helen's electorate, not too far away from MAGS. Our neighbours were burgled so often they copied us and got a dog. We had a huge Alsation/Rottweiler cross. I loved that dog. Our family were all very upset when it died <sniff>

    Key's speech somehow managed to be both banal and dangerous in a David Cameron sort of way. I just don't believe National has recently acquired a passion for the underprivileged. Imagine how great the privatisation of social service provision and employment law reform will be for the poor and working class. Not many.

    I suspect I'm more centrist than some others here, but at least the left actually gives a shit about something other than free markets.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    I'd just like someone to explain how they would get private enterprise involved. There are already companies out there doing their 'responsible citizen' bit, but I would imagine that if a company's managment is already so inclined, they're already doing something. It's sounds callous, but if there's no direct profit involved, and a diminishing return on PR spin, I'd imagine an awful lot of companies won't suddenly become philanthropically inclined.

    I haven't got a clue about economics - can someone with a head for these things explain whether there is a way, through tax deductability or something, that providing social services could be seen as smart business?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 265 posts Report

  • Span .,

    I heard the Salvation Army head honcho on Checkpoint yesterday saying that they would be happy to help with a National work for the dole scheme, shudder.

    What concerns me about all this "let's get private enterprise involved" stuff is the way that responsibility for basic social (and economic) needs shifts from Government to Others. Others who are not democratically accountable. It all serves to undermine the point of having a government at all, of making collective decisions and carrying them out through a cohesive strategy that is coordinated across different agencies.

    John Key, when pressed about how they would fund the invisible initiatives in his speech, said they would get rid of bureaucrats in Wellington. He just kept repeating this verbatim, no indication of which bureacrats, or how these initiatives would be coordinated without them. Or how indeed we would work out which initiatives we need (and whether they are working or failing) without MSD for example.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report

  • merc,

    Key said that the MSD wasted? 168 million last year, ( I love these figures, mmmm), then stated when pressed, that even 10 million of that would help with ???
    John, genius, now why don't you put your own money where your mouth is, I think you'll find that the really big U.S. philanthropists are donating to avoid tax.
    I can see a pattern emerging here.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report

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