Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Protecting privilege in Epsom

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  • Russell Brown,


    A copy of the letter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the local residents are quite capable of scaremongering themselves

    though as the local residents constitute the largest concentration of Act (in effect, Seymour) voters in NZ*, that is not necessarily an independent data point.

    * ignoring DWTS (or did people just vote to prolong his embarrassment?)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Grant McDougall,

    Last week there was a story on Newshub about a rumour that National was not going to give Seymour a free pass in Epsom next election.
    When asked about this, Simon Bridges was very vague and non-committal about continuing the free pass.
    I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was along the lines of "we'll cross that - [no pun intended] - bridge when we come to it" - hardly a ringing endorsement of confidence.
    I suspect National are heartily sick of Act and see them as little more than nuisance value. Plus, I suspect Paul Goldsmith will really throw his toys if he doesn't become the electorate MP in 2020.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report

  • Tim Michie,

    Seymour’s nonsense doesn’t reflect the whole electorate at all. My homes of nigh on 20 years fall within the boundaries and we’ve had former institutional patients accomodation, alcohol and drug recovery houses and paitients, admittedly some more disturbing to residents than others, but without harm. Currently hostel accommodation partying is more disturbing and I can certainly cope with backpackers enjoyment. Accepting difference seems ACT’s issue.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report

  • Tinakori,

    I wouldn't wax too lyrical on David Seymour's opposition to a social housing development in his electorate. He is by no means the only MP in Parliament to have objected to social housing developments over the years. It's a multi-partisan point of view when it affects electorate MPs. Some might be more or less visible about it than others but they will mostly respond to what they perceive as community concerns.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report

  • Helga,

    That attitude - I PAID for my privilege- was also expressed at a pre-Unitary Plan I went to in Mt Eden. When a very intelligent-sounding (no mental health problems!) young man dared to say he’d love to buy an apartment near his work in Mt Eden - a woman got up and unselfconsciously told him he shouldn’t expect to be admitted. Sickening.

    I’m opposite one of the former Council blocks taken over by HNZ in the Banks era, and my experience is similar. The occasional person with mental health problems, but generally speaking it’s perfectly fine. The residents are simply neighbours.

    New Zealand • Since May 2012 • 18 posts Report

  • James Littlewood*,

    Love the bit about

    ask questions, voice concerns and make suggestions

    Why not throw in a swimming pool?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report

  • TracyMac,

    I grew up in times when state housing was in almost all suburbs - "pepper-potting". It was tough being a poor kid at a prosperous school, but if you weren't the only one, it wasn't too bad.

    Importantly, those schools were well-resourced and you got to see some of how "the other half lived". And learn some of the cultural stuff around being middle-class - the language they use, the customs. Even, at a young age, networking. In short, going to a middle-class school was one way to boost upward mobility. Although without middle-class parents or income, it's merely a start - but better than nothing.

    When we got shunted out to housing in Glen Innes, it was a real shock to the system. No, the mean streets weren't actually that mean, and many of the teachers at the schools were very good and cared about their students. But nearly everyone having very little money made a huge difference on education beyond the basics, teachers did not have time to help everyone who needed it, extra-cirricular activities were under a lot of constraint. There were very few people who could help you crawl up the scale - they were crawling themselves. Figuring out how to "get on" when you don't know how things operate was tough - there're reasons that so many kids from low income backgrounds don't make it through university, and back then, it wasn't so much to do with the money. Being the first in your extended family was hard - I didn't make it through. And of course it was/is that much tougher if you were brown.

    (Least you think I'm putting down my compatriots in GI, I am not - I'm incredibly proud of our lives and what most of us have managed to achieve despite the uphill battle.)

    As for those NIMBY wankers in Epsom, the only time I was seriously bullied at school for being "different" was at Epsom Normal Intermediate School. So my school uniform was hand-sewn and my mum cut my hair (not the hairdresser), but I was as bright as the brightest of them - and some little b*tches didn't like that combination.

    BUT, I made good friends there eventually, the bullying died away, the teachers were great, and the other kids learned that diversity wasn't just about skin colour. And I got to go to a kid's birthday party where the house had a swimming pool AND sauna.

    So I can't express how passionately I feel about integrating social housing in all neighbourhoods. Yes, put the families/people who don't trash their places and have riotous parties (they are by far the majority) into the more central locations. But put them there. In little communities so they're not isolated, but increasing diversity in a larger neighborhood is good for all sides.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • izogi,

    Thanks for the excellent summary, Russell.

    Just on this closing:

    Perhaps the party should just surrender its founding conceit and be done with it.

    I can't speak for others, but my impression's been that ACT did that a long time ago. The values aren't strong when you can keep a straight face whilst putting forward a candidate like David Garrett.

    Maybe ACT began with some kind of vision, driven by Prebble and Douglas, but it's been the political equivalent of a shelf company for many elections now. Certain people in the population will strongly consider voting for ACT no matter what it really is at any given time. Multiple times it's been picked up and wielded by the next group of rich crazy people who reckon it's an easier path to power and influence to use an already-established party than to start from scratch.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

  • Lindsey Rea,

    The Party that wants to scrap the RMA and allow people more "freedom" to build what they want on their own land - now complaining about what some organisation wants to build on their own land. You could not make this shit up!

    Since Mar 2014 • 9 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Lindsey Rea,

    The Party that wants to scrap the RMA and allow people more "freedom" to build what they want on their own land - now complaining about what some organisation wants to build on their own land.

    Lil Seymour has been running that contradiction for years. Shameless.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to TracyMac,

    I grew up in times when state housing was in almost all suburbs - "pepper-potting".

    Most of those micro-enclaves in "better" suburbs were wiped out during the Shipley era policy of "market rentals". From the financial inducements offered to some stubborn tenants by developers and their agents, it seems that housing stock had to be vacant before it could be legally flogged off in the brave new market conditions.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • simon g,

    When I lived in Epsom I used to resent these people coming into our community. Some of them had been involved in crime and other anti-social behaviour, even spending time in jail. They took advantage of the taxpayer and had little regard for the rest of society.

    But the National government needed them, so the ACT MPs moved in anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    What David Seymour and his blindly loyal constituents want is exclusionary zoning that's tantamount to redlining, as it's known in the States. It amuses me no end that those who keep slapping us on the head about the virtues of free markets, suddenly become big-government statists at the very mention of scrapping residential zoning rules. What would be more fun still, is if someone applied for a resource consent for a temple, mosque or synagogue in his electorate.

    And I'm still waiting for Seymour to take the wrecking ball to these properties in his electorate...
    * 427 Remuera Rd
    * 456 Remuera Rd
    * 524 Remuera Rd

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Michael Meyers, in reply to Lindsey Rea,

    This RMA hypocrisy is astounding but not surprising. I guess they’re just showing that only rich people should benefit from “freedom”.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report

  • Barry97,

    I always thought that Epsom should get the opportunity to try out removing zoning from their 2 grammar schools and allow all the South Auckland kids to bus in. That is ACT policy isn't it?

    Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Barry97,

    That is ACT policy isn’t it?


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    On the other hand, controversy over high-rise apartments in Auckland isn't new. These 2 Ponsonby apartments from the mid-late 1980s are still standing today.

    Top Half: Excerpt - Ponsonby development controversy

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    The myth of egalitarianism in this country is a poison that allows us to pretend that Jack is still as good as his master and we don’t have to face the cultural and social elephant in the room.

    Roger Douglas and his mates main success was to turn a uniquely egalitarian social experiment into just another provincial shopping mall on the edge of the capitalist empire, complete with all the petty entrenched class and privilege of Smalltown, Everywhere.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • andin, in reply to izogi,

    rich crazy people

    Or in this case the Epsom Echo Chamber.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, professional shithead Mark Richardson:

    "I've worked hard all my life and I've put my nuts on the line. I've tried to optimise every opportunity, I screwed myself to the wall to get into the eastern suburbs of Auckland.

    "I don't then want [Phil] Twyford coming in and going 'we'll put that, that, that, that, that, that' without at least consulting me. I have a right to have my house and have my moat and protect that."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • mpledger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Mark Richardson said:
    "I've worked hard all my life and I've put my nuts on the line. I've tried to optimise every opportunity, I screwed myself to the wall to get into the eastern suburbs of Auckland."

    It makes his opinions even less relevant - how can we trust anything he says if his goal is to optimise every opportunity to make money for himself rather than speak from the heart. Who knows what he'll say if the money is right.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to simon g,

    Well played. :-)

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to mpledger,

    And what gets me about the "I worked hard" line is the amazing arrogance that goes with it.

    So apparently those people who work 2 or 3 minimum wage "part time" jobs (since rosters are carefully constructed to avoid creating full-time workers) in factories, cleaning, fast food etc etc etc, don't "work hard".

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

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