LeviathanFebruary 6, 2018
At long last, what looks like it may be a productive Waiting Day. Big steps forward by Adern, particularly in saying “Hold us to account” and also to the smaller details, like the Ministers cooking the kai for the ordinary people, instead of the other way round. Cooperation, coordination of effort, mutual respect. Isn’t this the way it always should have been? Fingers crossed that it keeps on working. English can quietly close the door behind him on his way out.
In the spirit of Waitangi Day, and because I found this delightful folk art mosaic made on the beach the other day, here’s a picture of a house – and below, a picture of a tree. I’m picking done by the same family, but not the same artist – perhaps siblings? Or older people – grown ups even? It seems quite sophisticated. Don’t know who you are, but thank you nonetheless. Certainly seems appropriate to have us pictured below the symbol of one universal house – obligatory pointed roof, obligatory chimney for heating, obligatory windows and doors. It’s funny how you never see anyone depict a house with ranch sliders and a flat roof, or with a heat pump and a double garage. Children seem to know inherently what the elements are that go towards making a house.
One of the problems we have with our current housing crisis is the curse of the covenant. Private developers can set the rules on what is allowed under their developments, for all manner of things: house colour, roof pitch, window style, palette of materials, size of house, etc. I don’t really take much notice of this until recently, when I read this story. Builder Dave Wraight does the logical thing to save money on houses: makes smaller houses. Saves even more money by building them in a factory, and shipping them complete to site. Even gives them character and interest by giving them extra frills, like verandahs with decorative bits. Disallowed by the developers of the subdivision in Marlborough – too frilly, wrong style, too small (104m2, instead of 145m2).
Understandably, Wraight is more than just a little annoyed. Houses for everyone? Affordable houses? Why not just shit on everyone? Are the developers scared of something, or are they building in racism and classism into their estate from the get-go? Block out poor people, safeguard against having brown kids? Block out smaller houses to avoid grannies or single people? Block out houses with interesting frilly decoration, to.. to…. i dunno, you got me there. Why not faux old? What’s wrong with something that looks a little more interesting than bland beige and taupe?
In the spirit of Waitangi – everyone needs to live together, in harmony.