The Eye of the Fish

August 17, 2019

Council Elections

More and more people have come out of the woodwork at the last moment, and Scoop has a full list of candidates for Wellington. Here are some who are angling for the top job:

Norbert Hausberg
Don Newt McDonald
Jenny Condie
Justin Lester
Conor Hill
Diane Calvert
Andy Foster
Andrew Cox
Ajay Rathod

I’m not sure why, but my first thought was to stage a caption competition, between two fairly stodgy candidates – for the Hutt – not for the capital. Chris Bishop is looking with faint homoerotic loving at his local Mayor Ray Wallace, or perhaps he has decided to nick the Mayoral chains and give them to his girlfriend in a sort of West-side manner. If you’re switched on you’ll know what I mean. Entries welcome below please…

And for other, completely unknown reasons, I felt that a previous photo needed more beards. So here you are: hair. Hear Hear !

But of course the bigger news from yesterday was that Andy Foster has decided to stand, with the backing of the chief hobbit himself. Despite Councillor Foster being a relatively frequent visitor to this site, I didn’t get an invite to the launch – so I went along anyway, but arrived after the speeches were over. Interestingly, much of the crowd were from Weta, many were also from an “I Love Shelly Bay” campaign, and Andy Foster was looking very smart in a new suit.

Will the combination of the two hobbits (one more like Smeagol, the other more like Bofur), prove to be the killer combination? Certainly it has thrown a cat amongst the kereru – the big deciding factor for me here is: can Foster actually live up to his promise to actually get something done in the city? If so, then: big thumbs up! Let’s see some of the words around two of the issues that are close to the heart of the Fish:

Te Ngakau – Civic Square

“I will make decisions over the next year so construction can get underway alongside Town Hall strengthening. With the School of Music, a solution to the Central Library, activating the edges of the Square with cafes, the return of Council and possibly other activities Civic Square will be properly Te Ngakau – the heart of our city.”


“Let’s Get Wellington Moving is politically compromised, looks to be ineffective, overpriced and slow in delivery. Roads appear to have been deemed evil. I’ll push for an integrated transport system, more people walking, cycling and using public transport, and decent roading connections sooner rather than later. Public transport has become a real problem. The one practical thing the City Council can do is deliver bus priority which successive City Councils have refused to do. I also want the Airport Flyer resurrected. Given the desire to spend billions of dollars on future mass transit, it would be irrational not to fix the existing bus service for just a few dollars to give some benefits now.”

Hmmmmm. “politically compromised, …ineffective, overpriced and slow in delivery.” Agreed with that. But is that a vote for LR or for BRT or TTS ? Care to comment Andy?

Oh – and while I’m at the keyboard, I thought I’d spice up the election pic for you. There. Better?

19 - 08 - 19

Hmmmm…. no comments on the caption competition as yet, nor any comments about the addition of beards to various people. Perhaps I have overstepped the line and have insulted everyone’s favourite politician! Or favourite film-maker!

20 - 08 - 19

I am not sure that hitching an electoral wagon to Sir PJ’s movie museum plans is an entirely fool-proof strategy.

This idea was first mooted for the Herd St Post Office as long ago as 1998 and has tempted (and thwarted) many a politician since. Each cycle of non-achievement has started with an apparently tremendous deal for the host city, much trumpeted by the lovers of Sir P in the media, but ended in recriminations and accusations of shifting sands and escalating expectations from the Miramar crew.

The assertion – possibly accurate – that Sir P owns a world-class collection of Hollywood stuff doesn’t in itself guarantee a successful project. Collections are just the beginning. Museums need specialised buildings, expert staff, changing attractions and a steady supply of funding. The model put forward to date usually requires a grateful city to meet all those needs – and to date it has never convinced an actual accountant.

20 - 08 - 19

Thanks Frank – yes indeed, there is some weird form of bad blood between Sir Peter and the Council, I’m not at all privileged to know why. Is the fault with the architect for designing a building that PJ did not like? Or is the fault with the WCC for insisting that some clause said “works from artists other than PJ should also be accommodated?” Or is the fault Sir P’s for being as stubborn as a very stubborn thing? Its not for noting that he has climbed to the top of the heap in Hollywood – he knows how to fight his battles, and win, and not just by using Massive.

But I think that WCC has really missed the bus here. There was a boom time in Elven logic and Hobitable entertainment, and I fear that those days are over. Young people today were not even born when the first LOTR film was made, and while the city went wild back then, the current crop of youngsters just go Meh now. Couldn’t care less. I’m not sure how much longer the international buzz about Hobbit, Kong, LOTR and others will go on, but it may well have peaked and is now over. Is there actually any benefit in making a movie museum now, 18 years after the event?

22 - 08 - 19

@Levi, the upcoming Amazon TV series (If it does indeed get filmed in NZ) will likely be as popular as GoT and will again promote huge interest in any LoTR attractions in NZ….

The fact that Hobbiton has just increased its resource consents from 300K to 600K annual visitors tends to indicate the flames are still alive…

Although I have always wondered what actual “rights” PJ has to props/sets etc,

Usually the IP for all of that is owned lock stock by the Movie Companies , not the producer/Director … sure he may have a private collection, but turning it into a commercial museum operation would likely need approval from and payments to Tolkein estate/Saul Zaentz/who ever…

22 - 08 - 19

My understanding is that PJ locked up a very clever props deal before he started the whole shebang… I’ve seen a couple of his warehouses – he has enough retained props etc to make a great museum!