As I write, and possibly while you read, we are still on Voting Day, although this awful weather will probably keep many people away from the voting stations. I voted, walking to my local school, and there was only 2 others there voting in the seats in front of me – from memory, last time, there were dozens of people. This time: crickets chirped and tumbleweed rolled swiftly up the road, until it got wet and soggy and then got run over by a truck carrying partially processed sludge…
By tonight, or possibly tomorrow, we will know which of the two Coalitions of Chaos and the boring prospect of one bland Chris versus another bland Chris – and of course the prospect of yet another Chris being less bland and more grumpy – we may theoretically know who will be the Government. On the other hand, it is also quite possible that we may not know the answer to that conundrum for many more days, or even weeks, as Winston once again rules the roost and decides who has ruffled his feathers enough to make his feather-bed a comfy place for the next 3 years. I’ve met Winston a couple of times, and boy, he is a wily old dog. Personally, I don’t think that Seymour or Luxo have a chance of surviving a tussel with him. Oh to be a fish on the wall….
In the mean time of course, our lives must go on. Can’t help feeling that despite all the wingeing and moaning from some (i had a recent small online spat with D’Esterre who thinks things are terrible here), our lives are infinitely far better than most others around the globe. I mean, to state the obvious extreme opposite condition: we should thank our lucky stars that we are not in Ukraine right now. And not in Gaza. Or Israel. Or Afghanistan. Or Libya. Or Morocco. Or Syria. Or Turkey. Or Kurdistan. Or China, Burma, Tibet, Hong Kong… Or virtually everywhere in Africa. And the year is not even near being finished yet… Instead, we live in a country where we had a highly cautious government and a well-managed health service over Covid, who perhaps over-nannied us, but nonetheless kept most of us alive and beloved. My neighbour died at 102 the other day, of old age, having survived Covid. My cousin in the UK was no so lucky, as the NHS there is still in melt down. We ARE lucky.
Nonetheless we are stuck in Aotearoa and we must go on, despite our sewer pipes exploding weekly up and down the street, buildings sinking into the mud, EQ prone edifices facing a looming deadline to strengthen or demolish, and with the debacle over the mismanagement of the Town Hall strengthening project, an increasingly unlikely appetite to ever restore any more heritage. Word to the future city leaders: perhaps never again should we build a city on reclaimed land via rubble piled up on the beach, especially when it is a EQ fault line, on the edge of a continental boundary, in the windiest city on earth… Just a thought.
Will the switch from central city office blocks to suburban back bedrooms continue, as the Public Service seems to be still stuck on WFH as if Covid was still rabid? There are still so many office buildings sitting empty around the city. Are there any office blocks actually worth transmogrifying into apartments, or is that route simply all too hard to do in practice? In theory it is the right answer, but in practice, maybe not? Results so far have been less than spectacular!
So – will we build again? For the last ten decades we have been strengthening non-stop, with billions of dollars of steel and concrete poured into holes in the ground. While other cities have been building anew (Christchurch for obvious reasons), Auckland especially (several new waterfront buildings – also on reclaimed land…), Wellington has been, mostly, marking time. Will that change? Will a change to a born-again National party also mean a reborn capital? Or will the evil Hologram effigy of Seymour really sack 11,000 public servants, with the inevitable carnage in Wellington’s real estate market causing just as much damage as in the employment statistics? Or might the Greens somehow get at least partially into power and effect a wholesale change to the Electricity prices, by cementing in a Carbon tax system instead of more reliance on GST and PAYE ?
Will the world really fall apart if we have yet more Cycle Ways, or will we find ourselves in 30 years rejoicing in the prospect of a fully cycle-friendly city? Will we ever get Mass Rapid Transit in any form? Will we still be fobbed off yet again with More BUS as the answer, despite report after report showing that this will never answer the question? Will we ever see a Light Rail system anywhere in Aotearoa, ever again, despite once having an extensive tram system in nearly every city in the country? Will anyone in LGWM ever actually get off their fat, comfortably upholstered arse and actually do something? EVER?