The time is ripe – the end is near. Gradually, slowly, the Independent Commissioners are releasing their Reports onto the interwebbies, and very slowly, a sleepy group of Wellingtonians are reading them. So many words, expensive words, produced at a rate of thousands of dollars per hour. It is a select group, as in reality so few people really give a toss, and yet in time, I suspect that these reports and their outcomes will be as significant a factor on the future of Wellington as would be the Alpine Fault going off with a 2500 year bang. A bloody good wake up call, in other words. But if you’re not interested, or simply have had enough, then back to sleep you go, perhaps to wake up in a Rip Van Winkel trance for 20 years, only to find that the world had gone ahead and left you behind.

Former Maximum is now Minimum. Well, 27m was good enough for years. Still is, in my mind.

“What on earth is the Fish on about?” I hear some of you wonder, although most of you already know. Shall I briefly summarise the past that got us here? We had a District Plan, and the rules say that every ten years we should make another Plan. The Council put lots of effort into the new Draft Plan, adding in areas where intensification could occur, and yeay, verily did they consult the populace. They published the Draft Plan, called for comment, and then the beastly central Government, tired of waiting for Councils to do exactly what they had been asked to do, threw a proverbial spanner in the works and told the Tier One cities (mighty divisive phrase that – telling all the smaller centres that they really did not matter), that they had changed their mind and now multi-unit housing was to be as near as dammit everywhere. This was such a momentous occasion that both National and Labour actually agreed on it, gripped the very same ballpoint pen and scrawled a hurried signature over it: Judith Collins, Nicola Willis, and some Labour people, I forget who.

Retirement Villages in the Central City? Get outta here! Those guys were nuts!

So popular was this with the good burgers of Wisconsin – no, Botany – that they decided to chop off Judith’s head, stick it on a stick and march around the fireplace singing “The Piggie is dead”. Something like that anyway. Luxboy got into power, and into bed with Winston and Seymour and consummated their three-way menage by declaring that they had only been joking all the time and they never meant it anyway. All the Tier One cities realised belatedly that they had actually been Rogue One cities instead, and didn’t really have to densify anyway. Christchurch decided to do nothing about it what so ever, while Auckland say Yah Boo Sucks and decided that they already had a working plan and besides, one day they would have Light Rail and then everything would be different, so they left out a massive swathe through the city, claiming that they wouldn’t make their mind up until the Government gave them a train set. Wellington just scratched its heads, and plowed on regardless, only this time without their trousers, which had got a soaking for all the leaking water pipes.

No more bullshit “Design Excellence” but just big COCK instead

Where was I? Up a creek without a paddle, perhaps, but in actual fact, I was in good company because the Council were up there too, also sans paddle. The WCC now republished the Draft District Plan but this time they called it the Proposed District Plan, which meant it was a different Plan altogether, although only in tiny ways that no-one noticed – except for me, and other spotty-faced nerds. They called for more Consultation, which meant pouring over the plans to try and spot the difference, which of course meant that people only looked at their own house to see what had changed there, it anything. Then they got in a highly trained and specialised panel of Independent Commissioners to look at all the issues of the Proposed Plan and listen to Experts tell them what to do, or listen to the People to tell them what NOT to do, all while being paid something like $800 per day. Crikey. When I go on a job in another city, my boss allows me to claim $40 per day, so a rate twenty times mine sounds impressive to a small bottom dwelling mudfish like myself. Literally, I flounder.

COCK applies both Above and Below the Height limit?

And now the Reports from these highly paid people are back, with a stash of reports that you / we / I can download and read. So what do they say?

Outcomes, not Points, and Guidelines drastically reduced

To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure. There are so many words there on so many different documents, that I haven’t got anywhere near the end, or even the beginning of the end, nor even the middle of the middle. I think that I am somewhere near the middle of the beginning. Other people seem to be having more luck than me. Some slick sleuths are on the ball, claiming that their Character Area is now bigger, or that the neighbouring Heritage area now has more Character, or that the Boundaries have moved. Honestly, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Presumably, if an Area is declared to be full of Character or Heritage, then perhaps no one is to touch it? So does that mean that your property price goes up or down? The way the Council decided what was Character was a bit of a rumpty solution anyways, asking Boffa Miskell to investigate and tell them whether there was any Character on the horizon, or any Horizontality in the Heritage.

Who was proposing to demolish Meridian? Say what?!

Do you trust Boffa Miskell to have got right the question over whether your house is full of Character or merely quirky crap? Some don’t. Actually, I do, as I think that only people who professionally lie for a living, like Real Estate agents, and they will assign “character” to a property that is plainly a dog. Perhaps people believe them, mistakenly. Estate Agents, that is. But Boffa’s viewpoint is a bit rougher and more harsh. If something is a dog, they’ll classify it as a canine quadruped alright, and not recommend it be placed in a Character Area.

Two new small public open spaces added – don’t make me laugh. Do something useful! That’s pathetic!

Does Character mean that it has to have Good Character? But aren’t the best parts in any film the actors who play the Bad Characters? Hasn’t Hugh Grant got much better with his more recent portrayal of Bad Characters, compared to his former saccharine portrayal of soppy-faced foppish git Tim-Nice-But-Dim Good Characters? Can we do the same with Character buildings? Should we have a Zone where buildings are full of Bad Character, rather than Good? Or does that already exist and is merely called Johnsonville? Or Churton Park? Take your pick, we have many contenders.

Watch out if you have got bad Wind !

Is there anything else left to say? Or have I said enough already? Has the whole event been worthwhile? Probably not. Is it over yet? Definitely not. Have I had enough yet? Definitely! Is the city looking better yet?

Everywhere in Wellington has Wind. Question is, what are you going to DO about it?