Worzels World - Itís deja vu all over again
It was over 26 years ago that I observed the unmistakable signs of degeneration in Auckland, the city of my birth. Too many people, not enough space, steadily increasing house prices and a steadily decreasing standard of living. It was about this time that Auckland city began to become something apart from mainstream New Zealand. I identified myself as a mainstream New Zealander and so decided it was time to leave what was becoming an alien city. I ran away, and deserve some criticism for doing so.
As I often say to others, ‘if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence it’s probably because you trampled the grass on your own side.’ For many foreigners living in an industrial wasteland world, the comparatively unspoiled green field of New Zealand has become an attractive paddock. At the moment around 60,000 people per annum vote with their lives and migrate here.
It would be nice to take some credit for the preservation of our country but the reason is more that New Zealand is hidden way down at the ends of the earth. If the grass is greener here it is because it is a relatively fresh paddock, not because we have grazed it wisely. We have only had a few short centuries to despoil and rape this land. Others have had to misuse their natural resources for thousands of years to achieve the current state of grim polluted vileness that can be found elsewhere on the globe. The New York‘s, London’s, Calcutta’s and Shanghai’s of this world are bad. Birmingham and Manchester still bear the scars of ‘England’s dark satanic mills.’ And in Flint, Michigan, the tap water is poisonous.
Thanks though to a slavish commitment to economic growth and a sad national inferiority complex we are hot on the heels of these failed nations. As long as we continue in the same way at the same rate, we too will succeed in turning our ‘green and pleasant land’ into a vile and unpleasant hell.
There is a disease that festers in the heart of many if not most major urban environments. Auckland has it. The disease has typically followed in the wake of the adoption of neo-liberal economics. It was, in the 1980s, evident in London and New York and has since spread throughout most of England and America. Its symptoms are felt everywhere in the world. The spread of this cancer has been a little slower in New Zealand. The disease leaves people thinking that greed is good, that ends justify means, that the exploitation of others is reasonable and standard business practice. After all ‘It’ provides jobs and stimulates the economy.
All over the world there are separatist movements. Ireland and more recently Scotland have wanted divorce from England. The Basques in Spain, Kurds in the middle East, Tibetans in China – all want the right to self-determination but the governments which tax and control them refuse to grant them such liberty. In the case of Auckland though, if that city should ever want its independence from the rest of us I’m willing to let it go.
It is in the nature of this disease to be contagious and at the moment the disease is spreading our way. The symptoms are as follows: A rush to purchase available real estate and upwardly spiralling property prices at many times the rate of inflation. In our still small but speedily growing town of Maungaturoto there are record sales of real estate as the outflow from
Auckland run from the disease, not knowing that those running carry the disease with them. And as surely as they have trampled the grass of Auckland and made it the horrid expensive dysfunctional place that it is, these internal refugees are likely to do the same here. In Mangawhai one development has sold all the available properties before titles have been issued or the consenting process completed.
These symptoms herald the onset of a malady that is inexorably killing the western world. Crippling debt and increasing social and economic inequality are the result and inevitably small self-reliant communities break down as they are absorbed into the global vortex of false values in regard to both property and people.
So be in quick folks, the train to hell is about to depart and the seats are filling fast. Some locals see such development as a good thing, bringing wealth into the community, but I have seen it all before and am sad to see this debilitating disease coming our way.