I once generously offered well-known Wellington property developer Ian Cassels to have him lashed daily with barb-wire, this solely out of kindness. I did that, assuming he’d like it as it’s a constant source of amazement to me why developers pursue such a masochistic activity.
A few years back, following their publication of my new 600 pages language book, “Fighting Talk” I said to the then Random House boss I’d write a book which would sell, explaining why all property developers ultimately go broke. Her response pulled me up with a halt, namely, “but we need them”. And of course she was right, but by God they suffer.
Half a dozen years back Ian looked at the visual disgrace of Shelly Bay, lying on the eastern side of Evans Bay. It’s a disgrace because it’s cluttered with an untidy mismash of old redundant military sheds.
The land was partly owned by the city council and partly by the local Iwi. Both sold to Ian whereupon a typical Wellington wankerish response eventuated.
First came a small group who objected to the proposed construction of 350 varying sized apartments in buildings set in parks and with marina facilities. Their complaint was aesthetic, albeit only indicative sketches had been done. Various court actions were pursued to stop the development, all in vain.
Peter Jackson initially funded some of the anti-factions, again on aesthetic grounds which was a bit rich from someone who’s littered residential Miramar with industrial buildings for his film activities.
Complaints were made that the road would be too congested, albeit being dead easy to widen, and so it went. All very Wellington.
Then a small Taranaki maori faction hit the news saying they’d not been properly consulted by the Iwi. Further legal action was mooted but abandoned after Jackson abruptly withdrew funding for them for reasons not explained but which one could easily guess.
We now have the situation where a bunch of these objecting maoris have parked themselves on the site. They’re trespassing, at the moment pointlessly.
But what happens when Cassels sends in the bulldozers? Will it become another maori sacred site silliness attracting armies of show pony supporters? And if so, as is their obligation, will the Police arrest them, which they certainly would in any parallel non-maori situation?
To condition himself to all of this, Ian would be wise to accept my kind daily barb-wire flogging offer but of course, being a developer, wisdom is by definition, not part of his make-up.