The problem with democracy is its participation is most attractive to people who cannot attain any meaningful level of achievement in the outside world.
This hard reality is constantly exhibited, most recently by an Auckland City Councillor Cathy Casey, aided and abetted by two other Councillors, Chris Darby and Josephine Bartley. All three displayed, (perhaps unsurprisingly) world-class ignorance. What happened was this.
Veteran Councillor Christine Fletcher described the recent joint Labour and National housing “reform” as “tantamount to rape”. It was an accurate description which I’ll come back to.
But it was not Fletcher’s opposition to the policy which caused the spectacularly stupid Councillors Casey, Darby and Bartley distress, rather it was their ignorant and infantile response to the word “rape”. Let me enlighten them.
The Latin origin of the word means “theft” or to “grab and steal”. It’s commonly applied to all sorts of situations, frequently for example by conservationists complaining about farming’s effect on rivers and the land. In the circumstances Fletcher used it, it was apt. One of Britain’s greatest ever poets, namely Alexander Pope who it’s odds on the three dummies Casey, Darby and Bartley have never heard of, is most famous for his satirical piss-take on then contemporary values, namely “the Rape of the Lock” poem. That was over three centuries back.
But back to Christine Fletcher’s 100% correct complaint.
The joint Labour/National policy attracted journalists attention solely because of the two Party agreement. No deeper analysis was made.
The policy has two parts, one excellent and one, which Fletcher rightly complained about, bloody stupid.
The long overdue good bit was to speed up Council building approval processes.
The bad bit was allowing residential sites to carry triple their current building density.
Thus an adjacent home-owner could now find a loss of their all-important privacy and sun when a three level building containing three flats pops up next door. And who wants to walk up to the top floor meaning to overcome that, a costly passenger lift must be included.
We have no shortage of flats in our main cities, indeed in time-honoured tradition developers are currently over-cooking this market and many will go broke, as invariably they always have.
What we have is a shortage of family homes for lower income folk. Apart from wrecking existing neighbourhoods, this ill-thought new density policy does nothing to alleviate that.
Christine Fletcher’s protest was 100% spot on the mark, as was her use of the adjective rape.