No, I don't mean the reality of Uncle Helen, or Liarbour's campaign tactics.
But the state of new/modern housing in New Zealand.
I like Orewa, very pretty by the sea, with reasonable shopping, nice countryside, not too busy and not too far from Auckland. Could I pick up a bargain?
But driving around the new subvision, a masterplanned community, I thought, 'how ugly, how artificial'. The houses reminded me of the town in that movie with Jim Carrey and the world watches his every move like some soap opera. But worse than that, the houses were so packed together. It could have been Eden Terrace, rather than some leafy subdivision 40kms or so from Auckland city.
Why do we have to be so close together? Why can't new houses have privacy from their neighbours anymore, especially if you are paying $700,000 plus for a house, or less for a flat.
This afternoon, I was driving around Greenhithe and Albany, both pretty places about 30mins from the CBD. But again, high density housing seems to be spoiling them. There was some McMansions close to the new North Harbour Motorway with gardens little bigger than teatowels.
Shortly after, I was in Albany and while there is the pretty mainstreet, that too is being marred by some of the most ugly apartment development imaginable. One is called Central One or something, which seems apt as it looks like a characterless urban underground railway station.
Come on! Can't we do better? The hills and the bushland around Albany is beautiful. Cannot the developers and architects come up with something that adds value to the countryside, homes that that lovely to look at. Or do developers face such heavy charges from local councils that packing them in to be ugly boxes is the only way to make developments pay?
Or high-density housing is what local bodies want? But do the public? Certainly I don't. When I finally get a place, I want somewhere with a garden and a bit of peace and privacy, not having neighbours breathing down your neck, or sharing your driveway.
Why can't we as New Zealanders demand the right to a decent garden once more? It's not like we are short of land. We have a landmass equivalent to the size of the British Islames with about one-fifteenth of the population. There is room to spare, room to breathe.
I haven't gone through the Weekend Herald yet. But have you seen the ad for those apartments above the Stamford Plaza hotel in central Auckland? There's a little girl holding a balloon and talking about her new home. But should children live 15 floors up? Shouldn't they have gardens instead to play on. It would be cruel to keep a dog in an apartment, never mind a child. And what if the child decided to climb over the balcony? Would it go splat onto the road below? What parent could have children in such a place?
So why are the planners, the developers, etc, pushing the concept of high density living? Is it solely to satisfy the great God Gaia, get us all living along main roads served by buses when really what we do want is a front and back yard and the freedom to drive. There has been talk that the days of the quarter-acre section are over, but why should it be?
Like I say, New Zealand has land to spare, room to breathe. Whoever wins the Election, I only hope that the new government can make a proper home and garden affordable again. Freeing up the land supply seems the way, along with cuitting developer contributions. Surely as Kiwis , it is our inalienable right, what supposedly gives us our 'quality of life.'
By the way, if anyone is passing through Albany and fancies a treat, the Wine Box restaurant comes highly recommended (DineOut agrees), as does an Entertainment Book to make it affordable. The chocolate mousse is to die for.