No Minister

The beatings will continue until lessons are learned!

with 8 comments

I’m sometimes tempted by the thought that a Labour/Green government should be elected in 2023 so that we can really test all their ideas to destruction.

But then I think of places like 1930’s Germany and 1990’s Venezuela where people voted for ideas they thought would be great for their countries which, filled with easily re-distributed wealth and arts and culture, would be secure against policy mistakes – safe in the knowledge that “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”, as Adam Smith once declared to a student.

Over the last few years, in my part of Auckland, there has been a lot of new state housing built; solid 1940’s wooden houses on large sections replaced by six or more modern two-story units. They look nice – so far. There are a lot more cars on the road and a lot more people around. All sorts of people. In the neighbouring suburbs there has been a large jump in all sorts of crime. The ram raids, stabbings and shootings make the news. What doesn’t are the “small” crimes involving teenagers and others being held up by knives or fists in the near-East suburbs.

We were aware of all of this via the local Facebook and Neighbourly websites but it really struck home a couple of months ago when the teenage son of our next door neighbour got punched out while walking home on our quiet streets with his girlfriend from a party late on a Saturday night. Two cars pulled over beside them, several guys jumped out and laid into him. They did at least leave his girlfriend alone even as she called the cops and an ambulance, so he was able to find out what had happened when he regained consciousness a few hours later in hospital. Luckily he suffered no major injuries but of course there’s no more such late night walks for him – or for many others of our kids as word spread fast. The attack was entirely random. Nobody has been arrested nor do we expect anybody will be.

People always ask how things like this can just start happening, and in this case I’m sure we’re looking at gang recruitment; “prove yourself to us”.

But there are plenty of examples from overseas, starting with Minneapolis. I knew only one thing about that smallish, Mid-Western city when I was growing up watching American TV in NZ:

Yeah, the hat throw in the intro to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. So iconic that the city put up a statue of it decades ago, which may almost be as popular as the ones for local hero George Floyd. Now the state’s Supreme Court has ordered the city to start hiring police officers to build up to the number legally required by city ordinances to meet legal requirements:

I’ve asked who in his right mind would go to work for the department. The Star Tribune is singing from the Beatles songbook: “Nothing’s gonna change my world.” At least the song comes with a mantra to soothe the troubled soul.

But I was also reminded of the following story from the USA, located in, of all places, a post by retired Law Professor Ann Althouse early in 2021 when she commented on seeing the Oscar-winning movie, Nomadland, “For people whose only home is a vehicle, the knock is a visceral, even existential, threat. How do you avoid it?”.

The movie is about an aging homeless woman who lives in an old van (“I’m not homeless. I’m just houseless.”) and travels around America seeking whatever work and comfort she can find. It was a story from one of her commentators that struck me in its similarities to the worsening crime situation in Auckland:

Until last year I lived in a neighborhood which used to be nice. Then, mysteriously, it began to fill with trash. My wife and I would walk the dog, and she would spend the walk picking up trash. Every day. I gave up.

Drug needles appeared on the ground. Our cars were broken into while parked in front of our house. Our trash and recycling would be rummaged through at night and we’d have to clean up the mess in the morning. Vehicles would park in a nearby side street and sit there until the cops came. They were replaced by more.

Finally, we moved. While our house was on the market someone broke in and left used needles in the toilet. Twice. It’s a great selling point for potential buyers.

In the new neighborhood, my wife doesn’t have to pick up trash on our daily walks. The worst thing we’ve had to deal with was someone leaving dog poop on the lawn. I do not believe in turning the homeless into a class of people who cannot be criticized. There’s nothing about being homeless that requires you to leave trash everywhere. There’s nothing that requires taking drugs. Or breaking into cars and houses.

I suspect, however, that people who are neat and law-abiding don’t tend to become homeless. I’ve worked a lot of minimum wage jobs and restaurant jobs, and I was always able to at least rent a room. What’s really being pushed by homeless activists is a lifestyle choice where the homeless are free of all social obligations- work, family, and community. It’s an antisocial way of life that harms other people. Homeless people aren’t disliked because they are houseless. It’s the trash and crime they create. They make life worse for the people around them.

But you can’t say any of this in public anymore. If you do, you are a privileged jerk because you want to live in a clean neighborhood while so many people are living in squalor.

Of course the idea where I live is that building lots of houses will obviously cure homelessness and thus reduce poverty and crime. So far the evidence is exactly the opposite. But it’s early days yet. As I said, the new houses look nice. My Chicago-born wife mutters “ghettos” as she drives through the areas.

At the last neighbourhood meeting in our area to discuss further housing developments, both public and private, that will quadruple the concentration of people living there, the authorities present suggested to the people who turned up that every effort would be made to educate them out of their various fears.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 28, 2022 at 6:00 am

8 Responses

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  1. I’m surprised you are still in Auckland. It’s prone to Government interventions like lockdowns at the drop of a hat, with no logical recourse. Our relatives and friends in the Province’s were largely unaffected by the Covid paranoia, whereas Auckland had a lockdown that was never going to work.
    I suspect crime will escalate which shouldn’t be surprising.
    If the Government breaks the law on a frequent basis, (MIQ, lockdowns, mandates, etc), then how do you expect Joe public to respect the law?


    June 28, 2022 at 8:24 am

  2. My 18 year old advised me the other day that not only did he want to leave Auckland, all his mates did too.

    Can’t say I disagree.


    June 28, 2022 at 8:41 am

  3. We’re Auckland refugees, having left there in 2003 for the provinces. Whilst our house now is probably worth half the house we sold in Auckland, our lifestyle and peace of mind for the last 20 years has been worth it.

    When they were younger I used to ask our kids every year if they wanted to move back to Auckland the answer was always a resounding “no way”.

    I visit Auckland regularly (used to be every week) for work and am saddened at what it has become – and the trajectory is all downhill. I was brought up there and with the two harbours and volcanoes it is one of the beautiful Cities of the world.


    June 28, 2022 at 10:44 am

  4. Hmmmm….. interesting comments, but we actually do have property and a house outside Auckland. Far outside. My oldest has joked about building a “compound” there, something that has an internal courtyard – and is easily defended. 🙂

    Tom Hunter

    June 28, 2022 at 11:31 am

    • Your ‘oldest’ has a remarkable prescience available, harness it Tom.


      June 28, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    • Ha, our place was selected for its commanding field of fire. Sometimes referred to as a lovely view 😉


      June 28, 2022 at 1:41 pm

  5. It’s almost as if failure is written in the source code. The globo rush to neo-communism and socialism seems guaranteed to fail. The de-industrialisation of the west was always going to whiplash. Real estate prices smashing through the stratosphere, combined with job crunching policies was always going to hit the poor hard. Was that Labours plan, disguised under “be kind” platitudes? Ruthless legislative activism and Mahuta corruption. Nowhere to live for you peons. Now give me your guns. Why can’t people see the destruction inherent in the debt based system. Eventually you have to pay Mephisto for your life of lollipops in the big cities. The south island of NZ is mostly empty. Go local. Think like a prepper. Live in the country. De-urbanise. De-corporatise.


    June 28, 2022 at 2:17 pm

  6. This seems about right…Auckland, Wellington plummet in livable city ratings

    The 2022 Global Liveability Index, by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked cities around the world on factors including health care, crime rates, political stability, infrastructure and access to green space.

    It ranked Auckland 34th out of 173, a considerable drop from second in 2021. …

    Wellington also experienced a notable drop, falling to 50th from fourth in 2021.

    Tom Hunter

    June 28, 2022 at 8:42 pm

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