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  1. Dave B, 6. September 2020, 12:01

    “… the party vote will go to National.”
    My oh my, if that is the case what short memories people have. The party that de-funded everything except motorways. The party of 1000 cuts.

  2. Greg B, 6. September 2020, 12:15

    An interesting article. However, the author has ignored every global – & NZ – trend towards increasing urbanisation, and increasing density in cities. Yes, the Wellington CBD will have to evolve as employers seek to downsize and have more of us & no doubt council will have to adapt too.

    But the city will grow. It’s where people and services – and jobs – still predominantly are: just look at the busy trains heading through the Rimutaka tunnel each morning towards Wellington. And at least the WCC (for all its issues) is trying to do something about urban growth – even if it is being stymied by a plague of NIMBYism.

    I do agree that the Wairarapa is booming – or should that be “Boomering” – as (mostly) retirees are moving out to the region, which is great for the towns there. But where is the grown up debate in the Wairarapa about providing the necessary additional infrastructure for them as they age and their needs increase (expanded health / social care / other facilities & services)? What about how to pay for it, not to mention the younger workers desperately needed to provide these services: ironically the very demographic currently making a beeline for the city?

    Where’s the debate in that National Party fiefdom about more value for money for ratepayers (3, yes 3! – Councils for the Wairarapa – talk about needless duplication of bureaucracy).

    Every time I visit or read about the valley the loudest voices are just saying the same old same old about farmers and their constant travails with, well, everything. If the Wairarapa is to thrive (and benefit from Wellington’s changes) these debates will need to happen soon. Some introspection and constructive critiquing, instead of lobbing clods of muck over the Remutaka, will benefit both city and country (after all, we do rely on each other).

  3. TrevorH, 6. September 2020, 14:18

    Thanks for another great column Ian. COVID has, as you suggest, hastened the decline of the CBD. Meanwhile core infrastructure continues to collapse after years of council failure to invest, while preposterous vanity projects like the Convention Centre fritter away ratepayers’ hard-earned money. The Wairarapa looks very tempting – pity builders are in such short supply.

  4. Marion Leader, 6. September 2020, 17:11


  5. Larcus Mush, 6. September 2020, 20:52

    Exactly Trevor the WCC has no problem funding fireworks displays yet ignores fixing short phased and unsynchronised lights or painting yellow lines on one side of a narrow street

  6. Tom Watson, 7. September 2020, 7:08

    It’s looking like Labour will take this one out in Wairarapa actually I would wager. Having lived here all my life and paid especially close attention to the last electoral race, it seems Keiran McAnulty might have finally gathered enough support. Only bolstered by the current government’s large margin of public support over the flailing National Leadership. The Wairarapa needs more jobs and more infrastructure to keep people invested/putting down roots in the area. Farmers do sadly have more and more issues to deal with in this time of chaotic climate change-fuelled weather. I think it is good to have people like you Ian who put across how dire the situation is becoming but I dare say I have a heady optimism for the future nonetheless!

  7. Ian Apperley, 7. September 2020, 10:40

    Thanks, everyone for commenting, as always thought-provoking and interesting.

    I should get one thing straight, for those who are not familiar with my commentary, I am apolitical. I find it quite a chore to choose who to vote for each election. So, my comments around National winning aren’t so much an endorsement as an opinion.
    Tom, on that, there is some enthusiasm for the idea that Labour could win over here. That would surprise me based on the opinion on the ground and statistics. Labour has lost the electorate to National five times in a row and not since Georgina Beyer have they held it. Kieran has run before twice and has narrowed the margin. The National candidate is brand new, so, maybe it will be Kieran’s year.

    Greg, you make some excellent points. The city will continue to grow, and the question is how quickly, and what demographics. Will returning kiwis and high-value migrants push out those who cannot afford the increasing house prices? Wellington already has a population of which more than 50% were not born in New Zealand, and I suspect that will continue to grow. There is a whole other article of reckonings just on that topic!

    Boomers and Wairarapa, you want to avoid the supermarket on Gold Card days, that can be quite the experience; however, I see a lot of younger people moving in. Agree re the three Councils, it seems a little mad, and when, as you say, surrounding infrastructure of all types needs investment as the region grows, it makes more sense to combine forces.

    I think for the most part farmers get it. Certainly, where we are, they are invested heavily in doing the right things with two rivers passing through the area. They are also militant conservationists having dedicated a large block to regenerating a unique wetland. I suspect the mud throwing lot are much more likely to be aligned with a lobby group or two. Unhelpful and particularly vociferous in an election year, I often wonder who pulls their strings.

  8. Andy Mellon, 7. September 2020, 11:52

    I thought Kieran McAnulty had taken the approach that paid off for Chris Bishop in Hutt South. Basically, be as available and approachable a constituency MP as possible, then you’ll garner the votes. From what I understand, the previous National MP (Alastair Scott?) had been pretty anonymous whereas McAnulty was available for the opening of an envelope, as the old saying goes.

    McAnulty is clearly running against the headwinds of the general demographics of the Wairarapa, in a political sense, but the beauty of MMP is that you can split your vote and go for the candidate who puts in more effort locally for your constituency vote and use your party vote to align with the party you want to be running for government.

    It’ll be interesting to see the outcome.