Monday, May 12, 2014

Kettlehole Track, Lake Pukaki

Kettlehole Track on glacial Lake Pukaki terminal moraine is about 47 kms from Lake Tekapo. Kettlehole Track turnoff from SH 8 is just before Lake Pukaki spillway. Beyond Lake Pukaki dam is the busy Mt Cook lookout, public toilets & kiosk for expensive salmon treats.

A DOC sign states walking time is 1/2 an hour, but I'd found DOC walking times in the past notoriously quick, so I guesstimated mine & Leah's walking times for our short legs as double the DOC time, which proved correct. Then there was the additional 1/2 hour walking time round the glacial kettlehole, which a DOC board said was formed by a big chunk of glacial ice on the terminal moraine, which slowly melted, leaving the kettlehole.

The track undulates over sheep paddocks, past scattered moraine stones, with glorious views of Mackenzie Country, Southern Alps ranges & Lake Pukaki. We crossed 2 rabbit fences - the first over a stile, the next through an open gate, which I thought useless for detaining noxious rabbits.

Dominating the view is nearby Lake Pukaki, its terminal moraine, with SH 8 on it & lateral moraines going towards Mt Cook. Scattered pine forests on lateral moraines & wilding pines green-pollute high country golden views. A plaque at the top of Burkes Pass quotes someone recommending that settlers should plant trees, but their boring pines & larches spoil the view, like on Mt Cook station. I thought southern beeches would've been better plantings. Yet station owners nowadays still plant pine forests in Mackenzie Country.

Mackenzie Country snow capped panorama seen from Kettlehole Track:

S we saw Twizel embedded in trees, Mt Benmore & Lake Benmore.

E we saw Two Thumbs Range, Rollesby Range, Dalgety Range & Grampian Range...

W we saw Mt Stafford, Black Hills & Ben Ohou Range with peaks going northwards: Ben Ohou, Backbone, Mackenzie, Razorback, Dun Fiunary, Glentanner... Mt Sealy, Sefton, Footstool, La Perouse, Mt Cook.

Mt Sefton is seen from Kettlehole Track, but is not seen from the tourist lookout, as Rhoboro Hills obscure Mt Sefton views.

N & NE from Mt Cook we saw various peaks & ranges: Mt Wakefield, Mt Blackburn, Burnett Range, Nuns Veil, Gammack Range, Braemar Dome, Mt Stevenson, Mt Mistake. Mt John & Lake Tekapo are obscured by Mary Range. Two Thumbs Range, Mt Richmond, Mt Ardmore & Mt Edward go SE to Burkes Pass.

The kettlehole, with a waterhole at the bottom, has 2 ecosystems: tussock grassland on the wet W slope & spiky matagouri on the dry E slope. On the still, high pressure system day we walked Kettlehole Track, Raolia australis, vegetable sheep growing beside the track, signed harsh alpine winds.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mt John Village & The Cairns, Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo village: Above SH8, close to Aorangi Cres, are 2 housing developments behind Lake Tekapo School - Mt John Village, named after Mt John Station & The Cairns, complete with golf course, lake & Alpine views. Both developments have new infrastructure & housing.

As both developments are close to farmlands, there are several farm tracks to be walked or jogged over golden hilltop grasslands.

Off Aorangi Cres, Andrew Don Dr leaves Mt John Village housing & becomes a gravel road going down to Tekapo River. Shortly along the gravel road, after going though a farm gate, one can follow a farm track up to the top of the hill. The farm track, sidling by a pine forest which stops erosion above Tekapo River, goes past a radio mast & continues on the other side of the hill to Canal Rd going to Tekapo A power station.

My favourite circular walk, or jogging, is to turn right at the top of the hill by another farm gate, after admiring Alpine views of course & follow The Cairns golf course fencing towards Mt John & SH8.

In the E, I see Mt Edward, Mt Maude, Tekapo Saddle, Mt Dobson, Two Thumbs Range, Mt Ardmore, Mt Richmond. In the NE, Roundhill ski resort beckons above Lake Tekapo. In the N, Two Thumbs Range curves W to The Thumbs peaks & beyond to Mt Chevalier. Closer Mt John obscures N views of Mt Erebus, Mt Sibbald & Mt Mistake.

In the W, Ben Ohau Range dominates with peaks from S to N - Mt Stafford, Ben Ohau, Backbone Peak, Mackenzie Peak, The Razorback, Dun Fiunary, Glentanner Peak, Mt Sealey, Mt Sefton. Thereafter, Braemar Dome & Mt Stevenson obscures Mt Cook & associated peaks. One has to drive along SH8 towards Lake Pukaki for those views. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills & all that.

Going downhill beyond The Cairns golf course, a reservoir on the left, the farm track turns left towards the airport, SH8 & Godley Peaks Rd turnoff to Mt John. A right turn & the airport track takes one above SH8 back to Lake Tekapo village. Along the way one can enjoy the views from 3 Lions benches above SH8. The circular walk takes about an hour.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lake Tekapo Tourist Trap & Rental Trap.

Twenty years ago, while doing my Look See Decide, LSD trip around NZ,  I parked my 850cc Suzuki rental car in a Lake Tekapo carpark & freedom camped there. I never thought I'd live in Lake Tekapo village. Nowadays there're all sorts of prohibition signs around Lake Tekapo banning freedom campers. Locals wanted tourist dollars but not their crap. TV news recently featured German freedom campers squatting & crapping in a Christchurch red zone house. Even turdly CERA officials tut-tutted.

As Lake Tekapo has approx 1.8 million tourists passing through every year, it's a tourist trap, gateway to arid Mackenzie Country plateau & Alpine lake magnificence in the Mackenzie basin.

Leah got a teaching job at Lake Tekapo School. The headmistress told her that after the lethal, Christchurch 22.02.11 quake, school roll doubled overnight from 20 to 40. So we were tourists (or latter-day, quake displaced persons escaping post quake Christchurch, crap living conditions) in the tourist trap, as well as locals living & working in the rental trap. Population is about 320, so small we even got a free Post Office box, as there's no residential postal service in Lake Tekapo village. When I wander Lake Tekapo I see many closed ghost houses / holiday homes, post boxless, which stops junk mail.

Most houses in Lake Tekapo are private holiday homes, closed for most of the year. Some houses are commercial holidays homes, like the one we're renting at Aorangi Cres, $200 / night. (Or $400 / week). Work out how much dosh that brings in annually for one commercial holiday home. And its one of the cheaper ones, an old, 3 b.r, Public Works house, built about 60 years ago for workers constructing hydro-electric dams & canals in the Mackenzie - Waitaki basins. Fortunately Leah's boss pays our weekly rent for a while, until we find suitable accommodation. But where?

Some furnished holiday homes are rented for $400 - $500 / night. That's ridiculously unaffordable for people wanting to live & work at Take Tekapo. In contrast I recently saw a Fairlie Accessible ad where a 3 b.r. unfurnished house rents for $175 / week on Fairlie outskirts. That's affordable. But Fairlie is 43 kms from Lake Tekapo, having to commute to work up Burkes Pass.

$400 / week rent for a small, 3 b.r. house with garage is exorbitant, similar in price to Christchurch post quake rentals, where greedy landlords are coining it, due to low supply & high demand for rentals after quake damages. Luke's girlfriend's South New Brighton 3 b.r rental was damaged in the quakes & finished off in a recent storm when the roof blew off. She was sharing the rental with 2 other girlfriends. Now she's back to living with her parents while battling to find another rental.

Some landlord greed: When we asked our Christchurch landlady if our empty Burnside rental could be used to accommodate Luke & friends after their rental roof blew off, she only permitted Luke & girlfriend to stay, not other friends in dire need of accommodation. We didn't bother, as our landlady's reasoning was she preferred untroublesome middle aged tenants like ourselves, rather than youngsters who'd wreck her rental with parties. She tarred all youngsters with the same brush.

Luke's girlfriend confirmed Christchurch landlord greed in her quest for another rental. Some landlords were so greedy they either didn't want pets, or wanted her to pay weekly rent for her collie dog, or a $1000 bond for her dog.

Luke & Jake were recently booted out of their Ashgrove Tce rental house, as the landlord wanted to fix the house after EQC payout & thereafter he would live in the house. Jake moved to stay with a friend at Sumner, far from his Garland St work. Luke found a $400 / week rental in Berwick St to share rent with his girlfriend & 2 other friends. It was expensive, but par for the course in overpriced NZ.

PM Key's recent opining on rentals, when expounding on unemployed youngsters each being given $3000 by WINZ to go off the dole & move to Christchurch to help with the rebuild for 3 months (despite rental pressures on youngsters already renting in Christchurch, like my sons) was that youngsters just off the dole, or workers like my sons, could stay with family or friends. What a load of a fascist crap Key! 

Other Lake Tekapo tourist trap establishments are local cafes & restaurants, some flats on top of restaurants. Of course there's tourist accommodation at Peppers Bluewater Resort (800 plus rooms) The Godley Hotel & several B&Bs, backpackers, homestays, motels & resorts dotted around town. There's also the local YHA & Lake Tekapo camp site, so like Mackenzie rabbits, Lake Tekapo is riddled with tourists.

Recently a concrete path was completed beside Lake Tekapo for campers to stroll to Lake Tekapo village. A camper van effluent & fresh water site was also revamped for camper vans to debouch crap beside SH8, overlooking Lake Tekapo, with NO FREEDOM CAMPING signs on pines. Lake Tekapo is bordered by camper van effluent, as there's another effluent site along the highway, at the other end of town. 

As our small Lake Tekapo rental (house 97.5 square metres, single garage 18 square metres) is furnished, we're still renting our 3 b.r. house at Burnside, Christchurch, for our furniture storage. (House 103 square metres, double garage 48 square metres). Over the last months I've driven several return trips to Christchurch, fetching & carrying possessions, which are now muddled with our Lake Tekapo rental mod cons.

When we asked our Lake Tekapo landlord if he could move his furniture out, so we could relocate our furniture from Christchurch, he refused, as he'd have to store. Thus we'd have to store our furniture in Christchurch, unless we found unfurnished accommodation in Lake Tekapo. Our Lake Tekapo rental is part renovated, but the kitchen's awful, with rickety table & cupboard shelves covered in plastic, hiding decades of grime. There are 9 beds in the small, 3 b.r. house, incl 2 double beds & 2 double bunks, enough for 11 bodies a pop. The house is in fact an overpriced hostel, rather than a rental house for a family. So we had no space for our furniture. Our rental is across the road from backpacker establishments, so our landlord wants it several ways - big spending backpackers, or workers crammed into 11 beds, hostel style, or long term tenants like us, without possessions. We were seen by locals as glorified backpackers to be fleeced.  

Meanwhile there are several private, closed, holiday homes, close to our rental. Across Tekapo River, on a recent walk along Murray Pl, I counted over 20 private, closed holiday homes - more closed homes than inhabited homes. And that's just one short street in Lake Tekapo. Ditto parallel Scott St.

The sooner Lake Tekapo sorts out decent, affordable accommodation for people like ourselves who want to live, work & settle in Lake Tekapo the better. Otherwise Lake Tekapo will always be a beautiful tourist & rental trap, riddled with 1000s of daily tourists, just passing through.

The ironic convergence of Lake Tekapo tourist trap & rental trap is seen in the following Peppers Resort ad found on a community notice board, March 2014:

ACCOMMODATION NEEDED - DESPERATELY

We have a number of hard working staff desperately requiring medium to long term accommodation options in Lake Tekapo, or surrounding townships.

If you are looking for long term, secure and trustworthy tenants - look no further. Single occupant, shared options - whatever you may have will greatly assist. 

Please contact General manager ... @ Peppers Bluewater Resort ...

The biggest tourist accommodation resort at Lake Tekapo didn't even have decent accommodation for its own staff. What a farce, employers expecting excellent staff, but not providing employment or employer excellence.

We looked at a 3 b.r. rental pig sty about 1 km from Leah's school - overgrown "garden," rickety carport, cracked concrete decking, dirty, smelly kitchen, old carpets, dirty bedding, rickety furniture, asbestos backed fireplace. Upstairs bedrooms were a dirty firetrap, the house an old, A frame prefab. The greedy landlord wanted $350 - $400 / week, a tourist trap / rental trap, touting good money for a rickety slum house. He wanted long term tenants while he built another house in the front garden. Tenants in that crap rental paid for the rebuild.

Another furnished, 3 b.r  house, further from Leah's school: an immaculate rats' nest with tidy garden, rent $400 / week. A flat was on top. Snags: Gas cooker, a fire hazard; no fireplace; shared double garage, electricity, washing machine, clothes line & water heating. I foresaw endless disputes with other tenants, as we would pay 60% of the electrical bill while they only paid 40% no matter how little electricity we used & how much they used. Lake Tekapo is expensive with a low standard of living for those wanting to work at Lake Tekapo.

A filthy, 3 b.r. house we saw in Aorangi Cres is another pig sty. The landlady stores stuff in the garage, stopping tenants' use of the garage. The small house was converted to a 2 b.r house, the original lounge became a bedroom. Walls of 2 of the original bedrooms were demolished to make an open-plan lounge, cum dining room & kitchen. A fireplace with corrugated iron backing dominates the lounge & the kitchen has a gas stove. Stove & fireplace together causes miasma. I inspected the house barefoot & felt gunk underfoot. The house has inadequate cupboard space. $285 / week rental is a ripoff, our health would decline in that sty.     

Near the school, Leah's boss rents a wooden, 2 b.r house, sans garage, $350 / week. One teacher lives on a nearby farm. Another commutes daily from Twizel.

Before Easter weekend I wandered 18 Lake Tekapo streets & "posted" RENTAL HOUSE WANTED notices at 72 closed houses. Not one of those houses had a letter box, so I leave it to the reader's imagination how I "posted". There were many more closed houses, but I thought that was enough to test the ghost rental market. We got only 2 vague responses. Our search so far has revealed only high priced, low quality rentals. Our house search continues...

As there was no decent accommodation for us at Lake Tekapo, by the end of June we settled for a 2 bedroom rental in Fairlie, a village in a lower Alpine valley, 43 kms from Lake Tekapo. Rent was $200 per week for an old flax mill cottage in Talbot St in the middle of Fairlie.golf course. Fairlie people were friendlier than Lake Tekapo inmates. Snag: Leah had a long commute to & from Lake Tekapo teaching each day.

Content & pics Copyright mark JS Esslemont.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cowans Hill Walkway, Lake Tekapo

Two summit, Cowans Hill Walkway is a circular walk 6-8km return, depending on one's start & end points & detours. At the time of writing, confusing DOC signs were at the bottom & some way up Cowans Hill alongside SH8. In places DOC marker poles were obscured by pines.

Much of Lake Tekapo village is built on the lower slopes of Cowans Hill overlooking Lake Tekapo & Southern Alps. Cowans Hill is terminal moraine of the "ancient" Godley Glacier. The terminal moraine continues across Tekapo River to an unamed hill on which The Cairns golf course is built.

One can start / end Cowans Hill walk at Lake Tekapo dam control gates by SH8, opposite Pioneer Rd turnoff to Church of the Good Shepherd. A DOC sign by a concrete path shows the way past housing above Tekapo River. That route will give a quick return walk through pine forest to Cowans Hill 793m summit, about 1 hour's duration. 

Alternatively for a longer circular walk through Lake Tekapo village, Cowans Hill tussock grassland & pine forest, one can wander along SH8 past housing & stockyards to the lakeside track beyond another Pioneer Rd turnoff to Pines Beach tracks in Lake Tekapo Regional Park.

Given the confusing signage for Cowans Hill Walkway it seems that the Regional Council, DOC & NZ Transport Authority were at loggerheads as to which organization was responsible for Cowans Hill tracks.

The most logical way around the base of Cowans Hill was along SH8, but NZ Transport Authority didn't provide pavements or footpaths beside SH8 for walkers / MTBs to use. The dam road / SH8 across Lake Tekapo outlet & Tekapo River was a dangerous bottleneck for vehicles, pedestrians & MTBs, as it was narrow & only had one footpath.

SH8 on the road to Fairlie, beyond Pioneer Rd turnoff, one joins a lakeside walking track marked by green & yellow DOC poles going to Lake Tekapo Regional Park. Across SH8 are stockyards by a Lake Tekapo lookout & tourist carpark, with Lochinver Run development behind, going up Cowans Hill to the cemetery road & beyond to pine forest tracks going up to Cowans Hill 793m summit.

Opting not to wander up SH8, if one follows the lakeside track, walkers are forced by means of locked gates & fences to enter the Regional Park forest where one crosses stiles by Lillybank Rd & detours through pine forest around a farm house beside SH8. Above the farmhouse one crosses SH8 by another stile to reach a closed-to-vehicles track going up Cowans Hill beside SH8. The track leads to a closed carpark lookout & beyond to a heap of sand blocking traffic beside SH8,.by Oregon pines & birches.

Near the top of Cowans Hill, beside SH8 one passes through a farm gate by a DOC sign marked LAKE TEKAPO WALKWAY. Cowans Hill is mentioned as an afterthought. After crossing a metal stile one enters tussock grassland overlooking a private observatory, Lake Tekapo & Alps.

In tussock grassland, above Lochinver Run, the 360 degree lake & Alpine views are worth the hassles of confusing DOC & Regional Park signs. Following the DOC marked, shared use track for walkers & MTBs, Cowans Hill hilltops, 783m & 793m are a lesson in how forestry & logging can destroy pristine Alpine grasslands & wetlands. From the 783m grassland summit a Lions bench gives 360 degree views over Mackenzie Country. The grasslands are windy, so all-weather, hoody gear is necessary.

Pinus radiata pines are planted in the grassland & wetlands on top of Cowans Hill. The 783m summit has new pine plantings, the 793m summit has mature, logged pine forest. The pines may stop soil erosion, but will dry out the tarns on top. Some of the tarns are already dried out. A black swan pair & ducks swam a half filled tarn.

Having survived 3 years of Christchurch quakes, 2010-2013, it would be interesting to see the effects of big quakes on Lake Tekapo village, between topside tarns & wetland drainage on Cowans Hill & Lake Tekapo below. Given the close proximity to Alpine ranges &amp faults, like Coal River Fault below Richmond Range, I expected disastrous shaking & liquefaction. Hopefully expensive developments like Lochinver Run, Mt John Village & The Cairns have quake resilient housing?

Following the shared MTB / walker track going up to the pine forest on the 793m summit, one crosses a metal stile into the pine forest. A PINDONE sign on a pine warns about rabbit poisoning - useless as Lake Tekapo village & forests are riddled with rabbits & rabbit warrens. So much for farmers boasting about secretly introducing calcivirus into Mackenzie Country some years back. All that did was toughen up rabbits' immune systems, giving rabbits immunity to rabbit poisons.

Beside a pine forest fence, a farm track in the grassland goes down to a locked gate above Lochinver Run development.

From radio & TV transmitters at the 793m summit, one has views of Lake Tekapo village sewage farm & refuse dump. Following Tekapo River down stream view, after an S bend, one sees Tekapo A power station.

E, beside Lake Tekapo, one sees Alpine peaks rising from S to N: Mt Edward, Mt Maude, Tekapo Saddle, Mt Dobson, Two Thumbs Range, Mt Ardmore, Richmond Range, Round Hill & ski field, Mt Gerald.

N of Lake Tekapo, one sees The Thumbs, Mt Chevalier, Mt Erebus, Mt Sibbald & Mistake Peak.

W side of Lake Tekapo one sees Mt John, Braemar Dome, Mt Stevenson & Gammack Range obscuring the view of Mt Cook & associated peaks.

Further W, Cowans Hill gives grand views of Mt Stafford, Barrier Range, W of Twizel & Ben Ohau Range - Backbone Peak, Mackenzies Peak, The Razorback, Dun Fiunary, Glentanner Peak & other peaks going to Mt Sefton.

Doing a S detour from the top of Cowans Hill pine forest, one can follow a forest track to the end of the pine forest & pass through a farm gate, where a stock track follows a cliff top path above Tekapo River. Vegetable sheep, Raoulia australis, on rocks indicate harsh Alpine winds sweeping up the clifftop. Many rabbit warrens showed rabbit pollution & solid mats of hawkweed, Hieracium, showed plant pollution. Obviously rabbits didn't chomp hawkweed. I saw some rabbit carcasses, successful poisonings, but also saw rabbits hopping about, immune to Pindone. Beyond the clifftop, a farm track went down to Tekapo River, a long trek, opposite Tekapo A power station.

The way down from the pine forest summit offers various forestry tracks, a couple with DOC marker poles. The shared use MTB / walker track goes through a logged out section of forest, about 200m x 1000m, full of pine branch windrows, thistles, wooly mulleins, rose brambles, sparse grass, new pine plantings, testament to wetland & tussock grassland destruction by foresters. The pines also obscured Lake Tekapo & Alpine views. All that pines offered was firewood, wind shelter & erosion salvage. Erosion was caused by pioneers' stock overgrazing.

The shared use track passes behind housing above Tekapo River back to the concrete path at SH8 by the the Lake Tekapo dam control gates, a DOC sign there too.

Cowans Hill Walkway takes about 2 hours walking time return, or more, depending on detours one does.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mt John Walkway, Lake Tekapo

Thurs 13.02.14. On the S side of of Mt John, 1031m, overlooking Lake Tekapo, I wandered up Mt John's zigzag path through larch forest, sprinkled with pines. The climb was about 311m on the DOC maintained path. The climb began beside spa pools, renowned for the world's biggest inflatable hydroslide. Mt John Walkway was popular & many people wandered up & down.

On my way up, through larch gaps, I had glimpses of Mackenzie Country, in the N Mackenzie Basin & S Waitaki Basin, gouged out by glaciers & surrounded by Southern Alpine ranges. Beyond the treeline, the path emerged W of the S Summit, a rocky bluff. The basins were dry, desert like, with windblown grass & treeless, except for occasional farm shelter trees. W, I had Alpine views toward Mt Sefton, 3151m & Ben Ohau Range above Twizel. From S to N, some Ben Ohau / Ruataniwha peaks: Backbone Peak, 2263m, Mackenzies Peak, 2200m, Dun Fiunary, 2500m, Glentanner Peak, 2551m...

On top of Mt John, wooden steps led to a circular summit path, carpark, 5 observatory domes & Astro Cafe with spectacular views. Various boards on the summit gave info. The observatories were run by Canterbury University. Our Christchurch neighbour was studying astronomy at Canterbury Uni & hoped soon to do some star gazing on Mt John summit. Until 1983 the observatory nearest the S summit was a USA spy observatory, checking passing satellites during Cold War times.

Due to Lake Tekapo's clear skies, although Mt John was touted as a star gazers' paradise, it wasn't a conservation hotspot, due to exotic larches, thistles, rose brambles & rabbit pollution. Rabbit dung & rabbit holes riddled Mt John. I spotted a small, green, vegetable sheep, Raoulia australis, covering a stone near one of the observatories. With 1000s of tourists invading Mt John summit annually, I doubted local flora had much chance of flourishing. For the sick, lame & lazy, a tarred road went up Mt John on the NW slope, about 8 km distance from Lake Tekapo - Lake Pukaki SH8.

E, from Mt John's Astro Cafe, one could see Lake Tekapo town on Lake Tekapo S shore, with Mt Edward, 1916m, Mt Ardmore 1989m & Mt Dobson, 2095m beyond. In the distance, gravel roads to Mt Dobson & Round Hill ski fields could be seen on lower mountain slopes. NW of Mt John, Lake Alexandrina & Lake McGregor shimmer, with Lake Tekapo in the E. Mt Erebus, Mt Sibbald, 2811m, Mt Chevalier, 2404m, The Thumbs, 2546m & Two Thumb Range were in the N & NE. Beyond one of the observatory domes, in the W a glimpse of Aoraki Mt Cook summit, 3754m. Mt Stevenson & Gammack Range obscure Aoraki Mt Cook lower slopes.  

The walk through the larch forest to Mt John summit takes about 1 hour. An optional return via N slopes & Lake Tekapo shore takes about 2 hours, but it is exposed grassland. Beware of gnats, smelly horse dung & the elements, as weather changes quickly from benign to harsh.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NZ Nanny State Spying, Integrity Intervention Centre, Christchurch Quakes

Tues 28.01.14. George Orwell would've liked NZ with its Integrity Intervention Centre. Kiwis regarded integrity as honesty in relation to not stealing, not its real meaning, the quality of having strong moral principles (Concise Oxford English Dictionary.)

There were many Kiwi thieves for the Ministry of Social Development to actually have a department called the Integrity Intervention Centre. A couple of days after arriving back in Christchurch after visiting her mom at her 80th birthday celebrations in Durban, a trip paid for by Leah's older brother, Leah received the following form letter from NZ's Ministry of Social Development:

Travelling Overseas and Your Payments from the Ministry of Social Development

We are writing to you about your recent travel out of New Zealand and your payments from the Ministry of Social Development

Leah's teacher salary was so low we received a weekly accommodation supplement from WINZ, dole dept part of the Ministry, to help pay our house rent. Although a highly qualified teacher, with teaching experience in SA, UK & NZ, Leah's NZ private school salary was insufficient to pay the bills. Thus she had to do part time work, like extra lessons & lecturing teachers, over & above her full time teaching job.

We [nannies] regularly compare our records with information received from other government agencies to make sure the information we [nannies] have is up-to-date and correct. [i.e. Nanny State spying on its own citizens]. A recent check of your file [WINZ dole file. We had to sign a declaration to the effect that we allowed WINZ to check with other govt depts, or we wouldn't get dole rental supplements.] has shown the details held by the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) and by us are not the same. [Naughty Leah didn't tell WINZ she was going to SA for her mom's 80th birthday party]. We [nannies] want to make sure you are getting the right amount of money, [Yeah right!] so we [nannies] need to confirm these details. [Never mind that I stayed in NZ in our Christchurch rental house all the time that Leah was in SA. Our rent still had to be paid despite Leah going on an overseas holiday. She thoroughly deserved that holiday after receiving crap wages & salaries in NZ's low wage economy for 19 years].

Customs records indicate that you left New Zealand on 18/12/2013 by Flight Number NZ883. [Welcome to Orwellian NZ].

Fascist nannies were such brilliant, programmed spies, they never supplied Leah's return flight date nor number, which their Fact Sheet below informed they must.

We [nannies] have updated your file with the above information.

What happens next:

If this information is wrong:
You can: [Love the bold print, colons & underlining].

Either
Call the Integrity Intervention Centre on this free phone number ... option 3 between 8:00am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday with the exception of Wednesday when the hours are 9:30am to 5:00pm. [Gotta ask why nannies in the Integrity Intervention Centre were so incompetent that they couldn't call us instead of posting a snotty form letter? WINZ regularly posted 1000s of gormless form letter to clients without any thought involved by WINZ ineptocrats.] We [nannies] need to hear from you within 10 working days from the date of this letter. When you call please tell us your client number ... This will help us give you a better service [Yeah right. WINZ so-called service was always a load of crap!]

Or

Fill in the form at the end of this letter and send it back to us by: 

Mail: ...                                                       Fax: ...                                             Email: ...

Leah filled in the form, posted it to WINZ & phoned WINZ. Nanny Cheryl informed Leah that as Leah had been out of NZ for more than a month at least a weeks' accommodation supplement would not be paid by WINZ to Leah. My accommodation supplement would be paid as usual. So Leah was punished by WINZ for not telling WINZ about her going to her mom's birthday party in SA. Did I hear Orwell sniggering? 

If this information is right:
There is no need to contact us unless you have a query about this letter. If we haven't heard from you within 10 working days of this letter we will review your payments based on the information [spying] we [nannies] have.

A Fact Sheet, which has details about information matching, [spying] your rights and obligations, the actions we [nannies] may take regarding your payments, and what happens when we ask you for more information is attached to this letter. Please read it carefully.

If you need help, please call us. If your situation changes in any way let us know. [Er? What situation?] It might make a difference to the money you get. You can call us free, on the numbers listed at the end of the attached Fact Sheet.

Thank you for your co-operation.

During SA's fascist apartheid, there was a Ministry of Co-operation and Development which forced non white, non citizens to do what they were told!

Yours sincerely [Ha!]

Tania Linton
Service Manager
Integrity Intervention Centre

This sort of insulting letter was concocted by Wellington Baby Boomer nannies, who'd had free tertiary education paid for by NZ Welfare State. There was no such benevolence in present Nanny State NZ. The letter was designed to snare tertiary students & graduates, after signing up for incredibly expensive tertiary educations paid for by student loans & student allowances, then fleeing NZ to work overseas, as they couldn't possibly pay off their student loans in NZ's present Nanny State, low wage economy.

After I arrived in NZ, in 1996 I did one semester's post grad study at Lincoln Uni, before I dropped out. I already had over 10 year's tertiary education, 2 degrees, 2 diplomas, paid for by myself in SA, which NZIS & NZQA happily accepted when I applied for our NZ residence visas 20 years ago, as NZ got all my education, work experience, chattels, family & SA money, free. It took 10 years to pay back my NZ student loan, with interest.

Jake & Luke, although now working, both have expensive NZ student loans to pay back. Jake has worked in the hospitality industry full time for 8 years. His wages are so low, no way can he pay back his student loan yet. Ditto Luke, 2 years in the joinery industry. Snag: Provided they stayed working in NZ they needn't pay interest on their student loans. The moment they went overseas to escape NZ's low wage economy, their student loan time bombs started ticking at exorbitant interest rates. They would be harassed by WINZ, StudyLink, Customs, Integrity Intervention Centre nannies & anonymous spies should they leave and / or return to NZ without coughing up. Those Baby Boomer spies & harassers would've had free tertiary education.

I heard NZ Baby Boomers sniggering over their bank accounts & trust funds. There were 1000s of NZ tertiary students & graduates working in NZ & overseas in the same Student Loan bind as Jake & Luke.

NZ Nanny State, Integrity Intervention Centre provided the following Fact Sheet, a hotchpotch of nanny drivel from various Acts to justify NZ fascist state spying on its citizens:

The letter attached to this Fact Sheet has been sent to you by the Ministry of Social Development. This Fact Sheet sets out important details about information matching [spying] your rights and obligations. It also tells you about any action we [nannies] may take regarding your payments and what happens when we [nannies] ask you for more information. Please read it carefully. 

Information Matching [spying] and the Privacy Act 1993

The Ministry of Social Development manages payouts from Work and Income, StudyLink and Senior Services. We regularly compare information [spy] about our clients with information we receive from other government agencies under relevant legislation. These are formally called authorised information matching programmes, [spying] and the Privacy Commissioner oversees these programmes under the Privacy Act. [Condones spying].

The aim of these [spying] programmes is to make sure our clients are getting the right amounts of money [and to do what you're told by a fascist state]. We [nannies] compare information we hold about you with information about you that we [nannies] receive from the New Zealand Customs Service. [Spying]. This information matching [spying] programme is being done under the Customs and Excise Act 1996. [Spying].

If we detected a problem with your file [an 80th birthday party for an old lady in SA] as part of an information matching [spying] programme, we must, under section 103 of the Privacy Act tell you. [Jawohl mein nanny Fuhrer]. We [nannies] must also tell you of the actions that may be taken as a result of the problem [80th birthday party] being detected from the [spy] programme. The Privacy Act calls these actions "adverse actions." [A nocturnal "Raus!" And detention without trial].

Review of Payments and Adverse Actions

When a person's circumstances change [like an overseas birthday party] the Ministry of Social Development is able to review his or her rate of benefit, Student Allowance, Student Loan or other financial support [aka dole]. For payments and services you receive from Work and Income the review is carried out under section 81 of the Social Security Act 1964. We can also look [spy] into the payments and services you receive from StudyLink under section 307(4) of the Education Act 1989.

The indecent Acts & blackmail were like dildos to the fascist nannies.

The Ministry of Social Development can take any or the following [indecent] actions:

* Ask for more information. If you do not provide that information within a specified period of time, under section 11 of the Social Security Act 1964 we can require any other person or organisation to provide information [by snitching] we might need for the review of your Work and Income payments and services, [Services huh?] and under 307(5) of the Education Act 1989, we can ask any other person or organisation, to provide any information [snitching] we [nannies] might need when we [nannies] look into the payments and services you receive from StudyLink. [Snitching would inflame those fascist nannies].

* In some cases your benefit, Student Allowance, Student Loan or other financial support may be suspended, declined or stopped [so that you may thenceforth live forever afterwards as a streetie in fascist utopia]. We can also decline future applications for Student Allowance and Student Loan if, without reasonable cause, you do not provide any information that we [nannies] request from you [to assist your intellectual suicide].

* If you have been overpaid and owe a debt to us, it must be paid back. We are able to recover this debt because we consider no error was made in establishing this debt. [Laughable. My experience with WINZ over several years was that WINZ was a non stop fascist farce, as WINZ regularly made overpayment errors, then blamed beneficiaries for those errors, as this Fact Sheet did.] You will be given all the details of the debt and will have to arrange repayments. This money can be taken out of a benefit or other financial support you are currently getting.

* If [IF] you owe money to us and you have acted illegally there may be legal action taken against you, or there may be a penalty amount added to your debt.

Moral 1: Don't take out a fascist Student Allowance, a fascist Student Loan, a fascist rental accommodation supplement & don't go to granny parties overseas.

Moral 2: Fascist nannies who posted form letters boasting about their spying, alleging a crime & threatening immoral Acts, legal actions & penalties, without checking & obtaining full information from so-called clients, were retards.

The nannies went nuts:

If you disagree with this decision, you can ask for a review [A slow, tedious, fascist farce, like CERA zoning reviews], We [nannies] must receive your request for review within three months of this letter. You can download a form from the Ministry's website (...) or write to us by letter, email or fax. If you can't do this within three months, please talk to us. [Talk huh?] If you have a good reason for the delay, your review may still be considered.

Under section 22 of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Act 2011, clients receiving New Zealand Superannuation are entitled to receive payments for the first 26 weeks of any absence from New Zealand providing that they return within 30 weeks. If they do not return within this timeframe, subject to certain exceptions, they would not be entitled to New Zealand Superannuation and a debt would be established from the day after leaving New Zealand. If they returned after the 26th week and before the 30th week a debt would be set up for the intervening period. 

Fascist nannies forced codgers, retired to the warm Australian E coast, to endure concentration camp & ghetto NZ. Alternatively codgers had to dodge in & out of NZ every 6 months or so to renew their fascist state pensions. What a farce. Meanwhile PM Key was regularly moaning about benighted Kiwis who lived & worked in Oz, who didn't get Oz state benefits, like Oz dole & Oz medical benefits, which NZ provided for Oz citizen in NZ.

Collection of Personal Information

When we [nannies] write to you because of an information matching [spying] programme, we ask you to call us and tell us why we should not take further action on your payments. [Why don't fascist, spying nannies call their alleged criminals?] In some cases we [nannies] ask you to send us more information.

Clients Receiving Payments and Services from Work and Income and StudyLink

If you receive payments and services from Work and Income and we [nannies] ask you for more information, we [nannies] are making a preliminary request in terms of the Code of Conduct (the Code) for obtaining information under section 11 of the Social Security Act 1964. The request meets the terms of the Code for Obtaining Information under Section 11 of the Social Security Act. [Spying].

Delete Social & one had all the fascist iniquities of apartheid SA, with nannies using various Acts to harass, sometimes torture, sometimes murder. With all the nanny spying, justified by various Acts, NZ was on the slippery slope to becoming the skunk of the world as Mandela put it.

If you receive payments and services from StudyLink and we ask you for more information we are simply requesting that you provide that information. [Torturers simply do that too].

The personal information we are collecting from you is for the purpose of reviewing and determining your past and present benefit, Student Allowance, Student Loan or other financial support, and to stop any overpayment before a debt is created. [Aha! Fascist nanny cockups! WINZ is notorious for that].The intended recipients of the information you provide are authorised individuals working for the Ministry of Social Development. [Spies]. Collection of the information is not required by law. It is voluntary. [Which negates this nanny Fact Sheet. What a load of bullshit! Pity nannies didn't underline & bold print this crucial information]

If you are able to provide us with the information requested, we [nannies] will give you a reasonable time to do so. [How kind after threatening legal action & penalties]. If you do not give us the information requested, we  [nannies] will either review your payments and services received from Work and Income and StudyLink, based on the [dubious] information we [nannies] already have or require relevant third parties to supply the information to us.

Fascist threats, snitching & spying. Why would anyone want to live in NZ with all this crap!.

For example, we can require any other person or organisation, under section 11 of the Social Security Act 1964, to provide any information [snitching] we [nannies] might need for the review of your Work and Income payments and services or we [nannies] can ask any other person or organisation, under section 307(5) of the Education Act 1989 to provide any information we [nannies] might need when we look into the payments and services you receive from StudyLink.

The information will be held by the Ministry of Social Development, [Retardation] and you can ask to see it. You can also ask us to correct it [after WINZ nannies' cockups].

If you consider that our preliminary request for information breaches the Code, you may have the right to complain to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. A copy of the Code can be obtained by telephoning the Ministry on ... or by accessing the Ministry's website at ...

If you have any questions, please call:

Integrity Intervention Centre ...

Work and Income ...

StudyLink ... 

If NZ employers paid higher salaries & wages, all the above crap would be void.

Wed 29.01.14. I walked from London St to Burnside about 10 kms, mainly residential suburbs. There were many demolition sites & busy commercial zones like Bealey Ave & Merivale, but also many inhabited houses in need of repairs or rebuilds. Three years post quakes, that was an indictment of slack EQC, slack Fletchers & slack insurers, like slack Southern Response. The named entities were govt entities. Bunch of slackers. SCIRT so-called repaired roads were still crap, full of potholes, bumps, excavations, detours & contractors' graffiti on pavements. SCIRT was a govt / Council entity. Bunch of slackers.

Thurs 30.01.14. The Press reported finance minister English recommending that employers pay employees more as the economy was improving. So long as govt didn't have to cough up of course. It was election year, so politicians were boasting how they'd spend taxpayers' money. Parliament was discussing paid parental leave increasing from 14 weeks to 26 weeks. Labour leader Cunliffe wanted parents of infants to be paid nappy & feed dosh. That would encourage bigger families & more bludgers on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. And more "work" for WINZ nannies the biggest dole bludgers of all. Without all those bludgers WINZ nannies would be unemployed.

PM Key last week touted more pay for excellent school principals sent to poorly performing schools & more pay for excellent teachers. My experience with teacher, merit performance pay in SA was that there was never enough dosh to pay excellence & it wasn't easy to judge teacher excellence, as every class was different. Most principals were arts grads & hadn't a clue about the teaching needs, expectations & work conditions of science & biology teachers like myself.

Fri 31.01.14. On a trip up to Lake Tekapo I picked up a local rag The Fairlie Accessible from Fairlie. If readers think I'm bonkers in my satire of NZ Nannie State & snitching / dobbing in, here's an article by Fairlie small town, nannie cop from the Heartland of the South Island:

Police Notebook

Hello again and I hope the New Year is treating you all well. The weather has not really co-operated [co-operated] during this summer season so far, but will probably come right when the kids go back to school.

A couple of weeks ago a much loved cat was shot and wounded with a slug gun around Regent St area. I would like to hear from anyone that has information on this matter or knowledge of who owns a slug gun in this local area. [All snitchers welcome. NZ a snitcher's paradise]. 

Last week there was a nasty nose to tail crash between a car and a farm ute on Clayton Rd that could have turned out a lot worse if seat belts were not worn. No lasting injuries were received, but the vehicles were extensively damaged. Two sheep dogs got thrown out and later recovered in Fairlie a bit shaken up.

I had reports [snitching] of young kids driving tractors or motorbikes on public roads without any adults around. This type of practice is clearly inappropriate due to the obvious legal issues, [er illegal] but the possible dangers are even scarier. Youngsters unsupervised around machinery and vehicles are a recipe for disaster and we as adults have a responsibility to keep them safe. [Moral blackmail].

Thanks to all good honest people out there who are still handing in found property. If you have lost anything then the police station would be a good place to start. [Years ago when I tried to report Jake's lost SA passport at Papanui cop shop, the fat lady, reception cop, without a word, abruptly turned round, left the office & called a grey haired, paunchy cop, who aggressively objected to my loud deaf voice & basically told me to bugger off & make my report at Central Police station!] If you have found any property, then that should be handed into the police also. The old myth of "Finders keepers losers weepers" does not apply. It is the same as stealing if you do not return found property to the owner or police. [Huh? Who "steals" the property if cops never find the original owner?]

The druggies will be out and about tending their crops over the summer period so be on the alert and report [snitch] suspicious behaviour or activity. You can remain anonymous if you like. [And love your pot growing neighbour as yourself].

It may be a good time to remind people again to check the expiry date on their firearms licences. Ten years can slip by [Ho hum Heartland NZ] and before you know it you are paying an extra $113 to re-apply and unwillingly committing a criminal offence of being in possession of firearms without a licence. [Since when were renewal fees not extortion?] If you have moved address you will also need to contact police in writing of your new address within a month or you are inadvertently committing another criminal offence.

Have you got a licence? Nanny State, Police State NZ.

Until next time be careful out there!
... Fairlie Police 

Leah & I received almost identical form letters, dated 03.02.14,  where nanny Rachel Lock, National Manager, Integrity Intervention Centre, posted us each a repeat Fact Sheet from The Ministry of Social Retardation telling us that the ministry was cutting Leah's accommodation supplement of $27.50 for one week, with the crunch sentence: In most cases a client travelling out of New Zealand cannot receive payments from us. 

Thurs 06.02.14. The Press reported that the WINZ bldg on Winston Ave, Papanui, had been sold. Like so many other govt & Council bldgs, the bldg was briefly closed post 22.02.11 quake for safety inspections. I wondered where all the Ministry of Social Retardation & WINZ nannies would go when their $680 000+ p.a. rents expired? Weekly, I parked next to that gruesome WINZ bldg when I banked at nearby ANZ bank. The white pancake style bldg had toxic WINZ memories for me. The WINZ open-plan office had one-way glass windows, a beefy, security goon at the glass door & myriads of overhead CCTV cams to protect nannies from fearsome dole bludgers, er clients.

I recall a white nanny some years ago at Winston Ave WINZ seriously lecturing me about Labour's "Jobs Jolt," then months later an Indian nanny sanctimoniously telling Leah & I that as we were older beneficiaries we would be "treated differently" from others. We were both 50 somethings then. In other words, WINZ would stop bitching me to getta job! Any job, like envelope stuffing (true, I had that force fed me by a Sydenham WINZ nanny & her Oz eunuch boss Manning) so long as I didn't disgrace their "job seeker" books anymore. The white WINZ bldg at Winston Ave was as gruesome as the blue, tilt slab, Sydenham WINZ bldg on Colombo St. The latter was closed post quakes. I couldn't help humming, "Where have all the nannies gone?..."

Another tale for my nanny narrative: Nanny Heather McKellow at Riccarton WINZ sent us WINZ form  letters for years & other WINZ busy-work bumf purporting to help me getta job. I was sent on several ineffectual interviews by WINZ at various organizations purporting to help job seekers find jobs, all a waste of my time, as I suspected the interviewers just went thru the motions so they could claim funding from WINZ. I remember one grey haired enuuch nodding off in his Hereford St office while trying to interview me.

On one occasion Council & WINZ cooperated to get job seekers like myself off the dole. I was interviewed by counciilor Helen Broughton, purporting to be a personnel boffin, in McKellow's Riccarton WINZ office. When nanny Broughton asked why my medical info (deafness) wasn't on my CV, I knew nanny Broughton hadn't a clue. I was packed off to St Thomas of Canterbury College, Hornby, for an interview, for a footling photocopier / typist job, support for lazy teachers & secretaries, in a nannie's filthy photocopier room.

As the school, Council & WINZ would all contribute to my paltry $11/hour pay, when I asked the principal who my actual employer was, he didn't know. McKellow & Broughton also expected me as a parent to break the law by making Luke, 12 years old then, a latch-key kid while I did the job. When I refused that stupid setup, we got hysterical phone calls from nanny McKellow trying to organize another meeting between nannies & me, even at our home. Like the above Integrity Intervention Centre nannies, they docked our dole for a week, without any explanation why they wanted me to break the law.  

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont


See English backs boost in wages (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Fund sells Papanui landmark for 6.7m (The Press / Stuff Co).




Monday, January 20, 2014

Post Quakes, Christchurch Ineptocracy

Tues 21.01.14. A SA brother in law emailed me a pic found on eBay of a T shirt with Ineptocracy & definition printed on the T shirt:

                 Ineptocracy

           - (in-ep-toc-ra-cy) -

A system of government where the
least capable to lead are elected by
the least capable of producing, and
where the members of society least
likely to sustain themselves or suc-
ceed, are rewarded with goods and
services paid for by the confiscated
wealth of a diminishing number of
                  producers

My email response:

I agree with the Ineptocracy definition, as we're experiencing Ineptocracy in Christchurch since the quakes. Ineptocracy rules Canterbury, with govt appointed commissioners in Environment Canterbury, to ensure stock farmers can pollute pristine Canterbury waters & land can be polluted by fracking for oil. There are several deep sea oil concessions going on around NZ too.

There's also inept CERA, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, a post quake govt dept, a vast number of ineptocrats vs Council ineptocrats. So there's fun & games for post quake land zonings, demolitions, govt land-grabs, rebuilds & new builds. The old ineptocrat mayor was recently booted out (er resigned) with some of his ineptocrat, sycophant councillors booted out, or not seeking re-election. A new mayor & councillors were elected. The inept Town Clerk was recently booted out (er resigned) as his bldg consents dept was a fiasco. A new Town Clerk is pending, ineptocrat moot.

Presently a govt appointed manager in Council is sorting out the consents dept mess & other inept Council depts.

Brownlee, ex woodwork teacher, is CERA minister; Sutton, ex Orion electricity boss, is CERA's appointed CEO; Isaacs, ex small town, Timaru Town Clerk, accountant, was CERA's appointed Demolition boss, now appointed CBD Rebuild boss of the Christchurch Central Development Unit. Demolition boss to Rebuild boss!

Eighteen months ago, CERA ineptocrats produced a CBD blueprint with grand ideas for grand bldgs like a Convention Centre, Rugby Stadium, various Precincts like Health, Sports, Innovation, Performing Arts, Kids' Playground, New Bus Exchange, Justice & Emergency Services & Frame Parkland, but forgot to blueprint affordable housing, shops & schools. So far 3 years post quakes, no foundations have been laid for any CERA blueprint bldgs.

Gotta ask why CERA did a deal with Council to share costs of most blueprint anchor projects with Council, when CERA knew that town clerk Marryatt had underinsured Council assets & wanted to use unknown quake insurance settlements for Council assets to fund shared anchor project costs? Should Council have insufficient funds for CERA's expensive anchor projects, it was rich that CERA then wanted Council to sell Council's revenue producing assets, like Christchurch Airport & Lyttelton Port, to fund CERA's expensive anchor projects. Maybe borrowing on assets was more sensible than selling the family silver. Once ratepayers' assets were gone they were gone forever.

EQC ineptocrats caused much suffering for 1000s of claimants over the last 3 years with settlement delays. Insurers just followed suit. Brownlee was minister of EQC too.

Meanwhile the inept Ministry of Education has closed & merged several Christchurch schools. Thus communities lost staff & school facilities from closed & merged schools, while parents & kids of closed & merged schools had to travel further to other schools, with increased costs - travel & new uniforms.

Mon 27.01.14. Ineptocrat Brownlee demanded that Council showed more transparency in its finances regarding insurance payouts on quake trashed assets & Council asset shares (The Press 25.01.14). Snag was that Brownlee's EQC & CERA showed no transparency in their finances. Brownlee was angling for commercially sensitive information so that Council & ratepayers were forced to pay for CERA's fascist blueprint projects. It was time Brownlee packed up & left Ilam at the 2014 election so a competent person could continue with so-called earthquake recovery.

Fri 31.01.14. CERA's media release boasted of 7349 red zone properties, 98% of which CERA eligible property owners had CERA gun-at-head accepted NZ govt's land-grab offers. CERA waffled about the 2013 census showing that many property owners of quake damaged properties had relocated within 4 kms distance from their quake damaged properties. That was misleading, as tenants like our son Jake, post 22.02.11 quake also moved across town, Jake from a Waltham quake damaged house rental, to a St Albans quake damaged garage rental.

CERA hadn't stated the number of new houses being built in Christchurch to replace CERA's 7349 red zone houses. I suspected too few, hence the present housing crisis, where our 2 sons were paying exorbitant rents with 3 other young tenants for an old, double storey house, overcrowding to enrich a greedy landlord. Given NZ's low wage economy, not one of those young adults could afford to pay the full house rent on their own. Due to low wages, it was impossible for them to save for ownership of their own housing, as they were too busy paying a selfish baby boomer's rental house mortgage. Given NZ housing & land unaffordability, our sons were being locked out of home ownership, no matter how hard they worked for low pay. Greedy baby boomers had lots to answer for, as they'd bought their houses much cheaper.

Since the  quakes, we'd seen Christchurch degenerate into a more dangerous place to live. Demolition dust & road excavation dust were daily hazards. Tagging had increased, a sure sign of degeneracy. Months ago, I'd encountered hoodlums stealing beer from an abandoned CBD property in broad daylight. Not a cop in sight. A while ago, Black Caps cricketer Ryder was mugged near Jake's Brewers Arms work, Papanui Rd. The pub was robbed before Xmas.

On Sunday night at The Brewery by The Tannery at Jake's new work, there was an attempted robbery by 2 hoodlums using sawn off shotguns. A patron was assaulted with a gun butt. No money was stolen, as the pub boss bamboozled the thick thieves with his loquacity. Monday morning when I dropped Jake off at work police tape stopped workplace entry. Jake said he & his workmates waited a long time before they could start work. Nineteen years ago, we'd left SA as there was far too much of that sort of violence. Post quake Christchurch was slipping into the Third World.  

Leah returned from SA last week after visiting family & friends in KZN & E Cape. She said many Christchurch roads were like Third World SA roads. e.g. Christchurch potholed Barbadoes St was like the potholed road to Richmond, KZN, where ANC / Inkatha had bloody faction fights during recovery from apartheid to the Rainbow Nation. So much for ineptocrat Brownlee's quake recovery from Garden City to Demolition City wastelands. Barbadoes St was just one of hundreds of quake trashed streets, poorly repaired by SCIRT.

Wed 05.02.14. The Press pic of Housing minister Smith was flanked by CERA minister Brownlee. The article was titled: "Plan unveiled for 'affordable' 500k housing." Smith planned to build 275 so-called affordable houses for 350k-500k each, between Halswell & Wigram, near the new motorway. I knew the area well as we'd lived in Halswell for years. If Smith though those new houses were affordable he was delusional. If Brownlee though those 275 new houses would solve the post quake housing crisis he was delusional, as there weren't enough houses being build to cover the loss of red zoned houses & loss of quake trashed houses still having to be rebuilt after slow insurer settlements. Sick jokes, Smith & Brownlee were continuing the housing shortage by cynically maintaining low supply & high prices during an election year.

I'd like Smith & Brownlee to tell me how my sons' low wages, in the hospitality & joinery industries, enabled them to save house deposits on so-called affordable housing after they'd paid their bills, including expensive rents?

To jog their selfish Baby Boomer memories, Smith & Brownlee were beneficiaries of properties bought cheaply by their parents. Some History by Michael Bassett & Luke Malpass from their report, "Priced Out. How NZ lost its housing affordability:" 

From 1951 WW2 returned servicemen tenants could buy state housing cheaply.
From 1954 new houses could be build with a cheap 3% loan from State Advances / Housing Corporation.
From 1958 new houses could be built by capitalizing Family Benefits & adding that to the 3% cheap loans from State Advances / Housing Corporation.

Thus many WW2 vets, Korean War vets, Vietnam War vets & early Baby Boomers got cheap housing subsidised by NZ govt. Nowadays all those post WW2 houses, cheaply bought, could be sold at inflated prices, with buyers benefiting from govt largesse. Presently their children were forced to suffer their greed when buying old or new housing in an inflated housing market. Never mind inflated bldg costs due to construction supplier monopolies & real estate agents' commissions adding to housing inflation.

It was about time Brownlee & Smith produced some egalitarian schemes to help their children's & my children's futures. Otherwise they were producing a Jilted Generation, as Pom authors Ed Howker & Shiv Malik put it in their book: "Jilted generations how Britain has bankrupted its youth." The likes of Brownlee & Smith were jilting our children's futures with risibly expensive housing & student loans.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Christchurch homes severely unaffordable (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Gerry Brownlee EQC & CERA Minister (National Party). 

See EQC Truths blog. 

See Work kicks off on justice precinct (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Plan for Triangle Centre Shelved (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Brownlee's need for openness in Council finances (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Arrests over armed bar robberies (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Govt cool on new stadium deal (The Press / Stuff Co).

See No tenants left for the CBD (The Press / Stuff Co).

See CERA's recovery milestone reached today with final flat land red zone settlements, 31 January 2014.

See Warning on cost of quake repairs (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Plans unveiled for "affordable" 500k homes (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Quake claimants take the cash (The Press / Stuff Co).


See Priced Out. How NZ lost its housing affordability (Michael Bassett, Luke Malpass). 

Forget smooth perfect roads city told (The Press / Stuff Co).