This can either read as a huge list of thank you notes to those who joined the fight for Auckland’s soul, or if you’re Richard Burton or Mike Lee, a list of enemy collaborators.
The War For Auckland began as a dark kernel of Duncan Greive’s rage.
Our Spinoff Net Tsar spent most of 2016 enduring regular anger-induced mini-strokes over Auckland’s epic housing crisis; the inadequacy of our councillors; the incompetence of Nick Smith. His fury was only engorged by an outpouring of disturbing media reports and the fiery hot takes of his staff.
It all came to a head in July, with the announcement of a military crusade against everyone trying to ruin the city. “It terrifies me and everyone in this office to think of what might happen if the NIMBYs and their allies win this war,” Greive said, before continuing in a similarly chilled-out vein: “If we lose this fight, we might as well all leave”.
That was 12 weeks ago. So should we pack up and go?
A few weeks after our declaration, the Unitary Plan passed with barely a hint of objection, delighting density campaigners and briefly making us wonder why we joined this blood-soaked pitched battle in the first place. The Plan allows more than 400,000 new homes across Auckland in the next 30 years, which should be enough. Now if only Nick Smith could rouse himself from his seat beside a roaring fire in his supervillain’s lair and do any or all of the things listed in this article.
In early October, a new council was elected, and shockingly, it was pretty good.
Highlights included rank liberal Richard Hills’ unlikely win in Murray McCully’s sea-ringed stronghold, the North Shore. Manukau elected Efeso Collins – a candidate whose policies are rivalled only by his campaign jingle.
Penny Hulse retained her stranglehold on the lands and territories west of Mt Albert. Bill Cashmore beat his arch-rival “no-one” to win in Franklin. And Phil Goff defeated his arch-rival Chlöe Swarbrick to become mayor. He should rule with at least a 13-8 margin in most big votes.
Does all this mean we should stand on top of Mt Eden shouting “Auckland is ours!”
The answer is yes.
Does it mean Auckland is fixed?
Nevertheless, it’s time for us to declare an end to all-out hostilities. There’ll still be minor skirmishes in this War. It’s not like Auckland 2040 have somehow rotted away like the legions of the undead. They’re still around, sort-of, possibly, holding up the Unitary Plan.
So are their allies. Mike Lee continues his dogged fight for that great lefty cause of not making Auckland’s richest suburbs accept their share of its growth. Denise Krum, who hired a cherry-picker to scare people about the building heights allowed under the Unitary Plan, was re-elected. So was Sharon Stewart, who lists her greatest achievement as stopping development in Howick. The list goes on.
But we’re not worried about them any more! No. That stuff’s behind us. This War is over. It’s time to make up with our enemies. So peace, Stewart. Truce, Lee. Shalom… Urgh… Richard Burton.
While we’re spewing love into the world, we should direct some toward the people we love most: the ones who give us money. More than 350 brave soldiers gave us nearly $25,000 toward this War. Exactly 73 of all those contributed between $5 and $20. We’ve listed the names of those 73 below out of our own free will and also partly because we promised to do so on PledgeMe. Keep them in your hearts always. And maybe when you next watch the sun setting behind the Harbour Bridge, or enjoy fish and chips on a golden sand beach, or buy a reasonably priced apartment within a four-hour bus ride of the city centre, whisper a little prayer of thanks to those who gave to the War.
Roll of Honour
($5 to $20 Edition)
Jessie Grace Fenton
Sylvie Thrush Marsh
Lisa Wong Ravlich
Rose Rio Rose
Russel James Smith
Max Dillon Coyle
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.