New Zealanders have woken up to a topsy turvy world this morning, with normally annoying commentators Mark Richardson and Mike Hosking talking a lot of sense, reports Hayden Donnell.
Stash some canned food under your bed. Fashion your garden implements into makeshift weapons. Sprinkle the blood of a lamb or goat over your home’s threshold. For behold; the seven seals have been broken. A blood moon rises in the black night sky. Mike Hosking and Mark Richardson have both made great points on the same day.
Most weeks, Richardson focuses on keeping state housing out of his wealthy inner-city suburb, raising his tenants’ rents, or monitoring people’s womb activity, while Hosking explores ways to further immiserate the poor, destroy public transport, or even cancel The Spinoff TV. While it’s not impossible for one to offer some useful wisdom, it’s almost unheard-of for both to be tolerable at once.
This week it’s different. Richardson began Monday with a full-throated endorsement of compulsory te reo in schools. “The language is an endangered species,” he said in response to a viewer survey showing more than 80% opposition to the move. “When you get an endangered species, certain things need to happen that are mandatory and I think it needs to happen with this language.”
Garner countered that he’d support compulsory te reo in primary or intermediate schools, but not high schools. Richardson wasn’t placated. He said people would forget te reo if they only learned it in primary school. “It needs to be something you have to do right through to probably the age of 18… the whole way through. This is an endangered species. It’s the native tongue of this land. We have to protect it.”
Tautoko Mark Richardson. New Zealand governments tried to destroy te reo for generations. The least our current leaders could do to address those failings is seek to revitalise it. Compulsory te reo would be a way to rebuke the sins of our past leaders, help young people learn their country’s culture and history, and connect them to the first language of New Zealand.
“I didn’t expect you to say that, but I’m wholeheartedly in agreement with Mark,” said Richardson’s The AM Show co-host Nadine Higgins, on behalf of everyone. The harmony didn’t last long. Garner quickly wrested back control by agreeing with a call to make TVNZ “stick to the Queen’s English”.
Regular Mike Hosking Breakfast With BNZ listeners were in for a slightly smaller – but still significant – shock. The nation’s most popular radio host backed the Labour government’s efforts to speed housing development in Auckland this morning, endorsing housing minister Phil Twyford’s move to put a new Urban Development Authority (UDA) in charge of 12 to 15 large housing developments. He wasn’t satisfied with Auckland Council’s claim it had raised the number of resource consents it had issued in the last year by 28% to 12,843, noting that still wasn’t enough to keep pace with Auckland’s growth.
“Even in his defence [Auckland mayor Phil] Goff was busy banging on about how many more consents they’ve issued, and yet failing to recognise the target is 15,000,” Hosking said. “He’s only doing 12,000: that isn’t good enough, that isn’t what we need. And unless you’re doing 15,000 then Twyford is coming knocking and he’ll do it himself, which is the way it should have been from the start anyway.”
Hosking went on to accuse council of only being useful for collecting rubbish and taking care of library books, which isn’t true. But he’s roughly right about the number of houses Auckland needs to keep pace with its huge population growth, and the fact that council can still seem too divided and scared of entrenched interests to deal with the full scale of the city’s housing crisis.
In a Facebook post this week, Goff said he supports the UDA, but doesn’t want to compromise people’s rights to have “input into developments that affect their homes”. That sounds good in theory. In practice it’s meant delays and changes to much-needed housing and transport developments across the city. Councillors have sided with conspiracy theorists to oppose new public space, taken advice from malevolent cats, and tried to scupper their own Unitary Plan.
In risible recent decision, a 102-apartment development was turned down on the major public transport corridor, Dominion Rd, because council-appointed commissioners sided with residents who wanted to preserve views of “the sunsets across the silhouetted parapets of the Edwardian shop fronts, to the Waitakeres beyond”.
At the opening of the first Kiwibuild house yesterday, Twyford said council can be tempted to compromise after coming under pressure from local residents, while a government developer can do things in the national interest. One thing is certain: Auckland needs more houses as quickly as possible, and it’s good to see someone like Hosking backing that effort, even if it does just come from the furnace of hatred of all local government burning at the core of his being.
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The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.