On Sunday, Stuff published a column by journalist Andrea Vance saying Wellington’s good days were over. Wellingtonian Emily Writes steps up to defend the city’s honour.
I’m a big Andrea Vance stan so I was shocked when I saw the headline to her column “Wellington, I’m sorry to say it, but your good days are over” besmirching the good name of my great city Wellington. I felt I had to stand up for my beloved home.
Before I do that, though, I will concede a few points to Andrea.
OK, yes, the Golden Mile is less golden and more vomit yellow these days. And yes, Courtenay Place is the place you avoid with the stamina of an Olympic runner. And sure, OK, Cuba Street is now just one giant Cotton On and Glassons. And fine, there are only two bars in the entire city I would actually visit.
And the Bucket Fountain is literally a homage to piss.
I will admit that my precious Wellington has not been awarded any best city prizes for over a decade. And it’s not exactly a cultural capital any more. And it is true that ugly ass buildings have cropped up everywhere with slum lords reaping the benefits of the worst renting stock of probably all of New Zealand. And yes, it’s fair to say the city now seems like it was designed by a stoned 18-year-old without a bed frame playing Minecraft while his mum screams at him to “please for the love of God change your bed sheets”.
In terms of crime, well, on Saturday night my friends and I travelled in a pack from one bar to another 100m away because we were not dressed heterosexually enough to prevent being harassed by drunk men. And I wouldn’t allow a friend to even smoke a dart outside a bar on her own. Sure, the pigeons are the only things that are safe in pigeon park. And I can’t really argue with the idea that rugby night in Wellington is a night you should stay home unless you’re exclusively dressed by Hallensteins.
I mean, as we speak, 12 detectives are investigating dozens of claims of sexual assault, drugging and violence alleged to have been carried out by a group of Wellington musicians.
And I mean, my kids did ask me on the way to school the other week “why do those police have big guns” as we wandered past a drug bust where police seized 13.5 litres of the date rape drug GBL, and 300g of methamphetamine. They were probably the only retailer doing well in Wellington before the cops snatched their drugs with a combined street value of more than $5 million and a social harm index cost of more than $30m.
Vance is correct in that the streets of my fair city are often literally flowing with shit. There have been 2,096 pipe bursts, or more than 40 per week over the past 12 months, according to Wellington Water’s annual report. And OK, in terms of public transport, getting hit by a bus is more likely than a bus arriving on time. It would be legitimate to say there are more road cones than competent council members in Wellington.
I mean, yes, Wellington Regional Council was just fined $90k for killing fish. I do agree that it does seem the council spends most of their time arguing with each other. An honestly totally unexpected result of electing a mayor who literally cannot work with anyone. I mean a significant portion of Wellingtonians reelected a Disney villain to council, so…?
And Vance is dead-on when she says Wellington’s weather is very bad. So far, in November, MetService has recorded just 66.7 hours of sunshine in Kelburn. We would have to have 12 hours of sunshine each day for the rest of the month to catch up to the average rate. Which is about as likely as being able to find a rental that doesn’t leak. Yes, our housing stock is so terrible that our crumbling children’s hospital is packed to the rafters every single winter. And yes, it will cost you $800 a week for a landlord to insist your black mould shoe box is liveable while you develop ever worsening pleurisy. And if you do somehow save money while paying ridiculously high rent for homes that aren’t fit for a dog to live in, you won’t be able to afford a home in Wellington without the help of four sets of parents and a $200,000-a-year job.
But other than that – I mean, it’s better than Auckland.