A reader emails about Westie life

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A reader emails about Westie life:

Hi again Cam,

I feel I need to background my earlier contribution.

My point was and I hope it is crystal clear to your readers – there is absolutely no excuse for grandstanding over anyone’s sad demise but to add a ‘Barry White’ moment to it is even worse.

I understand Len Brown’s point, however badly made, about tipping more resources into this geographical area. ?As usual though it was a badly thought out misfire.

But let’s look at that shall we in some more depth.

I’m very qualified to speak on this point as I grew up in Henderson and the surrounding suburbs and my family have a long association with West Auckland for over 150 years. ?When I grew up there it was a great place and one of the best kept secrets in Auckland. ?The families of this area were hard working and community orientated, not in a superficial sense but in the way that you helped your neighbours and looked out for each other. ?That is still true for 95% of the people that live and work in West Auckland.

I still live in the north west and I’m proud of the heritage of this area and I like the people. ?West Auckland has produced some of this county’s finest writers, artists, designers, winemakers, sports and business people.

It is a myth that everyone here is poor and or deprived or started out that way. ?Yes, there are pockets of that – but it is not as common as is portrayed in the media. ?It is not filled to the brim with “Westie boguns” – that is a subset certainly, but there are just as many of those residing in Birkdale.

What has ruined the place is the combined force of welfare dependency and bureaucracy. ?In the Renaissance and much further back – the most important institution in a town had the largest and often the tallest building. ?It was a status symbol – a physical embodiment and reflection of political and cultural dominance. ?In most cases this was the church or local laird’s residence. ?It didn’t take much observation to work out who was in charge if you rode into any town or village on an idle?Tuesday.

Have a look at the buildings that dominate the landscape in Henderson – there are three – Winz, the Henderson Police station and the brand new Auckland Council building.

What was a landscape of light industry, small retailers, orchards and vineyards has been transformed over three decades by these forces. ?Welfare, crime and rate collection are now the biggest earners.

Like every area there are troughs and valleys in the pattern of development. ?Every place has it’s problems – but this is not about money and resources it is about good management of a community.

The very soul of this place has been hollowed out by these social shifts. ?In fact money has been thrown at West Auckland left right and centre over the years. ?We boast some of the best parks, sporting and arts facilities in Auckland. ?Have a community need, put out your hand and you will most likely get given the money you want, often from multiple sources.

Think about this crime – it took place just 200 metres from the Waitakere courthouse. ?Right under the nose of supposed authority, where strangely there is not even a community constable for Henderson proper.

Successive governments on both sides have failed to nip petty crime in the bud by having a presence on the street. ?Henderson police station is less than 1km away, is a behemoth and yet they don’t have a ‘Bobby on the Beat’. ?It is sheer and utter stupidity. ?Think New York’s broken windows policy and the solution is obvious. ?Again having a husband who was formerly a community constable, I know exactly what I’m talking about.

Look up Railside Avenue in the other direction and you see a monument of glass and steel funded by Auckland ratepayers. ?Want to know where the resources are heading now, that is where.

This crime is a sad one, a tragic outcome for all concerned, as are the other murders that recently occurred in the area. ?Sometimes, plainly, things go bad and sometimes things go bad in clusters.

But what is needed is emphasis on the basic values of decency, personal responsibility and respect. ?You can’t buy those things with community initiatives and funding rounds.

I’d like to think Len Brown would have considered it inappropriate to grandstand about the murder of Blessie Gotingko on the North Shore, in an area very similar to Henderson in socio-economic status.

Why did he think it was alright to do it here. ?Why, because it is media fodder ‘par excellance’ and he is desperate. ?Just like John Campbell’s recurring stories about pie consumption – which we term “Pie Porn” in this house -?it is the lazy way to get attention.

West Auckland needs to be helped to help itself, not drugged into further submission by empty promises and trite soundbites.

I’m not coming at this from a uber-conservative slant, in fact my family background is firmly founded in Labour politics which I (happily) outgrew.

This is just more socialist bunkum and I don’t buy it. ?Back up the gravy train Len, you are on the wrong track as usual. ?We don’t need your lovin’ in any shape or form.

 

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