Regional Realities.

Written By: - Date published: 11:06 am, August 31st, 2015 - 133 comments
Categories: cost of living, economy, employment, jobs, Social issues - Tags: , ,

Hundreds of job vacancies across various industries in Clutha. House prices a fraction of what they are elsewhere. What could possibly be wrong? Why aren’t people uprooting and getting up there? Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan reckons the Catlins might well act as something of an irresistible magnet pulling you to a place where you can be the mother or father you always wanted to be. You savouring that 1950’s nostalgia yet? On the downside, internet access and air travel are less than desirable. But hey, if we are nought beyond mere cogs in an economic contraption, and if we aspire to be ‘rationally optimising economic units’, then, in spite of the planes and internet, Clutha ought to be the latest ‘go to’ place.

But we aren’t merely walking and talking economic units, and I don’t want to sound too harsh, but I wouldn’t live in Clutha. Not if you paid me to.

Let me put it this way. I had a recent visit from a person hailing from the Czech Republic. They waxed lyrical on how lovely New Zealand is. They shared that they had an urge to move here permanently, until… well, here’s the nub of it. New Zealand’s flora, fauna and landscapes are wonderful. But there’s nothing here. It’s one step – a fairly large one – to go from the rich cultural heritage of Europe to a major centre in new Zealand. It’s quite another to drop into what some would term the ‘black holes’ of the Clutha’s of this country.

Seriously. Who the fuck wants to live in a places where (a real example) rubber necking locals on the street and disapproving service workers mean that Buddhists can feel compelled to remove their robes and wear ‘normal’ clothes? That was Invercargill.

Who wants to live in a place where ‘normal’ is forcibly pushing ‘normal’ into the face of anyone who isn’t pushing ‘normal’ into the faces of others? Who wants to negotiate social norms that are bound by lines that time has consigned to a deep and distant obscurity for those who ever had horizons? I mean, it’s not as if the social expectations present in some of New Zealand’s small towns are quaint or in any way culturally interesting; they’re plain fucking nasty, narrow and backwards.

In fairness, I could make similar comments on any country’s small town mentality, right before observing that many people get the hell out as quickly as possible. Just think though – if we were all just economic pragmatists, then the Cluthas of the world would be humming… in a quietly content, machine like kind of a way.

133 comments on “Regional Realities. ”

  1. aj 1

    “I mean, it’s not as if the social expectations present in some of New Zealand’s small towns are quaint or in any way culturally interesting; they’re plain fucking nasty, narrow and backwards”

    Unfair and sweeping generalisation. There are pockets of the attitudes you describe amongst all centres of population in New Zealand.

    • Bill 1.1

      It was neither unfair nor generalised. Did your eyes slide over the qualifier? (Hint: the word you’re looking for is ‘some’).

      And yes, similar shit can be found in larger centres, but it ain’t pervasive.

      • mac1 1.1.1

        I think your qualifier ‘some’ should apply to some of the inhabitants rather than to some of the towns, Bill.

        In every society, every city, town, village, family I’m sure has its nasty, narrow and
        ‘normal’. My town of 20 thousand has its white power gang, as did Timaru and Christchurch, its racists and its ignorant. Same as everywhere.

        But, it also has a thriving arts, theatre and music culture. It commemorated Hiroshima day. It ran a recognition of the role of WW1 conscientious objectors in publicly hung posters and in the local paper earlier this year.

        No, small towns are not small-minded- not pervasively so.

        Deliverance has come- da da da DA da.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          As I say below, I live in a small town (pop ~ 500). There are, in common with other small places, deeply conservative elements and various stripes of nutters and nice people. The dominant culture is deeply conservative. I’d suggest that’s the norm for small places rather than the exception.

          Think about Clutha and the Mayor’s suggestion that *you* can be the mother or father you always wanted to be (whatever the fuck that’s meant to mean). Then move forward in time to your son’s or daughter’s teenage years and a scenario where it becomes quite clear that they are ‘different’ in some way or another.

          How’s that going to be working out?

          In (say) Christchurch, they can at least ‘anonymise’ themselves and so be themselves, or possibly find others who are just like themselves. But in places like Clutha?

          Now sure, maybe your kids would grow up and be very content with the opportunities and life on offer. Maybe.

          • mac1 1.1.1.1.1

            Kids and small towns. Both ours couldn’t wait to get away, so they both went on AFS overseas. Both to cities for Uni and then both overseas for work.

            Now one lives back here in our home town and the other is coming home in a fortnight after three years in China.

            Small towns call out to their young to return.

          • dukeofurl 1.1.1.1.2

            Balclutha 1996 census 4140
            2013 census 3918

            http://www.citypopulation.de/php/newzealand-southisland.php

            Thats one way to make sure there are jobs for locals, you leave if there isnt one.

      • aj 1.1.2

        Yes I read it. Refer to Mac1 +1.
        Thank you Mac1.

  2. BM 2

    Yep, small town NZ is great if you’re the same colour as the locals, lived there for a couple of generations and you are an active member in all aspects of the community.

    if that is isn’t you, small towns suck badly.

    Having said that, this isn’t just an NZ issue, it’s world wide.

  3. Undecided about my wormy arse 3

    Does anyone else wonder why Labour doesn’t do so well in rural communities when this (unfair) attitude exists towards it

    [lprent: We aren’t a Labour site read the about. If you want to be a unfair narrow minded stupid fuckwit slinging crap, then I suggest that you go to lauda finem. But last I’d heard, they’d turned their comments off. ]

    [lprent: See http://thestandard.org.nz/regional-realities/#comment-1064787 ]

    • Bill 3.1

      What the fuck does that even mean?

      • Undecided about my wormy arse 3.1.1

        It means you just took a big, steaming dump on small town, rural communities and you probably wonder why Labour does so poorly in rural areas

        [lprent: See above. I guess they didn’t give you a brain when they assembled you.. ]

        [lprent: See http://thestandard.org.nz/regional-realities/#comment-1064787 ]

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          Maybe better if you don’t assume to read minds. You’re crap at it.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2

          Maybe small town and rural communities need a wake up call to the reality of modern life, and why their populations are declining?

          I doubt they will take it, though.

          • Pat 3.1.1.2.1

            are you suggesting small towns with declining populations are that way because of the prevailing attitudes of the local population?

      • weka 3.1.2

        I think they mean you are Labour Bill, lolz.

        • Undecided about my wormy arse 3.1.2.1

          No but all it takes is some nosy journalist to read this blog (I assume they do) and they’ll take that left-wing activists (journalists are lazy asfter all) hate small-town rural communities and write some article on it

          [lprent: Oh FFS. You really are a idiotic fool… Ok, lets return in the same vein.

          Journalists appear to generally be brighter that you are, with a few noticeable exceptions. If you read the about rather than grunting on the keyboard while apparently ringing your arse in search of arsepirational inspiration (you should really get those worms seen to – like some other children I know), you’d have found that authors actually write their own opinions here. Just as commenters do. People of any political persuasion know better than to try to tell us how we should act. They are liable to lose their ‘helping’ hands.

          Usually most people on the ‘left’ disagree to some degree or another (I haven’t read Bill’s post yet, so I can’t comment on that), and we authors tend to as much as anyone does. However we do believe that others on the left need to be heard. So we tolerate a lot of shit from the cheap seats and from each other.

          But if you want a fast boot off from being able to write on this site, then going off and trying to label authors as having some kind of hivemind in the machine is a very fast way to do it. Read the policy, or I’d do more than merely reflect your insulting tones and fictional stories back to you.

          If you want to be a dickhead, then go ahead. I have no compunction about dealing with worm infested fuckwits. In fact, lets adjust your name… ]

          • weka 3.1.2.1.1

            sure but you appear to be confusing ‘Labour’ with ‘left-wing activists’. This isn’t a Labour party site (read the rules).

            I thought that Bill’s post was pretty over the top, but I took that to be about his views today rather than him representing left wing activists (again, read the rules).

            At this point in the game, I see ts authors as not caring too much about what journos think. Lynn steps up occassionally and gives them the special lprent treatment, but by and large the MSM ignored and ridiculed non-professional blogs until recently when they realised how influential they’re becoming. In that sense I’m grateful to the people who run the standard for taking such a ‘we don’t give a shit’ attitude. It’s not beholden to anyone and it gives the site a huge freedom.

            Besides which, we know that some in the MSM will write whatever they want anyway. If Bill had written a much more toned down and conciliatory post, the MSM would still be going ‘it’s Labour’s fault!’ or, as we see today from Gower ‘Labour leaderhip in crisis!’.

            Don’t buy into the bullshit. Tell us why you think Bill was wrong about small town NZ. Or the point he is making about economic units and people.

            • dukeofurl 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Have you looked up populations of small towns in South Island

              Try this and see how many are increasing

              http://www.citypopulation.de/php/newzealand-southisland.php

              Even Invercargill has dropped from 49,400 to 47,900 (93-2013)

              • weka

                What’s your point? I don’t see increasing population as always good or decreasing as always bad.

                • dukeofurl

                  Schools close, shops close, bank closes, garage /petrol closes or reduced choice
                  What happens when doctor retires and isnt replaced ?

                  Rates go up, not as much as big cities, but make it more expensive for small towns with same services.
                  How does the local high school cope with a falling roll, less money to run the same buildings, fewer teachers means less choice of subjects being taught

                  To me the hollowed out rural towns is definitely a bad thing, as we all suffer.
                  While its true some dont have to grow, they are very small to start with so its a downward effect of services.
                  AS we can see those small towns that have increased a small amount havent changed much, but their future is secured

  4. shorts 4

    looking at the job vacancies on Trademe and Seek for Clutha I feel that Bill may want to check the first sentence in his post, there are not hundreds of listings, not even close

    And for those like myself who’d happily leave the big city for a smaller centre … the reality is myself and my partner would have to find an entirely new careers or downgrade our job expectations drastically – such is the dilemma for the regions and those who would happily live there, lack of opportunity

    • Bill 4.1

      The claim of hundreds of job vacancies was made by the Mayor, not me. And yes, I’m aware the figure has been challenged. The point remains. We…maybe I should say “many of us” – aren’t just economic cogs to be turned by mere financial opportunity.

      • shorts 4.1.1

        sorry Bill

        I agree with your point regarding financial cogs – though for anyone thinking of moving or staying in the regions it is one of the driving concerns, if only it wasn’t so

      • weka 4.1.2

        The claim of hundreds of job vacancies was made by the Mayor, not me. And yes, I’m aware the figure has been challenged. The point remains. We…maybe I should say “many of us” – aren’t just economic cogs to be turned by mere financial opportunity

        True, although to be fair, the Mayor probably quite likes living there and wouldn’t get what you are saying. I didn’t listen to the audio though, is it really that bad?

        • Bill 4.1.2.1

          It was a puff piece by Ryan (surprised?) that dovetailed too nicely with National’s line about the provinces being hotbeds of opportunity. Nothing on the social reality of ‘going provincial’…just stuff on lack of internet speed and domestic flights. Oh yeah. And the Catlins and being the mum or dad you always wanted to be.

          edit – and I’ve little doubt that the mayor’s head moves in different circles to mine. But that was kind of the point of the post, yes? Small towns and diversity don’t really tend to go hand in hand.

          • weka 4.1.2.1.1

            ah, ok that makes sense then. There is no depression in NZ, all will be well if enough people just realise that they can have a rock star economy in Balclutha too.

  5. weka 5

    Holy Hell. Ok, I can see the probably point of this post is to point out that real humans have other needs beyond being economic units. But…

    I’m kind of surprised to see you espousing European high culture as more valid than other kinds Bill ;-p (I’ve also had contact with someone from the Czech Republic who thought where I lived was a cultural backwater). Some of us put quite a bit of effort in in recent decades to get NZ past its cultural cringe.

    Invercargill has a very good museum and art gallery. There are some very good painters in Southland, who paint there because of the light (you can’t get that anywhere else in NZ). You can get a free tertiary education there. Hone Tuwhare lived and wrote in the Clutha district. By choice. Didn’t Cilla McQueen end up in Bluff? Keri Hulme lives in a tiny village on the West Coast. The people that can’t find culture in Balclutha don’t know where to look and are probably used to having it laid out for them on a plate. People that live in conservative communities know that it works differently, that culture comes in different forms and is something that you have to engage with rather than be served up. Which isn’t to say that it should suit everyone, obviously not. But I would see it as a bad match rather than cultured individuals being good and rural towns being black holes.

    I know people who live in Clutha who don’t want the place filling up with Aucklanders slash townies. If I lived there I’d be one of them and I’d trade having to wear normal looking clothing to avoid latte drinkers any day of the week.

    In terms of social tolerance, I’ll also take the overt but often superficial bigotry of rural, small town NZ over the deception that goes with those city liberals who have hidden their bigotry behind a pleasant facade but it often runs deeper. Yes there are enclaves of social freedom in cities, but there are also enclaves of bullshit, and suburbs where it’s not so different than small town NZ.

    All of which is to say that yes, I agree there would be many city folk who wouldn’t want to leave Auckland because of the reasons you mention, but I suspect it’s more complex than that. People don’t want to leave family and friends. There is a flight from rural areas to cities because of cultural and societal expectations. If you send all the young people off to uni why would they come back? what if instead you provided education and career opportunities locally? Are the jobs on offer secure and with good conditions or would the Aucklander just be exchanging one set of problems for another? But beyond all that I think it’s the fractured nature of communities now and that so many people don’t know how to belong to them. The govt wants a highly mobile population and don’t consider community to be a priority, and that’s what we’ve got.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      In terms of social tolerance, I’ll also take the overt but often superficial bigotry of rural, small town NZ over the deception that goes with those city liberals who have hidden their bigotry behind a pleasant facade but it often runs deeper. Yes there are enclaves of social freedom in cities, but there are also enclaves of bullshit, and suburbs where it’s not so different than small town NZ.

      When I was campaigning in South Otago I ran across an older woman who said she didn’t like Asians. She said that they made good doctors and dentists but other than that she didn’t have much time for them. She said she’d vote for me though because although I was Chinese I seemed nice enough and quite like a Kiwi.

      Fine by me.

    • Bill 5.2

      A slight tangent here. I wasn’t espousing European high culture…that’s opera and all that other stuff that goes over my head, innit? Neither was I suggesting that NZ contemporary culture (artistic, literary or whatever ) is cringe worthy.

      Maybe think more ‘physical cultural history’; the stories or myths attached to quite obvious buildings, ruins, standing stones or whatever that are often thousands of years old. I’d punt it all adds up to a subtle yet deep influence on any sense of belonging and (this is a further aside) just might help explain why so many ‘white/grey’ people from settler colonies (NZ, US, Canada etc) are so interested in their pre-colonial European roots while Europeans in Europe tend to just shrug at such endeavours.

      Back to the guts of the post, overall population and population density exacerbates or ameliorates small town mentality, which yes, is a problem everywhere and not something unique to NZ…or small towns 😉

      I should probably add for the benefit of those who might be suspecting I’m just another ‘city kid’ or ‘townie’, that I live in a rural community and wild horses wouldn’t drag me away from here. And yes, although not as isolated as some places, it’s fractured and lacking in services and infrastructure to some degree .

    • Phil 5.3

      I know people who live in Clutha who don’t want the place filling up with Aucklanders slash townies. If I lived there I’d be one of them and I’d trade having to wear normal looking clothing to avoid latte drinkers any day of the week.

      When I was a kid in Chch, our christmas holiday would usually be a week caravaning around the South Island. I still have fond memories of the baking heat in Wanaka. I went back a couple of years ago with my partner and was devastated to see pretty much all the Queenstown Lakes District towns have turned into a cheap amalgam of Taupo and Auckland.

      • ianmac 5.3.1

        I think the same of Kaikoura Phil. Once was a wild rustic town where you could buy a large crayfish for 1/6d from a boiling copper on the side of the road. Now Kaikoura is a town shaped for tourists. Sad.

        • Phil 5.3.1.1

          you could buy a large crayfish for 1/6d

          Dude, you’re OLD. 🙂

          Kaikoura’s quite bi-polar. The part of the town that services the main trunk line is lousy with tourists, but step off the Esplanade and you could be in any little provincial town.

    • aj 5.4

      If you go to a provincial town to watch a super rugby match, or visit a small town pub to watch an all blacks game (both of which I uncharacteristically did in recent months) you will definitely be hard put not to come to Bill’s conclusions. Crowd behaviour in both instances was quite revealing (and revolting). What struck me was how referees sexual preferences chop and change according to the score. To say that the crowd mentality was primary school would insult most 5-10 yr. olds and this is from all age groups.

  6. Phil 6

    Just think though – if we were all just economic pragmatists, then the Cluthas of the world would be humming… in a quietly content, machine like kind of a way.

    Here’s the thing about ‘rational economic agents’ that many critiques, including yours, of economics fail to understand; it’s not all about the money.

    Economists, as a field, fully understand that individuals place value upon things like freedom of choice and access to opportunity and quality of life and community inclusiveness that are not directly wage/salary based.

    We get that. We understand how people work. The Clutha’s population is shrinking is neither a puzzle to economists nor a critique of economic theory.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Rational economic agents in neoclassical theory have complete knowledge of all their choices and the effect of those choices both on the present and into the future.

      Which is of course, utter BS.

      We get that. We understand how people work. The Clutha’s population is shrinking is neither a puzzle to economists nor a critique of economic theory.

      Funny how economists pushing a neoliberal agenda never predicted the demise of small towns in the 80s and 90s.

      Or did they and just hide it from the people?

      • weka 6.1.1

        I was under the impression they didn’t care. They already knew from the Clearances and the Māori urban migrations that rural people could be moved on to wage slavery where it was needed and the wealth consolidated into the hands of the few. Same shit all over again.

      • Phil 6.1.2

        Funny how economists pushing a neoliberal agenda never predicted the demise of small towns in the 80s and 90s.

        Small towns have been in decline since at least the oil crises of the 70’s or the European Common Market closed us out of the UK in the 60’s. I suppose you’d also like to blame your 20th year of smoking for getting lung cancer, when you weren’t diagnosed in any of the previous 19?

        Rational economic agents in neoclassical theory have complete knowledge of all their choices and the effect of those choices both on the present and into the future.

        Wrong. Those assumptions are the foundation of what is, effectively, a thought experiment within classical economics of what a ‘perfect’ free market would look like. It’s as relevant to today’s understanding of economics as the idea of a ‘perfect’ communist polity is to modern left wing thought and practice.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1

          Wrong. Those assumptions are the foundation of what is, effectively, a thought experiment within classical economics of what a ‘perfect’ free market would look like. It’s as relevant to today’s understanding of economics as the idea of a ‘perfect’ communist polity is to modern left wing thought and practice.

          Then point me to the widely accepted economic theory which has replaced the concept of rational economic agents, and in particular, how the behaviour of individual rational economic agents is assumed to be scalable up to the analysis of entire markets and entire economies?

          • Phil 6.1.2.1.1

            You mean, like, the entirety of behavioral economics? I’m not your Google, CV. Take your pick!

            Or, to paraphrase Dan Carlin: I’m not an economist, just a fan of economics.

            I still fondly recall reading this back in the late 90’s…
            http://www.econ.ucla.edu/people/papers/hirshleifer/hirshleifer172.pdf

            … or you could try this as a starting point? I dunno, I just googled irrational rationality and clicked the first thing.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_irrationality

            —-

            Basically, here’s how I see it – you don’t need to have an entire nation of perfectly rational “Homo economicus” to have a market that functions in ways that look, and generate outcomes, pretty similar to what you might think of as “the free market”. If you put a bunch of people together and they generally act in ways that they think will generally advance their self interest, you get predictable outcomes (regardless of whether or not they’ve taken 300-level economics papers).

            Why? Because incentives matter. I cannot stress that enough; incentives matter. Let me labour the point once more: INCENTIVES MATTER.

            We see this today in the housing market – the relative tax incentives of housing versus other forms of savings/investment mean that NZers are probably over invested in housing. Add into that restrictive Local Auth planning and our comparatively open borders, and you get elevated house prices. No one should be surprised by this.

            • McFlock 6.1.2.1.1.1

              If you put a bunch of people together and they generally act in ways that they think will generally advance their self interest, you get predictable outcomes

              Economics can’t predict a damned thing: short term fluctuations, or intermittent long term crashes. But with hundreds of thousands of economists creating magical faith-based models, the ones that coincidentally “predict” fluctuations are lauded as successful. In reality, it’s all bullshit with captain hindsight rationalising what has happened (i.e. your “relative tax incentives” ball-gazing).

              • Phil

                As opposed to the thousands of commentators who have been predicting the demise of the financial system specifically and the western world generally for the last, what, three decades? Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure it’s just around the corner… any minute now… brace yourselves…

                it’s all bullshit with captain hindsight rationalising what has happened (i.e. your “relative tax incentives” ball-gazing).

                The supply of land is restricted. Every dollar invested in housing is subject to less tax than a dollar invested in pretty much any other kind of asset. What the fuck did YOU think was going to happen to house prices?

                There ain’t one economist I’ve talked to in the last decade that is surprised Auckland prices are where they are now.

                • Colonial Viper

                  As opposed to the thousands of commentators who have been predicting the demise of the financial system specifically and the western world generally for the last, what, three decades? Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure it’s just around the corner… any minute now… brace yourselves…

                  You’re a damn fool. An intelligent one, but a damn fool nonetheless.

                  If the western financial system is so healthy, why have trillions in QE been needed?

                  Why do central bankers say that they are in never before explored territory trying to react to situations in the financial system that have never been come across before?

                  Why are central bank balance sheets and reserves now at gargantuan levels?

                  Why are we sitting on zero or negative interest rates and everyone so damn scared to raise them even a smidgeon?

                  You think that we can keep playing games of pretend and extend, and that the music is going to keep playing in this ridiculous game of musical chairs that the 0.01% have placed us in?

                  A very smart fool.

                  EDIT and just start taking a look at the unexplained flash crashes and trading stoppages which have been affecting some of the big exchanges over the last couple of years. Not to mention Libor, gold, commodities price rigging. The whole system is utterly gamed, at this stage.

                • McFlock

                  Oh, we’ll see what happens if China’s economy collapses without the USA heating up again.

                  But then my point was that economics is not a science. At best it’s an art with a lot of charlatans and self-deluders who are indistinguishable from the true masters. And over the last thirty years it’s been a convenient excuse to justify the widening gap between employee productivity and employee wages.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You’re wrong there. Economics is a science. Unfortunately most economists focus upon the money and incentives rather than the actual economy which means we end up with BS as economic theory.

                    • McFlock

                      Apart from the fact that it’s not repeatable, so accurate predictions are indistinguishable from inaccurate fantasy.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You’re wrong there. Economics is a science.

                      Nah, you’re wrong there. Lord Skidelsky said it best when he noted that debates between economists on the relative merits of their theories were largely interminable and inconclusive, unlike the real sciences.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Apart from the fact that it’s not repeatable, so accurate predictions are indistinguishable from inaccurate fantasy.

                      Incorrect again. In many ways the physical economy (the real economy) is predictable within acceptable margins of error:

                      1. We know how many people are in NZ and how many calories per person is needed to feed them all and we even know where those people are thus we can predict how much food we need to grow, where to grow it and what transport will be needed. All perfectly predictable. Even what foods to grow could be easily determined.
                      2. We know how many businesses there are, how many people they employ and where they are thus we can predict where, when and how much public transport is needed to get everyone to/from work.
                      3, We know how many smart-phones are needed to get full coverage of the population, we know how many will needed replacing both through accident and through obsolescence and thus we know how many smart-phones we need to be making on a daily basis.

                      All perfectly predictable. What’s getting in the way of that predictability is the delusion that we need rich people calling the shots.

                    • McFlock

                      1. We know how many people are in NZ and how many calories per person is needed to feed them all and we even know where those people are thus we can predict how much food we need to grow, where to grow it and what transport will be needed. All perfectly predictable. Even what foods to grow could be easily determined.

                      Apart from the fact that I hate pumpkin and you hate swede.

                      2. We know how many businesses there are, how many people they employ and where they are thus we can predict where, when and how much public transport is needed to get everyone to/from work.

                      Because work and home are the only possible destinations? Why do so many pensioners take the bus, then?

                      3, We know how many smart-phones are needed to get full coverage of the population, we know how many will needed replacing both through accident and through obsolescence and thus we know how many smart-phones we need to be making on a daily basis.

                      No, we don’t. and we never will, because suddenly there will not be a demand for smartphones and something else will be the fad du jour.

                      Both communists and libertarians have fantasised about being able to rationally predict supply and demand for an entire society. It will never happen, because people are fickle and go through fads, and a large sector of society just wants to be different.

                      There was a nice documentary series about this automaticarian prediliction a few years ago – it was called “all watched over by machines of loving grace”. Assuming one can predict the needs and wants of a society with any significant granularity is the ultimate hubris, IMO.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Apart from the fact that I hate pumpkin and you hate swede.

                      Actually, I hate pumpkin and swede. But, as I said, it’s easy enough to determine what to grow. Hell, we just have to look at what the market does which is to look at what was bought one week and duplicate it the next week. Whatever made you think that it wasn’t planned for?

                      Because work and home are the only possible destinations?

                      Well, that’s the beauty of public transport – it operates reliably 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and goes everywhere. The amount available at any one time changes as demand changes. I was just using the work/home commute to show that the amount of demand is predictable.

                      No, we don’t. and we never will, because suddenly there will not be a demand for smartphones and something else will be the fad du jour.

                      Smart-phones are no longer a ‘fad’ but are an essential part of living in a modern society thus we do know the demand. Some people don’t have them because the market is failing.

                      The essentials can be predicted because they apply to everyone. You then have a market in niche goods and services. Some of those niche goods and services will become essentials of which smart-phones and computers and internet are good examples.

                    • McFlock

                      Hell, we just have to look at what the market does which is to look at what was bought one week and duplicate it the next week. Whatever made you think that it wasn’t planned for?

                      But the aggregate isn’t “planned” by the market. Lots of individual businesses plan, and the ones that get the plans wrong fail. Then if they happen, through design or good luck, to get their plans right, they tell themselves it was because of their brilliance and then try and kick the ladder away from their competitors. That’s market “planning” for you.

                      Because work and home are the only possible destinations?

                      Well, that’s the beauty of public transport – it operates reliably 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and goes everywhere. The amount available at any one time changes as demand changes. I was just using the work/home commute to show that the amount of demand is predictable.

                      lol the otago regional counncil would love to know that.

                      The supply is reasonably predictable. The demand is not.

                      Smart-phones are no longer a ‘fad’ but are an essential part of living in a modern society thus we do know the demand. Some people don’t have them because the market is failing.

                      and thirty years ago the fax machine was essential for business. Information transfer is essential – it’s the definition of living in a society. People existing in a society with no exchanges of information are like time without any state change to mark it. But how we exchange that information only currently, and possibly briefly, involves smartphones. And the instance of that change away from phones will be unpredictable.

                      The essentials can be predicted because they apply to everyone. You then have a market in niche goods and services. Some of those niche goods and services will become essentials of which smart-phones and computers and internet are good examples.

                      Where market libertarians and communists fail is not so much predicting aggregate demand, but in getting specific product to specific individual who wants it, when they want it. But those microfailures ripple out in the social chaos to distort the aggregate demand unpredictably in the real world, resulting un bubbes and collapses.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      But the aggregate isn’t “planned” by the market. Lots of individual businesses plan, and the ones that get the plans wrong fail.

                      Yes it is. Without planning the food produced and delivered would never be right. And even with all that the resultant waste is quite high. As for failing businesses – you may not have noticed but we effectively have a duopoly here in NZ for distribution. That’d be a monopoly quick-smart if we didn’t have laws preventing it. As far as groceries go the monopoly is the better, more efficient option. That’s always true of ubiquitous services.

                      lol the otago regional counncil would love to know that.

                      The supply is reasonably predictable. The demand is not.

                      When is the demand not predictable? During rugby matches? Even then it’s predictable because you can know how many, max, are going to the stadium and adding a few extra buses to cater for the pub crowd. You take a look at what happened and then adjust accordingly next time there’s a game on.

                      But how we exchange that information only currently, and possibly briefly, involves smartphones.

                      And pretty much will be forever more. They may get smaller but it’s still going to be a smart device that connects to the internet. The demand will remain the same. All we need is the manufacturing capability to meet that demand.

                      Where market libertarians and communists fail is not so much predicting aggregate demand, but in getting specific product to specific individual who wants it, when they want it.

                      There’s a reason why I mentioned a small private sector supplying niche goods and services and even then they’d still be using that same manufacturing capability.

                      The future does not look like the past.

                    • McFlock

                      But the aggregate isn’t “planned” by the market. Lots of individual businesses plan, and the ones that get the plans wrong fail.

                      Yes it is. Without planning the food produced and delivered would never be right. And even with all that the resultant waste is quite high.

                      High levels of waste = not a right prediction.
                      Not to mention the times I go into a store looking for an item and it is not there.

                      As for failing businesses – you may not have noticed but we effectively have a duopoly here in NZ for distribution. That’d be a monopoly quick-smart if we didn’t have laws preventing it. As far as groceries go the monopoly is the better, more efficient option. That’s always true of ubiquitous services.

                      And the duopoly became a duopoly because many other general stores failed and were sold. This is not a planning system. At best, market theory is a series of inductive, local corrections after the fact, most of which only fail to have catastrophic consequences simply because of the likelihood that the weight of oppositely incorrect predictions will broadly even them out.

                      lol the otago regional counncil would love to know that.

                      The supply is reasonably predictable. The demand is not.

                      When is the demand not predictable? During rugby matches? Even then it’s predictable because you can know how many, max, are going to the stadium and adding a few extra buses to cater for the pub crowd. You take a look at what happened and then adjust accordingly next time there’s a game on.

                      Every day I see an empty bus, or an overflowing one, is the result of unpredictable demand.
                      But even in your rugby match analogy, maybe it’s sunny and everyone walks. Maybe the match sucks so most people leave half way through. Predict that.

                      But how we exchange that information only currently, and possibly briefly, involves smartphones.

                      And pretty much will be forever more. They may get smaller but it’s still going to be a smart device that connects to the internet. The demand will remain the same. All we need is the manufacturing capability to meet that demand.

                      Really?
                      Maybe biometric recognition becomes so good that, with some LRAD tech applied to sound and vision, what becomes ubiquitous is not a power-hungry processor but billboards that double as private messagers and web browsers that only you can see or hear. Or maybe the real tech means that people carry little more than a quantumly entangled i/o device that goes months without recharging, but the real development and resources involve what the device is entangled with.
                      Basically, in 1700 you would have said that people talking to each other still involves some manner of physical transport. Yeah, well, while still correct after a fashion, it still fundamentally fails to describe our current society.

                      Where market libertarians and communists fail is not so much predicting aggregate demand, but in getting specific product to specific individual who wants it, when they want it.

                      There’s a reason why I mentioned a small private sector supplying niche goods and services and even then they’d still be using that same manufacturing capability.
                      The future does not look like the past.

                      No, it doesn’t. But if we fail to learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it. The conceit of the “perfectly” or even “acceptably” predictable economy has a long and proud history of utter failure.

                      Which makes economics a pseudoscience.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      High levels of waste = not a right prediction.

                      Correct but the stock level was still based upon a prediction, i.e, even the market can’t get by without planning.

                      Not to mention the times I go into a store looking for an item and it is not there.

                      In this day and age, why are you even going to the store? Far better to get online and order it and have it delivered in your weekly shopping. Of course, that would remove all the need for prediction and waste that we presently endure under the present market based system.

                      And the duopoly became a duopoly because many other general stores failed and were sold.

                      Actually, I suspect it’d be more that a number of previously successful businesses failed because of the rise of the duopoly. As I say, the monopoly version is more efficient. People pay more at a supermarket because it’s cheaper in time and effort.

                      At best, market theory is a series of inductive, local corrections after the fact, most of which only fail to have catastrophic consequences simply because of the likelihood that the weight of oppositely incorrect predictions will broadly even them out.

                      Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve it delusional several times now.

                      Maybe biometric recognition becomes so good that, with some LRAD…

                      Wow, you wrote all that and didn’t actually have a point.

                      Which makes economics a pseudoscience.

                      No it doesn’t. It makes the present economic hypothesis delusional BS. But actual economics, the supply and distribution of scarce resources, that would be a science.

                      The market was probably a good idea back in Adam Smith’s time but not any more as we really do know how much food is needed and how much it takes to grow it and distribute it and thus we can plan it. With 3D printing and the internet we really are on the verge of having manufacturing on demand rather than large factories which produce lots of a single item and then hoping to sell them all.

                      https://www.thevenusproject.com/en/
                      http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-competition/

                    • McFlock

                      The thing about science is that if the predictions based on a model or theory are incorrect, then the model or theory is incorrect. It’s not just about prediction – soothsayers reading entrails make predictions, but that doesn’t mean a damned thing.

                      Retreating to a no-true-scotsman fallacy (“actual economics”) is all well and good, but until you can demonstrate that there exists a set of economists who make repeatable and accurate predictions based on robust models and theories without post hoc captain hindsight explanations of why reality didn’t match their prediction precisely, your assertions that economics (even “actual economcs”) is a science are purely faith-based assertions. Just like your prediction that we’ll always universally have smartphones or something similar (hell, not being in 24hr contactability might end up being a social custom, like a siesta).

                  • greywarshark

                    Coincidence McFlock – the word charlatan just came to me though I hadn’t used it or seen it for years. Now I see it in your comment.

                    I think it is very apt for the present. Perhaps it should be declared as the in word in NZ or the month of September. I could make that an acronym and be very modern IWINZ. There is a department not too unlike that to which the word could apply.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2.2

          Small towns have been in decline since at least the oil crises of the 70’s or the European Common Market closed us out of the UK in the 60’s.

          Actually, small rural towns have been declining for 5000 years or more. It’s a factor of increased productivity in the agricultural sector. As productivity increases the number of warm bodies needed to support farmers decreases causing people to leave. This has a flow on effect to the community because of the decreasing mutual support networks. Increasing productivity in other areas has a similar effect.

          People move from the small town to the large town where that increased productivity can be put to use boosting development.

  7. swordfish 7

    Small town mentality

    In Balclutha’s case, probably not helped by what some have suggested was a certain amount of ‘in-breeding’ over the generations. Balclutha was always known in the IHC for having by far the highest proportion of IHC kids and adults in the Country and (usually in hushed whispers, behind closed doors), it was sometimes speculated that this might have been the corollary of the locals swimming in an unusually small gene pool.

    Much like the Blue Ridge Mountains of old Kentucky.

  8. keith ross 8

    Having lived in several rural communities, over the years, around Otago. The main problem with the “hundreds of Jobs” is that for one they don’t exist and the ones that do are for minimum wage or just over. This is before you take into account that you have to often travel a long way to get to one of “the hundreds of jobs”. Saying that there are hundreds of jobs does not make it so. I have found that the well off rural people who may well be offering employment expect that you will work for next to nothing with an attitude that tends to be a hundred years out of date. The more money they have the more that they expect for less remuneration. It could be expressed as a mathematical formula if I could be bothered working it out and had the time to gather the statistics. Clutha could offer decent money and those jobs would be filled, except the market is only supposed to work in favor of employers not employees. Are you not supposed to offer more money till the position is filled letting the market decide on the value of the remuneration?
    Now living in the city ex rural person.

    • weka 8.1

      I think that’s a big part of it. I’ve seen this too and I’d love to know if any research has been done on just how poor working conditions are in smaller places. Lot of people I know don’t have employment contracts. Or regular hours and they’re not working for the big fast food companies players, they’re working for small businesses who get away with what they want because people are desperate for the work. I wonder if the Mayor has done any work on the Living Wage in the Clutha?

      • dukeofurl 8.1.1

        Trademe Jobs only lists 15 jobs in Clutha District and for ‘Catlins’ and thats zero.

        The mayor must think it cant be checked

        • aj 8.1.1.1

          I thought I heard him say there were 1200 jobs in Southland/Invercargill, bs I’d think. Seek = 141

        • greywarshark 8.1.1.2

          There was an interesting point made – The Mayor had been on the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. I wonder what they did when they were holding meetings about it? Sit around and have a beer or coffee and sandwiches while trying to care.

          http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201768655
          Because he talked freely about jobs – 700 I think he said. It seems to fit in with the idea that they are just lying around and employers kneel and beg at the entrance to their establishments while haughty unemployed stride past and say I’m oss to the Pub to get shlozled. And guess what it is all schools fault. The training of young people for trade jobs was taken on by the ITOs Industry Training. still the business leaders moan and blame education. NZ business is pathetic.
          http://www.itf.org.nz/itos/

          Mayor says regions awash with job, but schools must do better
          9:19 AM. Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan has just retired as head of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. He says the regions are awash with job vacancies, but schools need to better prepare young people for employment. Rachel Hopkins is the spokesperson for Got A Trade Week, a collaboration by Industry Training Organisation to highlight the opportunities for young people in trades and services.

        • Realblue 8.1.1.3

          I worked as a teacher in South Otago a while back. All the students got jobs on leaving school. Very few are advertised because those towns are communities in the best sense of the word. There was also very low unemployment. There are jobs in NZ that don’t use seek you know, particularly in the regions.

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.3.1

            Very few are advertised because those towns are communities in the best sense of the word.

            Absolutely my experience too. Mind you it is a sword that cuts both ways. If they don’t like the look of your face, or you come with a bad rep – then you’re fucked.

            I guess that is the nature of community – it protects itself.

            • greywarshark 8.1.1.3.1.1

              It can be a double edged sword. Community protects itself, or puts picket fences with pointy tops around itself. There tends to be a pecking order that the new person needs to find out. And be careful if someone is rude or difficult and you mention that to someone you are chatting to. It is likely to be that person’s first cousin and you don’t have the honest right of free speech, and they will tell the disputative person that you were complaining. Keeping schtum is the order of the day. Not every community is warm and fuzzy.

    • greywarshark 8.2

      Keith R
      Are you not supposed to offer more money till the position is filled letting the market decide on the value of the remuneration?
      Now living in the city ex rural person.

      Now that is a correct statement of an important part of economic theory. With the emphasis being on the word theory.

  9. Golden Jon 9

    Very glad that I live in a small community that is actually quite liberal in its outlook. Buddhists wearing robes would not be the most outlandish thing to be seen here. (Don’t want to spoil the place by giving away it’s location… but there’s one road in, and one road out. And a big hill…)

  10. I live in a small town and my mother was born in Milton – your generalisations about small town culture are the opposite of my experience. Community does exist in small towns. You become part of the community over time.

    ” it’s not as if the social expectations present in some of New Zealand’s small towns are quaint or in any way culturally interesting; they’re plain fucking nasty, narrow and backwards.”

    That is actually backwards.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Yeah there’s quite a lot to be said for small town NZ. But it takes time and effort to get to know the place and the people. You won’t make quick friends, but you will make real friends. More than can be said for the big smoke.

      • marty mars 10.1.1

        Yep. That area is rich in cultural history from tangata whenua onwards…

        • RedLogix 10.1.1.1

          Wholeheartedly agree with both of you CV and marty.

          Although we both grew up in Auckland, we’ve been pro-small town people for a while now. We will never go back to a big city by choice.

          The thing is that while the locals in the rural places will leave you in little doubt as to what they think of you – it will be real.

  11. BM 11

    Couldn’t think of anything worse than living in a small town, probably only living in Dunedin could be worse.

    Give me the hustle and bustle of a city any day.

    • ianmac 11.1

      Largely an illusion of belonging BM. We humans can only handle about 100 “friends/aquaintances” each.

    • lprent 11.2

      I didn’t mind Dunedin when I was there from 1985-1988. The first part was doing a MBA. Then I spent two and half years doing computer support and learning how to seriously program while I waited for my partner to finish her Llb/BCom. Once you got over the shock of dealing with the cold valleys and heaving coal in winter, it was a pretty nice cheap place to live.

      Just no particularly interesting jobs – but that did allow me to pursue a programming obsession. I only did one more stint in non-programming management after that, and then went into building code and projects full-time.

      • BM 11.2.1

        Visited Dunedin once, but it did leave a lasting memory.

        Sitting round getting on the piss with the locals when one guy came out with the comment.
        “If I have kids and have a daughter and she’s good looking I’d root her.

        I was thinking to myself, seriously WTF! and then all the other guys I was with chimed in with a “bloody oath, mate!” and a nodding of heads.

        Christ, bunch of god damn inbred banjo plucking mofos

        That was a while ago though, hopefully attitudes have changed.

        • RedLogix 11.2.1.1

          Probably not.

          It’s likely they still get a kick taking the piss out Jaffa’s 🙂

          • McFlock 11.2.1.1.1

            Jaffas we throw into the street.

            JAFAs are for urine extraction. Occasionally young hoons get confused, though.

            • Anno1701 11.2.1.1.1.1

              “JAFAs are for urine extraction”

              you drink it ?

              some sort of witch-doctory to make you more sophisticated?

          • greywarshark 11.2.1.1.2

            Anyone who can find amusement in such a situation virtually pisses over their daughter’s body and integrity and right of place of respect n the heart of her father and finally, human rights

            There is not even snide amusement for good people in the situation. Anyone who doesn’t find it totally unacceptable even as an inflated story, needs to reassess their own values.

        • lprent 11.2.1.2

          Ah.. South Dunedin?

          Now I guess I will have to wear a disguise if I go down there again.

  12. Gabby 12

    Can’t help feeling Dunedin dodged a bit of a bullet there.

  13. vto 13

    What a total ignoramus

    Small town nz is simply concentrated big town nz

    Fool to miss it – such an opportunity right in front of your blinkered eyes Bill.

    • greywarshark 13.1

      It is well known and documented that people in rural areas are slower to accept change and more stuck in their ways with some having deep prejudices, especially against ‘outsiders’. So Small town NZ is not concentrated Big town NZ.

      But all Small town NZ aren’t the same. Some can decide to change if leaders in the small town can get the numbers behind them and a new idea but it’s often a case of lack of vision and lack of self-awareness – not knowing that they don’t know so much.

      • vto 13.1.1

        greywarshark “It is well known and documented that people in rural areas are slower to accept change and more stuck in their ways with some having deep prejudices, especially against ‘outsiders’. So Small town NZ is not concentrated Big town NZ. ”

        Being “slower to accept”, “more stuck” and “having deep prejudices” is exactly concentrated big town nz, that’s what I said. It is the exact same characteristics found in big town, just in more concentrated (or exaggerated) form.

        You inadvertently explained how I was correct in that “small town NZ is simply concentrated big town NZ”. Thanks

        • greywarshark 13.1.1.1

          Right vto I am happy if you think I helped your point. In the end I think it is better to live in a medium sized town. I think small towns can get terribly stuck in their ways and minds as I said, and in cities the community can be hard to gather though that might improve where there are wards and local boards for local issues.

  14. weston 14

    i lived in karamea for a couple of years in the eighties woulndnt have been ageneralization to say at that time at least the native locals hated hippies even thgough hippies were all over the place cause land was so cheap on the ,;coast ; The editor of the local paper in wesport even ran editorials suggesting that all the ;outsiders ;should leave and go back from whence they came despite the fact that the town was desperately poor and the benifits or otherwise of the ;outsiders would surely have added to the areas bottom line .I remember reading an article by rosemary mckloud who had visited westport and was so shocked she wrote a story on it . The last line was brillient ;and i caught the last stagecoach out of town;actually now that i think about it the word the locals liked to describe non locals was loopies and even regular tourists got that nic. there were some big positives about the place tho and it provided a perfect place for some healthy kids

  15. Ad 15

    And here the writer is…

    – Commenting on a leftie site, nursing the wounded neurosis of being surrounded by solid rural Nats.
    – Wanting something more for the culture of a place, but not sure what.
    – Pulling down the local Mayor – for trying to change things but just not the right way
    – Not wanting to negotiate social norms, as if there’s a place without them
    – Wanting something better for the town, the place, the people. Just not this, done this way, and not prepared to risk saying what it would be.
    – Wondering why people stare when they dress to stand out. Well duh.

    Bill, every single small town in New Zealand under 5,000 is dying: aging, stagnating, decaying. There’s so few exceptions that the rule is firm. it’s largely irreversible.

    The people around you in your small town are not from the Undead. Shrunk and disempowered through 30 years of restructuring, mechanization, service cuts, and no job earning over $60k for a hundred kilometers (grant the exception for Sharemilkers), they have been forgotten for so long they have forgotten what’s it’s like to remember.
    Even Northland people – those dirt-poor dopers – figured they had got to their limit of being mocked like that.

    Bill, you give these people so little credit, writing with so little grace, with such sneering misanthropy, you can’t see that the place you hold up to examine is a mirror to your own face.

    • weka 15.1

      “Bill, every single small town in New Zealand under 5,000 is dying: aging, stagnating, decaying. There’s so few exceptions that the rule is firm. it’s largely irreversible.”

      That is simpy not true.

      • Ad 15.1.1

        Go right ahead.

        • weka 15.1.1.1

          I don’t know where you live, but where I live many small towns are doing ok. Admittedly some of those towns are living off the tourism bubble and are in a for a big shock when that breaks, and it’s true that many face serious challenges around the demise of family farming. But most small towns in NZ terminally ill? Doubt it. Might be different up north of course.

          • RedLogix 15.1.1.1.1

            Exactly. My observation was that while it was common for many young people to move away from town as soon as they could – a fair proportion of them returned at some point in their lives. Often when they have kids themselves.

            And there are many quite excellent retirement options in these towns as well – places where people (count us in) do choose for positive reasons. Cost, convenience, community and a real sense of belonging.

            We looked at this place very closely. Bloody impressive and a fraction of the cost an Auckland equivalent:

            http://www.lansdownepark.co.nz/

            This does make the demographic profile a bit skewed towards the older – but it’s not necessarily a sign of terminal decline.

      • dukeofurl 15.1.2

        What an absurd statement.

        heres a list of all South Island towns with population over 1996-2013 ( census)

        http://www.citypopulation.de/php/newzealand-southisland.php

        Work out how many are same population or less from 1996-2013

        Some places are just extensions of larger towns
        eg Brightwater is inland from Nelson is 1200 up to 1700

        Bluff was 2000 is now 1800

        Cheviot was 440 is 370, Clinton was 350 is now 380

        Hokitika was 3800 is now 3450

        Timaru was 27,800 is now 27,050

        • weka 15.1.2.1

          Are you making an argument that large towns are also terminally ill?

          What is it about those numbers that makes you think small towns are terminally ill? Apart from the small drops in numbers, which could mean anything and don’t necessarily relate to the health and wellbeing of that community.

          I’d also like you to explain your analysis of that chart because you appear to be ignoring the towns whos populations increased. I haven’t done a count, did you?

          • dukeofurl 15.1.2.1.1

            What is it with you that cant face facts. You are the most fact challenged person around, with room up top for dancing.

            These towns are dying. End of story. That they are nice places to see out your retirement is one thing. They can be of a certain size that all is sweet for quite a while longer.
            Simply put more people are leaving than arriving .

            The schools get smaller, the sports teams reduce. The post office closes, the bank(s) close. The shops close and are not replaced, the supermarket closes.
            The doctors close and no one replaces them.
            Simply put more people are leaving than arriving .

            The falling numbers are mostly young people, the older people stay as they have a job or are close to retirement and stay for good or go to be near family

            • weka 15.1.2.1.1.1

              Fuck off with the ad homs.

              You seem to be arguing that x drop in population automatically means a town will decline and never recover and eventually die. Here’s how Ad put it,

              Bill, every single small town in New Zealand under 5,000 is dying: aging, stagnating, decaying. There’s so few exceptions that the rule is firm. it’s largely irreversible.

              I’m saying that’s not true, at least not where I live (I spend most of my time in Otago, Southland and occaccionally Canterbury). But let’s follow this through. At what point do you consider a town to be dead? Then take 4 towns, let’s say Te Anau, Cromwell, Balclutha and Waimate, and tell me when you think they will be offically dead (rough estimate is fine). Then tell me what are the signs of decay and stagnation that you see in each.

              • dukeofurl

                ASk the Principles of local schools what a falling roll means.

                Is the cell phone coverage patchy already, because it isnt going to increase, as for broadband , dream on.

                Things like police , fire ambulance are scaled down, or only served from neighbouring towns.

                What happens when the bank closes ? A local regional center like Balclutha may be Ok but the other towns are hollowed out, and are lucky to have any shops , service stations.

                BUt as Ive found before with you, reality isnt something you deal with. It almost as though you are the poster child of the small minded small town person. I dont know if you are in a small declining town, but there are heaps just like you.

                [You will cut out the ad hom shit. There won’t be any more of it coming from your keyboard, understand? Until you acknowledge reading this, you’re in moderation] – Bill

                • weka

                  I’m well aware of all those issues duke. I’ve been seeing them in small towns my whole life and I agree there are serious issues there. I just disagree with Ad’s original statment that most towns in NZ under 5,000 population are going to die. It’s simply not true. I’ve asked you to qualify your own argument by defining what town death is, you haven’t. I’ve asked you to look at 4 specific towns and tell me what the signs of decline are there, you haven’t.

                  You can name things in the abstract all you like, but you don’t then get to tell me I don’t deal in facts. What you mean is you don’t like my argument and you have no way of refuting what I say apart from ad hominems and assertions without back up.

                  I don’t live in a small declining town. At the moment I live in a rural area a bit out from a small town that’s fine. But I’m not basing my ideas or argument on where I live, I’m basing them on 30+ years of watching what happens to small towns, including talking to people who live there and visiting those places. I know full well what happens to communities when post offices close or school roles drop. But I also know the things that people in those places do to make the town survive and some of that is successful.

                  I do wonder if you don’t actually understand what I am saying here. It’s like you think I am saying the opposite of what Ad said, that most towns are doing well. I’m not.

                • dukeofurl

                  Point taken

    • b waghorn 15.2

      Thank you Ad

  16. dukeofurl 16

    Heres list of North island towns
    http://www.citypopulation.de/php/newzealand-northisland.php

    dannevirke – down
    dargaville – down
    Edgecumbe – down
    Ektahuna – down
    Eltham – down
    Featherston -down
    Foxton – down
    Frasertown -down
    Gisborne- static
    Hawera – down
    Huntly – down
    Kaikohe -down
    Kaitaia -down
    Kawakawa – down
    Kawerau – down
    Marton – down
    Moerewa – down
    Ohakune – down
    Opotiki – down
    Opunake – down
    Otorohanga – down
    Paeroa – down
    Pahiatua – down
    patea – down
    Putaruru -down
    Raetihi – down
    Reporoa – down
    Ruatoria – down
    Russell- down
    Shannon – down
    Stratford -down
    Taihape -down
    Tairua -down
    Taumarunui -down
    Te Kuiti – down
    Te Teko -down
    Thames -down
    Tokoroa – down
    Turangi – down
    Waiouru -down
    Waipukurau – down
    Waitara -down
    Wairoa -down
    Wanganui -down
    Waverley -down
    Whangamata – down
    Woodville -down

    That doesnt include a lot of small settlements under 500, most of those would be down , that arent on outskirts of major towns

    • weka 16.1

      What’s your point?

    • weka 16.2

      In the South Island these have all gone up (I left out the cities)

      Alex, Amberly, Arrowtown, Brightwater, Clyde, Cromwell, Culverden, Cust, Darfield, Dunsandel, Fox, Franz, Geraldine, Hamner, Tekapo, Leetson, Lincoln, Manapouri, Mapua, Methven, Motueka, Outram, Oxford…

      Have given up at the O’s, because I think I’ve made my point.

      Gore has gone down. I’d love to know how you think it’s in irreversible decline. Bet Gore people would love to know too.

      Populations change. Some of it is demographics, some economics, some of it cultural etc. To suggest all the youn uns are leaving and the tumbleweeds are arrving misses the compexities and also misses the resiliency of those communities.

      • dukeofurl 16.2.1

        How many of those are fairly close to a larger city ie Culverden, Cust, Darfield- which would be Christchurch
        No doubt Central otago an other towns which are spillovers from Queenstown, Cromwell, Clyde etc. are growing, some quite quickly

        I think with a few areas like Golden Bay, Nelson, around outskirts of Christchurch and central otago – ‘pretty towns’ are far less than the declining small towns.
        -which means shops closing, schools declining rolls, services decreasing while costs like water supply sewerage increase.

        • weka 16.2.1.1

          Manapouri? Tekapo? Fox?

          So, now it’s not ‘every single small town under 5,000’, just the ugly ones, is that right?

  17. Ad 17

    One of the few exceptions to my point is Wanaka.
    This is a boomtown, with permanent residency well over 5,000, holiday peak over 25,000, and full of cashed-up 55+ Europeans.

    I go down for holidays, and plan to retire there, soon as I get to 55 myself.

    • weka 17.1

      God help us if Wanaka is to be held up as an example of what small town NZ should be 😉

    • mac1 17.2

      Ad, sounds like you could have misread the title of the post as being “Regional Realties”. 🙂

      But seriously, according to the 2013 census, the 65+s are heading to Bay of Plenty, followed by Tasman, Nelson then Marlborough.

      The median age of Marlborough in 2025 will be 51.4 years of age.

      65+s will outnumber children.

      Even though populations might still be growing, they are changing. There are some challenges ahead, whatever side of the political fence we sit, and how much wealth we possess.

      One is the % decrease on regional income as pensioners become a bigger %. Another is the lowering of wages as more low paid workers get jobs caring for the elderly. Another is sea level rise. Another is the cost of health care for an aging population. Living in gated or secluded communities dependent on fossil fuel-driven vehicles will bring challenges.

      These too are looming regional realities.

      At least in Wanaka with the wannabies you won’t have a problem with sea levels.

      • weka 17.2.1

        Big, fat earthquake waiting in the wings though. Never mind, all those blue voters will no doubt pull together and help each other through.

        • mac1 17.2.1.1

          Surprisingly, people do pull together. I was a farm worker as a young married man and after a house fire that destroyed our house and all its contents, we were well supported by our community, including no doubt many blue voters.

          The same during the floods of 1983. People did pull together.

          And earthquakes are an ever present threat throughout our shaky isles. Perhaps our flag should have a blurred motion-affected look, to reflect our land and its leaders.

          • weka 17.2.1.1.1

            We’re a long way from 1983. I look to Chch to see how we treat each other now.

            I think it’s a bit different when it’s an individual or family and they’re considered to be important to the community and where the community is intact and where there is a timeframe on the help. I see those people getting looked after as well. It’s a different story when a large scale disaster happens that doesn’t go away. Chch is still in the disaster, it hasn’t ended yet.

        • Ad 17.2.1.2

          They will get the best help money can buy.

      • Ad 17.2.2

        Wanaka: one of the world’s last rich, white, remote enclaves – and as yet still ungated.

        And the more severe the storms, the greater the snow dumps. At least until end of next century.

        Wanaka-Queenstown, and Nelson-Golden Bay, are two of the only growing bits of the South Island outside of Christchurch area. I still prefer Central.

        By the next census, about half of New Zealand will live from Hamilton north.

        If I have a moment I will run a proper post responding to Bill.
        Meantime, the 2013 census breakdowns by income, ethnicity, age, and population, together with the Deprivation Index and regional GDP, tell a more compelling story that a couple of put-downs about Clutha.

        At some point someone will revive the concept of regional economic development, and recognise the place that civic leadership really can play.

        • weka 17.2.2.1

          “Wanaka-Queenstown, and Nelson-Golden Bay, are two of the only growing bits of the South Island outside of Christchurch area. I still prefer Central.”

          I disagree, but then I measure growth differently than you.

          Agree with your last paragraph, although think the way things are going it’s going to have to come from the people.

      • Ad 17.2.3

        You don’t have to be a Wannabie in Wanaka, because you’ve already arrived.
        It’s Better in Central.

    • Anno1701 17.3

      you forgot the cheapest & most readily available heroin in the country !

      well thats queenstown technically, but you get my drift

  18. Lara 18

    I grew up in a small town, at least Whangarei was small in the 70’s when I had my childhood. Tiny.

    I got sucked into the shit hole that is Auckland for too long and finally escaped. But it seems not far enough.

    Mangawhai Heads is growing, now Aucklanders live here and commute (!) to work. And it’s full of holiday makers in the summer and weekends. Young people on holiday are often not very well behaved.

    It’s too much. I’m seriously considering moving. I’d go to the Catlins if it wasn’t so damned cold. I much prefer nature to human beings.

    And I’m not the only one.

    And there’s nothing wrong with those of us who aren’t quite as social and there’s plenty good about enjoying living closer to nature, closer to the forest and wild spaces.

    And there’s plenty of assholes in big cities.

    • Ad 18.1

      Where will you go and why?

      • Lara 18.1.1

        Either way up into the far north, or to the tip of Coromandel.

        Somewhere there are less people basically.

        Why? I don’t like people so much, maybe I’m too socially awkward to feel comfortable around them. It’s not that I hate or dislike them, I’m just not comfortable with too many of them. Not entirely uncommon really.

  19. photonz 19

    Bill obviously doesn’t like the character of small town folk, yet it seems to me more likely to be Auckland where there’s such a lack of community that most people don’t know most of the people in their very own street.

    And you’re over 600% more likely to have your car nicked, and over 300% more likely to have your house broken into.

    Yeah right – the people are so much nicer in big cities.

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