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Saving the town

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, April 19th, 2016 - 78 comments
Categories: australian politics, christchurch earthquake, manufacturing, Mining, poverty - Tags:

Whyalla, the third largest town in South Australia, has a population of 22,000. It’s a town devoted to serving one South Australian steelworks, Arrium Ltd. Arrium has called in the administrators. Do you save the town?

Australia has lost 164,000 manufacturing jobs in the course of eight years. It’s lost Holden. It’s lost Toyota. It’s lost Alcoa. It’s New Zealand 1990s redux.

Korda Mentha, overseeing the Arrium restructure, commented “The commitment from everyone – from the banks to the suppliers to the state and federal governments – is to try to get some solutions for Whyalla. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be quick.”

Observing from New Zealand, even the idea that Korda Mentha, the banks, the state, the town and the company could work together on saving a major town due to commercial collapse is bewilderingly unimaginable. In New Zealand, the closest comparison in the last three terms is the Sky City pokies-for-convention-centre deal.

Some on the extremes of right and left may argue that to save the village, you have to destroy the village. I think we should expect more from government, and each other, than that. Whyalla may be an Australian turning point in the debate.

78 comments on “Saving the town ”

  1. Rocco Siffredi 1

    The government should provide them all free bikes, then they can go and find another town with jobs. The sooner they move, the sooner they will be better off.

    • Ad 1.1

      I’m just guessing you don’t have a constructive thought on this then.

      • Rocco Siffredi 1.1.1

        A town is dead when it’s purpose disappears. Move on. That is far more constructive than hand wringing about ‘saving’ it.

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          That’s a logic of perpetual destruction. You can apply it to indusyries, towns, islands, biospheres, and countries, until there is nothing left but a great perpetual scrap heap of humanity.

          Eventually you have to stop, plan, and help. Being human, I think.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1

            You just have to look at what happened to the US rust belt towns from the 1960s onwards. And the journey these towns have taken over the decades as major employers left and entire neighbourhoods left.

            In our current financial system, unless there is a steady stream of $$$ going to the main street of a town and the surrounding residences, the town is over as market mechanisms will force businesses and families to depart, leaving behind those dregs who are unable or unwilling to go.

            • Ad 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Possibly not helpful labeling people “dregs”.

              Our own damage can be found in the South Island’s West Coast, the far north, East Cape, and in many rural hinterlands.

              There’s a book called Ghost Towns of New Zealand which charts the boom-bust cycles of 1860s-1920s. It’s very Lorax.

              • Colonial Viper

                You see it in failing organisations as well. All the talent and motivation bails ASAP, leaving behind the people who are unwilling or unable to go.

                Don’t call them dregs then, call them remnants or loyal local community stalwarts, if that makes people feel better inside.

                Look at the settlements in Central Otago which were based on gold and gold mining. When that went a much more modest living had to be eked out via farming.

                The only reason the area around Queenstown Lakes looks so alive right now – as opposed to 30-40 years ago – is due to the financialisation of property and the house price bubble.

                What this financial system takes away, it sometimes gives as well.

                Will Whyalla be equally “lucky”.

                • Ad

                  Central Otago is one long lesson in gutsy resilience.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I took some relatives around to the old Chinese settlement in Arrowtown over Easter. A long lesson in gutsy resilience indeed.

                • weka

                  “The only reason the area around Queenstown Lakes looks so alive right now – as opposed to 30-40 years ago – is due to the financialisation of property and the house price bubble.”

                  And tourism and export wine. And dairying. CO will have some spectacular challenges when the oil prices spike. On the other hand, there is plenty of spare houses 😈

    • Outdoor 1.2

      It is best you look up a map of where Whyalla is before you start giving them bikes.

  2. adam 2

    This has effectively happened in Westport as well, just in case you missed the constant slow dismissal of the workforce by solid energy. And barely a whimper about it. Is it that they have learnt not to have these massive lay off’s, otherwise it might get people to question things.

    Glad you talked about the 90’s here, I remember much of the same rhetoric being exposed. Mainly freezing working towns and other small centres of manufacturing in the South Island. And not a darn thing was done by government, the banks or suppliers. Was it that they were more ideological rigid at the time?

    It would be nice if more than words happen, but the state has been capture, by ideologues – so good luck with that. Least we forget, the banks and suppliers will think of the bottom line. How quick we are to forget the lessons of history.

    A couple of questions advantage

    So the idea of removing the state, even in a progressive manner not something which appeals?

    Never met a lefty who would let people suffer, well on the anarchist wing of the left at least, are you talking about Marxist? Who is this extreme left wing you speak of?

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Why are we talking about the guts being ripped out of small NZ towns from the 90s.

      This was happening during Rogernomics years as well – the 1980s – as the Labour Government destroyed the system of tarriffs and import restrictions which many NZ manufacturers relied on.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        It may not work in Whyalla either. It’s a mere spark.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          With my cynical hat on, I’d say this sounds like a Rio Tinto style PR/corporate ploy to try and extract $$$ concessions from government, community, unions and workers.

  3. Ad 3

    The point of the words in the article very important – it’s the first time in many years I’ve seen even a proposal to reverse the ‘let them die or swim’ attitude. Anderton was the last substantial politician in New Zealand who could join these kinds of dots together, back when he invented the MED and the Regional Economic Development programme. Every effort is flawed, sure, but the point is to lead.

    No, I have not seen a successful replacement for the state to operate whole societal transformations. We’ve simply forgotten how to operate the levers we still have.

    As for suffering, I’ve observed plenty of commenters here willing the end of the current human order as soon as possible. I have no idea what ideology they are, but I do know humane treatment of people when I see it.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The point of the words in the article very important – it’s the first time in many years I’ve seen even a proposal to reverse the ‘let them die or swim’ attitude.

      The National Government paid Rio Tinto a shit load of money in a very recent deal to save the Tiwai smelter in Bluff. There was a lot of debate about this on The Standard at the time.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      As for suffering, I’ve observed plenty of commenters here willing the end of the current human order as soon as possible.

      The end of the current order is upon us Ad. It is in process right now; a suitable metaphor would be a slow motion high speed car crash which was entirely predictable minutes ahead of time.

      At the moment the stage of the crash we are in is that the plastic front bumper has been pushed in about 20mm.

      The occupants of the car are still quite happily enjoying the infotainment system and the multi-area climate control in the vehicle.

      Nothing appears to be wrong from their point of view.

      Record temps around the world, glaciers and fresh water sources disappearing, analyses of all the mineral and fossil fuel “wealth” now becoming accessible in the Arctic. An oligarchic class becoming even more ferocious and grasping.

    • adam 3.3

      Ad

      So co-operatives and collectives not to your cup of tea ah ?

      Public servicing NGO’s – just not effective?

      Incorporated societies, and trusts – just the wrong type of democratic?

      Unions and syndicates, just organisations which better served being under control of the state?

      And let me ask again who are these extreme leftist you speak of?

      • Ad 3.3.1

        I’m not one to propose a revolution without a plan for building from the rubble.

        You could smash the local, regional and central state into smithereens if you like – and this current government are well on the way to doing that.

        You could replace the entire educational, penal, and social welfare system with NGOs if you like – and the current government is well on the way to doing that.

        You could replace elected local and regional government if you like – and the current government is well on the way to doing that.

        If there’s something else beside elected government to form a basic social contract with that says: I vote you in, and you protect me and my family, and we work together toward a common future, and as a result I retain my freedom, well you go right ahead and spell that out for the likes of Whyalla.

        Don’t forget to tell me what the “transition” looks like, quantify the dead, between the complete annihilation of the public sector and this new utopian form you have in mind for us voters.

        Funnily enough, your vision looks exactly like what National and Act have been doing to us for a while.

  4. weka 4

    I depends on what you think the town is for. If it’s to provide infrastructure for a population of wage slaves and serfs that service an industry that feeds the capitalist demand and shareholders, then why bother saving it when the industry is gone? (Rocco’s argument above I guess).

    If you think a town is the expression of people, families and communities, then the failure of major industry presents immediate logistical challenges but isn’t of itself that relevant. What’s important are the people, and the wellbeing of them and the relationships that make the town a town. Saving the town is worthy, because it’s recognised that the town is a set of relationships that get destroyed if everyone has to move.

    I’d take it even further and say that purpose of the industry was to provide people a way of making a living, and the point of that was to enable the wellbeing of those people and the community. Industry goes, then the issue becomes how can that wellbeing still be supported?

    And even further still, when you look at what those things are that will ensure wellbeing, make sure they are sustinable this time and not dependent on fossil fuels and the global economy. You can still take advantage of those things while there is time, but don’t make the survival of the town dependent on them. The town being the people and the relationships.

    (that’s the argument from the far left ;-p ).

    • Bill 4.1

      Or is the argument that runs – the imposition of an industry and all the wage slavery etc that it entailed was what destroyed the community/town in the first place; is that the argument from the left?

      Thinking analogously of the long term prisoner who’s suddenly pushed out onto the street and their freedom. What do they do?

      • weka 4.1.1

        “Or is the argument that runs – the imposition of an industry and all the wage slavery etc that it entailed was what destroyed the community/town in the first place; is that the argument from the left?”

        Yep, in the bigger picture for sure. But towns in NZ post-date wage slavery and the industrial revolution, so I guess we can look at it both ways.

        “Thinking analogously of the long term prisoner who’s suddenly pushed out onto the street and their freedom. What do they do?”

        I like that!

    • Brutus Iscariot 4.2

      That’s not Far Left, that’s fruity waffle.

      Funny you’re talking on one hand about “saving” these dirty industry towns (coal, steel etc), yet on the other hand failing to recognise that they only came into existence because of a particular set of circumstances generated by a large employer.

      Cities and towns aren’t sets of social relationships. Humans didn’t move from a nomadic way of life to permanent settlement because they liked each other, they did it because it afforded enhanced survival and economic opportunities. Small towns are valued by many, but also hated and resented by many of their residents due to the inevitable narrowmindedness, enforced conformity, and lack of anonymity.

      Cities and towns are functions of geography and economics. They just “happen”, starting off as natural places where people come together to trade and do business with each other, then snowballing as the agglomeration benefits of more people and skills create a melting pot in which more things can happen.

      Cities don’t spring up by fiat, and they shouldn’t be preserved by fiat.

      • weka 4.2.1

        “Funny you’re talking on one hand about “saving” these dirty industry towns (coal, steel etc), yet on the other hand failing to recognise that they only came into existence because of a particular set of circumstances generated by a large employer.”

        Funny how you just made that shit about me. Of course I recognise how those towns came into existence. But the towns are now humans in relationship with each other. Yes, we’re not tribal any more but we still are. You can’t dissolve hundreds of thousands of years of evolution in a few short centuries. Every place I have ever lived revolved around schools, and preschools, churches, social clubs, sports teams etc as much as it did around jobs. You disperse all those people and you destroy the town. The town isn’t the infrastructure, it’s the relationships between the people (unless you think that peopel exist to service industry).

        If you want economic rationalist terms, economies function better when the wellbeing of people and communities is maintained. Where you disrupt those things you get crime, poverty, ill health, and nasty shit politics.

        “Cities and towns are functions of geography and economics. They just “happen”, starting off as natural places where people come together to trade and do business with each other, then snowballing as the agglomeration benefits of more people and skills create a melting pot in which more things can happen.”

        Actually in NZ, Brits came here looking for better lives. Yes, they settled in palces that were conducive to that, geography is a factor, and being able to make a living. But it’s ridiculous to suggest that relationships aren’t critical to that. How do people trade without relationships? And of course towns evolve naturaly out of a multiplicity of things. But try pulling relationships out of the core of that and see what happens.

        Your description is very patriachal and based on what men do. None of what you describe exists without families. Sure you can make temporary towns to build industry, but let them exist for any length of time and families will also happen and then you have community.

        I’m also not talking about fiat (thnks for making shit up again about my argument).

    • Ad 4.3

      Seeking a single originary purpose for industry, or for cities, or towns is a folly best left to Time Team.

      And not much use when a desperate town’s people just need somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and a better life for your kids. They don’t need the pontificating, they just need a plan. That’s the standard argument from the centre.

      • weka 4.3.1

        “Seeking a single originary purpose for industry, or for cities, or towns is a folly best left to Time Team.”

        Who is doing that? I’m not.

        “And not much use when a desperate town’s people just need somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and a better life for your kids. They don’t need the pontificating, they just need a plan. That’s the standard argument from the centre.”

        What? Sorry, I don’t get why you are replying to me with that? Are you saying I’m pontificating? You could engage with the actual ideas.

  5. adam 5

    Silly question is Ad, advantage the author of this piece?

  6. Bill 6

    I’ve read a few articles on UK towns where locals have taken over the running of local amenities and run them on collective lines (the PO shop etc). When or if they shift away from income attaching to atomised individuals and push the interface between market and society back one step, so that a community rather than an individual accrues income, then I think they’ll be on the cusp of ‘cracking it’.

    • Karen Bates 6.1

      Murupara is a good NZ example of a strong community that is doing it’s best to cope with all the problems that come with very high unemployment rates . In the 1970s there was full employment and high wages but the restructure of the forest industry in the 1980s resulted in Murupara becoming one of the poorest places in NZ.

      If you have a few minutes to spare this Māori TV doco (from about 3 minutes) will give you an idea of what happened.

      http://www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/pakipumeka-aotearoa-new-zealand-documentaries/S06E001/murupara-dreaming

      Nobody ever seems to add up all the health, education and justice costs that ensued because of the decision to privatise forestry.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        Oh yes they did. The neo-libs very carefully calculated the profit to be made if they captured the cash flow, and dumped the costs onto the community.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Australia has lost 164,000 manufacturing jobs in the course of eight years.

    Australia has roughly 11.8M employed persons.

    164K job losses over 8 years, say 20,000 per year, isn’t a big deal on the macro scale of things, is it?

    It’s a rounding error in the big picture.

    • Te Reo Putake 7.1

      Except these are productive jobs, CV. They make things (well they used to).

      In addition, ancillary jobs go as well. For example, the closure of the big car plants killed all sorts of local parts supply firms, such as the tyre rim makers, car seat fabric suppliers and the like. Then you add in related job loss in services to the maufacturing sector. The lunch bars, the transport operators, the external trades people etc.

      Every one of the those manufacturing jobs lost that you sneer at as a rounding error has a knock on effect on other workers, their families and their communities.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Just putting it in perspective mate. 20K p.a. job losses out of 12M employed.

        For example, the closure of the big car plants killed all sorts of local parts supply firms, such as the tyre rim makers, car seat fabric suppliers and the like.

        When subcontracting plants closed down, they form part of the total manufacturing job losses figure provided do they not.

        Every one of the those manufacturing jobs lost that you sneer at as a rounding error has a knock on effect on other workers, their families and their communities.

        No, that’s you sneering. I’m just looking at the numbers.

        • te reo putake 7.1.1.1

          No mate, your Actoid analysis is not only lacking humanity, it’s lacking figures. For every job lost in a car plant, it’s been estimated that more than 6 ancilliary jobs go. If the same applies to the wider manufacturing sector that figure of 164k could actually be a million lost jobs.

          We can’t all be baristas in the future and these are real jobs that are lost, real people affected and real pain felt. Just how isolated from reality and insulated from the lives of working people are you, bud?

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            It’s a 164K manufacturing jobs gone out of 11.8M or more employed.

            Affecting 0.2% of Australian jobs, year on year, over 8 years.

            Keep it in context. It’s minor. And the car plant closures have been on the cards for a decade or more.

            • Te Reo Putake 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Jeez, you’re a piece of work. It’s hundreds of thousands of human beings affected. It’s not minor to them. This new neo-liberal, 1% lovin’, fuck the workers CV is rather disturbing, I’ve gotta say. I told you what would happen if you kept dropping acid with Roger Douglas.

              • Colonial Viper

                Further, the V8 fossil fuel guzzling big car industry was always going to end up consigned to the dust bin.

                Just the way economic and environmental reality is going mate, sorry to break it to you.

              • Pat

                CV could have put it a little more diplomatically….you say “it’s hundreds of thousands of human beings affected.” but in reality it is billions being affected and one way or another these things will happen…is it wiser or kinder to pretend otherwise?

                • Colonial Viper

                  TRP is busy character assassinating me so I let him do his immature knife work and pretend not to notice.

                  Just how isolated from reality and insulated from the lives of working people are you, bud?…

                  This new neo-liberal, 1% lovin’, fuck the workers CV is rather disturbing, I’ve gotta say.

                  etc.

      • Gosman 7.1.2

        How can they be productive if the companies they are working for are making huge losses? This is why left wingers don’t generally make good business decisions.

  8. Atiawa 8

    NZ is shrinking. The towns and cities on the periphery have mostly served their purpose for business interests, but the people often remain. Northland, the East Coast, South & Westland and if oil & gas doesn’t make a return, Taranaki.
    How does a person with a home in Patea for example sell up and relocate to somewhere else without incurring a huge debt for housing? The South Waikato town of Mangakino was built and developed for the hydro workers and their families, yet many people remained after the projects were completed because they had affordable housing.
    urban drift has become URBAN drift.

    • Tarquin 8.1

      It’s not all bad news, Marsden A & B power stations were the last of the think big projects. People used to follow these projects around the country for many years. There was nowhere to go after this and a lot of the people ended up staying in the area. There have been a few problems, but in general it worked out well and there is a very diverse population which I don’t think has done the area any harm. Admittedly there are some big employers in the area which has helped and now half of Auckland seems to be moving up here, so the future is looking quite good.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Ad makes the same point I made a month or so back. The Aussies still believe in themselves, they still believe in something beyond the neo-liberal madness, they believe there is still power in acting collectively.

    The plant was built there by human decision, it can be retained there by the same force. The only reason it is in financial trouble at the moment is because the totalitarian CCCP is able to manipulate it’s economy so as to keep an excess amount of steel production going, well beyond it’s current domestic needs. This manipulation is slowly putting all other steel makers in the world, especially in the first world, out of business.

    Right now there is a parallel crisis in the UK steel industry.

    Big developed nations face the prospect of losing their entire steel-making capacity; and if nothing else happens there is a real prospect of the Chinese being the dominant, perhaps only, steel makers left in the world. And while global demand will unlikely rebound much in the near future (or indeed any future), it is still a strategic, core industry the entire industrial world depends on.

    “Free trade” is useful given some conditions, and one of them is that everyone plays by similar rules. The CCCP’s “comparitive advantage” here is built on corruption, an entirely opaque banking system and totalitarian political power.

    If the Australians decide they don’t want to be beholden to those rules, well good luck to them.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The aussies could decide to stop shipping metallurgical coal and iron ore to China.

      Just saying.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        Alternatively the Chinese state could enable free competition between its bloated steel companies and their shit product (witness even our own government moving against their steel), and the higher quality more expensive Australian steel. Same argument applies for Tiwai Point.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          The Chinese state requires maximum employment through all these industries for the sake of social stability and governing legitimacy.

  10. Expat 10

    Whyalla is only one of three towns suffering from this fate, Orange just closed it’s Electrolux factory, losing over 300 jobs, been there since the forties, and Townsville’s Copper and Nickle plant just layed off 600 more workers after serious mismanagement by Clive Palmer, leaving the Govt to pay the estimated $73m to the workers in entitlements.

    It is likely the Whyalla steel works will be saved, but imported steel from China must be stopped, is doesn’t meet the same quality standards as the local product and countries like the Phillipines and Malaysia have incurred tariffs on Chinese steel products as they can’t compete with the price either. Low quality steel is responsible for the collapse of many structures in third world countries, most recently the one in India, where a major road construction collapsed, killing dozens.

    Killing off small towns only results in more congested large cities which in Aus and NZ, have failed to keep up with infrastructures required to keep them moving efficiently, and what is currently quite evident, who can afford the housing, as demand increases, and speculation just exasperates the problem.

    Even a city like Wellington is under pressure, as businesses move north, it’s up to the Govt to recognise these issues and plan and regulate accordingly to minimise negative outcomes, at the end of the day, employment is probably the most important aspect of any ones life.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Exactly, while states like Victoria long ago recognised the folly of letting Melbourne grow indefinitely and have active policies intended to slow that trend.

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      at the end of the day, employment is probably the most important aspect of any ones life.

      Well, that’s got to be changed.

      • Expat 10.2.1

        Colonial Viper

        Any suggestions, besides winning the lottery or inheriting a couple of mill, or maybe propagating a money tree.

        • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.1

          For starters, go down to a 4 day working week, reintroduce penalty rates, and implement a substantial UBI to compensate.

          • Expat 10.2.1.1.1

            Colonial Viper

            Yeah, but that still includes “employment”, therefore you agree that’s the most important aspect of ones life.

          • BM 10.2.1.1.2

            Will have to be done in conjunction with policy to stall or shrink the population.

            Can’t just keep producing people if there’s no purpose.

            • Expat 10.2.1.1.2.1

              BM

              “Can’t just keep producing people if there’s no purpose.”

              ????????…………

              • BM

                You don’t need people to work and drive the economy, robotics and computer algorithms are going to be doing all the work.

                Combine that in with people living longer, wouldn’t be surprised if the average life expectancy jumps to at least a 100 in the new 25 -50 years.

                Therefore is seems like utter madness to allow uncontrolled population growth, what are all these new people going to do, sit around and weave baskets?

            • pat 10.2.1.1.2.2

              “Can’t just keep producing people if there’s no purpose.”

              Odd, thought people were the purpose, guess I was wrong….what then is the purpose?

              • BM

                That’s the million dollar question.

                And it’s something society needs to come to grips with going forward.

                • Pat

                  You do understand there is no reason for economic activity without people,but there is reason for people without economic activity…..

                  wheres my million?

                  • BM

                    So you’re saying we should be breeding for the sole purpose of creating consumers?

                    Call me one of the possum peppering greeny/weka types but I don’t think that’s a very good idea.

              • Macro

                I know! I know!
                What is the economy for?
                It is to provide the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the longest run (time). Strictly speaking an economy exists for no other purpose.

                • pat

                  even more basic….to supply the needs and wants of PEOPLE….no mention of quantity, profit, method, robotics or algorithms.

  11. Macro 11

    I live in one of the oldest (European) towns in the country.
    It has had a number of reasons for existence,
    Firstly it was one of the original settlements for the early pioneers and it was from here that Logan Campbell and Brown first arrived and sailed up the Firth to Auckland.
    Originally the timber from the Kauri and Kahikatea forests was the primary source of industry and the subsistence farming of pig and sheep. Then gold was discovered. The township burgeoned to over 30,000 inhabitants, and industries associated with the mining were established some of which still exist today. A and G Price are still in existence (although now foreign owned) and has carried on as a foundry from the 1860’s.
    With the Depression in the 1930’s the mining industry closed down with the consequent loss of many jobs. The effect on the town was dramatic. The local council had borrowed heavily for infrastructure development and was faced with a crippling debt crisis as the ability of rate payers to pay was suddenly realised. The incoming mayor went straight to Government and the town was placed in administration until 1947. The consequence of this is still to be seen with substandard civil works still in existence and a relatively high rating.
    The town did not die however. There were a number of reasons, There were farming and fishing communities to supply and other small manufacturing industries and Prices diversified into rail workshops (there are still “silver fern” carriages waiting in the paddock out back). Nissan recognising the industrial strength of the community founded a vehicle assemble plant – now servicing Toyota’s “Signature” range. Timber mills for the Coromandel have been here since the beginning as well. And a base hospital for the peninsula.
    The current population is around 8,000 and for many that is the ideal size. Much of the infrastructure of a far larger township is here. There is a history and culture of manufacturing and “can do”.
    So while Whyalla is facing a severe down turn at the moment, and for a good number they will have to seek employment elsewhere, the chances are that if there is enough diversity within the town it will survive. Admittedly with a reduced population. and the local government will have to tighten its belt.

    • Ad 11.1

      It’s been a steady alteration in Thames. Witness also Paeroa getting a shove from bicycle touring – a smaller-scale version of the Otago Rail Trail effect.

      Thames has also been very lucky to have fat, rich Aucklanders blowing through every week. Not all are so lucky.

      BTW, love the weekend markets in Thames.

      • Macro 11.1.1

        Ad It wasn’t a steady alteration in Thames in the 30’s. Nor in Paeroa.
        With the fall in the price of gold the town shut up shop. Just like the fall in the demand for steel. (hastened by the Abbott govts withdrawal of support for Holden and the loss of 50,000 car manufacturing jobs).
        It had borrowed heavily on the expectation of continuing income from a population in work and able to pay rates – and then! With the mines closed the population which had been around the size of Whyalla suddenly faced a major crisis. The town couldn’t pay off its loans, the incoming mayor was forced to go to Wellington and face the PM with the fact that the town was suddenly bankrupt. It had no elected council for 17 years!
        Like Dunedin, much of the city of Auckland is based upon money coming out of the goldfields of the Coromandel, so we don’t mind now getting some of it back.
        Yes I too enjoy the weekend market – one of the best in the country IMHO. And do take a look at our 117 year old Historic Kauri church which is open on the sat morning, and if you are lucky you can hear the 100 year old manual keyboard pipe organ. Recently restored. A real treasure. We had dancing on the green outside last sat. And then across the road for refreshments at the Junction – what could be better 🙂

  12. I think that we need to investigate why we are losing all these companies. It’s not as if we don’t have the people to work in these industries what with all the promotion for engineering and all that. There has to be a reason why these businesses all want to move out of here.

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