I’m not a native Aucklander, but for the past 20-plus years I’ve tolerated the place and during that time I’ve lived no more than a few hefty stone throws away from Dominion Road. I traverse it and use it often: my kids went to a school just off it; my doctor, chemist, post office are on or nearby; my places of social activity are close. I cut across it to reach the motorway, shopping malls, and most places I work.
Not long after I first became a neighbour, the Council in their wisdom declared that the area where Dominion Road meets Balmoral Road was a bottleneck that was causing delays to public transport. In an attempt to fix the issue they decreed that the area that housed The Warehouse, various local shops and the majority of the area’s parking was going to be reconfigured, the businesses moved on, and a bus transit-way put in.
None of the locals wanted it, none asked for it, and as a result, the Red Shed closed, as did other local shops, including a family-run pharmacy that shut its doors after decades of serving the local community.
Time passed, the transit-way didn’t happen and some of the shops re-opened as temporary outlet stores.
Later there were grand plans announced for a major development on the same site, which caused the petrol station to close down. There is no sign as yet of the promised development.
Then came the announcement of the great Dominion Road light railway to the airport. The glossy brochures showed it would result in no parking along much of the road and, while locals knew this would decimate local businesses especially in Mt Roskill, we were told it was going to happen regardless. That nice Mr Twyford even told us that despite losing our amenities, local residents would also need to pay an additional rate for the pleasure and benefit of living close to it.
As yet, time has passed and nothing has happened but the effect on local businesses has been profound. Who wants to engage in a long-term lease when the Damocles Sword hangs overhead? (See the number of businesses closing in the CBD due to Len’s/Phil’s train set).
Cue too Auckland Transport that, despite low patronage, determined that Dominion Road needed double-decker buses. And of course, these buses due to their steering needed a bigger parking bay, removing local shoppers’ car parking areas (not to mention extending pavements across parking spots due to overhanging shop fronts). Shoppers now need to park down side streets which is not very handy for popping into a local facility.
Add into the mix the council’s penchant for determining that buildings are all of a sudden not up to earthquake standards (in Auckland!). This was a ploy used to close the area’s most popular Malaysian restaurant and adjoining pizza and chip shops last year, without the buildings being occupied, removed or strengthened as yet.
I quite often wonder whether someone in the Council had something very bad happen to them on Dominion Road in their past, and have been trying to get their own back ever since. Or maybe they just don’t like The Muttonbirds.
I was very surprised therefore to learn from Newshub in April that the problems of Dominion Road and its local businesses aren’t anything to do with the Council, nothing to do with Government transport policy and nothing to do with uncertainty based on the past 20 years of poor decision making. No, instead it is due to COVID-19.
Which got me thinking. Locals to Dominion Road will know the truth, but will the rest of the country? And more importantly, is this a portent of what’s to come? Will the MSM, firmly in Socialist Jacinda’s pocket, now assist with her Government’s changing of history?
Robertson’s borrowing of billions (to pay beneficiaries more, grant more money to Maori and give laptops to the poor) will not be due to poor financial management and the frittering away of an inherited surplus – no, it will be blamed on COVID-19.
Will the highest unemployment rate in the country’s history be due to Jacinda’s dreadful socialist experiment and to her raising the minimum wage? Nope, it will all be COVID-19s fault.
How long will it be before Twyford’s inability to build houses becomes a victim of the virus? Child poverty? Education standards? Law and order? Not my fault, dear voter, blame the virus.
Using sleight of hand to hide the real narrative is a well-used communist ploy. The USSR’s first post-war census was repeatedly delayed so that the State could blame the decimation of the Soviet population on the war, not Stalin’s atrocities. Watch the Socialist Government of New Zealand do the same, with help from the press.
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