Sir Bob Jones

“Your 20-year wait is over-Parnell Waterfront” was a recent Bayleys heading for an Auckland residential property.

First, why 20 years? Are potential buyers who’ve spent say only 12 years looking for such a property disqualified?

But worse is their redefinition of the term “waterfront”.

I’d have thought its meaning was clear, namely a property adjacent the water, but not according to Bayleys. For the photo revealed the property lay high on a hill, several hundred metres from the water, affording mainly an unpleasant view of wharf cranes, plus part of the distant harbour.

Wellington Bayleys boss Mark Hourigan threatened to sack any of his agents a couple of years back for writing absurd headings for properties. As I’ve recounted before, the final straw was one of his agents heading an advertisement for a plain fare industrial property, “Hard working building”.

I promptly sent over a generous offer, conditional on the building’s work skills.

If it simply operated a computer I wrote, then the offer is withdrawn. On the other hand if it has entertainment talents such as juggling, singing, tight-rope walking, or, more mundane abilities such as house-work, cooking or gardening, then I’m your buyer.

Mark is certainly not lacking a sense of humour but enough was enough as he told us when he popped in for drinks a few days later. He’d called his agents together and put his foot down once and for all on ludicrous advertisement headings.

Out went “footprint” in lieu of “rental area”, so too all the other faddish terminologies.

Why do they do this?

In my experience it’s peculiar to New Zealand and Sydney but nowhere else.

We often hear the claim that language is constantly evolving advanced in defence, usually of language abuse. In fact so much of this rubbish is simply faddish copycatism.

A classic case is the recent years replacement of the word photograph for image. That’s a regressive change, not an evolvement.

Take say, “She has an image of her husband on her desk”.

Is it a photograph, a painting, a sketch or what?

Clear speech is characteristic of all highly successful people as it reflects clear thinking.

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Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion...