19 Apr 2013

Young v old on Auckland’s future

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Written by: Bernard Orsman
Photo: NZPA
Published: New Zealand Herald – 19 April 2013

Michael Goudie.

Michael Goudie.

Councillor-endorsed blog labels those who oppose intensified housing selfish, arrogant and narrow-minded

A young Auckland councillor has posted on his Facebook page a link to a blog containing personal attacks on critics of the city council’s new planning rulebook.

Michael Goudie’s action is part of a bid to get 20-somethings and teens to counter the views of more conservative people on the unitary plan.

The blog on the 28-year-old’s page contains one anonymous post telling a St Heliers resident to “wake the f*** up”.

The unitary plan’s proposal for intensified housing has struck opposition in many communities but is finding favour with young people priced out of the traditional housing market.

Mr Goudie said the blog “cuts right through naysayers and scaremongering by associations and councillors on the unitary plan” and he is encouraging young people to share it.

One posting on the anonymous blog – called Eye on Auckland, We Hate Nimbys (Not In My Back Yard) – tells one resident who attended a unitary plan meeting in St Heliers to “wake the f*** up” and says another attendee, Alex Dempsey, is “living in a make-believe world”.

“Nimbys are selfish, arrogant, narrow-minded and parochial people who only think me, me, me and to hell with the needs of others or the future of this city,” the posting said.

When the Character Coalition – a lobby group of 52 community and heritage groups – complained about the “vitriolic name-calling” and expressed surprise that the council would encourage disunity in the community, public affairs and media manager Glyn Walters refused to take action.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse has not asked Mr Goudie to remove the anonymous blog from his Facebook page, saying he is doing a fantastic job to engage young people. She said Mr Goudie was not responsible for the comments on the blog.

“There is a lot of vitriol and negativity on Facebook and there are a lot of positive comments on blogs like this. I don’t condone the vitriol and personalising of these issues. On the other hand, we live in a democracy and have freedom of speech.”

Ms Dempsey, a member of the Character Coalition, said the council was fanning ageist division in the community by supporting and spreading the “vile” blog.

Cameron Brewer, one of eight councillors called the “crusty and rusty brigade” on the blog, said anyone who dared to speak out against the intensification plans was being labelled a Nimby, grumpy old person or a troublemaker.

“It’s not democracy. It’s actually quite disgusting and homeowners are getting sick of being completely dismissed.”

We Hate Nimbys

What the blog says:

“You are the most hated group in Auckland.”

“A sea of grey hair, dressed as if it is still 1973, arms folded and grumpier than the Grinch.”

“Orewa, Howick, Browns Bay and Milford … soulless, geriatric timebombs.”

“Could someone please give the crusty and rusty brigade [of councillors] some Prozac, a tot of brandy and a good kick up the a**.”


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