The Dim-Post

December 28, 2008

Buzz Buzz

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 10:44 am

Poneke spent Christmas in Brisbane and reflects on how much furthur Australia has come compared to New Zealand in terms of material prosperity; I had a similar experience in Bangkok earlier this year – a place I first visited in my early twenties and still thought of as a low-cost third world backwater had transformed into a wealthy international city. It had the ‘buzz’ Poneke encountered in Brisbane. I felt it again this year on business trips to Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns – the sense that the world is changing and that New Zealand really is getting left behind.

On the other hand, this morning I went running along a public track through the farmland behind Karori. From the top of the ridgeline I could see all of the western suburbs; white weatherboard 1920’s homes scattered about the green hills, as well as the empty farmland out to Makara and the southern coastline and across the Cook Strait the seaward Kaikoura’s, the tallest of which were snowcapped and ragged with clouds.

My weekend run is ninety minutes long and although I saw rabbits, breakfasting hawks, paradise ducks and the odd wild goat I didn’t see a single person the entire time – even though the track is a short walk from one of the largest suburbs in the country.

If we were richer all that land would be sold up, paved over, developed and filled with townhouses and malls. Maybe being left behind isn’t such a bad thing.

About these ads

15 Comments »

  1. Couldnt agree more, if we join the rat race, we will lose something that means much more to this country, than being able to get a coffee at 2am on a Monday morning.

    I may be quaint here, but i would never trade the half-gallon quarter acre pavlova paradise for some paved over stacked up concrete nightmare…

    Comment by millsy — December 28, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  2. Poneke belongs to a generation that equates a vanilla shopping mall variant of U.S. consumer culture with success.

    By that yardstick Australia’s Kath and Kim materialism is extremely attractive.

    Comment by Tom Semmens — December 28, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  3. I suggest that once the dust has cleared following the 2008 financial meltdown (maybe some time in 2010) our position in the all important OECD may not look so bad. This will probably have nothing to do with anything the National government does, but simply a reflection of the ebb and flow of economic fortune. Under the Labour govt of the past 9 nine years we did not tie ourselves overly with the financial fate of the US, therefore we are not going to follow their downward spiral to the same extent as other countries might have…

    Comment by Kent Parker — December 28, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

  4. “If we were richer all that land would be sold up, paved over, developed and filled with townhouses and malls. Maybe being left behind isn’t such a bad thing.”

    Yes, because if there is one thing more important than the increasing prosperity of our nation it’s Danyl having somewhere nice to run.

    Comment by chris — December 29, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  5. “increasing prosperity of our nation”

    whatever. danyl’s point is about how we define prosperity and he’s dead right. the entire population of auckland sitting in gridlock pushes our GDP up but that’s not prosperity. buying stuff on credit is not prosperous.

    forget about stuff from malls, new zealand’s real wealth is the number of great places there are to run. or walk, surf, swim, bike, kayak etc…

    Comment by mic — December 29, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  6. Nice post Danyl, though Tom Seemens I think you’ve discribed the argument in too stark terms.

    Comment by Paul Williams — December 29, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  7. “forget about stuff from malls, new zealand’s real wealth is the number of great places there are to run. or walk, surf, swim, bike, kayak etc…”

    Go into a bank and try to put your run into a bank account.

    Comment by chris — December 29, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  8. Chris, try breathing your money

    Comment by Rangi — December 29, 2008 @ 10:34 pm

  9. “Chris, try breathing your money” duh, if you had to pay for air, then the money would come in useful, don’t you think?

    Money isn’t wealth. Wealth is how much food, clothing and shelter you can buy from the money earned from the sweat of your brow.

    If you can increase the amount you produce in a day from the seat of your brow, then you have improved your productivity and can look forward to better food, clothing and shelter, all other things being equal.

    These concepts do not seem important to socialists, who are more concerned about wealth distribution than creation. As a result, the creation sometimes suffers.
    “the entire population of auckland sitting in gridlock pushes our GDP up but that’s not prosperity” neither does using taxpayers’ money to employ more and more people to push paper.

    “If we were richer all that land would be sold up, paved over, developed and filled with townhouses and malls.” Only if there was an explotion in population.
    It is in poor countries that poor, desperate people cut down all trees within a days walk to fuel their cooking fires. Only in poor countries do people need to clear more land to grow more grain. To cut down forests to build pation furniture.
    When people are wealthy, they have the luxury of choosing to do the right thing, rather than doing whatever it takes to survive.
    Danyl, with your 8% Employer KS contribution, you are WEALTHY, living in a wealthy country. You also happen to live in a safe (earthquakes and full moons aside), sparsly populated, wealthy country.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 30, 2008 @ 8:53 am

  10. Poneke belongs to a generation that equates a vanilla shopping mall variant of U.S. consumer culture with success.

    How little you know me. I cannot stand shopping malls and have not been in one for years and years and years. Give me Cuba St or Petone, please.

    By that yardstick Australia’s Kath and Kim materialism is extremely attractive.

    One of the 99.99pc of television shows I have never seen.

    Prosperity is a lot more than materialism, shoppings malls and crass television shows, you know.

    Comment by poneke — December 30, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  11. Is it the time of year when people get all dewey eyed and nostalgic for the imaginary “real” New Zealand of their childhood hence the loved up ‘Nu Zulund is soooo great just look at our clean greeness’ piffle that gets trotted out in the press and now the blogs?

    Comment by expat — December 30, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

  12. Expat, that’s pretty much a year-round thing.

    Comment by Mausism — December 31, 2008 @ 3:50 am

  13. I sense quite a lot of cognitive dissonance reduction. going on. In other words, the easiest way to reconcile a lower standard of living with high self concept is to decide the standard of living actually isn’t that important. It’s a great rationalisation – and as Jeff Goldblum’s character says in The Big Chill – rationalisations are more important than sex. Ever go a week without a rationalisation?

    But really, it’s a head-in-the-sand attitude. There’s no reason we can’t become a wealthier society, with more of a buzz, yet maintain or improve the things we care about. C’mon! It’s a challenge, but let’s not give up at the first hurdle.

    Comment by vibenna — December 31, 2008 @ 5:29 am

  14. I suspect a great deal of difficulty with this debate is the expansion of the term ‘wealth’ to mean ‘things I like’.

    Once you’ve extended the meaning that far it all becomes a bit silly.

    I like the view from the Karori Hills as well. Love it, even.

    I just wouldn’t call it wealth.

    Comment by Rob Hosking — December 31, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  15. I think it was Mencken who said that the definition of wealth is earning more than your wife’s sisters husband.

    Comment by danylmc — December 31, 2008 @ 9:12 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 408 other followers

%d bloggers like this: