As a teenager in 2000, I’d blow my Nelson orchard wages visiting New Zealand’s cities. Auckland was paved arteries pulsing cars. Christchurch a stifled English plain, Hamilton a punchline and Dunedin small, cold and with too much a tinge of jockstrap. Wellington was gusty perfection. Go to a rave in a carpark, or a sweaty gig at Bodega or Valve. Catch the cable car and sit up in the bucket tree, looking down across the harbour. Tootle around the city, from bush to beach using a $5 bus daytripper. Fun was easy.
I shifted up the following year. Whopper Chopper beach parties. Ben Hana (Blanket Man) at road protests. Island Bay and Brooklyn were deep suburbia, as inner city rent was fine for students. As a city in the early 2000s, Wellington was the only NZ option. You could live here without much money, and have a blast. Public transport was miles better than Auckland and rent was reasonable.
Fast forward to today, and it’s highly debatable that Wellington is New Zealand’s funnest city. Rent and houses prices got stupid, then kept going. Our public transport system is a high vis vest with a tablet explaining why your bus isn’t going to turn up. Wellington has gone from having two homeless blokes, to dozens.
In the time since I first shifted here, Auckland has begun or completed half a dozen major public transport initiatives, while Wellington has shafted its bus drivers. Auckland has big, interesting plans to solve its housing crisis. Where’s Wellington’s?
Few of the issues facing Wellington City are unique, and the steps to make this place a better place to live are easily taken, and a bunch of them are cheap. This blog is going to outline what I think they are. Some of this will be boring shit around zoning and transport, but some of it will be awesome - municipal lifts, soundsystems and saunas. Possibly all at the same time.