Home > Dollars & Sense, Social Issues > “Whatever happened to the Golden Mile?”

“Whatever happened to the Golden Mile?”

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Whatever happened to the Golden Mile?” asks right-wing Auckland Councillor;  National Party member; supporter of ACT politicians; and one-time almost-ran National Candidate, Cameron Brewer.

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ACT MP John Banks, David Lumsden, Cr Cameron Brewer

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Cr Brewer is complaining about the transformation of  Auckland’s “Gold Mile” in Queen Street. He says,

Now it has come down to these little shoebox shops selling absolute rubbish.

You really have to wonder the logic of the council wanting to spend nearly $500 million on CBD and waterfront upgrades over the next 10 years, when at the same time it’s signing off these awful little developments.

It completely runs counter to the mayor’s vision of creating a world class city centre.

Pocket traders would only send good retailers and shoppers away to the suburbs.

Only five years ago Queen St had about $50 million of ratepayers’ money spent on it, and more recently the same amount was spent on Aotea Square and millions on turning some side streets into shared spaces.

Then council allows this. It’s very frustrating. The planning department needs to start talking to the economic development department, because things have got to change.” – Ibid

Then he added, quite oddly,

Sometimes it’s more about getting a migrant visa, than creating a sustainable business.”

Am I getting the impression that Cr Brewer just took a ‘dig’ at immigrants?!

The irony here is that Mr Cameron is a National Party member, and has worked for ACT’s Rodney Hide and John Banks. Part of  the National/ACT ideology is that the free market determines the nature of business – not the State.

This is the same Free Market ideology which allowed dozens of state assets to be privatised; electricity production to be corporatised and sold at a profit; removal of tariffs and flooding NZ  with cheap goods from low-wage countries; the de-unionisation of the workforce; corporate competition forcing down wages; and which determines the price of everything from anzac biscuits to Zoo tickets.

This is the ideology which has transformed many Council Organisations from previously council-run enterprises – to independent, profit-oriented, corporate entities.

In short, the New Right, neo-liberal ideology is that the State has no business being in business, nor creating “unnecessary” impediments and restrictions  to business.

Cameron Brewer is not averse to supporting business, as he stated in a press release on 20 September 2011,

Auckland Council’s draft economic development strategy was peer reviewed by Greg Clark who advises international cities on how to lift their performance. Mr Clark believes Auckland’s number one priority should be creating a “business-friendly well run-city, with enabling business and investment climate”. “

When Cr Brewer asks “Whatever happened to the Golden Mile?“, the answer is quite simple: the free market is what happened.

And that’s the thing about the “free market” which I would point out to Cr Brewer;  control of our society; the way our communities live; is now at the mercy of  market forces.The bottom-line rules; the Consumer is King; and everything is by the power of the Contract.

Welcome to New Zealand, post-1984.

Eventually, of course,  those same market forces will impact our lives in unintended ways, and cause consequences   that the Cameron Brewers of New Zealand, will not welcome, and will bitterly resent.

After all, how many people in South Auckland angrily resent the proliferation of alcohol outlets in their communities, selling cheap booze at all hours of day and night?

How many people revile the pokie machines that suck  millions of dollars out of families’ pockets, and impact so tragically on communities throughout the country?

Even as Cr Brewer quoted Greg Clark above,

…Mr Clark believes Auckland’s number one priority should be creating a “business-friendly well run-city, with enabling business and investment climate”. “

So Cr Brewer need wonder no more as to “Whatever happened to the Golden Mile?

He got what he voted for.

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Related Blogposts

A kronically inept government

You’ll have a free market – even if it KILLS you!

Booze – it’s time for some common sense

Unfortunate Outrage

Media reports

NZ Herald:  Shoe-box retailer debate heating up

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  1. Deborah Kean
    9 April 2012 at 6:09 pm

    There’s no question that Brewer is a complete idiot. I like Queen Street as it is, one can ignore the shops that aren’t interesting…

  2. 9 April 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Maybe someone should explain to him about “the free market”, Debbie? 😀

  3. 9 April 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Does Auckland deserve better?

  4. Bazza
    10 April 2012 at 1:07 am

    I met Brewer once. Arrogant little tosser. I’m stuffed if I know why people vote for him since his born to rule attitude is visible a mile away.

    • 10 April 2012 at 2:58 pm

      Bazza: They’re voting for the tribe….not the person. The tribe could run a poodle (and arguable has run several)…and they are duly elected.

  5. John
    10 April 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Brewer has the twat look of a Tony Ryall: wealthy ponce; latte sipping bed wetter.

  6. 10 April 2012 at 2:56 pm

    It’s widely known you can get into NZ as a “business investor”……You just have a certain amount of money and a business plan…and run a business for a couple of years. You don’t necessarily have to make any money or be successful. If you think about this, it may explain why there are so many apparently empty shops doing not a lot of business…..and that may be what Brewer is referring to.

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