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Author: Ross Liggins

Transparency blues across society

I can almost get a park in town and I don’t get so many fizz boats and gin palaces roaring past within 30 metres of my little sailboat, creating large uncomfortable, illegal wakes. Anyway, I was anchored at Peach Grove on Great Mercury over new year gazing at the hills covered in flowering Pohutukawa and watching in awe as large bronzies cruised under the boat. What a paradise we live in. In the afternoon it started raining, so I curled up in the cabin for a little light reading on Google and came across a group who call themselves the Atlas Network. Well, this looks interesting...

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Coalition chaos, gold or greenery

Oops, sorry, I should have said NZ Transport Agency. How silly of me. The coalition agreement expressly stated that government departments would use English names first, so I stand corrected. But hey, wait a minute, didn’t I see on TV News, Kaianga Ora head Chris Bishop planning to keep using the Maori name because it had always been called that and nobody ever uses its English name Homes and Communities. Then old Winnie says that nobody understands the meaning of Kaianga Ora so it should be called Homes and Communities and to cap it all off, David Seymour wanted it to be Houses and Communities....

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A new government – going up in smoke?

I mean how important is it to re-arrange all those departmental Maori names? I enjoy them myself. I can actually learn some Maori words from them like “kotahi” or “waka” and get an idea of how the language expresses ideas. But I guess that doesn’t hit the spot for a lot of our coalition politicians. Not as drastic, but a bit like the old rule of no Maori to be spoken at school – limit the language, limit the culture. One of me and my partner’s more than 49 things to do was to go to Central Otago for a holiday with my sister and her husband. My sister helped develop the anti-smoking...

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A look outside the ‘home’ box Affordable homes – Part Two

An example of community-based housing is a place called Earthsong in west Auckland. It is a legal entity of 32-unit owners, designed to manage and pay for shared property in a Unit Titles situation. Residents enjoy cost savings of shared laundry, internet, common room, gardens and the like, while still maintaining private living units. Their vision is “to design, construct and maintain a co-housing neighbourhood based on a principle of permaculture, that will serve as a model of a socially and environmentally sustainable community.” Check out their website for more info. This model...

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Affordable housing we can’t afford – Part One

This was in response to the rising cost of housing in New Zealand, and rejection of the concept of going into debt to buy a house and spending the rest of time paying it off. Ohus: Some groups, during the government of Norm Kirk, who thought disaffected youth could participate in the building of this country, were even leased marginal and often inaccessible crown land, using the ohu system, under which they agreed to live on, and try to make the land partly economically viable. Eight ohu were established, but met opposition and red tape from the Lands and Survey Department, local authorities...

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Changing times

This week we narrowly lost a controversial world cup rugby final and had to bear the brunt of ex-tropical cyclone Lola. The rugby was very close and could have gone either way. Not so the election. The victory for the right was expected but the margin was surprising to many of us. Then there was the drama of Winstone’s possible inclusion in a governing majority, dependent upon special votes, the Greens and Te Pati Māori out-performing expectations, and a diverse group of young women in their twenties and early thirties who won electorate seats. How good is that. I must say...

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