Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A present from the Christchurch Earthquake

This was published in the New Zealand Herald  28 June ,2012entitled Earthquake Levy

We received our latest policy and the costs have gone up from around eight hundred dollars to in excess of three thousand two hundred dollars for the earthquake and war damage levy. This increase is due to the Christchurch earthquake and international reinsurance costs which have also affected other parts of our policy.This decision disadvantages Auckland, because the population is so great and the houses  worth more than many parts of the country, we seem to be recapitalizing  the earthquake and war damage fund.

 Substantial numbers of  residents in this city will also face substantial residential rates increases. There will be an impact on many, especially those on fixed incomes.

 These increases will also impact on churches and community halls, and the businesses on the high streets that contain the heritage and character buildings. These streets are  important for nation building and telling the stories of our cities. With these increased premiums their very existence may well be under threat .The increase will not be one off and may increase year on year.

Heritage neighborhoods are  important for the tourism industry which is our second largest industry for earning foreign exchange. Without interesting  heritage neighbourhoods the tourism income that helps sustain employment in our cities would be severely affected. Had AMI been bought by local interests when it had problems last year,we would have some leverage and negotiating ability with these foreign owned insurance companies, and our position may be better .

 This is a national issue and the government needs to provide assistance for residents and business.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Walsh?

In todays New Zaland  Herald the spin doctor for the New Zaland Institute of   architects wrote a critical feature .This should not be left unanswered.

This is my reply.

 Mr Walsh mistakenly suggests supporters of heritage
protection have closed minds and are opposed to modern
homes. Every year, hundreds of people renovate and update
villas to meet the needs of twenty first century families.

Hakanoa Street evolved over decades not by demolition and
replacement, but by sensitive restoration and modernization.
Mr Walsh’s suggestion that villas are simply “boxes with
protuberances and sloping roofs attached” is rather
shallow. Having renovated three villas, I understand they
are part of our built and cultural heritage to pass onto
future generations.

Villas, bungalows and cottages in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn
have accommodated successive generations of various social
classes over time. Mr Walsh recalls when urban professionals
discovered them and argues the inhabitants of traditionally
working-class and often Polynesian parts of inner Auckland
didn’t demand newcomers adopt rugby league and taro. He
misses the point. It’s not social history supporters of
heritage protection seek to preserve, but their built
heritage.

Mr Walsh is a communications manager promoting architects to
design homes that meet both clients’ needs and city
planning regulations. The issue isn’t about architectural competence.Its about heritage rules and all power to those who are prepared to stand up for them.