Hawkesby goes to Helltown.
Kate ventures on to the mean streets of Auckland City and survives - just!
Kate Hawkesby wrote today of her harrowing experiences visiting central Auckland over the weekend. She was especially concerned with what tourists must think. Be prepared to be afraid - that could’ve been the title of her article, but more on that later.
It started with a visit to the mean streets of Newmarket for some shopping. If you’re unfamiliar with Newmarket in Auckland think of the great shopping streets in the world - 5th Avenue, Rodeo Drive, Bond Street, the Champs-Élysées. Broadway in Newmarket is to them as FantasyLand in Hastings was to Disneyland.
It is a soulless strip of fashion outlets for wealthy white women and their daughters to visit in Remuera tractors, to collect big name shopping bags while avoiding the real Auckland entirely. Well, other than the traffic which is appalling, even by Auckland standards. Horror of horror Kate’s retail bonding session with her progeny was gatecrashed by one of the other people.
I was walking through a well-known shopping precinct in Auckland, Newmarket, with my daughter at the weekend and there was a guy walking in front of a few of us just weaving across the footpath getting in everyone’s way and each time someone tried to pass him he’d cut them off and weave back across them just making sure the whole footpath was his. As we got closer and needed to get into a shop I said “excuse me” as we tried to pass him to enter it. He didn’t make it easy for us but as I glanced down I noticed on top of his jandals he was sporting a Home detention ankle bracelet. What sort of criminal might he be… just out here annoying shoppers? Who would know with the current justice system.
A few things stood out for me from this. The obvious one was - why mention the jandals? I concluded that to Kate seeing someone in Newmarket wearing jandals must be as bad as the whole ankle bracelet thing.
As for what sort of criminal might he be? I don’t know, maybe a hungry one going to buy something to eat? Or perhaps he was embarrassed by his footwear and was off to get some nice Italian shoes more in keeping with the area?
I’m a bit mystified by who would know with the current justice system. Does that imply that under different justice systems we might know? Would Kate like him to be wearing a sign? “I broke into a tradie’s van and sold his tools to fund my P habit”, or “Don’t mind me, I’m a white collar criminal”? Probably best not to suggest that to her.
Following her horrendous experience of having to ask someone to her excuse her, and apologies do seem very hard for Kate as we learned over Cyclone Gabrielle, she carried on down the road...
Then we walked past the train station where we saw a staffer explaining to a very bewildered American tourist that the trains weren’t working so she’d have to take a bus. She was laden with bags and looking increasingly frustrated as he tried to show her when and where she had to walk to go wait for a bus.
I thought at this point what sort of experience tourists must be having here as they share the streets with crims in ankle bracelets and can’t get a train for love nor money.
Does Kate think they have better public transport and lower crime in America? Maybe the tourist was bewildered because everyone was using their “inside voice” rather than being very loud, and no one was shooting?
I do agree with Kate on one thing. If they’re spending time in Newmarket what sort of experience are tourists having? One of the most soulless, least multi-cultural, locations in the country. The thought that someone would travel half way round the world to go there is indeed bewildering.
I went to pick my daughter up from a party later that night and as we were driving home through an affluent suburb in Auckland, St Heliers, a large group of teenage boys were standing in the middle of a very busy road, with cars whizzing by them either side and I’m wondering what on earth they’re doing and how dangerous this is. As I get closer, instead of them getting out of the way they move closer to us and start running at our car with their arms raised and they’re throwing shoes at cars. I had to swerve to get past them and the flying shoes.
Closer to home we see a group of what would’ve been no more than 14 year old boys standing on the road barely able to stand up straight with their thumbs out trying to hitchhike. This is the leafy suburbs of Auckland on a Saturday night.
At least with it being the leafy suburbs Kate didn’t have to speculate as to what sort of role models the parents were. But seriously, what new hell is this? Teenagers out in the evening being silly and drinking alcohol - in the leafy suburbs! Maybe Kate is onto something after all - I mean when did that sort of behaviour start happening?
Next thing you know she’ll be breaking the news that some young people were smoking the Devil’s Lettuce at a Hip Hop concert in one of the non-leafy suburbs of West Auckland*.
*There are many trees in West Auckland, but curiously no leafy suburbs.
Then I read about the Snoop Dog concert. Headline was.. ‘Incredible performance to an overbaked crowd’. The review said, “too much weed, too little energy..” that’s not referring to Snoop by the way, that’s the crowd the reviewer’s talking about. A fight broke out.. ”between two men..[took] six security guards to break up, rollies being passed around left, right, and centre, and girls falling over each other,” the reviewer says. “It was almost embarrassing to see how badly Kiwis seemed to rise to the occasion ..” the reviewer said. They concluded that Snoop’s performance was superb but maybe don’t see him live in Auckland, they mused. Clearly because Aucklanders don’t know how to behave.
Marijuana cigarettes, two men getting in a fight, girls falling over - all at a Snoop Dogg concert in Henderson that was R18? Again when did that sort of behaviour start happening?
Does Kate really think Auckland is dangerous? No, of course not.
But isn’t crime bad? Yes, of course it is, no one likes it, no one wants to be soft on it, everyone would like it reduced. But there is a fundamental difference between whether we see those in trouble as needing help or as inevitable criminals to be written off and incarcerated - preferably for ever.
No, I don’t mean is crime a bad thing - we all agree on that. I mean isn’t crime particularly bad at the moment? Well, I don’t know, it is getting a lot more coverage, but that just means it’s getting a lot more coverage. Why don’t we ask someone who knows?
Do you mean Kate’s husband Mike? That’s a bit sexist don’t you think. She isn’t really a barbie doll you know just spouting relentless poorly thought through reckons to keep people misinformed.
I’ll take your word for it. But let’s ask Auckland’s top Police Officer instead, maybe he will know as much as the Hoskbys.
Auckland's top police officer believes the city is still safe despite a spate of crime over the weekend.
Assistant Commissioner Sam Hoyle said violent crime has been "steady".
We have seen a slight increase in family harm and mental health cases, but that is still the biggest driver around demand, is what goes on in people's homes, what goes on and people's relationships.
I think Auckland is still a safe city. By any international standard, Auckland is a large city and is a safe city. There is still work ons, we still have challenges as a community.
People's feelings of safety are as important as actually being safe. If people feel safe, they're out more, and they spend. Feelings of safety are important and that's why it's important how we talk about crime and why we keep the messages around safety in perspective.
So, when he talks about keeping messages around safety in perspective that isn’t what Kate is doing is it?
No, she is doing the opposite of that, she is blowing them out of all perspective.
But why would she do that?
In the wake of bad polls we can depend on National to do what they always do at such a time. Not come up with helpful policies or ideas, don’t be daft. No, they will crank up the fear around crime and against the people that they, and their supporters, see as criminals.
Yeah, but I’m not talking about National, I’m talking about Kate, why is she blowing the threat of crime out of all reasonable proportion like she is?
She is setting the context, a subliminal stream of negativity - “Crime is out of control, It’s Labour’s fault, decent citizens can’t go about their shopping without encountering riff raff, young people are having fun, criminals are coming through your windows!!!!”
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So that makes people more receptive to National’s message?
That’s about the size of it.
But people are too smart for that, they’ll just see through it.
Have you met people? They aren’t that smart. Just look at the fact Newstalk ZB exists. Who do you think is listening to it? It isn’t smart people.
But some of them must be smart, surely.
I mean I guess it’s possible. There could be someone who has developed into an intelligent adult human being who is now in a coma and can’t change the station.
That sounds grim.
Doesn’t it, perhaps they’ll get lucky and someone will turn the machine off.
You mean the radio?
It did seem to be about the entitled looking for something to complain about - No empathy just judgement - sad really
Why don't the hoskings just move to Australia ? Or is that even the Australian Media don't want his type ?? Which seems odd as when I has on the GC in August last year I watched enough of Fox news Australian style to just about be violently ill , and I thought that hosking would be a good fit.