We need to talk about Wellington

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Prime Minister John Key has told a group of Takapuna business leaders that Wellington is dying.

“The reality is even Wellington is dying and we don’t know how to turn it around. All you have there is government, Victoria University and Weta Workshop”, said Mr Key.

That’s unfair. Wellington has so much more to offer. It also has some terrific sports teams, like the Hurricanes and the Phoenix.


So what’s the future for Wellington? If we ignore for a moment the thousands of small and medium sized businesses located there, the fact that “government” means thousands of civil servants, as well as SOEs and CRIs , and that a number of innovative and world-leading businesses have originated from the capital (has John Key ever heard of Xero or TradeMe?), then we can all agree that the city is very much a wasteland in need of an economic development plan.

So where to from here?


I don’t know enough about the geography or geology of the Wellington region, but was there ever a question asked of Steven Joyce where mining wasn’t the answer given?

There must be something of value underneath all those Wellington hills. Dig!


Build the roading network and watch the economy magically transform. Motorways, and lots of them, are the key to Wellington’s economic salvation. Where’s the evidence, you ask? Look into Gerry’s eyes. Would that man lie to you?


Why stop with only three Hobbit films? Let’s make a TV series! And then we could have a spin-off series, following the adventures of Tom Bombadil as the jolly man fights crime, solves murders using ground-breaking forensic science, and recites cheery verse. It would do wonders for the Wellington film industry.


Let’s stick to the subject of Middle Earth, because there’s gold to be made out of Tolkein’s books. Matamata has shown the rest of the country what can be done with a hole, and now it’s a must-see destination for anyone who wants to see a genuine hobbit village.

Surely, though, our capital can aspire to grander things. Let the country towns cater to the sleepy hobbits, while our larger centres transform themselves into the great centres of Middle Earth. Dunedin would become Rivendell, and Auckland would turn itself into Minis Tirith.

And Wellington? It has to be Barad Dûr, the fortress of Sauron. Just don’t ask me what John Key’s name is in the Black Speech.

A big sign

Put a big sign up on a hill near the airport. It should say something like “this is a f**king big sign”, or something similarly grand. How can a town that thinks that creatively be in decline?


I’m sure there are any number of ways to solve Wellington’s pressing and largely imaginary economic problems.

I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I’ll tell you this: if I hear one more person talking about how “vibrant” Wellington is, I’ll go down there personally and burn the whole f**king place to the ground.