Stand aside, I want to hit that developer

diggers350 tony at
Mon Oct 27 06:05:21 GMT 2003

Stand aside, I want to hit that developer

26 October 2003  
New Zealand Sunday Star Times,2106,2704956a6619,

At a soiree of sorts the other night I was introduced to a developer. 
Out of respect to my hosts, I refrained from turning on my heel. 

I smiled a lizard smile, when I felt like smacking the egregious 
fellow in the mouth. 

Developers are damn nearly the worst people in the community, public 
enemies Numbers One, Two and Three, more awful than any politician or 
used car salesman. We should not have to be polite to them. Every 
move they make is to our detriment. 

To succeed as a developer you need only one quality. Greed. The 
ugliest of the seven deadly sins, Greed shoves aside Lust, Anger, 
Gluttony, Pride, Envy, Sloth for top spot. There's only one way to 
greet a developer: How's the greed going, mate? 

Developers set out to make piles of money fast, never mind what 
happens to our living space. Because they are good with words over 
lunch with bank managers and know which officials to send cases of 
single malt to at Christmas, they are succeeding beyond the 
imagination of Midas. 

If there's a gently sloping patch of green grass with a stand of 
trees, normal people look and think, "That's nice! What a delightful 
view! Aren't we lucky to live in a country that's still largely 
unspoiled, where we can bring our kids up in fresh air and sunlight! 
No wonder migrants want to come here for a better way of life!" 

The developer sees the same scene and thinks, "Ah! Just what I've 
been looking for. That bit of land isn't doing anyone any good. I bet 
I can get it for not much more than a million, cut it up into 25 
sections, or 30 if I talk to the right people at the council, put 
McMansions on them and the return on investment will be 40% at 

That developer has only one thing in mind. He has no stake in the 
community. In fact he's not really aware that he's part of the 
community. As far as he's concerned the community consists of 
gullible, trusting types, likely to be tree-huggers, who can be 
manipulated into acting as cash cows. 

He doesn't care that the back row of McMansions will be right on the 
ridge line, destroying the sunset view of everyone living in the 
valley below. 

He doesn't care that the subsoil is unstable clay, prone to slipping 
after protracted rain. 

As long as he's got his money out of the scheme, plus his 40% profit, 
he's laughing. And he's off on the prowl to find the next bit of our 
environment to despoil. 

With all that quick capital, he can cast his greedy little eyes up 
and down quaint lanes and alleyways in the city, looking for two-
storey or three-storey buildings that manifestly aren't bringing in 
the maximum rental that could be wrung out of the land they are 
sitting on. They are occupied by oldish, smallish businesses just 
making a living. 

Shoe repairers, stamp and coin exchanges, tea-shops, photographic 
studios with fly-specked prints of long-forgotten weddings in their 
windows. Obviously under-capitalised. Just waiting for development. 

Next thing the shopkeepers know, they are told to move out. Find 
somewhere else. Don't ask me where. That's your problem. You don't 
want to stand in the way of progress, do you? Gotta have development, 

The fact there's a little old building on the corner under some sort 
of Historic Places Trust protection doesn't slow things up much. The 
developer's got a mate on the council who tells the next meeting 
there's nothing anyone can do to stop the owner doing what he likes 
with his own property. 

The trust can only make recommendations, and no matter how much of an 
outcry there is from people who are so odd they actually value the 
community's heritage, the little old building has to go. 

Along with it have gone the little specialty shops, most of the 
owners too dispirited to open up again in new premises, certainly not 
at the enormously inflated rents being charged by the developer's 
glass and concrete creation. And with them have gone their loyal 
customers, who had got into the habit of dropping in for a chat, 
being part of the community the developer knows nothing of and cares 
even less about. 

The buggers are everywhere. Just around the corner from my place 
developers have taken over some blocks of former council flats and 
issued eviction notices to the 44 families who have lived there for 
years. The families will be thrown out at Christmas, to make way 
for "development" into smaller and more profitable units for polytech 

And this is without even looking beyond the city, to the thousands of 
hectares of former farming land that have been taken out of 
production by developers flogging off "lifestyle" blocks, each now 
supporting a half-starved pony and six flyblown unshorn sheep. 


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