Demand A Better City!! – 13th Floor Opinion

The aftermath of the closing down of The Kings Arms this past Saturday night due to a noise complaint has resulted in Australian promoter Life Is Noise taking a few swipes at Kings Arms owner Maureen Gordon (read Life Is Noise statement here) while Maureen and her crew battle bureaucracy at Auckland City Council in an effort to reclaim gear that was confiscated so that they can continue to do business.

No doubt most folks reading this will be outraged that one irate neighbour can shut down an event that is both entertaining hundreds of patrons and providing employment for many others. After all, The Kings Arms has been presenting live rock and roll for at least as long as I’ve been in New Zealand…and that is over 20 years. If someone decides to live within close proximity of the venue, they should accept the existing conditions.

But this incident is just one aspect of a much larger, much more serious problem that faces New Zealanders.

There seems to be a lack of planning and a lack of leadership by politicians to make any kind of stand to determine exactly what kind of cities we can expect to live in.

In my opinion, if we are to have a thriving, vital cultural scene, then there must be locations within the city set aside for loud, boisterous activities that allow New Zealanders to express themselves.  If folks want to live in these areas, great, but they should be aware that their desire to snooze at 10pm on a Saturday night is not a priority.

The concept is called zoning and it would seem to be a simple solution to a problem that has cropped up repeatedly here in Auckland.

But then, solutions to problems have rarely been on the menu for our elected “leaders”.

New Zealand suffers from a lack of willingness on the part of its politicians to make any meaningful effort to plan for the future. The noise control issue is small potatoes compared to the housing shortage, traffic congestion, and the rising population in Auckland.

Anyone with half a brain can come up with at least a dozen potential solutions to these problems. Look at other urban areas around the world, these issues are in no way unique to New Zealand.

But unfortunately no one in either of the major political parties is willing to take a stand and risk offending a part of their constituency by making hard decisions.

With an election coming up in just a few months this is the perfect opportunity for someone…anyone to come forward with a bold plan that can solve these problems and excite voters.

It’s no wonder that voter turnout has been so abysmal over the past few years…voters, especially young voters, simply have nothing, or no one, to vote for.

In the Life Is Noise statement, Dave Cutbush urges Kiwis to “rise up and protect music in your cities”. The 13th Floor agrees with this sentiment and would like to take it further. Demand some leadership from your politicians. Right now Bill English and Andrew Little look like opposite sides of the same, dull coin.

It’s up to the people to demand more. Otherwise its going to get very quiet in the city.

Marty Duda