And now, a word about all these goings on

21:01, Apr 13 2014
CONSERVATION MODEL: Fairfield House was condemned to demolition, but saved by community action.

The Washington Post's delicious "Invent a word" competition is still going strong, tossing up gems such as Guiltar (a musical instrument whose strings are pulled by your mother), Skilljoy (an acquaintance who is better than you at everything) and Groovity (the natural force that surrounds cool people).

We need our own new lexicon, though, to keep abreast of local events. Here's a starter:

Carercion: Pressure exerted by a few retailers to prevent areas being pedestrianised for the good of many. When Morris dancers were enthralling an audience in Upper Trafalgar St during their recent national conference, one visitor dodged a car barging into the throng. Why, she asked loudly, is traffic permitted through here at all? And the answer is?

Bamboozel: To make a sham attempt at fixing a problem that you actually profit from very nicely. Named after the triennial tweaking of our liquor laws to make not the slightest difference to 14-year-olds getting rat-faced drunk every Friday night.

Why do I think all this political bluster about deflating our inflated house prices is a bamboozel? Too many investors have no interest in sensible property values.

Richmundane: A trace element found in soils south of here.


A wit once observed that if white bread could sing it would sound like Olivia Newton John. And, I contend, if white bread could be subdivided, it would look like our pallid sister community.

The mystery is, plenty of clever, creative people live there, yet the town remains as dull as the ditchwater that flows beneath it. We can only conclude there is some toxin in the soil.

Do they still have all that remediation equipment from the Mapua cleanup?

Hone-rarium: Fines indemnity granted to the city's esteemed citizens.

Hone has long outstayed his welcome for me, but you can't deny his talent for making the authorities look stupid. The notorious "He looks scary" prosecution was thrown out by a judge, and we now learn that most of Hone's monstrous debt is for having an unregistered vehicle.

Pardon - a horse and cart? Will they be slapping a rego on skateboards next? And how about all those "freeloading"' cyclists.

Bus? Pass: The response of TDC councillors when asked to contribute their fair share to regional transport.

OC-NIA Engineering anagram. Heard among groups of fluoro-clad professionals huddled beside Rocks Rd looking up at the cliffs, or in town at the Trafalgar Centre, and muttering: "Oh crap - new ideas, anyone?"

Sly Rot: To neglect the maintenance on a Heritage-listed building until it becomes so ramshackle and dangerous that no one will bleat when you swing a wrecking ball through it.

I can think of several examples in Nelson, including one in the middle of town owned by a cashed-up institution that ought to be ashamed of itself. Drop me a line to nominate others (

Sly Rot is closely aligned to …

Animal Farmageddon: Prescribe a dose of neglect and wait for the inevitable to happen. The council has apparently not bothered to appoint a caretaker manager at the Brook camp, so residents have formed a collective of equals. Except, some are more equal than others. They have taken to giving permission for freedom campers to stay, according to sources. Watch this space.

See also . . .

Salisburial: When a court says you shouldn't close the school, starve it to death instead by denying roll placements. Restrooms in Wellington surely have the mirrors removed so that some people don't have to look themselves in the face.

To fairfield: Verb - to rescue a supposed bulldozer job and turn it into one of the most-loved buildings in town. Home to weddings, concerts, big-O birthdays, plays - and all done at negligible cost to the ratepayers. It's a blueprint for the performing arts/community centre that never was, and until we get a council with spine and vision, never will be.

Unfortunately, councils are risk-averse organisations who seldom venture outside the square. I know of one repair job in a small community that needed attention. A local club offered to do the job themselves. Highly skilled locals, builders and engineers among them. No, the council concerned said procedure must be followed. The job ended up costing ratepayers the thick end of a quarter of a million dollars - the club had quoted $30,000.

Then again, example two: the Buxton car park toilets. Brilliant makeover. They fairfielded it, at a fraction of the cost of the council by-the-book approach, simply by harnessing people power. Bravo team, and kudos to councillor Kate Fulton for pushing the concept.

Rachel, shoehorn your colleagues into the mayoral hatchback and drive to Murchison, Lower Moutere and St Arnaud. They will tell you how to build an affordable facility that becomes the hub of the community.

They are damn proud of their "town halls", and rightly so. Witness how distraught the Moutere community was when fire damaged their beauty.

I make no apologies for banging on about this. The city we love is being sold short.

Forget the scaremongering cost estimates bandied about before that shonky poll (every bit as devious as the "book losses" attributed to the Brook camp). Let's sound the community clarion and fairfield this thing.