The Government's latest dealings with Ngati Whatua and Tainui over Auckland Crown land sales are like a re-enactment of the bad old days when missionaries stepped ashore, told the Maori to close their eyes and pray and by the time they looked up, their land had gone.
Ministers are arguing they have no obligations under recently signed Treaty settlements to offer local Maori first right of refusal to unwanted Crown land. That's this week. In December, the Crown thought differently, and offered the Tamaki collective first right of refusal on one of the blocks of land the Government now says it's free to sell to anyone.
The madness that seems to afflict those in high office tinkering with the Auckland housing crisis has now spread to the Wellington commentariat. On Sunday, one columnist was wailing that her house had been on the market for eight weeks without a nibble, and it was all the fault of Aucklanders, who sit around hugging themselves with delight as their houses go up $100,000 a year.
A few pages in, celebrity economic commentator Bernard Hickey, a one-time Auckland dweller now trapped in dying Wellington, fulminated about a "small group of well-connected and extraordinarily wealthy property owners" - everyone, it seems, living between the city centre and Mangere Bridge - who were "holding New Zealand's economy hostage and entrenching hundreds of thousands of children in the sort of poverty that kills them in winter and costs taxpayers billions each year".
Now it's embarrassing enough to read the other day that I live in New Zealand's first $2 million suburb. But to be labelled a baby-killer really is going too far.
In my defence, I bought my modest, scrim-lined Herne Bay house in the late 1970s because it was the only area a poorly paid journalist could afford. It's not my fault the rest of the world took a couple of decades longer to appreciate the delights of fringe inner-city living. Over the years, I've just hung on for the ride, peering down the street from time to time wondering how many more SUVs can be squeezed in.
I don't feel extraordinarily wealthy because in Auckland terms I'm not. If I sell up, I'll still need somewhere to live and to end up with some cash in the hand will have to disappear out to the ends of the Auckland train lines, or, heaven forbid, into exile in that unsold house in Wellington.
According to Mr Hickey, we of the old leafy suburbs forced the Auckland Council to gut the densification provisions of the draft Unitary Plan. He also takes a pot shot at the volcanic view shafts, and claims the recent OECD report on the economy said that if the baby-killers can't be persuaded to accept densification, "it suggested the Government intervene to force them to do it".
The OECD report doesn't say that. It mildly and modestly notes that "countering community resistance [to densification] may prove difficult", and observes that "to raise supply and encourage densification it will be important to find ways to increase community support".
Proposing the government stormtroopers march in with their bulldozers, followed closely by developers Fletcher and Manson et al, is exactly the reason many are nervous about intensification.
Developers, for example, hate the protected volcanic viewshafts which were introduced in 1977, following the uproar over the appearance of multi-storey apartment block The Pines on the side of Mt Eden. They're now a vital, but unseen, part of Auckland's infrastructure and ethos. They guarantee that as you, for instance, cross the harbour bridge, or drive down Mt Eden Rd or drive up the motorway from Hamilton, you'll get an uninterrupted view of the unique volcanoes with which we identify so closely.
Auckland's housing shortage has nothing to do with the view shafts. Or, for that matter, the densification of old Auckland. These are developer red herrings seized on by central government politicians to divert attention from their failure over the past decade or more to realise if you're going to encourage large-scale migration, the new citizens will need somewhere to live and work. And for most that means Auckland.