Criticism of Auckland Council for pouring money into playgrounds in affluent suburbs (average number playground items, five) while short-changing playgrounds in South Auckland (average playground items, three) is misplaced.

Critics lament safety hazards and poorly maintained, low-quality equipment in the poorer parts of town. How ridiculous.

This is what being poor means. If the council treated people fairly, how would they know their place?

Have the critics not heard that the gap between affluent and poor in this country is growing. The council is merely doing its best to move this process along.


If the gap between affluent North Shore and inner-city suburbs and the south, where there are many more children - 70,000 in total, is getting wider this is merely nature taking its course with a bit of a shove from the council.

As a South Auckland mother said in a Newshub report on the playground gap, the children of the area "haven't seen better parks than this. This is what they think are normal."

It's not what she meant, but the council would presumably interpret this to mean: "Don't go giving them ideas about what they should expect."

We have to keep expectations realistic, otherwise they're only going to be even more disappointed when they grow up and get thrown on the scrapheap.

There are other sound financial reasons behind the council's thinking. How many of these children, you might reasonably ask yourself, pay rates and contribute to improved facilities for their community? Very few would be my guess.

Playground equipment seen on a TV report bore ugly graffiti and was neglected. This, too, is justification for what some might see as callousness on the council's part but is simply common sense - these children aren't used to possessions in general, so they wouldn't know how to look after nice things.

Sympathy being expended on children in areas that are struggling with health, housing and other problems of poverty would be better spent elsewhere - on the councillors and their officers who are struggling to juggle competing community needs while keeping to their priorities.

There is a long list of items on which it expects to spend money and for which it has to plan. It has a hierarchy of spending which is where the money has to go. It's not like these children are outside consultants.

On the topic of swings and roundabouts, it's been exciting watching the North Shore go slowly mad over the past few weeks.

As is often the case with dementia, it's been a gradual deterioration that no one noticed at first but which has recently gathered pace and is now moving faster than a cop in a car chase.

A couple of months ago, the residents of Devonport took to their Facebook page in droves to complain that seaweed had washed up on the beach and Something Had To Be Done.

Seaweed. On a beach. Whatever next?

The ACT candidate in the Northcote byelection is advocating a new six-lane bridge across the harbour from Point Chevalier to the Chelsea Sugar Refinery. Rather against the current trend.

A meeting on the future of Mount Victoria was disrupted when an attendee complained about a mihi in te reo Māori. He used words to the effect that if people didn't want to speak English they should go back where they came from.

And the Logic Party's Miriam Clements thinks the Shore should be an independent republic and tax haven, like Monaco.

All of which raises the question, when did the once stable and sedate North Shore turn into a Netflix series?