Key Points:

Well, it's over; done and dusted. The foregone conclusion that everyone pretended wasn't going to be has finally yielded its predictable result.

This election was always going to be a mirror image of the 2002 campaign - with Labour suffering now as National did then - although such definitive pronouncements are best left to ponderous persons of the analytical persuasion.

Yet there is one pronouncement that can be made, if not confidently then angrily. And here it is: For all sorts of reasons, principally a stubborn refusal to challenge our own shibboleths, we've created a monument to indifference, an unintended but shameful urban disaster.

Calling it the perfect slum would be satisfyingly glib - and unfair. But it is the ghetto of good intentions, an ill-considered, ill-designed place created by well-meaning souls who've unwittingly turned a 1935 dream into a 21st century nightmare.

There's no doubt they believed they were doing the Lord's work. There's no doubt the rest of us didn't give a toss so long as things were out of sight and out of mind. And there's no doubt the benign objectives of an egalitarian society have yielded a malignant result.

It was William Blake who coined the phrase, "The road to hell is paved to with good intentions" - an observation as true now as it was when he made it. Except, of course, in this country we've routed Blake's road through South Auckland.

South Auckland is architectural evidence there is a Law of Unintended Consequences. It's what you get when you marry munificence and indifference.

It's what you create when no one asks questions about what they're creating. It's an accident of angels, a bureaucratic folly and a public shame.

We went to South Auckland during the campaign; just three of us - the Party Leader, the lugubrious Czech cameraman and someone laughingly called the Director, who was quaking in his boots, it must be said, fearful there was neither the time or skill available to do what was required, namely film some TV commercials.

The theme was law and order and the ads were shot outside a sorry little strip of corner stores, most tagged with graffiti and fitted with steel security roll-a-doors.

There'd been an attempted robbery in one of the shops some weeks earlier during which the owner had defended his family with a hockey stick and consequently found himself facing charges, an irony upon which one of the commercials dwelt.

Driving to our melancholy location, the Party Leader spoke of people in South Auckland who'd rung him - the 80-year-old lady whose windows were regularly shattered by drive-by shooters, the grocer who watched people come in every week to get their groceries, then leave without paying.

He knew who they were, he had videotape of their unorthodox retail activities but couldn't get the police to investigate.

"The place is out of control," said the Party Leader, repeating the words of a veteran policeman who'd also told him that crimes as serious as rape went uninvestigated. "If it's on telly, we'll look at it, otherwise nothing gets done," is how the Party Leader recalled the conversation.

And it's easy to see why. This is an environment destined to fail its residents. Weaving through the maze of bleak, bland streets it's not the trash on the road and in the gutters that strikes you.

What strikes you is the dull sameness of everything - the monotonous rows of single and two-storeyed timber tenements, each painted as grey as the other, each cookie cutter-cloned from the same set of plans and each, or so it seemed that day, with its own abandoned mound of trash on an arid lawn - all fenceless of course, as the ideology of utopia would dictate.

They just sit sit there, these neglected middens of waste, as abandoned as the place itself. Someone puts them out, no one picks them up. They just rot quietly in the sun.

And that's how it is in this place which is as forsaken as the tower block wastelands of Paris and New York. South Auckland is our version of an international error and, to the extent that none of them have challenged its existence, it condemns every well-intentioned, well-educated politician, planner and policy analyst who's made it what it is.

There's only one way to make South Auckland work - admit it doesn't and start again. Gift the homes to their occupants, if need be. Let them build their own fences and choose their own colours and create their own neighbourhoods.

To the extent that voters decide governments and governments decide policy, we've all sanctioned this massive urban error and we should all accept the cost of putting it right. And if we can't, maybe Bishop Tamaki can. If he wants a Destiny City, give him one. Instead of fretting about his grand plans, we should encourage them.

Perhaps he can move the mountains - of waste. Perhaps he can turn welfare's clients into citizens. Perhaps, for once, the Church can rectify the sins of the State.