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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37, No 21. August 28, 1974

Opposition to opposition to Rolleston

Opposition to opposition to Rolleston

Dear Sir,

Opposition to the satellite town of Rolleston by Ron Johnston seems to be based on an Intellectual distaste for low income subdivisions more than anything, and government-owned sub-divisions in particular.

While I agree the ugly despoliation of natural hillsides for more and more suburban growth is environmentally unsound, what can I ask is the alternative when the population continues to grow and SAC will not lend on older homes. After trying to borrow on several coastal cottages I too have ended up in a clay patch at the beck of Porirua East.

And what is wrong with a "Porirua away from the sea" as Ron Johnston describes the prospective Rolleston? He considers low-income sub-divisions to be economically and socially deprived. Deprived of what — a library of the right books in one's lounge bookcase? There are few other suburbs in New Zealand where one can walk down the street at night and enjoy the tremendously endearing warmth of Maori and Island people singing along with all the family from babies up to grandparents poor or not, these people have a far richer culture than many at university can aspire to. Poverty, real or contrived breeds its own culture as Ron Johnston should know in his capacity as a geographer.

Has anyone who intellectually condemns Porirua East (for in fact Porirua itself is an area of old established homes and high-class private new sub-divisions) walked among the state houses and noticed how different they really are, in colour, style and materials. Some of the brick homes, in particular are of a quality much in demand in "higher-class' sub-divisions. Most residents have made a sincere attempt to cultivate their gardens, plant trees, shrubs, tidy lawns and build attratice fences. You will find it hard to match such a standard in rented private homes.

I might add, also that fewer Porirua people are poor in terms of wage packets. They just have bigger families and bigger generosity to other people than Mr Johnston's crowd can boast.

Love, peace

Margaret Davey