I wasn't familiar with Seether before last night. With their combination of powerhouse rock and roll and vocalist Shaun Morgan's impressive vocal chops they almost won me over... but unfortunately their set devolved into an overly long, overly indulgent marathon.
Check out the photos and read the full review on The 13th Floor.
It's not often that I go to a hardcore punk show, but Friday night at the Lucha Lounge was loud, angry and strangely therapeutic - the perfect end to the working week.
Read the full review on The 13th Floor music website.
Sneaky strategies for first home buyers.
So you have a regular income. You rent a place for $450 per week, and you’re pretty sure a mortgage on a similar dwelling would be around $550. With a few tweaks to your budget you know you could make the payments. There’s just one thing standing in between you and your dream of owning a home - the deposit.
There’s been a lot of depressing media coverage over the last, oh, five years, about how hard it is for people to buy houses these days. So you probably feel locked out of the market. Defeated before you’ve even started. But I think you can buy a house! You just need to be sneaky, tenacious and determined.
Before I get started, I’m assuming you’re a normal person with normal expectations. If you’re looking for a house in the 400 - 500 price range, you’re not hoping to find a renovated four bedroom villa with a separate self-contained studio in Grey Lynn (dammit!). You know that you could expect something along the lines of:
I’m also assuming that you are in an ok financial situation. Student loans notwithstanding, you don’t have any crazy credit card debt, personal loans, car loans or higher purchase payments. (If you do have any of these things, pay them off before you get started. See the awesome Mr Money Mustache blog for tips.)
So you’ve got your financial priorities straight, you’re happy to start out small or in a location that isn’t at the top of your list - but how are you supposed to save a deposit? Your rent eats most of your income and Auckland is so expensive these days!
If you know you could meet the mortgage repayments, you’re actually in a pretty good situation. You’re a sure bet for a bank - and they’d be crazy not to want your ongoing payments over the next two to three decades. You’re good business!
So now that I’ve boosted your confidence, here’s how to get your deposit:
So what if you’ve withdrawn your Kiwisaver, you’ve negotiated your bank down to a 10 per cent deposit, you’ve saved 5K and you’re comfortable taking out a small additional loan - but you still can’t afford a deposit on a place in Auckland?
This is when you have to be sneaky, tenacious, determined - and play the long game.
This is when you drive to Hamilton and buy yourself a tidy, low-maintenance rental property. Something that won’t need much work - perhaps a small unit. Now you put some good tenants in it, sit back and wait. And wait. In a couple of years the combination of your mortgage payments and rising house prices will mean you have some equity in your property - and you can use that equity to buy your own place in Auckland.
So put your fingers in your ears and block out the media noise. You’re sneaky, tenacious and determined, remember? You deserve to have your own house in the city you live in. And you can make it happen.
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The advice provided in this article is general advice only, and is provided by someone who has absolutely no financial qualifications. Always consult a reputable independent financial adviser before making important financial decisions.
NIMBYs riot at Designing Auckland, the Auckland Writers Festival session with Sue Evans, Garth Falconer and Patrick Reynolds.
My elderly doctor was moaning to me about the plans for Auckand’s growth the other day. “I live in Mount Albert,” he said. “It’s lovely there. I don’t want some big block of apartments to go up next to me.” If he hadn’t been about to examine me with something that looked a bit pointy, I might have said, “But you have several children, don’t you? Where did you expect they’d all live when they grew up?”
We all know Auckland’s growing, but which way is it going? Up? Not in my doctor’s back yard. Well what about sideways, to Huntley? Young people will love living out there, right? Our increasing size is also making it harder for us to lumber around. Should we take the bus or the train? Should we ditch the gym and use our bodies (and our bikes) to get from A to B? An acquaintance of mine (just slightly younger than my doctor) viciously demeans public transport use. He spent good money on his urban tractor and he’s going to get around in individualised, air-conditioned comfort or not at all, thank you very much.
Hundreds of people of a similar demographic (and a handful of young’uns), crowded into the Auckland Writers Festival ‘Designing Auckland’ session on May 16 to gain more insight into Auckland’s design problems - and learn what can be done to solve them. Designer Tommy Honey, who chaired the session, opened with a tongue-in-cheek vision of Auckland in 2040, a time when “there’ll be a tunnel from Devonport to Remuera that terminates in Mike Hosking’s garage,” and “the Unitary Plan consultation is about to close.”
Tommy then handed over to the panel of experts Sue Evans, Garth Falconer and Patrick Reynolds for their thoughts on Auckland. Sue Evans, Senior Urban Designer at Housing New Zealand, warmed the cockles of the hearts of many of the NIMBYs in the audience by reminiscing about the Auckland of her mother’s childhood - a time when holidays were spent in baches at Browns Bay, people got around on horse-drawn trams and food was produced locally. She contrasted this with the Auckland of today - an unsustainable “energy-hungry beast”. In Sue’s opinion, the way towards a sustainable Auckland is through the ethical choices that each of us make each day. She closed by saying, “We get the city we deserve. We’ve got to be a demanding market. We need a combination of good leadership and powerful citizenship.”
Garth Falconer, Director of Reset Urban Design, gave his vision for Auckland - a city with joined-up public transport and an inclusive public realm, where people can share equally in the bounty of the city. He noted that although some people are clinging to Arcadian, individualised lifestyles, plenty of other people are ready to embrace a more urbane, European approach.
Patrick Reynolds, urban photographer and Transport Blog contributor, opened by saying, “I want to start by poking you all with a bit of a stick. Aucklanders don’t really believe that we live in a city, or that it could be a good thing. We have a mental block about urbanity in this country - but the trouble with Arcadia is that there are no humans in it.” He went on to say that the dream of each of us living on a quarter acre section with a milk cow, a shed and a car is mathematically impossible, and that being near each other is necessary for social and economic exchange. “Auckland has the potential to be the best urban place on the planet,” Patrick said. “It’s damn hear the right size - there’s enough scale, and we’re also small enough to be nimble. Growth is a problem but it’s also an opportunity. We’re now on a trajectory forward and we need to keep going.”
Tommy then asked each of the panelists what their one wish for Auckland would be. Garth said that the biggest issue for Auckland is that it’s a divided city. “You can draw a diagonal line between the haves and the haves nots on a map,” he said. “We created South Auckland, and it’s a massive issue that we’ve got to face up to. We’ve got to make the city liveable for all inhabitants.” Patrick added that accessible transport is key to an inclusive city, saying that improved public transport will give better access to education and opportunity. “It also creates spatial efficiencies,” he said. “The City Rail Link is equivalent to 12 lanes of traffic. There’s nothing more spatially efficient than an underground system. We need a fast, efficient, high-volume traffic system with a feeder network of cycleways going to every station. It’s been done all over the world. Our current dependency on cars is expensive, daft and dumb.”
Tommy was next to provoke the audience by bringing up the vexed issue of how to pay for these much-needed improvements. Predictably, this resulted in a lot of mumbling about rates from the audience. Patrick pointed out that rates are microscopic compared to the weekly increases in house valuations. This prompted a lot more grumbling from the audience, which inspired Tommy to jump in with an impassioned rant. “Talk to the generation that’s going to inherit this city, generation zero, and find out what matters to them. Get some perspective people!”
But by then audience members were rising to their feet and shouting. Luckily the session came to a close before hoards of angry NIMBYs rushed the stage. The audience put on quite a display - but possibly not the display of powerful citizenship that Sue had in mind.
A graduate of Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters, I am the winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Short Story Prize. My short stories have appeared in The Sunday Star-Times, takahē, Fresh Ink and Bonsai. My debut short story collection, Pet, will be available from August, and is being released as a podcast. I have also written and illustrated two children's books about my rescue cat, Bruce.