"This house will be installed over my dead body!" exclaimed Mr Norris Nimby this morning with Mrs Noreen Nimby nodding in agreement beside him.
A prefabricated home was about to be shifted onto a section in the exclusive Aurora Country Estate that day and local residents had barricaded the street with their Porches, BMWs and Bentleys to stop the truck and house from entering.
"We have a special covenant on this estate to maintain minimum standards and this house breaches it in multiple ways," stated Mr Nimby emphatically. "The house that they are trying to shift here has three bedrooms, only two bathrooms and a corrugated iron roof. Its very presence in our lovely neighbourhood will lower value of our properties by up to $100,000."
"No properties here are valued at less than $2 million and it is frighteningly possible that having this house on our estate will push the neighbouring houses beneath that," Nimby explained. "It is a huge concern and it would be devastating for Brian and Miriam, they planned to retire in their adjacent house."
Nimby assured us he was not a racist (a number of nice Chinese families were welcomed into the community) but he was deeply concerned that such a house may become a home for refugees or a couple of Pacific Island families.
"The next thing you know there will be people living in the garage and some old Toyota will be parked on the street, in full view," Nimby lamented.
The Aurora Residents' Association had already written a submission to the City Plan listing a number of points that they believed believed were vital to their way of life:
- Any social housing should be built in specially designated areas so as not to impinge on the rights of those who had invested in properties expecting a reasonable capital gain (currently around 10% a year).
- The decile rating of a Decile 9 or 10 school community should not be threatened by inappropriate housing developments.
- Public transport routes (trains and busses) should only enter communities where there was a demand.
- Fast food and liquor outlets should not be sited within a 1km radius of the Aurora Estate.
Mrs Nimby described their community as a happy one where their children could walk and play around the streets safely, she felt that their local culture would change if those who didn't share the same values moved in. "It's not really about differences in wealth," she explained, "it's about aesthetics. In this community we have a certain level of taste that other people or cultures may not appreciate."
"They may seem like little things to others but according to our covenant lawns on this estate are not allowed to grow longer than 2 cm and vegetables must be grown behind the house and not be visible from the street," said Mrs Nimby.
The community was particularly angry about the Housing Minister's recent plans. One of Nick Smith's identified pieces of public land that he deemed suitable for social housing was a small wetland area just outside the estate. "It is totally inappropriate for social housing," opined Mr Nimby, "there's no bus service and the closest McDonalds is miles away."