The straight answer is no, Alf does not want to go to work as an MP in the Queen City

Alf heads for a sitting of Parliament in the world's coolest little capital.

Alf had been dubious, when he read about the Lonely Planet travel guide rating Wellington “the coolest little capital in the world”.

The buggers who wrote that must be daffy, he thought (although he did not express his opinions while in Wellington).

His doubts about their sanity have been fortified by the news that the same travel guide is suggesting that Auckland should be New Zealand’s capital city.


The capital?

Wellington has its shortcomings, but any place that is happy to be described as the Queen City cries out to be avoided by any red-blooded male, into which category Alf most assuredly puts his good self.

Hence the Lonely Planet mob must be mad, but Stuff reports –

In the weekly Best of Lonely Planet email, the lead article discussed 10 great cities that should be capitals.

Along with New York, Sydney and Toronto, Auckland was talked up as a far better alternative to the incumbent.

“Auckland has the best weather, the fanciest restaurants, and the coolest bars. So what if Wellington has the famous Beehive parliament building and an internationally acclaimed film industry, Auckland’s got the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. So there!”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown quite rightly points out that Auckland used to be the capital, “but it wasn’t up to the job then and there’s no reason to think it would be now”.

Actually, it’s not up to anything now, except being a breeding ground for criminals, drunks and lunatics.

And so Wade-Brown gets support from Alf when she says –

“I’ll stand by the report that called Wellington the coolest little capital – that was based on a wide range of Wellington’s attributes, not dubious claims about the weather, fancy restaurants and the Sky Tower.”

Auckland Mayor Len Brown, not unexpectedly, said Aucklanders had no aspiration to have the political capital return north.

They have aspirations to nothing much, in Alf’s experience, although –

Mr Brown said he would rather Auckland became the world’s most liveable city.


Brown has as much chance of pulling that one off as New Zealand has of closing the wage gap with Australia (but don’t tell The Boss about Alf’s serious scepticism on the wage matter).

Stuff goes on to tell us a bit more about the latest list.

Lonely Planet Asia-Pacific spokesman Adam Bennett said the list was an extract from an article published on its website before the Wellington announcement. It related to large cities that people worldwide would normally assume were capitals.

However, Lonely Planet was still backing Wellington as the coolest capital. “That’s what we said in Best in Travel … and we’re certainly sticking by that.”

Radio New Zealand tells us more.

It has learned from the guidebook’s website that a capital should be a country’s show-stopper city, although this does not explain why it should name Auckland alongside New York, Rio and Sydney.

It quotes Brown as saying Aucklanders have no grudge about not being the capital and Wellington being the appropriate place.

So he is capable of the occasional prudent observation.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown says tourists think Auckland is big and beautiful, but not that it should be the capital, and people in the South Island definitely would disagree.

One reason for shifting the capital – according to Alf’s understanding – is that it cut travel time for South Islanders. It’s a bloody long way from Bluff to Auckland, especially by ship, which is the way they did their travelling in the good old days.

This is more or less affirmed by a dip into a history website.

Wellington became New Zealand’s capital in 1865, with Parliament officially sitting in the city for the first time on 26 July 1865.

The colony’s capital was originally established by Governor William Hobson at Kororareka (Russell) in the Bay of Islands. After 1841 it was sited in Auckland.

A panel of Australian-based commissioners later designated Wellington the seat of government due to its favourable geography, sheltered harbour and central location.

Centralising could have been achieved by setting up the capital in Blenheim, of course.

Then our capital city would be vying with Nelson each year to boast the most sunshine.

It’s bloody handy to the country’s best vineyards, too.

Obviously the decision to set up shop in Wellington should never have been left to a bunch of Aussies, who are notoriously lacking in the wits department, although it’s fair to say that Wellington is much easier for Alf to reach from Eketahuna.

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