Wellington to Invercargill: “Small shithole town. Fuck them”

That’s not from the Government, who have agreed to spend $30 million on keeping the Tiwai smelter going at least until 2017.

It’s not from David Farrar at Kiwiblog, who is expresses his disappointment relatively reasonably.

Rio Tinto screws taxpayers for $30 million

I’ve got no problem with the pricing agreement between Meridian and Rio Tinto, as that is a commercial contract.

But bloody annoyed they screwed $30 million from the taxpayers as a subsidy. I think the Government shouldn’t have given them a cent. If the smelter closes, so be it. It is not the job of taxpayers to subsidise unprofitable industries.

I can understand that from an ideological point of view and have some sympathy for Farrar’s sentiments. But Farrar lives and breathes in Wellington.

But most of the other commenters on Kiwiblog are more angry and more blunt. Especially one Wellingtonian, RRM (he lives a bit of a train ride out of Wellington but works in the capital).

I commented at Kiwiblog:

Don’t forget that Bill English is Clutha/Southland MP – and he will be (or should be) well aware of the growing anger in the south over jobs being moved north and the amount of money being spent of things in the North, especially Christchurch (much of that is understandable) but particularly Auckland.

If Tiwai closed English may not want to venture south, there would be a huge outpouring of angst and anger.

Then an outburst comes from RRM:


Population of Invercargill = 53,000 according to Google.

It’s no secret that it’s a small shithole town at the arse end of the world, with limited employment opportunities, it’s always been that.

The aluminium smelter is a lucky score for them but by rights it should be nothing more than a service centre for the dairy farmers and a few fishing boats.

You’d have to be mad to move there. mad, or retired.

Fuck them.

I replied: RRM – that’s pretty much the Wellington attitude that many down here presume. Perhaps you should start building a lot more windmills. And hope that cold says aren’t calm.


When you say it like that, I realise how selfish I’m being. OF COURSE I should continue to subsidise the lifestyle of Invercargill people. If they want to be basically morally equivalent to beneficiaries or prison inmates, let’s formalise that with a cheque for thirty million dollars.

There, now we own you, you mangy Catholic Scots dogs. Show us a little highland fling now. Go on.

That’s from someone who’s livelihood is in a city that is far more supported by Government spending than any other. Who commutes to work on Government subsidised transport.

And from the thumbs up responses, his views are shared by others from the north.

No wonder the South is getting very annoyed at the gutting of the provinces. Just this wek sightly to the north Dunedin mayor has called for a summit over the announcement the agricultural research in the south (centred at Invermay) is going to be moved north.

Unemployment surges

Southland’s unemployment rate has increased by more than 50 per cent from the March quarter to the June quarter, new figures show.

Invercargill Deputy Mayor Darren Ludlow said the increase in unemployment was a disturbing trend and reflected the flow-on effects of job losses at the Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter.

Southland businesses continued to struggle after the global financial crisis, he said.

It’s hard enough with the downsizing of the Tiwai workforce.

Slightly further north:

Otago unemployment up 37% on year ago

As Otago struggles with layoffs and reduced hours for manufacturing workers, the region’s unemployment rate continues to climb, rising 37% in the year to June.

“Small shithole town. Fuck them.”

And there’s a common feeling that this is how Wellington views the south in general – as well as other regions like the west Coast, the East Coast and Northland.

And they wonder why agriculture and horticulture has trouble attacking New Zealanders to work down here.

If Tiwai closed there would be a huge outpouring of angst and anger from the south. And the frustration and annoyance is growing regardless. The Tiwai news is a relief, but just a pause in the growing concern.

Southerners are already murmuring about politics – see Call for South to form own party. Will they get annoyed enough with Wellington to say “Big shithole Parliament. Fuck them!”

Leave a comment


  1. RRM

     /  8th August 2013

    [quote]”Call for South to form own party. Will they get annoyed enough with Wellington to say “Big shithole Parliament. Fuck them!” [/quote]

    Great idea – I’d vote for them.

    I’m simultaneously both flattered and astonished that you’d take my comments on Kiwiblog as being representative of… well anything at all really! I’ll troll anyone I get a rise out of.

    • I don’t think many people in the South will be flattered by your comments.

      • RRM

         /  8th August 2013

        You have to agree though, Invercargill is a grey, grimy shit hole town with minimal employment prospects…?

        Sure it is nice FOR THEM that a few of them are employed by a local branch of a huge international industrial firm… but why should the rest of us cheer about subsidising that?

        It was a while ago I was last in the south, but one lasting recollection I have is miles upon miles of deserted state highways, so deserted they had lichens growing all over them. I’m not at all convinced Southland is funding everyone else’s public services…

        • I don’t go to Invercargill often but the weather has rarely beon bad when I’ve been there. Luck.

          Employment propspects in the city aren’t great, but in the region there is potential. Southland has the world’s largest raw milk processing factory, the country’s biggest coal reserves. Tourism has potential in the Catlins and especially Fiordland – and Queenstown is on the border.

  2. RRM

     /  8th August 2013

    Awesome! Why is it so vital that we subsidise Rio Tinto’s activities then?

  3. Jeff

     /  8th August 2013

    Invercargill is not the arse hole of New Zealand…….. But you can see it from here.

  4. Quentin Todd

     /  9th August 2013

    disturbing self-righteous attitudes about a town trying to stay ahead in an economic environment that is (a) getting extremely expensive (b) real time salary and wages are too low to met supply costs.

    Better to ease off the foul language and remember that one day we ALL could lose everything in our own “Shit-hole”.

    Hamilton has experienced a number of crisises (now $400m in the red and not sight in how to pay just the interest alone!), but there has been a bounce back with a fresh way of improvising on what we have.


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