Why Live in a Shoebox When You Could Live in Napier?

The latest trend in NZ big-city living! (Please note: accomodation pic is actual size)

The latest trend in NZ big-city living!
(Please note: accomodation pic is actual size)

There’s been a fair amount of coverage of / promotion of tiny houses recently.

I can’t help but wonder how much of it is “Hey, that’s a neat idea – living in a caravan / container / kennel” and how much is an almost subversive attempt to phase out the classic / idealistic NZ “1/4 acre (albeit more like 1/8th acre these days) dream” mentality and make living in a tiny house or shoebox apartment seem more normal or acceptable?

To me, these tiny houses seem to be a move towards something between the old “workingman’s hut” of the depression era, Japanese “capsule hotels” and human “battery farms”.

In New Zealand we are very fortunate to have the amount of space we do. Heck, we have room to spare!

New Zealand is geographically bigger than Great Britain, but with only a tiny portion of the population and huge, uninhabited swathes of the country still covered in native bush / farmland / epic, majestically mountainous movie-background terrain that would give the most sure-hooved chamois vertigo.

So, when the inevitable comments focusing on the housing crisis and massively inflated prices in Auckland, Christchurch and (to a lesser extent?) Wellington once again come to the fore as reason for such close-quarters accommodation in New Zealand’s biggest cities, it raises a major question in my mind:

“Why must business in New Zealand still be SO main-centre focused??”

With the rise of E-commerce and so much business internet-based, why does it still “need” to be based in our main centres, exacerbating the high demand / high price problem, while regional cities, like my own home town of Napier, have been struggling to attract skilled workers and businesses in recent years?

• The average (full-sized, with a yard) house price in Hawke’s Bay is somewhere around $350,000 – $500,000 – a third to a quarter of those in Auckland.

• We have the infrastructure, including UFB network access, to easily operate a national / international level “E-business” from Hawke’s Bay.

• With its smaller population (more room, less congestion) and wonderful natural features encouraging healthier, outdoor pastimes, Hawke’s Bay has a relaxed lifestyle second to none!

Yet where is all the commercial and business development focus?

In New Zealand’s main centres 🙁

1 thought on “Why Live in a Shoebox When You Could Live in Napier?

  1. There is a mindset issue where a large number (not all) locals/current businesses operating in Hawke’s Bay refuse to adapt to the changing business landscape. Spilling the “this is the way we’ve always done it” line. This lack of innovation does make it hard for new businesses to get off the ground, so turning to the big cities looks like an appealing option….like minding gatherings.

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