Primate city

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  • Published 20140204
  • ISBN: 9781922182241
  • Extent: 300 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

NOT LONG AGO a TV current affairs program mounted a live studio debate about whether ‘Auckland is sucking the life out of New Zealand’. Viewers were invited to vote and overwhelmingly agreed there was, indeed, an urban vampire in their midst. The studio audience – drawn from Auckland, naturally, since most of the national media are now based there – completely disagreed; if anything, Auckland was the real victim. As polls go it was hardly scientific. But it did point up the strange perceptual divide between much of New Zealand and its largest city.

More surprising than the result was that such a question was even being asked. Regional prejudice is one thing – denouncing the imagined Sodom and Gomorrah of the alpha city is a national pastime in many places – but what other country feels its very existence might be threatened? Even allowing for the hyperbole of primetime, the image of Auckland as a giant parasite was somewhat extreme. Conversely, what kind of city might inspire such paranoia and distrust?

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About the author

Finlay Macdonald

Finlay Macdonald has worked as a journalist, author, broadcaster and publisher during his twenty-five-year career.He is a former editor of the New Zealand Listener...

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