Liv­ing lo­cally can de­liver great value


Com­mut­ing is bor­ing, harm­ful to your health, and danger­ous for your wal­let.

I base th­ese claims on per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence.

I was a job­bing journo in Lon­don for three years, and com­muted in from a vil­lage near Cam­bridge.

Here was my com­mute. Rise be­fore dawn. Cy­cle 3km to Water­beach vil­lage sta­tion. 9km train ride to Cam­bridge. Change for the 90km trip to King’s Cross Sta­tion. Tube and foot to of­fice on Pi­cadilly Cir­cus.

The trip took any­where from an hour-and-a-half to two-and-abit hours in the af­ter­math of the deadly 2002 Pot­ter’s Bar train crash. It was life-sapping and costly. I used to bunk three nights a week in friends’ pads in Lon­don to cope, re­sult­ing in less sleep, more booz­ing, and more spend­ing.

When Auck­land be­came my home, I kissed a fond good­bye to mega-com­mut­ing.

The drive from Ti­ti­rangi (an out­ly­ing Auck­land sub­urb in a rain­for­est), to work was about 25 min­utes.

But as the years passed, my com­mute time got longer as the roads got fuller.

Chil­dren ar­rived, and with them a di­ver­sion to day­care.

Sud­denly the com­mute took the bet­ter part of an hour each way.

Rush, rush. Fill the tank. Pay the rego. Groan when its WOF time again.

Com­mut­ing plague.

We are build­ing ever more prop­er­ties on Auck­land’s fringes. is a grow­ing Peo­ple are com­mut­ing in from Po­keno, Pukekohe, Mill­wa­ter, Hamil­ton.

Peo­ple have ‘‘driven till they qual­ify’’.

This is an Amer­i­can term cap­tur­ing the idea peo­ple will com­mute from wher­ever houses fi­nally be­come af­ford­able.

Own­ing a home is so crit­i­cal to our iden­tity, we are will­ing to make big sac­ri­fices for it.

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