The obituary of David Slack, died 2040

by David Slack / 19 October, 2016
davidslack
David Slack, man who solved Auckland’s problems by accident. Died April 1, 2040.

David Slack was drawn to two things in life: booze and mouthing off.

He was a barman, a breweries executive, a speech writer, a columnist, a talkback host, a mouth for hire.

Wherever people sat down to talk bullshit, he felt at home.

But by middle age, he was jaded. You could bang out 600 or 800 sarcastic words but what ever changed? Nothing. What was the point?

Might as well move to Nelson and get a lawn-mowing round. Or Thailand. Everyone says it’s nice in Thailand. And the beer’s icy cold.

But then there was a victory party for Phil Goff. Slack knew how it would go: just like all the others. You shake the guy’s hand, you say, “Congratulations, Mr Mayor,” you tell him, “Listen, I’ve got this great idea,” and the eyes glaze over.

Goff had been calling him “mate” for 30 years because he could never remember his name. But that night, as Slack described his vision, Goff came alive. It wasn’t much of an idea, but it was the one thing he truly believed in: a tunnel between Devonport and the city.

Not just any tunnel, an underwater one. With a travelator, just like in the airport. With a Perspex wall, like at Kelly Tarlton’s.

You could even wrap it in another layer of Perspex and fill that up with warm water and beautiful tropical fish. Any time of the day or night, you could cross the harbour and not have to wait for a bloody ferry.

“Mate,” said Goff, “I love it.” Within a year, it was built. Faster than anyone might have dared hope, the most white-bread corner of Auckland was changed forever.

You got to the bottom of Queen St, you just kept on rolling, to Devonport. Yes, really, Devonport. The clubs and bars pumped night and day. Forget Britomart, this was where the party was.

And that was just the start. Auckland’s next mayor, Chris Darby, was on the phone to Jacinda Ardern the morning after she became PM.
The hippest city in the world thrived. E-bikes glided around a city full of pink cycleways and air bridges.

He painted his vision for her: beautiful four-level apartment buildings running the length of Lake Rd, landscaped and looking out to the harbour, and affordable, because the whole thing would be done Singapore style: the council and the government would buy the whole stretch, own the land, develop the properties and sell or rent them on terms that kept them forever affordable for young Aucklanders.

“Mate,” said the Prime Minister, “I love it.”

And so did young Auckland. With so many tens of thousands moving in, suddenly it was the easiest thing in the world to have true 21st-century public transport running constantly along the once-benighted car alley.

Free, solar-powered driverless e-cars would pull in under your apartment building, glide you away in comfort and whisk you down to the travelator.

Suddenly, everything made sense: when the market is completely dysfunctional, you step outside it. The idea spread across the entire city: wonderful, affordable apartments, all publicly built and owned.

The hippest city in the world thrived. E-bikes glided around a city full of pink cycleways and air bridges as the IT and science sector boomed, and every year, it seemed, someone from Auckland won the Man Booker.

Prime Minister Chloe Swarbrick expressed her sadness at Slack’s passing, aged 94. (Stay tuned, he’s first in line for reincarnation — Ed.) “We offered him a knighthood for fixing the city by accident, but he said he was just glad he could step onto a Devonport pedestrian crossing without being monstered by an Audi.

We’ll miss him and his strange obituaries, though. And I can’t help thinking that if we hadn’t legalised weed, he might still be with us today.”

Latest

Rising sea levels are putting our coasts in crisis – should we adapt or retreat?
99383 2018-11-22 00:00:00Z Planet

Rising sea levels are putting our coasts in crisis…

by Sally Blundell

Either option carries considerable economic, social and environmental costs and it’s a debate communities cannot tackle in isolation.

Read more
Overlord is a Nazi zombie B-movie with a slight difference
99374 2018-11-21 14:42:54Z Movies

Overlord is a Nazi zombie B-movie with a slight di…

by James Robins

Have you heard? Nazis are bad. It seems that some people need reminding, and thus we have Overlord.

Read more
The new eatery bringing old-school arcade games to Kingsland
99364 2018-11-21 14:24:21Z Auckland Eats

The new eatery bringing old-school arcade games to…

by Alex Blackwood

Chicka transforms into Arcade with a Neo Tokyo-style fit-out, arcade games and a new menu.

Read more
New bar Morningcidery is opening up the world of cider
99332 2018-11-21 10:47:11Z Auckland Eats

New bar Morningcidery is opening up the world of c…

by Alex Blackwood

Sip on all kinds of cider, like pineapple and jalapeno, at this dedicated new cider bar.

Read more
Who killed Waiwera? The troubled history of a popular resort town
99313 2018-11-21 09:38:21Z Auckland Issues

Who killed Waiwera? The troubled history of a popu…

by Donna Chisholm

From the archives: A small seaside town is dead. Was it the victim of greedy developers, warring tycoons, or a road that no longer runs through it?

Read more
The wake-up call this meth addicted mum needed
99308 2018-11-21 07:26:35Z Social issues

The wake-up call this meth addicted mum needed

by Anonymous

A mum shares her struggle of overcoming a meth addiction to help give a better life to her two children.

Read more
In the face of US sanctions and corrupt ideologues, Iranians get by on defiance
99284 2018-11-21 00:00:00Z World

In the face of US sanctions and corrupt ideologues…

by Peter Calder

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Peter Calder finds almost everything is forbidden, yet accessible.

Read more
The Kiwi rug repairer who helped capture the Qashqai's threatened way of life
99289 2018-11-21 00:00:00Z Movies

The Kiwi rug repairer who helped capture the Qashq…

by Peter Calder

A new doco gives a portrait of the Iranian nomads through the eyes of Wellingtonian Anna Williams.

Read more