The Project: Auckland community divided over laundry rules and regulations

Many people air their clean laundry in the backyard and their dirty laundry over a glass of wine. Generally speaking, laundry is a fairly private affair - and one Auckland community wants to keep it that way.

As plots get increasingly smaller, the idealist Kiwi "quarter-acre dream" is less and less achievable. People have to think outside the box (or the fence of a private backyard) for ways to air their washing - but not everyone is a fan of public displays of socks and undies. 

Residents in one of the city's newest suburbs, Hobsonville Point, have agreed to hide their washing from public view - but as the days grow warmer, some have defied the community's clean clothing conduct. One local has even labelled this flouting of the laundry code, 'laundry-gate'. 

A member of the Hobsonville Point Residents Society, Lindsey Dawson, spoke to The Project on Tuesday about the local laundry controversy. She has defended the community's agreement to air washing privately, saying it's far more common than people think.

"There are rules for laundry all over Auckland and all over New Zealand," she told The Project.

"There are so many medium to high-density communities springing up with apartment buildings, and nearly all of them will have rules about laundry."

Dawson says the hubbub has stemmed from "a little newsletter" she put out on Sunday.

"I'm started and baffled by the amount of interest there is in this topic."

Dawson thinks the community's controversy shows just how emotive laundry can be, with childhood memories of mum in the backyard with her basket conjuring an "emotional link".

"It's something people kind of care about," she says.

However, Dawson admits that some local reactions could indicate the community's rules - which she says are no different to those regarding noise, rubbish and parking - could be "outdated".

"Maybe it could do with a rejig... that's democracy for you. If we need to change the rules, then so be it," she says.

In terms of what's next for Hobsonville Pointers and their 'laundry-gate' crisis, Dawson says "all the fuss" probably won't amount to anything changing in the residential guidelines.

"It would be more helpful if people could just be a little more considerate, maybe."


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