Well I read this with interest today:
Stormwater bill may limit green ambitions
By Bernard Orsman
Auckland Mayor Len Brown has promised to turn the Super City into an eco-city, but is pegging back spending on the city’s rundown and flood-prone stormwater system.
Before the global financial crisis the seven former territorial councils budgeted $105 million a year on stormwater.
Mr Brown’s 10-year budget contains between $65 million and $85 million a year on stormwater.
At Tuesday’s launch of the Auckland Plan – a 30-year blueprint for the Super City – Mr Brown said a key issue was a strong commitment to environmental action and green growth.
The city faces a mammoth $9.9 billion bill to bring the stormwater system up to scratch and cope with growth over the next 50 years – a job officials say will take 200 years at current levels of spending.
And I just shake my head at this kind of lunacy.
Len (and the rest of his band of planning numbskulls) says we should have a green city. But to him and the rest, green means building a new train line and buying some shiny new engines and carriages to go on it, whilst sewerage runs out into our harbours because the pipes haven’t been upgraded.
This is in no way green. For a number of reasons:
- You’re solving a problem whilst a bigger one is just let run.
- You’re spending heaps of resources, energy etc. to build the new stuff.
- The new infrastructure will also need maintenance, but we can’t even maintain what we have!
It’s like Dunedin building the new stadium. Heaps of people told them it wouldn’t pay it’s way, it’d cost heaps to run etc. but of course they were labelled as negative dream-stealers etc. And so of course, its running at a huge loss every year because there’s not nearly as much demand for it as the idiot ‘build it build it’ brigade thought there would be.
And so coming back to Auckland, the situation is simply that we have more infrastructure than we can maintain. So why are we building more?
Let’s translate this to a household budget: We have a big house that is crumbling down, and we can’t afford to fix it. So what do we do? We add on a new front room of course! A brand shiny new front room that everyone will see. And we can say ‘Look at our fantastically modern house’ and everyone will agree that indeed we do have a wonderful house. We just have to be careful not to let them go around the back…
So while we don’t have the money to maintain the older bits of the house, we’re going to borrow some money and build an extension!
And then at some point, we’re going to run out of money and plead poor and expect a bailout from someone, somewhere.
If we really want to be green and build a liveable city, then surely separating sewerage and stormwater would be a good start!