The latest climate-change conference reported that we have little more than a decade in which to reduce our CO2 emissions to a safe level.
Road transport is our greatest CO2 emitter (plus 300+ deaths annually). Should we be building more motorways, and filling them with more and more vehicles - as National Party spokespersons and other road enthusiasts promote? Or should we be making greater use of our more energy efficient, less CO2 emitting - readily electrified – railways?
The motor vehicles convenience cannot be disputed - but if we are to keep our planet's temperature to a liveable level some sacrifice of convenience will be needed in many areas.
The government is emphasising spending on making existing roads safer – with fewer deaths – rather than on more motorways and is also to spend about $80 million on passenger–rail between Hamilton and Papakura (approx. 90km). The last government spent $450 million on 19km of motorway from Arataki to Paengaroa.
Surely the Bay of Plenty should be seeking a rail passenger-transport system from at least Katikati in the North to Te Puke in the South that will meet our future needs - without promoting the use of more polluting road vehicles.
CAR PARK FIASCO
The Phoenix car park make-over has been a botch-up from start to finish.
The concept was pushed through to reality against the wishes of retailers and local residents and then badly managed throughout by Council staff.
Well, we're stuck with it now; but, please, councillors, don't blindly go ahead and waste any more of our money on it.
Councillor Leanne Brown talks about modifications and a water feature. You've overspent already; don't run up more bills unless a clear and obvious benefit is going to follow. And, if such a scenario does arise work with the local retailers and residents, don't ignore them again.
The same principle applies to the CEO's proposal that the Council should consider funding $70,000 for a debate about a museum.
Councillor Catherine Stewart is right: we've been down that road several times already and the ratepayers have made known their wishes.
A good reason to revisit this topic might crop up some time in the future but until that time arrives the money would be better spent on things that are of immediate benefit to the city and its ratepayers.
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