Geoff Vause is correct on at least two counts in his letter 'A target shared' (March 7).
It certainly is useful (and somewhat rare) to discuss these matters calmly in a public forum: and Waste to Energy (W2E) must surely play a part in our transition to a low-carbon sustainable economy.

I fully support increased use of rail transport — indeed, I believe it's inevitable — and a designated purpose for additional rail-freight is a sound idea worth exploring; but, once again, I question whether W2E needs to be highly centralised?

Geoff recommends one plant in the South Island and two in the North. Why not one in every district or community board 'ward'? Or one in every community with a sizeable landfill, 'tip' or refuse recycling centre?

Electricity generation and distribution is another aspect of our 'infrastructured lives', which is currently under pressure to localise, including down to the individual dwelling level.


A smaller grid-tied W2E plant might power my local biofuel production facility — furnished with biomass from noxious weeds, plants and trees harvested along the roadside — and also provide (cheaper) electricity for the surrounding area, selling any excess back to the national grid.

A tidal generator at The Narrows near Kohukohu would apparently provide power for the whole Hokianga and beyond.

Geoff is correct about not marginalising W2E though and about Just Transition. The world has been held to ransom by the oil industry for over a century, while today some researchers estimate that hemp grown on just 6 per cent of America's arable land would provide that nation's entire energy needs.

Around where I live the war against arundo donax, privet, ginger, pampas, tobacco weed and others looks almost lost. Arundo is over-running the roadway in places.

We'll probably spray copious quantities of carcinogenic poison on it — like council does now on a one-metre strip at the curb — which they also occasionally mow, ignoring 20m of road reserve, thus further contaminating our whenua, awa and moana, rather than convert this unwanted vegetation into necessary and highly saleable products — biofuel and energy — while employing and training local labour.