What is the story now with open fires and woodburners? We were told we would not be able to use them after May this year but have heard no more about it. Christina Southgate, Auckland

On April 1 (I kid you not) Auckland Council received an update on air-quality regulations which showed more work with the Government was needed. In the meantime, Aucklanders can continue to use their older woodburners (pre-2005) and open fires this winter.

It is estimated the ban would have affected 17,000 households with open fireplaces and 64,000 with woodburners.

Until the council is satisfied that any additional measures are appropriate for Auckland and are a reasonable response to the national regulations, no further measures will be introduced.


Earlier this year, the council welcomed a recommendation from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to review air quality regulations due to recent scientific advances. This included the need to measure smaller particulate matter in the air, PM2.5, that is more harmful to human health in the long term.

Current air regulations require the measurement of PM10 - larger particles/short term - and the Regulatory and Bylaws Committee agreed that a longer-term view was needed to assess the health effects for the Auckland region.

The council's restrictions on the burning of rubbish, wet wood, tanalised timber and high sulphur coal remain in effect. These have been in place since 2008.

I am sure many people agree that the Auckland waterfront is not the right place to park used cars. Surely it would be a good idea to replace the carparks with some attractive public access areas and a smaller area for Ports of Auckland to use more efficiently.

My questions are: who owns the cars, how many sit there at any one time, what is their turnover rate and where and how do they go next? Why not, immediately after unloading, move the cars to their next destination or better still bypass Auckland and take them to another port? Judith McGrath, Remuera

And I'm sure that everyone would agree with you that the waterfront is not an ideal place for used cars. Just as soon as someone can come up with a better (feasible, economic, practicable) idea, doubtless Ports of Auckland would be delighted to hear about it. I do not intend to get into a squabble about alternative ports: that is for people with more knowledge than I. But to answer your questions; the cars are owned by either car retailers who import them, or by individual owners. Some ships will carry 2000 cars, which can mean more than 10,000 in a week, so moving them is a big job, but it is done as fast as possible, decontamination procedures notwithstanding. The car transporter industry can move up to 800 cars a day and on average a car stays on port land for two days. From the port, the cars are delivered to the importer.

Do you have a question for Phoebe? It can be about transport or any Auckland issue. Email askphoebe@nzherald.co.nz