Beyond reasonable drought
Auckland Council is deeply in debt, yet continues to support and pay a huge salary to Watercare's CEO Raveen Jaduram during a "once-in-100-year drought".
The last drought was just 16 years ago. Yet little has been done to improve water catchment levels since then, with the major exception of using the Waikato River to supplement Auckland's population growth. Despite this growth, which had been predicted, bureaucratic requests from Auckland to the Waikato Regional Council have taken seven years of wrangling with, until last week, no result.
Even with this modest increase, Watercare cannot process this amount until August at the earliest, because the required processing plant is not completed.
This is gross incompetence and Jaduram should resign or be sacked and his $770,000 salary halved and paid to a more competent person. This shameful fiasco also reflects badly upon Auckland's mayor and council.
John Hodgson, Morningside.
Blameless and carefree
An alarming trend has emerged in New Zealand: no-fault responsibility.
Glaring errors are cast aside for a narrative that the important thing is the problem is being fixed; no one is to be held responsible and there is no story here.
There have been several examples with this Government by "empty chair" ministers, with David Clark being the latest example. Even when he resigned, it was because he was a distraction, not because he had failed in any way. That had been compounded by Jacinda Ardern abrogating her responsibility and failing to fire him. Failure gets rewarded, just ask Phil Twyford.
Locally the Watercare CEO, Raveen Jaduram, has taken no responsibility for the lack of water storage planning over the last eight years. His response was lamely to announce a leak detection scheme to stem the water losses that have far exceeded the targets he was supposedly administering. The Watercare board has seen no responsibility to require the targets to be met for the last five years. The fickle weather that was at fault, said the empty chairs on that board.
When will those in charge grasp the importance of rooting out under-performing individuals? The solution probably lies in the colourful American epithet to a political botch-up: "Throw the bums out."
Fred Wilson, Devonport.
At our disposal
Re: The "brain gain" for New Zealand (NZ Herald, July 6): That's very good news.
It would be even better if these "best brains" could work with Auckland City Council, the ministers of railways and regional development to rejig the Mercer coal fire generator into a high-tech burning rubbish disposal industry. It could be serviced by endless KiwiRail goods trains, containing not only Auckland and Northland rubbish but perhaps from further south.
Is it then possible to trap the heat by-product to provide heating to surrounding towns, as they do in Denmark?
Julie Nicholls, St Mary's Bay.
Where are the visionaries? There must be a better way than converting sewage into drinking water in a city with ample annual rainfall and bordered by bush-clad hills.
Time has been frittered away but it's no excuse to take the easy option.
Yes, it might cost more in the short-term but it is time we stopped selfish, political short-term thinking and raised our sights to our future generations in 30 and 50 years.
One or two dams providing ample drinking water should be our gift from one generation to the next.
Clean drinking water is the most basic of human needs and should be prioritised way above rapid rail and cycleways.
In the meantime, let people with tanks use their own water, provided they pass clean air tests.
Many older properties on the Hibiscus Coast, where clean sea air blows in, have tanks sitting full of water. I, for one, would like to choose drinking my carefully filtered tank water over treated sewage.
As we have seen in the past, bureaucrats make mistakes and then just say, "Sorry."
Do we want to trust bureaucrats to always ensure harmful microbes stay out of our sewage drinking water? I prefer to trust the water coming down from the clouds.
J. McKeown, Red Beach.
I climbed on a green Link bus on Friday and was surprised to find that it was a fully electric unit.
The driver informed me that there are a few of these around town. She said that they run all day and are usually at about 40 per cent charge by the time they return to depot.
She said they are great to drive and I certainly was impressed by the quiet operation and comfort.
Surely, these are our answer for the future. Zero emissions, cheap to run on renewable energy, highly manoeuvrable, no tracks or overhead wires required.
Why would you even start to consider light rail?
Rhys Morgan, Northcote Pt.
There for taking
I was out at my letterbox when a chap (out-of-work apparently) accosted me for money, my watch, leather jacket and car keys. He came into my house, checked on everything I owned and tried to take my valuable stuff, so I called the police.
They came promptly but arrested me for not giving him what he asked for, saying, "You are rich, he was poor and the next person who comes (after you get out of jail) had better be given what they want." If I preferred, I could "defer" being robbed but just sign over everything I own, year by year and they can come and take it when I'm dead.
Okay, it is a fable (not true), but swap "the Government/IRD" for "the chap out of work" and it is the Green Wealth tax.
New Zealand in 2020 is a different place. Covid-19 has been an eye-opener but that this Green Party policy got traction (NZ Herald, July 3) just beggars belief.
Anthony Olissoff, Mt Eden.
Under a wrist
It would appear that the Government needs to implement some tightening of the quarantining system to better safeguard the rest of us.
Firstly, all persons who are placed into quarantine should have an electronic tracking bracelet fitted that triggers an alarm if they leave the quarantined premises.
Secondly, they should also be required to pay a bond of, say, $3000 each, which would be refunded once each person has completed the lockdown period and provided/complied with all required screening tests.
J R Jones, Mairangi Bay.
Put to flight
With news that the Waitematā Local Board will not be making a final decision on the siting of the Erebus Memorial until later this year, those opposed to it being in Parnell's Dove Myer Robinson Park who have not made their views known should do so now.
Supported by the Prime Minister, the Ministry for Culture & Heritage in Wellington decided the placement of the memorial would be in Parnell's beloved Dove Myer Robinson Park, with the public then unbelievably denied any say when Auckland Council granted resource consent.
The whole process has been one of unfettered arrogance, with a majority, especially of Parnell residents, being opposed to the memorial in this historic park.
Importantly, most Erebus families do not want a memorial on this north-facing site but instead one that faces south and also having no Air NZ association with the suggested site overlooking the former TEAL/Air NZ engineering workshops.
With its vote, the Waitematā Board must decide, once and for all, that the choice of a minority for this memorial in Dove Myer Robinson Park is totally inappropriate and determine that in a democratic society the wishes of the majority should always prevail over other vested interests.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
Short & sweet
Labour's new slogan is "Let's keep moving". To make it more authentic, an extra word should be added: "Backwards." Phil Dunbier, Kerikeri.
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Nicola Willis has conceded that National selling off state houses was a mistake. What she really meant was that when her party was in government, the housing policy was an "absolute shambles". John Capener, Kawerau.
I see the lack of robustness of our "managed Isolation" facilities has extended to the Corrections Department now. Steve Hoeft, Pt Chevalier.
Every day a coronavirus with a bag of money keeps knocking on the door. Do you get fed up with the noise and let it in? Alan Gibb, Devonport.
It's paradoxical that, with all the rain in Auckland over the past few days, Watercare manages to be short of water. John Clements, Ōrewa.
Waikato water is being charged at a high rate per litre to help offset Auckland's drought conditions, when overseas companies have been charged minimal amounts to export our water. Jackie McCabe, Kaitaia.
Maybe we need a moratorium on those returnees that they cannot buy a house for 2-3 years but can build. We have given up a huge amount to make New Zealand a place to return to. It shouldn't be at the cost of us already here who have done all the work. Carol Cooper-McCord, Lower Hutt.
I regularly take my 4-year-old grandson on the buses in Auckland and have found all drivers to be friendly, helpful, courteous and patient. Perhaps those who complain could learn a few of those attributes. Alison Ridler, St Heliers.