On September 5 I spoke to my submission to the Zero Carbon Bill in Palmerston North. I wanted to express how urgent it was to act to reduce our emissions and how the climate was
regularly reminding us (the Bahamas hurricane had just occurred) and it was time for procrastination to end and every effort made to stop and reverse CO2 increases.
There were four MPs listening to the submissions: Adrian Rurawhe, Kiritapu Allan, Harete Hipango and Ian McKelvie.
On September 6 the Chronicle had Ian McKelvie's parliamentary comment, which was about the Zero Carbon Bill. Even though it would have been written before he had heard some of the submissions, he seems woefully unaware of the urgency the bill is trying to address.
In his column he rues the fact that submitters are being rushed through the hearings because the current Government is rushing to catch up for " ... time lost in the first 18 months of their term when they had little ready to go". Not the slightest regret that his National Government effectively did nothing in their nine years, except talk of growth and the economy, both carbon positive.
He is right when he says that changes proposed will affect rural communities, as it will everybody else in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
But nowhere near as much as doing nothing.
McKelvie appears totally ignorant of the connections between our actions (or inactions) and climate change. His latest column (Friday, September 20) is about the "significant" Otaki-to-Levin expressway that is on hold. It is time we realised that anything that makes it easier to drive on a given route increases our carbon emissions. While recognising the frustrations of slow traffic, the solution is to use less carbon-wasting alternatives like getting freight and people on to rail.
We must all think of everything we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, as the time remaining to safely reach carbon zero is reducing.
Or does Ian McKelvie not care about the unborn generations?
Murray Shaw's "vision" for the future of our port is to divert the Whanganui River through the South Spit.
Years ago, Wanganui City Council commissioned comprehensive, and expensive, reports on the technical and economic potential for a deep-water Whanganui port.
The international port consultant ruled out diverting the river through the South Spit because it does not address the main problem - sand drift southward along the coast. In the past this was dealt with by extending moles, but the old adage applies: If you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same result. The sand keeps coming and the bar keeps building.
The river flow scours the bar and deposits silt into the turning basin. The old harbour board clamshell dredge was effective but needed calm weather to dredge the bar.
When a channel is cut through the bar, the scour will maintain it until a south-westerly storm fills it in.
The consultant suggested several ways to address the problem, but the economic study suggested the capital and operating costs of a deep-water port would probably not be covered by potential revenue.
The suggestion that I liked most was to excavate a big hole upstream from the North Mole to trap the drifting sand. It would have to be reinstated regularly, but that work could be done from the shore and would not be weather-dependent. It seems like a relatively simple - and probably the most economical - long-term way to keep the bar open.
But, let's face it, our port is never going to be deep enough or wide enough for big ships, and we should concentrate on making it a practical destination for coastal shipping. That appears to be pretty much current policy.
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