I am a Meteorologist and a MetService lead forecaster and bike daily to and from my Brooklyn home, where I have lived for the last 30 years. with my family. Wellington is a great place to be, and we do a lot right. But we can do better.
Regional councils – almost invisible but really important.
We decide many of the things that are key to a green economy – the management of coasts, rivers and lakes; control of major transport decisions; provision of regional parks and other services; and overseeing regional development.
A Greens councillor can make a difference … raising issues that otherwise wouldn’t be on the agenda, spotting and fighting the proposals that would take us backwards, and helping the public become involved.
Over the last year Greater Wellington has made progress on some fronts. I’m confident that my voice and my vote helped us get there.
The most exciting would have to be the purchase of Baring Head and the new Matangi trains, but many of the lower profile gains are equally valuable. We are about to get real time information, a new regional policy statement that provides better policies on climate change and related issues, and a rescue plan for Porirua Harbour.
But we are also going backwards, particularly on transport, where the council is likely to give in and support the Government’s expensive, disastrous, unwanted new roads. Strong green voices in the council are essential if we are to get out of the “business as usual” mentality. Personal efforts, through things like transition towns, matter. But they will achieve much less if the big government decisions on things like roads are wrong. It’s my job as councillor to stop those wrong decisions, and push forward policies that will help individuals to make the transition to the green future.
I also had the honor of acting as one of the Judges of the 2009 Sustainable Business Network awards.
Love it – protect it
A smart green economy starts with what’s important:
- looks after our planet and makes sure human needs are met
- uses the technologies which will achieve this
- adopting a whole-of-life cycle approach to create a revitalized local economy with nothing wasted
In the natural world, waste from one process provides nutrients for another.
Linking councils with community
In May 2009, I worked together with Transition Towns on Pathways to Resilient Communities, a forum linking councils with community. This consultation informed our Regional Policy and Climate Change strategy, and gave us the tools to become sustainable, and decrease our carbon footprint regionwide. The conversations we have do matter, so Greater Wellington is now using a collaborative model to host workshops across the region to be fed into a new single Natural Resource Plan.
A base study of the polluted Mangatarere Stream has shown the need for whole of catchment treatment with stringent water consents. To avoid a second rate environment in the future, Greater Wellington needs to combine the supply of potable water and the treatment of waste and storm water, with the ecologically efficient methods of rain water collection and grey water recycling.
I have worked hard, together with Green MP Sue Kedgeley, for technology to ‘recapture’ the dangerous fumigant Methyl Bromide when used on export logs from CentrePort. We can congratulate ourselves on the movement to fumigation within containers, but we need to keep the pressure on for the full use of recapture technology.
Transport…. for you
Transport is about much more than cars, trucks and rail….It is about restoring a heart to all our towns and cities.
Government’s “Roads of National Importance” proposal will result in unnecessary road capacity and community severance. It will increase traffic speed and feed more vehicles into already congested Wellington streets. New expressways, like Karo Drive, may well lead to further high speed accidents, making a mockery of the recently launched Traffic Safety program, aimed at getting speed down.
Lets celebrate the arrival of the first new Matangi trains! Their arrival marks the conclusion of a substantial amount of work upgrading platforms, sub-stations and signalling systems and double tracking and electrification to Waikanae. The next step must be to take a tram train connection from Wellington railway station to give us all a seamless ride through the Golden Mile to Newtown and the Airport!
Real time information is being installed on buses, and this will result in a step change in timeliness of services. We must also simplify and modernize our fare structure. The benefits of high priority bus lanes, plus real time information, will be enhanced if we move to a network model that makes it easy to transfer between routes and services. Altogether, this could lead to an 20 to 30% increase in efficiency.
The tragic death of cyclist Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald on 19th June 2008 at the Petone roundabout, has lead to the NZ Transport Agency’s recommendation of a seaward cycle and walk path from Petone to Horokiwi. The Great Harbour Way (GHW) coalition, which includes Mayoral contender Celia Wade-Brown, is campaigning hard for
for a safe cycle and walkway around the complete harbor. My personal goal is to see safe cycling paths on all arterial routes, along with speed reductions on other shared roads.
The recent purchase of the iconic Baring Head property at the entrance to the Harbour, means that the Greater Wellington Regional Council can now look to create an exciting heritage walking and cycling trail from Wellington to the Hutt River Trail, the Rimutaka Rail Trail, Palliser Bay, and then around the south coast with a final stop-over point at the Baring Head lighthouse complex before rejoining the Great Harbour Way.
New Zealanders are looking for change, for the Power of Solar and Wind. Moving away from fossil fuel, will improve safety, employment, and resilience.
Greater Wellington support for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s home insulation and clean heating scheme through a targeted rate, can be extended to other environmentally friendly investments.
Call or email me to share YOUR vision for Wellington region.
phone: 04 9728699 cellphone:021 02719370