Sunday, November 23, 2008

Water shortage

Just sent the following to the Hutt News in response to a series of articles in the last few weeks discussing the future of the Wellington water supply. Greater Wellington Regional Council would apparently like to take more water from the Hutt River, which is ironic to say the least considering that the second item featured on their homepage is about the need to improve river health, and taking more water would have the opposite effect because it increases the likelihood of conditions conducive to the growth of toxic algal mats. The Hutt City Council is opposed to any increase in water taken from the Hutt River. Here is my response ...

It is disturbing to see water conservation getting little mention in the discussion about the Wellington region's increasing demand for water. I appreciate the access we have throughout NZ to electricity and running water in our homes and I acknowledge that this has been made possible by damming rivers. But I wonder if we are reaching the limit of what is reasonable and sensible in terms of damming and taking water from NZ rivers. In my childhood, I played in the creek and swam in rivers every summer. My children do the same when not prevented by algal blooms which we are told occur when the river flow gets too low. I hope my future grandchildren will be able to swim and play in our rivers.

Smarter Homes lists ways to save water, several of which cost nothing at all. Maybe the Hutt News could get involved, calling for readers' suggestions. The Hutt City Council could play a role, for example providing home owners with information and expertise on how to collect roof water for use in the garden. Sourcing the small collection tanks and even subsidising them would probably be cost effective for councils when compared to the expense of new construction work on dams and reservoirs.

Friday, November 07, 2008


The election is tomorrow and despite (or perhaps because of) pouring over party websites with Josiah and Tessa over the last few weeks, I am still undecided as to who to vote for. I have just sent the following to the Green Party:

For the third election in a row, I find myself in agreement with many Green Party policies, especially those relating to the environment, health and tertiary education. Therefore I am considering voting for the Green Party. However, I am very reluctant to allow my vote to contribute to an increase in the harm caused by marijuana in New Zealand, which I believe will come about if your drug policy is implemented.

Are you able to give me any assurance that you will not attempt to push for steps to be taken towards the legalisation of cannabis during this coming term?

Please consider changing your drug policy before the next election. I believe that by making your current drug policy known, even without acting on it, you are sending teenagers the implicit message that cannabis is safe. This has the effect of encouraging them to ignore messages about the damage cannabis use can cause to their brain and their development and about the risk of making poor decisions while under the influence, such as to drive a car.

Just as my children and I are unable to avoid second hand cigarette smoke when we walk through town, wait at a bus stop, attend outdoor events or go camping, we are likely to be exposed to second hand cannabis smoke if your drug policy is implemented.

Thank you for considering my comments.