I cycle to and from my Brooklyn home, where I have enjoyed living with my family since 1981. I play the violin, enjoy tramping and wind surfing. Wellington is a great place to live, and as a region, we do a lot right. But let’s do even better!
Regional councils – almost invisible but really important.
Councils 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 backward, and helping the public become involved.
Greater Wellington made progress on some fronts. The most exciting development would have to be the purchase of new Mating trains with a significant increase in rail patronage, alongside the development of a climate change strategy and Natural Resource Plan.
The Natural Resource Plan incorporates an innovative model which ensures collaborative engagement through the establishment of five whaitua catchment committees. The whaitua committees will develop recommendations for limits related to water quality and quantity.
I worked hard to improve the new bus tender document. However, in the end the tender document remained defective, with its determination to close down trolley buses and remove their supporting infrastructure.
We have gone backward on delivery of sustainable transport this decade. The council supported the destruction of our zero emission trolley network, put in plans for sub-optimal Bus Rapid Transit and double decker hybrids for Wellington city instead of modern light rail. I was part of the design of a progressive fare review, approved over four years ago. However, implementation has been repeatedly delayed, in spite of clear benefits to commuters and fare box recovery of its early implementation in one form or another.
The Government’s expensive, disastrous, unwanted new roads, are being constructed and will feed in thousands of new private vehicles into Wellington city over the next few years, unless other measures are taken.
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 a councillor to stop those wrong decisions and push forward policies that will help individuals to make the transition to the green future.
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 creating 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 our communities. 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. On the positive side, Greater Wellington used a collaborative model to host workshops across the region which then fed into a new single Natural Resource Plan and the new Whaitua committees.
A base study of the polluted Mangatarere Stream has shown the need for a 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 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 may well lead to further high-speed accidents, making a mockery of the recently launched Traffic Safety program, aimed at getting the speed down.
Let’s celebrate the new Matangi trains! Their arrival marks the conclusion of a substantial amount of work upgrading platforms, sub-stations and signaling 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!
We must also modernize our fare structure now with capped daily and monthly fares, free transfers and student discounts. The benefits of high priority bus lanes 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 a 20 to 30% increase in efficiency.
The tragic death of cyclist Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald on 19th June 2008 at the Petone roundabout, led to strong support for a seaward cycle and walk pathway from Petone to Nguaranga, and the plan has now been extended to include the entire route from Melling to Wellington city. I have continued working with pedestrian and cycle advocates to ensure a joined up approach. Wellington City Council has consulted on improvements to the Hutt Road to Thorndon Quay section. However, the faster and potentially much safer seaward side route from Nguaranga to Kaiwharawhara and along Aotea Quay must continue to be investigated, despite its cost.
The Great Harbour Way (GHW) coalition, is 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 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 with 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
Mobile: 021 02719370