“It’s too expensive.” “It’s too fast.” “There’s nothing in it for business.” Bah humbug, Murray!

Here’s the reality …

1. Not unhealthy enough? To get a full sense of the full health impact of poorly heated homes with dirty air, read Elizabeth Sisson’s article elsewhere in this Digest. Forget the fact that poor people are sick, Murray … think about the lost worker productivity, as described by the Business Council for Sustainable Development. Broaden your cost-benefit perspective!

2. Too fast? As Murray noted, the new air standard was promulgated back in 2004. HBRC has sat on its hands till late in the game, now complaining it needs more time. Meanwhile, 30 of 39 regional councils in NZ are on track to fully comply by the 2013 deadline. HBRC’s stance, not becoming of you, Murray, is “let them stay sick seven extra years.”

3. Too expensive? Think of it as a business opportunity, Murray … an $11 million infrastructure investment. How many jobs would be created and sustained by manufacturing the required higher efficiency woodburners (as you know, Murray, the leading manufacturers are right here in Hawke’s Bay), or solar heating systems, or heat pumps, and then installing them. Plus insulating the homes. Probably employ more craftsmen this way than spending $11 million on roadbuilding. I can think of plenty of things in our Councils’ budgets that I’d rather NOT spend money on than improving the health of our poorest residents.

4. More expensive energy? Even the National-led Government is committed to getting 90% of our electricity from renewable sources, Murray. And if we insulate the homes properly, we can keep consumption levels down. We should happily trade clean electricity for unhealthy air.

Just take a deep breathe, Murray!

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1 Comment

  1. Healthy Air, It is too expensive,

    Bah ! Humbug !, Tom to your column, The Faster the better”.

    Here is the reality !

    1. You have no idea what is ‘dirty air’. I come from Leeds, UK, which used to be, before I left in the mid 60’s the second worst city in UK. I didn’t leave because of the pollution, but because the city had a 5% un-employment as the norm. My father died at 96 years of age just 9 years ago, but not from pollution effects. My step mother died earlier this year at 93 yrs of age, sorry, but not from lung related problems. I have friends in their 80’s, still somehow managing to survive the gross pollution of that city over the last 60 years. I can honestly say I am not aware of anyone within my circle of knowledge that lived in Leeds succumbing to lung problems or pollution effects.

    As a result of the Olympics, we are all very aware of the levels of pollution in Saigon, China, but nobody seems prepared to publish the death rate that can be actually attributed, directly, to pollution. And I don’t mean the trend to include anyone who died that however remotely might be attributed to air pollution.

    I am more convinced we are being bombarded with statistics that are biased to proving the point they want us to believe. Remember, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. And I would suggest we are being fed more than just damned lies.

    2.You talk about 30 Councils following like lemans’ the directives of a dictatorial Government. Well, I guess like you, they are either Socialist or Green or just plain subservient bodies who do what they are told, without question. Sorry, Tom, but I was taught, back at school, when free thinking was encouraged, to ask “Why”. And so far, no one has been able to give me a satisfactory answer, other than the Government says so.

    And you are wrong, the HBRC didn’t sit on it’s hands since 2004, it, like myself they have been shouting the odds ever since. It is just the likes of yourself that very belatedly and in ignorance, without researching the facts, now try to blame others for your own laise-fair attitude. You make a reference to people staying sick seven extra years. Can you produce evidence, and I do mean evidence, not more of your damned statistics to substantiate even a grain of truth in that accusation.

    3.Too expensive ! Like the politicians, you prefer to use mirrors and half truths as to the cost. Here in Napier, we exceed these ridiculous standards on 5 nights a year, you express that as a percentage, and then equate that with the number of people that will be out and about in that so called pollution. Look at Hasting, that is terrible, there it is 28 nights a year. Do the same statistics. Now justify the projected Capital Cost of $40 million to substantiate those percentages.

    Now we are expected to pay, through the Regional Council, a subsidy of $11 million. But you prefer to ignore that that is only, at best a third of the cost to individual households. Back when submissions were made to the Rates Review, what a waste of time that was, other than to defuse a hot topic for the Labour Government. At that time the Regional Council estimated the cost to the people of Hawke’s Bay as being $34 million. Yes, even back then the HBRC were trying to make this issue needing debate. I do not think it unreasonable to assume the figure today would be $40 million.

    And of course then we will have the ongoing costs of maintaining a police force to ensure we do not break this stupid law. That cost has not been quantified as far as I am aware, but I guess we can add a $250,000 pa to the Rates.

    4.Tom, just take a deep breath and make an appointment to meet your Bank Manager, and hope, in this era of “NO” to increased personal borrowing, unless, of course you are a Public Servant and have a guaranteed job, with annual increased ahead of inflation and the average wage increases, to borrow the necessary Capital Costs and the increased annual running costs of this pipe dream.

    5.Finally, having covered the capital cost of replacing your polluting range, which economically heated your water for showers and washing, provided a hot oven to do your baking and cooking a good old fashioned roast. It also heated your home and kept it free from damp and the risks of colds, flu and pneumonia. Just how are you going to afford the daily costs of the electrical alternatives, and I would suggest this could be at least three times the cost of my efficient wood burning range. And are we not simply shifting the smell, at a very expensive price from the householder to the power generators. My goodness, the mind boggles, the lakes are going to run dry before we even get into winter.

    No, Tom, just take a deep breath, and really think about the consequences, don’t just picture your version of Utopia and ignore the costs and consequences.

    Now, before you leap into an issue, do what Journalists in my day were taught, and do your homework and research. Don’t just jump on what looks like a good fashionable bandwagon.


    Philip M Ward

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