There are no surpluses

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, March 14th, 2017 - 38 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, disaster, economy, water - Tags: , ,

The “Tasman Tempest” has starkly shown up issues in Auckland – Water infrastructure needs billions in investment

Infrastructure NZ says wastewater and stormwater systems in the region could need up to $20 billion of work.

A wastewater biologist, meanwhile, says partially-treated or untreated wastewater is pumped into Manukau Harbour more than 20 times a year on average, because the city’s largest treatment plant cannot cope with large rainfalls.

But she said the volume of water entering the Mangere Wasterwater Treatment Plant – Auckland’s largest – was likely to have exceeded 16.5 cubic metres per second.

At that point, the water was not even screened, meaning solid faecal matter was likely to have been pumped into Manukau Harbour, Ms Allen said.

“I think [the amount] will just absolutely shock Auckland.”

That was not even a rarity, she said.

Once water entering the plant exceeded nine cubic metres per second, it bypassed part of the treatment system. That happened 20 to 22 times a year, Ms Allen said.

There are no surpluses in NZ right now, not in any real sense. There is only debt, negative externalities and deferred costs.

38 comments on “There are no surpluses”

  1. ropata 1

    We have a surplus of people to make the GDP numbers look good and keep property prices up. Can’t find the article (I think it was on newsroom?) but it argued Auckland still has a lot of old infra from the 1950’s and we need to start again.

  2. How depressing, What really can or could lab and greens do to address all this without being booted out next election? Or is this the tory plot?

  3. BM 3

    This is the end result of Labour changing the local government act in 2002 and giving local councils the right to spend and do whatever they want.

    Surprise, all councils are up to their eyeballs in debt and can’t afford to pay for any infrastructure.

    The Local Government Act 2002 brought about a total change in empowering local bodies. It changed from the ultra vires approach to a more permissive approach that gave local authorities “full capacity to carry on or undertake any activity or business, do any act, or enter into any transaction”.[6]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Government_Act_2002

    Another great legacy of the last Labour government.

    • Keith 3.1

      Here we go, blame something on Labour from 15 years ago, brilliant!

      No its more the right wing mayors and their clone councilor entourage who wanked on for years about rates cuts and rates freezes who contributed nicely. You know the ones who appealed to your bog standard me, me , me Nat voter who can’t think beyond the end of their own nose. The old Auckland City Council is riven with rooted infrastructure as its voters had a habit of voting in Mills and Banks and idiots like that.
      Where was the money ever going to come from for growth and infrastructure investment?

      Anyway I think you want to find blame in history as Nats are so want to do, then go back in time to the Muldoon, then Holyoake governments and further back to the Holland government. Their decisions are to blame! I dont know why but they just are!

    • Sacha 3.2

      Goes back well before 2002. In the old Auckland City Council area it is a result of decades of C&R-dominated councillors voting to skimp on regular maintenance in favour of ‘keeping rates down’. As sensible as deciding not to re-paint your house and then wondering why replacing the whole rotten cladding is expensive.

      (snap, Keith)

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        +111

        Exactly. The problem we have today is the result of RWNJ MPs and other politicians telling people that rates can go down and then cutting necessary services.

    • ropata 3.3

      How bizarre, I thought you would be in favour of Rogernomics style reforms that used a corporate model to deliver core services? Are you saying that you have seen the light and now favour interventionist government?!

      Hallelujah BM has seen the light!

      • BM 3.3.1

        Councils are the definition of incompetence, idiot councillors without any of the required skills, useless lazy staff and no accountability.

        Utter madness giving councils that sort of power, it’s like giving an alcoholic the keys to a pub.

        • ropata 3.3.1.1

          Yes the Auckland megacity merger was royally stuffed up by Rodney Hide and the Gnats, wasn’t it? Running core infrastructure on a corporate model doesn’t help either.

          • greg 3.3.1.1.1

            intensification cant happen until the underground infrastructure has the capacity and who is going to pay national load up the cities population and will not take responsibility for anything BM is a fine example of fuck it up and shoot through like his former great leader key

        • lprent 3.3.1.2

          And governments do not?

          Think about the completely inept National government under Muldoon. They operated as if the country was still in the 1950s

          What exactly is your higher standard? Yourself? Some mythical wankfest from Act that would never work – like the mother of all budgets that caused a decade long recession and blighted a generation of youth.

          Pssshhhhh !!! You are a waste of a brain.

        • To BM.

          Also be utter madness to give the power to Central Government.

          This lot of National MP,s are as useless as tits on a bull.

        • mosa 3.3.1.4

          Yeah BM and giving John Key and his colleagues the keys to the Beehive.

          ” Utter madness “

  4. Wayne 4

    Well, central govt is not going to pay for Watercare’s lack of investment. Watercare has plenty of equity to do it.

    So it has not, and not will have any effect on the central govt books.

    I would note that New Zealand, at the moment seems to have a lot of infrastructure investment going on. There are all sorts of transport projects, both public and roading, as well as lots of broadband. Also quite a lot of education capital investment. Every school in North Shore (10% of the NZ population) seems to be building something substantial.

    • ropata 4.1

      But not houses or apartments…

    • Poission 4.2

      Watercare has plenty of equity to do it.

      15 billion to fix the networks (where you have combined sewage/stormwater) Increase stormwater capacity to account for increased surface runoff from impervious surfaces created by increased infill housing.

      Auckland is beyond its infrastructure capacity,the most obvious and cost efficient solution is to stop immigration immediately.

      PS a lot of the northshore (and nz) education spend is to correct leaky buildings and earthquake strengthening.

    • lprent 4.3

      All that watercare are needs to do is to stop the nett migration to Auckland so they finish doing the infrastructure upgrades they were doing before the super shitty was imposed on Auckland.

      As it is, they are too busy dealing with population increases of about 40k+ per annum.

      So all we have to do is to remove the policy settings for migration from the incompetents in our Wellington government. Then we can do things like tailor migration to the infrastructure and housing.

      FFS you and your incompetent government are pushing responsibility on to Auckland without the required authority and then telling us – the rate payers to pay for it.

      I am unsurprised that the North Shore has lots of government funded building going on. National are always into giving pork to the electorates and voters that support them…

      • Sacha 4.3.1

        Watercare has also been hugely distracted over recent years by its crucial role in support of Nuck Smith’s SHA programme.

  5. inspider 5

    It’s always hilarious when a standard author uncritically accepts the comments from the mouthpiece of an employer organisation.

    Infrastructure NZ represents the owners of companies that make their money digging up roads and putting in drains and things. Of course they are going to push for $20 billion to fix it.

    Floods are not unknown in Auckland so why the hysteria? A quick search shows them happening in 84, 85 x 2, 86, 97 x2, 2000 and 2007 – they are regularly irregular and not that costly according to the insurance council – about $100m over 30 years. Take that 20 billion and bank it and it would earn a couple of billion in interest every year which would more than pay for any claims.

    But hell if you want to chuck money at big business, its your rates bill not mine.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    ”At that point, the water was not even screened, meaning solid faecal matter was likely to have been pumped into Manukau Harbour, Ms Allen said.”

    dirty fucking city folk , fine the lot of them , no in fact hang them from the nearest tree.

    • AB 6.2

      City dwellers don’t make their living from crapping in the harbour. And they don’t make a better living by crapping in the harbour even more. Your (implicit) comparison with dairy farmers is silly.
      A fair point would be to say that the desire of city folk to avoid paying the real economic costs (i.e. proper infrastructure) of their lifestyle results in pollution. That statement is also true of dairy farmers, but there is such a difference in degree that any suggested equivalence is false.

      • bwaghorn 6.2.1

        ”And they don’t make a better living by crapping in the harbour even more.”
        the whole auckland property boom driven by increased population has added vast wealth to many so in fact you are wrong.

        i’ll be waiting for the greens to be suggesting a 5% rates raise on all city dwellers to cover the expansion needed , election gold i reckon .

        • AB 6.2.1.1

          You are still being silly. The contribution any one city dweller makes to the pollution of a harbour is very small compared to the pollution caused by one irresponsible dairy farmer.
          Moreover, the city dweller has far less influence and control over where their crap goes than does a dairy farmer.
          I totally agree that city folks’ unwillingness to face up to the real costs of dealing with their own sh*t leaves them on somewhat shaky ground when making accusations about the pollution effects of intensive dairy farming. But to use this as a sort of lever to silence criticism of farming practices would be totally disproportionate.

          • b waghorn 6.2.1.1.1

            I’m not trying to silence those putting pressure on farmers . I’m pointing out the silent hypocrisy of the media and the greens when it comes to a cities shit in the water.

    • ropata 6.3

      I don’t see city folk draining aquifers & shitting directly into rivers. Our crap is supposed to be processed but this extreme weather event has broken the system.

      Havelock North and ECan have taught us that National put dairy profits ahead of public health.

      • bwaghorn 6.3.1

        i’m not sure why you read my post as condoning the over stocking with dairy cows this country is has under gone ,

        • ropata 6.3.1.1

          Just taking a wild guess from the false equivalence and your desire to lynch city dwellers.

          • bwaghorn 6.3.1.1.1

            just stirring the shit or the manukau harbour , as the case may be, i would save lynching for those truly deserving of it.

  7. Bill 7

    Anyone thinking all that needs doing is to expand present infrastructure is in for a shock. Our infrastructure is designed to cope with conditions that we’re leaving behind. (A 7% increase in air moisture content with every 1 degree C of temperature rise and that then being subject to a vastly quicker rate of ‘drop out’ – ie, much heavier rain – than at present.)

    It needs to be redesigned.

    • weka 7.1

      Composting toilets would take a huge amount of pressure off existing sewerage infrastructure. And has the added advantages of not polluting water, and providing fertiliser, which we are also going to need majorly in changes that are coming.

      Rates rebate, or actual pay back to renters, for people that swap to a composting toilet system.

      Have to say the whole can Aucklanders stop using so much water in an emergency debate is pretty fucking dire though. Sorry Jaffas*, but get a grip.

      *by which I don’t mean all Aucklanders, just the clueless ones.

      • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1

        For those of us living in apartment blocks, there needs to be some system for depositing the compost.

        My concessions to saving more water than usual – I’m pretty tight with how much water I use normally – not having a 2nd shower in a humid sticky day, and not washing my car even though it looks pretty gunky from local tree deposits.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          I think a big part of the Ak water usage annual is from outside use. I don’t know how the factors in with the current situation.

          I’ve lived on tank water a fair few times, so what looks like low use to me is going to be very different. Mostly it’s what we’re used to I think.

          Composting toilets, I was thinking even just a % of people in cities doing that would take the load off, it wouldn’t have to be everyone, or all the time. I know people that have dual systems (myself included). It’s technically possible to run a composting system from an apartment, but might not be the best use of intention and effort unless you are really into it, or into gardening offsite.

          • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1.1.1

            Hmm. Well, maybe OK if I owned the apartment. But I rent a studio with a very small toilet shower area – don’t think the landlord will be into changes there.

  8. Rightly or Wrongly 8

    I would suggest a sharper eye being kept on ACC would help a lot.

    I suspect the 1 billion Phil Goff wants to spend on a new stadium could be put to better use upgrading storm water and waster water treatment plants.

    The large number of employees earning over $100K could have 20% of their pay packets diverted for the same cause. (And their numbers)

    The problem is that fixing stormwater and effluent systems isn’t considered sexy.

    What Mayor wants to say – yup my legacy is I fixed Auckland’s sewage systems?

    Not lets waste money on ‘flagship’ projects like railways or stadiums and forget about the essentials.

    Farmers get hammered for leeching nutrients into water ways however when Auckland has a regularly predictable rainstorm which results in large amounts of raw human waste gets discharged into Manukau harbour – oh who cares, can’t be helped.

  9. Andre 9

    Hopefully someone with actual expertise on the subject like maybe Ad or dukeofurl will show up soon.

    But as I understand it, the Central Interceptor Project that’s already underway will alleviate most of the raw sewage into the harbour events.

    https://www.watercare.co.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/AllPDFs/CentralInterceptorFactsheet.pdf

  10. Saarbo 10

    That last sentence is spot on the mark.

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