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Will our cities revive?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, September 5th, 2020 - 43 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, covid-19, Environment, health, public transport, sustainability, transport, uncategorized, welfare - Tags:

Our cities are the nation’s lungs; they recycle and accelerate external goods and transform them internally into faster circulation. Auckland and Christchurch have had tens of billions invested in them over successive local and central governments, but has this improved our strength or wealth as a country at all? Has it all, through fate, been misdirected?

The Christchurch revitalisation arose out of the multiple earthquakes of the previous decade.

The Auckland CBD rebuild was a collection of projects that were done in time for APEC, America’s Cup 36, and a variety of other now cancelled or now-tiny events. Tens upon tens of billions of dollars went into both in the last decade.

We’re now pretty used to seeing the urban impact of Covid 19 on the United States. But it’s time to turn the camera onto us. New Zealand is more used to natural disasters. We reacted to the floods in Southland earlier this year with big stop-bank projects to protect towns and farms. But our reaction to natural disasters on their own don’t do anything to stem injustice and inequality.

For our cities, we have yet to identify the specific kinds of renewal that we are going to need that will protect us from this happening again within the same degree of devastating social and economic impact. New York, for example, did not react to the snow blizzard of 1888 by stockpiling snow shovels. It created an entire infrastructure of subterranean electricity and transit. The disaster we are in now has occurred fast and is also slow-rolling, and its damage on our cities is just as far reaching as that 1888 blizzard.

The greatest lesson of the outbreak may be that our modern cities are inadequate to keep us safe in this new context. Safe not only from coronaviruses, but also from other lung-and-blood damaging diseases. Cities are where 84% of NZ live.

We have also redesigned our two main cities over two decades to have higher density living. But crowding of any kind is now a key risk factor in disease transmittal.

This points to areas around which the state needs to completely re-organise itself and society within those two cities:

1. Clinical Healthcare

New Zealand has a partial pay healthcare system, in which the richest have private healthcare that gives them much faster access and to higher quality services, with the great majority of us waiting in line for pretty average healthcare that takes waaaay too long to happen. Ask anyone who’s been to an NZ public A and E, or even needed a scan.

Part of the redesign of a safe city is a guarantee of universal and free public healthcare, which is resourced enough to respond with speed to further fast outbreaks. We’ve had to turn over car parks to become clinical testing stations. Even hospital oxygen capacity would have been missing if more had got really sick. No doubt we’ve made big advances over successive Labour governments to make universal and free healthcare more free. But it isn’t yet enough to reverse the inequality-accelerated health damage of a pandemic.

In fact Christchurch shows us doing the reverse. At precisely the point that we need a generous public health system, we are opening a large new building in Christchurch to renew the hospital system of Christchurch. But we can’t afford the medical staff to make them any use to us.

Rather than continue to underfund Christchurch to rein in the deficit, recognise that DHB’s actually need a lot more money to start with, and pay them. The proposed DHB reforms barely touched upon this most massive of health crises.

In an age of pandemics that will continue in the years ahead, universal and free healthcare is not just a safety net, it is a matter of national security

2. City-Living Lungs

We can see that breathing is a public health good. Weird to say right? We’ve known it for smoking, which kills around 5,000 people per year in New Zealand either directly or from second hand smoke.

We’ve known for about two decades that around 400 people per year over 30 die each year from vehicle particulates.

Respiratory risk from living in cities is now the key public health risk of our time, because it focuses together smoking, urbancombusion engine particulates, and pandemic response into one organ: our lungs. We are a long way from integrated social marketing to the national risk to our lungs, but that’s where public health policy needs to go. We’re still stumbling towards individual tracing.

3. City Travel and Broadband

Who wants to travel on Auckland or Christchurch’s public transport now? Public transport has grudgingly improved in Auckland and Christchurch after decades of dedicated public servants wresting projects and programmes away from ideological death. But now, future demand modelling will be impossible to forecast properly for years to come. Maybe we have to redesign our public transport to have seats more like Business Class alcoves. The current design has unsupportable risk for us all.

Private car use upon which both Auckland and Christchurch are so dependent, will be more trusted. People will be quite reasonably retreating to their safe cars rather than public transport. They will prefer time penalties to pandemic risk. And yet parking is now such a high stress and high cost.

The government needs to mandate government departments and entities to work from home, and to subsidise broadband to the home to do so. The muddled advice from the State Services Commission to encourage public servants to go to work, in order to support downtown shops, was so wrong-headed, so dangerous.

What the State Services Comission need to concentrate on is broadband poverty. Because people won’t want to take public transport, and parking is so very hard to get, they will at all costs work from home. So broadband poverty at home becomes even more important in our two large cities than transport poverty. Government needs to greatly subsidise us to stay at home and be locked in place, ready for the next hit – and to sustain as much economic and social activity as possible from there. Winter fuel subsidies are one thing: broadband is now where we spend our modern lives: work and school and play.

4. Welfare

We are now in the pointy bit of what Bernard Hickey calls the K Recovery; where the rich diverge ever faster upwards from the crisis point, and the poor accelerate downwards.

Almost by accident, and without debate, the Labour-led Government has delivered the biggest shot of cash and monetary support to the wealthy in the history of New Zealand, while giving nothing to the renters, the jobless, students, migrants, and the working poor who mostly voted it in.”

What he’s pointing to with a little hyperbole is the need to increase welfare payments quickly. Very soon the Winter Heating Supplement will come off, the mortgage “holidays” will at some point be discontinued, the wage subsidies come off, and the reality of a 10% hit to GDP will be felt on all jobs. We need to urgently lift welfare payments. And to do so evenly.

5. Housing Poverty

Houses are the sinew and muscle and skin of the city. Like oxygen and lactic acid, almost all our exchanges of good and of damage occur right there. The need to redouble our speed of social housing construction is a massive need in a Covid-19 world. People with low incomes in South Auckland are more likely to be of Pasifika descent. A lot of them work in night shifts cleaning and in security and in warehouses, in care facilities, cleaning, and at the airport. They are more likely than others to live in multigenerational households, making pathway of transmission more varied. Risk.

Each overcrowded and low income house is a higher risk of accelerating future spreads to be a fast and vast disease spread. We know this already, but not to the point it required entire national or regional lockdowns for months on end. It’s like the pandemic writ all our existing social faults in sky-high letters.

Now, there’s more to cover about our cities, like buildings and air conditioning, the fate of sequestered hotels, and the fate of apartment living. But that’s enough.

None of the above is new. All of it was known. The pandemic has made it far worse, far faster, and far more urgent to address. We are about to start creating a new way to operate within our cities. Gone are the pulsing crowds across grand boulevards that urban designers set down by 20th century designers and are now nearing completion. Gone is our world of food culture, eating out, freewheeling cafes, trying on clothes, the great urbaniste constellation of shopping as pleasure.

Welcome home, however lonely or crowded or difficult it is.

All put together this is a vision of 21st century NZ cities remade with public health in mind. We will be closer to each other in the house, we will go out to work and shop less, we will use airports less, we will be more focused on our home and our immediate shops, we will focus on hygiene, everywhere in the city, we will behave as if we are all more anxious about any impact on our lungs. We have got none of the public policy mechanisms around this yet.

Our cities must change to live with perpetual pandemics.

43 comments on “Will our cities revive? ”

  1. bwaghorn 1

    It seems insane that government leaves dhbs in debt ,write a fucking cheque you stupid fuckers.

    Fuck all this shovel ready shit just put money into those that need its pockets ,they'll spend it .

    As for traffic and housing ,sell up and move to the provinces, shit I think I'm hard done by if I have to stop at the intersection for 30 seconds .

    • Molly 1.1

      I agree.

      Shovel-ready projects were often projects that had already been considered — and turned down because the cost outweighed the benefits. Citing numbers of jobs, without saying if those jobs were permanent or not is not good enough.

      The debacle with the Taranaki green school is an example of how stimulating the economy by suggesting people/businesses apply, instead of identifying need and putting the resources in place to deliver, is flawed.

      There are so many identified areas of need, that picking up government services that were underfunded seems like a better place to start. But I suspect they were looking to appease the vocal of the business community who were baying for blood.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      There's nothing in the provinces to make it worth moving to. No jobs, no socialising, no education, no art, nothing.

      If the government, and all of NZ, want to develop the regions then they actually have to get those things there first. The Regional Development Fund was always going to fail because it simply wasn't doing what was needed and actually develop the regions.

      • Stuart Munro 1.2.1

        In Asia, when the regional government want development, high on their list are markets – a bit like our farmer's markets, but a bit less flash. The point being to stimulate all those low level productive activities that need an outlet, and also develop those artisanal regional differences, like Jura's Morbrier, or the hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake, or Iberian ham.

        The other thing they do is to seed their local agriculture institutes with specialists in horticulture, or aquaculture, or fisheries technology, so that locals can start new ventures informed by the experience of the best operators. Sadly in NZ the small operators, who contrary to neoliberal myth are the real drivers of innovation, are inevitably neglected in favour of large producer-board descended monopsonies.

        This is where some of that cash should have been shoveled, rather than the uniformly large and already amply capitalized outfits that always have their hands out.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          In Asia, when the regional government want development, high on their list are markets – a bit like our farmer's markets, but a bit less flash.

          Markets can help boost the service economy that help make a place liveable.

          The other thing they do is to seed their local agriculture institutes with specialists in horticulture, or aquaculture, or fisheries technology, so that locals can start new ventures informed by the experience of the best operators.

          I've though for awhile that, if the government wanted to get Northland going, they'd put a university in at Kaitaia.

          Sadly in NZ the small operators, who contrary to neoliberal myth are the real drivers of innovation, are inevitably neglected in favour of large producer-board descended monopsonies.

          Small businesses are, generally speaking, less innovative than a rock:

          The bulk of small businesses being created, in short, are not particularly innovative ones. Few spend any money on research or development, getting a patent, or otherwise trademarking a new idea. Most simply help provide already-crowded markets with familiar goods such as legal work or gas or nearby groceries. Nor are they growing businesses either. “[M]ost surviving small businesses do not grow by any significant margin,” the economists write. “Most firms start small and stay small throughout their entire lifecycle.”

          We've really got to get away from the delusional idea that small businesses are what drives an economy.

          • Stuart Munro 1.2.1.1.1

            We've really got to get away from the delusional idea that small businesses are what drives an economy.

            They can be, and I think that counterexamples to your study would not be hard to find. Perhaps it needs to be decided what our end is, which might be something along the lines of creating something of a rising tide within our economy – the moreso because the Covid issues seem likely to send some of us down the plughole.

            Our object is not to find the next disruptive techentrepreneur, but folk who can, by adapting to changing circumstances, make a go of things and thereby support themselves and their communities. There was a time when NZ farmers were such a group, though they are increasingly corporate these days.

            It is well established that stimulus funding of the kind being shoveled out at present with gay abandon, is most effective the further down in the economy it reaches. But the 'shovel ready' projects might have been specifically designed to achieve the very opposite. You or your neighbour will not be glomming a tranche of this unusual government largesse – those monies are destined for well capitalised corporate customers that might, in the fullness of time, produce political donations.

            A loyal opposition or a critical media would be all over such naked corruption with big boots on – but sadly these roles are presently vacant.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1.1

              They can be, and I think that counterexamples to your study would not be hard to find.

              From my link:

              Fewer than half started a business because they “had a good business idea.” Many chose to start a business for “non-pecuniary” benefits, like being your own boss and keeping flexible hours.

              This is what we're getting from small business in the main. Even my own small businesses through the years have been this – just doing what others are already doing in a crowded market place. The competition was fierce.

              Our object is not to find the next disruptive techentrepreneur, but folk who can, by adapting to changing circumstances, make a go of things and thereby support themselves and their communities.

              This is getting it completely wrong. It has always been, and always will be, the community that has supported business and not the other way around.

              It is well established that stimulus funding of the kind being shoveled out at present with gay abandon, is most effective the further down in the economy it reaches.

              No its not – as my link shows.

              The shovel ready projects are also wrong as they're failing to build up the community first to support those projects. This is in-line with standard neo-liberal teachings put so well by Thatcher when she said that there is no society. I find it amusing that, if you follow her logic, then there is also no such thing as family.

              What's needed is a clear plan. That plan shouldn't come from government nor should it have solely the sign off of the government. That plan needs to be made, and signed off, by the community itself so that they are helping themselves even if the money is coming from government (which, when you really think about it, is where the money should always come from because as the resources come from the nation as a whole).

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    @Advantage….Wow that was pretty awesome ! And you definitely raise some great points. Have you seen/heard about this?

    https://bfforgnz.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/bff-manifesto.pdf

    Just an FYI for anyone….I try to live as Sustainably as possible. (After a little bit of Thinking…you just Do It. Easy). I dont fly anywhere. I Bike wherever possible. (Its not that hard. I'm continually amazed how many people jump in the car to drive a km..or less : (

    I engage with People. I find…there are many who…just get it. Who really wants to hand over a festering shithole to the next generation?

    There are many who, while not Greenies (funny how they woudnt want to be thought of as…) actually ARE : )

    • Sabine 2.1

      why does one have to be a card carrying member to be 'green'? What if one is just sensible, not a dick, needs no group affiliation? And there are greens that consider electric cars with all the assorted waste and recycling problem 'green'. go figure.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.1.1

        Well…just from what you post…you seem to have Issues.: ) Anyway….

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        And there are greens that consider electric cars with all the assorted waste and recycling problem 'green'.

        Yeah, haven't figured that one out myself yet. Yes, an electric car is more environmentally friendly than a gas guzzling one but, overall, is still bad for the environment due to still needing excessive roads, pollution from tyres and the lack of recycling. The latter can be fixed but the other two are ongoing problems that will always be connected to cars.

        • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.1.2.1

          Hmmm well I can agree on some of this. The Battery seems to be a major….I try to keep up with the Tech…and its kinda like the laptop now having equivalence to an old room size "computer." Science I think, will have an answer….

          Still there probably is (the Human Condition an all : ) an element of "look at me,look at me, in my E car" : )

          Anyway…On My Bike : )

        • Sabine 2.1.2.2

          we have yet to figure out how to recycle our computer and mobile phone waste but surely any day know we gonna do that and then lithuim batteries are just a day or several hundereds away.

          Never mind the devastation caused by lithium mining, but again it ain't happening here just somewhere far away south america or so, so it don't bother us. right?

          We really have to get to the point where greenwashing is seen as fucked up as not giving a shit in the first place.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2.1

            we have yet to figure out how to recycle our computer and mobile phone waste

            No. We know how – we just don't because it costs more than using new sourced resources.

            Which really is a failure of the pricing system in our market driven economy resulting in uneconomic practices.

            Never mind the devastation caused by lithium mining, but again it ain't happening here just somewhere far away south america or so, so it don't bother us. right?

            A few years ago on here I linked an article that pointed out that 500 tonnes of lithium got washed down the Waikato River every year. That lithium came from the steam used to generate power in a geothermal power station. 500 tonnes of lithium can produce a lot of batteries and, yet, no one seems to want to catch it.

            Another example of our economic system failing to produce an economic outcome.

            • Sabine 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Figure out – has got nothing to do with knowing, it just simply means we have yet to figure out what to do with our waste now that we can' t send it to China anymore for our 'out of sight out of mind ' state of mind. We have yet to figure it out. Maybe in a years time we have enough wretched poor people here in NZ to have them work the electronic waste like they do in china / india. By hand, with no protection etc. That would be cheap enough, rigth?

              And yes, how devastating would be the contraption that would be needed to capture these 500 tonnes of lithium so that people can drive 'green' cars and thus don't have to change their way of life.

              Cause at the end of the day, its that what we need to change , our way of life. And that we don't want.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Figure out – has got nothing to do with knowing, it just simply means we have yet to figure out what to do with our waste now that we can' t send it to China anymore for our 'out of sight out of mind ' state of mind. We have yet to figure it out.

                We used to know. We knew that recycling and reuse was better hence glass milk bottles.

                And then, sometime in the 1970s, we started hearing from business people that recycling cost more and from there we became a non-recycling nation that now has to re-develop a recycling nature and infrastructure to support it.

                Maybe in a years time we have enough wretched poor people here in NZ to have them work the electronic waste like they do in china / india.

                Do either of those nations actually recycle?

                I've seen pictures of huge dumps of e-waste that has been exported there but not actually used. It is, of course, poisoning the ground that its breaking down upon.

                And yes, how devastating would be the contraption that would be needed to capture these 500 tonnes of lithium

                Apparently, not very:

                There are two main sources of lithium: mines and brine water. Most of the world’s lithium (87 percent) comes from the latter source. Among brine water sources, briny lakes (known as salars) offer the highest concentration of lithium (1,000 to 3,000 parts per million). The salars with the highest lithium concentrations are located in Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

                Brine extracting of lithium.

                Lithium obtained from salars is recovered in the form of lithium carbonate, the raw material used in lithium ion batteries. The production process is fairly straightforward and requires only natural evaporation, which leaves behind not only lithium, but also magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium.

                The lithium content of ocean water is far lower, hovering around 0.17 parts per million. However, about 20 percent of the lithium in seawater can be recovered using a combination of membranes, filters, and ion-exchange resins.

                But its not about having lithium for cars. Lithium is used for far more than cars. Its about having lithium for use and then properly reusing it.

                Cause at the end of the day, its that what we need to change , our way of life. And that we don't want.

                QFT

                We do need to change and most people don't want to do that.

  3. Sabine 3

    As bwaghorn says, move to the provinces, and honestly i would assume a hole lot would, but then, ….

    • Jobs – hardly any, specially for women
    • housing – the same issues in the provinces as in Auckland, lots of empty holiday homes, non for rental and above all no decent rentals
    • health – try finding a dentist or a GP that still takes patients most rural areas are underserved, also lack of clinics and small hospitals – so if you have a health issue you might want to live near a hospital
    • schools – well lets not have that debate again, but yeah, the government could just write a check to all the un – insulated, moldy, old schools for a retrofitting of the windows to double glazed but i guess it ain't sexy and exiting and 'green'

    first thing that any government should do is to get businesses to settle in another town then AKL, like literally put a stop to office building and such ot AKL. Tokoroa, Morrinsville, Hastings, Gisborne, Whakatane, Te Puke etc all could do with a call centre or something like it.

    but just moving to the provinces is easier said then down, and besides the provinces are currently shit outta luck if those pesky Aucklanders don't come over the weekend to spend some dollars, cause that is how fucked up it is.

    • Ad 3.1

      So… that's a no to moving 84% of us to small towns then.

      • Graeme 3.1.1

        Well economic "growth" in New Zealand for the last 70 years has been moving activity and people from provincial centres to Auckland. Going to take a concerted effort from Government, business and Gaia to turn that around.

        • PsyclingLeft.Always 3.1.1.1

          Ah, yes….that was sped up by the 80's/90's neolib "Restructure" . So NZ "Centralised" to…Auckland? wtf?

          More people to sit in traffic jams…which needed more …and more roading network.

          The creaking Infrastructure which seemingly no one wants to be responsible for. The (aptly named) Super Shitty.

          Re Provinces…NZ "first" Jones and "his" largesse, what BS…Cmon Willow Jean…kick him to touch !

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Need to get infrastructure into those small towns first.

        And then, as LPrent has pointed out before, there are a number of industries around that actually require the high density of Auckland simply because they provide the high levels of creativity that such high density can provide and small towns simply don't have.

      • bwaghorn 3.1.3

        Of course we dont want all 84% of you we only want the ones intelligent enough to know that sitting for hours in traffic or on buses is dumb. And want affordable housing. Every 6 people created another job in a community I recall reading. So tw retired folk and a clever young couple with two kids gets the ball rolling .

        Covids taught you lot that you can operate away from the coffee machine gossip ,come on out here and bring your liberal progressive thoughts to us hicks.

        • Sabine 3.1.3.1

          Covid thought us nothing so far, like literally nothing, and looking at our selected beige suits in government they are not learning either.. And not all of us work in offices. Good grief, you are usually better then that.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.2

          Every 6 people created another job in a community I recall reading.

          So, what you're saying is that small towns have six times more people than jobs?

          Yeah, there's a reason why most people left small towns.

      • Sabine 3.1.4

        not sure where i said that, but again, i am talking about people who as of 'today' don't live in small towns.

        I moved 4 years ago to Rotorua, and the only reason i have a job today is because i created one. Never mind covid and all that bull, but the shit that was levelled here against people like me since the outbreak of covid makes you wonder tho.

        So if you started out living in a small town, or moved there with a job offer in hand or because you have family there you be in a better position then someone who has not job offer, no family there and maybe say is unemployed, but i guess that went over your head feeling all sad and upset.

  4. KJT 4

    Good summary of immediate needs for action.

  5. Patricia Bremner 5

    None of the pandemic movies came close. It is actually the failure of social norms we need to fear most. Social effects of the virus, affecting our togetherness, causing changes in how we live and act.

    Looking round the world, people who have not learned to put off gratification are becoming angry and impatient with restrictions, and then going to google etc for answers and finding conspiracy theories. Their reckless disregard of health edicts is scary.

    Individualism has not prepared us well for working together as a village. "Six months", they cry, "When will it end?" The answer is painful from any direction.

    We do feel far less trusting and more vulnerable after this second wave. We want someone to blame. We want what we had before, safer cleaner with no transmission.

    Grief has stages, and we appear to be struggling with these as we examine past obviously flawed thinking. A digital future, with simulated travel and virtual offices?

    The future shock of this is huge, and the disparities caused by our neo liberal capitalism, the speed of social change and the future health and economic needs will be a rolling maul of problems to be faced, with climate change and sea level rise a cause of change as well.

    The failure of 'austerity', the courage to "oil the wheels" of the economy through providing social work food and shelter while building good state education and health services lies ahead.

    Let us hope the Government is big enough to form a whole of government plan, using all the many skilled people out there to pull together an action plan as they have done with the virus. Putting basics in place.

    Our ability to work together for the greater good, has never been more needed and education about how to help each other never more important. Giving time to food banks community gardens and neighbourhood watch being some small useful actions, gossiping with mates less constructive and actively hurtful.

    'We are all in this together" belies the fact that some can buy space a reliable digital fortress, education and health care. Gated communities with reliance on others to come and do chores has been a vector for the virus, yet we are quick to label extended families a spreader.

    Empowering the poor and disadvantaged with sufficient income to live contributing lives, where they have time to dream and plan, rather than just exist, is the first need the Government could provide. Shelter which costs no more than 25% of any income, free health care and education are the foundations of a decent prosperous society.

    Social policy has always been the antidote for economic pain.

    Our celebrations farewells and ways of travel and work will all change. Our use of carparks as pop-up testing is like the subways as bomb shelters during world war 11

    I am an optimist and feel sure we will overcome this, just as we did smallpocks and tuberculosis. Those diseases ravaged communities world wide as well.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Very thoughtful very good Patricia Bremner. Good summary of how we are I feel.

      • Patricia Bremner 5.1.1

        thanks greywarshark. I used TB as an example of a controlled disease, but apparently over use of antibiotics has created a resistant strain. Polio would have been a better choice.

  6. Grafton Gully 6

    "Respiratory risk from living in cities is now the key public health risk of our time, because it focuses together smoking, urbancombusion engine particulates, and pandemic response into one organ: our lungs."

    And the risk of adverse health effects from indoor fire smoke.

    The current Auckland bylaw allows wood burners, but even when the regulations are followed there is always smoke production, especially when the fire is first lit and new fuel added.

    When gas and electric heaters and heat pumps are easily available alternatives, the emotional attachment to burning wood is a weak argument when there is good evidence how harmful the smoke is to public health.

    The photo at the head of the link shows smoke from a compliant wood burner. Educate city dwellers about the adverse health effects and then pass a new bylaw to totally ban it.

    https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2017/05/new-bylaw-for-indoor-domestic-fires/

    • Foreign waka 6.1

      Fire wood is still a lot cheaper than electricity and mark my words, this will be more so in the next couple of years.

      Many poor families do not use any heater powered by electricity at all because of affordability. Elderly are lying in bed during winter to avoid costs. Unheated houses become cold and damp and once the mould is established its difficult to get rid off. Asthma is prevalent in NZ.

      To take any means of affordable heating away can only come from those who have plenty and try to impress in an dictatorial manner their beliefs. This only will only provoke aggression from those who are "forcefully" converted for the "good of all of us".

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Fire wood is still a lot cheaper than electricity and mark my words

        Citation needed.

        But, tell me, does electric heating add to the increased dying as fires do?

        How much is a life worth?

        Unheated houses become cold and damp and once the mould is established its difficult to get rid off. Asthma is prevalent in NZ.

        Yes, our houses are cold and amp – always have been. That's why the standards need to be raised even more up to full Passive House standards.

        To take any means of affordable heating away can only come from those who have plenty and try to impress in an dictatorial manner their beliefs.

        This is a response from the failed market system which fails to take into account that things can be changed.

        A better solution is to re-nationalise power and make power free for all households up to a certain amount. That certain amount will be enough to warm a house but anything over that will be charged at astronomical amounts so as to discourage excessive use.

        Hey, look at that, still a market solution but it will actually work.

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.1

          A much better solution would be to have abundant and cheap electricity in the first place. For everyone, everywhere.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1

            The problem with that idea is that it will still produce those who don't have enough.

            The re-nationalisation and free block is necessary to address the poverty brought about by a capitalist market system.

  7. Grafton Gully 7

    "Private car use upon which both Auckland and Christchurch are so dependent, will be more trusted. People will be quite reasonably retreating to their safe cars rather than public transport. They will prefer time penalties to pandemic risk. And yet parking is now such a high stress and high cost."

    We are probably about as good as animals can get at walking upright. But walking, the transport mode we are ideally suited to takes second place to transport machines like cars, bikes, buses, trains.

    Urban design so that dwellings and workplaces were walking distance apart would be more efficient, environmentally friendly and human.

  8. Pat 8

    Will our cities revive?

    No….we but need to look at what has happened (or rather hasnt) in Christchurch the post quake period to see we are incapable of changing paradigm…..but we have refined rhetoric to a fine art.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTrj2f9t3So

    • Robert Guyton 8.1

      I agree with Pat. Their time has passed. It will take a while before the devotees grasp what's happened.

  9. Byd0nz 9

    Nationalize the infrastructure that was built for the people by the people in the first place. The railways employed many throughout the whole land, they carried the freight to the towns and cities where it was then delivered by local people. Power companies stole from us for their greedy investors instead of redistibuting back to the owners, us. As soon as Kirk was killed and Muldoon sold off the infrastructure that was when the rich did get richer and the poor did get poorer and the gap still grows. Capitalism sucks, ban the stock market. Ha ga dream on if you think anything is going to change.(note to self, lol)

  10. PsyclingLeft.Always 10

    Auckland Harbour Bridge….

    The network is one that doesn't handle events like this well, Walker said.

    "You can't build your way of of it forever and we're going to have to think smarter about how we try and manage demand on the roads, so that's greater use of the likes of public transport and that sort of thing, particularly around the peak times."

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/426494/auckland-harbour-bridge-damage-you-can-t-build-your-way-out-of-it-forever

    Cars jammed….

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/426479/no-guarantee-engineers-target-temporary-fix-for-harbour-bridge

    How many of those cars have 1 person ? What will it actually take to get Public Transport acceptable?

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