Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mike Butler: Waikato River clean-up awaited

A progress report, or should I say lack-of-progress report, on the much-vaunted project to clean up the Waikato River, released by the Waikato River Authority on March 22, 2016, gave the catchment a C+ rating.

Some may recall that the Waikato River Authority was set up six years as part of the Waikato River settlement. That deal involved a total of $422.8-million, with $212.8-million handed over to Waikato-Tainui, Te Arawa, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, and Maniapoto, of which part of that amount was spread over 30 years.

A total of $210-million spread over 30 years was for for a clean-up -- $10-million went towards setting up the Waikato River Authority, and $40-million went to setting up the Waikato River Clean-up Trust.

Two rivers, the Waikato and the Waipa, were scored on eight different indicators; water quality, ecological integrity, water security, economy, kai, experience, effort and sites of significance.

Waikato River Authority co-chair John Luxton told Radio NZ that a C grade was not a pass and was regarded as a low rating, meaning overall the standard of the catchment fell short of expectations of the vision and strategy for a healthy Waikato River.

The Radio NZ had no indication that any actual; work had been done on the river other than to carry out this “first comprehensive assessment”, although the report said the authority was “working together with industry, local government, with Waikato River iwi and a range of community groups”.

The authority's chief executive, Bob Penter, said it would take an "inter-generational" approach to improve the water quality, and that could take 80 to 100 years.

A quick Google search reveals what is actually involved in cleaning up a river.

Some rivers in China are real shockers. The first step to clean up those rivers was to stop pumping raw sewage in and to take piles of dumped garbage out.

A clean-up involving the Hudson River that flows to sea at New York City cost General Electric about $460-million to remove and dispose of more than 2.6 million cubic metres of sediment contaminated with PCBs.

At some stage the Waikato River Authority is going to have to do something other than collect money, do an assessment every six years, and talk.

John Campbell, formerly of Campbell Live on TV3, did the above-quoted story as part of his new life as a Radio NZ host. No reference to money spent and little or no work done in his report.

At least he could have asked: “More than $50-million has been spent, six years have gone by, what do you have to show for it?”

'Up to 100 years' to restore Waikato River, March 22, 2016.'up-to-100-years'-to-restore-waikato-river

1 comment:

Brian said...

This type of bureaucratic non-action and financial bungling should come of no surprise to ratepayers in the Waikato region; and is typical of what has happened generally in Western society. Bureaucrats; instead of workers, more chiefs than indians, and the overall tendency to continue to actually avoid doing anything which may constitute real action.

One can only imagine with horror, just what might occur to the Waikato region or indeed to the adoption of further Local Body amalgamations. Needless to say a new H.Q. would be required; (with a small life expectancy due to an increase in staff numbers over time).

Which again raises the question "Just what has happened to the role computers in local bodies"? Remember that these devices were deemed to save ratepayers millions of dollars, and increase overall efficiency. They are certainly working when it comes to cutting down staff in private enterprises!

It would be of interest to the region's ratepayers to have figures of the pollution of say, the river above Hamilton, followed by the figures over a period of time, of river pollution below Hamilton for all to see? Publish or be damned !!

At the same time it might be advisable to have these tests done by a private organisation who are selected on a totally independent basis, especially from any local government affiliations.