Andrew Dickens: Greenies must accept environment can't trump human need

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 27 Jan 2020, 1:33PM
A replacement is needed for the water processing plant at the Waitakere Ranges. (Photo / Getty)

Andrew Dickens: Greenies must accept environment can't trump human need

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 27 Jan 2020, 1:33PM

Well, here we go again with another virtue signalling stoush between greenies and progress.

A battle is brewing between Auckland’s Watercare and environmentalists over a plan to replace an ageing processing plant in the Waitakere Ranges.

The plant processes 20 per cent of Auckland’s water and it’s been doing the job for 100 years. Obviously, it’s come to an end of its days and it’s time to update it and future proof it for another 100 years.  This is a $400 million project that has to happen.

So this is the second time Watercare has tried to do this. Back in 2017 the plan was to put the plant in Oratia. It meant taking 18 homes and properties and the locals rebelled. So everything was put on hold.

Watercare has considered four sites and decided on one in Huia way out west in the Ranges and on the harbour.  But this is facing problems principally from environmentalists because of fears of spreading kauri dieback, a newly discovered  flightless wasp that lives in the area.  Some Argentine ants also live there and they could be spread further and then there’s all the trucks that would have to go through pretty little Titirangi for a year.

For goodness sake.  We’re talking about a fifth of Auckland’s water here. It can’t just not happen.  It’s necessary. But once again concerns, valid concerns but still relatively minor, are stopping things.

I’m as green as anyone and I try to leave as little impact on the environment as I can, but some things are unavoidable.

Environmentalists are preventing extensions to wharves in Auckland because it encroaches on the Harbour.  But the downside of this is that giant boats now moor right in the middle of a pretty harbour, belching smoke as they self power, creating a flotilla of environment producing tenders chugging back and forth with passengers, meanwhile ferries are playing dodgems with the lot of them.  I pretty sure the Harbour is worse off.

Dams in Hawkes Bay and Westland have been stopped even though they future proof populations from drought and earthquakes.

Roads have been stopped and you have to wonder how on earth electric cars and trucks are going to get from town to town without them.

A skilift at Cardrona has been cancelled because of native skinks.  I don't mind that.  No-one needs a skilift, but everyone needs water.

I hope these people stopping the work on the plant that processes 20 per cent of Auckland’s water are prepared to drink 20 per cent less water. Because it seems like that is the only option that is acceptable to them.

Nothing is 100 per cent green and never will be.  Human activity impacts the environment.  It does everyday.  Mitigate it, sure, but you can’t stop it.