Mike Hosking: Auckland's lack of water isn't the sky's fault

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 18 May 2020, 9:55AM

Mike Hosking: Auckland's lack of water isn't the sky's fault

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 18 May 2020, 9:55AM

The job losses that are have, and will occur, out of the virus and the lockdown are, at least in part, not anyone's real fault. The government response, the length of the lockdown, how it handles itself fiscally out the other side, may or may not contribute to growth or otherwise.

But it seems a cruel twist, on top of all that business has gone through, to hit the businesses who use water with a double whammy. As of this past weekend, water restrictions in Auckland came into force.

Restrictions came into force, in part, because it hasn't rained as much as it might have. But also because of ineptitude and incompetence.

We are not short of water in this country. Never have been, don't need to be. We capture about 2 per cent of what falls out of the sky. The fact we insist on not having enough storage, or expanding storage to a level that covers bad years is no one's fault but those who didn't make the appropriate preparations.

And it's not just the rain, it's the growth of a city. The growth of Auckland has escaped no one's attention, but once again the infrastructure has not been future-proofed to cope.

Last time it didn't rain was the 1990s. And the problem was solved to a degree, with a pipe into the Waikato River. That pipe means we don't actually have a shortage of water.

The reason Saturday brought restrictions was because the consent applied for to draw more water in winter has not been approved. Not only hasn't it been approved, it has been sitting waiting to be actioned for seven years. There is simply no excuse for things to be the way they are.

Phil Goff, surely one of the more incompetent in a reasonably long line of incompetents, didn't seem to realise what a dick of himself he was making when he huffed and puffed and proclaimed that he had written to David Parker twice, once in March and once in April, and hadn't got a reply.

That, in Goff's mind, appeared to be sufficient excuse for applying water restrictions on Saturday.

So we are putting businesses who use water, water blasters, house cleaners, car washes and so on, on the rack after level 4 and 3 Covid-19 lockdowns, simply because Goff finds writing a letter hard. He finds seven years of nothing an acceptable waiting period to solve a problem that's entirely solvable.

We aren't short of water, we have a pipe. What we need is the paperwork. For lack of paperwork, people will lose their jobs and businesses suffer yet another setback.

Where is the outrage? Why are so we pathetically compliant? How is it those who run the water aren't embarrassed, ashamed and, God forbid, accountable?