David Hay’s Head is in the Sand on Climate Action

City Vision-Labour’s Leader on the Auckland City Council, Councillor Richard Northey, today strongly condemned the decision by the new Auckland City Council, led by Deputy-Mayor David Hay, to cut out all the commitments to combating climate change that had been made by the previous Council.

The first meeting of the Council’s Performance Monitoring Committee was held in confidential on 23rd January and the minutes have only now become publicly available. The committee’s Chair, Deputy-Mayor David Hay, moved to delete all the climate change action goals from the current 2007-08 financial year objectives of the Auckland City Council’s Chief Executive, David Rankin.
This motion was supported by his Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) colleagues with Councillor Northey casting the sole vote against.

This decision was a key part of a series of motions that Councillor Richard Northey sees as demonstrating a quaint rejection of the role New Zealand local authorities should play in meeting the challenges of the 21st Century. David Hay and his C&R colleagues also resolved abruptly to end the work of previous Mayor Dick Hubbard’s Mayoral Taskforce on Sustainability and all its
work on sustainability initiatives. Also put on hold was the previously approved appointment of an Eco Adviser whose role was to ensure sustainability and energy efficiency in the Council’s activities and decisions.

Councillor Richard Northey says, “I was very concerned that Councillors David Hay and Doug Armstrong had expressed skepticism that climate change caused by human actions was occurring at all. Their constantly reiterated opinion looks increasingly silly as worldwide consensus around the science and seriousness of climate change projections has firmed up.
“I am gob smacked that they said that because New Zealand’s central government was seized of the issue it was inappropriate for the Auckland City Council to do anything about climate change.” 

Richard Northey said at the committee meeting that David Hay’s vote on the matter contrasted sharply with the attitude of his father Keith Hay, a former Mayor of Mt Roskill who, along with all Auckland Mayors of the 1940s, had brought all his Council’s resources to bear in supporting the government in the global struggle of combating Nazism and Japanese militarism.

Councillor Richard Northey said it was shameful and demonstrated real “head in the sand” thinking that the C&R Councillors had solemnly voted that the Auckland City Council should do nothing and therefore reject the United Nations call that all families, communities, local authorities and governments should all do their bit in combating the major global challenge that
climate change represents to every one of us. “Here in Auckland City we must, as individuals, families, communities and the Council, all act on climate change because we all want a world fit for our children and grandchildren to live in,”
Councillor Northey concludes.

Will Transpacific’s sins come back to haunt Auckland?

This week has seen a string of stories about TPI – more financial worries and dodgy accounting.   Their new bailout owner is tightening the screws on Terry Peabody to ensure that what little money might be left in the company can’t be paid out as unwarranted dividends.  They have been forced to write down last years profits by 10% as they were including ‘irregular’ items.  Shares re-open on the AU stock market on Monday and could either rally as investors convince themselves that there will be a new bubble to hang on to, or could just plummet down to zero as everyone cuts their losses.  

I hope that those Auckland City counsellors and officers who assured us of Transpacific’s financial stability are prepared to resign if they should be proved to be wrong.

Transpacific tarts itself up for the market

TheAge12:00am 16 Jul 2009Transpacific has given its new cornerstone investor and banking syndicate final say over future dividend payments.

Transpacific bows to pressure on dividends

BrisTimes12:00am 16 Jul 2009TERRY PEABODY’S Transpacific has given its new cornerstone investor and banking syndicate final say over future dividend payments after agreeing to undisclosed “restrictions”.

‘Irregular items’ cast shadow over Transpacific capital-raising plan

TheAge12:00am 09 Jul 2009Transpacific Industries’ $800 million capital raising has been thrown into question after the debt-laden company was forced to write down full-year earnings by 10 per cent.

Profit set to fall, Transpacific warns

BrisTimes12:00am 08 Jul 2009Waste manager says operating earnings in 2009 likely to be down by 9 per cent after a 25 per cent second-half fall.

Transpacific in $800m bail-out

TheAge12:00am 10 Jun 2009Queensland waste management mogul Terry Peabody forced to relinquish grip on Transpacific Industries after agreeing to diluted stake in return for $800 million bail-out.

 

Bins or Bags

Auckland City Council are running adverts in the local papers offering people the choice of bins or bags.  Islanders will recall that this has always been a ‘feature’ of the TPI contract. Everytime we complained about the drop in waste recycling quality, or comingling, or Mount Visy etc. They would just say – well we accommodated the views of the island by offering bins or bags.

 

Now we have a chance to make our voices heard.

 

If less than 10% of the islanders take up the offer of wheelie bins then there will be no wheelies.


This is crucial – wheelie bins are a fundamental part of the TPI plan.  All recycling has to go to the MRP at Visy – even though this type of processing plant is being seen to be increasingly ineffective.  It is important because once the city is locked into trucks and bins there is no easy way back out to a more effective form of recycling.  This is what we call ‘vendor  lock in’.

 

You can be sure that once wheelies are on the island – the next tender will not offer any alternatives as so much investment has been made in the equipment.  No other waste provider would be able to complete with TPI as they would not have the equipment to do so.  TPI thus gain a monopoly over the city either squeezing out or simply buying out smaller waste management companies.

 

Recyclables taken to the Transfer station and sorted by hand do not go to Visy. Instead they go direct to merchants as before.   This is what we want. plastics and glass will actually be recycled into new plastics and glass instead of downcycled into aggregate and dirty fuels, or sent to China – at great transport costs.

 

So what will happen to our kerbside recyclables?  If we continue to carefully sort and bag separately our recyclables TPI have a problem – they cannot send the material to Visy because the automated system cannot cope with closed bags. So they will have to consider hand sorting or the waste will go to landfill. We will be watching TPI to see if this is what happens

 

So should we accept bins or bags?

There are two schools of thought here as to the best approach for the island:

1.  That some people do have bins say 15% while the rest do not. This causes TPI to have to provide both services and appropriate trucks at extra cost to themselves, This would be particularly ironic if the bins were placed with the most inaccessible households. However they will use this wedge to push bins onto everyone as time goes by.

 

2.  That we push hard for everyone to say no to wheelies.  By keeping below the 10% mark we keep them completely off the island.

 

While the former might make us feel good by hurting TPI. At the end of the day we want what is best for the environment.  We started this fight on the underlying issues of wheelies and perhaps should finish it.

 

When thinking about this there are some important points to remember.

1.  Wheelies are difficult for Waiheke territory, – the steep driveways, narrow roads, absent households etc.

 

2.  Wheelies enforce co-mingling of recyclables, resulting in a lower value recycled product at the end of the day.  For example paper contaminated with broken glass cannot be recycled.  Mixed coloured glass cannot be recycled as glass instead being useful only for aggregate.

This isn’t just a cost issue – energy is wasted at each point where the quality of the material becomes degraded.

 

3.  Wheelies are large – the extra capacity has been shown to encourage more stuff to be thrown away.

 

4.  Wheelies are part of the commercialisation and corporatisation of waste, although it is better to have some sort of recycling than none, it has been turned into a business where by companies get paid for the amount of waste they manage rather than being paid to minimise waste before it even gets to the bin.

 

5.  If we can achieve this goal we will act as an example for other communities that think the same way.

 

Taking these points together we would suggest that the island continues to reject any suggestion of wheelie bins and aims for a zero take up.

 

So when the council send you a letter asking whether you want bags or bins

… ignore the letter and recycle it.

 

for more information see this report from WRAP – the waste resources action program on choosing the right recycling collections system.pdf

 

 

Waiheke Waste – Newsletter

Waiheke Waste

 

The Auckland Transition Authority has confirmed that TPI has been given the 10 year contract from Auckland City Council to manage waste on Waiheke.  This is a huge disappointment to everyone who has worked hard to retain community control of waste management on the island.  

 

 

Protest and Direct Action

Wed 1st July

The Direct action on the 1st July to welcome TPI was well attended with 30-70 people picketing the transfer station from early morning onwards and through the day.

 

Thanks for all the people who came. The diversity of age groups, and groups present, the email messages and toots of support from passing motorists showed a broad island support for the protest.

 

We had 3 LARGE banners up, one covering the gate (“recycling…Yeah right”), one from the GreenPeace ship/Esperanze  “‘recycle symbol’ on

Waiheke” and our new BIG banner  saying:  KIA HAERE TONU NGA MAHI, HANGARUA KI WAIHEKE Translated: “to go on working on recycling in Waiheke”.

 

We had also small banners, the Maori flag, signs and people dressed in “Junk2Funk” (1st prize to Warrick!)

 

TPI representatives and their security staff were shut inside the station, They certainly got the message that Waiheke was not happy about the process that led to them being there and had very clear ideas about the future.

 

The action set the tone for all our future direct actions. It was fun, non violent and showed that the community is united.  This is not the

end it is the beginning.

 

Super City Protests

The next opportunity to protest will be at the visit to the island by the Auckland Governance Select Committee to hear oral submissions on the super city.  The date for this has not been set – but it will be before the end of July.  This will be a public meeting and there will be a large number of very impassioned presentations.  This is very relevant to the Waste issue – if we had had true consultation or any significant amount of local democratic power we would not now have TPI.  The enlarged city may be even less responsive to the issues of Waiheke. 

 

There will also be a major march up Queen street on the 1st August Afternoon.  This will be a collective march from local communities all around the city. It will be a great chance to tell our story and warn others.

 

Legal Action

The legal team has been busy meeting with numerous lawyers,  the community board and other parties.  Work is still underway on this but

understandably this is taking place discretely.  The essential proposal is to demonstrate to a Judge that Auckland City Council broke their own rules in the process of the TPI tender in various ways. 

 

TPI Watch.

Last week the City Council put out a press release that said that TPI will maintain a ‘status quo’ service for the next 6 months.  This is essentially an admission that TPI do not really have a clue when it comes to doing the job on the island.  It is unlikely that they can deliver service to the standard we have come to expect.  Especially as they are not philosophically committed to waste reduction.

 

It is hard to understand how a service company can operate without the consent of the people it is supposed to serve.  Now the contract is signed the only way out is for TPI to fail to fulfil the terms of the contract.  This is a test of the island’s resolve – whether we are just going to accept the fait accompli or fight it.  TPI may be planning to be here for 10 years, but we are planning to be here a lot longer.

 

We want to make very public that fact that TPI cannot perform the job that Clean Stream were performing and cannot even perform the lesser

job that the council has contracted them to do.  For that we need everyone keeping an eagle eye on their activities.  

 

We need to log each transgression, each loss of service and to complain to the council about it. We want volunteers with the time to spend at the transfer station or following the bin trucks around. filming, writing on clipboards etc. The message to TPI is that we are watching them.

 

All complaints should go to Auckland City Council: 09 379 2020.  This is a call centre. Make sure your complaint is  given a log or job number and request that someone gets back to you to follow up.  What happens is that each issue is faxed to TPI on the island and they have to deal with it within a certain time frame. More than 5 incidents a week starts to affect TPI’s back pocket.

 

Please also email a copy complaints to tpiwatch@google.com – especially if you have photos

 

Issues to watch out for:

*  rubbish not collected

*  recylables not collected

*  bags broken or spilled

*  trucks blocking traffic

*  scratches or damage to parked cars

*  damage to grass verges or road edges

*  illegally dumped waste,  fly tipping – give approx location as TPI have to go and find the rubbish. 

*  possible damage by heavy trucks to roads such as the causeway.

 

 

TPI Go Home

Plently of people still want the message to go out that TPI is unwelcome.  Please put all thoughts of vandalism or illegal activity out of your heads, It will be counterproductive and will lose support within the community. It will also be exploited by TPI and the Council as negative publicity.

 

That said it is everyone’s right to express their honest feelings. Here are some ideas.

 

* Put up a sign outside  on a piece of cardboard with “TPI GO HOME” or “DON’T WASTE OUR WASTE” and securing it to a tree or letterbox.   A large number of these will show the extent of support.  Some people who have already done this found the signs were removed by TPI during the rubbish collection. 

 

* Take as much green waste as possible to the transfer station. – As TPI have no equipment to deal with this it will rapidly fill up the site.  Keep a close eye on TPI to ensure that they do not try to dump the waste to landfill.

 

* Hang bags from trees – our usual method of avoiding dog strikes.  

 

* Separate all your recyclables as usual and tie tightly in plastic bags,  Visy plant cannot cope with this. 

 

* Take your recyclables to the transfer station and hand sort them yourself. 

 

 

Waiheke Waste Fighting Fund

We have had over $4000 pledged to the fighting fund. There has been some discussion as to whether people thought that this fund would be just for legal action or for all activities fighting ACC.   The steering group has decided for clarity that the pledges into the Sexton fund will be used for the legal action and will be returned if not used, while gifts into the collection boxes, and other donations are available to run the campaign.