Response from Brendon Monk
The Opportunities Party Candidate
What is your understanding of the challenges facing Te Wai o Pareira/Henderson Creek?
I’ve actually kayaked up Te Wai o Pareira/Henderson Creek a few times. I’m a keen sea kayaker and go for small blasts around Pt Chev and Te Atatū Peninsula now and then, but have also done a lot of long (1-2 week) trips around parts of our coastline, both north and south islands. Like a lot of water sources, I’ve noticed some very poor water quality. I can only imagine the effect this has had on loss of biodiversity over the last 50 years especially but going back much further than that. I know Te Wai o Pareira Has suffered from the same unfortunate pollution that many water sources (and ocean) around Auckland has; poorly managed clearance of sites for building, contaminated stormwater (sewage overflow into SW system in heavy rain).
We’ve built suburbs where wetlands used to be (sound familiar?), we’ve polluted rivers killing our native fish, we’ve ignored ecosystem health standards allowing algae to take over, and we’ve doubled our irrigated land in a very short time. And we then have almost the lowest environmental taxes in the OECD. Add in some climate change, increasing rainfall causing massive flooding, and our love affair with deforestation, and you can understand why there is no time for dilly-dallying with advisory groups or making plans. Like TOP policy says, I just want to get on with it.
Do you have an aspirational vision for the state of waterways in our community?
Yes, I do, and so do TOP. Personally, having been a keen kayaker for 30 years now, I am very passionate about our ocean, rivers and lakes. My vision is for clean waterways, not just in Te Atatū but all over NZ. TOP have a very good freshwater policy, and my personal vision is for a government that will actually listen to the experts and not completely ignore them, as MfE recently did with the latest working group (Just ask Dr, Mike Joy about that one). And, all of that with our so called Green Party in government.
We need to take a whole new approach that identifies our environment’s capacity and values our land and water.
Does your party have a policy that will improve water quality in Te Wai o Pareira/Henderson Creek in the foreseeable future?
Yes. TOP have what I believe to be the best freshwater policy of any political party. As one of TOP’s policy writers I could go into a lot of detail here, but in short:
· Take a land use planning approach to manage the impact of rural and urban development and discharges on water, which is grounded in natural capital.
· Resolve Te Tiriti o Waitangi issues around water rights so allocation of water resources can occur
· Allocate water use and pollution within a Te Mana o Te Wai framework which puts the needs of the wai and the health of the people first and provides for a reciprocal benefit for the wai.
The policy can be downloaded on this page: https://www.top.org.nz/wai_ora
Does your party have any policy around investment in the sewerage and stormwater networks in Te Atatu/Massey areas?
Yes. In the Building Aotearoa NZ – Top’s policy for Sustainable housing and Urban Development. In this policy we have a section on Empowering Local Infrastructure. We have come up with a comprehensive way of ensuring there is adequate funding for sustainable infrastructure. One of the biggest issues our cities (especially Auckland) faces is terribly substandard SW and sewerage systems.
In short: TOP’s UBI policy makes NZ superannuation sustainable. Therefore, if that UBI policy is adopted, we have the option of using the existing NZ Superfund as an alternative to borrowing. As of July 2020, the balance of the superfund was sitting at $45bn. TOP will ensure that the type of projects this money goes toward will have a long-term ROI that meets the sustainable goals of both TOP’s proposed constitution and TOP’s Urban Development Act.
Local governments need appropriate long-term funding also. Infrastructure NZ informed us that local governments have a combined annual shortfall in infrastructure funding in the order of $2bn. Top’s plan of redirecting the GST component from all construction across the regions, back to the regions will provide a boost in revenue of between $2-3bn per annum ($2.4bn based on 2019 building consents). Here are a few examples of what that could mean for local government infrastructure funding.
I hope that is of some help. Please feel free to get in touch anytime, and I hope to see some from Rivercare at upcoming “meet the candidate” evenings, such as this one: https://www.facebook.com/events/916304955533238