Wellington Scoop

No infrastructure crisis, says mayor, after failure of two sewage pipes

Report from RNZ
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster denies that the city’s infrastructure is failing, even though a second major wastewater pipe has broken.

A temporary fix for the second break, under Mt Albert in Berhampore, is costing $200,000 a week. The first break, in the CBD, spilled millions of litres of untreated sewage into the harbour.

Mayor Foster says authorities plan for such failings and Wellington is not having an infrastructure crisis.

“A lot of our infrastructure is ageing because of the time it went in. However … ageing pipes doesn’t mean an end of their lives – so we’ve got to make sure we don’t rip out pipes that have 20 or 30 years to go. That would be inordinately expensive.”

He said the two broken pipes will be fixed as soon as possible.

Read also:
Dirty water, after ten years


  1. michael, 25. January 2020, 15:22

    Are we supposed to accept that Wellington does not have an infrastructure crisis and that our 90+ year old pipes might have another 20-30 years to go but, if not, as they burst, they will be fixed ASAP? If so, instead of a co-ordinated and planned replacement programme, the public and affected businesses are going to be exposed to multiple lengthy emergency disruptions (as is the case in Willis Street). This is not effective management!

  2. Andrew, 25. January 2020, 18:48

    Andy, a question for you. Has the WCC ever deferred maintenance or planned upgrades to the Wellington sewer system? If yes, why? Thanks.

  3. jamie, 26. January 2020, 7:11

    looks like a caption for a tui ad, yeah right

  4. steve doole, 26. January 2020, 10:17

    Andrew – good point.
    As mentioned on scoop exactly a month ago, in 1984 Daryl “was told the $45million Mayor’s Fund for new drains would be diverted to an extra MOB & an underground carpark”. Will the current mayor be able to ask the hard questions to WCC management to clarify the amount, and how many kilometers of pipe replacement was cancelled or delayed?

  5. Johnny Overton, 26. January 2020, 13:10

    This is what happens when a country succumbs to the globalisation spell. Today our country is run by an unholy alliance between old & new liberals. On the one hand we have the old left-leaning (social) progressive liberals, & on the other we have the newer right-leaning (economic) neo-liberals. All our mainstream political parties contain a mixture of such people & they all believe in furthering globalisation. Wrecking-ball globalisation has had a devastating & demoralising effect on the well-being of our people & led to the foreign ownership & control of our nation, & the degradation of our infra-structure & environment. All the main aspects of NZ society are now controlled by the scourge of past its use by date liberalism & short term thinking governance.

    These are dark & dangerous times for patriotic New Zealanders, as the ideas & opinions of those of us with radical fortress NZ like views are being shut down on every front. The attack on free speech is in evidence everywhere, & it is leading to the creation of a society that is controlled by liberal PC Orwellian gatekeepers. Many among us live in fear of actually saying what they think. Try getting your radically alternative, anti liberal establishment, patriotic or green-nationalism opinions across on supposedly open minded blog sites like the “Daily Blog” or “Spinoff” & you’ll find they’ll be censored/suppressed. The same thing happens when trying to comment on mainstream media outlets like “Stuff”. I have personal experience of this & now I’m pretty much banned from commenting on all these supposed bastions of “Free speech”. There is still one bright spot though & that is Scoop.

    I’m now of the view that only a genuinely radical, patriotic political party, which advocates replacing our globalisation establishment with a broad based national unity or salvation government, will be able to save our nation from the destructive forces of our liberal globalisation elite & their mind control.

  6. Dan Tosfery, 26. January 2020, 13:32

    Mayor Foster is in denial about Wellington’s failing infrastructure.

  7. michael, 26. January 2020, 20:10

    Andy, in accordance with promises on your website that you will “ensure processes that avoid erratic spending decisions” and will always be “guided by a clear coherent strategic direction,” can you advise when you are going to front up and explain exactly what the situation is, and how the council plans on moving forward regarding Wellington’s aging infrastructure. Apart from the statement there is “not an infrastructure crisis” and “pipes will be fixed ASAP when they burst” we have heard nothing tangible from the council in this regard.
    These statements do nothing to alleviate our concerns, nor fulfil the above promises.

  8. Mark Shanks, 28. January 2020, 10:46

    Thank you Johnny Overton. You are not alone in your thinking but when the expression of our thoughts is censored it leaves little hope for change. Those in power, even those who want modest change, are hamstrung by legislation that they seem unable to untangle without it costing the ratepayer an arm or a leg by exposing us to litigation. We are hobbled by statutes and made lame by inertia. People seem to just want to get through the day so they can put their feet up and watch netflix. It’s not my vision and my only option is to opt out and go back to the country, grow my own and shut the rest of the world out of my life. I certainly have no faith in Andy Foster or any bureaucrat to make the changes necessary to make me stay.

  9. Kerry, 28. January 2020, 14:11

    WCC used earthenware for small pipes, up to about 300mm for far too long, and they have a life of only about 40 years. Polyethelyne should last a lot longer.
    The very old pipes, larger than about 900mm, are mostly brick or concrete, and are repairable from the inside, if the right skills are available.
    But the biggest worry might be the sludge pipes to the tip, replaced by trucks until repairs are made. From memory they are 150mm steel, and if they have corroded through in one place, they are probably corroding in many more places. If the sludge is abrasive, might it have rubbed its way through the pipe, from the inside?

  10. Kara, 28. January 2020, 14:50

    No infrastructure crises? Ask those who have been around the Lambton/Willis area today. Some cafes were displaying notices that they could not provide coffees due to a water main break.