Wellington Scoop

Too much information, not enough money

We’re getting too much information about earthquakes. Yet we keep wanting more. The most-read topic on Wellington.Scoop in the last nine days has been the publication by Peter Dunne MP of a Wellington City Council list of earthquake-prone buildings. Trouble is, the list could be out of date.

One Cuba Street business, sitting stylishly in a heritage building which was strengthened when the bypass was built, found itself on the list published so eagerly by Mr Dunne. Its customers were staying away as a result …

… till it put this sign outside its front door.

Then there’s all the talk about money. Billions to fix Christchurch. $168million to make Wellington’s commuter trains reliable (at last?) with a consequent increase in Regional Council rates as well as the punitive 6.5 per cent increase that’s proposed for Wellington city homeowners. Not forgetting more than a billion dollars to build Transmission Gully.

The wily and witty blogger Maximus (from eyeofthefish.org ) has this week joined two of our conversations to argue persuasively that the $1.2billion cost of Transmission Gully would be better used to fix Wellington’s heritage buildings, and thereby make more people safer. First, he explained why he disagreed with the Porirua Mayor’s plea to keep the new road on the government’s list. Then he expanded on his argument that the road is unaffordable, and wrote:

It would make far more sense to spend some of that money on buildings and infrastructure here in Wellington, so that we can survive the quake and not have to evacuate at all. If we have 600 buildings in Wellington that are at risk of an earthquake, with $1.2 billion we can afford to spend a whopping $2million on every single one of them!

A more convincing argument than “it has to go ahead” in the DomPost’s distracted editorial in favour of the new road.

Maximus’s opinions are aligned with comments (ten of them, as of today) sent to the Kapiti Independent News since editor Alan Tristram laid out the arguments why the expressway through Kapiti should also be cancelled. At a time like this, such huge amounts of money should more effectively and realistically be spent in Wellington, or indeed in Christchurch.

More Maximus
Scary liquefaction information
Earthquakes and sewage