It pays to invest in, not extract from, State housing -- letter
This financial year, Housing NZ will be returning an $118 million dividend to the Government, its largest in five years. The same financial year has seen the deaths of at least two State house tenants, with their families, and in one case the coroner, attributing their deaths to the cold, damp conditions inside their State houses.
This year's $118 million windfall comes on top of the $108 million already returned to the Government's coffers last financial year, presumably for re-allocation to other priorities.
One such priority might be the 40,000 hospital admissions NZ currently sees each year, for children with conditions related to socioeconomic conditions.
Many of these conditions are respiratory in nature (for example. asthma, pneumonia) and are made much, much worse by cold, damp housing. With the Asthma Foundation estimating it costs $1200 per day to treat a child in hospital with asthma, it is likely that the value of last year's windfall has already been spent on covering the costs of these hospitalisations.
With around 78,000 NZ children living in State houses, an alternative option for this year's dividend might be to cut out the middle man (in this case the hospital Emergency Department) and to invest directly in ensuring that every child in a State house in NZ lives in a warm, dry and well maintained home.
Not only would the children living in Invercargill's 370 soon-to-be-sold State houses be much better off, but so too would be the cash strapped Southern DHB.
Three consultants from Pattle Delamore Partners Ltd recently spent three days in the Manapouri Te Anau area meeting with Council, Community Boards and interested parties, as part of their Term of Reference for reviewing the consented Te Anau Wastewater sewerage disposal scheme. They are also required to look into possible alternative options that have been presented to the council.
When the resource consent application was put forward in 2013 the only option to the Kepler Block was to continue to discharge semi treated sewage into the Upukerora River, which was not acceptable. With no other options open there was obviously some support from the Kepler Block scheme.
Fiordland Sewerage Options contracted Peter Riddell, director of Ecogent, an engineering company that specialises in advanced and robust technologies for water and wastewater treatment, to come up with a viable solution to the Te Anau situation.
The peer reviewers have been very receptive to his proposal, together with other possible options.
We agree with Mayor Gary Tong that a line should be drawn in the sand to look forward as the peer reviewers will explore all avenues, taking into account everyone's concerns.
We can now look forward with some confidence that an intelligent decision, which meets all the needs of both communities, will be the result of this process.
Fiordland Sewerage Options
When this idiotic process began it was to be a call for designs from the public. This was to be reduced to a list of prospective collection of forty designs. This then to be voted on to find the four most favoured for final selection.
Now we have a group trying to add a fifth design to the mix. Whatever happened to the proper procedure in this crazy situation?
The Red Peak doesn't scream New Zealand to me . . . it looks a half finished company logo.
Should that ever get voted in to be our national flag I'm afraid I'll spit on it and continue to fly our present flag as I do now.
I am writing to voice my opinion at the disrespectful louts who made, and left, a disgraceful mess and vandalism at Taramea-Howell's Point, Riverton.
They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves,
They were lucky I wasn't on night patrol that night.
Abridged - Editor
Letters are welcome but writers must provide their name, address and telephone number as a sign of good faith. Pseudonyms are not acceptable. Each letter should be no more than 250 words. We reserve the right to edit letters for length sense, legal reasons and on grounds of good taste. Email to email@example.com, or write to The Editor, The Southland Times, PO Box 805, Invercargill, or fax (03) 2149905