Green human settlements

We’ve been “settling” for a long time, of course, but now the Green Party wants to improve our settlements.

Though we call them villages, towns and cities, the Greens go back a bit and refer to them as “settlements” as though we’re still pioneers in a virgin landscape.

This is their latest message to me, from Julie Anne Genter, Green Party MP:

Kia ora Richard [this is a Maori greeting—either they assume that I’m unable to understand English, or they signal a Luddite philosophy – RT]

We have an incredible opportunity to create ecologically sustainable, fair and thriving human settlements through good policy.

I’m passionate about the win-win solutions that come from a balanced and economic transport system.

Please join me at the Auckland Green Party office to talk about how we’ll tackle these issues this year, and where we need volunteers to help.

When: Thursday 27th February, 6pm-7.30pm
Where: Green Party office, 17 Mercury Lane, Newton, Auckland City (Click for map)

All are welcome! Please share through your networks. Click for Facebook event

I hope you can make it; I’m really looking forward to a great evening.

My question: To avoid a wasted visit, Julie (or is it Julie-Anne?), perhaps you could briefly describe what you mean by “human settlements through good policy.”

In my observation, human settlements occur spontaneously, as people on the move need to stop a while and catch their breath, and they work perfectly well. Most of us live in one right now. We don’t need any more, especially if they’re created by a government committee, and you haven’t mentioned what “improvements” you would like to make.

Then you mention: “a balanced and economic transport system” which we seem to have already, so I’m a bit confused about your passion.

Look, just to save a possibly wasted trip to the centre of your large city, perhaps you could first describe what you’re trying to achieve, instead of assuming that everyone has read the same propaganda that you’ve been reading.


Views: 111

45 Thoughts on “Green human settlements

  1. Bob D on 14/02/2014 at 8:17 am said:

    Here’s my guess:
    1) Human beings are a virus on the planet, a cancer if you will.
    2) If they must exist, they must be controlled and managed for the good of the planet, their ‘footprint’ must be minimised, and future breeding reduced as much as possible.
    3) ‘Settlements’ must be crammed into as small a physical area as possible – ‘Build up not out’. This will have two desirable outcomes – reduced footprint and more economic public transport. The suburban dream of raising families on half-acre plots is unsustainable. They must be raised in community-organised apartment blocks, and children must learn to play in local parks. All grass and trees must be removed from the parks for health and safety reasons. Settlements must be centralised, reducing the distance the populace must travel to work and back. ‘Urban sprawl’ is unacceptable.
    4) Public transport must be the default means of moving around, and must be wholly funded via taxes.
    5) All needs of the public must be taken care of within the settlement limits, reducing the need to leave them.
    6) Outside the settlement limits, Nature must be returned to its original state wherever possible. Human access to most wildlife areas must be severely restricted or prohibited.
    7) Food production is a necessary evil, but it must be strictly controlled to minimise the impact to the environment. Certain foods will be deemed ‘environmentally uneconomic’ to transport across the globe, and will be banned regionally.
    8 ) Within the settlements, energy consumption must be minimised, to reduce carbon footprints. ‘Smart’ meters must be deployed to most devices to allow them to be disabled when necessary.
    9) All energy generation must be via ‘sustainable’ means.

    • Andy on 14/02/2014 at 10:07 am said:

      6) Outside the settlement limits, Nature must be returned to its original state wherever possible. Human access to most wildlife areas must be severely restricted or prohibited.

      Nature is being left to return to its original state *within* human settlement zones as we are seeing with the growing issue around the flooding of the Somerset Levels

      See here, for example

    • Bob D on 14/02/2014 at 10:15 am said:

      Wow, talk about a society gone barking mad.

    • Andy on 14/02/2014 at 10:20 am said:

      I think we might see some of these Green ideologies playing out in Christchurch in years to come, as the Eastern side gets left to return to its “natural” state as wetlands, and the people get abandoned

      Apparently there is some of this thinking in the Netherlands too

    • Bob D on 14/02/2014 at 10:44 am said:

      Yes, I’ve noticed the Greens salivating over making Christchurch into the world’s first ‘eco-city’. I wouldn’t invest in the place, myself, if they get their way. Eco-anything on that scale almost always comes with an unsustainable cost.

    • Andy on 14/02/2014 at 10:56 am said:

      We’ve just got a full cash settlement for our ChCh beachside property, so no investment from me will be forthcoming in the foreseeable future

    • Bob D on 14/02/2014 at 11:05 am said:

      Good to hear you finally got a resolution. It’s been quite a while.

    • Andy on 14/02/2014 at 11:24 am said:

      Yes, almost 3 years to the day. Mind you, we are the lucky ones. Some haven’t even started their claims process yet

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 11:32 am said:

      Re ‘Somerset saw these floods coming’, Alexander made a comment only those lines recently that he had foreseen trouble if the waterways were not maintained i.e. it must have been obvious.

      But “new EU waste regulations, zealously enforced by the EA” and “2007 floods directive on the “management of flood risks”, which required “flood plains”, in the name of “biodiversity”, to be made subject to increased flooding” is something else again – barking mad as Bob puts it.

  2. Andy on 14/02/2014 at 11:35 am said:

    Julie Anne Genter is pretty keen on trains and bikes. These are great in some cities (Wellington, trains, Christchurch, bikes) but Auckland is a sprawling city, partly due to its geography, and it’s pretty hard and expensive to fix basic infrastructural issues

    • Bob D on 14/02/2014 at 11:55 am said:

      The correct way to do it, in my opinion, is to do the opposite of the Green approach. Diversify the city, spreading it out and decentralising it. There is plenty of land to the north and south, and plenty of farmers (I know quite a few) who are more than willing to get good money for their land, but are unable to because the land is outside the artificial limit imposed by the Council.

      As the city is decentralised, new developments can benefit from better planning that caters for cycle paths, green belts, etc. I have been watching the Silverdale area develop over these past few years, and I think the planning is quite good, although some improvement is always possible.

      This is how it used to be done, until the Greens started to impose their warped ideology to urban planning. And look where it has got us: they have turned one of the best places to live into a mini-Sydney, with a housing shortage and sky-rocketing urban property prices that will drive our young people offshore.

  3. Andy on 14/02/2014 at 11:45 am said:

    By the way, “Kia Ora” is quite a common greeting in NZ,

    Just like “Gday mate”

    • By the way, “Kia Ora” is quite a common greeting in NZ,
      Just like “Gday mate”

      Perhaps, but nobody has greeted me with the phrase “Kia Ora” in 25 years, maybe more. I don’t count those on the television who use the phrase to introduce the news or anything else, because they’re greeting an imaginary audience, not me.

      I’m more likely to be greeted with a “hey” or “hey guys” (regardless of gender) than the polite “hello” or “good morning” I was trained to use. So Shakespeare becomes popular again: with a hey and a ho and a hey nonny-no.

      I conclude that use of the Maori greeting “kia ora” is of minor significance and it is used by a television station or a political party for political, not affectionate, reasons.

    • Andy on 15/02/2014 at 4:39 pm said:

      My pet peeve is those that address me in an email with Hey, or worse still, Hey Man.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 12:34 pm said:

    >”In my observation, human settlements occur spontaneously”

    >”just to save a possibly wasted trip to the centre of your large city”

    Cue the TVNZ report on the study of NZ housing costs BUT including transport costs to inner city work. One guy said NZ (or was it Auckland) lacked urban business hubs.

    That was the difference I saw between say Manhattan where most people don’t actually own or drive a car but instead use the ubiquitous public transport and taxis, and cities west where it is sometimes difficult to find “the” CBD – there isn’t one.

    In Tauranga there are those committed to keeping “the” CBD alive rather than move to new business hubs closer to where the people live even though that will just increase already nasty parking problems and other symptoms of intensification not the least being a stretched electricity network which was regularly blacking out a little while back.

    What doesn’t get factored in to nirvana-like urban planning is that economic (or disaster) forces override everything else and can do so quite rapidly. For example, urban sprawl is being resolved in Detroit by abandonment – think Holden, Ford, Toyota, exiting manufacturing in Australia and how the respective communities will change as a result.

    Whether the Greens or other fans of CBD intensification like it or not, new settlements develop to better accommodate economic needs (think Silicon Valley and Inland Ports) when old workplaces just aren’t suitable for new regimes. And, especially in the case of manufacturing, it is not unusual now that the new settlement is in an entirely different country. If our country is not responsive (in fact pre-emptive) to the changing global business environment then we just become a backwater, over our heads in debt, because there isn’t the activity to support ourselves – like Detroit.

    Frankly, I think collective forward thinking in NZ is pathetic. There’s no vision in govt (I’m discounting Green vision obviously) and only glimmers of what should have been a fixed mindset in this country decades ago – just after the realization that “Think Big” wasn’t the answer.

    • Andy on 14/02/2014 at 12:53 pm said:

      Christchurch is also a good example – witness the relocation of much business closer to the west side and the airport.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 12:59 pm said:

      Article reporting why Brother chose to re-locate from Wellington to a Tauranga business estate:

      ‘Major firm’s new $10m head office’

      BoP Times

      Brother commissioned Deloitte to evaluate all cities with ports throughout New Zealand. Deloitte recommended Tauranga for reasons that included access to the port, real estate and living costs, and seismic and tsunami risks in alternative locations.

      Brother then considered its options in the Bay of Plenty and at this point Element IMF became involved.

      Ms Emerson said that, as well as being a win for Tauriko Business Estate and for business in the region, Brother’s presence in Tauranga would be an asset to the community.

      Attracting, and keeping, business (economic activity) is a national competition just as it is an internal city or international competition.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 1:23 pm said:

      Re Christchurch, I’m all for retaining a sense of history but there’s a point-of-no-return that must be recognized.

      No better example than the Cathedral – it’s stuffed but people have an irrational attachment to it as if their personal identity is inextricably tied to a building.

      I’m sure that funds for the final replacement (if there are any) would be better spent on a bottom-up replica rather than to persevere with a pile of rubble.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 1:44 pm said:

      Anyone see the Mississippi TV doco recently?

      Specifically, Memphis International Airport FedEx “Super Hub”: Largest cargo airport in the world, normal airport operations by day, FedEX operations by night.

      The Miracle of Memphis | MIT Technology Review

  5. Andy on 14/02/2014 at 2:51 pm said:

    All I can say is that if Julie-Anne wants her train set she’d better do it quick before “Pants down Brown” gets turfed out

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 4:38 pm said:

      They’ve already got a new train set haven’t they? Chinese built I thought.

      This was the Auckland plan in 2008 from the Regional Fuel Levy:

      What projects will be funded?

      The main project that will benefit will be the Auckland passenger rail electrification project which will get 8 cents of the regional fuel levy revenue when the regional fuel levy rate is 9.5 cents. 1 cent will be used to construct a new road linking the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to State highway 1 at Redvale (Penlink) and 0.5 cents will go toward improving ferry terminals and developing an integrated public transport ticketing system. Projects are described in more detail in Appendix A

      How much will each of these projects cost?

      * Above-track rail electrification: approx $500 million
      * Non-electric rolling stock: approx $150 million
      * Rail system upgrade: approx 100 million
      * Ferry wharves and integrated ticketing system for buses and ferries: approx $ 110 million
      * Below-track electrification: approx $500 million
      * Penlink: approx $180 million

      Will revenue from the Auckland regional fuel levy meet the total cost of each project?

      The projects will be funded as follows:

      * Above track electrification — 100% regional fuel levy
      * Non-electric rolling stock project — 67% regional fuel levy, 33% Auckland Regional Holdings
      * Rail system upgrade — 79% regional fuel levy, 19% Auckland Regional Holdings, 2% New Zealand Transport Agency
      * Bus, ferry and integrated ticketing system — 37% regional fuel levy, 10% Auckland Regional Holdings, 53% New Zealand Transport Agency
      * Below track electrification — the Crown will fund the borrowing and repay the capital cost, Regional fuel levy will meet the interest payments on this borrowing
      * Penlink — 80% regional fuel levy, 20% Rodney District Council

      AA describes thus: Regional petrol levies (or “green taxes”)

      Water under the bridge since 2008 (ha!), now I see this:

      Who should pay for Auckland’s transport system?
      04 July 2013, by Gavin White

      The National government’s announcement that it will support the building of the city rail link and additional harbour crossing for Auckland raises an interesting question – who do New Zealanders think should be paying for all this? What’s the appropriate mix in terms of funding the infrastructure through:

      * central government and taxes
      * local government and rates
      * user charges

      Not sure where “ecologically sustainable, fair and thriving human settlements through good policy” fits in all of this.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 4:51 pm said:

      ?”Not sure where “ecologically sustainable, fair and thriving human settlements through good policy” fits in all of this.”

      Housing: Build your own yurt.

      Transport: Bamboo bicycles for everyone.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 5:49 pm said:

      Yurtboats, the Greener houseboats, could be the answer to Green-planned increased flooding at Somerset Levels.

      I think I’m starting to see how Green planning works.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 6:25 pm said:

      I wondered if yurt technology could be applied to aviation but my initial thought was that it wasn’t mature enough for technology transfer.

      Then I remembered that WW! fighter planes, state-of-the-art in their time, were a similar construction. The good thing is New Zealand is way ahead of the pack with Richard Pearce, Sopwith Triplane replicas and such like. Even a Blenheim company building radial engines.

      With that industry already well underway it wont be long before we’re building plastic helicopters………oh……..wait……..

  6. Andy on 14/02/2014 at 4:46 pm said:

    The important thing is to make sure that these clowns do not get anywhere near the cabinet.

    • Andy on 14/02/2014 at 4:50 pm said:

      Julie Anne Genter “Minister of Trains Sets” and Gareth Hughes “Minister of Windmills”

      Russell Norman “Minister of Printing Money”

  7. Richard C (NZ) on 14/02/2014 at 6:46 pm said:

    Housing Policy Summary – Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

    Building for sustainable transport, healthier communities, and individual well being

    * Develop a National Policy statement on housing to streamline consent processes and incorporate sustainability standards.
    * Ensure housing development and subdivision provisions of district plans minimise car use and increase ability to use public transport.
    * Support mixed-use zones where small business and residential living can both be accommodated.
    * Provide matched funding for local authorities that take active measures to support social housing or low income retrofitting programmes.
    * Revise the building code so that new houses and building premises are required to be accessible by design unless specifically exempted.
    * Work with local authorities to develop urban density guidelines to avoid both sprawl and overcrowding.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on 15/02/2014 at 8:08 am said:

    Greens calls for clear-out of ‘climate change deniers’

    By Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    The Green Party of England and Wales has called for a purge of government advisors and ministers who do not share its views on climate change.

    Any senior advisor refusing to accept “the scientific consensus on climate change” should be sacked, it said.

  9. Gary on 16/02/2014 at 12:39 pm said:

    The “Greens” the Green Party, whatever they call themselves, the aim of this group is to ban everything, and make your life miserable.

  10. Andy on 18/02/2014 at 8:57 am said:

    Speaking of Greens, that well known Greenie and nature lover James Delingpole is in his new home at Breibart, firing on all cylinders .


  11. Nice work, Andy, thanks. We have Delingpole back again!

  12. Visiting Physicist on 18/02/2014 at 3:15 pm said:

    “for the good of the planet” Why?

    Suppose we had a planet the size of Earth out where Uranus is, nearly 30 times further from the Sun than Earth is. But we give it a 350Km high troposphere like that on Uranus made up of 85% hydrogen, 13% helium and a ceiling of 2% methane confined to the uppermost limits of the atmosphere, absorbing nearly all the solar radiation and maintaining the very cold radiating temperature of about 60K. So what would the temperature of the surface of that planet be without any internal energy generation, or any water vapour or carbon dioxide, or any solar radiation reaching that surface?

    Well, look up the temperature at the base of the actual Uranus troposphere and decide whether the surface of our imaginary planet would be hotter or colder than Earth’s surface. Why is it so?

    • Bob D on 19/02/2014 at 8:09 am said:

      You have just given us an example of the greenhouse effect. Without the methane layer, the ‘surface’ would be about 60K. The methane layer holds the upper atmosphere at 60K, and the pressure gradient ensures that the ‘surface’ is much hotter. Take away the methane layer, and the dynamics of Uranus would be quite different, I suspect it would have a solid frozen core of some description.
      As I understand it high pressure does not, of itself, imply high absolute temperature; this only happens predictably (ideal gas law) when the volume is contrained (isochoric). But a planet’s atmosphere is isentropic. I suspect all one can say is that higher pressure implies higher temperature, but what that temperature actually is depends on boundary conditions.

    • Visiting Physicist on 19/02/2014 at 4:45 pm said:

      No Bob. High pressure does not maintain high temperatures. It needs an energy supply to compensate for natural and unavoidable cooling. The methane layer shields the atmosphere from what is a very, very small solar flux anyway. Methane absorbs and re-emits energy back to space. And, by the way, there is no surface at the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere (altitude -300Km) as you can read in Wikipedia.

      The same thing happens on Venus. How do you think the Venus surface warms by 5 degrees over the course of its 4-month-long day. Radiation from the Sun cannot possibly supply the required 16,200W/m^2, and the atmosphere cannot amplify the incident solar radiation up to this level – in fact it absorbs most of it and sends most of the energy back to space.

      At night Venus cools by 5 degrees. Why hasn’t it cooled right down then? It must be energy from the Sun warming it the next day, but the energy is not getting there by direct radiation striking the surface.

    • Bob D on 20/02/2014 at 11:06 pm said:

      Visiting Physicist,
      I think we’re both saying the same things. But I’m not sure how you conclude that the greenhouse effect is minimal, or even absent, when it’s quite clear to me that the methane layer fixes the upper temperature at 60K, and the pressure gradient increases the temperature down to the ‘surface’. Note that I used ‘surface’ both now and previously to denote a nominal surface.

      But I may be wrong, and I’m quite interested to hear the alternative views. Could you explain then exactly how you derive the Uranus temperature profile?

  13. Alexander K on 19/02/2014 at 2:11 pm said:

    This woman, like all of the Greens, betrays her lack of knowledge about anything to do with how we support and feed ourselves whenever she opens her mouth.
    Does she imagine beneficent nature allows Humans to lie back in our hammocks and pluck delectable fruit from apple trees at will, without turning a hand to help the poor bloody apple tree produce lovely fat and juicy apples? And that’s just apples, which somehow got transplanted from somewhere in Asia to NZ, then carefully crossbred by generations of growers and eventually released for the benefit of all of us.
    Ask any old and successful farmer and they will describe just how hard they had to work to allow the ‘earth to bear fruit’.
    I suspect that if modern city dwellers had to grow their own fruit and veg we would hear very little ignorant rubbish from the likes of this incredibly empty-headed woman and her ridiculous cohort.
    Improved settlements, indeed!

    • That’s a good point, Alexander. Yes, it’s nature that knows how to create apples (etc.), but it’s only man who can improve the apples (etc.). Both play their part. Together, we create a wonderful world.

  14. hemimck on 19/02/2014 at 2:43 pm said:

    Bit off topic but good news articles are hard to find these days.

    Well done to scientists from Auckland University for observing that coral atolls grow – provided you don’t kill them with rubbish and neglect. Charles Darwin had concluded the same thing some time ago, but thanks for the headline.

    • Good news! Thanks for passing it on. Hmm, the Herald should pick this up, don’t you think?

    • Bob D on 19/02/2014 at 2:49 pm said:

      Yes, I believe corals can grow quite quickly, many times the current (or even predicted) rate of sea level rise.

    • Andy on 19/02/2014 at 4:33 pm said:

      Is this not quite an old study? There are no dates or references on the article

  15. Richard C (NZ) on 24/02/2014 at 8:29 am said:

    Booker: Somerset floods – a very European disaster

    Richard North, 23/02/2014

    “This was where November’s forecast came in, because it led the Environment Agency deliberately to flood Southlake Moor in the expectation of a dry winter, keeping the water levels up, to “maintain the conservation interest”. Using a special inlet built for the purpose, water was poured in from the River Sowy, instead of being discharged to sea.

    When, contrary to expectations, the rains of December and January poured down, this large expanse of water-sodden ground blocked the draining to the already horribly silted-up Parrett of a much larger area of farmland to the east. An area which could have been used as an emergency overspill was already full.

    Thus came about the disaster which has filled our television screens for weeks, The hydrology of this entire vast area had been sabotaged by the Labour Government’s deliberate EU-compliant policy, directed by the Environment Agency, in partnership with Natural England and the RSPB.”

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