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French Supports "District Funding" For Beach Erosion Solutions - What Next?

In one of the most revealing statements contained in the highly biased Informer Q & A article published today, Mayoral candidate Peter French made clear that he favoured "District funding of erosion solutions for our Coromandel communities."

This staggering information will come as a great shock to all of us on the West Coast who have been severely disadvantaged in the past by Council decisions to swing away from well established 'user pay - area of benefit' principles that ensure that those who benefit carry the increased rating load. This last happened when our Council decided to make the $94m Eastern Seaboard Wastewater Scheme a District-wide charge.

This has added hundreds of dollars to West Coast rate bills for no benefit - our schemes are all low cost but efficient pond schemes, and became the rationale the subsequent decision during the last term of office to switch to 'District-wide' charging of all the three 'waters' - waste, water, and storm - one that has 'evened the score' to a slight extent, but which will never compensate for the imposition of the ESWS on West Coast rate-payers.  

Councillors at the time had no idea as to eventual cost of the Eastern scheme, and signed up the "District-charge" departure as driven by then CEO Steve Ruru. Every trick in the book was used over time to ensure that this policy could not be reversed, and more lies have been told regarding this policy than any other over the last ten years both by staff and councillors with 'axes to grind.'  

It is outrageous for Peter French to suggest that this policy is appropriate in regard to the inevitable and hugely costly erosion control that will become necessary on the East Coast over the next few years. He states this policy having no idea as to the eventual cost, and in doing so commits West Coast rate-payers to the inevitability of increased rates to meet this burden that to date has always been a 'user-pays' imposition met through Ward targeted rates.

In the extremely unlikely event of a similar situations arising on this coast, it is entirely appropriate for West Coast rate-payers to meet the cost, and decide where those cost lie. It is not the responsibility of those who have prudently purchased homes well away from possible sea-driven erosion, and I for one have never heard any resident on this side of the Peninsula express any other view.

But it has become abundantly clear that those on the firing line on the East Coast have mounted a concerted campaign ever since the long term effects of sea-level rise have become evident to ensure that the costs associated with recovering their amenity are spread - initially over the immediate ratepayer base, and now, over the entire District. 

Just how fair is that? Perhaps Mr French can explain how it is fair for a Thames pensioner to be asked to help pay to the recovery of coastal amenity for multi-million dollar homes on the Eastern Seaboard - firstly at Mercury Bay and Cook's Beach, but subsequently over the entire coast. I don't think so!

This French policy is designed with one objective in mind - to curry Eastern Seaboard votes. Fortunately, Sandra Goudie was far more circumspect in her reply to the question. 

As for the remaining Q & A article - it was designed with one objective - to favour sitting members. The questions were of the 'sitting-duck' variety enabling constant reference to alleged achievements over the past six years, and to support one another in their much vaunted"team" approach. I realise that the Whitianga election is pretty much a foregone conclusion because of incumbent advantage, but the Editor could have demonstrated less bias had he been prepared to ask the awkward questions. and he should have resisted the temptation to print staff criticism made by Fox and McLean - more 'sitting-ducks.'

Sandra Goudie has her work cut out in the Whitianga Ward, but do not write her off. People should closely examine the credentials of the candidates before deciding their votes, consider just what these incumbents have left to offer. Editor Stephen Brosnan has done us a disservice with way in which he has framed this article. That is disappointing because his paper sets the standard in every other respect for this District - c.f. with the pathetic Hauraki Herald. 




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Reader Comments (5)

Bill – reading your posts it is great that you accept the science/reality of climate change/sea level rise. But are you not missing the point when you assume that sea level rise is more of an east coast than a West Coast problem? – Reality check – sea level will rise at the same rate on both coasts!

So for Thames, a 3 meter rise will make Pollen Street the new foreshore, and a 5 meter rise will make Rolleston Street, Heale Street, and Parawai Road the new foreshore. Doubt this? Then check out the links below from the new Regional Council Coastal Inundation tool.

A 3 meter rise is preposterous I hear some say. Really? Government guidelines to local authorities assume just a one meter sea level rise by the end of the century. But these are based on IPCC climate reports which are many years out of date. Meanwhile eminent climate scientists such as James Hansen and others have, in a recent peer reviewed report, - see link below - estimated even with 2° of warming there will be a multi meter sea level rise this century – perhaps as early as 2065, and accelerating rises into the next century and beyond.

Rather than parochial bickering over who will pay for some minor beach erosion on the east coast - local communities, TCDC and the Regional Council (and central government) have to urgently begin planning/adaption for the inundation of part or all of every coastal town on the Peninsula and vital transport links across the Hauraki Plains. The current TCDC Long Term Plan with its cursory and vague references to “protecting infrastructure” from sea level rise is a very bad joke.

3 M rise Thames -
5 M rise Thames -
Coastal Inundation tool -
James Hansen Report article -

September 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterlets

Thanks Lets for your comments. - I am not a denier, but I am totally flummoxed by the variety of rise statistics. You simply cannot have it entirely your way because someone comes out and says 3m in 30 years.
I read one in the Washington Post yesterday that claimed 50cm by 2100 on the basis that they can restrict the temp. rise and thwart the melt of the Thwaites Ice Sheet. So how good is you estimate? Sorry, but it simply does not wash. i.e see this
As for your comment on this post, neither does that - the post was about erosion on the East Coast that is happening right now, and we have to avoid the cost being spread - that is simple politics, call it parochial if you wish, but that is reality.

September 29, 2016 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

James Hansen is not just "someone" He is the grandfather of climate science and has proven to the most prescient of all scientists. It was Hansen who gave the first evidence on man made climate change to a Senate committee in 1989.

Maybe you are flummoxed because you rely on non Climate scientists such as de Lange and Leyland (an electric power engineer!) who wrote the non peer reviewed NBR "opinion piece". Hansen et al are rigorously peer - reviewed by other climate scientists. Also Hansen's conclusions were as stated ... " even with 2° of warming there will be a multi meter sea level rise this century – perhaps as early as 2065, and accelerating rises into the next century and beyond. " You misrepresent the findings by saying "3m in 30 years".

And just how do you imagine we will avoid the cost of sea level rise being spread? "Politics" is not going to cut it. Facing the reality of sea level rise everywhere would be a great start. So could I humbly suggest you go to the WRC coastal inundation tool at , zoom in on some coastal communities around the Peninsula - including on the west coast, and play around with various seal level rise scenarios. Just because there are no sand dunes at Thames do you seriously think it and other west coast towns are somehow magically immune to the effects of sea level rise?

The short termism of only parochially reacting to what is happening right now and failing to plan for and adapt to what the science tells us is coming to all coastal towns and cities is precisely what is wrong with our politics at both the local and central government level.

It's well overdue for the Councils to produce Long Term and District Plans that plan for and adapt to climate change with the urgency the science tells us is required

September 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLets

Great - I am impressed with your references.
Problem is I do not see you as a submitter to the LTP Hearings.
Pity, because even those members with limited vision may have been impressed and adopted some of your views.
It is pretty dammed futile attacking me - I simply do my best with what I have got.
I am not the the target, so get your priorities straight. My priorities are more immediate - for better or worse.
It is pretty dammed difficult attempting to influence the Plan at this stage.
Thank you anyway, and good luck!

September 29, 2016 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay


Waste of time submitting to the current mob of climate change deniers.

Neither option for Mayor is likely to move beyond lip service - "a new charger in Thames for electric cars in Thames will solve it"

Just maybe a few new Councillors will start to get serious with an adaption plan. There is plenty of guidance out there on where to start -

Maybe your blog can highlight the powerful WRC inundation tool ?

I realise you are not the target but your blog is read by those that are?

September 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterlets

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