Skip to Content »

Green Wellington

I’m sure nowhere can beat Wellington as the best "green city" to live in. It combines the best that nature can offer, with big city buzz:

  • Fresh air
  • Clean beaches                                                                                                                                      
  • Fishing and swimming in the inner harbour
  • Logical and well positioned bus and train services (if too stretched at the moment)
  • Most people can walk, train or bus to work
  • Office workers can walk between meetings (long-time verandah rules help)
  • Many can walk from home and back to restaurants, cafes and the theatre (more verandahs needed up-town)
  • Lots of taxis
  • Reasonably safe streets for walking (needs improvement)
  • Bush and walking tracks within a kilometre of most houses
  • Bird variety increasing everywhere (thank you Karori Sanctuary)
  • Potential for wind, solar and wave power
  • Keen recycling residents
  • Brilliant close mountain bike tracks (Mount Victoria, Makara Peak)  – but less Council talk more action please, on road cycleways.

karapoti-2008.jpg  Biking the Karapoti Classic 2008 north of Wellington.


Science or Superstition?

At the top of Mt Vic with friends on bikes as the sun comes up – we feel so privileged – who’d want to live anywhere else? 

And perhaps you have to be ‘greenish’ at least to live here happily? Maybe people starting late on their greening will find the next few years uncomfortable.

But there are greens who will not like the mainstreaming of green values. To keep their feel of an exclusive club, more virtuous and farseeing than the rest of us, they’ll even reject help. For example at this year’s bike-to-work celebration in Civic Square (which I’ve biked to a number of years) I was greeted by a media person with " what are you doing here – this is not for you – this is for Greens"

I am not a religious environmental activist.  I prefer science to superstition, hearsay or guilt.  So maybe I’m a pragmatic green. I like Transition Towns’ positivity. There’s a neat summary on TT’s Wiki home page  "we used immense amounts of creativity, ingenuity and adaptability on the way up the energy upslope, and that there’s no reason for us not to do the same on the downslope".

I have only one minor quibble with this. We aren’t necessarily on an energy downslope. We’re on a fossil fuels downslope. Given the right incentives we can access more abundant energy sources, with much lower environmental impacts.

In the meantime there are practical things we can do. As an MP I tried always to offer solutions as well if I had to criticise. So, for example,  I worked constructively with Green MPs despite our differences. I co-authored with Rod Donald the dissenting minority report on the first Bill we considered together (the Waka hopping Bill). Nandor Tanczos, Keith Locke and I cooperated to change other Bills at late stages in the House.  I admired the way Green MPs mostly stuck to their causes, though I think it’s shame they’ll put their socialism before practical environmentalism. Some of their ideas are downright mad, like supporting the Tuhoe would-be "terrorists".

I don’t believe in the guilt the radical greens try to force on us. I have faith in human intellect and our ability eventually to overcome climate challenge. The answers will come from inventiveness, not a return to the past. We will devise substitutes to deal with scarce and expensive resources. We will adapt.

But it won’t happen by accident. We can’t sit and wait for someone else to do all the thinking and the changing. As lucky inheritors of a rich country our lives will change.

And we can’t afford another debacle like the bio-fuels frenzy that went into our legislation last year. People are starving while food is turned into fuel,. That’s why I’ve always opposed simply turning slogans into law.

Slogans are not often solutions. In Parliament. I’ll try to ensure  action is practical . I’m looking forward to helping in the constructive Green side of National.