NZ residents of Wanganui are being asked whether they ought to approve a $141 million flood mitigation plan - a huge cost burden for a depopulating town, when there is a far more prudent and lucrative opportunity - build a hydro-electric scheme. My thoughts posted at Wanganui Chronicle letters below:
How about a flood mitigation scheme upriver to avoid the prospect of a flood and generate hydro-electricity for a century for free. Maybe the city could get free electricity, to offset the extortion by the power companies after stage 2 of the privatisation/self-regulation. Perhaps the council could finance the scheme through its EnergyDirect investment (50% owned by the council)....though maybe self-regulation precludes such vertical integration. I forget.
I might add - a few greenies might be flooded out of the valley at the same time. Seriously, though, why spend $141.4 million on remedial work when you can create something of value or productive, that ultimately serves 2 purposes, perhaps 3 (water supply in times of drought).
This of course is too abstract for councils accustomed to reactionary solutions. Why spend on costs when you can create assets. Of course Annette Main, whose property lies in this vicinity could be expected to have a vested interest, so maybe no progress will be made. Perhaps she needs to keep a back seat in our extortion-based political system.
Think about the following figures - electricity prices in NZ - page 148 of the Ministry of Development website. Comparing the ratio of residential electricity prices / industrial electricity prices - suggests a 2.5x premium for residential consumers over bulk electricity consumers. Its the worst ratio in the world...then look at the same ratio for gas...its even worse 4.8x - so consumers are being ripped off by producers and distributors of gas and electricity despite the capital cost of these assets being fully sunk by govt by the 1980s, and no fuel cost for the 70% of generating capacity which is hydro.
Perhaps rate payers ought to convince the council to 'invest' in new generating capacity rather than spending on 'damage prevention'....that's a rather expensive contingency planning 'cost' for an event that may not occur; protection which might not work; and work that offers no improvement. Perhaps council could even protect ratepayers from the extortionate prices of the national powerco's by offering ratepayers a cost+ROI electricity price; or better still adopt market pricing, and retain the power asset revenue to alleviate future rates. Concessional electricity prices could also be used to attract new industries. You wanted jobs didn't you. Cheap electricity is known to attract jobs. But will you allow a dam on the Wanganui River?? If it protects your homes?
Am I missing something?