Andrew Dickens: 'Right to pollute' plans for Lake Wakatipu are full of crap


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For a while today, I thought I'd take this time where I can pontificate on stuff, to talk about the Queenstown Lakes District Council seeking a "right to polllute" in their latest resource management application to the Otago Regional Council. They want the right to pollute Lake Wakatipu. Now that's not a go right there. Lake Wakatipu is one of the cleanest of all our lakes. No cows, no nitrates, glacier and snow fed waters. The reason tourists flock to Lake Wakatipu is because it's - wait for it - clean and pure and beautiful. But it's the tourists flocking to the region and the growth that is the problem. Their wastewater and stormwater system is woefully poor and they know that a decent bit of rain means the Lake gets full of crap. Right about now ratepayers and politicians will stand up and say that their low ratepaying base meant they couldn't afford to keep up with improvements to the system. That just doesn't cut it with me. Did the District Council approve the hotels and the housing estates knowing that it's systems weren't good? If so, that's irresponsible. A responsible leadership would have called time on it until the infrastructure was ready. But they didn't and now they want to kill the golden goose. They're asking for a right to pollute. I hope the Regional Council turns round to the District Council and turns it down. I hope they turn round to them and say this was entirely predictable. Every time you approved a consent, every time you approved an impermeable surface you were slowly but surely heading to a point where you end out asking for permission to pollute Lake Wakatipu. But all this depresses me when in fact I'm full of good feelings. Tonight we're in the final of the cricket World Cup. Little New Zealand. From less than 5 million people we found 11 players who defeated a nation of over a billion in their national sport. It'll be fun. Meanwhile, I'm on holiday after Monday. I'm starting to relax already. I don't want to call out Queenstown's District Council. I don't want to call out Whanau Ora for calling out Oranga Tamariki when they should be calling out the parents and their families who have let their children be at such risk in the first place. I'm going to take some time to breathe. Just like Jacinda Ardern is. I'm not going to tell you where I'm going. It's none of your business. Just like it was only the Prime Minister's business. And later I'm going to talk about hopes and dreams because going on holiday means I will miss an incredible anniversary. On Tuesday it's 50 years since Apollo 11 blasted off and the human race got the first member of their kith and kin to stand on a piece of rock that was not attached to Planet Earth. I remember it as a 6 year old. I remember the blast off. The first step and the splashdown. Watched on a hot orange plastic 10 inch black and white TV. It was when human ambition and achievement was writ large. And to think I started off talking about stormwater flowing into Lake Wakatipu.

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