Go­ing down the drain again?

Auckland City Harbour News - - OPINION -

In another rush of blood, the Auck­land not-so-su­per-city has added yet another pro­posed reg­u­la­tion/by­law/dusty old idea – al­ready re­jected once – into the list which in re­cent weeks has added, then dropped, fire­places from its weapons against voice­less cit­i­zens.

Your roof could be the next tar­get of mind­less coun­cil­lors and their dra­co­nian ad­vis­ers to con­vince even more peo­ple that Auck­land is ac­tu­ally high on the black list of less-than-good world ci­ties to live in.

A de­clared in­tent in the weird coun­cil uni­tary plan is to make paint­ing of gal­vanised and cop­per roofs com­pul­sory to stop any metal el­e­ments leach­ing into wa­ter­ways.

Sim­i­lar moves for a ban by the then Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil in 2005-07 went down the drain.

Then, re­search by New Zealand Steel and the New Zealand Metal Roof­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ers, Tonkin and Tay­lor and other tech­ni­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions pulled the lad­ders out from un­der the pro­posal, show­ing the bans were ‘‘eco­log­i­cally un­nec­es­sary’’.

The ARC re­port was with­drawn.

Or per­haps sim­ply put into a desk bot­tom drawer to be pro­duced by a coun­cil gnome as new­think­ing years later.

A good con­tact of this col­umn blew the whis­tle. He sent the notso-pub­lic de­tails with a ques­tion: ‘‘Which will cost more – block­ing off fire­places or the forced paint­ing of thou­sands of me­tres of un­painted roof?’’

Scope, the roof­ing in­dus­try’s mag­a­zine, has listed its mem­bers’ con­cerns and re­ferred to the sub­mis­sions by New Zealand Steel and the New Zealand Metal Roof­ing Man­u­fac­tur­ers those years ago.

From the lat­est in­dus­try re­sponse: ‘‘In the now very large Auck­land Coun­cil area, most agri­cul­tural build­ings are un­painted as ap­pear­ance is unim­por­tant and many ware­houses, com­mer­cial build­ings and fac­to­ries are also un­painted.

‘‘All would be af­fected by the pro­posed reg­u­la­tion. There are also a very large num­ber – far more than will be built in the next 10 years – of houses up to 100 years old with gal­vanised roofs in var­i­ous stages of de­cline.

‘‘Tar­get lev­els of zinc from roofs are not sub­stan­ti­ated. Coat­ing has not been de­fined.

‘‘Treat­ing ex­ist­ing, more ef­fec­tive tar­gets like car tyres have been left out.

‘‘Sig­nif­i­cant cost to Auck­land home own­ers can­not be ig­nored.

‘‘The in­dus­try has cut the amount of zinc in stormwa­ter from un­painted roofs by 90 per cent over the last 20 years with a cost sav­ing to the build­ing owner.

‘‘The in­dus­try is con­tin­u­ing to im­prove tech­nol­ogy and is cur­rently re­duc­ing the amount of zinc in the coat­ing of mild steel by another 20 per cent with a longer life­span.

‘‘New roof con­struc­tion should be left to in­dus­try. If Auck­land Coun­cil is se­ri­ous about re­duc­ing zinc lev­els in stormwa­ter there are other ar­eas con­tribut­ing far more that can be eas­ily ad­dressed.

‘‘The in­dus­try is achiev­ing greater re­sults for the en­vi­ron­ment at lower cost to the coun­try than could ever be at­tempted by re­stric­tive ma­te­rial use reg­u­la­tion.

‘‘Crit­i­cism of a pro­posed reg­u­la­tion or stan­dard should al­ways be ac­com­pa­nied by a rec­om­mended change to im­prove it.’’

When and how are Auck­land’s cit­i­zens go­ing to end per­se­cu­tions from their elected coun­cil­lors? In the mail­bag:

‘‘Thank you for your courage in print­ing the plea for prayer re­ceived by the Sal­va­tion Army. It has cer­tainly brought me to my knees daily since.

‘‘I am an ‘ac­tive’ Pres­by­te­rian – and have many Mus­lim friends, who are as hor­ri­fied as we are with the ac­tions of peo­ple claim­ing that they are Mus­lim which are so com­pletely at vari­ance with that re­li­gion’s ba­sic tenets. ‘‘They, too, are pray­ing! ‘‘In an age when the men­tion of prayer or faith of any monothe­is­tic kind raises anx­i­ety in so many – your decision to print this is re­mark­able and ap­pre­ci­ated.’’ – Faye Clark, Po­hutukawa Coast Pres­by­te­rian Church

‘‘Out­side of a ratepayer revo­lu­tion down Queen St, how do we get our old coun­cils back? Lucky Noosa, un­lucky Auck­land.’’ – Mur­ray Hunter, Ti­ti­rangi

Roof­ing rules: A paint job could be­come com­pul­sory in Auck­land.

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