Infrastructure think tank calls for a single nation-wide water authority in NZ

Infrastructure New Zealand says it's time to take water supply management out of the hands of small councils and establish one large, national authority.

Following water supply issues like the contamination in Havelock North and subsequent release this week of a report into the incident, chief executive Stephen Selwood this morning told TVNZ 1's Breakfast it's time for New Zealand to look forward.

"The reality is our water systems were put in place 30-40 years ago ... it's way past its use-by date and, frankly, councils are struggling to keep up with renewals programme - they've got small ratepayer bases and not enough money coming in," Mr Selwood said.

Mr Selwyn said bigger challenges are coming along for water management, due to changes in climate and temperature.

"I think we are in danger of seeing more water shortages, and it's not just drinking water we're talking about it's wastewater schemes and storm water systems as well," he said.

The report recommends making water suppliers liable over water quality. Source: 1 NEWS

"So climate change and the impact of high intensity rainfall - all of those issues are going to have to be managed going forward much greater than what we've experienced in the past and way beyond the resources of small councils," he said.

Mr Selwyn said the time for a single national authority controlling and maintaining New Zealand's water resource infrastructure has come.

"I think the time for political governance and management of our water systems is past its time," he said.

Flash flooding has caused widespread disruption in the Central Otago town. Source: 1 NEWS

"Most countries in the world now - we're moving to professional governance and management ... scale makes an enormous difference to the ability to both fund and manage proper water systems in New Zealand."

Mr Selwyn gave the example of Scotland, where statutory corporation Scottish Water, founded in 2002, manages the entire water and sewerage supply for the country, with the oversight of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.

Scottish Water is known for having a high degree of service quality, and Mr Selwyn said the corporation had achieved a 40 per cent operational saving since 2002 while also investing significantly in water infrastructure.

He also said New Zealand would be "foolish" if it continued to shy away from universal chlorination of the drinking water supply.

"Consumers wouldn't taste the difference - maybe the first time or the second time," he said.

"The population - 1.5 million people - in Auckland are drinking chlorinated water today and most of us don't know the difference - it tastes perfectly fine."

Infrastructure New Zealand say it's time to establish a single, nationwide water authority. Source: Breakfast


Lotto winner gets $11 million - Second time Powerball struck in less than a month

$11 million is not a bad pay check and on Saturday night a lucky Auckland Powerball player got just that.

The winning ticket was sold at New World Albany in Auckland. The prize money was made up of $10 million from Powerball First Division and $1 million from Lotto First Division.

This is the second time that Powerball has been struck in less than a month, with two lucky players from Hastings and Christchurch sharing a $5 million Powerball jackpot in mid-September.

Meanwhile, in the Bullseye Must Be Won Draw, the $400,000 jackpot rolled down to Division Two and was shared by two players who each take home $210,001.

The winning tickets were sold at Halswell New World in Christchurch and Westport New World in Westport.

The winning $7.2 million Lotto Powerball ticket. Source: Supplied


West Auckland church using movie theatre for services

While the big screen is usually reserved for tales from Hollywood, one West Auckland church is using their newfound home at the cinemas to also retell stories from the Bible.

Members of the City Impact Church West branch now regularly attend their Sunday morning and afternoon services at a local theatre in West Auckland.

Families come in to the Westgate Event Cinemas, in Massey, treating themselves to movie snacks such as popcorn and ice-creams while listening to the pastors speak.

Pastor Joe Manase told the New Zealand Herald the unconventional idea makes sense.

"We’d heard that there are churches around the world that started to use cinemas and we thought: You know what? They’ll have comfy seats, the best air conditioning, the greatest screen and the best surround-sound system.

"There are people lining up to come to church and people lining up to buy tickets to Avengers at the same time."

City Impact use two rooms, one for main church and one specifically for children’s worship but there are also moves to hire out a third theatre by next year for their youth group.

Kirsty Bourke of the Hawera Cinema says restaurants and clubs have had dress codes for years and no one complained.
Source: 1 NEWS


North Canterbury thermal pools masters art of turning methane gas from thermal water into electricity

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools have achieved a New Zealand first - by converting waste product into power.

After years of trial and error, the North Canterbury pools have now mastered turning methane gas from the thermal water into electricity.

Hamner Springs operations manager Neil Wilson said, "It is a waste and we were continually getting asked what it was and why we were doing it and why we weren't using it".

The machine, operated by a cell phone app. is the result of 11 years of work and a $300,000 investment.

Mr Wilson said the contraption, which has a "turbine and capacitors and stuff that control the power", turns the methane from a deep thermal water bore that supplies the hot pools into electricity.

"It's pretty exciting, yeah - pretty special. Hopefully, some other people will follow suit," he said.

The generator stops 100,000 cubic metres of methane or greenhouse gas form being pumped into the atmosphere, which accounts for 15 per cent of the thermal pools's electricity use.

Worth around $35,000, the electricity is the equivalent of how much 43 average Kiwi homes would use.

"[It's] really cool that we're a tiny authority. We're a tiny operation on a world scale but to be leading this technology is really special."

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which helped the pools secure the world's smallest petroleum mining permit for the project, believes the innovation could be applied elsewhere.

The ECCA's Eddie Christian said it could be used "in the agriculture sector, for example, on large scale dairy or other large methane users".

Mr Wilson said they’re happy to share their discovery, saying, "Anyone’s more than welcome to come and have a look at what we've done here".

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools have achieved a New Zealand first converting waste product into power. Source: 1 NEWS

Cultural competency training hopes to bring down crime rates

Senior Māori police officers in Auckland are running cultural competency training sessions for their colleagues in an effort to bring down crime rates.

Staff of all ranks learned this week not only about protocol, but New Zealand history.

The history included dawn raids, Bastion Point, abuse in state care and urbanisation.

“It can build our empathy in our police organisation as well as to why people may present the way they are and not take them for face value,” says Inspector Scott Gemmell, Māori Responsiveness manager.

For some like Auckland police officer Gordon Campbell, learning some of the history was confronting.

“I found that really quite disheartening.”

Leaders are aware cultural competency’s been viewed negatively in the past.

“If it's touchy feely, so what? We want to engage with our communities, we want to do better, we want to do better than what we've done in the past,” says Superintendent Karyn Malthus from Auckland City District.

Police will train 1,000 Auckland based officers over ten weeks and they're hoping it'll help reduce Māori and Pacific offending 25 per cent by 2025.

“If we have a mindset whereby we are ready to engage in alternative resolutions or we are ready to engage in discretionary powers as well then by having an understanding of our collective history, then we're also in a very powerful position to be able to change,” says Mr Gemmell.

This training is not restricted to Māori culture, staff are also getting training in Chinese culture competency.

Māori police officers in Auckland are running cultural competency training sessions. Source: 1 NEWS