Let’s avoid the Auckland Paradox

    It’s well established that once traffic growth in a city reaches a certain point, it clogs a city, destroys its quality of life, and threatens its economic and social viability. One only needs to think of Auckland, London before the congestion charge, Los Angeles and many other car dependent cities. In Auckland, despite decades of motorway building, congestion is gradually strangling the city, at a huge cost to its economy and quality of life.

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  • Kiwis in the dark about irradiated fruit and vegetables

    Kiwis in the dark about irradiated fruit and vegetables

    I'm wondering why the Government is about to approve the importation of irradiated apples, peaches, apricots and nine other fruit and vegetables from fruit fly-infested Queensland. After all, we have an abundance of locally grown produce here that doesn't need to be irradiated, and it's still difficult for our growers to get their apples sold in Australia. So why is our Government bending over backwards to allow even more irradiated produce into our food chain? Nor can I understand why our Government wants to remove the requirement that irradiated food must be labelled.

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  • Time to get rid of old, polluting school buses

    Time to get rid of old, polluting school buses

    It's time to question why the oldest, most polluting buses in the Wellington region are used to transport children to school each day. It's become the norm for operators to reserve their most clapped-out buses for schoolchildren mainly because they get a special exemption from NZ Transport Agency bus rules. NZTA stipulates bus operators must remove vehicles from their fleet when they are 20 years old. But under a schoolbus exemption, operators can keep them in service for a further six years if they are used as schoolbuses.

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  • Animals deserve vote of support

    Animals deserve vote of support

    There's been a proliferation of pre-election political panels in the run-up to this election - more than I can remember, which is a healthy sign in our democracy. But the most interesting one I have attended was a political panel on animal welfare - a first for this country.

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  • Action needed to rid us of deadly diesel fumes

    Action needed to rid us of deadly diesel fumes

    Two years ago the International Agency for Research on Cancer categorised diesel exhaust fumes as class one carcinogens in the same category as asbestos, arsenic and cigarette smoke. It said the scientific evidence about the harm of diesel exhaust fumes was compelling and its conclusion was that "diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans". The reason is that when diesel burns inside an engine it releases particles that stay in the airways and can trigger asthma, bronchitis and other lung conditions, including cancer.

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  • Scrapping trolley buses foolhardy

    Scrapping trolley buses foolhardy

    Many Wellingtonians regret the fact our forefathers got rid of Wellington's trams 50 years ago. Now there's another, similarly short-sighted proposal on the table: to scrap our pollution-free, climate-friendly fleet of trolley buses and replace them with diesel buses. At a time when fossil fuels are becoming scarcer and pricier, and we're being exhorted to switch to clean, sustainable energy sources, it makes no sense to replace trolley buses that run on renewable energy with diesel buses powered by fossil fuel.

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  • Sunbed regulation needed

    Sunbed regulation needed

    It's a mystery to me why sunbeds are unregulated in New Zealand. We know they increase our risk of developing skin cancer and that the more people use them, and the younger they start using them, the greater their risk. We know, too, that thousands of young women use them on a regular basis, oblivious to the risks. We also know we have the highest rates of melanoma and skin cancer in the world. So why on earth wouldn't we regulate sunbeds, to reduce the significant and entirely preventable public health risk they pose?

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