Disagreement over Dunedin sea level predictions

Professor Jim Flynn has provoked some discussion after making some radical predictions about potential rapid sea level rises in South Dunedin and the rest of the low lying parts of the city.

These predictions have been disputed by other academics.

ODT: Flynn’s sea level figures disputed

Associate Prof Nicolas Cullen and senior lecturer Daniel Kingston have described the predictions by Jim Flynn as “very unlikely”.

On Monday, Prof Flynn told a Dunedin City Council public forum huge erosion of polar ice that had begun in 2014 meant predictions on the rate of climate change had changed.

He said there were 1932 homes in Dunedin, mainly in South Dunedin, built below 25cm, and a 25cm sea-level rise could occur before 2034.

He said by 2090, South Dunedin would be under 5m of water, along with Forsyth Barr Stadium, the Otago Polytechnic and other low-lying areas.

That’s fairly extreme. Many would claim bonkers, with some justification.

…approached for comment on the predictions, Prof Cullen and Dr Kingston disagreed.

Prof Cullen, whose expertise includes glaciology and climate change, said Prof Flynn’s figures were “questionable”.

He said the observed sea-level rise was 3.4mm a year, which was “quite high compared to historical estimates”.

If that rate continued for the next 20 years, there would be a total 68mm sea-level rise – “quite different”from Prof Flynn’s estimate.

“I agree that there is evidence that the two large ice sheets [Greenland and the Antarctic] may contribute more to sea-level rise in the future than previously thought, but I would think it is very unlikely that South Dunedin will be under 5m of water in 2090.”

Dr Kingston, whose expertise includes atmospheric circulation patterns and climate change, said he agreed with Prof Cullen.

“The numbers in that article, like 5m by 2090, are at the very, very extreme end of what’s likely.”

To Prof Flynn’s suggestion the more recent erosion of polar ice had changed what could be expected in terms of sea-level rise, Dr Kingston said, “I don’t think the matter is settled by any means.”

A rise of 5m would mean the entire West Antarctic ice sheet disappearing, or the entire Greenland ice sheet disappearing.

“The likelihood of that happening by the end of the century is low – not impossible – but the real extreme end of the situation.”

Flynn’s claims may cause some concern. Things like insurance cover and resale values of low lying properties won’t be helped by worst case scenarios being portrayed as likely.

I’m at 100, so way out of the danger zone but even a half metre rise would cause significant problems in the drained wetlands of South Dunedin where flooding cause major problems in 2015.

Jim Flynn can be a very interesting dude but he isn’t helping anyone with worst case claims that amount to scaremongering, but perhaps his aim was to attract attention to a real potential problem with a bit of exaggeration.

The problem is that claims like this are easy to dismiss as nuts.

Dunedin’s non-student problem

Dunedin students have copped a lot of flak over the years for couch burning, rioting and general mayhem and alcohol abuse.

There’s no doubt that a minority of students cause trouble – I think first year students in their first year away from home and old enough to buy alcohol will always be a bit of a problem.

But some of the problems are not students. Non students from Dunedin and also from provincial towns are known to be attracted to scarfyville to stir up mischief, burgle, and assault, and confront authorities.

There is another example of this in the court news this week.

Stuff: Police arrest two teens after Dunedin student quarter assaults

A pair of Dunedin men have been arrested for the alleged assault of two students in Dunedin’s student quarter.

The men, aged 19, were arrested last week, following two assaults on Hyde St on February 18.

The notorious Hyde Street.

Both men were non-students, with one remanded in custody and the other on strict bail conditions, Detective Sergeant Chris Henderson said.

Police were continuing to investigate two other assaults from the same night, which happened on Castle St and Dundas St.

Students come to Dunedin to further their education, and most also try to have some fun while they are here. A few do stupid and sometimes illegal things.

Local low-lifes take advantage of the concentration of young people and the social events that take place.

Most people in Dunedin courts are not students.

 

Cadbury closing in Dunedin next year

If Cadbury is being closed down in Dunedin it will rock the city. It is a local icon (despitebeing international owned now) and a significant employer.

ODT: Cadbury closure threat

Hundreds of worried staff are gathering at the Cadbury factory in Dunedin ahead of an expected announcement about the closure of the plant.

The Otago Daily Times understands owner Mondelez International has decided to close the factory, effective next year.

It is not yet known what the announcement will mean for the popular tourism attraction Cadbury World.

It is understood night shift staff were sent home early and among those asked to attend this morning’s meeting.

A few years ago Cadbury moved a lot of finished product manufacturing offshore (Tasmania and elsewhere), changed chocolate recipes, lost market share to Whittakers (I think) and now may have to close.

Dunedin continues to lose businesses and employers and car parks (including along both sides of the Cadbury block), but gains cycleways.

UPDATE: closure next year has been confirmed, with 350 jobs going.

State of the natzzzzz

Andrew Little spoke in Dunedin last night so I went along to see whether he looked and sounded better live than in brief media coverage. Unfortunately, no, he was much the same, earnest enough but repeating a well worn speech. it was uninspiring and often downright boring.

The venue was chosen well, it was packed out, standing room only, a few hundred people turned out. A number were obviously party faithful, clapping far too often. Others were less demonstrative, perhaps observing like me.

A really weird thing at the start, something I have seen similar before but not as odd as this. Someone got up at the front and asked that if there were any young people seated could they please stand and let older people have a seat.

I was there early enough to get a seat and didn’t want to give it up (ok, I’m not young either). Maybe 30-odd  young people left their seats and were clapped for doing that. A few oldies then took a seat. After a while some young people then took seats back, and some were left empty.

The evening introduction was done by one of the local MPs, Clare Curran (the other, David Clark, closed off).

To Little.

He started off mucking around with a microphone and asking about sound levels – audio was to be a problem off and on through his speech. A basic thing that should have been sorted.

He started off his speech with sort of lectern thumping gusto without the thumping. He ended with a bit of gusto again. But in a lengthy in between he was often quiet, sometimes hard to here, and mostly very boring. That may sound harsh but that’s how it was. My thoughts kept drifting off elsewhere.

littledunedin

It didn’t help that I felt that I had heard most of it before. It seemed to be based largely on his Sunday ‘state of the nation’ speech. I wasn’t interested in his personal stories about biking and his past health problems.

But there was a lot of waffle without any maple syrup, bananas or ice cream, so it was dry and uninteresting.

Little gave a lot of examples of what needs fixing – the usual stuff, housing, the health system, education. But he gave scant idea on how “we’ve got to do better”. And less idea on how much all the increased spending would cost.

He spoke specifically about three policies.

One was Kiwibuild, 10,000 houses in ten years, I’ve heard it all before. Even on this he was uninspiring. He said that it could be done because it’s been done before, and then mentioned then 1930s. That’s a long time ago and much has changed, especially local bodies and their use of the RMA, and the lack of available land.

The second was a local carrot, one million dollars offered to Dunedin for setting up some computer gaming incentives. There’s a bit of programming going on here but it’s not going to employ a lot of people.

And the other was free tertiary education which he claimed would inject $200 million into the Dunedin economy each year. He seemed to claim this would be due to increased participation in tertiary education – that sounds like a very optimistic increase.

Someone suggested that it would be more appropriately called zero-fees rather then free education.

Otherwise there was a lot of dissing the government and Bill English and saying they could do better. Uninspiringly.

There were two notable omissions from Little’s speech.

There was no Te Reo, no mention of Maori associations with Labour, no mention of Maori issues or the Treaty of Waitangi, which despite claims at Ratana seems to be a normal omission – see Maori 0f Little importance?

And there was no mention of the Greens, of the Memorandum of Understanding and of joint campaigning that Sunday’s  joint speech with Metiria Turei was aimed at portraying.

Labour wants Maori and the Greens, needs them, but Little doesn’t even pay lip service to them. I don’t know if this is ignorance or arrogance.

Little says he is going to speak all around the country leading into the election on September 23. If he carries non like this Labour will have to wake everyone up to get them to vote.

Little seems to be a decent person who you could have a decent one-to-one conversation with, but he is not a good orator. He just doesn’t have a speaking x-factor. I’ve heard John key and Helen Clark speaking live and they were interesting and commanded attention. They were very good. Sadly, Little is not.

Another area he struggles, and I’ve seen this in media interviews as well as when he was questioned last night, is speaking about things he hasn’t practiced speaking about. He doesn’t seem quick on his feet, and he seems to lack the broad and deep policy knowledge both Clark and Key had.

Training Little up is unlikely to help, because that is more likely to come across as well practised palaver, of which there is already too much.

Little and his Labour trainers may just have to accept that he is not going to be an exciting, inspirational speaker. One plus here, perhaps, is that his main opponent Bill English is generally quite bland too.

So what Little and Labour need to do is have a total rethink of their content. Good political speeches excite and inspire, if the drone can’t do it then it should at least be a drone that hits a chord with voters.

Same old doesn’t cut it. What the hell can Labour really do differently, how will they pay for it, and how will they manage that in coalition with the Greens and possible NZ First?

It’s pointless going on and on saying they can do better without giving any real idea of how. That’s what voters need to know.

And they have to believe what they are being told.

Little doesn’t really look like he has belief. He’s going through motions without any sign of confidence that he can become Prime Minister and make a real and positive difference.

I don’t know if they are capable of that, so Labour could be in for a dreary campaign. That doesn’t mean they won’t succeed in forming the next government, but if they do it won’t be due to Little’s speaking.

Labour can call Little ‘the next Prime Minister’ as often as they like, but he has to start looking like it. Otherwise he will keep looking like someone saying ‘after the next meal I’ll lose weight’ as they scoff.

I would really like Labour to sort themselves out and start to look like a major party again, but last night I wasn’t enthused nor encouraged.

It’s worth mentioning that someone else who went, someone who hasn’t seen Little anywhere as much as me, considers themselves a Labour inclined voter, and agrees with many of the things that Little says needs to be improved, who was pretty much bored out of their tree and quite disappointed.

People need to believe that Little is a potential Prime Minister, so he will have to find a way of delivering more than boring fairy tales.

I had hoped that somehow Little would be different speaking live, that there would be some sort of spark, even some flames of inspiration. Instead he came across like yesterday’s ashes – which is an apt description given he often looks backwards to when things were supposedly better. He could be leading Labour to a cremation in the election.

Little’s Dunedin speech is here (video).

Carbon credit costs bump up rubbish charges

I presume this will affect everywhere in the country and not just Dunedin – rubbish dump charges may go up 11.5% due to a big jump in carbon credit prices.

Our Emissions Trading Scheme has mostly operated under the radar.

ODT: Dump price rise of more than 11.5% proposed

Charges at Dunedin’s rubbish dumps are set to rise more than 11.5% as the Dunedin City Council recovers spiralling emission trading scheme (ETS) costs.

In two years the council will have to double the number of carbon credits it needs to buy as a landfill operator to offset methane emissions.

That comes as the cost of the credits has risen from $7 in 2015 to $13.40 last year, and $18.50 recently.

A report on the council’s solid waste budget said the cost of the ETS increases to the department was $1.2 million.

Is out ETS actually achieving anything apart from increasing costs?

Dumping of rubbish on roadsides has become common.

The cost for a small car load of vegetation had dropped from $10 to $9.

A boot full? That’s not a lot of hedge cuttings.

Other vegetation only charges in Dunedin:

  • Car – large load $23.00
  • Station wagon – small load $21.00
  • Station wagon – large load $35.00
  • Cars and single axle trailers, vans and utes – small load $21.00
  • Cars and single axle trailers, vans and utes – large load $44.00

There are big jumps between small loads and large loads, I bet that annoys some people wo are judged to have large loads.

A station wagon load with mixed rubbish is $51.00, a large trailer, van or ute load with mixed rubbish is $64.00!

These charges really surprise me, but I haven’t been to the dump for years. I have a lot of vegetation waste but deal with it myself through composting and chipping.

Is our ETS doing any good?

Why is the cost of carbon credits going up so much?

 

City quality of life good

Despite the doom and gloom picture painted by some in politics in a new survey most city dwellers in New Zealand say that the overall quality of life is either very good or good (from 78% to 88%, total 81%), with only a few percent thinking it is poor or in the case of a couple of cities, very poor (from 2% to 4%).

Dunedin topped the rankings but only by a negligible margin over Wellington.

It’s not surprising that Christchurch has the lowest extremely good+good ranking, but only Hamilton and Porirua register (just) on ‘extremely poor’.

Results by city council:

cityqualityoflife2016

 

The cities surveyed cover 65% of the new Zealand population. Margins of error range from 1.9%-4.4%, overall 1.3%. Tauranga is not included.

The Quality of Life Project

…was initiated in 1999 in response to growing pressures on urban communities, concern about the impacts of urbanisation and the effects of this on the wellbeing of residents.

The project was a collaboration between councils represented in Local Government New Zealand’s Local Government Metro Sector forum.

The key purpose of the project was to provide information to decision-makers to improve the quality of life in major New Zealand urban areas.

Overall nine council report

A gruff sounding man from Dunedin

The call I just got will brighten your Friday afternoon, read on.

STV in action

Dave Cull won the Dunedin mayoralty, and the headline vote numbers are:

  • Cull 17,229
  • Vandervis 11,806

That was an unsurprising result. Cull was the incumbent, Vandervis was the best known challenger but while he gets support for challenging the establishment he loses support due to his volatility and clashes with, amongst others, Cull.

But those numbers weren’t reached, and Cull didn’t reach a majority, until eight other candidates had dropped out and their votes had been redistributed under the STV voting system.

On first preference votes (majority of 19,693 required):

 

  • Cull 10,686 (27.13%)
  • Vandervis 6,983 (17.73%)
  • Timmings 5,561 (14.12%)
  • Whiley 4,622 (11.74%)
  • Hawkins 3,029 (7.69%)
  • O’Malley 2,474 (6.28%)
  • Stedman 2,066 (5.25%)
  • Elder 1,710 (4.34%)
  • Barbour-Evans Scout 937 (2.38%)
  • Gray 711 (1.81%)
  • Bayne 607 (1.54%)

So Cull was a long way off getting a majority. He failed to get a clear majority right down to the final three:

 

  • Cull 14,815 (43.64%)
  • Vandervis 9,824 (28.94%)
  • Timmings 9,308 (27.42%)

2414 of Timmings’ votes were redistributed to Cull, 1982 to Vandervis resulting in a majority at the final iteration:

 

 

  • Cull 17,229
  • Vandervis 11,806

 

4,912 of Timmings last votes were discarded, meaning a lot of voters didn’t want Cull or Vandervis and didn’t rank them at all, or made a mistake at that stage of their ranking. That’s high but not surprising as both are quite unpopular.

This is how it was worked out (provisional results)

 

1 Cull Dave 10,686
1 Vandervis Lee 6,983
1 Timmings Barry 5,561
1 Whiley Andrew 4,622
1 Hawkins Aaron 3,029
1 O’Malley Jim 2,474
1 Stedman Conrad 2,066
1 Elder Rachel 1,710
1 Barbour-Evans Scout 937
1 Gray Abe 711
1 Bayne Athol 607

2 Cull Dave 10,746
2 Vandervis Lee 7,063
2 Timmings Barry 5,607
2 Whiley Andrew 4,653
2 Hawkins Aaron 3,062
2 O’Malley Jim 2,567
2 Stedman Conrad 2,118
2 Elder Rachel 1,777
2 Barbour-Evans Scout 965

3 Cull Dave 10,817
3 Vandervis Lee 7,138
3 Timmings Barry 5,634
3 Whiley Andrew 4,684
3 Hawkins Aaron 3,237
3 O’Malley Jim 2,619
3 Stedman Conrad 2,161
3 Elder Rachel 1,840
3 Barbour-Evans Scout 1,043

4 Cull Dave 10,941
4 Vandervis Lee 7,224
4 Timmings Barry 5,683
4 Whiley Andrew 4,731
4 Hawkins Aaron 3,480
4 O’Malley Jim 2,698
4 Stedman Conrad 2,207
4 Elder Rachel 2,055

5 Cull Dave 11,227
5 Vandervis Lee 7,463
5 Timmings Barry 5,832
5 Whiley Andrew 4,931
5 Hawkins Aaron 3,766
5 O’Malley Jim 2,907
5 Stedman Conrad 2,406

6 Cull Dave 11,502
6 Vandervis Lee 7,789
6 Timmings Barry 6,265
6 Whiley Andrew 5,241
6 Hawkins Aaron 3,924
6 O’Malley Jim 3,248

7 Cull Dave 12,000
7 Vandervis Lee 8,216
7 Timmings Barry 7,077
7 Whiley Andrew 5,745
7 Hawkins Aaron 4,233

8 Cull Dave 13,599
8 Vandervis Lee 8,755
8 Timmings Barry 7,424
8 Whiley Andrew 6,187

9 Cull Dave 14,815
9 Vandervis Lee 9,824
9 Timmings Barry 9,308

10 Cull Dave 17,229
10 Vandervis Lee 11,806

Source: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/562033/Dunedin-City-Council-2016-Triennial-Elections-Preliminary-STV-Result-Report.pdf

Labour “all the more certain” to win

Party President Nigel Haworth has said that Labour are “all the more certain” to win next year’s election because of Andrew Little’s leadership.  He was speaking at an event in Dunedin celebrating the centenary of the party.

That’s rather optimistic given the current state of the party and polls.

ODT: Labour confident in its 100th year

The event was held at the Community Gallery to celebrate the party’s centenary exhibition.

It allowed Labour to look back on its achievements with pride.

“We have done the hard yards. The other side has picked up what we’ve done and sort of tinkered with it,” Prof Haworth said.

The party expected a September 2017 general election, and was six months ahead of what it had anticipated in its preparations, Prof Haworth said.

Hard to see how Labour is six months ahead of preparations, unless they mean with fund raising or candidate selection.

Clare Curran acknowledged the party had not always lived up to its ideals.

It had mostly, but not always, stuck to its values.

“Let’s be honest,” she said.

Asked about the comment, Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times  there was no point  “glossing over” the economic upheaval of the 1980s, but people should remember it was one part of a significant history.

Labour in the 80s rescued the country from the dire economic situation left be Rob Muldoon, nut now some on the left seem to see Lange and Douglas as dirty words.

Mr Little was keen to look forward, rather than back, devoting much of his speaking time to a campaign-style speech that talked about the “Kiwi dream” and the “deep housing crisis”.

Littler has been using those themes for some time.

If elected,  Labour would not put up with further delay to the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, and would start rebuilding immediately.

‘If’ elected? I thought politicians spoke more positively than that.

Labour would guarantee no loss of services, and would safeguard its status as a “fully fledged” teaching hospital, Mr Little said.

Dunedin hospital has battled against losses of services for decades under successive governments. With the city and coastal Otago falling behind other parts the country population-wise and the ongoing centralising of expensive health facilities it’s hard to see the level of services maintained.

Listening to Mr Little’s speech was Labour supporter Richard Thomson, deputy commissioner of the Southern District Health Board and a member of the hospital redevelopment partnership group.

He declined to comment when approached by the ODT.

Thomson will know the reality of the situation.

labourstan

Does anyone recognise this dude?

 

 

 

 

Dunedin, Wellington ‘best cities to live in’

‘Best city’ surveys give a bit of an indication of what people think but there are many factors to consider, like family, work, weather, education, health and what you are familiar with.

The ‘Quality of Life’ project does a two yearly survey, and in the latest one Dunedin and Wellington have come out on top:

Overall quality of life – extremely good+very good:

  • Dunedin: 27+61=88%
  • Wellington: 28+59=87%
  • Porirua: 19+65=84%
  • Hutt: 22+60-82%
  • Hamilton: 18+64=82%
  • Auckland: 18+61=79%
  • Christchurch: 20+58=78%

Those are percentages based on city councils.

Obviously with a much bigger population Auckland numerically has many more people satisfied with their city, but also quite a few more who are dissatisfied, 4% of one and a half million people is 60,000 people, about half the population of Dunedin.

A notable omission of the major cities is Tauranga.

Overall quality of life – poor+extremely poor

 

  • Dunedin: 2+0=2%
  • Wellington: 2+0=2%
  • Porirua: 2+1=3%
  • Hutt: 3+0=3%
  • Hamilton: 2+1=3%
  • Auckland: 4+0=4%
  • Christchurch: 4+0=4%

Those are remarkably low levels of dissatisfaction with cities, especially considering Christchurch and it’s problems with earthquakes. However about 20% of Christchurch residents said they were stressed “always” or “most of the time”.

Stuff reports: Dunedin is the best NZ city to live in – just

Dunedin has pipped Wellington to become the best city in New Zealand to live in, according to a new survey.

 

Statistically Dunedin and Wellington are the same so ‘best’ is barely . However if you combine the greater Wellington cities which include Porirua and Hutt they drop a bit down the scale.

Affordable housing, civic pride, and a strong sense of safety seem to be behind the good results for Dunedin in the biennial Quality of Life Survey.

Those in Dunedin were also more likely to be physically active and less likely to be stressed than their urban counterparts.

The study questioned 7155 Kiwis across seven urban areas and two wider regions. Quality of life in general was relatively steady across the two previous surveys in 2014 and 2012.

The Stuff article covers a number of issues affecting people’s opinion s on their cities, such as stress, traffic and safety.

Wellingtonians were also the most welcoming to outsiders. About three quarters of the capital’s respondents said that New Zealand becoming home for people with different lifestyles and cultures made their city a better place to live in.

Aucklanders were the least welcoming, with just over half (52 per cent) saying diversity was a net positive and one in five saying it was a net negative.

It’s interesting that Auckland has by far the most immigrants and is the least tolerant of them, but ‘locals’ will be seeing huge changes to their city (or in many cases their adopted city).

I will post separately on what the survey found about housing.