Posted by: Matthew | February 13, 2011

New Zealand fails to provide for the most basic of human needs

Over on the Melbourne Urbanist, the blogger Alan puts an interesting, but unrelated picture into each of his posts. He just included a diagram from the Grattan Institute’s report into the Cities We Need. Here it is here: and notice what they say is important for our cities (they’re talking about Australian cities, but I’ll stretch it to all cities):

Yep, up there on the first tick, clean air. This might prick you into remembering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and yep at the base of that hierarchy in the physiological needs is breathing. Why does New Zealand so spectacularly fail on one of humanities most basic needs? Why does the minister of pollution Nick Smith allow delays in fixing up the situation, so nothing will ever get done? Why does the National Party in one of its own policy statements state the same thing, and then spectacularly and hypocritically do the exact opposite?

Where in New Zealand is actually clean enough to live? Are there any parts of New Zealand that are free from pollution? It seems when measured just about every town has excessive pollution even when judged against the already really lax standards? Masterton is unlivable. Tawa is unlivable. Raumati is unlivable. Alexandra, Cromwell, Clyde, Christchurch, Timaru and Ashburton are unlivable. I just heard of someone who moved out of Ngaio because of the winter air pollution. Just why is it that so many New Zealanders move to Queensland? Could it be another reason than just economics. Could it be to do with better air quality?

It’s a real shame. New Zealand would be a nice place to live it wasn’t for the air pollution. Unfortunately fouled air  is near ubiquitous, and it means we miss out on one of our most important and fundamental needs, the need for clean air.

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