Climate Issues

Richard Seager. Poetry, music, science and politics.

“Cycling is a convenient, fun, affordable and healthy way to travel around Dunedin, whether to get you to work or school, for recreation, or to experience Dunedin’s scenery.” Dunedin City Council website.

Oh if only it was so. It is true of the first cycle path to be built in modern times in Otago (of which Dunedin is the main city) but this is a tourist oriented cycle trail from Middlemarch to Clyde, through Central Otago, a distance of about 150 kilometres (the Central Otago Rail Trail) and it starts about 80km away from Dunedin. It was built on the carcass of the railway that had been there from as early as 1877 until 1990 when it was pulled up by the neo-liberal government of the time (there were several) who had taken this toxic ideology very much to heart. So there is some regret involved. Today you can only see the former history of this railway at a local museum in the small town of Ranfurly which was previously the halfway stop on the train ride between Dunedin & Clyde. The current cycle trail that replaced it is very much targeted at tourists and due to its success it has stimulated similar cycle trails in other parts of New Zealand. It is nevertheless not that well used compared to cycle paths elsewhere. Estimates, before the worldwide lockdowns of the last few months, were about 10-14,000 people annually.

How cycling trails developed in Central Otago is also the Dunedin experience, the main spend on cycle paths has been to those parts of Dunedin that the tourists like to visit such as the Otago Peninsula. Through areas that the council is trying to promote to developers (the Harbourfront) or past the extremely expensive stadium where there is a rather nice but very much under utilised cycle bridge nearby. This 48km (when it’s finished) cycle path is rather disjointed in places and still not complete but when it is it will be a nice enough ride and a quite scenic one.

Dunedin harbour with the current and proposed cycle path from Port Chalmers to Point Harrington Dunedin harbour with the current and proposed cycle path (in red) from Port Chalmers (top LHS) to Point Harrington (top RHS). Photo credit: David Wall/Alamy Stock Photo

“When a balcony was at least six feet deep it tended to be used: children played there, people took time with their coffee or had lunch on a small table, basked in the sunshine, and enjoyed their connection to the street, watching the world go by. On the other hand, a balcony under six feet in depth would not be used, collected junk, and mostly became little more than a place where laundry was hung to dry.” Brömmelstroet et al, “Towards a pattern language for cycling environments: merging variables and narratives, Applied Mobilities” 2018.

Just as with the balcony in this quote the cycling infrastructure for getting to school, to work or to visit friends in the urban areas of Dunedin is almost non-existent and, where it does exist, is not fit for purpose and largely unused. It is single lane in most places, always on the side of a very busy road, often hemmed in by large concrete barriers, badly signposted and sometimes finishes on one side of the road and then starts on the other side of the road. An enjoyable experience it is certainly not. One could also suspect that it was designed to fail, maybe as a result of compromise, something possibly evidenced by a (successful) candidate for Dunedin Council, Jules Radich, who in the last local election campaign suggested that cyclists should “use it or lose it”.

This was the same election that elected the Greens candidate Aaron Hawkins as Mayor who hardly mentioned cycling in any part of his own election campaign. He did though make a big deal of hitchhiking from his home in Port Chalmers and although, if stories are to be believed, one could be a little skeptical of this Aaron should still keep in mind that there is indeed, as mentioned earlier, a very good cycle trail almost all the way from Dunedin to Port Chalmers, where Mayor Hawkins lives. So an electric cycle could conceivably help him to make the trip to the Council offices even faster than it would take him to hitchhike.

“Riding side by side, friends can catch up, couples can share moments, parent and child can learn together, and colleagues can work out difficult decisions.” Brömmelstroet et al, “Towards a pattern language for cycling environments: merging variables and narratives, Applied Mobilities” 2018.

Dutch girls cycling to school Dutch girls cycling to school. Credit: G, Hulster., A. Gielen, J. Dirks, M. te Brömmelstroet, (2020) Why We Cycle.

I’m guessing most of us could complain about our own city’s cycling infrastructure all day long. But the key takeaway should be that if you’re going to succeed in changing the focus of your city from cars to cycling then first of all you have to make it enjoyable for the citizens of your city. Although Dunedin is quite hilly in parts there is also a fair bit of flat ground in the city all the way from the University area to the beach at St Clair. These areas of Dunedin also have a slight majority of the population of the city. So it’s my view that there are some relatively small changes that could get quite a lot of people in Dunedin onto cycles and more importantly enjoying it into the bargain.

“For the most part people travel not just for the sake of it, but in order to participate in spatially disjointed activities (for example, living, working, shopping, visiting in different places)” Luca Bertolini and Frank le Clercq, Urban development without more mobility by car? Lessons from Amsterdam, a multimodal urban region

Young Dutch Men out on the town. Young Dutch Men out on the town. G, Hulster., A. Gielen, J. Dirks, M. te Brömmelstroet, (2020) Why We Cycle.

There is a large green belt that follows the northerly half of this flat area right around to South Dunedin (albeit there would be a small climb to it initially). At South Dunedin a cycle path that kept to the side of this Green Belt could join up with the main street of South Dunedin right through to Victoria Street at the beach. Intersecting this main street we also have Hillside road which has adequate room for two generous cycle paths on either side of it while still keeping the current two lanes for motor vehicles. Macandrew and Bay View Roads could be turned into one way roads (respectively away from Harbour and towards Harbour) with the remaining part of each of these roads turned over to bi-directional cycle paths. Bay View Road can then join up with the rather good cycle path along Portobello Road and both streets can join up with the cycle path that runs along Portsmouth drive to the city (joining Port Chalmers and Harington Point). We would also need some feeder cycle paths in the city and University areas to the two main cycle paths at the Harbour and at the Green Belt. A cycle path along Forbury Road/David Street from Caversham to St Clair and another from the St Clair esplanade to join up with the current cycle path on Queens Drive would complete this cycle path plan.

There are a dozen or more Secondary Schools and numerous primary schools that are close by these suggested bicycle paths and the appeal for these students of cycling to school cannot be understated. But it could also be noted that girls school uniforms in Dunedin might discourage girls from riding bikes to school, Dutch students ride to their schools in every day clothes.

The Dunedin Council circa 2013 had similar plans, albeit mostly with shared roads rather than cycle paths. I also think that shared roads can work but you need to reduce the speeds to 30kmh on such roads and cars would need to know that they were ‘guests’ on the same. This has worked in the Netherlands, for example, but it is not really suitable for the suggested cycle path plan as outlined here.

My suggested cycle paths for Dunedin My suggested cycle paths for Dunedin, Credit: Apple Maps/Richard Seager

Thus we have cycle paths on both sides of the University, one via the harbour and one via the Green Belt to South Dunedin where there are multiple elementary and high schools several of which would be very well served by these suggested cycle paths. Students of both schools and the University would then hopefully be the impetus for further development of cycle paths in Dunedin proper, which I would hope would include a completely car-free University precinct. And I am certain that you could think of something similar for your own town or city.

Dunedin could trial such changes as these mentioned in this article using funding made available for temporary cycleways from the New Zealand government in a policy announced by the Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter on 12th April.

Richard Seager recently successfully completed a short course with the University of Amsterdam via coursera.org titled “Unraveling the Cycling City”. He also stood unsuccessfully for Council and Mayor for Dunedin Council in 2019, his first attempted foray into local politics, on a very cycling focused platform. He has a post graduate diploma with a focus on climate science and cycles in Dunedin on a daily basis.

I recently completed this course by the University of Amsterdam with a 100% pass rate via Coursera!

#cycling #dunedin

This little ditty of mine was originally published on 1st August, 2019. Jack Brazil is the Green Candidate for Dunedin in the NZ national election that is currently slated for September 19th, 2020.

I'm not his greatest fan.

those two pampered poodles Jack, what exactly is their carbon footprint Is their daily shampoo From a plastic bottle Is their food local Is it Taieri vegan Or is it canned horse from Dubbo Flown in on chartered jumbo Is your messiah a reworked Ronald Reagan Is there a thatcher in the rye Do your pews have cushions Is your theology liberational How much does your preacher cost exactly.....

#poetry #jackbrazil

Don't forget to vote Dunedin...

My blurb

Vote #1 for Richard Seager I will put 21st Century non-car focused transport systems in place, address the debt issues, attend to equity of all of the citizens of Dunedin especially women whose franchise needs to be extended not denied, work at getting small market gardens, orchards and crops prioritized working with the farming community and others to do so and put the pressure on banks (both local and international) to finance this at very low interest rates. I will look at all housing options and work to move the State Highway and new hospital build to higher ground with the added benefits of better access and less disruption in the city. I will initiate an action plan for South Dunedin making sure that the local residents are informed and involved. I will visit all the sister cities of Dunedin as soon as practicable (and as sustainably as possible) starting with Otaru on the island of Hokkaido in Japan, with the intent of getting support for the above policies and co-operation regarding food production. I will also attempt to build strong relationships with other cities on the Pacific Rim and in the Pacific including those of our neighbours Southland and Canterbury.

I also have dual Australian/NZ citizenship so you can rely on me building relationships with Australia (I would say 'better relationships' but I don't think that there are any at the moment).

I am, as you can see above, also strongly in favour of more independence in local government which has some support in the local government act (2002).

Enrol and Vote You can still enrol to vote. The actual voting stops at noon on Saturday 12th October. Tomorrow, Tuesday 8th October, is the last day to vote by mail (in fact due to various factors in my view it’s too late to vote by mail with 100% security that your vote will count).

Enrolling How to enrol to vote – Friday the 11th November is the last day to enroll to vote for council elections. https://vote.nz/enrol-to-vote/enrol-check-or-update/ Tel. 0800 367656

Or at any Postshop, or at the city council library or the main council office in the Octagon. If you are returning enrollment forms you can also deliver to these places.

If you have printed out your enrolment form and want to send it back, you can actually upload it (probably at this stage the best way of sending it back); https://enrol.vote.nz/app/enrol/enrolme/

Voting You need to be living at new address for 4 weeks to vote there. Otherwise you will to make a special vote. (I am unsure if you are allowed to vote using your previous address if you have only recently left).

Once you have filled out your voting form you will need to mail it by today (8th October) if you feel brave enough to trust it will make it on time or more reliably take it to the Elections office at the Council (off the Octagon) or to one of these;

The Civic Centre, the Octagon | Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm |Sat, 8.30am-12pm

Mosgiel Library | Mon, 11am-4pm, Fri, 1-4pm

University of Otago – the Link | Tues, 10am-4pm, Thurs, 10am-4pm

South Dunedin Library | Weds, 11am-4pm

You can drop papers off at the Book Bus ballot box, but you can’t make a special vote on the bus. Information on what a special vote is HERE

Once again the actual enrollment process (so as you can vote) can be done at any Postshop, or at the city council library or the main council office in the Octagon.

The candidates. https://write.as/rihari/the-council-candidates

#dcc #councilelections #vote #RichardSeager

A placeholder.

I will be in South Dunedin today, but will aim to write something on this debt tonight.

But selling poorly performing companies for a song (as you have no choice) is not the answer to this one. Selling well performing companies is also not the answer as they'll (there's only one, forestry) be sold cheaply anyway (as they always are, 40% discount seems common) and will only retire part of the debt.

#dcc #debt #stadium #forestry

A yacht (would take a while)? An electric ship (would not have the range)?

By air (would take a while as you will need to go via at least two other cities, emits too much CO2).

As you can see there's no flights from Dunedin at New Chitose Airport (in fact they're almost exclusively from Asia).

For the moment the best way seems to be to Tokyo by air (via somewhere else about 15 hours or so) and then a couple of fast trains and one slower one to Otaru on Hokkaido (probably about another 10 hours). Or one train and a ferry (about 20 hours).

That's quite the trip. It looks nice enough once you get there though.

So I suggest we should seriously think of having one airport equidistant between Queenstown, Invercargill & Dunedin. So as we can have better connections. And fewer flights.

Of course you could also fly from Tokyo to Otaru (or at least nearby) but that seems rather vandalistic on environment when there are other options (which you could do overnight).

#sistercities #dcc #dunedin #

A series of slides I did on South Dunedin in 2016. I will probably keep trying to fix this so that it's more responsive.

South Dunedin is very prone to Sea Level Rise, it was built on former marsh and lagoon, a lot of the material used to fill in these geographic features were industrial waste and it's its beaches can be breached in various places. It has been a problem since the 19th Century but with Sea Level Rise now over 3mm a year it is likely that the only long-term (which may in fact be sooner than we'd like) solution is retreat.

Clare Curran will be gone soon, which is good in relation to this issue. South Dunedin needs to have a sea level rise focused M.P. so as the disruption is in as orderly fashion as possible with central government support quite obviously a necessary key component.

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Fin

It's just a simple slideshow. CSS only, no javascript.

#climatechange #southdunedin #clarecurran #nationalparty

This is a great version of the Brian Jones classic (yes Jones) from the 60s.

Jordan Luck and some Kaipara College students.

#paintitblack #music #brianjones #kaiparacollege #jordanluck

Is a very diverse place. Definitely the most diverse of Dunedin's suburbs and probably (without checking stats.govt.nz) up there with the most diverse suburbs in New Zealand. The following photos indicate that as this is what the retail area of South Dunedin looks like.

Some though still seem to conceive it as a white working class area from the 1970s that it possibly never was anyway. I have some personal experience of this perception so I know that it can be true even here in Dunedin.

A local school (not too far from the above outlets).

So you get the picture, there's a large group of retired people here too. And although the suburb is one of the poorest in New Zealand there is over near the beach a reasonably affluent quarter as well. It's pretty diverse basically.

#politics #southdunedin

Well this needed an update and has now got one (28th September 2019)

We need a council that will act, rather than just speak. Yes there's been some attempts so far but they're small and sometimes self-defeating (cycle paths in the city are badly designed and don't link up, other cycle paths are more tourist than locally oriented, declaring 'Climate Emergencies' is problematic in a democracy, public transport is wanted but then cost is challenged while bigger investments are considered for the foreshore in a world of increasing sea level rise). So yes there's some bluntness. Dunedin has some opportunity here. But no matter who the Mayor and councilors end up being, we need to move forward.

This may be my last update of this particular post, as I'm going to now concentrate on what needs to be done on this blog.

Councilor candidates which are sorted in order of climate change focus allied with keeping some out of being disruptive. There is a group there who have had power for too long. Benson-Pope & Staynes along with Hawkins. Cull and Wilson have left, one to hospital the other to ORC (as candidates). Dunedin could do better with a more diverse and democratic group which I've done my best to layout below.

  1. Seager, Richard Public transport, cycling and local focus including food. Pro LGB but gender critical if need be. Probably most importantly very invested in democracy. I know what needs to be done and if I get this role I know that will encourage others (next election) who also know what needs to be done. We need to start now though.
  2. O'Malley, Jim, Councilor Undoubtedly a very good councilor. He's keen to address climate change issues too. His strengths, experience on Council mostly. Wants change, but more slowly (than I do).
  3. Barlin, Bob Ex-Army, Kosovo, CARE, RSA. Would be very useful on council though due to that overseas experience with logistics.
  4. Forsyth, Hugh Landscape architect. Intelligent but somewhat conservative. Some experience with Resource Management Act, which was his appeal to council. Feel free to swap with Christine Garey as long as you put Hawkins and Benson-Pope at the bottom of your preferences.
  5. Morris, George Anti cycle to some degree, anti George Street development. But aware of climate change and wants Trams back in. Also Labour man from Caversham.
  6. James, Muthiah Works with some community groups. Reasonable on climate change. I didn't pick up everything that he said at Opoho but it sounded fine. Would be good to have on Council.
  7. Elder, Rachel, Councilor Not enough climate focus but giving Pine Hill and South Dunedin (both working class more than not) a workout in your campaign is unique amongst candidates here (so far) though.
  8. MacKenzie, Peter Glass guy, motorcylist, scifi fan. Some climate focus and a really strong social justice focus.
  9. Laufiso, Marie, Councilor (Green) Impressed at Opoho, only fluffed when it seemed that she was in opposition to her own vote on council. Green party affiliation is problematic. Told Mosgiel she was happy to pay 3 x her current rate bill. That's pretty hard on the poor.
  10. Davie-Nitis, Sarah Mosgiel based, conservative, a little anti-cycle as well. Here for democratic reasons, represents Mosgiel (or at least some of it).
  11. Newell, Damian, Councilor Current councillor. Some climate change focus but a little problematic in style, content.
  12. Walker, Steve Labour Party rep. Good focus mostly but not interested in discussing air emissions. Labour is not in the same state as Greens though, so here unless something changes.
  13. Vandervis, Lee, Councilor Looking for Netherlands style solutions which are costly and will be outrun by sea level rise (update: not sure if he was trying to play me there). Here because as councilor with most votes last time, he won't not be here.
  14. Free choice.

Yeah, nah, but you have to choose one, maybe two. Ordered by my preference. Radich, Jules Advocates for groynes at St Clair. Business focused. But either is picking up on it quickly or has had a bit of a focus all the way along. Better option than Lee if you're going to vote Conservative. Hanan, Dave Does not seem to have a climate change focus away from waste, his business. Mayhem-Bullock, Mandy Kettle Park Lake advocate. Very pro car at Opoho. Some good things said at Waitati (her home) Jemmett, Neville K Light rail Mornington, but conservative. Climate change focus is not there it seems. Marrable, John Disabled advocate, not much climate focus there though. Barker, Sophie Partner of Jim O'Malley but maybe a little more conservative. Has somewhat of a climate focus but more business oriented. Garey, Christine, Councilor Some climate change in council but it's a little light. She is a big believer in the bridge and harbourside development. And her anti-Vandervis focus puts her in Hawkins' corner as well. Will likely make it on to Council but I'd prefer that the trio of her, Hawkins & Benson-Pope was broken up if you do vote for Christine. Hawkins, Aaron, Councilor (Green) Still fond of playing the man rather than the ball, especially Vandervis. He's not actually a team player, unless that team is with Benson-Pope, a rather small version of the (2016 elected) Council. Please don't vote for Aaron, he'll be on Green list for Wellington anyway if you don't. Houlahan, Carmen Quite good speaker especially when knows topic but very little climate change focus. Has some strange stories of when she was in a warzone. Lund, Russell Local developer. Could be handy with help working new projects. Vandervis ally. Miller, Brian Need to check notes to see if he's been to meetings. Staynes, Chris, Councilor Believes in climate change but not necessarily in 14 Councilors. Ally of Cull, so probably allied to Hawkins & Benson-Pope too. Lazy at meetings, expects to get elected. Campbell, Finn Good but pretty light focus on alternatives to cars. Didn't turn up at several meetings. Light on content, lazy, expecting to get elected on age (he's 27). Later meetings was sledging on Hawkins' behalf. So just don't even bother.

No or very little climate change focus.

Barbour-Evans, Scout I still can't recommend Scout. I wish I could, maybe next time. Benson-Pope, David Hawkins' mentor. Kenny, Anthony Climate change 'skeptic' Lindsey, Jason Petridish man, no climate change focus. IT magic. Friend of woke California. Wa... (...better not) Hall, Doug Trucking owner. No climate focus. Steele-MacIntosh, Callum 19yo Law student. Car parking advocate. Guthrie, John Marketing retail lecturer. Doesn't think that climate change is an immediate problem. Whiley, Andrew Oil/gas guy,. Lord, Mike No climate change focus. Moncrief-Spittle, Malcolm Climate denial at every meeting.

Mayoral Candidates (sorted in order of climate change focus)

  1. Seager, Richard Public transport, cycling and local focus including food. Pro LGB but gender critical if need be. Probably most importantly very invested in democracy. I know what needs to be done and if I get this role I know that will encourage others (next election) who also know what needs to be done. We need to start now though.
  2. O'Malley, Jim Undoubtedly a very good councilor. Moves to number 2 after discussion at Museum. He's keen to address climate change issues. His strengths, experience on Council mostly. Wants change, but more slowly (than I do).
  3. Barlin, Bob Ex-Army, Kosovo, CARE, RSA. Seems to have more of a handle on this than I gave him credit for, but still not sure about an ex Major as mayor. Sorry Bob, but no. Would be very useful on council though due to that overseas experience with logistics.


    Next group does not have enough climate focus, but not devoid of it either.

  4. Elder, Rachel, Councilor Not enough climate focus but giving Pine Hill and South Dunedin (both working class more than not) a workout in your campaign is unique amongst candidates here (so far) though.

  5. Radich, Jules Thinks groynes will save St Clair. But recently spoke of Baring Head & Mauna Loa without any prompting.

  6. Vandervis, Lee Looking for Netherlands style solutions which are costly and will be outrun by sea level rise. Some definite denial but he's into batteries and solar power as well.

  7. Campbell, Finn Good but pretty light focus on alternatives to cars. Didn't turn up at several meetings. Light on content, lazy, expecting to get elected on age (he's 27). Later meetings was sledging on Hawkins' behalf. So just don't even bother.


    This group just does not have enough climate focus.

  8. Garey, Christine More business focus than climate change focus.

  9. Houlahan, Carmen In South Dunedin she dropped the develop spiel. But not much climate focus.

  10. Mayhem-Bullock, Mandy Kettle Park Lake advocate. Very pro car at Opoho. Some good things said at Waitati (her home).

  11. Hawkins, Aaron (Green) Still fond of playing the man rather than the ball, especially Vandervis. He's not actually a team player, unless that team is with Benson-Pope, a rather small version of the (2016 elected) Council. Am I being unfair you ask? No on the basis of climate change policy (does he have any?) he may deserve to drop another peg or two.

  12. Barbour-Evans, Scout Thinks climate change is an issue for her when she gets to her 90s. Recently started paying some attention to it.

  13. Whiley, Andrew Oil/gas guy.

  14. Moncrief-Spittle, Malcolm Climate denial at every meeting.

Previous Sinbin: Scout Barbour-Evans, for telling meetings that it was a disgrace for not electing youth last time around (she's still doing it). Previous Sinbin: Aaron Hawkins, for smartarse'ism in Tweet on 'rabbits' Previous Sinbin: Lee Vandervis, lost his temper with audience member at Middlemarch.

#dcc #climatechange #localelections #politics

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