The big news this morning on local networks is minor landslips in Lower Hutt that will see some home-owners losing their homes, and some insurance companies helping to put them into new ones. Big and very sad news for those involved to be sure, but nothing we haven’t seen before you would think, and like previous slips nothing that can't be put right with a little hard work and forethought.
Somehow, however, these minor landslips seem to have triggered an ‘unhinged’ gene in some locals. The mayor for instance. “Climate change!” asserted Hutt City mayor David Ogden as the reason for the slip. “More rain than we’ve ever seen ever before,” he said [I paraphrase only a little]. “Climate change and weather bombs are to blame. Rain, disease, pestilence, famine and death.” [Okay, I might have just overdone the paraphrasing a little.]
The four horsemen of the climate change apocalypse and “greedy developers” who want to build on hills. Between them they’ve got poor Mayor Ogden in a perfect wee storm.
Not exactly a burst of sanity from Old Oggie then.
Last time I saw Wellington, aside from Te Aro and the Hutt Valley river plain -- which have their own problems -- the place looked to be full of hills. Does he really suggest that everyone huddle together beside the Hutt River in risk-free government-provided housing? And if this is the worst Mayor Ogden has seen has he never heard of Abbotsford? Or Aberfan? Or Ruahihi? Or Ongarue? Or the 1976 storm that "caused widespread landslides in Wellington City and the Hutt Valley." Of Paraparumu in 1936? Or Waihi in1846 -- a lanslide that killed 60 people?
All tragic slips, along with many, many more floods and tragic slips that happened long before the currently fashionable harbinger of pestilence and disaster called ‘climate change’ appeared on the scene (although we all knew back then that an ice age was on the way, didn’t we).
And have recent slips in Eastbourne and the Hutt really launched a movement to put a stop to building on hills altogether? Has the ‘unhinged gene’ spread more widely? As Breakfast TV news breathlessly followed each crack as it appeared this morning in that Upper Hutt backyard, the journalist on site – who looked barely old enough to have opinions of her own – told us that there had been a recent protest march in Wellington calling for an end to building on hills.
Is that really true? Have the 'there-ought-to-be-a-law-against-it' and 'the-gummints-got-to-do-something-about-it' brigades really protested about this!?
Lord help us. If that report is true – and we all know how reliable media reports are – are there really people who think that risk can be totally removed from life? Are there really people who don’t understand the idea of choice, and about taking responsibility for those choices, and measures to minimise the risks?
And maybe, too, about getting a little perspective on things.
UPDATE: My politico-geography corrected (thanks Michael for correcting my own brain slippage). New links added.
LINK: Google news links on Kelson - Google
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Global Warming