Thursday November 23, 2017
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Cook Strait News
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Activists show displeasure over diesel bus plan Continued from page 1. Greater Wellington Regional Council voted to abolish all of the city’s trolley buses in 2015 as it moves to introduce a fleet of battery-powered electric vehicles from next year. In the interim however, trolley buses have been replaced by a mix of low-emission doubledecker diesel buses, including 10 hybrids. While the protesters also planned to target the regional council’s offices, they first wanted to speak to Justin, as the overhead wires had been controlled by the city council. His no-show meant there was the farcical situation of members of the City Strategy Committee pre-meeting discussing other matters as the protesters patiently stood in silence in front of media for more than an hour. Eventually they got to speak to the committee. “We quite frankly can’t believe Greater Wellington is scrapping our trolley network and replacing them with hundreds of diesel buses,” spokesperson Kate Day told them. “As Wellington City Council owns our network we would like to know why did you not
Protestors patiently wait for mayor Justin Lester to arrive to express their concern over the loss of Wellington’s trolley buses as councillors go about normal business. PHOTO: Jamie Adams
intervene so we can preserve it for the future?” Kate points out that introducing more diesels contradicts the commitment council has made to reduce carbon pollution, as agreed in the Paris Accord. However they did later get to speak to the mayor in his office, where he assured them council was committed to a carbonneutral Wellington by 2050. The protesters then “paddled” their way down the Golden Mile to continue their protest. Their plan to visit Greater Wellington
was scrapped due to the time they had been kept waiting at the chamber. Council spokesperson, Chamanthie Sinhalage says the reason the mayor did not initially turn up was because his diary was full and the protest had not been placed on the agenda. “It’s not unusual for the mayor to not attend pre-committee meetings,” she says. In a statement, Justin says Greater Wellington made their decision three years ago and the contracts are now signed.
“By July 1 next year, GWRC will be moving from Eurostar 2 to Eurostar 5 and 6, which produces far less emissions.” While the wires were managed by the city council, it was the regional council’s job to decommission them, he adds. “Had they not done so, the [city] ratepayer would have had to foot the bill.” Greater Wellington chair, Chris Laidlaw, agreed with Justin’s sentiments, saying the substations had not been maintained to make the infrastructure viable.
Launch of grief-themed book attracts charity’s support A newly published children’s book dealing with issues of grief, loss and bereavement was launched on Tuesday at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie. The launch of the The Gift Horse, published by Millwood Press, was hosted by the shop’s owner Ruth McIntyre, the event attracted an interested audience. Author Sophie Siers spoke of the origin of the story – a conversation with another bookseller in her hometown of Hastings, who
Author Sophie Siers holds a copy of her book The Gift Horse. PHOTO: Supplied
spoke of the lack of a suitable book for “children who’ve lost something dear to them”. This lead to her collaboration with local artist Katharine White who also spoke at the event. Guest speaker on the night was Heather Henare, CEO of Skylight Trust, a national organisation that supports all who are suffering from trauma, grief and loss. Heather spoke of the effective-
ness of writing and presenting stories to those suffering from the trauma of loss and grief, quoting examples and linking animals and horses, that tied well with the content of The Gift Horse. Judy Siers, founder of Millwood Press which is now managed by her daughter Sophie, says the occasion coincided with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Wellington based publishing house.
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Cook Strait News 23-11-17