Home' The Mirror Central Otago : August 22nd 2012 Contents 4
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Warm welcome: Lois and Bill Galer outside their newly insulated home in Ophir. Elm Cottage was the last place in the town to be insulated this month
by German company Knauf Insulation with a product called EarthWool.
Photo: CHE BAKER
Quaint homes gain inner glow
By CHE BAKER
Living in arguably the coldest place in New
Zealand has paid off for Ophir residents
after the entire town was offered free
insulation by a German company.
Ophir residents Bill and Lois Galer said
they were approached by Knauf Insulation
last year with the offer to insulate every
home and commercial building in the town
with a product called EarthWool.
EarthWool, while not a wool-based product,
was a high performance glasswool insu-
Mr Galer said a public meeting was held
and it was decided to allow the company to
complete the upgrade.
''It's not often you get something for
nothing,'' Mrs Galer said. ''The material
looks excellent,'' she said.
During the past year 53 homes and
businesses took up the offer, including the
pub and the church, and over $200,000 was
spent by the company.
Knauf Insulation Australia and New
Zealand general manager Stuart Dunbar
said the energy-saving product was used in
some of the world's coldest climates in
Europe, North America and Russia.
The project was a useful way to improve
energy efficiency in New Zealand and it
helped some hardy South Islanders become
more comfortable, Mr Dunbar said.
''The historic mining town was full of
quaint, old, energy inefficient homes and
insulating them all was no small feat,'' Mr
In 1995 the town recorded what was thought
to be New Zealand's coldest temperature of
minus 21.5 degrees Celsius.
Residents remembered livestock freezing to
the ground and prising frozen hens from
However, last year the record was disputed
after the National Institute of Water and
Atmospheric Research found old records in
which Ranfurly recorded minus 25.6
degrees Celsius in 1903.
It's all white
review of how
raised the old
who gets elected.
Let's admit it, local government seriously
lacks sex appeal. Sitting through long
discussions about how best to grade gravel
roads is not everyone's cup of tea.
Daytime meetings, no peace in the pub,
phone calls in the middle of the news,
disagreements between neighbours -- it's a
wonder that anyone stands for election.
And no surprise that the people who
So we get white, old, middle class, flexibly-
employed, conservative males. Re-elected
term after term No significant diversity --
where's the voice of the young, the waged,
the family, the marginalised? Not much of
it around your council table.
Does that matter? Yes. Because it
perpetuates the status quo (the same old
same old); because the decisions councils
make don't reflect the needs and values of a
whole swath of their community; and
because that demographic (old, white male,
conservative) insists on re-solving
yesterday's problems, rather than looking
for tomorrow's opportunities.
And another thing: QLDC mayor Vanessa
van Uden's call for a Queenstown-Lakes
member on the regional council is the
wrong solution to a problem that doesn't
Good on the CODC for going the other way
-- to a district-wide election, at large. That at
least means you get the ''best'' of the
available pool, right across the district.
And you get a council focusing on what's
good for all of us, not what the people in the
local pub think. A CODC elected at large
would not have let Cromwell hog all the
resources, while the Teviot Valley and the
Maniototo went downhill.
Malcolm Macpherson teaches applied
business excellence at Otago Polytechnic, is
a US-qualified business assessor, and
writes on business topics for the magazine
of the NZ Organisation for Quality. He was
Mayor of Central Otago District from 2001
See story on page 6.
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