John Key seems to have dropped out of sight since he had a bit of a hard time in the House this week. But he popped up on TV3 News tonight, to make a comment about the Labour-Green NZ Power policy. He said that:
In terms of a policy it’s barking mad, and these people are taking us back to something we abandoned in the 1970s when people used to sit around candles because the lights went out.
Well I don’t know what the service is like in Key’s area of Parnell, BUT living in west Auckland throughout the 12+ years of the 21st century, I have experienced numerous power cuts. I have sat around candle light several times. Or maybe Key is away somewhere else when they happen – Wellington or Hawaii?
I had a bit of a search online and found a few examples of recent power outages in Auckland. there’s this report:
The city of Auckland, with a population of just over a million people, is New Zealands largest city and has its power provided by Mercury Energy, who have four 110kV cables feeding the central business district. Because of one or more of the reasons given below, all the cables have failed, leaving the central city without power since the 20th of February.
Auckland’s infamous power crises began on 20 January 1998, according to Wikipedia. the power outages lasted for 5 weeks.
There’s quite a few reports online of localised power cuts in Auckland in recent years. Many happen during storms. In April 2012, a power outage in Wellington, stopped Auckland trains. A transformer fault caused a significant outage in February 2009. Another power cut in October 2009 caused problems in medical centres, chaos for travelers and losses for many businesses. And the top comment under the last article says this:
Living in a rural area just outside warkworth we lose power about 20 times a year, every year! It may be a couple of seconds or up to 2 days! It’s frustrating enough to reset all computers etc. New Zealand is a third world country when it comes to power distribution.
And sometimes people have to resort to candle light because they can’t afford to pay their power bills.
Researcher Kim O’Sullivan met Howard and Kahu in the winter of 2007. The Lower Hutt couple were struggling to keep their prepay electricity meter topped up. Several times Howard turned off the power at the mains when they were down to their last few dollars. Dinner for the couple’s children was cooked on a barbecue. Kahu, who is dependent on a nebuliser, was admitted to hospital on one occasion when they ran out of electricity.
Kim O’Sullivan is a researcher with the University of Otago’s Housing and Health Research Programme, and is completing a PhD on fuel poverty. Stories like the one she tells about Howard and Kahu are becoming increasingly common as electricity prices continue their relentless rise.
Last year more than 30,000 households had their electricity cut off. Disconnections reached their peak just as the chill of winter power bills hit home. For the three months from July to September, more than 9000 homes were cut off from the grid for non-payment of bills.
Electricity Authority data show disconnections have been increasing since mid-2008, after a brief dip following the death of Folole Muliaga in May 2007. The Mangere mother, reliant on an oxygen machine, had her power cut off after the family fell behind with payments.
Is this just another Key brainfade? Can’t remember the recent power cuts? Or is it just another thing he is “clueless” about?