web analytics

Do the lights ever go out on Planet Key?

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 pm, April 19th, 2013 - 33 comments
Categories: assets, capitalism, energy, greens, john key, labour, privatisation, slippery - Tags: ,

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?

33 comments on “Do the lights ever go out on Planet Key? ”

  1. insider 1

    In the 70s there were rolling blackouts because there wasn’t enough generation, due to greater demand growth than anticipated by the central planner. Very different from a line break

    Korea’s not looking a great model to emulate either

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-09/south-korea-increases-power-prices-second-time-to-curb-demand.html

    Note mercury power was a regulated local govt owned monopoly. It too failed to do its job properly by actually maintaining its assets.

    • geoff 1.1

      In the 70s there were rolling blackouts

      Link? Evidence?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Uh, insider, the Labour/Green model doesn’t close down any generation capacity.

          • insider 1.1.1.1.1

            I dont believe i suggested it did..

            As an aside green policy I believe does in terms of wanting to shut down huntly as quick as possible and they voted against allowing genesis to build the gas powered huntly 5

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1.1

              There’s not going to be much work for Huntly going forwards, if we arrange our generation capacity with a bit of centralised planning.

              • insider

                Huntly was built by centralised planners…

                And realistically it’s not going to be easy to replace our single largest power station let alone one right close to our biggest load centre.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Do you remember the large discussion we had about Tiwai Point and how closing that down would force Huntly to close because there would be too much power available?

                  • insider

                    I wasn’t part of it sorry. What I would say is, couple of big ifs there and check the constraints at bunnythorpe if you think it’s easy to switch them

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Actually, it tuns out that most of the needed infrastructure is already in place so it really wouldn’t be hard to bring about.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Huntly was built by centralised planners…

                  Well, since central planning cannot do anything correct, Huntly MUST be closed down ASAP!!!

        • karol 1.1.1.2

          Well Parker’s also incorrect saying there’s been no power cuts between 1970 and 2008. I guess he’s saying that there haven’t been deliberate or planned cuts by the suppliers.

          Mind you, Key on TV3 News tonight, really didn’t explain himself clearly if he mean planned or deliberate cuts.

          • insider 1.1.1.2.1

            Karol, correct. the point is there is a huge difference between systemic and widespread cuts due to a shortfall in production, as happened in the 1970s, and localised failure of a piece of equipment due to bad weather or maintenance gone wrong. To be fair we got a bit close a few times since – 2008 most notably.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.1.1

              The one thing that most people don’t seem to get is that the physical plant has to be built first. Without the massive central planning and funding of the 1970s which built the hydro dams we still would be having the brown outs that we had then. If we’d left it to private enterprise to build the capacity up then we would have much higher prices, some places wouldn’t even have power and the chances are that the infrastructure wouldn’t be any where close to how good it is now simply because the private sector would have cut corners everywhere.

              • insider

                So all those power stations contact, todd and trust power have built in the last 15 years didn’t really happen and don’t really work? The fact they did and do weakens your argument that it could never happen. Overseas examples the same.

                You’re assuming because that’s the way it did happen that’s the only way it could have ever happened. Of course it could never have happened in nz of the 60s and 70s because it was never allowed. Given the first ever power station built in nz was built by private owners, if I’d said that the government never could have done that, you’d quite rightly say that was a stupid thing to say

                • Draco T Bastard

                  You’re assuming because that’s the way it did happen that’s the only way it could have ever happened.

                  Actually, I’m going on history where things that needed to happen didn’t when they were left to the free-market capitalists: Rail, telecommunications, power, etc, etc. None of these happened well under capitalism. They were put in place on an ad hoc basis that failed to supply what the nation needed. It was only after the government got involved that we started to get the services that we needed.

                  Given the first ever power station built in nz was built by private owners, if I’d said that the government never could have done that, you’d quite rightly say that was a stupid thing to say

                  There’s a difference to building one small power station that supplies a couple of businesses and an power grid capable of supplying the entire nation. The people in Hawera have power because of the state building it but they have power cuts because the profit motive that prevents the needed investment.

        • Anne 1.1.1.3

          “There haven’t been any power cuts in New Zealand since the 1970s and we don’t think there will be any this year.”

          said Mr Parker.

          As I said on another post… we had the Arab/Israeli conflict in 1973 and that was followed by a global oil crisis. I remember the carless days, and at one point we were only days away from running out of oil before a tanker arrived at Marsden Wharf. Somebody will correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember we had a few coal and oil powered electricity stations too, so there may have been some black-outs associated with that period.

          Nothing to do with the economic management of the country!

          • Anne 1.1.1.3.1

            Nothing to do with the economic management of the country.

            At least not between 1972-75 when the Kirk/Rowling Labour govt. was in power. Lets remember we had National governments for the previous 12 years so at least some subsequent shortfalls in production can be shot straight back to them for their lack of foresight!

          • rosy 1.1.1.3.2

            “As I said on another post… we had the Arab/Israeli conflict in 1973 and that was followed by a global oil crisis.”

            And droughts… I remember long, hot summers, and droughts.

            http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/hydroelectricity/page-4

            Droughts in 1972 and 1973 resulted in electricity rationing. Shop window lighting, neon advertising and flood lighting were all banned, and domestic users were urged to ‘save power, shower with a friend’.1

            This led directly to the building of the Clyde Dam, I think. Not a greatly supported project after Manapouri. Didn’t that lead to the Jim Anderton rift too? They were interesting times!

            It really depends on what part of the 1970s people are referring to when they talk about economic factors. And yes, I agree, the oil shocks changed everything.

    • Paul 1.2

      So do you believe the 1970s were a worse decade for a New Zealander on the median wage than the present?
      Or are you just being a contrarian?

      • insider 1.2.1

        if you loved price controls, smps, credit controls, import licences, foreign currency travel restrictions, home loan interest rates above z20% yeah is was a workers’ paradise. I’m not really sure your question is at all relevant though.

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          Wow you’ve really lost the plot.

          The average worker could raise a family and buy a house on just one wage. That was pretty good.

          • BM 1.2.1.1.1

            Simple times back then, New Zealanders aren’t complete hay seeds anymore.
            NZ is a pretty cosmopolitan place, this back to the 70’s bull shit will only appeal to the old fossils that you find on this site and the whining poms who fled English to escape Thatcher, who unsurprisingly are found on this site as well.

            • Paul 1.2.1.1.1.1

              To explain BM’s terminology…
              “derogatory term for a rural member of the American working class. This cutesy term has a demonizing impact on class consciousness, segregating the rural worker from his urban counterpart.” http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hayseed
              The fact that BM uses derogatory and demonising language about a part of the working class says a lot about which class he supports.
              This explains why the neo-liberal changes of the 80s suit him and he does not care about the cost of electricity for average New Zealanders.

              • karol

                Yes a lot of attempted smears from BM, little substance. Agism, too. I wouldn’t blame anyone for jumping ship under Thatcher’s watch – though I didn’t know Blingish was there too with Maggie. If that Brit reference is to me – I’m a born and bred Kiwi who did an extended OE in the middle part of my life. By the time I left the UK Thatcher had already been booted out of the top job by her own party.

                There were good and bad things about the 70s. However, the neoliberal turn did nothing to fix the problems. At a time when oil resources are beginning to become an issue, the western/English language world went on a resource-depleting consumerist binge.

                The Labour-Green power policy looks like a return to some of the better aspects of the 70s, plus some different elements relevant to the contemporary world: eg, from the Greens, a focus on sustainability, and incentives to encourage new and possibly smaller power generators.

    • karol 1.3

      I was not living in NZ in the 1990s, and only for 3-4 years in the 70s (mostly early 70s). So I can’t speak a lot about them. As I recall from reading somewhere, it wasn’t so much the anticipations of the central planner, just that it took a while for an adequate amount of power generation to be built. Yes demand grew more than expected after WWII, but I doubt it could have been possible to build it quickly enough if it had been anticipated.

      The reports I read tonight, on the 1998 crisis – it looked to me that Mercury blamed the poor maintenance prior to their control. However, others blamed the commercialisation of the power supply.

      Since I’ve come back to NZ in the 21st century, I have been surprised at the number of power outages. They were exceedingly rare when I lived in London and Sydney.

      Whatever the causes, power cuts have been happening in recent times. And planned rolling blackouts wouldn’t make much difference to people who can’t afford power anyway.

      • insider 1.3.1

        There is internationally comparable reliability data and we usually do ok -SAIDI CAIDI and SAIFI. but Nz has a pretty thin network due to our size. Quite recently Transpower cut power to the whole of kaitaia or dargaville when it needed to work on key equipment as there is no network redundancy up there and no generation

    • Paul 1.4

      Here’s some evidence of power cuts today…
      “Repeated power cuts are plaguing hundreds of rural Hawera properties and has one businessman at his wit’s end.”
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/8570847/Power-cuts-frustrate-users

  2. kiwi_prometheus 2

    Its amazing how the Nats have clung to power at all, but when you look at the alternative you can see why 100000s of nzers are not even bothering to vote at all anymore. 8(

  3. Chris 3

    key’s light is on but there is no-one at home.

  4. kiwicommie 4

    Another ‘central planned’ thing that can’t exist according to National party logic because everything has to be made by private business and the state ‘can’t create jobs’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV
    “In 1976 the French government funded the TGV project, and construction of the LGV Sud-Est, the first high-speed line (French: ligne à grande vitesse), began shortly afterwards. The line was given the designation LN1, Ligne Nouvelle 1, (meaning New Line 1).”

  5. Populuxe1 5

    The lights might not ever go out, but most of the bulbs are quite dim

  6. Roy 6

    I think that a more appropriate question than the headline would be ‘Does the light of truth ever shine in John Key’s brain?’

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago