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Open mike 03/02/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 3rd, 2023 - 40 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

40 comments on “Open mike 03/02/2023 ”

  1. pat 1

    Its worth noting the author is retired.

    "The Three Waters reform is likely to make all of this worse. Stormwater is predominantly a land-use challenge and in that way dealing with stormwater is tied up with planning and development of our towns and cities. In addition, given the huge funding and other problems around drinking water and wastewater, stormwater is likely to be a low priority for the new Water Entities. And looking after other things than pipes will not be in the DNA of these entities, whereas the challenge of stormwater management is about avoiding pipes!

    It is interesting to see how many in the water industry appear to fall in line with the suggested Three Waters reform. I know of many people in the industry who bite their tongue. The consequences of not falling into line can be career limiting."


    Mismanagement or simply too much?

    • Graeme 1.1

      From an engineering perspective you can't manage foul water (sewage) without first managing stormwater because the two become one as soon as the stormwater system reaches capacity, or there is any stormwater infiltration to the foul water system.

      Then with most of the assumptions regarding stormwater design flows being shown to be a bit light in the last week the scale of under-capacity, and deficient system architecture, in urban stormwater systems has become even more daunting than issues with stable water supply and foul water management.

      I'd see the inclusion of stormwater in the 3Waters reform as prescient, and an essential part of the reforms.

      It's time people started listening to the people who actually manage the pipes and not the politicians who are having their toys taken away. Water New Zealand, the industry body is fully behind the reforms, they have to deal with the local body politician's poor decision making.

      • pat 1.1.1

        Did you read the article?….your comment suggests not.

        • Graeme

          Think you're drawing a long bow there Pat. From the Newsroom piece

          By the time I left the by-then-Auckland Council in 2013, nothing significant had been done to deal with the flooding risk. Local board meeting minutes from 2020 suggest the conversations were still ongoing even then.

          The 3Waters problem is the involvement of local elected representatives who won't make appropriate decisions.

          Putting 3 Waters management into a level between Central and Local Government will hopefully get around this and ensure appropriate land use decisions by Local Government. Development becomes conditional on service provision, not service provision as a result of development approval.

          • pat

            He identifies 3 problems, none of which are addressed by 3 waters and in his opinion (after 40 years involvement) 3 waters will likely accentuate the problem.(they are pipe focused)

            The 3 identified issues (in no particular order) land use, pipes, and costs….no bows need to be drawn.

            • mikesh

              To deal with the sort of problem just faced by Auckland it would probably be necessary to avoid building in unsuitable locations, such as flood plains, or close to the edges of cliffs. However, that would not invalidate 3 waters when applied to locations that are suitable for building in.

              • pat

                All well and good…excepting that the proposed bodies have no control over land use.

                Councils on the other hand….

                • Incognito

                  All well and good…excepting that the proposed bodies have no control over land use.

                  And neither should they. It is irrelevant, anyway.

                  • pat

                    Then you would be at odds with the informed….but then ideologues frequently are.

                    • mikesh

                      excepting that the proposed bodies have no control over land use.

                      If stupid people build on stupid sites that's their problem. Why should 3 Waters be abandoned because of what stupid people might do. And even if councils can't stop them they can still point out the dangers.

                    • Incognito

                      Then you would be ignorant of the government systems & functioning and the Resource Management reforms….but then ignorami frequently resort to ad homs and nothing else. Your reply is idiosyncratic.

  2. Ad 2

    Good to see the Greens got their bill proposing a proper ban of new mines on conservation land.

    Labour campaigned on it. I support it.

    Bad timing however I think this bill has a lifespan of a week

    • Maurice 2.1

      So where exactly are the HUGE amount of minerals required for the 'green revolution' and 'sustainable power' and EV's going to come from? This is super Nimby – lets dig up the whole world … but not here! We will not be allowed to do our bit …. because digging holes is bad – here. Part of the problem so should be prepared to be part of the solution?

      See: https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/norway-finds-rare-earth-metals-could-make-europe-less-dependent-china

      Norwegian scientists have made a discovery of rare earth metals in the country’s northern region. The findings have the potential to transform the country’s economy and secure its place as a major player in the global market for high-tech and green technology. Furthermore, the findings could make Europe less dependent on China for the critical metals.

      The Norwegian find is a result of the West rebuilding its supply chain for rare earth minerals. It follows an announcement from LKAB, a Swedish mining company, earlier in January 2023. LKAB announced the discovery of Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth oxides in the country’s far north. The discovery was described as positive for not only the company, the region, and Sweden, but also for Europe and the climate.

      To reduce dependence on China, Western countries are investing in exploration, mining, and processing of these minerals. The United States, for example, is funding projects to extract rare earths from coal and phosphates and is also working on recycling technology to reduce the need for new minerals. Europe is making efforts to secure its own supply of rare earths and is funding research into new technology to extract and process these minerals. The rebuilding of the rare earths supply chain is a step in reducing dependence on China and ensuring a sustainable future for technology and green energy solutions.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        The amounts are not HUGE nor are they rare. They just haven’t been sought out before.

        But take the most basic presumption. Just look at the great mineral soup that is seawater. After all virtually all currently mined lithium deposits are just evaporites of saline waters.

        For instance lithium (probably the HUGEst of the battery minerals at present) is available at 0.2 ppm in seawater. There are about 180 billion tons of lithium in our oceans. This is a metal which is relatively easy to extract ionically.

        Cobalt is much the same, A trace element in seawater – just as it is in EV technologies. Cobalt is also pretty easy to extract ionically from brine.

        Same for Nickel and Manganese. That covers virtually all larger critical EV elements apart from carbon in the form of graphite.

        There are also other ‘rare earth’ minerals used in small quantities – typically in a semi-catalytic relationship with other elements or as part of electric motors. However none of which are that rare.

        Let us start with a brief definition of “rare earths”. The name “rare earths” comes from the fact that they were discovered at the end of the 18th century in ores (hence the name “earths”), which were not very common at that time and difficult to separate from each other with the techniques used at the time.

        Rare earths do not refer to earths but to 17 metals: scandium, yttrium, and the fifteen lanthanides (Lanthanum, Cerium, Praseodymium, Neodymium, Promethium, Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium, Terbium, Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium, Ytterbium, and Lutecium).

        Contrary to their name of “rare earths”, these metals rather abundant in the earth’s crust remains in low concentration in the ores, this is particularly the case of lanthanum, neodymium, cerium which represent 90% of the production of rare earths in the world . The most used are cerium (40.2% of the rare earths consumed), lanthanum (27.8%) and neodymium (17.6%).

        Contrary to what their name might suggest, the abundance of rare earths in the earth’s crust is much greater than that of many other commonly used metals: their concentration is three times greater than that of copper and twice that of zinc, two metals that are widely used in industry and present in many commonly used goods.

        Rare earths are for example 200 times more abundant on earth than gold or platinum.

        It is hard to find concentrated ores of most of these. But FFS – they’re all metals in a metallic soup of seawater. They’re concentrated in various species of corals. In nodules on the seafloor. And we really don’t need large quantities of them.

        It isn’t like we’re trying to concentrate rare isotopes or noble metals. Mostly these elements have pretty active external electron shells, and are relatively easy to concentrate.

        All of the booha over China and its ‘monopoly’ on rare earths is just complete bullshit. All that happened was that they sought and found sources to provide opportunities for their industries, and expended capital to mine and extract them. They them proceeded to drop the price because they had an over supply. From memory about a 10 fold drop. Most of the other extraction sites who were producing them as a by-product stopped because they didn’t make good profits.

        Now that there is a strategic need, every one else is pumping capital into extraction and the cost of production is dropping. In many cases, the simplest way to scale production for most of these elements is going to be to just start sucking it out of seawater. That is almost always going to eventually give the lowest production cost for extracting trace metals.

        • roblogic

          EV batteries have hidden externalities beneath the slick marketing.

          To produce a single lithium battery (around 1000 lb or 450 kg) we need 25 lb of lithium, from 25,000 lb of brines (a swimming pool). Plus 30,000 lb of Cobalt ore, 6,000 lb of Nickel ore, 1,000 lb of Graphite ore, and 25,000 lb of Copper ore per battery. [lb=pound=0.45kg]

          Your 1,000-pound EV battery requires mining about 90,000 pounds of ore. But other parts of the mining process mean that about 500,000 pounds of earth needs to be dug up; i.e. 220 metric tons. This leaves a mark on the faraway lands where all this happens. Then there's the cost of all the machinery and processing…

          I vote for the Nuclear option. Orders of magnitude more efficient than this extractive madness.

          • weka

            Nuclear is still nowhere close to as efficient as passive tech and powerdown and systems that work within nature. Similar issues exist: energy cost of building (and sourcing all the materials), what to do with the toxic waste, can't be done in NZ because of the quake/tsunami risk and sociopolitical commonsense of most NZers.

            BAU is gone I'm afraid, we missed the boat. Still a lot of really good use we can make of high tech but there's just no replacement for fossil fuels in the way we have been using them.

            • roblogic

              In terms of EROI, Nuclear is a clear winner. But yes, as a total % of the global energy supply it is a small contributor. Because of political choices.

              For example, Germany decommissioned all its nuclear plants in favour of cheap Russian gas 🙄

              • weka

                sorry can't stand the flashing ads on that link.

                Show me the comparison EROEI for the powerdown, passive tech, biomimicy and allied low techs 😈 All of which use closed loops so zero or minimal waste.

                The reasons we don't shift to steady state or degrowth are political as well, but primarily ideological and because we don't have sufficient imagination yet to see how it would work and work well. Possibly better than what we haven now.

          • lprent

            But other parts of the mining process mean that about 500,000 pounds of earth needs to be dug up; i.e. 220 metric tons. This leaves a mark on the faraway lands where all this happens. Then there's the cost of all the machinery and processing…

            Sure, and that is why I really don't like the option of mining on land. It is a silly way to extract metals. They are hard to find, are non-replenishing on anything except geological time scales, and are inherently destructive.

            The mining industry needs to start concentrating on how to extract directly from seawater. Virtually all of the metals required are sitting in solution in seawater. Most have residence times in solution that are quite long. Even the fast settling exceptions like cerium have residence time that are 50 years. They are also self-replenishing from various forms of weathering – including leaching from rubbish dumps.

            We're finally having a populations that aren't growing worldwide. We no longer need the massive leg-up to build an economy that can handle a new billion every decade. Time to start working on a mining industry that isn't just ripping out the easy and messy extractions.

            I vote for the Nuclear option. Orders of magnitude more efficient than this extractive madness.

            It is way harder to extract the fractional amount of the right isotopes from mining and the subsequent extraction that the fission nuclear industry requires. Then you have the unsolved problems of safe disposal of high and medium level waste that have eluded the fission nuclear industry for 70 years.

            The fusion nuclear industry is still nascent. Shows promise but still has no working results – just as it has for the last 70 years. It also currently requires isotopes of hydrogen or helium that are rare and hard to extract.

            Hydrogen is pinned by the dual problems of extraction and distribution. They really need to extract from seawater or humidity rather than the rarer freshwater. That said, work on electrolytic extraction with catalysts is starting to look promising for green hydrogen. It may be useful within the next 2-5 decades.

            But they really haven't managed to figure out safe distribution. In a atmosphere that is 21% oxygen, it is just far too explosive.

        • Maurice

          There is talk of not allowing mineral mining from the seabed too. It just seems perverse to me that the very people crying out for 'decarbonisation' are also trying to legislate the needed extractive industries out of existence.

          Yep the conversation about nuclear is going to need revisiting here too as huge wind farms and photo-voltaic panels all need large raw material and fuel inputs.

          Also not many more large hydro schemes left to pursue (except pumping water up-hill).

          Where ever we source it more energy and resources are required to bring about any of the changes mooted.

          • weka

            the core issue you are pointing to there is the limits of growth. There's just no way to keep growing resource use. What we can do instead is steady state, and use closed loops so that we stop wasting so much energy and materials.

            There's nowhere I can think of in NZ that is safe for nuclear.

          • lprent

            There is talk of not allowing mineral mining from the seabed too.

            You really shouldn't need to extract from the seabed. Where do you think that the ferro-manganese + other metals nodules come from? They accrete out of the seawater solution over long periods.

            It is likely to be simpler and far more elegant to extract from the source solution.

            Power is a issue, because extraction from seawater will require a lot of power for the catalytic reactions. Fortunately it is unlikely to require base load power. On oceans that is wind power.

            • Maurice

              "You really shouldn't need to extract from the seabed. Where do you think that the ferro-manganese + other metals nodules come from? They accrete out of the seawater solution over long periods."

              The attraction to seabed mining is that much of the accreation (therefore energy input) has already been done by nature and such less weight to be handled. Moving enough sea water and treating it to remove the trace minerals is an expensive procedure.

              Cannot find the figuring but the might be an energy cost/benefit analysis somewhere – or are they out of favour when dogma intrudes?

        • weka

          Now that there is a strategic need, every one else is pumping capital into extraction and the cost of production is dropping.

          There's still the issue of energy returned on energy invested. How much GHG emissions will there be in setting up those systems (including materials extraction for the whole process)? Will the industry be able to switch to renewables? How much GHG emissions are associated with that power generation?

          Those issues are resolvable at a certain scale, but I can't see how it can be done at replacement scale (which seems to be what industries and politics are trying to do) given we are so far into overshoot with global temperature rise. The more GHGs we burn to try and replace fossil fuels for BAU, the shittier things are going to get. At this point we should be reserving the burn for essentials and everyone having an ev or whatever doesn't qualify.

          Last time I talked to an industry person about solar and lithium they said there's no way yet to dispose of the batteries at end of life. Anyone know if that's about to change?

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            “recycling of lithium-ion batteries—getting that material back into the supply chain—is critical,” says Dave Howell, director of the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office. The DOE funded the new research as part of its massive effort to spur large-scale battery recycling innovations in the U.S.


            And..as with everything..no one will do it till..



            NZ..(and the World) needs to get serious about all Recycling. Not Greenwashing or…wishCycling !

            Easy enough. Just need to actually want to.

            And..in cities, I see EBikes (plenty of cargo ones on google) as potentially much better than E cars.
            ECars where needed is allgood. Some Links :



          • lprent

            Last time I talked to an industry person about solar and lithium they said there's no way yet to dispose of the batteries at end of life. Anyone know if that's about to change?

            The problem is that the current techniques commonly used for recycling lithium batteries aren't industrial level. They tend to pick the batteries apart using techs, extract some high value bits and then discard the rest. Or they refurbish the battery with varying levels of success.

            Technically there isn't any particular issue with doing the element separation properly. With the exception of graphite (and its CO2 issues), these are metals. It means that you could just heat and faction by melting points if nothing else. But reality is that it'd need to be somewhat more complex than that because you'd want to keep down the fumes and greenhouse gases.

            What currently doesn't exist is the waste distribution to aggregate large numbers of batteries to extraction points for any kind of industrial extraction.

            Part of the problem is that lithium batteries last long if their controller boards do and they're well maintained. It depends on what kind of work you're doing with them.

            I've worked with large numbers of larger lithium ion batteries that have been working well after 2 decades (they were purchases in the early 2000s). They have periodic usages each month, but are stored and maintained well between each. They'd reduce in peak discharge over time, but are still providing useful work. The usual failure problem was when they were put into storage without a near full charge, and then not used for a longish time because of incorrect cycling.

            I still haven't had one of my personal lithium batteries fail at home. I started shifting from ni-cads back in 2010.

            Apparently the lithium batteries in my hybrid are rated for about 160,000 km. Since I haven’t done more than 15,000km in a year for the last 20 years (most years it is under 5,000km), it could be some time before they hit the need to recycle them.

            Quite simply there aren’t enough EV batteries requiring recycling yet to create the supply for a decent recycling system.

            The cycle is quite unlike using lead-acid. Which I use in cars and UPS. The UPS batteries are a consumable, I have to replace them about every 2 years to make sure that The Standard doesn't die during brownouts or short power cuts.

  3. Ad 3

    Great to see that the top EU leadership are touring through Ukraine shortly.

    Pre-EU membership talks and corruption purges and and a raft of legislation are excellent precursors to the rebuild program to come.

    And a succinct gesture to aggressor Putin.

    • mikesh 3.1

      And a succinct gesture to aggressor Putin.

      Yeah. It'll give him a chance to bomb the blighters to kingdom come.

  4. Visubversa 4

    Not content with erasing women in the present (pregnant people, menstruators) – the Transcult has to erase women and same sex attracted people in the past.

    "One of the many questionable claims of the trans movement is that the transgender experience can be traced right back through history. Although the term ‘transgender’ was first coined in 1965, and didn’t really catch on until the 1990s, activists assure us that history is full of colourful and admirable trans characters.

    Now, this ‘trans-washing’ of history has come to the Tower of London. In honour of LGBT history month, the Tower is resuming the run of its ‘Queer Lives’ tour. In the tour, a raven-inspired drag queen tells visitors about the lives of LGBT people who were in some way associated with the Tower in its thousand-year history. Inevitably, history ends up being distorted to meet the needs of the modern day."


  5. PsyclingLeft.Always 5

    What now for Auckland? Four ideas for a more climate resilient city

    The big idea: Fund the removal of communities from flood-prone places


    Well…I certainly remember the 80's and 90’s neolib slashi…"Restructuring" , of NZ where every town (South Island esp ) lost their Govt offices, and associated infrastructure, jobs and Families…in the "great" move to Centralisation..(and privatisation)

    Auckland…just seems to get bigger..always "needing" more motorways..etc etc.

    Why cant we De-Centralise?

    • Brigitte 5.1

      The trend at present is for more centralisation. The current government has centralised polytechs, healthcare (DHBs), and 3 waters.

      Perhaps National or Act might consider decentralising to regions. Although if they suggested that, would you be voting for them?

      • Maurice 5.1.1

        Already being thought about in some areas. Was speaking with the local council CEO recently and we came to the conclusion that our sewer upgrade may require some lateral thinking. The pipes are already in the yard and paid for so if needed we can dig the ditches and lay them using local volunteer labour and equipment with Council just providing the diesel to run the machines.

        • Visubversa

          You might be OK with that in a very rural area. My street in the inner suburbs has not just wastewater pipes underground, but also freshwater, stormwater, gas, telecommunications/fibre, and in some areas undergrounded power lines. Most of those things do not play nicely with each other if disturbed, and many of them are installed by various utilities operating under what is known as a designation which gives them rights of access to them without having to involve Council. Good luck to anyone who wants to dig in among that lot without doing all the preliminary investigations etc.

          • Maurice

            Yes there is a tangled web of pipes and cables down there. The process would be under the control of Council and specialist drain layers in the mix of volunteers.

            There was a real learning curve when the Fibre Optic cables were driven through sewer and storm water laterals. Fixing that made us very aware of the pit falls!

            Only a last ditch (rofl) plan at this stage but planning for eventualities is best done before it all turns to POO

  6. England Cricket Team has there first Maori Captain.

  7. joe90 7

    This will certainly cool the market.

    “And repeated flooding basically becomes effectively an uninsurable proposition unless mitigation exercises are carried out.”

    The same applied to cliff-top properties with erosion.

    “I think if I owned a cliff-top property I'd be nervous about it, but that's just me being in the insurance industry. If there is a situation where there is gradual erosion happening on a cliff, and we've seen some photographs in the media over the last few days of properties that are just just hanging on there, they become uninsurable. Because effectively, it's inevitable damage and insurance is there for unexpected damage, not for inevitable damage.”


  8. joe90 8

    But te gay agenda…


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