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Open mike 08/05/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 8th, 2022 - 149 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 …

149 comments on “Open mike 08/05/2022 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Something I have been wondering about for awhile that I would be interested in comments on.

    Given the need for more renewable power to avoid using coal fired generators, along with the increasing pressure on the grid due to the influx of electric vehicles, it seems that the government urgently needs more renewable sources of energy.

    Options such as building dams etc are incredibly expensive, environmentally damaging, and take many years to impliment.

    Given those constraints, why doesn't the government introduce a scheme to heavily subsidise domestic solar power generation and storage? Especially for houses where that option would be effective.

    This type of solution should be much faster to implement, and wouldn't have the environmental issues associated with other power generation options. Plus, it would also have the benefit of lowering power costs for consumers, and thus reduce their living costs. Imagine the impact on power generation if even say 30% of houses in NZ had solar panels and storage.

    I believe there was some sort of subsidy scheme around solar a number of years back, but I don't think that is around anymore. But it seems like a sensible option given the costs of the alternatives. I just don't understand why it isn't happening already.

    • Ad 1.1

      Minister Parker has in his drafting hand the ability to amend the new version of the RMA to specifically enable "renewable energy generation" in the text, rather than rely on the far weaker National Policy Statement on Renewable Energy Generation which TBF merely acts as a guide to local governments when evaluating such applications.

      National policy statement for renewable electricity generation | Ministry for the Environment

      My suspicion is that Minister Woods will not be shaken out of her torpor to amend the Electricity Authority to expand its remit into something useful, until there is a further major blackout from renewables as occurred last year.

      Until then we have just two weeks until the Carbon plan is showered with billions from the new Fund. Your guess is as good any what that will achieve in the mitigation v adaptation game.

    • pat 1.2

      "There are no subsidies or incentives in New Zealand for homeowners to install solar power systems. The Government did provide subsidies for solar hot water systems for a few years, but that was never applied to solar power."


      I imagine there are a number of impediments, not least of which is the fact almost all of the materials will have to be imported….then there is capacity to install/maintain at the level you outline (30% of households = 600,000 units) and issues with grid stability.

      It will be a slowly solved (if at all) problem I suspect, especially given we are likely returning to supporting our economy through population growth.

      • tsmithfield 1.2.1

        Yes, I realise that the solar subsidy solution is not going to be immediate. I was thinking 30% over 10 years or something like that.

        But there would be incremental gains over that time that would hopefully coincide with incremental increases in electric cars in the national fleet.

        • Bearded Git

          I have submitted to the Queenstown Lakes District Council saying that it should be compulsory for all new buildings to install solar when they are built.

          • KJT

            Better to get a solar and/or wind power system for the whole district. Keep in local ownership?

            More energy and resource efficient, and cheaper per household.

            Also has the advantage of removing profit taking power companies from the equation.

            Or. Close Tiwai point!

            • Bearded Git

              Onshore windfarms tend to destroy landscape values.

              Better to have offshore wind or solar farms…there are 900 solar farms in the pipeline in the UK and NZ announced a couple a few weeks ago.

              • KJT

                I would have thought solar farms, or hydro dams, have a bigger footprint on the landscape than wind generators. Which of course still have a much smaller footprint than AGW.

                Then there is tidal power. Ideal spot not far away.

                • weka

                  Queenstown is about as far away from the ocean as you can get (unless you are suggesting the small tide that Lake Wakatipu has?). It's also very unsuitable for wind power for the immediate area, which would mean shifting electricity from Central or Northern Southland, and that starts to defeat the purpose.

                  Anyone know if grid tied solar or wind can be adapted to off grid if a quake takes out the grid connection?

                  • KJT

                    Pretty easily.

                    It just requires a switch.

                    There is a safety issue, that you don't want the solar or wind powering up the grid supply part during a grid power cut. Not nice to get zapped when you expect the line to be dead.

                  • KJT

                    Queenstown is not far from Fovoux Strait, power transmission wise.

                • Patricia Bremner

                  I have recall of a tv item about a solar farm with the panels set high enough that the cattle or sheep could graze round them and use their shade in the summer. I don't recall the name of the programme. Someone else may have better recall.

              • Foreign waka

                Windmills generate extreme noise levels and you cannot escape this, it also devalues any property close by.

                This is for kids to discover alternative energy:


                N.B.: There are large protests in Europe about the number of windmills planned as it also means that land is being made to concrete deserts. You might power your vehicle but you wont have anything to eat. (So to speak).

                • KJT

                  "Extreme noise levels"?

                  How Loud Is A Wind Turbine? | GE News


                  In Makara, the sheep are louder.

                  You haven’t worked next door to Marsden point.

                  Then there are alternatives.

                  • Foreign waka




                    Recommendation is generally that residential housing should be 2 Km away. Low frequency noise can interfere with the health of people living close by. The effects are studied and we should not forget that we are not looking at a lot of time when data is collected.

                    I am all for alternative generation, but we don't need to but the baby out with the water. Calling concerns with a "swoosh" rubbish is not very constructive. I appreciate that you might have a firm point of view because it seems you were working close to Marsden point. Nonetheless, I stand by what I have written.

                    • pat

                      "it also means that land is being made to concrete deserts. You might power your vehicle but you wont have anything to eat. (So to speak)."

                      A dozen 15m diameter concrete footings within thousands of acres does not constitute a concrete desert and the fields were full of crops

                    • KJT

                      I gave a link that showed you are repeating rubbish.

                      You even said it yourself. At 2 km you will not hear a wind generator over the ambient noise. Even in the countryside.

                    • RedLogix


                      Both solar and wind do have a real impact on their local environment – the sheer area of land involved cannot be so easily overlooked.

                • pat

                  Go for a drive through the vast French countryside and you will see (but not hear) wind generators dotted all over the landscape…and no concrete in sight.

                  • Foreign waka

                    Pat, if you drive through the French countryside you should pick up a paper in the next town. You might read about the concerns of the folks that have to live near the turbines and farmers who lose arable land. Also, the blades need changing on occasions and give me a guess what happens with them? Yep, they are just deposited on the ground. How green is that!

                    I am all for Windmills but some reason and science has to apply. Unless you want to pay a gold bar for a kg of potatoes.

                    Windmills are anchored with steel and concrete.


                    …foundations are usually simple concrete blocks called footings that are placed under building walls and columns, or in the case of wind turbines, beneath the tower.

                    A typical slab foundation for a 1 MW turbine would be approximately 15 m diameter and 1.5 – 3.5 m deep. Turbines in the 1 to 2 MW range typically use 130 to 240 m3 of concrete for the foundation. Multi-pile foundations are used in weaker ground conditions and require less concrete.

                    • KJT

                      The middle Waikato river produces 1450mW.

                      "A typical slab foundation for a 1 MW turbine would be approximately 15 m diameter".

                      To replace that with wind generators at 1 mW per 177m2 of land use per generator is 1450 x 177m2. 256650m2, Divide by 10 000 is how many hectares?

                      Total agricultural land area in New Zealand – Figure.NZ

                      I am not worried about space for wind generation, threatening my spud supply anytime soon.

                    • RedLogix


                      Your wind turbines are going to have a capacity factor of around maybe 20% in a good location. So you will need roughly 5 times more of them than your calculation suggests.

                      Then you need to consider that much of the land does not have a good wind potential or that some seasons can have weeks of low wind. Gets messy quickly.

                    • KJT

                      Do the sums.

                      Still a miniscule fraction of NZ's arable land.

                      Let alone of total land area.

                      Compare to biofuels which does require significant land use.

                      And. A large proportion of the best wind locations are not suitable for housing or farming. Steep and windswept, are places we use for sheep, or gorse.

                    • RedLogix

                      NZ on a global scale has a reasonably good wind resource and getting the current annual contribution from around 4% to say 20% seems feasible and desirable.

                      Although given much of the easy, high productivity sites have already been utilised – it will probably take a covering a bit more land than you would imagine to get us even to 20%. And that assumes there is never any growth in total demand into the future.

                      On a global scale the picture is even less rosy – but given how we have seen Greenies shut down perfectly good nuclear power plants so as to intentionally burn more brown coal – I guess anything is possible.

                    • KJT

                      Obviously, arithmetic is not your strength.

        • pat

          They may but i suspect their solution will be more along the lines of large schemes (solar pumped hydro at Onslow?) implemented and controlled by the main sector players rather than individual set ups.

          The time frames on fleet replacement may never come to fruition.

          • Temp ORary

            The Onslow project does look like it has potential Pat. But it is going to take time. With the lack if rainfall down South this year, we could really have done with this now:

            Dry year storage—we are specifically investigating Lake Onslow given its ability to store up to 5-7TWh for dry year support

            Intermittency back up—our existing hydro lakes can increase or decrease their output to offset the variation in wind or solar generation, but this capacity is limited. Pumped hydro could provide a form of back-up to ensure electricity supply and demand is met when generation from solar, wind and existing hydro are not enough.


            I recall that the Green Party used to have a plan to install Solar panels on schools to act as cores for community produced electricity (less line loss). But that isn't even in the online precis of their clean energy policy anymore. Though there is proposed solar support more in line with what was discussed upthread:

            1. We’ll upgrade all 63,000 social and community homes with solar panels and batteries

            2. We’ll introduce grants to halve the price of installing solar in privately-owned homes, and offer grants and low-interest loans for businesses to transition to renewable energy


            I imagine that; social and community homes, means Kaianga Ora (HNZ). I didn't trawl through the full detail pdf to find out. It all comes down to postelection numbers next year anyway.

            Though the GP have always been good with other parties swiping their ideas, so long as the ill gets cured.

            • pat

              The solar on schools (and businesses) is an interesting one…I have seen a number of reports on instances and the overwhelming theme is they only partially offset use….some at very low levels, which highlights KJTs point about economy of scale, not to mention the fact a few major players are easier to coordinate than 10s of thousands individual installations.

              • Temp ORary

                I guess the GP might have crunched the numbers and found that the cost benefit analysis didn't stack up. I think it was more Hughes who was pushing for it, so with him out of Parliament these days, it has languished a bit.

                It was certainly an ambitious scheme. But if the government can mandate the abolishing of coal burners in schools, they can certainly make funding conditional upon schools allowing them to install solar panels and batteries on their grounds. Especially since the schools would have first call on the subsidized power thus produced.

                Weka had a point (somewhere) upthread about the fragility of the lines system. Which is certainly true in Dunedin where decades of underfunding (to prevent rates increases) have left the grid in a woeful state. Having a more distributed network would give more systematic resilience.

              • Poission

                Solar on schools, reduces the cost of outgoings for the school,produces good surpluses over holidays and weekends,and a surplus back to the grid for the peak use ,(during the spring to autumn period) where you can reduce daytime hydro flows.

                As more uptake comes on stream,then surpluses can be banked into community batteries (which essentially become local peakers) and reduces the high cost of distribution.

                • Temp ORary

                  A major cost in installing PV solar is that you really need to run it through batteries and inverties unless you want to fry your old electrical gear. Did that to a keyboard up in a commune about a decade back – never did get another with quite the same tone bank settings. Though the tech has probably improved these last few years.

                  Anyway, it is still likely more efficient for a medium size structure such as a school to aggregate and distribute the local solar electricity network with good sized battery banks and true sine-wave inversions (rather than many budget setups with modified square-wave).

                  Excess could be shunted off to the grid more easily than with multiple small connections from individual houses. And likely get bulk discount on buyback to make that work out better too. Sure, maybe not as technically efficient as larger projects, but also avoiding lots of line-loss. More of an intermediate step.

                  Though Pandemic supply lines to this country might be too stretched to make this viable at present. Plus no one really seems to be advocating for it anymore.

          • Graeme

            There's a lot of unbuilt wind farms in Southland (you could say Southland is the Saudi Arabia of wind), that haven't been built because there's nothing apart from more coal to provide backup on the rare day's it's not blowing it's tits of along the south coast.

            Onslow and / or the Tiwai hydrogen proposal will get those wind proposals going and I suspect a lot more. Could be an interesting period coming up for the South with the Green Hydrogen development leading to a dramatic expansion of the region's industrial sector.

        • Belladonna

          Perhaps it could be a requirement for all owners of EVs (license address) to demonstrate that they have solar power installed 😉

          After all – if you can afford 70K or so to buy one – then you can easily afford the solar installation to power it.

          [Yes, a bit tongue-in-cheek]

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.2.2

        That is a useful site Pat…thanks for the link. We've flirted with the idea of a hybrid system with battery back up for our wee place here in the Far North, but have been disappointed with the detail provided from the couple of 'quotes' we've had. $30,000 or a 5kw system…no idea of how many panels, batteries, brands etc. Most seem to be tied into some kind arrangement with a particular electricity retailer. The 'we're not sure if there will be over runs on installation until we start…' proviso, in small print at the bottom of the quote leaves me more than a little nervous. I did purchase a generator to keep freezers and our pumps running and have an 'ups' thingy as back up for the phone an internet.

        And an update on this major solar power project… you'll be pleased to know that the crop of maize grown on this site was harvested a month or so ago, so I guess there has been solar energy utilized. Other than a sign and a chunky gravel carpark the sod-turning photo- op is as far as its gone.

        • pat

          Lol…enjoyed the maize anecdote.

          I think individual solar good IF you can develop a system for your own use AND have some form of storage but despite the sales pitch the commercially available set ups still require considerable outlay and pay back periods are extensive….the costs increase considerably the moment it is grid tied.

          • lprent

            Personally I would like to try to build a battery based system using DC only. Feed that with AC and covert to DC appliances at various voltage/amp. Almost everything i use is DC in their internal reality. Computers monitors, TVs, power tools, fans,

            The exception appears to be heat generators like ovens, stove tops, heater, hot water…

            Inverters are a waste of power. So are most of electric AC to DC adapters.

            Then once that is running – look at alternate power supplies to feed DC batteries. Pointless having alternate power sources ifbyou are going to have major inefficiences in converting DC to AC to DC to charge a phone (for instance).

            I wouldn’t bother feeding the grid when I had excess. The rates are pitiful against the equipment costs to do that. I would need the grid to get the electric ecosystem setup, and as a supplement.

            One day when I feel like retiring.

            • pat

              Yes but most dont have the ability to create a bespoke system for themselves….and the moment you tie to the grid you are bound to use approved (and consequently) more expensive componentry, not to mention various fees.

              A 12v system is common in many home designed systems often tied to 12v appliances.

          • Poission

            I am grid tied (although the inverter is hybrid so are future proofed) the return on investment for me is 12% net,not many investments like that,

    • KJT 1.3

      Those who want individual households to install solar power, are ignoring efficiencies and economics of scale..

      Individual small solar installations are many times more expensive and require more manufactured resources, than a large solar or wind installation.

      Government money is better used in building larger scale sustainable generation, for everyone instead of subsidising upper middle class who can afford to add solar panels.

      While we have a privatised electricity industry whose business model depends on keeping energy scarce and expensive, though!

      • Bearded Git 1.3.1

        The economics of roof solar have changed dramatically over the last few years. Two minutes of surfing showed this:

        "Costs for solar energy systems have come down substantially over the past decade. A fully-installed system in 2008 could run you about $40,000 — now, prices are only a fraction of that amount. The cost for a solar system starts around $5,990."

        • KJT

          Think for a moment about what those households could buy for that amount, if several thousand of them clubbed together and built a solar or wind farm.

          Not to mention the savings on long term maintainance, of one solar farm compared to hundreds of individual roof top systems.

          • Graeme

            There's no reason that large scale solar farm can't be virtual and spread over a hundred or thousand roof tops.

            That's what Solar Zero have done, but their model is putting their panels on your roof, and giving you cheaper (maybe) power in lieu of rent.

            I'd be interested in a more co-operative model where the property owner owns the panels and shares in a wholesale marketing organisation to sell their surplus energy

            • KJT

              Every one of those roof tops requires rectifiers, switching and controllers, plus probably batteries.

              A lot of duplication of small and consequently, inefficient, equipment.

              On the plus side, roof top solar doesn’t take up extra land.

              Hopefully solar control systems will improve in cost and efficiency.

            • pat

              "There's no reason that large scale solar farm can't be virtual and spread over a hundred or thousand roof tops."

              Its not impossible but is it the best and most efficient use of limited resources both now and for the future?

      • tsmithfield 1.3.2

        I agree, it makes more sense from an efficiency point of view to build large solar arrays. I have seen these type of installations in Germany.

        A counter to that is that such installations would take a long time to go through the approval process, actually get built, and have supporting infrastructure built. Also, they use up huge amounts of land. In that respect, is the offset cost of the lost opportunity cost of alternative usages for the land taken up by solar arrays. For instance, lost opportunities for food production, or even using the land for planting native forests as a carbon-offset.

        While subsidies for domestic solar installations would not be as efficient, they would provide much quicker sources of renewable energy and wouldn't need the same amount of supporting infrastructure as they would be using the infrastructure already in existence.

        Perhaps, a solar subsidy arrangement could be an interim goal to fill the gap while more efficient solutions are implemented over a longer timeframe.

    • Macro 1.4

      Yes I agree with your thoughts above and have done so for at least 20 years! I worked in the solar hot water side for awhile – before PV became more viable – and even then there were immense gains to be made both economically and environmentally. WA had a similar scheme – sunny days are the rule there, so an obvious source of energy. Traveling in the train south from Perth you will see house after house with solar panels. It was so popular that the WA Govt overran its budget and, as it was then a liberal govt, cut the scheme. But the die had been cast and there is still a good uptake on solar energy installation on new builds.

      Many of the solar hot water systems installed in NZ are manufactured in WA – it was there that they were developed.

      Israel mandates all new buildings to be fitted with solar energy and has done for decades, obviously to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels.

      • RedLogix 1.4.1

        Yes you are correct in that roof-top solar has far more penetration in Australia than NZ. As a guess I would say the rate is between 5 – 8 times higher.

        Still the reality is that Australia has one of the best solar and wind power potential anywhere on the planet – and it is still a non-trivial task to turn off all the coal until you have solved the storage problem.

    • DB Brown 1.5

      I came up with a hair brained scheme a while back where government rolls out solar that pays for itself.

      Put solar on state housing and recoup the costs from tenants paying their power bills – but at the same time (calculated by their average/historic use) offer them some of the savings (will make buy in much easier) from the savings generated. Win – Win.

      You could roll out a portion of it, show the bank the payments coming in, and get finance for the next portion. Very little govt spending required if they shuffle their cards right.

      Many other government properties could do with the retrofit too.

      It would make the government a major power generator in short order. And yes, it would certainly help take the pressure off our systems.

      there was talk some time back of us manufacturing solar here. I have no idea why that's not happening, it was another no-brainer.

      • pat 1.5.1

        "there was talk some time back of us manufacturing solar here. I have no idea why that's not happening, it was another no-brainer."

        The simple answer is costs….most of the components would need to be imported anyway so is more efficient to buy in complete items.

    • weka 1.6

      Given the need for more renewable power to avoid using coal fired generators, along with the increasing pressure on the grid due to the influx of electric vehicles, it seems that the government urgently needs more renewable sources of energy.

      Here's what the sustainable and resilient solution looks like, see if you can spot the pattern:

      1. use less power
      2. stop wasting power
      3. retrofit existing houses with passive solar tech/design
      4. all new builds required to have passive solar tech/design (space and water heating in particular, doesn't have to be PassivHaus although that is one example)
      5. retrofit existing houses with active solar (panels and water heaters), grid tied where appropriate
      6. all new builds required to have active solar (panels and water heaters), grid tied where appropriate
      7. build neighbourhood power generation that will withstand climate, quake, tsunami events (eg if the grid goes down, power can still be generated and reticulated locally)
      8. build larger scale district power generation, as above
      9. don't build any more Muldoon-esque power schemes unless there is a compelling reason to and that can be done with a) full community input and consultation and b) minimal environmental impact

      What that does is use less resources, require less maintanence, create less pollution, make NZ more self sufficient, make local areas, neighbourhoods and households more self sufficient and resilient going into our climate and quake future.

      • weka 1.6.1

        outside my lane about what would work, but couple that with manufacturing components in NZ as much as possible.

        At the moment, we have some pretty important infrastructure that relies on overseas manufacturers for replacement parts. Consider current supply line interruptions magnified, and what would happen if your town electricity or supply stopped working because something broke. How much redundancy do we have?

      • tsmithfield 1.6.2

        I can't say I disagree with any of that Weka. It just seems to make more sense compared to anything else which will be expensive, long to implement, and damaging to the environment.

        I imagine such a solution would also have good buy-in from the public who would directly benefit from such a concept.

      • Poission 1.6.3

        all new builds required to have active solar (panels and water heaters)

        You dont need the water part,there is an extra unit that you can install with solar pv which optimizes Water heating first (around 800)

    • weka 1.7

      It's a good question that some of us have been asking for a while now. Would have to look up exactly when, but the Greens pushed quite some time ago (pre Key?) for solar install subsidies that would also have had the effect of upscaling solar business in NZ and thus lowering prices. You can understand why some of us are frustrated with NZ voters.

      • tsmithfield 1.7.1

        Further to my comment, probably the only point I would disagree with is that I don't think that the government should be subsidising or requiring (in the case of new builds) every house should have solar energy. That is because not all houses are oriented to efficiently take advantage of solar.

        The optimal orientation is east-west oriented houses (with the exposed roof facing north). So, perhaps at the consenting side of the equation the approval authority could decide whether the orientation of the house qualifies for the government subsidy or not so that taxpayer money is used in the most efficiently.

        • Molly

          Perhaps planners should look at the possible orientation of houses when allowing for new subdivisions.

          • Belladonna

            Ha! Have you seen the new builds in Auckland. 8 townhouses crammed literally side-by-side on a section which previously contained 1 house.
            Sections are covered to 95% of area with housing (and the rest is driveway).

            Under the new government intensive building plans – town planners will have little if any control over what is built where.

            • Incognito

              Sections are covered to 95% of area with housing (and the rest is driveway).

              I call BS on that. The building coverage in Auckland cannot exceed 50% of the site and in most cases (e.g. zones) it is less than that.

              • Belladonna

                Really. I invite you to take a look at the intensive housing going in along the main transit corridors (but still suburban streets) in Auckland.
                Literally 4 doors down from me (side street connection to a main road) they are building 8 townhouses on the site where they've removed one house. They're 3 story – in order to get the most density on the site possible.
                And the building is right from one boundary to the driveway (which is on the other boundary)
                The only non-built space is the driveway.

                This may have required a resource consent (i.e. isn't a normally allowed activity) – but they are routinely being rubber-stamped in Auckland's drive for intensification along PT corridors (and linked areas).

                This is repeated on building-site after building-site across the suburbs I drive through.

                • Incognito

                  Yes, really. Knock yourself out by searching the AUP (Auckland Unitary Plan) for “building coverage” aka building footprint. For example, here:

                  https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/plans-projects-policies-reports-bylaws/our-plans-strategies/hgi-district-plan/Documents%20%20PM14/pm14-attachment-e-aup-tracked-changes-part1.pdf [625 pages]

                  For example, 50% max. building coverage on a site of 10 m by 20 m (200 meter squared) means the building footprint cannot be more than 100 meter squared, e.g. 6 m by 16 m (96 meter squared). To you that may look like 95% while in actual fact it is (only) 48%. (NB there are all sorts of boundary requirements, but this is just a simple example to illustrate your optical illusion)

                  Have fun!

                  • Belladonna

                    In the real world: Building from one side of the site to the other (excluding the driveway), building from front berm to to back boundary.
                    I don't see in what rational world that can be described as 48% of the site.

                    I acknowledge that this may have required a resource consent for an exemption to the standard rules. However, as I said, these are clearly being routinely granted.

                    What I'm describing is anything but an isolated incident.

                    And the new legislation is specifically designed to allow 3x3story houses on the site where previously 1 was permitted.

                    • Incognito

                      Go argue with your calculator and work out the building footprint after you have measured yourself those sites with new housing builds (incl. terraced houses and apartments) that, in your mind, occupy 95% of the total site area. You may want to ask permission before you enter those properties. Alternatively, you could tell us the exact area you’re talking about; Auckland Council has these very handy maps and other handy data …

                      What you think you see in the real world is in your head.

                      I acknowledge that this may have required a resource consent for an exemption to the standard rules. However, as I said, these are clearly being routinely granted.

                      What I'm describing is anything but an isolated incident.

                      Spot the ambiguity if not contradiction.

                      And the new legislation is specifically designed to allow 3x3story houses on the site where previously 1 was permitted.

                      What does this have to do with building footprint maxima?

              • Belladonna

                The new law requires Auckland Council to allow medium-density housing (3 houses of 3 stories high on the site currently required for one) – as a default across most of their area.


                I expect this drive for intensification to continue. And the cheapest way for developers to do this, is what they're already doing: cramming as many townhouses as possible on a single site.

                • Incognito

                  From your link:

                  This amendment to the RMA does two things. Firstly, it requires tier 1 councils in Auckland, and greater Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch to change their planning rules so most of their residential areas are zoned for medium density housing.

                  In other words, it has not happened yet (“from August 2022”), so you cannot have seen it yet, whatever it is that you think you saw.

                  • Belladonna

                    No. What I'm seeing is resource consent variations over site-coverage being routinely granted to enable Auckland Council’s goals of intensification along PT corridors.

                    The point I was making is that this intensification (resulting in virtually zero un-built-on land on the site) will increase (and become more widespread) when the new legislation comes into effect.

                    • Incognito

                      At least you agree that the new legislation has not yet come into effect. Now, can you tell us what the building coverage limits are that are allegedly “resulting in virtually zero un-built-on land on the site” in the new legislation, which by your reckons is already happening in Auckland? You’re repeating the same stupid line but with not a shred of support.

                • Poission

                  Even with the 3 levels,both the height control plane and expense will exclude lifts.

                  It should be mandatory for Woods and Brownlee to move the new owners fridge and washing machine up to level 3.

                  • Incognito

                    They manage moving to the 4th floor in the middle of Amsterdam just fine.

                    • Poission

                      Well they should move to Amsterdam.

                    • Incognito []

                      I’m sure NZ movers would love a trip to Amsterdam to learn the trade.

                    • Poission

                      Na they would send the container with Brownlee and Woods in there.

                      Anyway the infill initiative falls over under high initial costs (land and property,high construction costs,and high interest rates to come.

                    • Incognito []

                      Brownlee is very good at tampering with airport security and he’d get out of the container quite easily.

      • Poission 1.7.2

        They were not economical then,its only in the last 3-4 years that costs have decreased substantially as large scale manufacturing became more cost effective.

    • Adrian 1.8

      Private solar installations are already subsidised in a roundabout way. My son who has a PhD in Battery Technology countered my arguments about more house solar and why werent the prices paid for supply to the grid closer to what we pay. The reply was that there are a few unique aspects to NZs electricity systems, and the cost of production of is only about 7cents a kw, the distribution is the killer.

      1, most of the rest of the world needs electricity to cool buildings in the summer when solar and wind is a lot more efficient, US and Europe heat their houses and factories with gas or oil and it will take quite sometime to phase out up to a billion systems. We on the other hand use electricity for heating in the winter and don't cool very many buildings in summer, our winter solution is to put on another bloody jersey, one area where our Scots and Irish heritage favours conservation!

      2, the majority of the cost of electricity is in the distribution, and NZ is very difficult terrain to manage. I live 25kms from a large SI town yet between here and there there are tens of millions of dollars of installations, a lot disquised as normal houses used to manage voltage and other aspects, all of which require a huge amount of maintenance, again an almost unique NZ problem, because of the long distances and consequently a fraction of the consumers to pay for it compared to other countries.

      Heres the political problem, more houses with solar means less consumers to pay for the distribution costs and that system is vital, small private solar installations are very prone to lack of sunlight and wind just when you need the power hence the need for most to be connected to the grid and the nessecity to pay the same as someone without solar supplementation. Just because you may ride a bike a lot of the time you still may need a car to do what cannot be managed on a bike and I'm pretty sure no government is going to subsidise the capital cost of a car for you just because it sits idle until you need it.

      There are many, many other complications, but one of his interesting comments was that the future will see that a much larger proportion of the worlds industrial production will occur 10-20 degrees either side of the Equator in highly automated factories with few staff because of the amount of sunlight available ( closer to the sun ) and the reliability of tropical winds for cheaper energy and shorter freight distances, ( not by much but everything helps ).

      Get in now, buy desert in northern Australia.

    • Tony 1.9

      Hey tsmithfield, do you want to walk back the lying propaganda you posted yesterday about another Russian ship being sunk? No evidence whatsoever except the lies you picked up from Western media. It didn't happen, just like the Russian Generals killed in action .. all bullshit .. You really need to learn how to do real research.

      • RedLogix 1.9.2

        Yes – the whole invasion is a Nazi fake. Real research would show that Putin was correct all along when he told everyone back in Feb that Russia was never going to invade Ukraine.

      • tsmithfield 1.9.3

        I know for certain they took out a landing craft type boat as pointed out by Red below. So, that could be a source of confusion.

        I will reserve my position on the Makarov because I haven't seen any firm evidence that the Makarov is actually around still. I have seen several photos put up by pro-Russian sources on Twitter, apparently of the Makarov in port, or some other location after the attack. But, those pictures have been easily identified as fakes. Hence, I will wait until there is actually firm evidence that the Makarov is actually still around before conceding anything.

        • Tony

          tsmithfield .. The clip of the ship being hit is actually from a video game, wise up with your comments, you are spreading lies ..

          • tsmithfield

            If you are referring to the article linked to by Red Logix above, you obviously didn't read the part where it said:

            "Satellite photos analysed by the Associated Press show the aftermath of an apparent Ukrainian drone strike on Friday on Russian positions on Snake Island, with thick black smoke rising overhead."

            So maybe you need to update your technique for sorting fact from fiction.

            • Tony

              tsmithfield the Russian frigate was and is nowhere near Snake Island, the source of another PR stunt gone wrong by Ukraine, remember the valiant soldiers who all actually surrendered to the Russians .. It is you that needs to update your technique for sorting fact from bullshit. You show a twitter feed as proof .. ha ha ha ha ha ha. If you want to actually educate yourself about what is happening in Ukraine I can give you some real independant analysis from actual experts, not armchair experts.

              • RedLogix

                'Actual experts' who can tell us this 'so called 'war' is all just a Ukrainian PR stunt right? Real research would show Russian soldiers being welcomed with hot food, flowers and enthusiastic fucks by happy locals glad to be free of Nazis oppressing them.

                Got it.

                • Tony

                  Red Logix you need to drink less alcohol or inbibe less on substances before making comments which defy logic .. read your above post and get help friend!

                  • RedLogix

                    Выпить Карцу Путину !!!

                    • Tony

                      RedLogix, I examined your letters and again you confirm the need for some assistance man, you lack logic or good sense, grow up!

        • tsmithfield

          The situation with the Makarov is a bit weird. Hopefully we will soon have some objective information about this.

          There has been this tweet recently claiming that the ship was met back at dock by 20 ambulances suggesting something serious had happened on board.

          If the ship has been damaged enough to require that sort of attention, then it could be out of the game for quite awhile, even if it is still floating.

      • Belladonna 1.9.4

        It's been very widely reported in the media.


        Of course the Herald report comes from the International wires – rather than independent reporting.

        If you have a reputable source to link to, that this is propaganda – then it would be good to see it.

        • Tony

          Belladonna .. au contraire you need to provide actual proof of the frigate being damaged, I don't have to prove anything, because nothing happened except on a keyboard spewing propaganda and lies .. show me the money shot boys!

          • RedLogix

            The Great Lord Putin has promised a wonderful victory over the hordes of lying Nazi monkeys pounding out endless lies and filth on their keyboards!!

            • Tony

              RedLogix .. come on Man pull yourself together, you simply don't make sense or offer an argument .. You say .. The Great Lord Putin has promised a wonderful victory over the hordes of lying Nazi monkeys pounding out endless lies and filth on their keyboards! Explain this nonsense?

    • Binders full of women 1.10

      An apolitical energy expert told me that solar is marginal in NZ but great in Australia. Aussie have a lot of sun when they need the most energy (in summer to run aircons). Whereas in NZ we need enrgy for winter heating and that's when there's too little sun.

      Solar in NZ is good for water heating (which is a waste of electricity) but not so good for making electricity.

      • weston 1.10.1

        Fuck the ' experts ' works perfectly fine on my roof and has done the last ten years .

        • lprent

          Worked for my parents in Rotorua for a decade. Their grid power bills were minimal – about $30 per month in winter. Solar + water backed wood burner.

          They moved about 5-6 years ago. I'd have liked to have tried lithium batteries as well. But they were too expensive at the time.

        • lprent

          Worked for my parents in Rotorua for a decade. Their grid power bills were minimal – about $30 per month in winter. Solar + water backed wood burner.

          They moved about 5-6 years ago. I'd have liked to have tried lithium batteries as well. But they were too expensive at the time.

    • Michael Delceg 1.11

      I have rooftop solar thermal hot water and photovoltaic panels and a battery so I speak from experience. There is a hybrid inverter that automatically sends surplus production to the grid and draws from the grid when the battery is at my reserve value. It can disconnect from the grid in an outage and provide power from the battery and reconnect in phase when the grid is back up. This is a Harrison's system and they have backed up their product with appropriate service. The cost is worth bearing for those who have the resources; our total electricity bill last year was little more than $300, and includes charging a Mitsubishi PHEV for local driving. I've long advocated for a government loan guarantee for such installations with savings on electricity applied to amortising the loan. This requires a suitable payback tariff for energy sent to the grid. This is not available from all electricity retailers and is not sufficient from others, but even then it works given some time. Other comments about large scale installations and upgraded distribution systems are correct and will be necessary for the progress of NZ into the rest of this century. Getting the government policies needed to accomplish this is an ongoing task.

  2. Ad 2

    Pete Buttigieg does a good job naming the "high water mark" of freedom within both the likely reversal of Roe and the Florida State "don't ask don't tell" law.

    It's 6 minutes but he does a good job, noting his own point that 10 years ago it would have been laughable that he be able to discuss that he is married to a man and has two children, and that now such a statement is to be deemed only suitable for adults.

    (8) Pete Buttigieg BRINGS THE HOUSE DOWN with must-see speech – YouTube

    • Grey Area 2.1

      Excellent link thanks Ad. A big part of why I come here is to be put on to links like this.

      Throws more light on something I've thought for some time. That the USA is broken and I consider is incapable of healing itself.

      I find the concept of a high-water mark useful.

    • Ross 2.2

      Next week Pete might have changed his opinion. 🙂

      He is the last person to be speaking about freedom when he doesn’t seem to know what it means.


      • Peter 2.2.1

        Yes, slay Buttigieg for that. Ponder his views and ways as illustrated in that 2019 link and that performance (above) on YouTube and the proven views and ways of Donald Trump. Which one of those two would have better qualities and less negatives to be President after 2024?

  3. Blazer 3

    'Heard says she wants the Government to do more to help those who may be facing mortgage stress.'


    Expect anyone coming under mortgage stress to blame the….gummint now.

    ​Mother says time with her baby will be cut short because monthly home repayments are set to jump $800 a month | Stuff.co.nz

  4. So it turns out that Omicron is just as severe as the previous Covid variants. It was all media bollocks from the business lobby to support opening up.


    • lprent 4.1

      Interesting. That was the assumption that I made when I looked at those original studies on omicron.

      They looked far too coarse grained for a population that was partially immunised and had treatments. Just simple bean counting without looking at nuance.

      If you look closely at the NZ hospialisation demographic rates for unvaccinated where known (after the delta cases passed through), they look like Italy in early 2020.

      • Bearded Git 4.1.1

        Exactly. The continuous repetition of "more infectious but milder" smacked of an orchestrated campaign by business interests. It was never backed by the WHO.

  5. Blazer 5

    I think the way to tame inflation is to crash the property market.

    About a 60% fall should do it.

    The effects of high mortgage and rent payments and their % of income is a big problem.

    Mainly speculators and investors would be hurt.

    More homes would appear on the market driving prices and rents even lower.

    People who bought their houses to live in will still benefit from CG over decades,and FHB will be able to afford a…home.

    • Patricia Bremner 5.1

      Blazer, banks would fail, stocks would fall Kiwi saver balances would crash dreams would die.

      Revolution of any kind has too many unintended consequences.

    • Belladonna 5.2

      Nope. The speculators and investors are unlikely to be hurt. Pretty much all of them have a healthy buffer of equity. And losses are only losses once you sell – so they're motivated to hang on to the property – for at least the 10 years required to escape the bright line test. Of course, in the meantime, they're also highly motivated to ratchet up the rent every year…

      The people it clobbers are the new homeowners – with mortgages less than 3 years old. *If* they can hang on, they'll be OK. Banks have been stress-testing mortgage repayments at 7-8% over the last 2+ years before loaning money.

      But anyone who is obliged to sell (marriage break up, illness, job loss, etc.) will take a hammering – and will probably come up with negative equity.

      There will be some mortgagee sales – but everyone (banks included) wants to keep them to a minimum.

      • Blazer 5.2.1

        If prices drop,so will the equity required by banks regarding investors/speculators.

        They will have to stump up or sell in a falling market.=more stock.

        As prices rose 30% in Auckland in one year the rebalance is long overdue.

        FHB's if the stress tests are real should be o.k.

        • Belladonna

          No. Banks very, very rarely require an infusion of equity for existing loans – where there is a strong payment history.
          Unless you have some evidence that this past practice is about to change.

          Of course, if you want a further loan (say for renovations) or want to shift to interest-only, then they'll force a revaluation.

          But banks don't want to force a sale — they'll make a heck of a lot more money, long term, off the mortgage repayments.

          • Blazer

            You will find banks most certainly require a capital injection from leveraged investors when the market tanks. Similar to a margin call on securities.

            • Belladonna

              LVR restrictions mean that property investors (over the last 2? years) have needed to have a 40% deposit.


              You'd have to have property market crash of epic proportions for them to be moving into negative equity.

              Property investors with portfolios older than 2 years – will have 'benefited' from the capital increase – and, again it would take an epic property crash to shift their loan into negative equity.

              Highly leveraged property investors are pretty much a thing of the past in NZ.

    • pat 5.3

      And the world dosn't end…


      • Approximately 31% of mortgaged properties, or 47% of the value of outstanding loans, were found to be in negative equity at the end of 2010.[76]
      • As of September 2011, Central Bank figures show that 8.1% of private residential mortgage accounts are in arrears for more than 90 days – up from 7.2% at the end of June 2011.[77]
        • As of August 2012, more than 22% of Irish mortgages are in arrears or have been restructured.[78]
      • In the first 10 months of 2011, 8,692 houses were completed. This compares to 76,954 in 2004, 80,957 in 2005, 93,419 in 2006, 78,027 in 2007, 51,724 in 2008, 26,420 in 2009 and 14,602 in 2010.[79]
      • The Irish National Debt has significantly increased: Ireland's ratio of General Government Debt to GDP at the end of 2009 is estimated to have been 65.2%. The revised estimate for General Government Debt to GDP ratio at the end of 2010 is estimated to have been 92.5%. The forecast for General Government Debt to GDP ratio at the end of 2011 is estimated to be 105.5%.[79]
  6. Reality 6

    Finding it very curious that there have been numerous debates here on who is, should or can be a "woman". Over the last few days there has been much publicity about the nasty attack on Nadia Lim in the NBR by the Henry person. Pleasing to see all the support she has had from numerous people. But none or very little comment here!

    • Patricia Bremner 6.1

      The CEO Simon Henry is a misogynist, and has been outed.

      Nadia is self made, but her business took advantage of shareholders and holes in the current system through pumping possible profits, selling shares and realising wealth where other investors won't get much.

      So support for her position is muted, as the man is an egg, but his premise of overhyping the shares was real. imo.

      • Tiger Mountain 6.1.1

        Well I’m not going to get too excited about reality TV participants and their subsequent business activities–but Mr Henry deserves the shower of shit he is getting. He could have just stuck to his business grumble, without invoking misogyny and racial slurs.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
    ― Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

    Oh that were so in NZ! The reality is NZ is a venal money trench for the elite and petit bourgeoisie, a neo liberal state in legislation and reality, so no revolution just yet. But change is a coming…one way or another. Generation rent and student loan and alienated working class know that, it is a matter of what the direction is.
    The Convoys and Groundswells had their go at being that change, but have ‘blown their bags’ to use an old crudity, as far as can be seen, they had their chance.

    A new political movement (not just Parliamentary Party) is certainly needed to challenge and retire neo liberalism. But given all the requirements to register new parties and do community organising and activism, that should probably be kicked out to the 2026 General Election. There are ultimately few ‘organisational solutions to major political problems.’

    But for 2023 certainly the Greens and Te Pāti Māori should be the target for pressure to support working class friendly policy in case they are able to form a Government with Labour. A combination of tactics–turn Green and Māori left as possible, and strategy–keep the dirty filthy natzos out, as the ground is prepared for a generational break through in 2026.

    This country is a Tale of Two Cities and needs people power to turn it around, passivity and compliant consumers have had their day.

  8. Patricia Bremner 8

    To Labour and the Scientists Thanks for a great fight against Mico plasma bovis. In spite of the refusal to comply by some rednecks, we are almost free of this scourge.

    Next will be the tropical blackworm which is able to demolish a garden in days.

    • pat 8.1


      "Biosecurity New Zealand is closely monitoring reports of a Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia, says Biosecurity New Zealand Deputy Director-General Stuart Anderson."

      "We will review the latest information from Indonesia and boost our already strong measures at the border if required.

      "An audit last year of Indonesia's supply chain for palm kernel, which is used as a feed supplement in New Zealand, showed it was meeting strong import health requirements."

      NZs worst nightmare.

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    There is a Turning Away happening in the US – not the Floyd version, but arguably a response to it. When working no longer gets one anywhere, that old tune in, turn on, & drop out looks better every day.

  10. joe90 10

    Sad, sad thread on how people were and are treated like dust in Russia.

    1/ The following thread is an attempt to explain Russia(TM) to you from my Soviet-Russian-speaking-Ukrainian-Jewish perspective. I didn't eat wisdom with spoons. Please add and correct!

    2/ We are currently seeing many Russians on the streets of Russian cities in heroic protest against the war. Navalnyj said "If we have to clog up their prisons with our bodies, then we'll do it".


    (Now also enjoy this thread as a blog post: marinaweisband.de/russia-verst… )

    google translate

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