Open mike 09/04/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 9th, 2012 - 100 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 link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

100 comments on “Open mike 09/04/2012”

  1. The Chairman 1

    Grey Power contemplating establishing a power company

    Lobby group Grey Power is contemplating establishing a power company of a different kind, as pensioners face rising electricity bills this winter.

    A major upgrade of the grid by state-owned Transpower has driven a nationwide electricity price hike, prompting Grey Power to look at ways to assist its members, said national president Roy Reid.

    “We would run a company that distributes on the power networks as is done at present,” Reid said.

    “We would only need to gather in enough profit to maintain the cost of the supply.”

    Reid said the rising prices are putting too much pressure on pensioners, which Grey Power hopes to change.

    Significant increases in line prices in the last five years has seen line pricing outstrip energy pricing in that period.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/business-news/lobby-group-mulls-starting-own-power-company-4821444

    A power company that only requires to make enough profit to maintain supply? Isn’t that something a Government working in the public interest should be doing?

    • LynW 1.1

      From tiny acorns…. This would be a wonderful thing to see happen…enough is enough….our elders starting the ball rolling….. a revolution on the way?

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Wow, really?

      Transpower hasn’t been investing in upgrades as it should have, if it had we would have had higher prices sooner than we did now. On the other hand, thanks to the recession we now have ample generation capacity for the next 2-3 years.

      If Grey Power think they can magically make power transmission cost less, or never upgrade the infrastructure (and watch what would happen to the country if the cook strait cable broke down, for example…) then they really don’t know what they’re talking about.

      • Pete George 1.2.1

        Members of Grey Power could organise amongst themselves to buy up shares in one of the power companies being partially sold. Maybe they’d prefer National relaxed their policy and sold more than 49%.

        • mickysavage 1.2.1.1

          Why?

          They already own the shares as Citizens of this country.  Why buy them twice? 

          • Pete George 1.2.1.1.1

            Why buy power? They already own it as citizens of this country. Why buy it twice?

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.1.1

              You buy it twice because you can use the power twice. Easy. It wouldn’t be fair if old people can go ahead and use the power twice, but just pay once, because that would mean they got a free lunch with it.

            • mickysavage 1.2.1.1.1.2

              We all have to chip in some money so that the infrastructure can be built.  These are called taxes and/or power charges.  We can then benefit from cheap power.  But sell the infrastructure off and we will have to pay Mr Overseas Investor Man more money so that we can have the benefit of our assets.

        • bad12 1.2.1.2

          Members of Parliament could organize among themselves the distribution of electricity to the elderly who paid the taxes which constructed the electricity generation which we all currently enjoy at a price they all,(the elderly),can afford to pay…

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.2

        Transpower hasn’t been investing in upgrades as it should have, if it had we would have had higher prices sooner than we did now.

        The electricity industry is highly profitable. Not the lines side of it, but as a whole (including generators and retailers). So there’s been plenty of money to put into investing in infrastructure upgrades – if you leave aside all the artificial accounting divisions between activties.

        • Tc 1.2.2.1

          Lines companies are still very profitable, as long as they ensure they have the asset base that allows this return the money flows from the retailers with no effort early in every month.

        • Lanthanide 1.2.2.2

          Right, now that I can believe.

          In which case Grey Power trying to set up their own lines company isn’t going to do bunk: if all the profits are in the retail and generator sector anyway.

          Seems what they really want is for the government to rationalise the industry and bring it under state control. Unfortunately our current government is trying to do the opposite.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.3

        Transpower to return dividend to Govt for first time in 6 years

        While hiking prices, borrowing money, and denying it is under govt pressure to hand over more dividends than it is making in profits. Figure that.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/6546910/Transpower-not-pressured-on-dividend

      • The Chairman 1.2.4

        Not if that investment in infrastructure came from profits made.

        A lower (or no profit margin) will offset end consumer costs.

        This threatens to jeopardize the Governments sell-down plans, Grey Power (supplying power at cost) will clean up

        • bad12 1.2.4.1

          The problem is We keep discussing such things from within the current socio/economic paradigm,

          Species of life upon the Planet that have failed to evolve in terms of what conditions are present upon this Planet have in fact ceased to exist,and, as part of our conditions of existence upon this Planet are reliant upon the economic structures we build We must as a species evolve our thinking around and those actual economic structures or face the threat of simply becoming a foot-note in historical occupation of the Planet the same as T-rex or any of the other dinosaurs,

          We can take it as a given that the cash equivalent of 1% of inflation is a known number,just as We can also reach an uneasy agreement about what in economic terms is an ”acceptable” level of inflation,

          Having the 2 above ”knowns” we can then ”see” that should We need to build an item of infrastucture such as one that provides electricity in bulk from renewable resources then we in effect only ”need” print such monies neccessary as to make such construction a reality,

          • bad12 1.2.4.1.1

            So, in all reality and still operating from within the realms of to-days economic paradigm We only need build 1 such structure that delivers to the National Grid such a bulk of electricity as to be able to provide those who have reached the age of retirement electricity at the cost of transmission plus maintainence…

      • mikesh 1.2.5

        “If Grey Power think they can magically make power transmission cost less, or never upgrade the infrastructure (and watch what would happen to the country if the cook strait cable broke down, for example…) then they really don’t know what they’re talking about.”

        They can’t change transmission costs, but they can get rid of those profits that are at present passing into the pockets of shareholders.

        • Lanthanide 1.2.5.1

          “They can’t change transmission costs, but they can get rid of those profits that are at present passing into the pockets of shareholders.”

          How, exactly? They’re going to stump up $500m or whatever it costs and not expect a return on investment?

          When you put money in the bank, you get interest back, 4.5% is an easily achievable return at the moment.

          Saying that they will own a lines company and not take profit is the same as putting that money into the bank and getting 0% interest on it. Worse even because in taking on a business you’re taking on massive risks and unexpected costs, and doing it all for 0% return…

          Who is going to do that?

          • KJT 1.2.5.1.1

            30’s Labour Government did. Got us out of the recession.

            No interest costs because the money did not come from a bank.

            You have just given the best argument against asset sales I have seen for a while.

            • Lanthanide 1.2.5.1.1.1

              Sure, but we’re not talking about a government printing money, we’re talking about Grey Power setting this up, privately.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.2.5.1.2

            When you put money in the bank, you get interest back, 4.5% is an easily achievable return at the moment.

            If the government printed the money that it spends at 0% interest and made “loans” available to businesses and home loans at the same rate then nobody would receive any interest but society would work a whole lot better. Which is how it should be.

            • Lanthanide 1.2.5.1.2.1

              Fine, but Grey Power aren’t advocating for that. They’re saying they’re going to set up their own private power company.

          • The Chairman 1.2.5.1.3

            Funding details are short. However, one possibility is a non-profit co-operative.

            • Lanthanide 1.2.5.1.3.1

              Why are Grey Power members going to put their retirement money into a non-profit co-operative?

              • Draco T Bastard

                To save money. Their power bills will be down and at possibly a greater rate than the interest that they would normally get.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.5.1.4

            When you put money in the bank, you get interest back, 4.5% is an easily achievable return at the moment.

            You forgot to take out witholding taxes.

            And inflation.

            Whoops now you’re only left with <1.5% pa returns.

          • mikesh 1.2.5.1.5

            “Saying that they will own a lines company and not take profit is the same as putting that money into the bank and getting 0% interest on it. Worse even because in taking on a business you’re taking on massive risks and unexpected costs, and doing it all for 0% return…

            Who is going to do that?”

            Either the banks or the government. The banks probably won’t because they are a bunch of usurers. The government could though. Fiat money I mean.

            • Lanthanide 1.2.5.1.5.1

              Grey Power are proposing to set up this as a private power company themselves. They’re not getting banks or the government involved, nor are they calling for the banks or government to do it.

              • mikesh

                I doubt they could do it without government involvement. But the debate only serves to highlight the fact that government could sell power at cost, but only if they retain ownership. Public ownership, or government involvement, seems to be the only ways of keeping out the ticket clippers and keeping prices down.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Bloody Winston…he’s good that man.

      • deuto 2.1.1

        And on Stuff, an unrelated article on an issue Peters raised in Parliament earlier in the year – the Whanau Innovation Fund.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6711592/Thousands-spent-on-whanau-gatherings

        Thousands has been spent on food, chefs and travel for family gatherings under a multimillion-dollar Government “whanau innovation fund”.

        The Dominion Post has obtained, under the Official Information Act, details of the 25 most recent successful applicants to the controversial Whanau Integration, Innovation and Engagement (WIIE) Fund.

        What a rip-off. Supposedly anyone can apply……… Perhaps we should arrange a Standard whanau gathering!

    • happynz 2.2

      Yes, but…for us dualies on the South Island renewing the US passport is a pain. If there is a child’s passport to be renewed it means a flight up to Auckland for a visit to the American consulate to have a chat with some politically appointed nincompoop who without the help of his competent staff walking him through the bureaucratic steps, it would devolve into a horrible parody of Kafka’s worst nightmare. The littlies passports are only good for five years so twice a decade it’s a schlep up to effin’ Auckland to apply again.

      The DIA’s applications for passports were fairly straightforward, although I thought the bit of having a page filled out by a current passport holder a bit stupid and redundant. Now, a question – for those of you overseas, is it a pain in the arse to apply for your Kiwi passport overseas?

    • prism 2.3

      Going up to a possible 800,000 passports – more volume cheaper prices surely. We shouldn’t just look at what Australia does as an excuse to keep prices up.

    • Acting Up 2.4

      I can perhaps see why a biometric passport can cost more, as it contains more material. But why only five years? Does biometric data change every five years? Wouldn’t think so!!

      And some other countries have the same biometric passport for 10 years.

      If the govt is really about seeking efficiency gains (not that they really are – they just like kicking the public sector) – here’s a simple one to change. Make the term 10 years, and cut the total national cost of issuing passports in half just like that.

  2. AnnaLiviaPluraBella 3

    $500m has been added to the value of Skycity in a few months: how?

    Skycity has long cosy relationship with the National Party. British American Tobacco’s then PR man, was a multiple purchaser of $10,000 tables at National Party fun raisers hosted at Skycity. That was Carrick Graham, son of the disgraced Dough Graham. The NATZ annual conferences, election launches and election parties have been held there. The path to the Skycity Executive Offices in Federal Street is well worn by National Party Managers. The latest deal only has upsides for Skycity: a Government backed monopoly on large Conventions; possible Government subsidies, and 100s more pokie machines that were unachievable under the normal regulatory regime.

    The Skycity share price shot from $3.25 in mid-November to over $4.00 in April, a 23% leap. That is an increase in market capitalisation from $1.8b to $2.3b. The Skycity Chairman, the talented Rod McGeoch, is doing a great job for his shareholders. That is what he, his board and Exec, is meant to do. Good on him. The National Party are doing the people of New Zealand a great dis-service on many fronts. They are short sighted, greedy, vain-glorious, twits. This is an issue the Labour Party should push very hard. It stinks at many levels.

    • Hi ALPB

      David Cunliffe asked Joyce in Parliament if he had one of those magical cards that let you do anything.  He said he did not.  I wonder why David asked the question?

      • deuto 3.1.1

        A case of asking a question to which you already know the answer? But holding fire for the meantime, with more to come at a more appropriate time?

    • Tc 3.2

      Nothing exemplifies greed more than this sky city deal.
      Casinos are gilt edged money spinners yet they will not be happy until they’ve wrung every possible cent from the taxpayer and punter and having a compliant corrupt govt is a bonus.
      A mugs game those pokies all computerised to ensure the rate of return, luck and skill….yeah right.

  3. muzza 4

    More pressure on the already declining NZ health system and tax-payers?

    “Immigration Minister Nathan Guy said the changes were aimed at “reducing red tape” and “making it easier for low-risk, high-value students to come to New Zealand”.

    The international education sector is worth $2.3 billion to the economy.”

    Argh, I see !

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      The onus will instead rest on applicants to declare their health conditions rather than on medical checks to detect diseases.

      And how did my mother get in? She didn’t tell the immigration folk that she’d had tuberculosis.

      Hoping people will be honest about their health when they want to get to NZ isn’t a good idea. This is just more incompetence from NACT.

    • Dv 4.2

      I enjoyed this comment in the article

      Sopheng Veng, a former postgraduate accountancy student from Cambodia who faced a deportation order after he was diagnosed with hepatitis B and C during a medical screening, said he was thrilled with the changes.

      Now he could come back!!

      • muzza 4.2.1

        Something is very , very wrong with the changing of this policy!

        I can’t see for the life of me why they would open the door to risk such as this.

        Something reeks as ususal!

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          The more people you have in a country the more money and wealth can be extracted from it for the benefit of NACTs masters.

          • seeker 4.2.1.1.1

            Another stupid idea from a wanna-please- my Key master by cutting anything at any cost and hopefully look as though I’m saving money and being productive. (Doesn’t think to self that, even though he will gratefully and happily get the “”Key beam”” for a short while – in the long run he will get disgrace and New Zealand’s disgust and fury as people die due to another unregulated cock up by the National Government e.g. those wonderful 29 men who died at Pike River, may they come home soon.)

            Phil Heatley is already well on the path to national disgrace as being completely in thrall now, he desperately grovels trying to get back into the “”Key Beam”” of his pre resignation position, by piling agony upon agony on already stressed and pressured housing NZ tenants (who were supposedly for life tenants ’til kill em off Natty assassins come along. )

            You are right muzza there is “something very, very wrong about this change of policy” from Key/ Joyce/English groveller Guy. I am angry -and fearful.

    • AnnaLiviaPluraBella 4.3

      mmmmm, follow the Money Trail. I recall John Banks making a significant investment in an Auckland “International College” business a few years ago. It was around the time he was in court fighting fellow greedy shareholders in a dodgy manuka honey business.
      John Banks has form in mixing personal business with government: PM Jim Bolger kicked him out of government when he was Tourism Minister for shonky dealing on the Waitangi Hotel.

  4. rosy 5

    I started this column when I was an Act MP and I’ve moved on. I really don’t know if I’m left- or right-wing any more.

    Deborah Coddington in her farewell piece for the HoS. My keyboard nearly got my cup of tea when I read that.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      A potential new voter for our new centrist Labour Party then? That’ll be the day!

    • Tc 5.2

      That’s because she awaits instructions before she spins, so she’s correct in that regard….another hollow shill.

    • bad12 5.3

      Another over-coat changer,whichever way the wind blows as the Queen song goes,it would be nice to believe that Coddington has had an epiphany,such an out of body experience allowing Her after so many years to in effect ”see the light”,

      More likely tho,the opportunists have a well honed sense of smelling whats in the wind and Coddington is attempting a piece of re-branding in case such a breeze morph into a storm…

    • Carol 5.4

      Another muddle of contradictory logic.. support for the large numbers of women who have suffered domestic violence (indeed)….. and for poor (victim?) Nick Smith bruised and trampled by women in sensible shoes?

      • KJT 5.4.1

        Coddington!
        Weeping crocodile tears over domestic violence and child abuse while advocating the policies of meanness and austerity that have made these problems so much worse.

        Good riddance.

    • seeker 5.5

      @ Rosy .. agree, eyewatering…… with amazement and disbelieving mirth.

  5. bad12 6

    In a land of plenty,We look to our right as we type, considering the elderly, most of whom worked their whole damn lives to build this country,s infrastructure,

    Comparing like with like in terms of the political world we cannot escape the comparison of NZFirst, described by many as the ”old” National Party and the National Party of ”now” best, in our opinion described simply with the word ”spit”,

    Whenever We have cause to amble past the local community centre We are caused to smile by the sign being out showing the ”gold-card” holders where this month,s organized ”trip” with the use of the ”gold-card” on the public transport net-work will be, a NZFirst initiative,(the gold-card),which values the elderly for their contribution to our present society,

    In comparison, We can only draw any conclusion that springs to mind when We have as our only comparison in ”stated” policy to draw upon being the pre-election sojourn of the present Prime Minister to a retirement village where He addressed the elderly residents,

    Slippery left this particular venue visibly perplexed obviously still in the throes of egotistical rapture believing that ”everyone” was entranced with His media enhanced image,and, wondering why He, after having addressed these elderly potential voters He had been met with a stony silence at question time,

    Slippery of course had stood befor these people and informed them that He was all in favor of ”euthanasia”,its a wonder He didnt tell Them that He was in favor of pulling the plug now and making it compulsory…

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Surely euthanasia would reduce the ranks of NZ First members even faster, according to Slippery?

      • bad12 6.1.1

        The trip to the retirement village was also Pre the Epsom chimps tea-party, so its easy to see that Slippery carries the dents to His ego round in His head for a while from His ”NZFirsts supporters are all dying off” comment,that(snigger)was reportedly made at that meeting…

    • Vicky32 6.2

      wondering why He, after having addressed these elderly potential voters He had been met with a stony silence at question time,

      I have in the past 2 weeks * been very surprised in chatting with three or four people ranging in age from my age (50-summat) to fully elderly, who have made absolutely clear their disgust with NACT and John Key! I am amazed, because 6-8 years back, the 50-somethings were all true-blue rightists. (The seriously old, in their late 70s-80s, were good lefties in contrast. )
      Some of these people I spoke recently must be the formerly enchanted, who are now the disenchanted…
      * Come to think of it, the most surprising was my 50-something boss, the Principal at a language school who in a staff meeting last year, expressed his extreme dis-satisfaction with the ESOL establishment, the government and schools (not ours!) who were out to exploit foreign students, get their money and who cares then?I didn’t know him very well, and I did not expect such dangerously left-sounding comments, especially in a staff meeting!

      • bad12 6.2.1

        Aha,the initial love affair with Slippery was part the media generated image of smile’n’wave politics where at all costs He was to be shielded from any public in depth analysis lest there were a revelation of an empty suitcase of intellectual rigour more suited to the used car lot than the 9th floor at the height of our democracy,

        The other part of the attraction tho can be found in that most basic of human emotions, Greed, those earning under 50,000 per annum will have or will soon have come to the conclusion that what they did receive from such ”tax changes” was merely an illusion overcome quickly by subsequent events…

  6. bad12 7

    The Health Department figures show that year in year out elderly people continue to die every winter from winter ills or complications of previous illness simply because they cannot afford to properly heat their homes,

    We havn’t got the figures here,but from memory, the uneccessary annual death toll is around the 400 mark and ”in the land of plenty” We see this as both disgusting and unacceptable,

    Our view, in consideration of the elderly,s previous contribution to society is that ”in a land of plenty” is that their power account should be rebated at a rate of at least 20% monthly,or,50% during the winter months…

    • Carol 7.1

      An urban planning question:

      When urban centres are developed or upgraded, what are the provisions for the elderly?

      Is the focus of such developments on a commercially-focused centre, with residential properties for the elderly, and/or retirement villages relegated somewhere to the suburban margins?

      How easy is it for elderly people to walk or get a bus to warm community centres, libraries, mainline public transport, etc in winter?

      • Lindsey 7.1.1

        More and more older people are living in inner city and local centre apartments these days. Bus at the door, supermarket across the road, safe and usually easy to heat. The ones by St Lukes are popular with the Library and the CAB as well as all the foodcourts at the Mall. One couple I was talking to had a fortnight when the wife was incapacitated and the husband walked over to the food court every day. He said they ate their way around the world! They sold the car after they had been there 6 months as they never used it.

  7. prism 8

    Carol – How about linking parents with young children in with the elderly when planning. Both
    have more vulnerabilities and difficulties than others, and the low income proportion of each group struggle, and the parents have the responsibility for their dependent children as well.

    • bad12 8.1

      Something could be said on the plus side for having more of the ”older” members of our society who choose to continue to be employed being encouraged into the field of pre-school or after school care of the young, an interesting social juxtaposition may be created where the older workers would be providing care and life skills for those who could conceivably be the care-givers to those older workers at a future time…

    • Carol 8.2

      Good point, prism, especially with regard to low income parents. As far as I can see new urban developments focus more on providing residential property, largely targeting workers and consumers with easy access to commercial centres. So families can be well catered to. But, of course, housing close to commercial centres becomes more less affordable to those on low incomes.

      Retirement villages seem to be located at a fair distance from commercial centres.

      But, as the focus is on commerical activity, children’s playgrounds etc, can be placed away from the commercial heart, if they are provided at all.

      Good idea bad, re older people being involved in childcare.

      • prism 8.2.1

        Carol – An example that came to mind was the difficulty that poor families can have in getting health care checks etc. If money is short, children have to be gathered, and the sick child/ren made ready then all set off dressed for the weather and a long outing, in good time to make sure they are early at the bus stop, have the money for the fares, get on the bus with pushchairs etc then off. What a task. What a carry-on on top of the normal worries, and parents on low incomes always have more worries than up times. That is a hypothetical example of difficulty even if there are footpaths to the bus and it goes fairly near the needed destination. Then there is getting back and knowing what time to be at departure bus stop.

        As for bad12 idea of older people looking after youngers, it would be good for those who want to do it and go through a short period of training. (The problem with us older people is that we tend to think we know it all or to follow personal routines which may have failed us and definitely need to be revised.)

        And coercion would not be the answer. Likewise the idea of making older women or the unemployed become caregivers in rest homes. I think Winston Peters threw that up as an idea. The yacht-owning class come up with easy manpower solutions like that. Quality of care plus skill plus kindly attitudes, patience and respect are needed in caring roles. Not everybody is suitable for such tasks.

  8. Jackal 9

    Booze barons calling the shots

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d realise that New Zealand has a destructive heavy drinking culture that pervades all sectors of society…

    • prism 9.1

      The cost to communities from the overuse of alcohol by the young is bad but the personal cost as youth explore what their bodies can stand and go to the limit is too high for a responsible society that cares about its youth.

      The “Hospitality Industry isn’t going to change in its leech-like attraction to selling booze and exploiting our fun-loving sides. You get into it, make a success, make money and get a knighthood for it too. The sky-city discussion shows how deeply the pollies are in the pockets of the alcohol drug companies for campaign money enabling events to be held in regal surroundings compared to the grassroots political parties venues in church halls.

      It’s almost as bad as the sleaze of prohibition days, because we can’t rein in this racehorse and can’t hire political jockeys with the right stuff to slow it down. Is there any integrity out there that has a backbone? It seems out of control, and the situation gives an inkling of why the Temperance Society fought so hard against alcohol in the past.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        It seems out of control, and the situation gives an inkling of why the Temperance Society fought so hard against alcohol in the past.

        Agreed. The Prohibition era debacle was one of those ‘victories’ of capitalism that bulldozed over the right of communities to determine for themselves how they would control the abuse of alcohol.

        And of course the victor re-wrote history to suit themselves as usual.

  9. Opposition to 200 tidal turbine power generators in the Kaipara Harbour is heating up http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/nor-west-news/4857978/Tidal-turbine-fight-winds-up

    Kaipara is a hugely important area for snapper fry to develop, there is legitimate concern they will be minced in these turbines. Things like this are always tough. I support alternative energy projects, but we can’t repeat the same mistakes of the past and make them ecologically unsustainable.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      They should just build one and see how it goes first. Need to know what the maintenance will be like on it as the marine environment is highly corrosive.

      I’m not overly concerned about the fish though, I doubt that many would get minced meanwhile the turbines will act like reefs stirring up the food and thus make the area around then a better breeding ground.

      • prism 10.1.1

        DTB Sounds a bit once over lightly and facile from you.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Those tidal generators will be extremely difficult to maintain in an economic environment of depleting oil/energy resources.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2

          It’s not something that I’ve really been following.

          I know reefs stir up the food from the floor of the ocean which is what attracts fish to them. Reefs also provide shelter which the blades won’t do but the rest of the body will. An interesting side effect of oil rigs is the amount of life that grows around them. It’s all this extra life growing on them combined with the corrosive qualities of salt water that is, IMO, going to make these turbines non-viable but will most likely improve the fishing in and around the harbour.

          Build one, see how it goes for a few years (i.e. learn what’s happening) before building any others.

          • Southern Limits 10.1.1.2.1

            You might be right

            “There have been no changes in abundance of either seals or porpoises detected which can be attributed to SeaGen; seals and porpoises are continuing to swim past SeaGen, demonstrating a lack of any concern or hindrance.

            The only changes observed after three years of operation of SeaGen have been relatively small scale changes in the behaviour and distribution of seals and harbour porpoises, which suggests a minor degree of local avoidance of SeaGen.

            The benthic ecology (seabed life) was also monitored as part of the EMP, using divers. The EMP concluded that the seabed life surrounding SeaGen’s foundations has recovered since its installation in 2008. In addition, the EMP has showed no evidence of significant change to the tidal speeds and flow directions within Strangford Narrows and that it is unlikely that marine traffic between Strangford town and Portaferry has been affected. With regard to bird life, although not a key feature of the EMP, the studies have shown that the overall bird numbers in the Narrows have remained stable.”

            http://www.marineturbines.com/3/news/article/56/seagen_tidal_turbine_gets_all_clear_from_environmental___scientific_studies

            • prism 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Some of the discussion about the Kaipara turbines:
              “According to a study by NIWA, 98 percent of all North Island west coast juvenile snapper originate from the Kaipara Harbour, and we already know that the commercially important west coast snapper stock (SNA8) has only 8 percent of its original stock left.”
              Kaipara Harbour in poor health
              The iwi questions why this “experiment” is being done in the mouth of the Kaipara Harbour – a harbour that the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group’s (IKHMG), gap analysis showed was not in good health and was trying to restore its low levels of fish stocks and marine life.
              The Kaipara Harbour ecology was not robust enough to absorb the risks associated with an experimental energy project, he said. Kaipara turbines (Suite101.com since 1996, has a Canadian address and publishes informative articles on wide topics.)

              Also a good report by Catherine Delahunty of the Greens – Greens report on Kaipara turbines

    • Stephen Doyle 10.2

      Been following this story for years. The idea is brilliant, renewable energy with no visual pollution. When in full production it’s capable of powering all homes pretty much north of Auckland.
      I can understand the environmentalist worries though, which is why Crest should be allowed to go ahead with well monitored trials.

    • DH 10.3

      It is a tough one but I agree it needs to be trialled first. Shark, dolphin & other larger fish populations might get hit pretty bad too.

      It doesn’t pay to jump into the green stuff without weighing the consequences first. I read a report about windmills in California. They put many on the migration path of various birds, when they decided to research it they discovered tens of thousands of birds were being killed each year by the windmill blades. I wonder what the cost is here.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rance_Tidal_Power_Station

        40 years of operation of tidal power in France.

        Environmental impact

        The barrage has caused progressive silting of the Rance ecosystem. Sand-eels and plaice have disappeared, though sea bass and cuttlefish have returned to the river. By definition, tides still flow in the estuary and the operators, EDF endeavours to adjust their level to minimize the biological impact.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.3.2

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_wind_power#Birds

        In the United States, an unofficial non-peer-reviewed estimate by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) scientist in 2009 claimed that wind turbines kill 440,000 birds per year, with future mortality expected to increase significantly as wind power generation expands by 2030 to levels about 12 times higher than 2009 levels.[36] However the high figure estimated was disputed by several organizations, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service later pointed out that it was only an ‘estimate’ by one of many scientists, and was not officially supported by the USFWS. An article in the journal Nature stated that each wind turbine kills an average of 4.27 birds per year.[39]

        Cars kill more.

  10. muzza 11

    So we would expect to get transparency out of this lot would we?

    What a list of former employers some of the names have had. IMF, World Bank, Reserve Bank, PWC, Deloitte, Bell Gully…

    No wonder NZ is the perceived least corrupt country in the world with individuals like these on the board!

    What a bloody joke!

    • Acting Up 11.1

      Sorry, Muzza, gotta disagree on this one. Some pretty good backgrounds and credibility there. And not there to represent their employers. Not my favourite bunch of organisations either, but these people bring their own values to this.

      I reckon this lot seem pretty sharp. Let’s see how staunch they might be in exposing some of the dodgy stuff around the place. If they prove to be limp and useless, I am happy to be called on that.

  11. Draco T Bastard 12

    So China decides not to sell off it’s Rare Earth Metals as fast as they can be mined. What do the EU and US do? Whinge.

    Last month, the US, Japan and the European Union filed a case at the World Trade Organization, challenging China’s restrictions.

    So much for the non-coercive free-market.

  12. Vicky32 13

    FYI!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/08/religious-people-more-likely-leftwing-demos
    I’ve been saying this for years, and will continue to do so. 😛 😀

    • rosy 13.1

      Yeah, I spotted that too. Totally believable for countries that select the likes of Dr Rowan Williams to lead their church – the best side of Christianity. I suggest a U.S study would reach an entirely different conclusion.

  13. muzza 14

    How many cracks at getting tolls in Auckland have they had now!

    I wonder what sort of tolls have been planned – Cash, credit card, smart card, in car tracker……

  14. joe90 15

    Student loans for kindergarten.

  15. muzza 16

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10797701

    Still just rolling out the AP narrative – Nice framing by the way in this one!

    NZ Herald, nothing short of a propaganda message delivery system!

    So much BS in this one, I am not even going into it!

    Didn’t see this in the Herald

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1203/S00237/four-days-of-israeli-bombing-leave-25-palestinians-dead.htm

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