Open mike 12/02/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 12th, 2012 - 50 comments
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50 comments on “Open mike 12/02/2012”

  1. Jenny 1

    The Waterview Tunnel is again in the news as residents of Waterview protest the siting of the massive Carbon Monoxide extraction towers near a local primary school.

    It may be the time to reassess the need for this project.

    In the first place we should be asking; Who are the beneficiaries of the massive Waterview motor way and tunnel?

    Not the the people of Waterview who will suffer disruption of their community some losing their houses, or rental accommodation, or their factory, or place of work.

    Not the immediate natural environment of Oakley Creek and Reserve, which is due to have it’s riverbed dug up and realigned, (not to mention ongoing motorway run off, noise and CO1 fumes.)

    Neither the global environment or climate change will be benefit, instead suffering a further insult, of increased CO2 polliution.

    It could be argued that even the people of Christchurch will suffer as thousands of construction workers and $millions worth of equipment and machinery needed for the rebuild, will instead be diverted into to Waterview. While Christchurch’s reconstruction is pushed further onto the back burner.

    And will the citizens of Auckland really benefit, all that much, from a shortened commuting time during rush hour?

    All the new motorways built in the Auckland area in recent years have made little, or no impact at all, on congestion at peak times.

    As a regular motor way commuter myself, I can vouch that congestion actually appears worse.

    All conclusions point towards the conclusion that the massive $2 billion earmarked for the Waterview tunnel project would be better spent giving Aucklanders a decent public transport system. This would be a far more sensible and sustainable long term investment in the city’s infrastructure than more motorways.

    So who are the main beneficiaries of the huge waste of public money the Waterview Tunnel represents?

    Have you heard of the “Well Connected Group”?

    “The Well Connected Group” is the name that a powerful roading lobby group have given themselves. It is this roading lobby group, a combine of some of the biggest corporates in the country, who stand to benefit the most from the Waterview Tunnel and Motorway Project.

    It is this combine who will get to distribute the $2 billion between themselves. In return the citizens of Auckland will get a glittering and obsolete, before it is finished, Climate Crime.

    At a time when globally, gasoline use and private automobile use is dropping off. Why is the National government hell bent on spending up large on more motor ways, which on all projections will become a colossal concrete monument to stupidity, and waste.

    A graphical depiction of the dramatic drop off in gasoline use in the U.S. here mirrors a world wide trend including this country.

    In opposition to the corporate roading lobby, the Labour Party have issued an official press release on the topic of falling road use.

    Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
    The Government’s ‘roads of national significance’ are tipped to become increasingly insignificant as high oil prices take their toll on road use, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

    We now have a duty to call on Labour to go a little bit further. And agree to take this new policy direction into the real world and to advocate for sensible public policy around transport.

    With a lead up time of two years before the main tunnel project commences; Now would be the perfect time to get Labour to agree to scrap the Waterview tunnel, and advocate for the $2 billion put aside for this project, to be instead used to fund free and frequent public transport.

    This would achieve four public goods.

    1) Protect the local community and environment from the wholesale destruction caused by the construction of a motorway and tunnel through houses and sensitive wetlands.

    2) Get tens of thousands of Aucklanders out of their private cars, dramatically cutting traffic congestion and fossil fuel use at the same time.

    3) Create permanent ongoing jobs

    4) Leave the natural environment and homes and businesses of Waterview intact.

    Phil Twyford’s concern for the need to cut back fossil fuel use because of dwindling supplies and expense, intersects with the environmental destruction caused by continued fossil fuel use. And the need to protect the human and natural environment from those who put private profit for themselves first.

    The Un-aligned Left, Greenpeace, the Green Party and concerned locals, all opposed to the Waterview motorway extension need to link up with the Labour Party to finally drive a stake through the Waterview motorway extension project, and divert the $2 billion already put aside for this project, into public transport, instead.

    The Waterview Motorway extension is one of the Roads of National Significance, or RONS that the powerful roading lobby who call themselves “The Well Connected Group” want the taxpayer to shell out for.

    Already the self serving “Well Connected Group” have got the public to shell out half a $billion for the boondoggle, that is the Victoria Park tunnel. (The unloved, gold bricked tunnel to nowhere, except under a relatively small corner of grass sward.) Even if you like motorways, for a fraction of the cost they could have gone over the surface with a six lane carriage way.

    Instead the roading lobbyists got the public to pay for a three lane tunnel – the most impractical, expensive and environmentally damaging option possible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boondoggle

    • Oscar 1.1

      Where is the CO2 increase coming from when Carbon Monoxide is the main gas coming from vehicles…

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        Step 1: get a dictionary
        Step 2: look up “main”
        Step 3: look up “only”
        Step 4: compare & contrast the outputs for steps 2 & 3
        Step 5: piss off, troll

    • Jenny 1.2

      The Well Connected Group’s cash cow is questioned.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10785604

      Billions spent on big road projects show poor return

      Mathew Dearnaley New Zealand Herald Feb 15 2012

      Phil Twyford has come out swinging like a prize fighter against the corrupted rort the so called “Roads of National Significance” represents.

      Mr Twyford said National had “corrupted” the process of setting priorities in transport funding by hand-picking the seven “so-called Roads of National Significance”.

      “In the process they have squeezed funding for local roads, rural roads and public transport,” he said

  2. ianmac 2

    Sorry to sidetrack from your serious story Jenny but this has to be straight out of Monty Python but it is true! Check http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6399006/Horse-chasing-dog-stops-cricket-match

    In Blenheim Redwood Park recently:
    A small dog runs across the park.
    A horse chases the dog.
    The Horse owner chases the horse.
    The police chase and capture the wobbly man.
    A lady captures the horse.
    The police arrest man and dog.
    The cricket match resumes.

    • tc 2.1

      Missed it in the news but apparently a woman drive into the centre of ellerslie racecourse during a meeting last year and her rouge German Shepard chased the horses, upset the favourite and she abused the police who were called as her dog was under threat….WTF.

      She has a history of not controlling her dog and is a menace as well as a tad loony putting here dog at risk like that. How on earth she drove over the track into the middle on a race day is a worry.

  3. just saying 3

    Highly recommended and not at all out of place on a left-wing blog. Brilliant slam poetry in response to the phrase ‘man-up’. Enjoy. (Hat-tip The Lady Garden blog.)

    http://stronglywrong.tumblr.com/post/17387893231/jessicavalenti-ten-responses-to-the-phrase-man

  4. ianmac 4

    My post on the horse that chased the dog disappeared. Tried reposting. Message says it is a duplicate??

  5. ianmac 5

    Try again”
    Sorry to sidetrack from your serious story Jenny but this has to be straight out of Monty Python but it is true! Check http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6399006/Horse-chasing-dog-stops-cricket-match

    In Blenheim Redwood Park recently:
    A small dog runs across the park.
    A horse chases the dog.
    The Horse owner chases the horse.
    The police chase and capture the wobbly man.
    A lady captures the horse.
    The police arrest man and dog.
    The cricket match resumes.

  6. ‘the boy’ and i have cranked out another political cartoon..

    ..this time turei and peters..

    http://whoar.co.nz/2012/cartoon-what-the-pols-read-on-their-hols-an-ongoing-series/

    [email look alike deleted].

  7. prism 8

    Some interesting ideas written thoughtfully and with experience about how workers can gain better conditions and businesses can limit their vulnerabilities from problems such as predating takeover attempts and recessions.

    All employees become shareholders based on their wages in John Lewis and Waitrose stores in United Kingdom. The employees don’t need a union because they have all the things that a union could obtain for them. A union as watchdog to prevent slipping of conditions and wages only would be ideal, and I wish that it could become the mainstream approach.
    Note there is coverage of NZ experience with employee ownership too.

    This was on radionz this a.m. The audio should be available soon.
    11.05 Ideas: Employee-owned businesses

    Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg recently called for the creation of a “John Lewis economy” and he’s far from the first politician to praise the ownership structure of the John Lewis department store. Peter Cox, the author of Speden’s Partnership: The Story of John Lewis and Waitrose, tells Jeremy Rose about the company owned by its 75,000 employees; and Chris Laidlaw talks to Keith Orr, a manager of Golden Bay’s Tui Bee Balm worker cooperative; and Richard Aitken the chief of executive of BECA – New Zealand’s largest employee-owned business.
    Presented by Chris Laidlaw
    Produced by Jeremy Rose

    • rosy 8.1

      Really interesting. That John Lewis and Waitrose were co-ops surprised me. I think John Lewis was one of the few department store chains to increase profits in 2010, and both chains are at the high-end of the market in terms of presentation, if not price. I found this article interesting as well:

      Then, a few days back, I heard from Ed Mayo, now secretary-general of UK Co-operatives, the trade body representing co-operatives nationwide. It points out that, “the co-operative economy is worth some £33.5bn and has 12.9 million members. Co-operatives,” it adds, “are the largest membership movement in the country”…
      There are three countries where more than half the population are involved in co-operative membership – and all are in Europe. They are Ireland (70%), Finland (60%) and Austria (59%).

  8. vto 9

    Is it just me or does Kiwiblog seem to be getting less and less comments?

    If so, might I suggest that maybe the genuine and proper debate via various blogs is exposing the strengths and frailties of the political issues of the day and that this is leading to the failure of kiwiblog.

    • lprent 9.1

      I seldom read the comments there. Ummm while I am waiting for MySQL to finish reindexing this database, it is time to indulge in some stat counting (while SQL is in my head).

    • tc 9.2

      Perhaps as the sheeple wake up to the reality of what the NACT is about they also realise kiwi blog is another front for its position as its tone isn’t moving with the mood.

      Also with its virtually single source of commentary it’s all becoming rather predictable and quite boorish as DPF has always been.

    • ianmac 9.3

      But never mind. Moira introduced David Farrar on Friday as “the most read blogger in NZ” but did not mention his affiliation to National. Jim must have it right. The most read blog site I would have thought was the Standard. A range of writers makes it different I suppose.

  9. Jim in Tokyo 10

    Took a glance at the Stuff homepage overnight, and the “money” section was showing the following four headlines, in order:

    1. Quake city assets set to be popular

    2. Feltex class action swells

    3. Banks take $3b profit overseas

    4. National grid upgrades blamed for power price rises

    What could possibly go wrong, New Zealand?

    Facepalm.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      4. National grid upgrades blamed for power price rises

      Saw this on the news the other night and the person who said it said that some maintenance had been put off which, of course, had made it more expensive. The obvious conclusion was that the chasing of profits had made the power distribution companies inefficient. If they’d done the maintenance when it should have been done it would have been cheaper but they wouldn’t have had the same profitability. Now that they’re getting around to it they also looking at maintaining the excess profitability that they’d made when they weren’t doing their job.

      • Jim in Tokyo 10.1.1

        Yep, underinvestment by Transpower, and we have our own past Governments to blame for that mismanagement. However:

        “Mercury general manager James Munro said its charges for electricity has risen by about 3.5 per cent, including “across the board” cost increases, such as the added cost of retaining customers as competition increased.”

        Good business if you can get it.

        • Jim Nald 10.1.1.1

          Fantastic for power companies to announce price increases now before they get flogged off.
          Also fabulous for power companies now to announce upgrades.

          On second thoughts, it would be even better for power companies to time their plans and announcements according to the electoral or political cycle 🙂

          • Herodotus 10.1.1.1.1

            I am sure we all would love to “own” shares (But we do !!) where by when costs go up we are able to increase our selling price accordingly or by a margin higher than the cost increase. Many industries have been in the situation of having to do best as costs go up to absorb this increase tension with the market does not allow for prices to increase without losing volume.

        • Akldnut 10.1.1.2

          “Mercury general manager James Munro said its charges for electricity has risen by about 3.5 per cent, including “across the board” cost increases, such as the added cost of retaining customers as competition increased.”

          And yet I received a letter from Mercury telling me my monthly bill would be increasing by 6.2%

          • lulu 10.1.1.2.1

            Akldnut you could do us all a favour by calling Mercury, asking that question and letting us know what they say.

            “You can check and manage your Mercury Energy account online or ring us on 0800 10 18 10”

            My pick is they focus on your precise consumption pattern but I would be interested to know.

            • Akldnut 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Phoned Mercury Energy, callcentre dude said James Munro was taking about increased costs already incurred but not the future power generating costs which are the main part of their increases.

              Typical call centre tho just trying to get rid of a difficult question.

              A customer just told me that she received a letter on Sat saying her incease with Mercury is going to be 4.2%.

      • vto 10.1.2

        Hang on Draco….

        Isn’t that what happenned to NZ Rail?

        And what eventually happenned to that ..

  10. mik e 11

    jINKSKEY

    • Carol 12.1

      It’s always sad when anyone dies too young.

      And in Syria in the rebellion, 46 people died on Saturday and over 30 on Friday.

      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/02/2012211131327549801.html

      • Bored 12.1.1

        Syria is sad but theres always Iraq. When you hear the likes of that scumbag Key and his acolytes expressing support of the American actions in the Middle East, and their support for “outsourcing” the role of the state, selling it off etc you need to keep abreast of the headlines.

        Here in the New York Times we see the ultimate triumph of free enterprise US style applied to warfare:
        * last year more more defense “contractors” (aka mercenaries) died in Iraq than US military personnel.
        * core military functions now are firmly in the hands of and delivered by corporate contractors.
        * many dead contractors were uncompensated by their comapnies for dying….
        * US Generals in Iraq employ private sector body guards…

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/world/asia/afghan-war-risks-are-shifting-to-contractors.html?_r=1&hp

        Maybe not NZ yet but this is the bollock brained system Keyy and Nact support, iits only a matter of time.

      • james 111 12.1.2

        Islam the religion of peace I think not

  11. John Dalley 13

    So what Patrick Strange is saying is that after years under his control, he has allowed under-investment and now we the public pay for his and his boards incompetance, nice one.

    • Jim Nald 13.1

      The trade-off was long term underinvestment versus short term profit-maximisation and obscene remuneration/bonuses? Yippee!

      • lulu 13.1.1

        Nald I suggest you engage your brain before typing “submit comment” too.

        • Jim Nald 13.1.1.1

          Difficult these days to engage anyone or anything. Early onset dementia or Alzhemier’s perhaps.

          Speaking of which … anyone recall (16 Mar 2009):

          “The Government wants an end to the practice of state-owned enterprises paying staff large performance bonuses. It wants SOEs to share the pain of the economic downturn, which has seen private companies freeze pay and do away with bonuses. Despite a raft of power cuts, which have cost New Zealand businesses millions over the past few years, the state-owned monopoly rewarded staff with $5 million worth of performance bonuses last year.

          “Frankly, any of these profits or any of these bonuses should be pumped into upgrading the National Grid,” says Newmarket Business Association chair Cameron Brewer.

          CEO Patrick Strange refused to comment, and State Owned Enterprise Minister Simon Power was keen for them to front up.”

          http://www.3news.co.nz/SOE-bonus-culture-must-end-says-MP-Power/tabid/419/articleID/95571/Default.aspx#ixzz1mLoH72gV

          And the one calling for folks to front up has now backed out and sought refuge with banksters?

          Oh, and how much are these power or Power types get in their pockets?

          What is State-owned Mighty River Power chief executive Doug Heffernan’s pay package (“long-term incentive payments”, “short and long term bonuses”)? Guess Heffernan’s is more than Strange’s. Anyone?

    • lulu 13.2

      Patrick Strange joined Transpower in 2007. The underinvestment goes much further back than that and responsibility lies at the feet of board’s past. . The immediate previous CEO Ralph Craven tried to get investment in the main grid going but faced strong oppositon from the Electricity Commission and the Waikato farmers. Craven made some headway but Patrick and the current board have got things going.

      Don’t comment on something you know nothing about.

  12. John Dalley 14

    @Lulu. So what’s happened since he has been in charge?

    • lulu 14.1

      Thanks for the query John Dalley, I doubt you are really as interested in Transpower’s work as you are in one liners for the Standard but seeing as you ask, the Transpower 2011 annual report notes:

      “Strengthening the grid
      Our major grid investment programme is well underway. Our two largest projects are the North Island Grid Upgrade (NIGU) project and the construction of Pole 3 of the high voltage direct current (HVDC) link. They are well advanced. However, due to a delay in Germany to the development of the control system, the HVDC Pole 3 project schedules are tight. The scale of the work and the need to maintain the system’s reliability while this work is carried out present significant challenges for our workforce and operations.
      The North Auckland and Northland (NAaN) project is a new underground cable through the Auckland central business district (CBD) and to the north. All major approvals have been received, and work is underway. Together, these three large grid projects will cost nearly $2 billion.”

      I can only guess how much of Patrick Strange’s time since 2007 has been taken up getting those projects up and running but I am picking it would be a lot given the processes he would have to work through. He also has to do the job of running a critical piece of New Zealand’s infrastructure: 25,000 towers, 16,450 poles 11,812 kms of tranmission lines. For y/e June 11 he achieved 98.4% availability for the bulk of the grid. It was at that level primarily due to extensive replacement of aged conductors in the lower North Island, ahead of our original schedule. This was achieved without any adverse impact on customers.

      I repeat, he inherited the grid in this state and is doing something about it. I think he is doing a great job.

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