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Open mike 12/02/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 12th, 2016 - 140 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

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140 comments on “Open mike 12/02/2016”

  1. Eyre 1


    What is Andrew little saying in this interview?.from what i can see the tppa meets 4 of five of labours bottom lines. The only one it doesn’t meet is land sales and wont be voting against legislation.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Nz has already dropped barriers to trade, so the ttpa provides little benefit, what matters is that other countries lower trade barriers and not switch to new forms of trade barrier, copyright, pharmc etc. So its not a free trade agreement per se, rather a grandstanding opportunity, unlike the china deal that open up china to nz.

      • Eyre 1.1.1

        For us it isn’t about tariffs here. It’s about the 11 countrys cutting their tariffs. 93% of tariffs are going to go

        • aerobubble

          It is about trade restrictions here, we’d not have been able to attract China had we not had a no tde barriers policy. The reality is that just maybe a few new orders come in that raise the price a little from what china is offering, when china has not verticalized the supply chain by buying our farms. The reality is the tppa gives a lot of conscessions to big pharmac, like raising our $3 meds to $5 meds taxhike, and copyright extensions, etc, and legal recourse to hidden courts.

          93% are goin to ge us .9% maybe in benefit! which declines as companies seek to max profit and by the farm, offshore the profits and raise fees on copyrighted business proceses and profits. open doors let in 93% of good until they get used to wanting the best stuff in the world cheaper.

    • Eyre 2.1

      Re Andrew little. Little and kelvin davis didn’t mind going over to Australia to make a submission at a select committee into immigration laws. Last time I looked Australia is a sovereign coutry.

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        Eyre. You deliberately confuse the issues.
        Democracies allow freedom of speech even in other countries.
        What it shouldn’t allow is that a corporation is able to either stop a country enacting laws for the good of the people, or to sue the country for the corporation being disadvantaged.
        Try and be honest Eyre.

        • Eyre

          Would new zealand taking Australia to the wto over apple imports be a better example. They were using fire blight as an excuse to ban nz apples, to protect their growers. We won. Proves ISDS can be a good thing.

          • Nick

            Eyre, was that Corporation versus Govt ?

            • Eyre

              Its not the point. These clauses are their to stop governments msking stupid laws. Like the apple situation in Australia. To protect their suppliers. New zealand has 3200 agreements. 74 bilateral agreements. 8 free trade agreements. Cases against new Zealand 0

          • pat

            wasn’t achieved under ISDS…was achieved through WTO so in effect proves ISDS unnecessary

            • Eyre

              You’re right. Under the tppa new Zealand apple growers could of taken Australia to arbitration. And won. Also it would have taken al lot less time than it took.

          • greywarshark

            You don’t refer to the time it took us to go to the WTO. There was great reluctance to take on the Aussies in that way. And it took WTO quite a time to look at it and I think it cost us a lot of money. And you need shitloads of legal documents and internationally experienced lawyers and we know how much we are paying them per hour!

            Actually I don’t because as soon as I read the amount my brain reels with shock and refuses to retain it. You only take a case if you think you are sure to win. So the actual process of ISDS and its costs actually have a dampening effect on seeking fair treatment.

            And then if corporations like to have a case hanging in the air that they might take against us on one of the airy-fairy, factional grounds that they can concoct under this dire TPPA agreement, then we will think twice about loading ourselves up with greater expense. We will be like poor Don Quixote, vainly rushing windmills.

            • Eyre

              Their is a clause in the tppa against frivolous action. If it is deemed frivolous all costs will be recovered. Also nz has save gaurds.

              • greywarshark

                You are a trusting soul. There are things that are said, but not meant, there are things that are written to create impressions, there are things that can be done, but to no avail. This famous quote by Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defence is good to read regularly:

                There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

                Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/donaldrums148142.html#jfApEwU0fXiQKIWE.99

                Runsfeld trained as a lawyer, but did not graduate then went into the defence force as a pilot and instructor.. You could say that he knows how words can be used as weapons.

                Don’t put too much faith in the apparent situation, think of the known unknowns and that each side of an argument know different things, not always of equal importance. Then there are the unknown unknowns to contend with and in that both sides are equal.

                • Eyre

                  Lets face it this is an anti American thing. Can you name me one American company planing on coming here to set business and wrecking havic. If you read one sentence in the tppa you will think its a bad agreement. But if you read the whole paragraph. Its not. If it turns out to be a dog of a deal. We can pull out. If its a good deal stay in. What’s the problem

                  • greywarshark

                    What is your interest in writing here on behalf of TPPA I wonder. Are you off school at the moment? Been given the job by your electorate office? Did you old plump red-faced drinking guys have a laugh at the protesters and agree that you would have a tilt at them and their stupid ideas? You thought you would have a go at this blogging thing and decided on the role of the naive good-natured good guy who just can’t understand what these dissenters are going on about and wants to put them right in a kind way? Well thanks for nothing. Hope you enjoy your little outing here.

                    • Eyre

                      Why is it when anyone has a pro tppa view on this blog. Posters say they are paid. Im just a hard working tradesman. Who has read 90% of the tppa.

                    • Bill

                      content deleted ’cause I posted in wrong place. See below.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Lets face it this is an anti American thing.

                    Nope, it’s an anti-stupidity thing.

                    Can you name me one American company planing on coming here to set business and wrecking havic.

                    Apple is already here doing so.

                    If it turns out to be a dog of a deal. We can pull out.

                    We already know that it’s a dog of a deal from reading it and thus should pull out now rather than after it costs us.

                  • woodpecker

                    You and yours makes it sound so simple. How much do you recon it would cost to back out? Hundreds of millions, Hundreds of billions?

                    • Eyre

                      No. 6 months notice. No penalties.

                    • Bill

                      @ Eyre

                      You write – “No. 6 months notice. No penalties.”

                      No specific penalty clause. That’s true. However, lets say 40 corporate entities have invested in NZ at the point NZ gives notification of intent to withdraw.

                      Potentially 40 SDSI cases filed, each with an average costs of US$8 million. (Costs are not generally awarded to one side or the other) and then whatever compensation may be awarded in cases the government loses.

                      Adds up.

              • Gabby

                And who gets to decide whether it’s frivolous?

                • Eyre

                  Its up to the invester to prove a very high burden of proof. It goes to a panel of three. All hearings have to be heard in public. And the public can make submissions.

                  • greywarshark

                    If the object of the TPPA is to be so transparent and fair that the public can understand and be heard about it, we would have been able to see the text before it was passed.

                    f you are a tradesman then you must see personal advantage in the TPPA. And you won’t be looking for any pitfalls. You probably wouldn’t even recognise them.

                    Tradesmen contractors have been hung out to dry in NZ, left with large costs by the main contractor when things have gone awry. And those costs coming out of what is left after the creditors have taken their full amount, ie the banks etc. I think that Nick Smith might have done something for contractors so that they have been protected instead of just being unsecured creditors but I remember groups trying to get payments and get a better system holding meetings and tradesmen only came to the first one. So saying you are a tradesman doesn’t mean that you are necessarily more informed than a worker, if that has been what you have been thinking, ie that you are more in the business class. You are actually more vulnerable than a worker.

                    I don’t see a humble tradesman able to outthink a sleek lawyer in a suit costing $thousands. And the way that you confidently say that public can put in submissions! Have you ever done that? Do you know the double-speak and sneaky way that governments have about things? They can call for submissions to be in by 5 January while you are on your Christmas holidays for instance. Do you listen to Maori talk about the ‘consultations’ that are held with them. You sound like little Red Riding Hood not knowing that Grandmother is really the Wolf with big sharp teeth.

                    • Eyre

                      Gee you are assuming a lot about me and the trade I’m in. Im not sure if i should be upset or not. And don’t worry about me I’ve out witted my fair share lawyers in my time. One tried to rip me of by $8000. Just because someone wears a suit. Doesn’t make him smarter. Than anyone else. Any I give up. It’s like trying to arguing noahs arch to a born again christian

          • Draco T Bastard

            They were using fire blight as an excuse to ban nz apples, to protect their growers.

            That’s fine by me. Just means that they don’t get to eat fine NZ apples and that we don’t have to put as much resources into growing apples allowing us to do something else that could be worth more. Basic economics.

            IMO, The excessive farming that we have is a massive opportunity cost.

            Proves ISDS can be a good thing.

            No it doesn’t. If anything, it proves the opposite as a countries government should be able to do what they think is the best for their country.

          • framu

            WTO and TPP ISDS arent the same thing

    • weka 2.2

      Thoughts? Stuff’s format is a disgrace of a dog’s breakfast with auto play defaulted on not one but two videos on the Joyce letter page and so much other shit that it’s hard to find which words are the actual news.

  2. Penny Bright 3

    Just a reminder for those who are keen on finding out more about the TPPA – here is information from MFAT which may assist?

    “Please contact tpp@mfat.govt.nz if you would like to register to be updated on future events, including those listed below.

    TPP roadshows

    Register for the following full-day roadshows:

    Auckland, 7 March, Rendezvous Hotel, corner Mayoral Drive and Vincent Street, Auckland Central.

    Christchurch, 11 March, Rydges Hotel, 30 Latimer Square, Christchurch City

    Dunedin, 14 March, The Dunedin Centre, 1 Harrop Street, Dunedin

    Wellington, 18 March, Westpac Stadium, 105 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington. Registrations close on 1 March 2016.

    The roadshows will present the outcomes of the TPP negotiations.

    Members of the public are welcome.

    The roadshows will also help businesses prepare to take advantage of new opportunities presented by TPP’s entry into force.”

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  3. ianmac 4

    Mickysavage put Gareth Hugh’s speech up in last night’s Daily Report. Gareth outlined the “legacy” of Key and Key would be furious. Don’t know how to link to it but I hope everyone gets to hear/read it.

    • Rosie 4.1

      I read the transcript that weka put up. F*cking awesome work Gareth, and thank you. So sharp it could be turned into a performance piece. Give those words to homebrew or @peace to work with.

      Some people say ignore Key and focus on the policy, but he has to be held accountable. Without Key, the National Party is nothing, so he has to be put under the spotlight. His appalling personal behaviour as a leader and his failure as a leader (I’m talking failing at his role of leadership of a nation not his failure at a leader of a propaganda and BS government) has to be acknowledged by those who have the political power, who are in parliament and Gareth did that. Anything less is simply turning a blind eye.

      I think that must be the first time Key’s been shown up by an opposition MP for who he really is and really had the mirror held up to him. How could he escape that one? Must have been quite an awkward moment for him.

    • Skinny 4.2

      Yeah that was a peach of a speech from Hughes for the Greens and the beard gives him a much more mature look. Most impressed, pick of the speeches from not just the Greens, but all the opposition partys.

    • whateva next? 4.3

      I think this works, it is well worth broadcasting as he succinctly sums up “the vast majority of NZers” (sarc) thoughts /feelings

      • whateva next? 4.3.1

        whoops, just seen it in all it’s glory on yesterday’s Daily review, first post. Brilliant

  4. Rosie 5

    There was a discussion a few days on Open Mike about the need for collaboration between opposition parties, starting now, to build a united front against the current government come election time, 2017.

    It’s reassuring to read that may have started already with Labour and Greens talking more:

    “Labour and the Greens have been meeting more often since Mr Little took over as leader, and he has said the two parties are likely to appear together publicly more often in the lead-up to next year’s election in an attempt to present an alternative government.”

    This is a good step forward. Let’s hope we see more unity within opposition, at the same time as respecting each others differences. Goes for NZ First too.

    Get in!


    • weka 5.1

      Nice one.

    • DH 5.2

      I commented on this a while back and got mickeysavage in a right old tizz. It’s illogical to push a Labour/Green Government. That would reduce the chances of winning the election.

      If one was to subscribe to the political spectrum principle it can be viewed as a form of truth table;

      Green is left
      Labour is centre-left
      National is centre-right
      Act is right

      The left will vote Labour or Green
      The right will vote National or Act
      The centre will vote National or Labour

      For Labour to gain power it ideally must win over some of the voters who put National into power. That suggests a need to gain the support of the right leaning centre voters.

      Mix a centre-left party with a left party and you’d get a party coalition being further left than Labour. Such a partnership would receive less votes than if Labour & Green ran separately.

      The logic may seem a little dry here but there’s truth in it.

      • Sacha 5.2.1

        To really win over those right-leaning voters, Labour should form a coalition with Act. Only logical, eh.

      • Bill 5.2.2

        Or it could be argued that the Greens are centre-left, Labour centre-right, Nats right and Act far right.

        And that leaves a genuine left leaning (statist) social democratic message (eg Sanders, Corbyn, Sturgeon, Trudeau) with the possibility of hoovering up those huge numbers of non-voter votes as well as those ones that only vote for what’s there cause that’s all that’s there.

        The international evidence would seem to bolster that suggestion.

        • gristle

          Statism is not a left wing thing. Check out the left wing anarchists. Nor is a right wing thing. Check out your extreme free market types.

          Nazism (Social Democrats) is described as extremism of the Centre.

          THere is a second axis with statist and anarchists at the extremes.

          Chinese Communist Party is probably currently a statist right wing party.

          Go figure.

          • Bill

            I agree that there is nothing ‘left wing’ about statism. Never has been and never will be.

            There is a ‘two headed beast’ that social democracy exists between – forms of statism and forms of corporatism…both definitely authoritarian and, arguably, both fascist.

            Outside of all that sits all forms of democracy – whether labelled communist, socialist or anarchist.

            Some narsty statists appropriated some labels a while back at the same time that they were persecuting the communists they claimed to be representative of.

      • Rosie 5.2.3

        Hi DH. I have to be honest and say I’m sick of hearing this kind of line:

        “For Labour to gain power it ideally must win over some of the voters who put National into power. That suggests a need to gain the support of the right leaning centre voters.”

        It’s something you hear from the like of Duncan Garner and those who are just allergic to the idea that we can do a lot better to move away from the B.A U policies of the “centre” right – I say centre, but it’s not, that’s what the media refer to the National coalition government as.

        I don’t disagree that there are voters that fluctuate between party voting Labour and National, I’ve met plenty myself and believe they lack confidence in their own political conviction hence the flip flops, but I don’t think chasing this group is energy well spent.

        Better to pull together resources and the talents within the opposition parties to create a credible political force against the existing government. Those voters who are more socially conservative and traditional can go to NZ First. You know, the MMP thing!

        Finally, have a listen to or a read of Gareth Hughes speech in the house yesterday. (Available on Daily Review on this site as well as two other posts) He touched on something very interesting when he said this to Key:

        “One of your legacies is what you cynically call the rent a crowd is growing into a real political movement for change.”

        Sounds to me likes he’s felt the pulse of NZer’s and knows we want to move away from the status quo. The left bloc may get some disgruntled Nat voters floating back, just out of luck, but the target should be those who are desperately keen to see an end to this government and never voted for them in the first place.

        Being centrist means remaining stuck and theres a mood of change in the air. Stay calm and keep left I say.

        • DH

          “Hi DH. I have to be honest and say I’m sick of hearing this kind of line:”

          It’s true enough though Rosie, elections are a numbers game. Labour would be better off distancing itself from the Greens, at least until after the election.

          Btw I think you misconstrue my stance. The likes of Garner, Pagani, Quinn etc all, want Labour to move to the right. My own view is the centre is a big amorphous mass which can be pushed/pulled left or right. Labour just need to find the right angles to pull that mass in their direction. A partnership with the Greens won’t do it, would push the mass away IMO.

        • Expat


          Reality based comment

  5. alwyn 6

    Stuff published this morning a story about Morgan’s views on Awaroa beach. The BNZ are chasing the current owner to repay loans they made to him. Presumably Morgan thinks that the bank may end up selling the place themselves to get back their money.

    “The good news is you have BNZ as the intermediary and that’s an opportunity isn’t it, for the media or someone to appeal to the values of the BNZ to enable them to facilitate this crowd bid of $2m to be accepted even though it might not be the highest bid.”

    Can someone, who is a lawyer explain whether the bank could legally accept anything except the highest offer in a mortgagee sale? Wouldn’t that be against the law if they sold a property owned by someone else for less than the highest possible price? After all the current owner will remain responsible for paying of the remainder as part of his debt to the BNZ. Why would the bank be allowed to rip him off.

    Has Morgan totally lost the plot, or is it me who is misunderstanding the situation the bank would be in?

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      1. The mortgagee sale is not for the beach, it’s for a separate house.

      2. BNZ could choose to forgive some of the outstanding debt, on the condition that the owner of the beach accept the tender put together by the give-a-little campaign.

      Pretty straightforward, don’t need to be a lawyer to understand it.

      I doubt BNZ will do anything meaningful, though. They probably won’t do anything at all.

      • alwyn 6.1.1

        I thought they were trying to recover a number of loans.
        In one of the stories linked to from the reference I gave it says, about the Tasman Bay property.

        “BNZ still holds a mortgage over the beach.
        In a statement a spokeswoman for BNZ confirmed it was seeking “summary judgment against Mr Garnham and the others in the group, relating to unpaid loans”. It declined to comment further, citing customer confidentiality.”

        The story was
        I thought they were trying to sell it as well and Morgan’s comment seemed to suggest they could accept any offer they liked. I must have read more into it than is the case.

  6. ianmac 7

    There are 9 dairy farms up for mortgagee sales in Marlborough so someone read in the Dominion earlier this week. The owners must regret getting involved with dairying. Wonder who will buy them?

  7. greywarshark 8

    Those on TS who are interested in our country’s finances and why our economy is so wonky, even in times of great dairy prices, and why we eternally are borrowing money to keep afloat when we are regarded as a developed country, don’t miss the great discussion between pat and colonial viper on the post ‘National the Party of Economic Lunacy’.

    There is so much we don’t understand and reading official announcements doesn’t provide the background needed. We need to look under the rug to where the uncomfortable statistics and alternative policies have been swept so we can measure them against what we are served up every day. I think many of us have become aware that the menu isn’t what it should be, and that we are being overdone like a bad dinner.

  8. alwyn 9

    Here is one of the few intelligent views from the Left on the anti-TPPA protests in Auckland.
    Why did the protesters go out of their way to piss-off the general public by blocking traffic on the roads?
    Well worth a read.

    • One Two 9.1

      Small minds are interested in diversionary tactics, usually at a juvenile level

    • Skinny 9.2

      The sit down protest on the motorway on ramps was stupid, more about their own ego’s than anything else. If they had half a brain they would have stormed the stock exchange building down on the waterfront, or a money trader outfit and locked the doors, doubt they would have had much fight from the men in suits.

      I did answer your question about Peters, but it didn’t show up for some reason, a glitch.

      • alwyn 9.2.1

        re Peters.
        Oh well, it was funny. Perhaps your reply went into one of the colliding black holes they were talking about on the news.

    • reason 9.3

      The TPPA mandates privatization ……………….. Serco is a fine example of how this mandated privatization of Government core services will play out in the real world.

      I wonder how many of the public are going to be pissed off when they realize that …

      No wonder the nats are so keen on the TPPA………. it’s open slather on what they want to do anyway ….

      As for me ……..I can’t make up my mind whether the old style privatization rip offs as done by Fay richwhite and co are better or worse than the new Serco, charter schools modern methods ……….. who can tell ?.

      Also have any ‘retaliatory costs’ been factored into the TPPA?? … In relation to China possibly flexing some muscle……… and showing us that tying our flag to the American mast could affect some of our trade t with them ????

      Obama has tried to sell the TPPA in the U.S.A as a economic counter measure against Chinese expansion and influence ………..

      If they wanted to show us a painful expensive lesson how could the Chinese go about this ?????

      $4.15 😉

  9. greywarshark 10

    The phrase about something interventionist came to mind and I tracked it down in Nick Caves song Into My Arms. Here is a lovely small piece of music for today with him singing and playing. And if we keep his thought of loving and respecting the good in each other as a basis as we carry on living it will give more enjoyment of our lives as things deteriorate this century.

    Lyrics from AZLyrics.com
    “Into My Arms” lyrics

    “Into My Arms”

    I don’t believe in an interventionist God
    But I know, darling, that you do
    But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
    Not to intervene when it came to you
    Not to touch a hair on your head
    To leave you as you are
    And if He felt He had to direct you
    Then direct you into my arms

    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms

    And I don’t believe in the existence of angels
    But looking at you I wonder if that’s true
    But if I did I would summon them together
    And ask them to watch over you
    To each burn a candle for you
    To make bright and clear your path
    And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
    And guide you into my arms

    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms

    But I believe in love
    And I know that you do too
    And I believe in some kind of path
    That we can walk down, me and you
    So keep your candles burning
    And make her journey bright and pure
    That she will keep returning
    Always and evermore

    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms, O Lord
    Into my arms

    Thanks to Lyme Zerga, diana for correcting these lyrics.
    “The Boatman’s Call” (1997)

    Powered by MusixMatch
    NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. “Into My Arms” lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
    Copyright © 2000-2016 AZLyrics.com

    • Rosie 10.1

      Yes, I know that song and it really is beautiful. You may find his murder ballads slightly less beautiful and uplifting. Always a brilliant and inspired lyricist though.

  10. greywarshark 12

    Police pursuits need overhaul – IPCA
    The Independent Police Conduct Authority is urging police to review their policy on chasing fleeing drivers, saying too many young people are dying. (AUDIO, COMMENTS)

    Police don’t agree.
    But –
    Latest injury in pursuits – 5 year old baby.
    Victoria police say soft pursuits policy isn’t working

    Expert says curbs on police chases will save NZ lives
    8:14 AM. An Australian road safety expert says police chases in New Zealand would be reduced by up to 90% if police here followed the rules now in place in many Australian states. John Lambert is an Australian road safety expert.

  11. greywarshark 13

    Noticed this thought it interesting.
    Canada stops sharing Five Eyes data
    Canada’s electronic spy agency has suspended sharing some data with New Zealand’s government spy agency and other partners in the Five Eyes alliance.

    According to the annual report of its watchdog commissioner, the CSE had been using the information in a way that violated the country’s defence and privacy acts.
    However Mr Sajjan said the metadata Canada shared did not contain names or enough information to identify individuals. “The privacy impact was low.”

    He made the announcement shortly after an official watchdog that monitors CSE revealed the metadata problem.
    The watchdog said CSE officials themselves had realised they were not doing enough to disguise the information they shared.

    A United States National Security Agency (NSA) programme that “vacuumed up” Americans’ call data was exposed publicly by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, and prompted questions about other countries’ practices.

    I wonder if we have a (active) watchdog like this or is it the one that strangely didn’t bark in the night?

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Whereas in NZ the government merely retrospectively made the illegal doings of the GCSB legal.

  12. Draco T Bastard 14

    In case you haven’t heard yet, gravitational waves have been detected

    On the plus side, we’ll probably be able to learn all kinds of interesting things about black holes in the years to come by studying their gravitational radiation. And if we ever are able to study primordial gravitational waves from the early stages of cosmic inflation, it may give us insights into regions of the remote universe orders of magnitude beyond what can currently be observed.

    • greywarshark 14.1

      Wow all those insights. Perhaps we can do something useful with them. Like fashioning good-hearted communities that encourage everyone to use their intellect for good, and which has self control along intelligent lines. Even lines in the sand.

  13. Michael 16

    Love this video of Elizabeth Warren from a few years ago addressing union delegates.

  14. JMG is laying it out again for those (of us) that cannot not face reality.

    It probably also needs to be pointed out that I’m actually very much in favor of renewable energy technologies, and have discussed their importance repeatedly on this blog. The question I’ve been trying to raise, here and elsewhere, isn’t whether or not sun and wind are useful power sources; the question is whether it’s possible to power industrial civilization with them, and the answer is no.

    That doesn’t mean, in turn, that we’ll just keep powering industrial civilization with fossil fuels, or nuclear power, or what have you. Fossil fuels are running short—as oilmen like to say, depletion never sleeps—and nuclear power is a hopelessly uneconomical white-elephant technology that has never been viable anywhere in the world without massive ongoing government subsidies. Other options? They’ve all been tried, and they don’t work either.

    The point that nearly everyone in the debate is trying to evade is that the collection of extravagant energy-wasting habits that pass for a normal middle class lifestyle these days is, in James Howard Kunstler’s useful phrase, an arrangement without a future. Those habits only became possible in the first place because our species broke into the planet’s supply of stored carbon and burnt through half a billion years of fossil sunlight in a wild three-century-long joyride. Now the needle on the gas gauge is moving inexorably toward that threatening letter E, and the joyride is over. It really is as simple as that.


    • pat 17.2

      leaving aside the simple equation around resources it is pertinent to notethatNZ IS in a position to operate with renewables due mainly tot factors that may change…..hydro generation, which combined with the national grid can support PV and wind generation in periods of demand and a small population

      We (here) don’t don’t know whether rainfall patterns will change and negatively impact our hydro storage (though imagine some modeling has been done) and can forsee an increasing demand/need for inward migration…..theres also the matter of maintenance /renewal for the systems but even given that its not impossible….here at least.

      Globally.?….rather not say

      • marty mars 17.2.1

        hydro is interesting as you describe – the costs and damage it causes have already been done/factored in etc when the dams are built – what about maintenance of the dam and infrastructure, what about the actual real lifespan of a dam.

        I think also that the point JMG is making is that REDUCTION of our exorbitant, unnecessary and frankly obscene energy use is what is required not thinking something has to be found to maintain our current lifestyles.

        • pat

          “think also that the point JMG is making is that REDUCTION of our exorbitant, unnecessary and frankly obscene energy use is what is required not thinking something has to be found to maintain our current lifestyles.’

          agree…and reduce population…..it was an exercise around energy production in isolation from the interconnected issues….

    • pat 17.3

      hmmmm…just did a back of the envelope calc…..we appear to be overpopulated….who would have thought…..if we accept that the natural renewable resources of this planet can safely support a population of around 1 billion (the approx world pop before the industrial revolution) then NZ can only support 1.8 million when extrapolated on the basis of habitable land area

      • weka 17.3.1

        I think we have to measure population locally, watershed by watershed. Concepts of population viability based on habitable land area usually don’t take into account sustainability. Most concepts are based on industrial agriculture and fossil fuels, so let’s dump those. But even if we go to pre the industrial revolution, it’s still not a good indicator of where we are at now. We have new low tech and interim tech now that we didn’t have then, and we have climate change which is going to change how we grow food even once we get to post-carbon.

        I do agree that we need to reduce or at least stablise population, but if we look at ig globally rather than locally we strike all sorts of problems, from misunderstanding how undevelopped countries can feed themselves to the privilege bias inherent in rich countries telling poor countries to stop having so many babies (I know that’s not what you were doing). Or Māori and Polynesian families to stop having so many babies. It’s a big conversation we haven’t even really started yet.

        • pat

          was only an rough estimate and as you note doesn’t take account of local variation in sustainability level….the thing that surprised me was that even a sparsely populated country like NZ is significantly overpopulated on that basis….it demonstrates the size of the problem….I will relabel my exercise in energy production in isolation to be an exercise in futility

          • weka

            Heh, I know the feeling.

            I don’t know if NZ is overpopulated or not. I mean it is in the sense that our ecological footprint is 2 or 3 times greedier than it needs to be. But it also depends on what kind of lives we want. The higher the tech across the board, the less the population that can be sustained. If we went low tech, it might be possible to feed, clothe, shelter, educate, provide healthcare and enable us all to have good lives but we have no idea what those lives would look like yet.

            David Holmgren talks about how we don’t have to figure all this out ourselves. We have to start the transition, and other generations will figure out the next steps over time depending on what we do. I’d love to see more discussion about population especially in NZ, but it’s almost a taboo subject that immediately descends into false binaries.

            • pat

              “it might be possible to feed, clothe, shelter, educate, provide healthcare and enable us all to have good lives but we have no idea what those lives would look like yet.”

              perhaps we should ask those who will be living them?

              • weka

                isn’t that us?

                • pat

                  its “us”if you’re under 40 or so….an arbitrary thought my part

                  • weka

                    I’m fifty and I expect to see significant changes to NZ’s standard of living within my lifetime.

                    • pat

                      expect you are right…but of the people currently on this planet which group is going to see the greatest change for the longer period?

              • Expat

                pat, with regard to population control, the Chinese story is very interesting, 30 years ago they introduced the “1 baby rule” because the Govt of the day had calculated the trajectory of population growth and the amount of food required to feed them into the future was unsustainable, the outcome was a reduction of population growth or even stabilisation, it was never foreseen that it would bring the economic benefits that it has, one of the fastest growing economies in the world with year on year growth of over 7% for the last 20 odd years, I’ve seen two doco’s on the subject and there has been massive benefits to the economy from limiting population growth, one of the main benefits was the very low unemployment rates, increased productivity as families only had one child to look after, these children have been well educated, mum and dad both work and hence have become very productive, it has also changed the culture from peasant life to western style life styles, recently they changed the Law again to allow 2 babies per family, but this was driven by the view that isolated peasant communities hadn’t observed the 1 baby rule and had “lowered the average intelligence of the state”, so the hope is that the bright city dwellers will have more, intelligent children and further progress the nation. China has lifted 100’s of millions out of poverty, and also seen the benefits of a good education for all. Perhaps NZ could learn form this rather than inviting so many from overseas with a negative outcome for the economy.

                • pat

                  Yes Chinas experiment with the one child policy is perhaps a starting point for a conversation on population control.

                  • weka

                    Although it also raises the issue, if a one child policy increases growth in other ways isn’t it kind of redundant ?

                    • pat

                      suspect the timing of the one child policy and Chinas decision to create an industrialized export economy were coincidental

                • greywarshark

                  One of the great things to learn when committing thoughts on the blog is to have paragraphs. Perhaps three would have been good in above.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.4

      The question I’ve been trying to raise, here and elsewhere, isn’t whether or not sun and wind are useful power sources; the question is whether it’s possible to power industrial civilization with them, and the answer is no.

      And that would be wrong. Calculations have shown that there’s enough sunlight that strikes the Earth on a daily basis to fully power our present actions and growth into the future.

      Despite the fact that he’s reasonably well educated he does have a habit of getting basic physics wrong.

      • marty mars 17.4.1

        lol basic physics wrong lol

        “the question is whether it’s possible to power industrial civilization with them, and the answer is no.”

        “Calculations have shown that there’s enough sunlight that strikes the Earth on a daily basis to fully power our present actions and growth into the future.”

        You think JMG doesn’t know how much sunlight hits the earth? You continue to talk about an imaginary future that isn’t coming and that contributes to ignorance and a do nothing the magic will fix it attitude.

        • McFlock

          more to the point, if sufficient sunlight to replace carbon were converted into industrial energy, how would it compare to carbon-based global warming>

          That’s an absurd extreme, but the principle is the same: rather than reflecting broad-spectrum energy back out, we’re simply converting it into heat. that is dissipated into the atmosphere at low altotude, and therefore warms the oceans etc.

        • BM

          Fusion that’s the future.

          • marty mars

            I don’t think so – reduce your energy needs, that is the answer.

            • BM

              I disagree, give it 10-20 years and fusion will be mainstream, no more energy worries at all.

              Unlimited energy and no pollution, good times ahead.

              • think of it this way – if you reduce your energy needs and fusion comes along then you are sweet, if it doesn’t you are still better off than if you didn’t reduce. If you don’t reduce your energy needs and fusion comes along you are sweet but if it doesn’t you will hit the wall hard.

                We cannot keep pretending there is nothing we can do – there are things, and we just have to get off our bums and do them.

                For instance I have started once again to bike to work. I was amazed by my internal resistance to this even though I know it is good for me in so many ways.

              • McFlock

                20 years, plus another 20 years and billions to build them, then hope that battery/storage tech is advance enough to have comparable energy density to hydrocarbons, then upgrade the grid to deal with the replacement of hydrocarbons from boilers and engines…

                [edit] and then some prick figures out how to reverse the polarity on the dilithium positronic diarray interface, and everything in a hundred mile radius is vapourised 😉

            • Expat

              Energy storage is the biggy holding back renewable’s, but it’s only a matter of time before we solve this issue, but countries like NZ and Aus that keep shrinking their scientific capabilities of their respective countries is not intelligent politics, unless you don’t believe in Global warming of course.
              Interesting Fact: Aus is the biggest carbon emitter on the planet based on a per capita basis, 3 times more than it’s nearest rival, China, but only 1% of the total carbon emissions.

              • I suppose it is the “it’s only a matter of time” bit – that is a hope and with reduced capabilities, for all sorts of reasons, that hope recedes into the distance. But not all doom and gloom if you don’t believe in the only a matter of time scenario because there are things we can do today and tomorrow and I hope we do them.

                • Expat

                  Marty, agree with you about reducing consumption, has to be part of the plan as well, even developing more energy efficient end user products will help in that regard.

                  The Chinese are leading the world on development of energy storage and PV, right now the’re spending millions, they would like to convert from coal to renewables, but this hasn’t stopped them from commissioning a new coal power station every second week trying to keep up with current energy demand.
                  If they crack this problem it will be worth billions to their economy.

              • dv

                I guess put a fusion station next to a hydro lake and use excess power to pump water back into the lake rather than batteries.- maybe.

          • McFlock

            My guess is that they all are.

            diversity is a wonderful thing 🙂

    • Sacha 17.5

      “our species broke into the planet’s supply of stored carbon and burnt through half a billion years of fossil sunlight in a wild three-century-long joyride”

      a beautiful if chilling phrase

  15. Penny Bright 18

    Know about this?

    Michael Moore Says His New Movie Will Change America

    “Free universal health care, free university, free day care, taxing and policing hedge fund millionaires—have already happened in nearly every other industrialized country in the world! And I have the evidence—and the film—to prove it!”
    byLauren McCauley, staff writer

    Michael Moore’s newest documentary, Where to Invade Next, presents uncharacteristically optimistic outlook. (Screenshot)

    Filmmaker Michael Moore on Friday is launching the national release of his new documentary Where to Invade Next, which is said to be both his happiest and “most subversive” movie yet.

    In the film, Moore travels to countries throughout Europe and also Tunisia to “pry loose from them the tools they’ve been using to make their countries happy, shiny places,” he writes, with the goal of “show[ing] millions of Americans what these countries have been hiding from us.”

    Such tools range from eight weeks paid vacation in Italy, to a year of paid maternity leave in Scandinavia, to women with “true equality and power” in Tunisia, to trusting prisons in Norway.

    Moore, who is known for such works as Bowling for Columbine and Capitalism: A Love Story, penned an open letter to supporters last week explaining how a recent bout of pneumonia and subsequent hospital stay forced him to cancel all television appearances promoting the film.

    “I have to be honest,” Moore writes. “I’m now worried about my film’s release. I can’t fly, I have to recover, and [on February 12th] this great movie I’ve put so much of my life into is going to open in theaters—with little or no assistance from me.”

    Then, in a direct appeal to his fans, Moore then calls for a “cobbled-together ‘army’ of grassroots foot soldiers” to help spread the word about the new movie, which he says “will inspire people to think about things in a different way.”


  16. Penny Bright 19

    Public submissions are now being invited on the International treaty examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).


    International treaty examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

    Public submissions are now being invited on the International treaty examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

    The closing date for submissions is Friday, 11 March 2016

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  17. weka 20

    An explanation of how Clinton might win New Hampshire over Sanders. As if we needed another reminder of how fucked up the US is.


    This is what makes Clinton so powerful in the Democratic race — even while she and Sanders battle it out among rank-and-file voters, she has a massive lead among superdelegates. Altogether, she already has 394 delegates and superdelegates to Sanders’ 44 — a nearly ninefold lead.

    • vto 21.1

      Yeah, and then we could put you lot in the empty cages and more than save the extra cost.

      It’s a win-win (using silly right wing vernacular and thought…..)

    • weka 21.2

      PR, the reason we have animal cruelty and people too poor to afford the cost of healthy food is because of people like you who vote for governments that keep wages low.

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