Posts by Gareth Ward

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  • Hard News: Dressing for the Road,

    Been considering an urbany commutery type bike for a while now, my ride to town is short and downhill-to-flat (via a ferry) and the return home has a brief but steep enough haul up from the ferry. Question for you urban cycley types - how realistic are the three-speed hubs in Auckland? Linus Roadsters etc look lovely but the price differences to go from single-speed (not me)/3-speed up to 8-speed shifters seems kinda not insignificant...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Thatcher,

    NBR's headline is (I suspect, unwittingly) damning: Thatcher on par with Churchill, says Monckton
    #MoncktonLive

    (btw, thanks for putting me on to that via Twitter last night Mr Brown)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Without having looked too closely at the economics, I agree with you - I wouldn't subsidise the smelter to any huge degree. It should be left to fail if it can't land a commercial - not political - deal with Meridian. But to be honest, that kinda feels like where we're at - a basic subsidy was offered, rejected and the Govt seems to have left it at that for now...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner, in reply to BenWilson,

    I'm not hopeful, though.

    Yes I'm having to fight my own pessimism here!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner,

    But Bart my point is the Govt has to get involved REGARDLESS of their ownership of Meridian. Even if Meridian had already been sold off the Govt should be assessing short term subsidies for such a large part of our national economy. The loss of Tiwai is more about foreign exchange earnings and regional employment than it is about propping up power generator valuations - all things the Govt absolutely should be keeping an eye on.
    I guess I'm still unclear on what people think the Govt should have done differently?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner,

    I don't follow sorry Ben - are we saying the negotiation is valid but they haven't done a good job of it? How do we know? All I've seen is a loose statement from Key that the Govt would have provided short-term subsidies to the smelter to keep it open but no more, Rio have refused that and are now back to a commercial discussion with their power supplier? Sounds like we've played a fairly decent negotiating line there...
    And personally I have zero interest in my Government entering the aluminium smelting industry.

    Again though, if pressure then goes on Meridian to commercially subsidise wider economic benefits then that's terrible governance (and would of course dilute the value in the sale as well). Or if the Govt ups it's subsidy offer beyond what it normally would consider prudent... And while I have a dread feeling that could very well happen with this crowd, there is no evidence of it occuring.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner,

    I'll put it this way - if Rio Tinto was threatening to leave for some other reason (or if the power supplier was privately owned) I would expect the Govt to assess implications and possibly open negotiations if they could see a deal that would make net sense to the national economy. They would be negligent if they didn't...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Said shareholder then created a subsidy to a major client of Meridian in order to increase the book value (or share value) of Meridian (which they plan to sell).

    I'd need to see proof of the "in order to..." bit. Because the alternative view is they entered negotations for a Govt subsidy to an industry they considered of national economic importance. Or did they specifically announce that they were negotiating the electricity price with them on behalf of Meridian?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Done like a dinner,

    I understand this may not be popular, but what exactly has the Government done wrong here? What should they have done as the alternative?

    As far as I've seen, Meridian have independently held a commercial negotiation with their client which has, at this stage, failed. The Government have then, in their correct and proper economic role entered negotiation with a regionally significant employer/GDP source as to how they may keep them operating given they are indicating they will not. As the original post states, this would be in the form of a direct subsidy, completely independent of Meridian and hardly a precedent in NZ's economic history (indeed, hardly a precedent in NZ's 2013 economic history). That negotiation should be, as with all direct subsidy/winner-picking/economic-incentivising, conservatively weighed against the national cost of losing said economic activity...

    IF the Govt influences the commercial negotiations of Meridian, or IF they offer a subsidy greater than the opportunity cost for political asset-sale management THEN they should be vilified. Personally my faith in them is rather slim so I suspect this will be become necessary - but AFAIK there is zero evidence either of those things have yet occurred.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Go Home DJ, in reply to BenWilson,

    I'm curious whether the Apple devices solved the key problem with effective DJing on a 'droid I ran into, which is that there aren't 4 channels for the sounds,

    iOS6 introduced multichannel audio, so apps can, for example, route a stereo cue into the headphones and stereo main out via the dock connector (or any other routing desired). I THINK it's 4 channels total, but may be more.
    That obviously requires some form of external soundcard to hang off the dock connector - if you don't have that, most of the apps (e.g. the new Traktor DJ app) revert to a mono-split between cue and master, and you need to split the L/R channels out of the headphone jack... I'm not sure if it's smart enough yet to use Airplay for two channels and headphone jack for the other two

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

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