Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Done like a dinner

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  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    What we're seeing is the utter hypocrisy of being told the cupboard's bare

    and this, yes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Running a power line along just about the same route as the proposed monorail and over Wakatipu would be just about the straightest route from Manapouri

    State highway 94 connects quite neatly with SH 6 which goes north to Queenstown. Crows might fly in a straighter line, but the road connection is a fairly direct one. I don’t see why a power transmission line would have to go cross-country, at the southern end anyway. And from Queenstown it could follow the Crown Range road to Wanaka and through the Lindis to join up with the Mackenzie Lakes hydroelectric system.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    wish we could get fibre - looks like I'll have to wait another 3-4 years at this point (and I live in an upper middle class neighbourhood near the centre of town) - and I have a cluster of work at home neighbours who telecommute to the US and Europe - some fool government is paying to give the fibre rights to the same company that provides the copper infrastructure and there's no competition, no incentive for them to hurry up and install.

    I can't go down and knock on the door at Chorus's local office to talk to them about it - they closed their Dunedin office, laid off all their staff, I can't call them on the phone, they have a single 800 number staffed by someone who's job is to not let calls like mine get through, they tell me to email their info email address, staffed apparently by someone who's job is to do the same with emails.

    But you know they can afford to rent all those billboards in Times Square

    At this point we may well be laying our own, or the kids will be done with Uni in 18 months might be time to move back to US for a few years, the great thing about my job is that I can do it from anywhere

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Lilith: I agree - I was just pointing out that the as the crows fly route happened to match the monorail one. In reality you'd put it around the mountains rather than over them - more likely down the Kawarau than over the Crown Range I think.

    But instead the easy thing is to power Invercargil and Dunedin from Manapouri rather than Roxburgh/Clyde, feed the rest of the power the other way back towards Roxburgh (reverse those lines) and tie that power over to Benmore and to the North Island

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    some fool government is paying to give the fibre rights to the same company that provides the copper infrastructure and there's no competition, no incentive for them to hurry up and install.

    another piece of negotiating genius from the same clowns.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    yes exactly - but in this case they were probably negotiating with guys from the same golf club

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Noice Paul: 15 minutes.

    Here is a [potted (heh) history of Tiwai Point and NZ's Aluminium plant - Up to 1993.

    And here is the 2001 PhD of Aaron Patrick Fox on "The power game : the development of the Manapouri-Tiwai Point electro-industrial complex, 1904-1969"

    Quote from abstract:

    The final design, construction and operation of the Manapouri-Tiwai Point electro-industrial complex, coming as it did at the end of some 65 years of government policy formulation, should have been a significant first step away from New Zealand's economic dependence upon the export of primary produce to the United Kingdom. Instead, the government can be observed hastily and ill-advisedly involving the country in a new form of multi-national dependence within the developing global economy. That the national economic benefits and desirability of the Manapouri-Tiwai Point electro-industrial development remain in doubt makes this topic both a crucial case study and a caution for those considering New Zealand's economic future.

    It is really our power and refinery really. We built the power station and the lines to it. They were paying 1/13 the price Joe Citizen was paying. They pay bugger all taxes.

    And don't forget the biggest petition in the history of the country to save Manapouri. And don't forget we paid to get the other 10% or so output from the power station by digging another tunnel 'cos the friction down the original one was too high.

    Here is what the their webpage says:

    NZAS contributes $525 million to the Southland economy (10.5 per cent of Southland's GDP), 3,200 full time equivalent jobs and $1,600 million in Southland regional sales. Export revenue is around $1 billion each year.

    Could someone with the ability to decipher statements like that kindly offer an opinion about where the of lose of 700 jobs is in here? Of all those numbers, the one that sticks out is the $1.6B in "Regional Sales". This is just after the $525m to the "Southland Economy". WTF??? Must be a lot of beer cans made down there. What does it mean??

    And we should organise a sweepstake on the value of the "Keep us Here Kiwi" gift to them.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to David Hood,

    I am feeling pessimistic this evening, and can't see how this will hurt the government any more than everything else it has done (should hurt is another matter, but then I think they should feel some sense of shame)

    I have an inkling that today's KiwiSaver and student loan repayment changes could be the breaking of the camel's back, or at least the beginning of the end. For me, it's only reinforced what I already feel. And it's all the more grating, given I try not to splurge much.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    PS. More details on the regressive Budget changes finally here. (scroll to bottom)

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    So this morning it seems Rio Tinto have walked away from the government negotiations and are going back to Meridian. I wish that made me hopeful (that the government wasn't a pushover; that the government wasn't going to make the asset sales an even larger wealth transfer to the wealthy), but I'm rather concerned that what it will mean is that Rio Tinto gets concessions from both Meridian AND the government.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Thrash Cardiom,

    Not to rain on anyone's parade but would anybody seriously consider placing a major data centre in the South Island with the Alpine fault ready to rumble at any time?

    Why not? We are at the forefront of research into designing earthquake proof buildings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    So this morning it seems Rio Tinto have walked away from the government negotiations and are going back to Meridian.

    Citation. If I believed that National was actually capable of long-term vision I would be expecting an announcement by the end of this week that a task force is being established to plan for how to make best use of the electricity supply bonanza. But I hold no such belief.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    wish we could get fibre – looks like I’ll have to wait another 3-4 years at this point

    That's not Auckland's fault. I'm less than 10km from the centre of the CBD and we're still two years away. Some people deep in Henderson are due to have it by the end of the year. Chorus and National fucked up the projections though, to be fair to National, they've said they'll hold Chorus to the contracted timeline without paying more to allow that to happen. Depressing that National will happily look for the national jar of lube when a big multinational wants a bit of taxpayer money, though.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Sacha was saying that resources are limited - in essence we get fibre everywhere or motorways - I was bemoaning getting neither and since I work at home I actually care about the fibre much much more - but as far as Dunedin is concerned 30 years to get a motorway? really? we were promised one when they took away the commuter trains

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    One especially easy way of easing the power load into Auckland would be legislative, insisting all carriers must support reversible metering, and must pay the same price they charge for the power. Then putting solar on the roof would be an extremely easy decision, a small investment with reasonably rapid pay-off time. No need for government investment. But this might hurt the bottom line profits of power companies. It should not be as hard as it has been for the small number of people who have done it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I’m rather concerned that what it will mean is that Rio Tinto gets concessions from both Meridian AND the government.

    What I'm concerned about is that Meridian will get leaned on, Kordia-style, and magically find new negotiating room it didn't know it had, in order fo the government to save face. This would be a betrayal of the whole SOE principle, but it would not surprise me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Kiwi Nomad, in reply to Sacha,

    Actually, the cupboard is never bare for a sovereign currency issuing Government... So you should never have the wool pulled over your eyes when that argument is used, ever! It is always a political choice as to how and on what the Government spends... It amazes me that people don't connect the dots, when the Governments in the USA and UK bail out the financial sector they are simply spending money into the economy (not that it is a useful way for a government to spend, and funding could be much better directed to grow the economy!). Government spending is not financially constrained in these circumstances. Currency issuing governments do not need to raise funds from taxes or issue debt to spend. Taxes function to regulate demand... Issuing government debt is unnecessary and is just a carryover from gold standard days, but governments around the world, heavily influenced by neo-liberal institutions and advisers haven't caught on to that yet...

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Rod Oram in the second half of this 21 minutes with Kathryn Ryan on Nine-to-Noon this morning was very good as usual. Includes the information from Transpower that the upgrade of the link from Central Otago to the upper Waitaki that Lucy described above as a modest-cost project to allow the majority of Manapouri generation to be transmitted north - that can be completed in (only) two construction seasons.

    So given Rio Tinto's 'threat' is that if they can't get their electricity cost down low enough they will close the smelter in 5 years (not next month) - then no problem there. In particular the serious money on the upgrade to double+ the capacity of the HVDC link between the Waitaki and the North Island has been spent, it will be ready soon. So the 'surplus' generating capacity can be flexibly available ~everywhere.

    But what effect on Mighty River Power share value, and Genesis, Meridian? Oh dear, what a conundrum.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to ChrisW,

    But what effect on Mighty River Power share value, and Genesis, Meridian? Oh dear, what a conundrum.

    Not to mention Mayor Shadbolt would truly go ballistic too.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to ChrisW,

    But what effect on Mighty River Power share value, and Genesis, Meridian? Oh dear, what a conundrum.

    Liam Dann says the 2.6% drop in Contact Energy shares this morning is “the barometer for market impact of possible Tiwai closure on power company value.”

    Otoh, they appear to have risen late last week on the assumption that the taxpayer would step in and make it all nice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to BenWilson,

    I'd also back up my above point that solar is the renewable of choice that physicists tend to lean to when considering a future without fossil fuels for electricity production. The problem of storing the power is solved for the most part by reversible metering in a country like NZ where hydro forms such a big part of the base generation. There's no need to make big farms for the power when it can pretty much be made right where it gets used, on real estate that is sitting idle (roof tops).

    Basically, the technological problem is very much solved already. The only significant barriers are institutional. In fact, it's such a good idea that it could kill itself, since it would make electricity too cheap. Such is the world we live in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I see this morning there are headlines about potential electricity price rises...

    Electricity prices will have to rise if the sector wants to attract further capital, Contact Energy CEO says.

    I'm feeling bemused - they want to charge us schmucks more money so they can attract more money via investment? Is that a legally viable reason for further screwing the captive audience?
    Can someone explain (gently) the ethics behind this?

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    you do however need to change your hydro to be more bursty - to be able to handle larger loads with the same water, the dams don't have to be bigger, just more penstocks and a bigger powerhouse (not something you can do easily to an existing dam except Clyde and particularly NOT Manapouri) - see my suggestion above about working better with wind power, the same applies to solar.

    Mind you we must be awfully close to the point where they have to take Roxburgh off line to flush it out (after 5 years it's full of sand), that would be a great time to add more generating capacity

    Some background:
    http://mightyclutha.blogspot.co.nz/2010/02/decommissioning-roxburgh-dam.html

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • anth,

    wish we could get fibre – looks like I’ll have to wait another 3-4 years at this point

    It is probably no consolation that some of us due to have fibre already are still waiting. Last year it was due at our house in September 2012, right up until October when that changed to February 2013. At the start of February 2013 the Chorus website said we had UFB but the ISPs said we didn't. That website has recently been updated again to say UFB is due in either June 2013 or June 2014 depending on which part I read.

    There were cables laid etc around my neighbourhood but that seems to be over. There is a new pipe running about 2m up the power pole near my house but it just ends there rather than terminating at a box on top. I've not got anything out of Chorus but a helpful member of the geekzone forums suggests that they may be planning to replace the power pole before completing the install.

    I think there’s a lot of resentment outside of Auckland about all the money being spent ... motorways

    I think there is quite a bit of resentment within Auckland about some of those motorways too.

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to BenWilson,

    Distributed solar is a bloody good idea Ben. It brings some challenges because it will required the grid to be a whole lot smarter but it makes a lot of sense.. to us at least. Doesn't make much sense to larger power companies who want to control the market and own the power.
    Looks like a perfect case for an enlightened govt to step in .. oh right we don't have one . Bugger.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

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