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Showing posts from October, 2015

Southland Sun Supplies Solar Success

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MP Gareth Hughes visited Invercargill on Friday and he spent the time visiting a business and a number of homes that rely on solar energy as their main power source. He has been seeking support for his private members' bill that is only one vote away (Peter Dunne) from going on to a select committee.

Gareth's Bill involves a small amendment to the Electricity Industry Act that will empower the Electricity Authority to independently set a fair price for electricity buyback for small scale electricity generation connected to the grid. The cost of installing a solar system has dropped about by about 33% over the last two years while electricity prices have increased by around 25%. As the the support for photovoltaic homes and businesses increases dramatically (World Solar alone has installed solar systems on 200 Southland homes over the past 17 months) electricity companies have been cutting buyback rates and deliberately holding up paper work and meter installation.

If electricit…

Government of Water Down and Trickle Up

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It has been revealed that the Government rejected official advice to set tougher targets to deal with child obesity. The decision to take a soft approach to deal with rising child obesity should be no surprise to those concerned with public health and welfare as this has occurred numerous times in the past. This Government clearly puts private profit and unrestricted markets ahead of the general welfare of New Zealanders with the resulting burden being placed on our health and welfare systems and even our environment.

The Law Commission provided the Government with a number of recommendations about the sale and advertising of alcohol and the most potentially influential elements were left out of the final bill because of the lobbying of the powerful liquor industry. The Government weakened the work of the Problem Gambling Foundation in their deal with Sky City and even tried to shut down the Foundation's work by shifting their funding to the Salvation Army. Labour's Emission …

"The environment can handle more"

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The first state of the environment report since 2007, "Environment Aotearoa 2015", has just been released and what it describes is nothing to celebrate. Basically most of New Zealand's environment is far from good, our rivers are pretty much stuffed, our farmland is largely compacted by too many cows and while nasty exhaust fumes from cars have been reduced, we have increasing levels of green house gasses. We have twenty species that have not been seen for over 20 years and pests such as possums and rats are causing devastation in our national parks. Our fish stocks may be reducing at a slower rate but then the acidity levels in the sea are increasing and we have a growing number of marine mammals and seabirds verging on extinction.

John Key's response, "The environment can handle more."

The following statements are reproduced from the report and I'm wondering why it reads differently on Planet Key:

"Land use and population growth have placed increa…

Exploitation and Corruption Encouraged by National Government

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Two stories struck me today that provided proof that this Government's existence within Planet Key is one totally removed from reality and morality.

Paula Bennett made the outrageous demand that community housing providers needed to be sustainable businesses. In making this claim she demonstrates her total ignorance of what social housing does and what the benefits are.

The people who live in social housing are our most vulnerable and desperate families and individuals. The reason they need housing support is because their financial, emotional or physical circumstances exclude them from being able to afford or manage the acquisition of a home from the private sector. They are not going to be able to cover the true costs of their accommodation and many will need support to live in them. A percentage of families and individuals in social housing will not be able to care for the properties well and many will damage them over the course of their tenancy for a variety of reasons. Prov…

Why Invercargill Should be a City of Cyclists

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I spoke at Invercargill's monthly Pecha kucha evening (a talk involving 20 slides and 20 seconds on each). I spoke about Invercargill's cycling past and what it could become in the future. Here are the slides and generally what I said:


I was a disappointment to my father who has had a lifetime of passion for the Internal combustion engine and anything that has motor. At 86 he still drives and owns four cars. While I have always appreciated technology, and had a small part in writing our National Curriculum document for this learning area, I preferred modes of transport where I was more physically involved. I enjoy walking, kayaking and cycling because of the health benefits and the greater ability to connect with the natural environment. Cycling has been my main form of transport when exploring New Zealand and overseas. In 1989 a more youthful version of myself cycled the length of the European Alps and across Scandinavia.