I spent my parliamentary recess looking at roofs. Sounds like an Instagram account, I know. There was one thing that the Christchurch suburban bungalow roof; the fancy new-build in Karaka, Auckland roof; the Waikato dairy shed roof; and the Gisborne orchardists’ family home roof had in common – they all had solar photovoltaic (PV) panels […]
This week in Parliament I questioned Energy Minister Simon Bridges about the high prices facing some of our most vulnerable families who use pre-paid electricity. The Government is fond of telling people to shop around to get a better power deal – in fact, that’s pretty much their only policy to help households lower their […]
It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration projects in the world. More than 120 staff are working on the $290 million project. […]
This Election, voters have a very clear choice for New Zealand’s energy future: more fracking as National advocates, more risky deep sea drilling as Labour promotes, or more clean energy like solar that the Greens are pushing.
Blogging is a great way MPs can communicate and engage with citizens about the issues facing us. I have joined The Daily Blog blogging team and have so far posted on Anadarko’s failure to find oil and a piece outlining my political vision in the lead up to Septembers Election. My latest Daily Blog looks at comments around fracking and climate change:
“Huntly…is a symbol of the ‘think big’ centralised fossil fuel-dominated electricity system that served us reasonably well for its time, but like the faded and peeling paint inside the station, it is an old-fashioned reminder times have changed.”
Over the weekend I launched proposals that will make it easier for families to reap the benefits of solar panels and other small scale renewable distributed generation.
Yesterday Gareth Hughes and I visited the Contact Energy geothermal power complex at Wairakei. It was a chance to see how the power stations work including how the energy is managed and how water and waste is treated It was a fascinating opportunity to go inside the older facility at Wairakei built in the 1950’s […]
As you might have caught we have (alongside Labour) announced a plan to cut excessive profits from the Electricity Sector and return the money to households. David Farrar over on Kiwiblog yesterday posted about the total cost of Electricity Production claiming that renewable options – which we prefer are more expensive than coal and gas. […]
The IMF have come out strongly against fossil fuel subsidies, saying that they are threatening both the environment and the stability of the global economy. The IMF has calculated around $1.9 trillion worldwide, or 8 percent of Government revenue is spent on energy subsidies the vast majority of these contributing to climate change.
I am celebrating today after the news that Solid Energy will be dropping its Lignite project in Southland. This is a win for the climate and our environment and for Southland.
Summer in Aotearoa means sun, sand, BBQs and beaches. But the beaches we love are under threat from deep sea oil drilling. Vote for your favourite beach to find out more.
Forest and Bird deserves every success in its Environment Court case to protect the distinctive coal measures ecosystems and landscapes of the Denniston Plateau. This week the Court began hearing the Society’s appeal against West Coast councils granting resource consents under the RMA to Australian miner, Bathurst Resources’ destructive plans for an open cast coal […]
Last week three new reports commissioned by the European Union about fracking were released, which voiced strong concerns around fracking for shale gas, the unconventional gas sector and the lack of sufficient regulation in place to deal with the shale gas boom.
The Government’s “drill it, mine it, frack it” economic plan for New Zealand is a lazy gamble that belies a lack a vision.
If you needed proof we are in the post-peak oil, extreme energy age one need just look at where the Government is going for their next fix. The Government has recently announced the first tranche of the MoBIE Science and Investment Round which included $3.2 million funding for gas hydrate exploration.
Our houses help determine our health. Everyone has a right to a warm, dry and healthy home. Warm homes can reduce respiratory illnesses and mean fewer days off sick from school or work, and fewer premature deaths among older persons. Much of our housing stock is not built for our climate. Around 1.6 million New […]
Numerous environmental groups are joining forces to try and break the world record for most tweets of a single hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies in a 24 hour period. This is in advance of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, where climate change is expected to feature in discussions.
New Zealand has been described as the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’ and I’m optimistic it will play a bigger role in our electricity generating mix.
Today is the last day for submissions on two ghastly Government Bills – the Mixed Ownership Model Bill and the Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. If you haven’t already made submissions opposing these Bills, please try to find the time today to do so, even if you can manage only a brief submission on each.
Last night I attended a public meeting in Stratford, Taranaki to discuss the local hydraulic fracturing or fracking occurring in the region. The community passed a unanimous motion to call on the Taranaki Councils to place an immediate moratorium on fracking, and to call for an independent inquiry into the process and what is occurring in Taranaki.
The Ministry of Economic Development’s Briefing to the incoming Energy Minister predicts New Zealand could become a net exporter of petroleum by 2030 if new oil fields are developed. It’s a laudable goal to reduce our expensive dependence on foreign oil but it would be a lot smarter to invest in alternatives like better public transport, renewable electricity and sustainable alternative fuels.
The Ministry of Economic Development have released their Energy Outlook for New Zealand and it should be a wake-up call for the Government. The report projects New Zealand’s future energy supply, demand, prices and greenhouse gas emissions but the major challenges identified in it are at odds with the Governments ‘drill it, mine’ fossil-fuel-focused Energy Strategy.
Nick Smith has made various claims about RMA delays. This letter has some inconvenient truths for the Minister.
This morning’s Dominion article about ‘boom times’ for the gas and oil exploration industry is an intriguing, even slightly funny, mix of boosterism, drum beating and dissimulation. The Chair of PEPANZ appears almost breathless with excitement as he seeks to fulfil the primary objective of his organisation, “to publicise, promote and advance the interests of […]
On Tuesday the Government released the final version of its backwards-looking energy strategy. Of passing note is the removal of any overt reference to lignite coal. Of course bioenergy could be code for it, or ‘alternative transport fuels’ (the Energy Outlook 2010 specifically cites lignite diesel as an alternative transport fuel with potential.) But basically […]
It’s amazing the things that turn up when I’m hopping around Parliament. Look what I found a few hours ago on a rare visit to the Act Party offices:
An interesting document has come out of Lloyd that reveals some of their thinking about energy security, and the risks and opportunities it provides for business.
Lloyds point out that 300 years of experience has given them a bit of an understanding of risk, and it is from that platform that they suggest that now is a really good time to get serious about finding ‘a new energy paradigm’.
I had high hopes for the so called “top kill”. An end to the leak would mean that things can only get better from here on, that the beginning of the end has started. But no, it was not to be. Here are a few bits and bobs I’ve run across this weekend: This disaster […]
Have you ever felt that after a long day inside a building you just have to get out and feel the sun and breathe some air? I guess not being able to do that is one of the punishments the prison system imposes on offenders. But even they get an hour or so out in […]
So this week our Minister of Mining and Damming (aka Energy and Resources) let slip that the Mokihinui hydro-dam “would not go ahead”. Does he know something or was it just his ‘opinion’? Whatever the brain-burp was, he was ill-advised to say it but it’d be nice to think that there may be Moki fans in Government – perhaps they are closet readers of the 1400-fan facebook page!
Cool. Today a new campaign has been launched for one of New Zealand’s most iconic features – our Wild Rivers. It’s great to see diverse groups – tree-huggers, deer-stalkers, bird-watchers, knobbly-kneed trampers, sharp-edged climbers, risky rafters, kool-kat kayakers, and angelic anglers – representing “over 100,000 New Zealanders” and united in seeking to protect wild rivers […]
Chalking the opinion of many on the streets of Nelson this morning and challenging Nick Smith, who welcomed Schedule 4 thus: “This Bill at long last puts some pegs in the sand in some very significant areas of New Zealand and says to the mining industries of New Zealand: “These are no-go areas.”…”
On 23 September 1887 – 122 years ago yesterday – Te Heuheu Tukino of Tuwharetoa gifted the mountains of Tongariro, Ngaruhoe and Ruapehu to the people of Aotearoa…. This anniversary was sullied by the fact that the Crown is now considering the Park’s mining potential.
The Greens continue to campaign alongside others for the Mokihinui River gorge in the Buller District to remain a wild and scenic free-flowing river. Meridian Energy has applied to the Councils and DOC for consents and concessions to dam the gorge. It’s on protected conservation land, and has historic artifacts such as the old pack […]
The Government has just announced it is to review and reform state sector procurement. The Government Procurement Reform Agenda is based around four key themes: · Cost savings. · Building procurement capability and capacity. · Enhanced business participation. · Improved governance, oversight and accountability. Cost savings: just to the Government’s expenditure or also saving costs […]
The world’s biggest offshore wind project, the London Array, just took one step closer to reality as the required 2.2 billion euros in finance has been secured, despite the global financial meltdown. This has important implications for New Zealand.
The release of a Strategy for New Zealand Dairy Farming slipped quietly under the public’s radar this week, with few media picking it up. At the Strategy launch, the PM and Ag Minister David Carter mooed in the direction of the environment: the PM said, “It is important that farmers step up and take leadership […]
Last week, Eloise Gibson in the Herald wrote about the sometimes tough choice between renewable generation and other environmental concerns; and on the same day The Press editorial made a strong call on the matter – that “Unique landscapes should always come first ahead of desires for more electricity. If we have to turn off […]
Another great TED link sent to me from Nigel: Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab, talks about his life as an inventor, starting with his high-school company selling solar energy plans and kits. Learn here about a groundbreaking system for solar cells — and some questions we haven’t yet solved. I shall try and find […]