Kiwis are going solar in record numbers to escape rising power bills and get a degree of energy freedom, but the electricity industry is using a host of tactics to try and discourage them.
Budget 2016 once again left our only public broadcaster, Radio NZ (RNZ), worse off. After eight years of funding freezes, you have to wonder if RNZ is being iced-out for ideological reasons.
This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once upon a time in our history they were events, where everyone tuned-in to hear how […]
New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system so we have a single provider, a monopoly called Transpower, which is meant to be […]
Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips paper” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Australian media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their New Zealand businesses (NZME. and Fairfax NZ) which could lead to what’s being […]
Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of renewable electricity. Was it ignorance or a smokescreen? Responding to Genesis Energy’s decision to backtrack […]
If you had a trillion dollars to spend on energy, would you invest it in burning coal for electricity? Well that’s exactly what is slated to happen internationally, according to a new report. The report, published by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm, explains that coal-generating capacity equal to 1,500 coal plants is either in […]
New Zealand is famed for its wind and it’s used to power our homes and businesses. Often wind electricity comes from large wind farms and huge turbines, but down south a community has worked together to produce their own power from the wind. Blueskin Bay Community Trust has applied for resource consent for their own […]
Geoff Simmons, who works with Gareth Morgan, has published a blog post about my Fair Go For Solar Bill. I welcome the debate. I hope tomorrow Peter Dunne will break the 60/60 vote tie in Parliament so we can continue the solar conversation and hear from all those involved around a select committee table. Simmons […]
The Electricity Authority (EA) has just issued a new consultation report on the implications of evolving technology for pricing of electricity distribution services, in other words how you pay for your local lines. This isn’t some far-away future: new technology like solar is already changing how we use and consume power and I welcome the […]
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 […]
Yesterday the Government annouced their climate target. It’s not good news. They have officially pledged that, by 2030, New Zealand will reduce our greenhouse pollution by 30% compared to 2005 levels. In reality this target is just spin and is only an 11% cut on 1990 levels, which is the baseline previously used. That’s only […]
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 […]
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 […]
This weekend saw New Zealanders out on our coastlines around the country with a clear message: no deep sea oil drilling in our waters – our environment is too precious to risk. Green MPs Catherine Delahunty and Steffan Browning joined Hands Across the Sand events in Coromandel and Christchurch. Kaikoura might have put on the […]
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 Dan Rogers marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour has recently been approved by Conservation Minister Nick Smith which is a good step for marine conservation but raises many wider issues and questions. It’s good to see another marine reserve created, even if it was shrunk by Smith, because it’s only the second on the east […]
We’re up to summer’s half-way mark and the competition to find New Zealand’s Best Beach is on. The response has been fantastic. We know that Kiwis love their beaches and want to protect them but we didn’t anticipate such incredible support. Thank you to all our voters and those who have signed up for our […]
I welcome the Law Commission’s cyber-bullying report which contains recommendations for reducing harm. As anyone who has been through it knows, bullying is a horrible experience and in New Zealand we have had some tragic examples leading to suicides. It’s important that we discuss the problem and come up with solutions that work. The Law […]
The regular inquiry into the conduct of the General Election will this time address voter turnout out in its terms of reference, and is seeking submissions from the public. 2011 had the lowest voter turnout in over 100 years. How can we turn that around, especially amongst young people?
What does the Minister have to hide on his expensive motorways?
Thanks to social media, it’s much easier for people in the community to engage with their politicians. Instead of holding their hands up in long town hall meetings, they can just log in to Facebook or Twitter and tap a few keys. This is why we at the Green Party take social media seriously. It’s […]
A few months ago I wrote a draft submission on the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport funding and encouraged members of the public to send it in. Normally, I generally don’t encourage people to make form submissions on a topic but because the issue of land transport funding is pretty technical I wanted to […]
I was astonished that a few weeks back Auckland MPs voted against inviting the Auckland Council to submit on the CBD rail link debate. I can only talk about it now because the report containing my minority report was tabled in Parliament today. The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee was discussing my petition to […]
Frogblog readers may have read that Green MP Gareth Hughes broke his nose playing for the Parliamentary Rugby XV last week. The good news for Gareth is that he has now had surgery to straighten his nose, and it is on the mend. The bad news is that he has to wear a rather annoying […]
I’ve been whipping around the country a lot lately visiting students at Orientation. So I haven’t had a chance to post much. But here’s a bit of a round up of the big transport stories of the last few weeks and my reaction. More funds for rail upgrades in Wellington. The government has announced an […]
Advocates (like Steven Joyce) of removing Metropolitan Urban Limits and allowing lots of low density growth around our cities like to present their case as if urban sprawl is the natural result of market forces. Their narrative is pretty much that people like to live in spread out suburbs with their own back yard and […]
Green MP Gareth Hughes had some questions for Communications Minister Steven Joyce in Parliament yesterday: Here was Steven Joyce’s reply: Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. So Gareth tried again: Steven Joyce still wouldn’t take a call to respond. As Toad, one of our regular […]
The Auckland Council is consulting right now on a discussion document called the City Centre Master Plan (PDF). It almost slipped under my radar but I’ve managed to draft up a quick submission to go in before the closing date – this Friday, the 17th of June. I encourage you to make an online submission […]
According to a piece in the Herald today, people with longer commutes are less likely to be healthy, happy or stay married. The study found that if you commute for 45 minutes plus then your chance of getting divorced is 40% higher than for those with shorter journeys. This is good news for me (and […]
One of the main reasons the Green Party opposed the new controversial file-sharing law passed under urgency was that it still contained internet termination as a potential remedy. I argued at the time it was disproportionate, wouldn’t work, and took away a modern human right. More and more of our democracy, interaction with Government departments, […]
In this podcast, Green Party ICT Spokesperson Gareth Hughes talks about the new file sharing law – what it means, why non-nerds should be worried about it too, and what can be done from here.
A while ago the Herald wrote an editorial about the Government’s transport plans for Auckland. They observed that if you define insanity as doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different outcome, then the Government’s transport policies are insane. While I was reading the Government Policy Statement on Transport Funding last week […]
The Budget is fast approaching and so far the government has shown no sign that they will fund the CBD rail loop. In fact, their latest Government Policy Statement on transport funding shows that over the next 10 years they’re planning to spend $7 on roads for every $1 they spend on sustainable transport options […]
I attended the extraordinary Wellington City Council meeting that voted last night to support the Government’s $2.4 billion roading plans. Essentially the Council has written a blank cheque to the NZTA. It is preposterous that the Council could vote on a project when no one, not even the council officers, has seen the final plans. […]
While Auckland’s public transport systems are getting seriously overcrowded, we are still waiting to find out which company has been awarded the $500 million contract to build the new Auckland electric rail cars (aka Electric Multiple Units or EMUs). The trains, themselves, won’t be operational until 2014 at the earliest. As motorway, after motorway, finishes 6 months […]
It was a privilege to speak in Parliament last night and oppose the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill that passed this morning under urgency. It was also a fun debate, with some hilarious gaffes made by National MPs who got their inter-webs mixed up with their Skynets that have been immortalised in online parodies. […]
Lately I’ve had quite a few people ask me whether it’s realistic to continue pushing for the government to fund the CBD rail loop in the after-math of the Christchurch earthquake. I can understand what they’re thinking. After all, the CBD rail loop is an expensive project and the reconstruction of Christchurch will also cost […]
So, the Minister of Finance has confirmed its full steam ahead with the national motorway gamble. Even the Transport Minister has made it clear that he will not consider cutting the budget for the poster-child of uneconomic motorways, the Puhoi to Wellsford ‘Holiday Highway,’ after the quake. Government cabinet papers also say that the government […]
Last weekend I visited the Motu Manawa Marine Reserve as part of Sea Week. I was there to help Forest and Bird and Friends of the Whau with a boat based clean up of the marine reserve. As you can see from the photo below we collected a lot of rubbish – especially given that […]