The end of the year! 2016 has been…a mixed bag – Trump-ism, losing Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen et al, and the creeping malaise of a tired government. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes shares his year. My highlight of 2016 So many highlights! My two kids had a great year and are now both at school. […]
You’d be forgiven for not noticing that the Government published a new draft energy strategy this week. It’s basically the same as the old energy strategy, which they published in 2011, but with one new target around industrial process emissions intensity. In short, it’s a missed opportunity that shows a lack of bold vision and […]
This year, games expo PAX celebrated its third year in Australia. I was lucky enough to attend as part of Melbourne International Games Week. I was there to meet a number of industry players and research the significant number of steps the State of Victoria has taken to support its thriving games development sector. In […]
I’m pretty excited. I’m off to Melbourne today to attend the Southern Hemisphere’s largest interactive media and games conference – PAX – to research supporting our games export industry. It sounds like fun, but it’s no game. Already, with minimal support, our games and app building sector’s exports are worth $89 million a year. The […]
Today, Christchurch City Council considered the National-led Government’s Block Offer 2017 proposal to tender for permits which allow companies to explore for oil and gas in New Zealand, including off the Canterbury coast . Thankfully, the City Council voted by 15 to 1 not to support the proposal and to ask Ngai Tahu and Environment […]
Last week Gareth and I went rafting down a rapid past local rangatahi swimming in this pristine fresh water of the upper Tarawera River.
New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our economy is becoming, but the good news is that with some decent political leadership, there […]
Gareth Hughes says the public should get a say on Nova Energy’s proposed big new polluting power plant in Waikato
We’ve had some pretty decent solar spills lately and, unlike the Rena spill, the impacts are simply a lovely day and clean energy. Greenpeace has a good write-up on Stuff Nation on why solar is a great technology for New Zealand. In New Zealand, like many other countries, we’ve seen stunning growth in solar panel […]
It’s the place where the world’s largest whales feed and the smallest dolphins live, so why would we risk it with experimental seabed mining? Submissions are currently open on Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) application to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight, TTR’s second attempt second attempt after the first one was turned down. The […]
How is it that New Zealand is supposed to be playing our part in the global mission to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, yet Nova Energy is proposing to build more fossil fuel-burning power plants that emit greenhouse gases?
A collection of chambers of commerce, electricity lines companies, Federated Farmers, and businesses have just released a survey showing 56% of Kiwis wouldn’t want to pay less for power if others had to pay more.
Today I met with locals living rurally near Otorohanga, south Waikato, who will be affected by Nova Energy’s plan to build a new 360MW gas-fired power station. In a bit of a tag team, James Shaw asked questions in Parliament about the same thing.
This year, the block offer proposes opening more than 500,000 square kilometers to onshore and offshore drilling and mining. That’s bigger than Spain!
Today at Parliament, I accepted a petition signed by more than 6,000 people calling for a moratorium on seabed mining. This is also the day Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) second application attempt to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight opens for the twenty days of submissions period under the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) rules. […]
The Green Party launched a campaign on Friday to stop the proposed construction of a new gas-fired power plant in South Waikato that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, causing climate change. Nova Energy has applied for resource consents to build a gas-burning power plant near Otorohanga. I’m asking Environment Minister Nick Smith to “call in” […]
It’s fantastic to hear today Dunedin-based game developer RocketWerkz has received substantial investment from the Chinese company Tencent and looks to employ an additional 125 people. You could say they’ve unlocked the next level. I’m a big supporter of our fast-growing game development sector and very glad to see Kiwis in creative tech jobs. RocketWerkz […]
You know your proposal has probably got something seriously wrong with it when you have councils, lines companies, businesses, chambers of commerce, Federated Farmers and the Green Party opposed. Does the Electricity Authority know it though? Today, a group of businesses, local government and electricity sector participants has come out in support of a legal […]
Recently I spent a couple of weeks in the United States on a personal research study tour. No, I didn’t get to see Donald Trump speak but I talked to plenty of Americans who were horrified and embarrassed he was an official candidate. I put the trip together to touch base with some leading thinkers and research policies. Here’s a quick snapshot of the trip.
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?