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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Innovation

This blog was triggered by an article in New Scientist, 7, November, 2020 p16 Titled Innovation.  It was all about bringing the UK back into the lead in the world in Advanced Research Projects.

 

Not all innovation has to be research based, ground breaking and expensive.  There are many simple, well known measures that would make a huge difference.
 
*Introduce beavers into the headwaters of every catchment and you mitigate floods, increase low water flows, clean the water, increase biodiversity recharge ground water, trap the nutrients coming upstream with salmon migrations into the surrounding ecosystem and create a great tourist attraction.

*Finance election campaigns from the exchequer instead of from vested interest contributions and you eliminate a large block of political corruption.  This is the prime reason that politician do the bidding of vested interests instead of the bidding of the people who elected them.  Solve this one and we would stop having to push the brown stuff uphill with a spoon. Do this and most of the rest

*Remove all subsidies on fossil fuel and a big chunk of climate change mitigation will occur automatically. Renewable energy can stand on it's own feet economically, especially since the advent of mega batteries.  Do you realize that the 100mWh battery at Hornsdale in Southern Australia is on track to earn the total $66m Aus that it cost within three years.  They have added another 50kWh of storage and I bet they add more.

*Eliminate Cap and Trade and legislate Tax and Dividend and money will be put into the hands of the poorest instead of the richest, stimulating the economy.  The rich simply squirrel it away and it doesn't power the economy.

*Outlaw foreign fishing boats in your EEZ and set large areas aside as no fishing areas and your catches in the fishing-permitted areas will return to what they were two centuries ago.
 
*Compensate victims of floods from the land or from the sea, generously - once - and that is it.  If they insist on remaining in the flood prone area, they will never be compensated again. Hire a small group of insurance experts to hold the feet of the insurance companies to the fire and make sure they compensate the clients fully for what they deserve according to their policy.

There are plenty more but you get the idea.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Letter to Joe

 Hi Joe

You are in a battle but you can win it.  Despite being on the wrong side of almost every vote for virtually all of your political career, you have shown your human side on a number of occasions.  I have the feeling (and the hope) that this human side is not just a coat you put on when convenient but is actually part of your character.

 

You have shown how you can work with Republicans - by voting with them as if you were a Republican yourself.

 

Your battle is with the Senate and specifically with Mitch.  He is anti-democratic, anti-constitution, a hypocrite (just look at the appointment of the most recent member of the supreme court) and could care less about the American people.  You can outsmart him.

 

Your main ally is the American people and they will rally to your support if you show them that you have their backs.  Your legacy could outshine virtually all other presidents and be right up there with FDR. Obama could be left eating your dust.  So what is the strategy here. 

 

Firstly you must have fire side chats.  Don't do them via any news media but post them on Youtube.  You don't want them edited by your corrupt media.  Post them at the same time each week.  In your fire side talks you tell the people what bills you are going to send, or have sent to the other branches of the government and explain why you are doing it.  As time goes on, you explain where these bills got stopped by the house of representatives or Senate and who, specifically, opposed them.  Keep your bills simple.  No complex bills.  Let's take an example.

 

Your presidential election system and in fact your total election system is a joke in the eyes of the world.  We find it hard to believe that a country that blathers on about their great democracy and how they spread democracy around the world* (Yeah Right!!!) has such a system.  So here is your first bill.

* Read Classified Woman by Edmons, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by Perkins, The Untold History of the United States by Stone and so forth. 

 

Propose that the president will be chosen by popular vote.  Whoever gets the most votes by the people wins.  Scrap the present system completely.  Don't include any other reforms in this bill and don't accept any compromises.  Keep each bill really really simple.  You are dealing with a population, 40% of which believe that the world was created some 6000 years ago.  If they send the bill back to you in a modified form veto it and send it back as originally proposed.  Do one easily understood step at a time.  You can tell the people in your fire side talk that following the passing of this bill, you will send other reforms to the House and Senate but one step at a time.  And no pork fat allowed.


Of course Mitch will scream bloody blue murder as will a whole bunch of other vested interests.  The people will love it and they will come out in droves to support you.  You can include clips of Mitch opposing the bill in the Senate in your fire side talks.  Keep hammering on at Mitch.  Continue in this style, step by inevitable step.  When Mitch opposes the bill, and you have explained to the people what is happening, send it to congress again.  Mitch will feel like he has walked into a buzz saw. Go get'im.  You can do it.

Monday, November 2, 2020

So, You Want My Vote

 You want my vote.  Well here is what you have to do.  In fact, if you  promised any one of the following I would probably vote for you.  Promise two or more and I am yours for ever (if you followed through).  I realize that if you are in a coalition all you can do is submit the bill for passing but even that would be enough to keep me voting for you. You have shown "good faith"  If you have an absolute majority, thought, you must submit it and pass it.

 

Campaign Contributions  

Outlaw them.  

They are the core problem of all 'western' democracies and campaign contributions are why they aren't (democracies).  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  Why are you surprised that politicians do the bidding of vested interests. It is the only way they can be assured of enough money to run their next election campaign. You know,,,, If you only passed this item, all the following items would fall into place almost automatically.


Encourage the Uptake of Electric Vehicles

Simply remove all taxes associated with the purchase and running of an electric vehicle.  This includes any and all stamp taxes, import taxes, purchase taxes Fringe Benefit Taxes and so forth.......  and all road taxes associated with the running of an electric car.  If you can't bear to not make some government revenue from the electric fleet then wave all road taxes for the first 20 years of the operation of the car. 

 

Remove all subsidies on fossil fuel

I mean everything right down to amortization.  Let the fossil fuel Industries stand on their own economic merits.  And note that renewable energy doesn't need any government subsidies.  It can stand on its own, economically, thank you very much. Leave the exchequer alone.


Institute Tax and Dividend

Put a very small tax on fossil fuel when it comes out of the ground in your country or across your boarder from some other country.  Every cent of the money collected is sent, at virtually zero cost, by electronic transfer in equal portion to every registered tax payer. (no sending cheques.  No one uses them now and they cost money to make, to send and to process).  This is the system called Tax and Dividend and was proposed by Jim Hansen.  For once put money into the hands of the people instead of into the hands of the rich. 

People low on the economic scale will use every cent just to feed their family, people in the middle will save up to put solar panels on the roof, people high on the hog will have a meal at an expensive restaurant.  Win win win all around.  

Oh! and by the by, the small tax rate on fossil fuel increases by a legislated amount each year.  Any idea what investors in fossil fuel are going to do.  

Cap and trade is a scam designed to make the rich even richer. Economies are not powered by making the rich, richer.  They are powered by putting money into the hands of people that will use the money to buy goods and services.


Bottled water

To stop bottling our water and selling it overseas is just plain crazy.  Water bottling is a license to print money and is three orders of magnitude more profitable per quantity of water than other uses.  For instance it takes less than 1.5l of water to produce a liter of bottled water.  It takes over 1000l of water to produce a liter of milk.   Other agricultural products are in the same ball park; some using less water, most using more. 

It is equally crazy to put this lucrative business into the hands of Coca Cola, Cloud water or any other outside concern.  The reason we do this, probably has something to do with our much vaunted trade agreements with other countries.  This would be a good test case to examine and find out why our trade agreements are shafting us.

Trade agreements might actually fall into the same category as agricultural subsidies (which New Zealand canceled some decades ago).  We might  find that we would actually be better off without them.  We produce great products.  If you want to buy them and we can agree on a price,, great.  If not the rest of the world will come knocking at our door.  Read chapter 2 of Naomi Klein's book, This Changes Everything.  She describes how trade agreements get in the way, would you believe, of solving Climate Change.

 

Fisheries

Outlaw fishing in our EEZ (Economic Exclusion Zone) by foreign fishing boats and make sure that the local fishing companies are not rorting the system. 

People working on the fishing boats must be permanent residents or citizens of our country.  

Then make at least a third of our EEZ a no fishing zone.  

Outlaw drift nets, bottom trawls and insist that the  long line methods that are used are designed to protect our birds.  The methods have already been developed.

Ensure that all fish are landed  and processed in our country.  Sell value added products overseas, not raw whole fish.

Make sure that every part of the fish is used.  After filleting, for instance, the remaining flesh can be centrifuged off the carcasses, mixed with soya to make fish balls and marketed with a package of powdered sauce ingredients.  making a really nutritious, inexpensive, tasty food.  

The remaining part of the carcasses can be dried and ground to make a great fertilizer.  

Lastly, give permits to fishing boats for a given tonnage of fish.  Ensure that no fish are thrown back into the sea. 

 

Flood policy 

Put in place a rational flood policy.   Floods come from the land and from the sea.

Here is a suggestion.

*Recognize that if an area is flooded, nature is telling you something in the clearest terms.  Namely, that if this area has been flooded once, it will be flooded again.  Unless you have some bomb proof system of stopping future floods, then heed the message.  And contain your hubris.  Do a little research to see if the solution you have in mind has worked elsewhere.


* Have  a small cadre of  government employees that are insurance experts and who's job is to hold the feet of the insurance companies to the fire and ensure that they give the effected people the full benefit of their policies.

 

*Add government compensation as necessary and make it generous.  ONCE.

*The owners of the property are welcome to stay there if they want but they have received all the compensation that they will ever get.  On the LIM, mark the property as uninsurable.  With the money they have received, the owners can move to higher ground or can stay.  The decision is theirs.  But when the next flood comes, they are on their own.   

 

*Demolish any houses that have been abandoned and turn the area into a park or wilderness area.  Anything except property with flood prone assets on it. 


Banking

Start to shift government business to Kiwi banks.  Allowing Ausi banks to take approximately a billion dollars out of our economy every 6 months is simple stupid.  Let me tell you a little apocryphal story.

Twin brothers marry twin girls.  One of the girls is a little princess.  She wants everything and she wants it now so her husband buys their kitchen equipment, furniture and every convenience.....on time.

The other girl says to her husband, no, we will sit on apple boxes and eat off our knees until we have money to buy our first big ticket item and we will continue this way, month by month, only buying what we have money for.

Now flash forward 5 years.  The little princess and her husband have everything in the house they need but are paying off a big part of their salary in interest.

The other couple have just as much, and it is a little newer than the other couple but the main point is that they own it all.  From then on all their money is theirs to do with what they want.  Best of all they are not vulnerable to a down turn in the economy or some other disaster.  Which couple do we want New Zealand to emulate. Unfortunately we have already behaved like little princesses.

 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

 

How and why to increase the uptake of electric cars in New Zealand


Greatly increasing the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand would have many benefits. Presumably, this is not news to any New Zealand MP. Below is a catalogue of at least some of these benefits.


I understand from talking to people in the electric car industry that the government is willing to spend quite a few millions to work out the best way to encourage EV uptake. Save the money. It’s not rocket science.


The main barrier to electric car uptake is cost. The government is in control of a significant portion of the cost of an electric vehicle. 

 

What to do

 

First make sure that there are no import taxes, stamp taxes or any other taxes related to the import of electric vehicles. 

 

Remove GST from the purchase of electric cars. This move, at one stroke of the pen, with no cost to the exchequer, reduces the price of a vehicle by 15%.

 

Then announce that there will be no road taxes for 20 years from the first purchase of a vehicle in New Zealand.  

 

And yes, an electric car can last for 20 years.  I have just learned that the battery of a Leaf, for instance, can be swapped out in an hour and the 24kWh batteries in earlier models can be swapped for a 30 or 40kWh battery.  Apparently, with a couple of simple modifications even the new 60kWh battery can be fitted into older cars.  Add to that, that batteries are continually coming down in price and an electric car becomes a very attractive proposition.

 

Eliminate the FBT (Fringe Benefit Tax) for electric vehicles.  This is the tax that companies and the employee pay for the ability to use the company vehicle, privately.  Not only does this tax cost the users of the car money but it is a real pain to administer for both employee and employer.

 

With no FBC, a lot more people would experience their first use of an electric vehicle.  In addition a lot more second hand electric vehicles would come on the market.  

 

And, Yes, I'm sorry but you can't be fair to everyone.  ICE car dealers will scream bloody blue murder but you have to decide if we are really serious about accelerating the transition here in New Zealand. Every serious move we make to reduce our emissions will have some negative effects for some sector of the economy.



Benefits of Electric Car Uptake for New Zealand.


*Reduction of the health costs, caused at present, by ICE vehicle air pollution.

 

*Reduced road repair costs. Oil leaks degrade asphalt.

 

*Reduced costs under Koyota to New Zealand as our C output declines

 

*Added revenue to producers of renewable energy with the increased market for their electricity. Since charging, logically,  will be on a demand basis, much of the car charging will be done when excess power is available.  In other words, less need to feather wind turbines when power is in excess of demand. There will be a market for the full capacity of our renewable energy.

 

*Improved balance of payments as we reduce our import of petroleum products.

 

*An addition to our green reputation which impacts on our exports.

 

*A large benefit to individual Kiwis. (which is the primary responsibility of any democratically elected government)

 

ICE car dealers will not be pleased if we tilt the playing field in favor of electric cars but we have to decide whether we are serious about reducing our carbon foot print and making New Zealand an even better place to live.  Every disruptive move we make will disadvantage some sector of the economy.  I suppose it is good that we don't have an ICE car manufacturing sector to protect.  That would make the government decision even more fraught.  ICE car dealers will soon pivot to selling electric cars. 




           Then we can think further outside of the box


New Zealand has achieved quite an enviable reputation in the world because of the way our Prime Minister and her party have handled two very difficult situations; namely the mosque shooting and Covid 19. Labor has also initiated many green pieces of legislation which will appeal to Elon Musk. Let’s parley that reputation into benefits for New Zealand.


Invite Tesla to set up a factory in New Zealand. The fact that we have made the uptake of electric cars more affordable will be another factor in our favor. Elon Musk is a visionary. He thinks outside the box. Present the case in the right way and he might just consider the proposal. So what are the arguments to present to him.



Positive Factors for Tesla


*New Zealand already has a high percent of it’s electricity produced renewably. Cars produced here would have a particularly low carbon foot print.

 

*TY point is going to close down leaving a great surplus of electricity.

 

*As seen at 'battery day', Elon is all for vertical integration. A lot of Aluminum is used in his cars. He could even take over the Al plant and enough of the Al smelter employees to run the factory and produce Al for his cars. The personnel is already in place and really don’t want to leave Invercargill.

 

*In the same way that we have handled this pandemic, we will handle the next one (and there will be a next one). This is especially so if Labor is in power. Disruption to production, caused by any future pandemic, will be minimal.

 

*TY point already has a dedicated deep water port for shipping in parts and materials and shipping out cars. Marine shipping is a very economical way of moving materials and goods around the globe.

 

*New Zealand is a very attractive place for anyone to work and play. His best people will jump at the chance to live and work in New Zealand: especially after the dismal situation we see in the US of A and to a lesser extent in the rest of the world.

 

*Cars produced here can have a “Made In New Zealand” label.

 

Positive Factors for Us

 

*No need to decrease the economic activity in Invercargill. In fact we would greatly increase it.

 

*Introduction of top level technical people into New Zealand. No knowing what spin offs will result as some of these folks become New Zealand citizens and take their talent to other sectors.

 

*Most likely, good car prices for the public for cars produced right here in New Zealand

 

*It is likely that Tesla will install a mega battery to smooth out her power supply. This would have a very positive effect on the frequency and voltage stability of the grid in Invercargill as has happened in the grid supplied by the Hornsdale Wind Farm in southern Australia.

 

*Tax revenue from workers in the factory and from all the secondary industries which are enabled.  It has been estimated often as reported on Radio New Zealand that for every primary job, 4 or more secondary jobs are created.  It is probably worth while to give a very favorable company tax regime to Tesla.  The ancillary benefits are great.

 

New Zealand has many advantages over other countries. We have seen what we can do in the food industry and film industry. Let’s show a little confidence in ourselves and ‘go for it’.



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Inviting Tesla to New Zealand

It is time to make contact with Elon Musk and invite him to consider building a mega factory in New Zealand.  There has been talk about a new mega factory in Australia but look at the advantages in New Zealand.  In no particular order:::

1/  With the closing of TY Point, a huge amount of green electricity becomes available.  Right from the first cars produced, their manufacture will be  carbon free. 

2/  Due to our almost unique success, worldwide, with Covid 19, New Zealand has become hugely attractive to top people all over the world who see us, not only as a safe haven but also as a country with an effective, caring government.  The message was made even stronger with our government's response to the mosque shooting. Contrast this with the USA, the UK or Aus.

3/  Invercargle already has port facilities which were used for shipping in bauxite and shipping out Aluminum.  Shipping by sea is cheap so our distance from potential markets for Tesla vehicles is of very little importance.

4/  Invercargle needs an industry to replace the jobs lost by the closure of TY point. The local administration will be very open to the establishment of a new industry.

5/  Tesla is uniquely capable of storing energy as demonstrated by the Hornsdale mega battery.  Not only has this mega battery had an amazing pay off period of 3 years but it has stabilized the local grid with respect to voltage and frequency fluctuation.  Having Tesla in Invercargle with a large electrical storage capacity would have the same effect for the local grid. 

6/ Having Tesla in Invercargle with battery storage would make any wind farms, existing or new and any solar electric facilities  more financially viable since it would no longer be necessary to feather the turbines when more power is being produced than needed or waste power produced by photo-voltaics.

Nothing ventured - nothing gained.  Worth a try.  I think the idea might just ring a bell with Elon.