20 years ago when leading The New Zealand Party in the 1990 election an important part of our policy platform was to make New Zealand world leaders in the technology for the capture, storage, and efficient usage of renewable energy. This was primarily on the grounds of reducing pollution, ensuring security of supply, and lowering our import bill. We are a village at the end of the world - but with enormously creative and talented people. We need to use those talents and creativity to solve the problems we encounter in the environment.
Our plan was to pull together the best brains from Private Enterprise, the Universities, and the DSIR (which was then still in existence) and spend 2-3 years in concentrated development to the highest technical standards possible the capture and storage, and usage of renewable energy. This would have focused on both 'micro' generation from sun and wind, as well as macro generation from wind, geothermal, and tides in particular. After the end of the development period all new buildings would have been built to the highest environmental standards and required to capture and store the maximum energy and water that was reasonable for that building. It is impossible and unnecessary to require say 100% self sufficency. It depends on the design and situation of the building.
Reverse metering would be a must feeding surplus electricity generated back into the national grid and lowering the cost of power to the producer. Rarotonga, Cook Islands, (and many other countries) have introduced it - New Zealand has not even seriously contemplated it.
The objective was to make homes, and commercial buildings where possible, 2-3 days self sufficient in electricity using a combination of solar and micro wind generators. This is especially relevant for rural areas and would have ensured that line faults and breaks, storms, etc would have little effect on daily life as most breaks are repaired within 48 hours.
We need to
- Make New Zealand world leaders in the capture and storage of electricity from renewable resources
- Retrofit all state houses with insulation and solar heating. All new buildings will be required to capture what solar power and water is feasible.
It is generally accepted that there are more extreme weather events taking place now than in recent history. The extent to which these are caused by humans or natural causes is hotly disputed. There is considerable evidence that the earth has been warmer than it is now in the distant past. However pollution is a major health problem and we should be making every effort to reduce it. The figure of 400 premature deaths in Auckland annually through pollution is often quoted although I am not sure of the science behind the figure.
There is increasing evidence that much of the material provided by climate change advocates is totally false, almost to the point of fraud.
The problem of pollution is one of the main reasons we are adamant on the development and usage of renewable energy.
WHAT I AM SURE OF IS THAT THE EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME PUSHED THROUGH BY OUR GOVERNMENT AGAINST ALL LOGIC AND COMMON SENSE IS TOTALLY SPECIOUS AND WILL PROVE IMMENSELY DAMAGING TO NEW ZEALAND - WITHOUT ACTUALLY ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM.
I find it bizarre, and not a little sad, that our goverment will tie us up in a shonky Emissions Trading Scheme yet refuse to implement something like 'SUPERMAXX" which would remove at least 50,000 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere each year, as well as reducing taxes and fares for Aucklanders!
- Abolish the iniquitous, unfair, and absolutely stupid Emissions Trading Scheme and replace with carbon taxes on those who actually pollute.
Once again the incompetence of our government is at its height. While researching shipping solutions for the Tokelau and Cook Islands I included research into coconut diesel. There is a vast resource within the tropical belt around the world of unused coconuts. What I find is a considerable number of local projects in areas such as Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Bougainville etc but no one in government with the will and intelligence to pull the research together and develop pilot plants that test it thoroughly, maximise the cost effectiveness, and introduce it to the small island nations for which we have a particular responsibility.
THERE IS NO REASON WHY THE COOK ISLANDS, SAMOA, TOKELAU'S, NIUE, TONGA, ETC SHOULD NOT BE SELF SUFFICIENT IN DIESEL FUEL. Coconut diesel - 75% less emissions than oil based - half the cost of oil based diesel to produce which can be lowered further with more development - virtually unlimited supply - grows 'on location;' in the tropical belt , no shipping costs.
I offered to NZ Trade and Foreign Affairs to pull the research together and establish pilot projects which would make islands of (a) 200-300 inhabitants and (b) 5,000 - 10,000 inhabitants self sufficient. They refused.
Three years ago I requested permission from the Land Transport Safety Authority to import Reva Electric cars from India. These are well established city commuter vehicles with a top speed of around 80km and able to do 70-80km on a charge. Newer models now have a range of 150-160 km. They would have been on the market for around $24,000. Many thousands of these are now operating very successfully in Europe and Britain under the G Whizz brand. In London they are actively encouraged including providing free charging points in parking buildings etc.
Our Government refused on the grounds that 'they did not comply with the latest frontal crash impact standard for cars'. I accept that they do not although considerable progress has been made in improving the standards in past 2 years. However they are much safer than cycles, motor cycles, and scooters and when used in urban areas which is their natural home do not present a major threat to the well being of the occupants.
The British and European governments took a practical and common sense approach and registered them as Quadricycles. Our government refused to allow them to be imported.
Once again our government speaks the words on lowering pollution and ostensibly encouraging the import of electric cars - yet refuses to allow the import of one type of such vehicle
Designline coach builders of Christchurch have spent large sums of money on research and development of hybrid and battery buses. My understanding is that it was only the overseas recognition of the value of these vehicles that has encouraged them to continue. Their orders come from Australia, Canada, South Africa, etc while we still use polluting diesels adding to our fuel import bill and noise and emissions pollution. Bizarre!
The nation needs to buy into the CLEAN, GREEN, AND FRIENDLY image we used to have, and reinstate it in reality.