Dunedin City Council – fraud?

So now it’s out in the open. The word was (round Dunedin) that the Council-owned Companies had had the lean put on them – to put off what could be put off, to pony up what could be ponied up.

All to get the Stadium project over the threshold.

And now we’re being told that the ‘funding’ offered, is just debt being incurred, and most of that from transactions with the ratepayers who were being told they were being ‘supported’.

There’s a word for that, Mr Hudson. There’s a words for that Mr Brown. And there’s a legal description for that, Mr Chin and Mr Guest (and sadly, Mr Weatherall) :

The word for using debt to ‘repay debt’ is


A case of Peter and Paul robbing the ratepayer, on behalf of?  Who owned the land? Who got the deals? Who got the work?

And the word for not reporting this clearly, for omission and obfuscation of information, for deciding to print what was printed on the Thursday before Elections closed?

Thats ‘being an accessory after the fact’.

Or perhaps that should be ‘ex-the-fact’.

Editorial standards?   bah humbug. We’re a long way adrift of that measure yet.

In my humble opinion.


2010 – are we ahead?

On the basis of where we could have been, no.

But it could have been worse.

Here at home, we are more comfortable, less vulnerable, more sustainable, cashed-up. We can’t help being collectively indebted, of course, via Government and local authority madness, but that’s just the cost of being part of a society in denial.

The pelton-wheel – delivering more power than we can use, 24/7, even in summer, is a wee wonder. Both gardens just continue to get bigger, get better, and deliver more. We go days without going near a shop. The chicken count is now: Bantam broody-mums 3, old battery-hens 1, year-old Brown Shavers 5, rooster 1, yet-to-be determinet progeny 10.

Plans are for a glass-house using second-hand coolstore panel as the down-sun wall, and recycled windows as the rest. And maybe a second one. We’ll grow more fruit and nut trees from seedlings, and keep pushing the orchard area. The old steel water-tank will get plumbed up, as summer back-up (not needed this year)(so far). The old petrol saw-bench will get a fence and a tilt, and I’ll run the macro (dry-stacked 15 years!) into skirting-boards, architraves etc, and finish off the house. Jen wants a pizza oven, I want a plunge-pool, and there are a couple of sheds planned down by the big garden. Plus dreams of a pedal-prop set-up for the little trimaran, a recumbent trike, and………… we won’t be bored…

The boys seem happy with their lives – Ish on the superyacht, back in the water in March and away in April, looking fit, happy, confident.  Jaryd comfortable in his job, in demand rescue-boating, nice girl, it’s all good. Jen backing off to half-time is great too;  often my enjoyment of the freedom here has been tempered by the fact that she’s away at work. Not so now – it’s even, almost!, and we’ll have 4 days a week together.

My effort may be into a book this year – I’ve come to the conclusion that NGO participation won’t change the world in time, given that it hasn’t so far. Better put your energies into something less life-consuming. I seem to be one of the few hassling the media (on peak oil, growth and natural capital depletion) and I’ll probably step up the ante a bit there (being confident, thick-skinned, somewhat comfortable with the subject after all these years – I’ve been studying it longer than some scribes have been alive……) . We may end up with some kind of a show-down there, unfortunately. My target is not to belittle or attack, but these folk so persist in continuing the deception, and so refuse to examine what I suggest (with the partial exception on the Otago Daily Times) they react by instead attacking the messenger. One assumes they know not what they do, still, it’s not acceptable, at this point.

You have to balance life, though. The Paper Tiger is my first fun, and is due a couple of new rudder-blades, and a new sail. We’ll do some more biking, with our longer time off together, but we’ve enough bikes for that, a recumbent, MTB’s each, my triathlon bike, our restored Claude Butler tandem, and a couple of identical folding 20-inch toys. I suspect we might gravitate to the Oamaru scene a bit, bike-wise. A challenge of partial retirement may be staying in touch, keeping fresh. I suspect we”ll be OK, Jen with her work (Enviroschools) me with the writing, but we’ll make sure not to stagnate.

One of the things to be ready with, is a blueprint for those who don’t know what is coming, and who are going to need answers. It’s easy to be doom-predicty – there was a 100% chance that humanity would run into resource depletion, and a 100% certainty that energy would be the key – but harder indeed to come up with a blueprint to address it.

One of the commentators on Interest.co.nz pointed out, rightly, that it is easy to be self-sufficient on 60 acres, suggesting I was being false pushing limits at everyone else. Interestingly, this was a no-limits-to-growth man (you wonder why he is envious, according to him, land is not in short supply) but you immediately realise that he is running scared. These folk are clinging to a belief, a creed, and it’s now outdated. As Lloyd Geering pointed out, beautifully (see previous post). They will need nurtured, these folk. The ‘lefties’ will get it first, the givers in society, out with the soup-kitchens. The right will do it hard – no support community there – all dog-eat-dog, and no relevant experience. The fiscal world, of course, has to morph – within 5 years at the outside, but probably within 1 – and I doubt they’ll get there. I suspect an attempt to park (ignore) debt, and kick-start. That – by the time they evaluate the kick-start – will be the end, too late and chaos-time. Or war.

We can’t do anything about the war possibility, either as individuals or as Kiwis, but that’s the only thing we can’t address. Everything else is to do with being sufficient (self, and more for others) and sustainable. To do with properly accounting natural capital (which includes climate change, pollution, depletion, extinction, and obligations to the future) which may be a revelation for some….

All you can do, is keep you head, keep informed, debate from the high ground, keep an eye on the big picture, and live fully as you do so. Piece of cake. Home-made, of course.

Here goes 2011 – the longer you extend across the top of the gaussian, the sharper the decline on the right-hand side. Will this be the year that the penny drops that the penny has to drop? I’d put money on it…….not!   Pay down debt, learn to grow food, aim for energy-resiliency, keep healthy………. sooner rather than later, it’s gotta happen.


I’m back! Peak Oil, Elections, Hobbitt

I’m back. Jaryd and I flew up to Tonga, and joined Ishmael as crew to bring the superyacht to NZ. Grimwoods made up half the crew! We got to swim with a Humpback mother and calf, which was cool, and the trip had a bit of everything – 2 days of flat calm, 2 days of 20-30 knots on the nose, a squall, good company, wouldn’t have missed it for the world. You don’t often get the chance to helm a 105-foot, 90-ton thoroughbred to windward in the open ocean.

Reality seems to chug on. Parliament has a Report on Peak Oil on the table now, but the Hobbit is more important. Awesome.

Seems we have a Peak-Oil aware Mayor (Dunedin) and the Council has lost two of its worst deniers, picking up one in particular (Jinty MacTavish) who is fully up-to-speed. Yet their Economic Development guru – one Peter Harris – is on the front page of the ODT, lauding growth in resident numbers. Sigh.

I’ve got a beef with Dr Susan Krumdiek too. For one of her standing to say that “fuel supplies were likely to dwindle to ….1960 levels…. by 2050”   is disingenuous. Maybe she doesn’t want to frighten the horses, but the population in 1960 was 3 billion, in 2050 projected to be 9 billion. More of whom expect to consume.

The comparison is a nonsense. Still, I’ve seen a Prof (with an audience including 3 more Profs) showing the IEA’s Slide 7, in all seriousness, and only being challenged by me.

Maybe academia will fail us, which is a pity. It’s an impossible task, agreed, to turn 7 billion folk comfortably into 2 billion, while not trashing the planet, and all by 2030 or so. Still, no harm in trying, eh?


Dunedin City Council – dyslexia?

You have to wonder.

The ODT has a small piece on Dr Susan Krumdiek studying ‘Peak Oil” for the DCC.

Then it has a piece about which Councillor voted for what. Including a quote from Athol Stevens (chief financial controller) that they won’t get their ‘heads above water’ until 2019.

I, and others like Solar Action and Sustainable Dunedin, have been making representations for years now, pointing out that energy represents the ability to generate wealth – no energy, no wealth. Check? Ask yourself what economic activity happens without energy. There’s none.

We pointed out that beyond peak energy flow, there would be a reducing ability to repay debt. That meant ratepayer debt. They never got it.

Worse, the reportage of those submissions, despite chivvying from several of us, is contained within the following brackets ( ).

Meaning the debate has been with-held from the public.


Now, we have to vote out the folk who voted to incur the debt. Get rid of Chin, Guest, and Co.

They’re simply from a bygone era.

And we have to have a wee think about our media too.


ODT miss the bus = and a few thoughts.

An Editorial to-day on Iraq, withdrawal therefrom. Not a bad stab, most of it. Queried why the US stayed so long……… Simple, and the key was a page further on………. the oil rights that China was about to get before the invasion, (up to 12 mbpd, so they say, but let’s say 6 mbpd) have now been let. Why stay longer. No mention that the Bush (oil man) Cheney (oil man) invasion was about oil.

Then – ironically alongside a bolder heading about corporates signing up to the stadium – they note that Dr Susan Krumdiek is to evaluate the impact of peak oil on Dunedin, for the DCC. An acting transport person was interviewed.

ODT – get it together. There is no debt repayment, no neurosurgery, no nothing, without energy. This isn’t about transport – at least, not alone. This is about everything. Infrastructure, food…….

The lack of reality, make that relativity, is staggering. It’s three years since I went in there in person. Gave Dene McKenzie the Deffeyes book, waited. Nothing. Nada, zilch.

And I mentioned here the Dunedin Forum, how the owner (Julian Smith) was there, and a reporter (Loughrey) and between the following brackets, is the reportage of Bob Lloyd’s presentation.

(         )

Media?  Hmmmmmm. Don’t get it, or don’t want to get it?  But, Mr Kirkness, as I’ve said to you before, you are meant to be about purveying the truth. Cognitive dissonance and/or religious slewing, have no place in that.

Hampden visit, and progress in home heating.

We had a good weekend. The Hampden crowd came down in a bus, and toured three sustainable homes (we know one of the others). The house did it’s thing, despite being 2 and a half days into no-sun. Mellow it was, and as we’ve noted before, folk just rock right in here and make themselves at home.

We’d identified that our double-glazing was actually ‘chilling’ – air was travelling down it’s inside face, getting colder as it went, and by travelling, was increasing the rate of transfer.

So, Jennie sewed some Roman blinds, and we screwed up some pulleys and eyelets in appropriate places. What a diffo. That went with doubling up on the the existing thermal drapes, particularly the two-storey tall bay window.

The house feels deader, more inert, quieter, stiller, choose you metaphor. Now, after yet another sunless and chill-factor filled day, we’re sitting on 20deg, at 9pm. It’ll do.

The group were great – all good folk, and one or two I’d like to get to know better. Good questions too. I think the thing that scared me was the average age – are we the band who are going to change the world?  They showed no inclination to leave, and inevitably I thought of a whole lot of things to say as soon as they’d gone.

Good to have a bunch of similar minds for a change, though. I’ve spent a wee bit too much time lately pushing the fight into hostile territory. Nice to agree rather than debate each point. Nice to have folk who move in sync with your thought-train. Pity the weather wasn’t better – we could have toured the place!

It tells you how much there is to do, and how little time to do it. If we are the spearhead, we are hellish late, and hellish few.

Make sure you make your submissions to the Energy Strategy and the EECA review. I sense they are being overlooked by the mainstream media. Out of ignorance rather than arrogance, probably. Give ’em a nudge.

Otago Daily Times – an ‘F’ ?

The following is something I just shot off to the ODT website. You can guarantee it won’t make the light of day in that form – for the reasons it contains!!!!

Thwe John de Bueger opinion piece in the ODT (mentioned) is a cracker – but where was the assimilation with the Loughrey piece?  Ne’er the twain shall meet, maybe?  No comprende?

when is it criminal?


Submitted by murrayg on Mon, 01/03/2010 – 10:30am.

The Mayor, and the Councillors, and Jim Harland, have all had it explained to them, how the energy which underwrites economic activity, is peaking in supply.

This in turn peaks economic ability to repay debt, which means that this is a simple case of intergenerational fraud.

On the basis that ignorance – even more than arrogance – is no excuse, these folk are guilty of that fraud, and I for one have given them enough rope.

I now call their actions criminal.

Mr Loughrey (or those above him who call the shots) is similarly guilty. He was present when Associate Prof Bob Lloyd (Physics) addressed a meeting last year, speaking of growth, energy and what would inevitably happen.

This was serious information which society had a right to debate – and I knew as I listened, that it would be obfuscated. I communicated with Mr Loughrey and a senior ODT persona, but the content of that address never saw the light of day.

Thats Goebbels territory – propaganda by omission.

We shouldn’t have to rely on John de Bueger opinion pieces to raise the subject.

Time someone raised their game.