Affordable Electric Cars – (Climate Change in NZ)

Sigurd Magnusson is a software developer turned EV advocate in Wellington, New Zealand. He and I talked about our hopes for the growth of Electric Vehicles here where we live.

While EVs have been seen as too expensive and not practical enough for some time now we both believe they have recently hit a point where they can pay for themselves.

We’re both shameless fans of the Nissan Leaf, and we do go on about it a bit. We’ve been talking with someone from about doing EV reviews and look forward to seeing more about them in the future.

Next episode we’ll likely have a government again and I’ll be talking to Teall Crossen of the Green Party about the three years ahead.

Thanks to Sigurd for coming by and putting up with the recording mistakes and over-cooked Oato-bahn cookies. The doom and gloom has been getting a bit much lately and having his relentless positivity in the room was a treat for me.

If you’re thinking about getting an EV yourself jump into the EV facebook group for your area and make yourself known. They’re a mighty helpful bunch.

2017 Election Scrapbook – NZ Climate Change (New Zealand)

Its been relentless. I took some highs and lows from the campaign and made this scrapbook. Here, in no particular order, and with little annotation, are a collections of pictures taken and words spoken.  Good luck to us all.

You can learn enough in high school to know these things:


(Note: Next podcast episode contains a talk with Sigurd Magnusson. No dummies, not the Norwegian nobleman from the Battle of Florvag, he’s dead now. This is the one about Electric Vehicles)


Evolution is slow. You don’t need to be attached to animals to be alarmed by rapid species extinction.


Global Warming is very simple; you can demonstrate it in a school lab. Global climate modelling and prediction is really, really hard.


People are resources just like trees, cows and oil.


The amount of carbon increase in atmosphere is proportional to the amount of carbon extracted and released by human activity.


Grapes of Wrath captures the plight of millions whose lives were crushed by the failure of crops and financial systems. It showed the indifference of those who profit from disaster. It awakened the nation’s comprehension and compassion.


Just saying this now because:

  • I used to think most people saw things this way and now I’m not so sure
  • There is a good reason for the Greens combined environmental + social agenda
  • Pointing out that scientists disagree on the outcomes doesn’t remove the problem
  • I don’t care what you thought of Finding Nemo. The dying Barrier Reef is a massive warning.
  • You will find yourself caught up in this eventually. Maybe read some Steinbeck.

Did you get all of that?

I’m just making a quick list of things that stuck in my mind during this campaign. I’m sure there’s plenty more, and I haven’t gathered the links for these (I will!). I just thought I’d make a list before I forget some of them.

It was a blizzard.


National PM recorded employee illegally and lies about it. PM is involved in scandal. He also lies about it. Nothing happens.

Green Leader reveals minor benefit fraud while a single parent to highlight the current poverty issues. She winds up resigning after continued pressure. Her situation compared to Deputy PMs, a couple of scathing letters appear from old acquaintences appear then lawyers appear. Her situation compared to PM’s ‘double dipping’ more recently but are dismissed as absurd because a) he paid the money back by now b) his name was cleared but mostly c) the number were so much bigger and he lived in a much nicer place.

Documentary released about polluted rivers release by Al Jazeera – so everyone knows about them now.

Documentary released about mismanaged housing. Includes solutions around the world that (it appears) has not been considered here.

Television pieces showing large parking areas filled with families living in cars in Auckland. Another showing large numbers of pensioners in caravans.

Herald article tracing admissions for malnutrition. Show third world conditions for tens of thousands of young families.

Television article comparing school lunches between high and low decile schools. For the most part, the poor children had no lunch at all.

Greens release report from Environmental Commission on coastal inundation – 130,000 people, 2000kms of road, 5 airports, 43,000 houses. It had been withheld since april 17.

Offical information act request reveals report on decomissioned electric train – it was neither slower nor more expensive.

Report on 13 new coal mines to be created post election.

11B Fiscal hole invented, dismissed as false immediately by every available expert, then falsehood continued for rest of campaign.

Wildfires and drought destroy crops in US high plains. Wildfires out of control in West Australia. Half of an entire country goes under water. A one-in-one thousand year hurricane wipes out Huston. Another larger one wipes out Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba and Florida a fortnight later. Another takes out Puerto Rico within a following fortnight. Nighttime satelite imagery shows the entire country in darkness.

Farmers gather in Morrinsville to complain about taxes that don’t exist and/or don’t affect them. They bring the tractor they used last time climate change came up as a subject. National MPs present are ordered by their party not to speak. Once gathered, they begin to talk about how badly the extra rainfall is affecting them.

Income, Water, Fart tax presented in TVs – ranging from misleading to false. Advertising standards authority dismiss complaints, finding some middle ground between ‘clearly misleading falsehood’ and ‘permissable narrative when you’re clearly taking the piss’.

PM dismisses housing crisis – ‘We have a housing solution’, PM dismisses poverty numbers – they haven’t formulated a method to count them yet, although they appear to be as high as 1/4 million. After much pressure, vows to drop them a little.

No one asks PM about carbon emissions. Or maybe they do – the usual answer is ‘our goals are ambitious’. The emissions have not reduced, since nothing has been done that might cause them to. Many things have been done that will cause them to increase. Huge amounts of infrastructure has been planned or built that will lock in those increases for decades – new coal mines, new coal burning facilities, new roads. One is touted as the most expensive ever built.

Plans for cheap, carbon neutral transport solutions in Greater Auckland area are revealed under official information act. They were abandoned without reasons.

Fonterra chief gets 8 million dollar pay packet.

Now we wait to see whether, for the second time in its history, National gets a fourth term. Under them we are assured to make no progress on reducing emissions, taxpayers will foot huge agricultural emissions costs, and poverty, homelessness and flooding will continue unabated.

Mutually Assured Destruction is a term from the days of Cold War. It referred to the proliferation of Nuclear weapons, when there were enough to destroy the planet seven times over. We now have enough investments in oil, coal and gas extraction to destroy ourselves several times over. So lets bring that word back.

And note, that while its happening, many of us will be watching it from cars with empty stomachs.

 (Edit) of course I missed this. The day before the election a man sets himself on fire in front of parliament. He died the next day. We’re reminded of the appalling levels of suicide and under funding of mental health services. And the 600 empty shoes. And the national MP conflating suicide with euthanasia in a weird way that manages to trivialise the pain on both sides of the argument at once. David Seymour responded with something thoughtful, catching me a little off guard. 

Whatever that barrier was that kept the weirdness away, it has fallen to the ground. Not sure when we’ll see it again.


Pre-election Jitters

So there’s only moments left to change people’s minds. The future of humanity is at stake. What if, instead of another 3 years of roads, coal plants and dairy expansion we actually start acting like responsible carbon-reducing citizens. We electrify rail and make public transport, we start to re-factor farming processes, we remove coal from our industrial processes and leave it in the ground, and we turn the oil companies away.

And while we’re doing this we start a public information campaign so people actually start to absorb the news.

Its one path or the other – and we decide tomorrow. Instead of wasting time talking to my side I need to spend what little time is left talking with the skeptics. If I can turn just a few people around, maybe I’ll be part of the movement that tips the balance. I can be a small person doing a very big thing.

So I turned to twitter and was lucky enough to stumble into this conversation:


Yahtzee. The Green conspiracy. This is Leighton Smith’s territory. Lets see what we can find.


Oh dear.



Lordy. How did I get here.


Of course.  I can see where this is going now.


We’re all doomed.  A little later I got someone from the sidelines laughing at me. Should have known not to try this.