Posts by Paul Webber

  • Hard News: A plea for sanity on the…, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    The Melbourne comparison is apposite – from my Grey Lynn vantage point (actually in the valley) let’s avoid demolishing the city’s history willy-nilly and instead move all those car yards on the Great North Road ridge and build some quality apartments with the best views in the city rather than a massive Bunnings with a four metre wall to the road. The vibrant Ponsonby Road and New North Road, Kingsland environments can and should be replicated in an area and a way that will continue to reinvigorate the central city fringes. I want to be able to walk to cafés, restaurants and shops, not drive.

    I agree – surely some of the best opportunities for intensification are current non-residential sites.

    Out this way in St Johns / Glen Innes the major issue is not destruction of historic dwellings but reduction in green space. The UP has most of Colin Maiden Park (home of Auckland University Cricket Club and Auckland University Rugby Club) re-zoned for high-density housing.

    I think the plan calls for a 40% increase in population in our ward over the planning period. So re-zoning Colin Maiden Park helps with housing 40% more people, but where will the 40% extra children get to run around (especially when most of the remaining back yards will have a new house on them)?

    We need to be planning not just for intensification of houses but for intensification of living together - more cars, more busses, more train trips, and more pressure on our parks and beaches.

    I’d like to see Colin Maiden Park (and other parks) remain in place in its (their) entirety. And the low density commercial businesses in the surrounding Felton Matthew Ave and Morrin Rd might just have to cosy up to each other to free up space for people.

    Getting rid of the biggest park in the area just cannot be the smartest long-term solution.

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Disrupting the Television, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Could they make the $100m they earn from New Zealand rights annually by dealing with individuals? It’s not actually clear they would.

    Possibly not. But will the rights be worth $100m next year if a significant portion of the market is bypassing the local distributor, with or without Fyx?

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Disrupting the Television, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I agree with much of what Tom says. But I don’t blame Sky for putting all its rugby content behind a paywall at high prices – that’s their business model. I put more blame on the short-sightedness of the NZRFU for banishing us to a life of pay TV nocturnal rugby. In Australia, sports administrators require that the game of the week (at least) is available live and free-to-air. Aussie Rules and rugby league still play games during the afternoon. So families can go to the ground together or watch live on TV. My rugby-mad 7 year old had only watched club rugby live until we took him to Fiji v Samoa at the RWC and then let him stay up to watch the RWC final on TV. End of pet rant.

    On the topic at hand… In our house a couple of programmes are on weekly recording schedule and I watch them when convenient for me. I’m not sure how the free-to-air networks sell their advertising, I certainly watch none of it and don’t know many people that do. I assume they’re working on Max Headroom style blipverts that work when viewed at 32x normal speed.

    The rest of our relatively minimal viewing is downloaded.

    I buy F1’s grossly overpriced iPhone live timing app and, having given Bernie Eccleston my $37, feel no qualms in grabbing a fabulous HD torrent of every race first thing on Monday morning (and watch it before turning on the radio or reading the newspaper).

    Like theoatmeal, I haven’t found a way of paying HBO for Game of Thrones yet.

    Like Tom, the biggest problem I have is with rugby. It is not easily downloadable at decent quality. However, I was able to watch a live stream of an All Blacks vs South Africa test in a Singapore Airline lounge last year after paying some pirate a subscription of $30 for a year of unlimited access to his/her theivery.

    So it seems to me that all the models of distribution are broken. Free-to-air relies on ads that are increasingly no viewed and therefore not valuable. Local pay TV distribution of high-rating drama is bypassed by downloaded from the net. Maybe only live niche sport is still effectively captured by the pay TV model until the mad Russians get their quality sorted?

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Golden Mile,

    the city’s original, elegant east-west plan, with its spectacular concentric circles.

    So that's why Waterloo Quadrant is not a Street or a Road or an Avenue. It was supposed to be a sector equal to one quarter of a circle. Cool old factiod discovered. Thanks RB.

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…,

    I propose "fuckeulogy." Not a PA ecosystem word, I know, but definitely the best neologism I’ve heard this year.

    A fuckeulogy is an oration or writing for a recently deceased person who, in the opinion of the author, has no redeeming qualities and who not be missed in any capacity. The term was coined by John Oliver in a Bugle podcast on the death of Osama bin Laden, when he said, "This is not a tribute episode to bin Laden, as much as a special fuckeulogy to the big guy."

    To the best my knowledge only two fuckeulogies have been delivered: one each on the deaths of bin Laden, and Moammar Gadhafi. Both in 2011. My word of the year.

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Sound of Music,

    I’m generally of the view that the right music makes everything better. I get it that the IRB (and also the bozos running Super XV and Tri Nations games) think that there is a need to entertain the crowd and produce the best possible atmosphere. And I can see the point in playing music between games at a two-day long seven-a-side tournament. But, really, at a test match do we need music at all?

    Watching Ireland strangle Australia or (insert any of the various great stouches from this RWC) is the entertainment. A jam-packed stadium creates quite the atmosphere.

    The great games are not enhanced by the music. The dull games (and there have been surprisingly few at this RWC) are not salvaged by the music.

    In fact, I think the music probably interferes with the crowd experience. It would have been nicer to hear the Irish supports belt out Molly Malone or Black Velvet Band (as they did throughout the second half of their 50-point hiding from Auckland in 1992) or the Fijian bloke 20m from me get to finish his rant on Samoa’s unhealthy sexual attraction to taro before they were drowned out by generic anthem rock.

    But we should be glad of small mercies. At Eden Park at least the music volume has not been as injurious to aural health as the public address system at Waikato Stadium has been in recent years. And the IRB didn’t employ the local Cock Rock FM DJ to exhort us to scream our support of the home team, holler “Deee Fence”, etc. That was a truly awful experience.

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Towards the Truth,


    Nicky Hagar was nonplussed?

    Nonplussed means confused and bewildered to the point of inaction. However, almost every time I've seen/heard it used in the last decade the writer/speaker means unconcerned or unfazed. A word turns into its own antonym.

    Not really as important as the NZ defense forces operating outside the rules of war but worth quick comment.

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Popular Paranoiac Politics, in reply to FletcherB,

    just to make your chosen party seem less extreme (and maybe bleed off a few genuine nutters too)

    There’s more to it than making National look good or siphoning off nut cases. Under MMP you need a coalition partner because no party gets more than 50% of the party vote. National needs a right-of-National party or a non-Labour centre party with which it can govern.

    When MMP was first adopted, National should have split into a Conservative Party (country and Kings College Old Boys) and a Liberal Party (to compete against the centre-left in the cities).

    But they didn’t split and therefore National has to rely on the monster raving loonie parties for support. But ACT has failed on the right and United has withered in the centre. And Winston is grandpa non grata even if he returns from the wilderness.

    So National needs another party of somewhat similar philosophy (or at least with some popular support and a lust for power) to emerge and quickly.

    Whilst I don’t think there’s a place in NZ politics for a home-grown Tea Party (Manuka Party?), surely there is a place for a liberal party. Economically conventional like National but reformist rather than conservative. Greener than National without the return-to-feudalism of the Greens. Not socially conservative like Brash and his brethren. Compassionate for the community without Labour’s reflex ritual of brother-unionist-against-capitalism. Where is that party?

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Still not all that Super?,

    ... but it's hard to see how you'd write a bill that so comprehensively removed those services from the public sphere unless that's how you wanted it to be.

    I think that's a good point. The reforms are clearly designed to remove daily local democratic control of (or "interference in" if that's your ideology) service delivery. But the ideological hypotheses that "local government runs things badly" and "all service providers should be sold to the private sector" (whilst related) are separate.

    So Craig, I think there is a case to argue that the separation of COOs from operational Council control was designed rather than some sort of unintentional consequence of dysfunctional relationship between local and central government.

    But Russell, "we think the Council shouldn't run certain services on a day-to-day basis" is not the same as "let's structure the COOs for future sale".

    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: We invented everything,

    Russell… Good show on climate change reporting in the media.

    I think Prof Gluckman’s repeated point that the science is sorted to the extent that we as a community can start working on our response is well made.

    However, I just about fell off my chair when you finished the show with a throw away line something to the effect that it’d be nice if journalists were as scientifically literate as they are economically literate.

    I have been harping on to my friends for the past year or more (after I saw some particularly dodgy analysis in print), that the economic cost of climate change and climate change responses seems to me to get pitiful coverage and no critical analysis! I think the coverage is much worse than the science ‘debate’ coverage.

    Most of the stuff we see in the press is about how much it will all cost and how much damage climate change responses will do to the economy. We hear very little about how these estimates are modelled.

    Clearly, if you cut CO2 emissions to pre-industrial revolution levels tomorrow, there’s going to be a massive shock and cost. But that’s not how change is likely to occur.

    The experience I’ve had at changing businesses processes to use less energy is that the first slab of reduction is profitable!

    Reductions in greenhouse gas pollution for most places in the world entails reduction in the energy input required to manufacture, store and dispose of all that consumer stuff. If a company can make its production facility more energy efficient or cunningly reduce the transport component of distribution, it’ll probably make more money, not less.

    Every time I’ve heard someone say, “we need to cut X out of our process” and apply some brainpower to the problem, the result has been the same: Modest cuts can be achieved quickly and profitably. Quite a lot can be achieved at very low cost. Further reductions are difficult and expensive.

    It doesn’t matter if “X” is electricity, water, paper or fleet vehicle kms. And there’s CO2 in all that stuff. Reduce your electricity bill, save money and reduce CO2. Ditto water, etc. Where’s the economic vandalism?

    In NZ we need to look at different problems. Again, there may be relatively costless solutions. Selective breeding of cattle and sheep for millennia has paid attention to the efficiency of turning feed into meat, milk and wool. Breeders have not been interested in the fart output. It may well be that we can achieve dramatic reductions in methane pollution at little or no cost to productivity.

    I guess it all depends on how far down the cost curve we need to go to get to 40% below 1990 emissions (or whatever the ultimate goal is). I haven’t seen any analysis of this from a global or NZ perspective. Are we in the “quickly and profitably” range or the “difficult and expensive” range?

    What does 40% below 1990 emissions by 2050 mean? Assuming a 1% population growth rate, our emissions would need a 35% reduction per capita to get to 1990 levels. So we’d need something like a 60% reduction per capita to get to a 40% overall reduction.

    How might we get to a 60% reduction per capita?

    A lot of the new population is going to be in the inner city. They’ll walk and use public transport to far greater degree than the current average New Zealander. The suburbanites are going to be driving more efficient cars on their commutes and there’ll be growth in public transport use for commuters too. How much does that save? What is the economic cost? Very low, is my guess.

    Then there’s direct energy use. NZ generation portfolio of hydro, combined cycle gas, wind, geothermal and a small amount of coal is pretty low in emissions by international standards. We probably can’t improve that enormously. But perhaps there are opportunities here… the world may be looking for low CO2 energy for energy intensive production. The most globally efficient solution may be to move some of that production here. Could that work under currently proposed trading mechanisms? Would it be a net economic benefit to NZ?

    Land use will clearly be important. What is the economic cost of reducing rural emissions? If we converted the 25% most marginal diary farms to their next best economic use, what would the benefit in emissions be? What is the cost? Like the energy industry, it may be that NZ can produce the lowest emission diary fat in the world, so maybe the world will pay us to keep producing it… What would the emission advantage (CO2e/tonne of milk solids) need to be to give NZ a net economic gain from a given global tax/price on emissions ($/tonne C02e)?

    I assume people have been bright economists working on estimates of costs post the Stern review but I’ve heard very little about it in the media. If all these media folk are economic experts, where’s the story of the economic cost of climate change response? Where’s the critique of whether the best approach is a carbon tax or a tradable entitlement?


    Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 Older→ First