Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What Now?

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  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Che Tibby,

    you're assuming that's not what codders-type people want.

    the alternate view is that the welfare state means that 'these types of people' have enough money to get within 5 km of people like herself.

    I was basing my theory off nations where the welfare state is non-existent or otherwise threadbare, and where an elite monopolise all the wealth. Like Bolivia or Peru.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    For all its faults, a welfare system exists so that the well-to-do don’t have to live behind a razor wire comfort blanket, or have the SAS drive their kids to school.

    Yeah, but if you're important you can afford that kind of life. And the organs of the state are at your beck-and-call because you're well-to-do, so the prolles can just GTFO and STFU because their betters are busy making money and don't have time to concern themselves with the health and wellbeing of the working classes.
    That's about the sum of the neo-lib credo, innit?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson,

    Umm, I am putting it here because I'm not sure where else.

    If someone has a house with around a million bucks worth of original NZ art in it, which has been red stickered... what exactly do they need to do to try and stop that being lost to us forever when the bulldozers roll (potentially without warning)?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Yeah, but if you're important you can afford that kind of life.

    So if razor wires and burly guards are confined to the overclasses, then what of the middle & upper middle classes? Type 'E' licences, methinks? So that probably leaves sticks & stones for the proles.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to SteveH,

    Well, well.

    The liability is now estimated as topping $80bln and the Japanese government is talking about a cap. (or of course, TEPCO could file for bankruptcy).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    Bribe someone with a hard hat and access inside the cordon, or suck up to FieldMarshall Brownlee and chums? I'd get it all out pronto in any case - just look at the stories about people who have played by the rules and been shafted for it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    As has been said by others, the cost of nuclear power is not just the initial capital, but the indemnity if it all goes horribly wrong. Taken as a global aggregate, I would say there's probably sufficient data for actuarial calculations to be carried out for indemnity insurance for nuclear plant operators. It's not new tech, after all, and billions of GWh are generated by nuclear plants every year.

    If it's actually financially realistic to offer insurance to nuclear power companies, why is nobody doing it? Could it be because the premiums would have to be so high that nobody would purchase cover? I find it very hard to believe that no insurance company has looked into the economics.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I would say there's probably sufficient data for actuarial calculations to be carried out for indemnity insurance for nuclear plant operators

    I don't think so. It's a pretty conservative business, insurance. Insuring against the chances of being sued off 3 data points in 3 totally different countries, for 3 quite different kinds of plant.

    I guess smaller punts could be made, though, insuring only up to a certain point, say 100 million dollars. My feeling on why no one does this (and at the right premium it's easy money), is because the plants and investors themselves don't feel the need. They make so much money from the power they generate, that the cost of the suing isn't a significant business risk. The cost of losing the plant is probably the much bigger risk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    For all but the largest generators, liability for an accident like Fukushima would involve bankruptcy. But for an investor with shares in say ten electricity generators, that wouldn't matter, as they'd only lose 10% of their investment.

    Of course, if the assets of the failed company are insufficient to pay for the damage, the government or the injured parties will be left carrying the cost. Privatisation of profit, socialisation of risk - as per usual.

    This nuclear industry site is illustrative - damage is typically:
    = capped at a miniscule level USD23-700 million, depending on the state
    = limited in time
    = excludes environmental damage, preventative measures and economic loss
    = backed up by the national government (i.e. the taxpayer) providing additional compensation

    The joke is, they actually think those terms are reasonable.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Engineer and straight-talking troubleshooter Wayne Brown has offered advice about ways to rebuild quake-damaged suburban houses better and more cheaply. Naturally both Sideshow Bob and Field-Marshall Brownlee have ignored him.

    Brown - who is speaking for a 12-strong engineering review team that went down to Christchurch early last month - says thousands of timber-framed houses with damaged brick veneer cladding and tile roofs could be recladded easily with new weatherboards and corrugated iron roofs.

    Timber-framed houses that have shifted off their foundations could easily be lifted, shifted and connected to the foundations ("in many cases for the first time").

    ...

    Well before Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and his departmental team sent in the bulldozers to demolish houses in at-risk suburbs, they should have at least done Brown the courtesy of reading the report which Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has wilfully ignored.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    John Roughan's ignorance of economics doesn't stop him offering an opinion about financing Christchurch's recovery in the upcoming Budget.

    The Finance Minister runs his contradictory themes by invoking two different sorts of national debt. When he is stern about general expenditure he cites the total external debt, which is horrendous and has been for as long as I can remember. But the bulk of it is private debt raised by banks and lent to companies and households.

    When he says he can safely borrow billions more for Christchurch he takes refuge in government debt, now a small part of the total thanks to Ruth Richardson who trimmed social welfare and bequeathed budget surpluses to finance ministers for the next 15 years.

    But the truth is, low government debt is no longer the main criterion creditors use to assess our national solvency, as Mr English explains for the purposes of his first theme. The global financial crisis has told the creditors that all debt raised through a nation's banking system can become a public liability.

    One clue, Johnboy: those banks are Australian-owned. The claim about Ruthless Richardson being the benificent mother of Cullen's surpluses is just laughable. Been taking notes from Katrina Shanks or Melissa Lee, have we?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Well you know, he'll get away with writing anything from the comfort blanket of his razor-wired McMansion.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Sacha,

    timber-framed houses with damaged brick veneer cladding and tile roofs could be recladded easily with new weatherboards and corrugated iron roofs.

    I have actually done this on several occasions. It's relatively cheap, not too highly skilled, the removal of the bricks and tiles is almost totally skill free and the rubble can be used for land stabilisation and it's quick. To not do it, on the otherhand, would be to indicate that you have motives other than getting the people of Christchurch back in their homes in a cost effective and timely manner. Let's see how this pans out. I, for one, will be watching Gerry Brownlee very critically.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    One other point about brick cladding/veneer is that as the mass is on the exterior of the house the thermal efficiency is very low, even with insulation. This would be an opportunity to address that failing too.It also creates an opportunity to install insulation and new wiring and increase the quality of Christchurch's housing stock.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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