We are immigrants. We came to New Zealand for many reasons & with a host of expectations. We were determined to fit in, to assimilate local culture & try not to be too “but where we came from…”. We have been here over 10 years now and it is our home. Our children have grown up here & we are going nowhere else. There are many, many good things about New Zealand & equally, many that should be fixed. Above everything else though, there is one issue that I feel really disappointed and let down on - renewable energy.
Now, we all know (or should) that the 100% pure marketing campaign is just that, a great marketing campaign. We shouldn’t be persuaded by our own propaganda that it is entirely true, because if we are we will fail to actually do anything about the lack of purity in certain areas. But above and beyond the reality of today, we should, indeed we must, look to tomorrow. Being a small country on the edge of the world we struggle to cost effectively keep up with the rest of the world. How many times have you heard the “we are not big enough to attract…” or the “we have to import everything which is why it is so much more expensive arguments?" Those are subjects of possible future rants, but the reality is we are perfectly positioned to begin to dominate the world in key global issues, if only we had the courage and conviction.
We have bountiful sunshine and isn’t Wellington one of the windiest places on earth? Not to mention flowing water on land & strong currents in the sea. This is where future energy is going to come from. We are falling into the same energy trap as American gun laws. Change is impossible because we don’t want to change the status quo. It is not only big business, it is individual apathy. As long as we get water & electricity delivered to our doors, what incentive do we have to drive change? Well, Donald Trump’s answer to the senseless & gut-wrenching slaughter of innocent children is to arm them…
New Zealand should invest in the best researchers, build world-beating test laboratories & drive us all to adopt 100% pure energy. In addition to software, this is an area that New Zealand can lead the world in. There is no disadvantage to being remote, nothing needs to be continually imported and indeed with our resources, we have some huge advantages. We don’t even need another cable to connect us to the world (although that is going to be essential for the technology side, if we ever get our act together there). I have been looking at this issue for a while & it seems that the main hindrance is apathy & a lack of a clear incentive. We have been talking about climate change for decades & only this year, the US starts to recognise it as a major problem? Well, it is here to stay, so what is NZ doing about securing a future for our children and grandchildren? I have dreams about power units that take in water, split the hydrogen atoms from the oxygen creating energy, then collide two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen to create more energy & expel water. Simple, fanciful & entirely possible…
Trade agreements are great & will hopefully allow our commercial enterprises to continue & flourish in our export markets, but that is just maintaining, or possibly slightly improving the status quo. Let’s do something real for this world & get NZ to lead the way! Drive existing technology into new homes. Insist on, and contribute to, massive investment in the technology behind creating safe, clean power. Force the power companies to drive the change so that they are not marginalised in the near future, and they can sell their developments to the world - no trade agreements will be required for technology that everyone wants, and needs. We are short of State Housing? Well, develop & build a self-sustaining house & allow the people with the most need in our society to live with power they generate themselves, for free.
Solar power is getting massively cheaper in most parts of the developed world, but not in New Zealand. We are still transfixed by that importer’s Gorgon gaze. “We have to ship in product from thousands of kilometres …” Well, Mr importer, I can bring in an individual product from New York, faster than some companies can ship it from Auckland, pay the correct tax & import duty & still save 40% on the local price & do you think the US company is not making a profit on that sale? The stranglehold that importers have over us, well that’s another long rant, but it has to be broken in this case. Make all renewable energy goods subject to competition by allowing (indeed, mandating) State-owned power companies to import & sell renewable energy products until we have our own developed.
Yes, it all boils down to money, right? Well, money is vital, but no, wrong. It boils down to will. Political will to make it happen, despite the short-term sacrifices; personal will for each of us to stand up & demand that the power we use comes from real clean sources; collective will for all of us to insist that New Zealand becomes the pre-eminent researcher and developer of renewable energy, for the sake of our children’s commercial as well as environmental future. After all, if we don’t, we might as well let Trump arm children all around the world, because effectively that is what we are doing by doing nothing.