Sunday, July 17, 2005


Local action for localisation of economy

I have been thinking that when I get back from USA I will start a group whose aim will be to support the local economy. I guess one of the first things to do would be to set up a currency. I am thinking about the design and purpose of such a currency and my first thoughts are that it should start with the local organic suppliers of produce. It could be a bought currency like Saltspring Island perhaps. It would have to have an hour as the unit. Not sure about how to get it working so that it works itself like Open Money stuff does, but maybe it is a great time to go to a conference and learn about Open Money. My first thoughts are that we need a currency whose purpose is to favour those who grow organically and locally, it should encourage and stimulate a lot of food growing and a lot of organics generally. Local retailers need to be favoured with this. Local manufacturers need to be favoured.

Robert Atak has been fined a hefty fine for desecrating National Party billboards and putting his website on them. That is rotten.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Life after Peak Oil Blog from New Zealand

Well I have decided to keep a log of what is going on in New Zealand as cheap oil runs out. What effect is it going to have on the economy? What effect on transport and lifestyles? What effect on inflation? How is it tied up with the value of the New Zealand dollar? Is it affecting small businesses yet? Is it affecting poor families yet? What will happen to the older population like us? What will happen to the price of houses? Of rural productive land? What will we do with all the cars? Will the economy collapse anyway after the house price bubble? If that fund manager Al Jones has sold all his shares and his property, then why not us?

Tonight's news on Close Up says that we actually have a very high number of cars per capita, only beaten by Australia and USA I think. It gave hints for petrol economy. The price of petrol went up 3 cents this week again. They are hinting that government takes too much in tax.

Right now the Government is spending heaps on roads, a tagged tax from a 5 cent a litre petrol price hike we had recently. Today we saw the inner city bypass being constructed. We came home at peak traffic time after the movies and it took an hour and a half, stopping and starting a lot, not too hot on the fuel economy.

Our house is not particularly warm, but all heating is expensive. We are lucky Alistair brings us wood and I wonder if we should get a new pot belly stove rather than run the electicity.

Over the last two or three weeks we have been playing around with the idea of buying a 3 acre fruit and nut orchard in Otaki Gorge Road. Of course this is ridiculous at our age and with our limited skills or liking for the garden it is actually out of the question. Our family knows this and given our ages it seems silly. However we know that after peak oil, food will be critical and so at least Susanna, Alistair looked at the property for us. Food could be bartered six months of the year, but Malcolm doesn't drive and it is not a good idea really unless we had another younger family sharing the enterprise with us. No luck there, as Malcolm wouldn't entertain this. But meanwhile we had our own house appraised by real estate agents.

What will happen to the price of suburban homes in the next ten years. Today the NZ dollar is only 65 US cents and going down, our balance of payments is worsening, inflation is 2.8% and it is predicted our dollar will go down further. This will be awful for our oil imports. The government is planning for more oil reserves.

Yesterday there was a Dominion Post headline "Get reading for future oil shock, lobby group warns" and today's is "Petrol pain tipped for all". So oil is in the news. Even my older sister is talking about it, which shows it is well into the public consciousness. Diesel prices have risen 40 percent in a year and the TV1 item showed that small fishers in Nelson are not going out as it is not profitable.

I note that Dr Mike Patrick of the Petroleium Exlporation Association of New Zealand is saying it is the end of light sweet crudes, but then he says there will come a time wehn those reserves will start declining. Not logical. After peak comes decline. That's the definition of peak. He also claims tar sands from Canada or heavy oils from Venezuela will become economic to refine, then goes on to say the peak in world oil production including these heavy oils will be decades away. Brendan O'Donoghue of the National Bank told Campbell Live tonight that oil refineries were being built and exploration intensifed, all very hopeful. However he was concerned about inflation.

Tim Jones of Sustainable Energy Forum, however, told the Dominion Post that the peak oil date is closer and more urgent thatn most politicians think.

I see the Maori Party is going to be pushing the issue, along with the Green Party in the coming election.

When I was at the Rotorua Womens Expo I spoke to the people running the coffee stall next to us. It was mid Sunday afternoon and they had been doing a roaring trade all weekend. I said "You must be happy with the weekend?" and the woman told me their costs were so high they had scarcely broken even and they would have to put up their prices. Well it is not all transport here, coffee prices too are a factor, but she mentioned petrol prices...

Tereana and Wendy are off to a Christian Camp for teenagers at Cambridge. I wonder if this will be the last time. It is so expensive to get there.

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