Friday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Gender equality; history lesson; mining for toilets; lamb advantage; mass sackings?; Clarke & Dawe; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 10:00 am today in association with NZ Mint.

Bernard Hickey is on vacation and won't be back until later next week.

I welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to

I am still keen to get your suggestions for suitable cartoons. If you notice a really good one, please email me.

See all previous Top 10s here.

1. Own goal?
Prior to the GFC, Spain achieved great success under the Socialist government of Rodríguez Zapatero in reducing income inequality.

Now it appears that the way it did that has left it ill equipped to fix its economic problems.

You may like to read this and then think how something similar may play out in New Zealand when the Christchurch construction frenzy gets into full gear.

The country's construction boom of the 2000s had a powerful effect on unskilled workers, providing ample jobs and boosting wages. As a result, the income gap between the rich and poor fell sharply, at a time when inequality was rising in other developed nations.

[One expert observer] noted that the building boom coincided with a troubling trend in the country's high-school dropout rate. It rose to 31 percent in 2009, at a time when dropout rates were falling elsewhere in Europe. Apparently, the abundance of well-paid, low-skilled jobs made education unattractive.

2. Gender equality
The gap between male and female life expectancy is closing and men could catch up by 2030. At least, that is the British expectation. The BBC reports:

May not be repeated here because smoking rates are far lower in New Zealand. The latest equivalent data for New Zealand (2009) if you are 30 is that if you are male, you can expect to live to 80, if you are female you can expect to live to more than 83. Of course, those are median expectations - half of you will live longer than that, half shorter. (You are going to be a long time 'retired' so plan accordingly.)

The reason could be down to men living a healthier lifestyle. "One of the main reasons, I think, is the trend in the prevalence of smoking. Smoking took off after 1920 in the male population and at its high about 80% of males smoked.

"Men are getting a bit better behaved and women are adopting male life expectancies."

3. Savers to be forced to hold Govt stock?
You won't see too much linking by me to uber-bear Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge (even though I do read his stuff). But this one is worth consideration and a read: will bond investors and savers have to hold forced government loans at some point in the future?

Everyone and their dog realises that suffering the whole pain of a restructuring event at once is a bad alternative compared to spreading the pain over a longer period of time and spreading it in an orderly and less uncertain way.

It seems that the free market does not provide this option without harsh government intervention. The free market tends towards capital flight, wider risk spreads and thereby makes a restructuring event at the end of the road more likely. Greece for that matter has been half-solved at best and therefore has a good chance of being back on the brink soon.

I believe that at some point, we may see the implementation of a temporary regime which includes forced government loans for domestic private sector participants paired with strict capital controls for as long as the de-leveraging is going on.

4. History lesson
Columnists who focus on the euro crisis can't help themselves; they see eerie parallels between what is playing out now with what happened in the 1930's in . The UK Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has the bug, and I must say, he makes a compelling case: but you will either need to be a history buff, or of a certain [advanced] age ...

This week the tornado has smashed into the core, bringing down Holland's government and probably the French leader Nicolas Sarkozy as well in a cacophony of anti-EU diatribes.

Keynesians blame budget cuts, convinced that the pace of fiscal tightening - a net 2.5pc of GDP in Spain and 3.5pc in Italy -is beyond any sensible therapeutic dose, and already shown to be self-defeating in Greece, where economic collapse has left the deficit stuck near 10pc.

Monetarists blame the European Central Bank, accusing Frankfurt of tipping half of Europe back into slump by responding to last year's oil shock with rate rises. The effect was to compound drastic falls in real M1 deposits across Club Med, and trigger a credit crunch just as banks were slashing balances sheets to meet new rules. While the ECB has since launched its €1 trillion liquidity blast, this is not quantitative easing and has toxic side-effects.

5. 'Baseball players deserve their pay; bankers don't'
The person who said that is an ex player-union boss, so you would expect him to say that. But the reasons he gave are worth reading all the same:

“The first thing about that is that here you have a direct conflict of interest, because sitting on a board are executives of other corporations, and what they are doing is adding ammunition to their own quest for higher salaries,” Miller said, according to the AP report. “And it’s such an obvious conflict of interest that it’s awful. Of course they’re going to vote for higher salaries.”

And furthering enraging ... Miller, the actual owners of companies, shareholders, don’t have a real vote in executive pay.

But did he conveniently ignore the clawback provisions in most executive pay schemes? Does Piri have a clawback clause? (Do kiwi bosses have clawback clauses?)

6. Mining for toilets
Under the ground in South Australia lies a valuable mineral which is in high demand, partly because more toilets are needed in China and India. That mineral is zircon, which is about as tough as tungsten or emerald and is used as a whitening agent for ceramics. But the riches may well come at the expense of grain harvests. Whether grain should be grown in such land is another question given the fragility of the soils there. It's a story of mining vs agriculture vs leaving the land alone. The ABC has the details:

7. Longer and deeper
Here's a graph from The UK Guardian showing that the UK economy has performed even more weakly since the current financial crisis began than in the Great Depression:

Each number on the horizontal axis represents one calendar quarter, while the vertical axis tracks economic outlook (with 100 representing the peak economic outlook before each downturn began).

With thanks to a fund manager who tweets as @Pawelmorski, who points out that Britain did "the equivalent of leaving the euro" (ie, quitting the gold standard) in 1931 (data points 4-7) on the graph.

8. China with a lamb advantage?
Chinese scientists have cloned a genetically modified sheep containing a "good" type of fat found naturally in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Reuters reports:

Lead scientist Du Yutao at the Beijing Genomics Institute and colleagues inserted the gene that is linked to the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids into a donor cell taken from the ear of a Chinese Merino sheep.

The cell was then inserted into an unfertilized egg and implanted into the womb of a surrogate sheep.

"The gene was originally from the C. elegans (roundworm) which has been shown (in previous studies) to increase unsaturated fatty acids which is very good for human health," Du said.

"Peng Peng", which has a roundworm fat gene, weighed in at 5.74 kg when it was born on March 26 in a laboratory in China's far western region of Xinjiang.

"It's growing very well and is very healthy like a normal sheep," Du told Reuters.

9. Is Michael Cullen about to do mass sackings at NZ Post?
Vernon Small at the DomPost looks at the tough options facing NZ Post as its snail-mail volumes continue their relentless fall:

NZ Post has warned 2012 is crunch time, with the state-owned enterprise needing hundreds of millions of dollars in capital for subsidiary Kiwibank as well as flexibility to cut store numbers and halt post delivery on some days.

In a toughly worded letter to State-owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall, NZ Post chairman Michael Cullen said most short-term fixes had been exhausted.

Cost-cutting and new products could no longer match the falling mail volumes.

In the letter, released under the Official Information Act, Cullen said 2012 "must be the year in which we take the first steps in making fundamental changes to our operational models".

10. The last laugh
It's Friday, so expecting something from Christov. In the meantime, here is Clarke and Dawe's latest.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.


nz post has missed the boat with restructuring.
this should have happen many years ago.
instead they went out and purchased state of the art sorting machines to sort an ever decreasing volume.
there should be only 4 major sorting centres in nz as opposed to the present6.
we don't need 6 days delivery .4 at the most..we are a country of 5 million people not 50 million.
we can no longer afford all the services that a country 10 times the population has.

Tsk tsk, we have got to find well paid jobs for our ex politicians. Can't have people who can see the blindingly obvious running things now can we?

Its worse in the US.  I read an article in BusinessWeek a while ago, haven't got the link tho.
There the postal service is totally politicised & constrained by legislation.  eg by law they have to deliver free to everyone in the country 6 days a week (these rugged rural individualists have to draw the limits on their libertarianistic streak somewhere!), aren't allowed to close post offices, & haven't been allowed to put up the price of postage for years.
So its virtually bankrupt.  So much for the home of freedom & private enterprise. 

In regards to #3, I may be wrong but didn't this happen before in USA/UK during world war two?

#3. Going forward as all goverments in the Developed countries look for more and more money in a rapidly shrinking economy, taxes will rise (disguised in other forms) and spending cuts increases (again disguised in other form). 
In NZ context, Kiwisaver will be a good avenue for Goverment to tap into, eg forcing all Kiwisaver management to invest a minimum fixed amount in Goverment bonds (in the name of security) etc etc.
Unlike in WWII when war bonds are sold as a patriotic duty, private investors will now be shunning Goverment Bonds (after the Greece fiasco) so some form of coercion will be needed. 

Greece has spend about 25% of its time as a nation in bankruptcy, so I dont think it will have much effect but Japan or UK or France may have more of a cooling effect.

No need to legislate. All they need to do is create a govt provider that has little to no fees and puts 100% into government bonds. I would certainly put my money there - better than theiving fund managers.

NZ Post is currently selling one of its subsideries that processes electronic transactions even though its making money. Either needs the cash or decided its not core business.

#2, gender equality
There was a theory which has been accepted as gospel that in prehistoric times women were babushkas who looked after their daughters' children.  So there was an evolutionary advantage in women living longer; whereas men soon passed their use-by date & were allowed to die off as simply a burden on society. 
If the difference in age is to do with lifestyle, & can be remediated the same way, then that theory is starting to look like post-feminist-inspired claptrap.

Cree Indian Prophecy
Only after the last tree is cut down
the last water poisoned
The last animal destroyed
Only then will you realise
you cannot eat money.

Read Collapse, by Jared Diamond, & you will find the truth in that.

Already watched various youtube's etc....

That's when we get back to eating each other mah Boy...! save me a leg..!

And sadly, today you can add to that little list, "when the last beehive collapses" and I dont mean the particularly large version located in Wellington

3. yep, I expect the Cullen fund and most kiwisaver account funds will be "encouraged" at some point to go 100% NZ only.....

Spot on Steven!

Pretty sure from what I see both parties saying that this will be the we dont want to get there because,
I think Spain? for one has had its public employee pensions schemes invest locally in local debt...guess what the local is bankrupt as so will the public pension schemes...

On the other hand we could see that actually building further and further out doesnt work...and especially in an energy constrained ie expensive world.
We find that increasingly the poor spend a bigger amount of their income of transportation costs.......its not "affordable" as you claim when you do the TCO (total cost of ownership) calcs except for the developers and land owners, who really are being parasitic on rate payers...
ie  the infrastructure debt that developers want to shovel onto the councils....
User pays is my reply to that one.
The symbiosis between the Keynesian expansion of the economy and the growth of suburbs in US cities has been ably discussed by Beauregard (2006). Sprawl was driven by the flow of money, the "American dream" of owning a home in the suburbs, and facilitated by the widespread ownership of cars. The suburbs were designed with cars in mind.
The growth of suburbs fulfilled two roles. Lots of houses were available for new buyers, which kept prices down; and city governments discovered that developer's fees and the new land taxes initially exceeded the maintenance cost of the new roads and infrastructure built to support them,. Unfortunately, as time passed and the infrastructure aged, soon maintenance costs exceeded tax revenues, necessitating another round of growth. Suburbs were able to maintain the required level of growth for a few decades, but we are reaching the point everywhere (it seems) where there cannot be enough new growth to maintain our crumbling infrastructure.
The mindset of the "ownership society" really drove demand for housing, and the best places to expand were in the southwest, so that cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas really grew. Low interest rates plus easy money led to a bubble in house prices and an explosion of sprawl.
The Austrian school of economics teaches us that easy money leads to malinvestment. Suburban growth certainly seems to qualify. Our urban sprawl malinvestment has left us with the interwoven problems of unlivable cities, financial crisis, and increased death and destruction from natural disasters

That top doc film lays it "city governments discovered" out well....I find it interesting that here in NZ we see yet more parasitic developers trying for a repeat of the US fiasco.........funny how singing "user pays" only works when someone else is paying.......really its amoral....

Interesting response Hugh. I actually don't have any argument with you about local government, or any government in fact. You do however resort to fallacious argument when you say things like "All the reputable international urban research" or "SPARE US THE LUDDITE MALTHUSIAN "ROT
Is there any chance you are being rather selective with you academic links or quotes? Beauregard is afterall an Architecture Professor at a respected university. You don't have any of Professor Emiritus Christopher Alexander's work linked either.
What I would be really interested to know, since you throw the malthusian tag around a bit, is what you make of the inflextion point on the population graph. The rate of growth in population turned from positive to negative in 1961, so every year there are less and less people that homes need to be built for. The rate is also slowing year on year. Within a generation the population growth itself will turn negative, meaning we will have a surplus of houses. 
To me it begs the question why? The figures are not theory but just a simple factual number. Looks to me like a peaking trend.

It wont be a generation ie 25 years....I think this because,
1) If you look at the annual food production v demand its in balance (more or less) now.  If you then consider the global food reserves, in bad years we have had to draw them down and that is becoming more frequent.....that alone doesnt sound good, it suggests a real issue.
2) AGW, it seems 1998 was a peak global year for temperatures, but it occured at the end of an el nino cycle (which drives the av temp warmer).  But for the last 12 years we have had a la nina which drives the av temps cooler, yet 2010 was hotter than 1998, in a cool cycle, oh dear. On top of that we have had extreame weather events such as the russian heat waves, an unknown event in 1000 or 2000 years that have adversly impacted food output. So we are looking at switching to el nino this or maybe next year, that means crops are going to see hotter weather and more extreme events for at least a production has to decline and its probably going to see very severe dips...
3) Peak oil as an event will limit the use of fertilizers, ppl wont be able to afford food production will decline from this alone.
4) Water, just looking at say China as a example, they are now switching to less water intensive agriculture as the pumping costs from the depths now common are simply too high...hello food production decline.......
All this speaks of less food, more starvation and then a population decline.......I cant see ppl starving quietly....
Queue the shoot the messenger god squady types.

Just trying to give a conservative case Steven. Be good to get Hugh to actually look at this and start thinking, or at least come up with an explanation.

Oh he wont.....he's a one drum kind of guy......
NB think I have el nino and la nina mixed up...

OK, here's the reality for all you ( now numbered on one hand here on this board ) " climate deniers." So, steven et al, take your BS and abuse elsewhere.

Nice side step of the population evidence staring you in the face. Actually I don't bother entering the global warming debate is really is a side show to divert the small minds from the debate about bigger issues.

Nice sidestep of the economic and governance issues for those with small minds who can't see the bigger issues of the politicisation of basic science for financial gain and the UN IPCC and government corruption staring them in the face.

Side steps again. Bigger? I don't think so. Not when the whole financial system is in question and the debts unpayable. Keep taking on am many more debts at you like, it is all just numbers in computers. Hoever the world population is real, and they all need to eat.

OMG: Look in your mirror.  Plus learn some basic (climate) science.  Then think.

OMG works in the oil industry, its known as vested interest....but he neednt fear for his job due to AGW, as DavidB quotes on fossil fuels, there is no where else to go.......

BS, fraid not, I quote and read from climate scientists web sites and work. I did this to educate myself as a voter and adult on what the issues are and the truth as best I can determine so I can vote accordingly.
I could quite happily show you the list of sites I read....your list seems to consist of whatsupwith and a few deniers video blogs...So the shear numbers and weight of evidence, logic and data point at man made warming, simple.  From that if you understood how risk assessement and managment worked you would see that there is enough information to conclude acting is pri\udent..
Abuse,  oh so its OK for Hugh P, DavidB etc to call ppl luddites? malthusians etc? but not fair I stand up and give as good as?
Friad thats not how I see tell you what, clean up the other/your side's silliness/abuse and I'll aim to match it.

Abuse,  oh so its OK for Hugh P, DavidB etc to call ppl luddites? malthusians etc?
That's not abuse, that's just being kind to the less fortunate!

Oh really. Done that IQ test yet David? 

Good lord. You really are utterly, utterly clueless aren’t you? God I’m so glad I’m not a bitter hater like you.

I have to disagree with you there Scarfie, and IQ test would prove precisely nothing, it would prove precisely nothing even if David B had the higher IQ. His statements are frequently stupid entirely and precisely because they are not based of hard evidence. They are bigoted precisely and entirely because he refuses to engage with what anybody else is saying, he prefers to engage with straw man positions.
No IQ test is going to change any of that.

Well entirely true, but it would give a start point for others to consider the weight to give his posts. I really doubt he would come under the category 'higher' and I think you, along with a few others can see that. Above average, probably, but I would doubt past the first standard deviation.
It is more of a case of camping on a troll like him, put up or shut up.

Hi Steven,  I don't mind some of your end of the world predictions but don't get to much into the agriculture sector please as some of the arguments don't hold water in the real world.  There is plenty of spare capacity in world food production its just a matter of spreading it round a bit better and making decisions that actually make sense like not irrigating north canterbury for milk production !  Who knows what will happen if temperatures rise by a degree or two ?  For a start we will be able to grow C4 species like maize further south (at the moment Ashburton is about the cut-off for growing maize) and be able to use longer season varieties.  Imagine the production increase for Southland farms with another month longer growing season and the ability to grow C4 species over summer with their inherantly higher water use efficiency !  What about production increases in russia ? What about the increase in winter cropping programmes (with their subsequent increase in WUE) what about the increase growing season for legumes like white clover and subsequent increase in Nitrogen fixation with subsequent increase in grass production of cropping following pasture ?  What if we can get some GE lotus corniculatus x ryegrass going so we can have the ability to grow pasture with high bypass protein pasture with grazing resistance and the ability to grow at very low P levels (hence P fertiliser use decreases significantly)  ?  There are so many possibilities with global warming and agriculture in general so please don't say the world is going to run out of food.

Hi,  I am more than happy to delve into this to explore who is closer to the mark on this. Pretty sure its me. In fact reading your post it becomes clear you need to do a lot more least on the effects of AGW...
Also I ididnt say run out of food, I said not have enough to feed the ppl today let alone the projected numbers. We reach Peak food, not run out.
So 1 or 2 is a problem, but that then isnt the limit of the rise, we will go onto 4 and that will mean agriculture on the scale we have to support our civilisation will collapse...then onto 6 which means the food chain will collapse...bye bye us.
Anyway, food,
To start with I am talking at a very high level ie global  food capacity, sure I can see it may well be it can be done better. The reality is globally, farmers make prefectly rational decisions based on how they see their produce selling and not on a centralised basis.  North Canterbury would be a good example of this....but the point is that is too much detail in terms of global production.....a small area doesnt matter.
In terms of AGW, well the very fact that you think in terms of who cares if we rise 1 or 2 Deg C means you really miss the mark...Its not exactly the incease as teh extreme weather events such as record droughts, rains, storms and floods all these devistate whole crops.  The Russian heat wave is a case in point. 
Also the next(?) biggest O2 emitter after the Amazon is the Northern Pine forests....the trouble is with 1 or 2 Deg warming they bugs are surviving winter and infesting and killing the there are a lot of side issues that are quite serious.
Peak oil will mean fertilizers get very expensive, ditto sprays...what did the prices climb to in 2008?  seemed to go up a lot, did they drop back much?
Sure we could do more, but where is that central planning going to come from? OMG could you imagine say the UN doing it?  oh dear....I hope not....clueless the lot.
Now back to t he global situation, simply as we do things today we are increasingly drawing down our world wide food stocks this is hard data/facts.  Take the USA I beleive their mountain has disappeared into ethanol production....(which is another issue again)
Then there is the issue of how much the 3rd world can afford to pay, sure as a 1st world farmer (I assume?) you might have a bag of say rice at $30 the pric eof which has been pushed up bu fossil fuel price hikes....if all they have is $20 they wont be buying.
If we do indeed get to 4Deg C  then yes we will be faced with no food, or our grandchildren will anyway.

Dude you have got to relax a little. 
Do you know what the "green revolution' was ?  Basically the discovery of dwarf varieties of wheat and barley that increased the harvest index (the amount of grain VS stalk) from around 30 % to over 50 %.  It occured in the 70's and before that people were panicking because we were about to run out of food the 'green revolution' basically stopped people from worrying about food for about the next 35 years.  My point being which you completely miss is there are a whole heap of things that could occur which could change the situation completely.  In NZ/Australia the thing that makes food expensive is farm prices and compliance cost and ticket clippers through the processing stage if we can remedy these issues (which with the GFC mark 2 i think we will eventually) the game changes again. 
I pointed out above some of the technology could drastically reduce fertiliser use there just needs to be the will to head down that path.  So much potential out there !
Or we could start eating more kangaroo or camel or possum either or things arn't that bad mate - have a beer, relax things will work out ! 

Yes I know what the green revolution was, it was where we figured out on a grand scale the ability to turn fossil fuels into food....but that step has been eaten up to, and Oil is now past its peak and gas at most 10 or 15 years but could be <5.
I'll point you at this piece,
The thing is "could"  you are quite happy to put aside the problem because someone in the future "might" solve it and have a beer in the meantime....does that really strike you as sound?
It certianly doesnt strike me that way.......
Ah the old "ticket clippers" there you go one of the GOnz crowd.......
Lets say its possible that we drastically can indeed reduce fertilizers oil/gas input.....what we will see then is some extra years....maybe a decade maybe 2...say 2% population growth oops well  in 35 years that would be 14billion of us....think we could do that again? get your head around the planet is round and finiate and teh demand from humans is some point it has to hit a ceiling.
So if we had a decade dont you think taht we should start addressing the issues now while we have some safety margin to give us time?
or yeah sure sit back and have a thanks....I dont drink.
Quite simple if you want to have a real debate on the problems then sure....but if you just wanta beer why bother even coming here?

No Steven Im sorry that wasn't what the 'green revolution' was at all.  You don't listen Havest Index increased due to the introduction of dwarfing genes in, if I remember correctly, Norin-10 wheat discovered by Japenese researchers.  I think the first commercial culitivar was called 'Hobbit'.  That REDUCED the amount of fossil fuels required to grow crops as the propotion of grain VS stalk increased with the same amount of inputs.  Higher yield per ha also reduces fossil fuel use as the number of passes over the paddock is the same for higher yield.  I read the article you provided and a lot of it Is highly relavent to the northern hemisphere agriculture and not that relavent to NZ or Australia. When it started talking about average yields in an organic system with no fertiliser inputs I knew it was plainly wrong as that is not possible. There is a big difference between livestock feed cereals and livestock feed pasture with nitrogen fixation through clovers.  Also crops grown ex-pasture rather than with N out of the bag.  Although we are heading down a path of High input dairy systems which will destroy any advantages we have - ill give you that.  Im all for reducing inputs but organics don't work all of the potential outcomes I gave earlier are not organic but they do reduce inputs isn't that what we all want ?
All the raving in the world about peak oil won't solve anything.  Working out alternatives to being reliant on oil will - but continuing to say the sky is falling without coming up with positive solutions won't help anyone.  And remember birth rates in most of the developed world are below replacement rates. 

lets look at The Green then, btw can you show URLs because the stuff I see doesnt agree overall with what you say.
"Much of the reason why these "modern varieties"
produced more than traditional varieties was that they were more
responsive to controlled irrigation and to petrochemical fertilizers,
allowing for much more efficient conversion of industrial inputs into
By the 1970s, the term "revolution" was well deserved, for the new
seeds-accompanied by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and, for the most
part, irrigation-had replaced the traditional farming practices of
millions of Third World farmers."
China for instance has areas switching back to traditional dry farming techniques as the water pumping costs are too high,..
or this,
"IRRI produced its first "miracle rice" variety in the 1960s. By 1973 most Philippine farmers were already using the new seeds; but their harvests of 1.7 tons per hectare were well below IRRI yields because fertiliser and other inputs were not up to recommended levels. Suffering a serious rice deficit, the Philippine government launched Masagana 99, a programme intended to raise rice yields to 99 cavans (nearly 5 tons) per hectare by significantly increasing use of fertilisers and pesticides."
Just two pieces...........
I agree on finding alternatives and thats the point of posting some things I do, we need to start looking and seriously fast....

please email me at

Not my area of expertise but there is one issue I do know about that I will throw into the mix and that is water. It takes 1000 tonnes of water to grow one tonne of wheat. Now the story goes that aquifers in Australia and the USA are being depleted, as well as salinity issues arising from the use of irrigation. Egypt imports 30% of the water it needs via food and it won't be lone in that. These new species of grains might sound promising, but my understanding is that grains are not actually the best yield in terms of feeding X people per hectare.
The other issue I will throw in is that when you apply artificial fertilisers the soil gets depleted in the minerals that aren't being replenished, lowering the quality of food over time. I must ask my organic milk supplier what their yields are now compared to before they switched.

Masanobu Fukuoka 5.8t/ha wheat and rice, over 11t/ha annually no ploughing, fertiliser, insecticides etc.  Pioneered growing rice without flooded fields. 

One thing I do know is going on, because if my interest in fire and gasification, is the experimentation going on with biochar.

It's great for building soil structure, but it's baisically sterile, so the fertility still needs to come from somewhere.  Though it sounds like a possible way of carbon sequestering.  Yeomans Keyline system, The Fukuoaka method, and Biochar all seem feasible and complimentary, without being at the mercy of oil prices.  It's not going to happen in a world of deniers though.

Tell me where these large area's of irrigated wheat are in australia are exactly ?  Virtually all wheat and barley in australia is grown in a dryland environment with very high water use efficiency because it is grown through the cool season and matures as it drys out.  Yes there are some issues with irrigation and salanity with irrigation but mostly it comes down to growing crops in areas where they shouldn't be grown ie rice and potatoes using water from the murray.  Until you have spent a lot of time in Australia there is a perception that it is a dry, saline environmentally degraded country. That is not the case at all - but keep fueling the fire you guys will eventually win the propaganda war !  Although some of the effluent disposal on dairy farms in SESA and Western Vic are at least 20 years behind NZ.

"that aquifers in Australia and the USA are being depleted"
add in the point they are going back to traditional dry farming in some areas as the pumping costs outweigh the gains.
This looks interesting,
Ive not seen anything on Russian water/aquifers or the types of crops they have....but then they are about the second biggest oil/gas producer so I dont see fertilizer as an issue for them, water might well be though..

"av temp warmer). But for the last 12 years we have had a la nina which drives the av temps cooler, yet 2010 was hotter than 1998, in a cool cycle, oh dear "
I think you are talking crap Steven (as usual)
My brief little flirt with goolge found that 2010 was in fact an elninio year((09/10) finished in May10.
02/03 &07/07 also elninio so we have had at least 3 in the last 12 years
the cycle lasts on average 6-7 years so it is unlikely we will see exteeme events over the next decade

2010 is either the hottest year on record or joint with 2005.......
el nino v la nina, yes I misread another piece......
There is a difference between events and temperature up on what the insurance industry is saying...."crap" goes both ways.
No probs pointing out my error......if anything else is wrong, well say so but justify it....

You miss it Hugh, but then you dont want to see it because you are a flat earther, someone who thinks the planet is infinite and expotential growth can go on for ever.  Even if it were flat, time, scale and distance will bite you long before, that as poor Americans are finding out when they face $4US a gallon and spend 40% of their income getting to work and doing anything.
Its not about how efficient the councils are or not that doesnt matter even if it were true. Its about lack of cheap energy moving forward and as an aside turning the country into a cesspit like the USA, fortunately in terms of urban sprawl the former will prevent the latter. 
Distressed? you are not, dont bother with such fud.  You have kooky Libertarian views that I for one simply dont agree with and as a society so it seems does 99.999% of NZers who dont want your fundie option as a choice, thanks.  bureaucratic Research? yeah right I dont come from that spew out  obsolete rubbish that no longer applies if it ever did...
In terms of education by mis-using Luddite and Malthusian" so badly you show how little you understand,
"Luddite"s rejected an existing technology that threatened their way of life. You on the other hand want to believe in non-existant technical/engineering/scientific solution(s) to continue expotential growth, and i reject those because they dont exist are the deluded one.
"Malthusian" indeed I look at the future and see issues that I seek to get discussed and addressed because Im an engineer/maths/science type person, yet you on the other hand see no issues and believe similar ppl to myself will solve the problem(s) for you..  Yet when we say its not solvable you stick your head in the sand and shout names....
Bad news, you might as well start praying to the bible, that's hogwash as well but if it makes you feel better..........
Rot indeed, you smell of it....either that or fear....

Anyone who quotes Julian Simon, has a cheek telling others to become informed.

Excellent fellow , Julian Simon ...... do you take issue with one or two of his ideas ?

Why is it that you think the best place to build a new house is on the fringes of big cities?  You still get the long commuting times, and higher costs of living, that are associated with city life. 
Perhaps you are blind to fact that fuel costs have risen faster then land costs.  Maybe you think they will be comming down pretty soon?  All energy costs are on the rise. 
Gotta laugh at the totally ignorant meme.  Anyone who believes in any kind of finite limit is a malthusian luddite.  The willful ignorance is stunning and laughable.

Tele-commute : Work from home !

Too easy.

Also fuel costs, but you might get to be more "in the country"........
Now if it was easier for me to telecommute more / work from home then I think I'd move out a ways.

Mr Ambrose makes some good points but also makes some leaps of faith without much beneath him.  For example;
Andy Grove (ex. Intel) detailed why industry won't simply swing back because of wage parity last year in Business Week:
"... industry needs an effective ecosystem in which technology knowhow accumulates, experience builds on experience, and close relationships develop between supplier and customer."

Economist, the 3rd IR is make always comes back to energy.....and population.
Ambrose is wrong on shale, he doesnt understand EROEI or engineering and I sometimes wonder if he understands the impact of energy on our economy above $50USD ie it cripples it. I think he might so is desperate to latch onto a technology taht saves the a drowning mand really.
What is interesting on fracking is the talk up, last week it was might get to 3.9mbpd, by 2017 (I think it was) this week its 5.5mbpd by 2015.....waht it fails to maention is to even keep at the present levels of 72mbpd we need to replace that and more per adding 1 mbpd per year is still short strikes me as desperation....I think its dawning on ppl $100USD is going to cripple us, so we have to invent something taht reduces that so we can all feel safe.
In terms of to 5.5mbpd it takes years to get fields up to that sort of level, Iraq is nowhere after several years of being "free"....The initial guess work was 12, 6 probably wont be met.
Urban laws, not linked in the slightest to the above....and yes they do IMHO....this is NZ and not the cesspit that is the USA.

Sometimes I get the feeling that as homo erectus was rubbing two sticks together, homo erectus stevenus was saying, no you can't do that, EROEI, peak stick etc ...

Well maybe if you didnt go with feelings but used logic? data? maths? ever heard of those terms? 

Homo peak-oillus !

Robby217 -  peak energy has happened to local communities, many times in the past. The Roman Empire and 'peak wood' being a classic example. This time, it's being run globally.
Sure, there were probably warning voices in those historical instances, but they appear to have been overriden by the ignorant mass.
Classic examples of which appear above.

On the other hand people also claimed we would run out of wood with which to make ships, of course iron proved to be a worthy substitute.
Guys like Amory Lovins point out things like less than 1% of the energy used to power a motor-vehicle actually moves the driver. So there is heaps of potential for efficiency gains through new materials etc.

... By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000 – 3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier."[24] By that time, 21 species of trees and all species of land birds went extinct through some combination of overharvesting/overhunting, rat predation, and climate change, the island was largely deforested, and it did not have any trees more than 10 feet tall. Loss of large trees meant that residents were no longer able to build seaworthy vessels, significantly diminishing their fishing abilities. This was further exacerbated by the loss of land birds and the collapse in seabird populations

OK idiot, ever heard of Easter Island? met any of the indigenous ppls lately?
Dont bother to go into engineering, you obviously have no idea on the science and maths behind it ie thermodynamics, combustion and entropy........behind it.
New materials all take yet more energy and a more complex society....which means more ppl with a higher standard of living, which means way more energy....but we are at the peak and indeed in overshoot.....
You are going down the path of chasing your tail....

News to you, Easter Island is not the only place on earth. Other cultures made their ships out of Iron, long before we ran out of wood, (or more correctly failed to plant replacement trees.)
I love it how you always rely on a selective view of history and claims of having a superior knowledge of engineering/science/math. Just declaring 'we are at the peak' is not evidence, peak of what?
Yes we may be nearing a peak of oil production, but we still extract energy from oil via a rather crude chemical reaction. Plenty of nuclear tech. could come into play and utilise the far higher binding energy of atoms

How about the inflextion point on the population curve I mention above? Be interesting to hear an explanation on what looks like a peaking trend in progress. 1961 was the turning point. No theory or opinion involved in that fact, just the raw data.
Seems to me that the explanation is that everything has become harder to get and more expensive, ie: resources have peaked. Having babies is an expensive business. with less discreationary money means lower birth rates. 

Haiti v Dominican Republic  Guess which is the 'westernised' nation, same island.

What data would that be then, Steven? Like this week's report in Nature that organic crops are a mostly a waste of time becuase their yeilds are much lower than properly grown crops? I'd go even further than that and say that their nutritional value will also be lower and they are unsafe to eat becuase they are so filthy and disease ridden.
Remind me again about how many Germans died from eating organic foods in the last year or two? 100 or so wasn't it? And how many people have died from eating properly grown GE food? Ah, nil.
How's that for some facts for you turnip growing lettuce heads? Some future for the planet you guys promise!

It occurs to me that plants have been growing very well without fertiliser or pesticides for billions of years.  In fact the most productive areas on the planet are those systems that function without human interference.  Maybe we could learn from that, instead of the total insanity of denial while our entire food chain depends on a finite non renewable ever more expensive fossile fuels.  The lunancy of argument that the consequences are bad so they cant be true.  In that case fossile fuels must be infinite, there are no consequences to how much we burn, and only good things can happen.

Go live in a natural grassland or natural forest then.  Don't blog it isn't natural - and im sure there is some fossil fuel consumption in the whole process !!! Eat berries and chase deer with a spear have fun - just don't involve yourself in the modern world and any of its comforts.

I'm not sure what that would achieve.  The point is that the economy is based on the use of fossil fuels, finite resources, and slowly renewable resources.  Current methods are unsustainable, and the limits are real.  Then there is the monetary system that requires economic growth or it collapses.  Also the fact that the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and erosion caused by overgrazing and cultivation, is having an effect on our habitat.  All limits that are worth considering, when thinking about the future.  More of an opportunity, then a reason to run for the hills.

The problem for the Malthusians around here is that fossil fuels are so abundant .... America alone has enough shale oil to make itself full independent from imported oil for the next 300 years ..... just be a little patient , watch ,....  and be amazed !
.... sadly for the Malthusians , they've had 200 years of being completely and utterly wrong , 200 years and counting ......

Even if the ERORI worked for shale (and if its truely < 6:1 our society wont run with it) What you are implying is getting 20+mbpd out of shale that even the most optimistic forecaster says 5.5 by wise, geology wise etc its silly...
But hay GBH if you are so convinced, what an investment opportunity for you to make your fortune......
Hmm Ok lets say shale can do it, say  2.5% more energy use per year sound OK? that would mean an economy growing at 4% per year....roughly...
2.5% would mean US energy use would double every 30 lets say 10mbpd (NET) today, 20 by 2040, 40 by 2070, 80 by 100 years US shale will be producing the entire world's present oil output....and that is only 100 in 100 years there would be the equiv of the world's present oil infrastructure sitting on that shale deposit....ignoring ERORI.
Lets keep going....160mbpd by 2140.......320mpd by 2170, 640mpd by 2210......
We are at only 200 years so far GBH....
Then there is ERoEI....conventional oil is 30 to 1 and shale say 6 to 1....or if you prefer 30:5.  So 5 times the energy input needed for the same quantity of oil....consider that size of the plant needed to do that...and the water input..and the waste.........
Mathematically 300 years  just does not stack up, even 100 does not.

274 years of oil supplies , to be precise ..... 2 trillion barrels ( give or take a barrel or two ) ......oh yeah , and that is over & above the conventional reserves of oil in the US .....
....... America is set to re-emerge as the richest country on earth ...... re-emerge ? Silly me , they still are !

Steven says "our society wont run with it" ... gotta disagree with you there - I reckon whatever the EROIE ratio, behavioural economics dictates they will keep going for it whatever the cost until it is almost exhausted.  Even at $50 per US gallon. $500 pb

GBH - total horseshit.
What EROEI is/are your future source(s).?
Are you envisaging a static rate of use? What precedent is there for that? In which case your 300 years is baloney.
The real question ,is whether you're fooling yourself, or whether you are deliberately attempting to fool others. Fool is the operative word, though.

PDK - constant use? - current rates of consumption? - of course - but that's the way the spinners spin their spinnakers.
Oh ... and constant EROIE

....... and I didn't even mention natural gas , of which the most unlikely countries England and France are sitting upon trillions of cubic feet , and the USA is atop the motherload ...... clean green nat-gas is the future energy supply for the planet ......
There's no doubt about it , the good Earth is absolutely brimming with hydrocarbons ....
....... and I think we can all agree about that !
Two things wrong with your short statement: no it isn't, and no we can't.
I've never been comfortable agreeing with fools.

"Promise" oh yeah Herr Goebbels, you miss it or lie to others if not I said, dont shoot the messenger...
Why for instance is organic a waste of time? could it be that without fertilizers our crop yeileds would be what 30% smaller? how do we feed 7billion then?
What we do with fertilizers is convery oil and gas into food....we eat fossil fuel....we are at peak fossil fuel, give or take 6 years...
hello reality check....
like I said, dont shoot the messenger......act on the message....
NB a great link to Nature but not as you intended it to the data holds up the peak food issue very well....
act on the message....not twist it Herr Goebbels...

We are in no danger of running out of fertiliser anytime soon. Weren't you saying we were at peak oil 5-6 years ago? Come on, buddy, you'd better make your mind up ? Just when is it going to be? Enjoy your stunted turnips now, eh!

Yes Herr gorbells Peak oil was 2006 and its not the amount we have, its the future price we can afford to pay....
NB since then we have been on an uneven plateau of production output....hence the price is where it is.

Just funnin ya steven - peak oil happened in the 1970's
Scientists answer Guardian readers' toughest energy questions
Scientist Clement Bowman (Item 2) says "When I entered the oil industry in the 1960s, the conventional wisdom was that there was only 10 years of oil supply left. Predictions have a habit of failing"

DavidB - at least he has a mind to make up.
Peak of supply is the issue, when growth is what you need. That's half-way through, roughly speaking.
You're either a fool, or a paid spinmeister. Which is it?

I think being a paid spinmeister would put him in both categories.

Maybe indeed he's foolish enough to take the 30 pieces of silver............
He seems to be as a number of ppl here, or I meet or I read about, they want it to be this and that way so someone else better make it as they want it and it better be cheap.
Interesting when you look at Herr Gobells here that he comes across to me as a typical US Republican follower, or lobbyist/PR hack........
I really think that the only way they will ever see it as it is is to experience they deny, silence or ridicule anything that threatens their reality has to come to them.

If you want to see who the fool is around here, PDK, I suggest you look in the nearest mirror.
Nothing of what you have ever predicted has ever come true. And that makes you the biggest fool of all.
By the way, I should hasten to add those aren't even your predictions! They are just the coat tails that your sad little mind has latched on to. I'm not sure if you're actually capable of an original thought? I've never seen any evidence of it so far.

Scarfie - chuckle. Yep, either way, a lightweight.

Interesting because when you go to the cradle of life MENA, have a look around.  All you see is sand.  A very interesting point.  The trees are all gone, the plants are all gone, and now you have a pretty arid and unhospitable place to live.  A process that started with deforestation, then unsustainable agriculture, leading to erosion, topsoil loss and now you have a desert.  A process that is getting repeated on a global scale, at industrial speed.  I'll think you'll find we hit 'peak stick' a long time ago, and peak topsoil.  Thats fine as long as we actually recognise that we need to do things a bit differently.  If we just keep our head in the sand, and deny - deny - deny.  Then we will have problems, same with oil and the management of our habitat.  It used to be that people would poo in a pot and tip it out into the street.  Nowdays thats regarded as disgusting, same as our behaviour will br regarded in the future.  But yeah, keep up the denial, and pretend there are no consequences to your actions.

You do realise the climate around the Sahara (for example) has changed a vast amount over geological timescales that far exceed the existance of human beings.
But yeah, it's all agriculture and 'peak soil', those dinosaurs really were bad farmers.

Right; 'the dinosaurs done it' ha ha ha, here is a more recent and documented example.
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands in the 1930s, particularly in 1934 and 1936. The phenomenon was caused by severe drought coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation, fallow fields, cover crops or other techniques to prevent wind erosion.[1] Deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains had displaced the natural deep-rooted grasses that normally kept the soil in place and trapped moisture even during periods of drought and high winds.
BAU is history, it is not the way forward.  Unless you are fully self sufficient, you are relying on someone else to provide your food.  While it may be fine for you to stick your head in the sand, it's probably important that the people responsible for supplying your food are thinking about cheap alternatives to fossil fuels.  But yeah keep denying reality, and pretend everything will carry on as usual.  No physical limits to stupidity.

yes there is, death.

RE #1, David were you joking about being concerned what will happen during a supposed ChCh building boom???  Because it was the funniest thing I've heard all day!
No boom.  Little building.  No work!!!!
That's ChCh for the next 5 years.
I'd say 75% of the sites with houses demolished already (except red zone) are coming or will come to the market as vacant land.
Few are interested in building, and even fewer are buying these sections unless they are being given away!
The CBD also has little likely work coming on.  A few small buildings and cheap tilt slab larger ones is all we are seeing.
If we get $5b in building over the next 5 years we will be going well!  A billion a year!! And how much has been lost in income from rents?? $20billion of buildings even at 5% revenue a year - low and behold a billion dollars a year out of the economy!
Probably at best a zero net sum gain!

You may well be right Chris. I have wondered what I would do if instead of being redzoned, we were green/blue (one of 28,000 homes in this category) and uneconomic to repair. Under our policy, we could rebuild (with one of the foundation options released today) or use the $ figure that rebuild would cost, and rebuild on another site (which could be anywhere in NZ). Wouldn't it make sense to rebuild on better ground elsewhere and flog off the bad dirt for whatever one could get for it? That choice offers peace of mind, less worries over availability/affordability of insurance cover, and the ability to onsell your  new property in a more "normal" market.
My observation is that those most affected by the EQs (and the bureaucratic response), if they are able to, will leave Chch ,if they haven't already done so, once they get their insurance entitlements. Doesn't augur well for a building boom.
Out of curiousity Chris, do you have green/blue properties, and if so, what do you plan to do with them?
For your information Steven, I am an urban sprawler. Building on outer edge of suburbia, miles from City Centre.Will be a massive 2km from my workplace and a humongous 7km from wife's workplace. City Centre so far away I would have to buy up Saudi Arabia's oil reserves to drive there, only thing is, City Centre no longer exists and I never went there anyway. You may be an expert on Peak Oil but on Christchurch... not. 

Crooked thumb, we have at 8 or so blue-green and another 4 or so yellow but within 100m on the blue boundary (I'm not sure of the exact numbers as the boundaries are so arbitrary it makes little difference as some of the yellow land is way worse than the blue).
So far nothing will be happening with those properties any time soon.  EQC still reckon some are repairable (absolutely unlikely given the lateral spread and ground movement) - there's no way they can fix a house on land that spread 20cm under the house without taking it off site and fixing the land, but the EQC inspector who had a whole 5 minutes of building experience reckons it's no problem so we'll see on that one.
On the others where EQC and the insurer have come to their senses, we have taken the money to Auckland.  On the ones that are written off already we will do nothing at all except perhaps at one house where we'll patch it up and convert to offices.
On the other write offs we are just going to sit on the land (or use the buildings as storage) and do nothing for the foreseeable future. (Most of the insurance payouts were several times what we paid for the properties 10 or more years ago anyway (in one case 6 times what we paid (although obviously the value had increased) so the land has well and truly cost less than nothing).  On one stream side property we've just planted speciman trees on the site in the hope that by the time we get round to rebuilding there will be some nice mature trees as a backdrop. 
On the non write offs that are still letable we will just leave as is if we can secure a cash settlement with EQC and the insurer.

"My observation is that those most affected by the EQs 8><--- will leave Chch"
I agree....isnt insurance cover difficult to get?  is that likely to get easier/cheaper or impossible and prohibitive?  latter I suspect and I wondered if that would be the case some while back....
How much profit do many small businesses make? when you get wacked like this from an EQ and then get hammered by insurance and I assume rates will rocket then I really wonder if Chch will ever might even enter a prolonged period of decline if critical mass is/was lost. I mean who would want to move there?
Expert on peak oil, no but I aim to be highly informed so as to make the right choice on my future.

Agree, Chris_J.
There's simply no need for a CBD in the classical sense in Chch any more.  Business that will survive, are surviving right now.  The CBD has moved out a kilometre. 

  • To Riccarton (anchored by a Westfields Mall, was a low rise district anyway, and at least as pleasant an outlook as much of the old CBD).
  • To Addington - a ring of business parks around the old Racecourse and which by no coincidence the new AMI stadium sits right beside.  Clarence Street and Whiteleigh Ave, despite the usual traffic incompetence of the CCC, link these two very busy districts
  • To a wider ring including Hornby, the business parks at the Airport, Belfast and Rolleston
  • To satellite towns like Dunsandel, Ashburton, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Amberley and Oxford.  All booming and (incidentally) giving the lie to the Stevens of the world:  the busnesses have come to the escapee commuters, lowering the TCO...see how a leetle local knowledge buggers up airy theories?

The CBD, in much whittled-down form, will take the next generation to emerge:  niche retail, entertainment, anchored by the big lumbering Gubmint departments and banksters who are presently scattered far and wide and who will be seduced into returning by - quelle surprise - mandates from CERA.
And the fabulous Interweb is busy night and day, reducing transaction costs, linking up more businesses into long enwtined chains - just showing up the obvious - that they are and always were ecologies.  Evolution always cuts away core waste, while allowing surface to effloresce....
And life in Shaky City still knocks along....plenty of wood, plenty of coal, and 300 years of transport fuel equivalents safely tucked away there right under Southland...just in case them electric car thingos, powered by falling water, don't work out.
Sits back on front of the logburner, dog under hand, contemplating a good ski season ahead, awaits the Malthusian onslaught.....

Excellent piece , waymad , our little town ( Rangiora ) has boomed since the 'quakes have munted the Chch CBD ...
.... unlike the gloomsters acocalyptic forecasts , life goes on ....... a little differently in some ways perhaps , but as good -if not better - than before .
Those electric cars are an environmental disaster ..... far better to have a more efficient internal combustion engine ....... or even to not need to commute at all ........ if you live in those fringe towns , Christchurch is shifting itself to you ........ yipppppeeeeeeeeeeeee !

What until CERA clean out the mainstreet (of Rangiora) GBH!
They are looking to create another warzone - who cares about property owners and their rights let alone history or heritage!
Bull dozers crunching the mainstreet asap is Gerry, Rogers plan!
Watch out everyone else - coming to your mainstreet soon!!!

...... as much as I love the heritage buildings , there are a number of old money businessmen in Rangiora who've held back the town's progress for many years ..... protecting their vested interest , the small retail area in High Street .....
One sheds not a tear for their discomfiture , as the business area spreads away from the centre of town , to Ivory Street , Southbrook / Flaxton Road , and out along Kippenberger Avenue .
...... I see growth in the old  town , and not before time ......

No connection to any of todays topics, except all our above concerns might become irrelevant and pale by comparison to "peak radiation".
Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than Chernobyl Accident
Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland:
"It is no exaggeration to say the fate of Japan and and the whole world  depends on No.4 reactor. This is confirmed by the most reliable experts like Arnie Gunderson or Dr.Fumiaki Koide"
And there are surfacing lots more apocalyptic warnings recently about this problem, even that the Japanese Govt. in trying to prepare to evacuate 40 mill. people, not knowing where to, negotiating with other countries.....

I was talking to a specialist in Asia affairs last week, a clever guy with his finger on the pulse. His comment is that Japan is stuffed, and plans are being made to relocate (evactuate) 40 million of its citizens to the ghost cities in China. He talked about the economic might of the two countries being combined. Also says Japan will possibly be uninhabitable in the North, so more of its citizens will be facing relocation to other locations.

What a joke. I guess you got what you paid for from that Asia specialist with his finger on the pulse there, eh scafie. Did you have your chat in hushed tones? Hey maybe you could design them some floating housing and cast those 40 million Japanese out on to the sea.

Thank you for that enlightening comment David. I don't know where would be without your informative, insightful and well researched comments. Clearly you are and expert opinion on all the ways of the world and we should all be in awe of your superior knowledge and intellect.

..... wonderful that you've finally seen the light , and had that " Eureka " moment , Mr scarfie .... you're on the right track , at long last .
Excellent !

GBH - kindly explain the EROEI of shale-oil.
I'm going to keep on you about this: if you make statements you have to be able to back them up with fact.

Boy o boy that's a duzie Scarfie, but I'm not dissing it. It has been noted for future reference.

Breaking Point, The End of the Cheap Energy Economy

Great piece....
Interesting article followed by comments. Gets really interesting about page 5-6 where he talks about the CDS problem and the link to QE.
QE is not a decision, it is an absolute necessity. Whether it happens through the front door or the back door is irrelevant. QE existed when the Fed granted close to $600 billion swap lines to the IMF who granted it to the ECB who granted it to the member banks, but it was the Fed who provided the money. QE must remain unless the problem is solved because the derivative problem is not over with, the derivative problem right now is managed.
FM: Isn’t there the risk of hyperinflation?
JS: If everything went wrong? Yes, but that is the extreme. The 62% of U.S. debt bought by the Fed in the last 12 months is debt monetization; debt monetization is the mechanism historically in every hyperinflation since Roman times. In order to keep rates low what do you do? You have to buy your own bonds. What is it called? Quantitative easing. What is quantitative easing? Debt monetization.
FM: What is the strategy to prevent hyperinflation?
JS: There is none. There is only one exit strategy and that is a significant economic recovery in which there can be practical means to drain the liquidity. If balance sheets of banks, individuals and businesses are improving because of earnings then if you drain liquidity from those balance sheets you wouldn’t bust them. All of this is a balance sheet consideration.

Christchurch is LOST!
You may as well give up (as I write from Epsom!).
Sutton and Brownlee destroyed ChCh.  IT'S ALL OVER.

I have a handle on Christchurch and have respect for you Chris more than anyone else that comments on Christchurch and Property here, however all is not lost in Christchurch. A lot is still going forward including property development. Although the powers that be have stuffed a great deal. That we can agree on.

..... yes , it is easy to slump into gloomsterising ( particularly around here , in the hickeysterical zone ) , about the state of Christchurch ......
But it is early days yet , and many years will pass before the new face of the city emerges ....

Hugh, personally I haven't given up entirely on ChCh (we still have $7 or 8m in property there - who knows with current values!)
However, there is going to be very little in the way of rebuilding because it simply isn't viable to build in ChCh with such low property values, a declining population (although officials seem in denial despite figures from IRD, StatsNZ, ENROL and whitepages listings all pointing to a significant population decline already) and of course the destruction of the city's built heritage and bullying and incompetence by both CERA and the Government.
The CBD is totally stuffed simply because the standard for retaining buildings has been set unrealistically high by CERA.   Essentially entire blocks will be uninhabited potentially for decades.  Even areas that are rebuilt will probably only have temporary cheap structures constructed.
With the population loss, new subdivision proposals fast tracked by CERA, will sit like white elephants.  Look at Te Anau or Jacks Point or Pegasus if you want to see what a white elephant subdivision looks like.  Sections in Pegasus are still incredibly difficult to sell despite offers of insurance and reduced prices - at Pegasus alone there must still be 500 plus vacant sections that are all finished and ready to be built on (some have been finished 5 years).
If you are a realist, you will know that there is very little chance of things turning around.  Take a look at Invercargill, Wanganui, Dunedin, or the more extreme Detroit, Flint, or even Newcastle - it's extremely hard to turn things around and it generally takes years.
Unfortunately with your advanced years I suspect you may well be in a nursing home before ChCh is functioning as a normal city with a real (rebuilt) CBD again (remember most of the core CBD is still going to be 12 months or more before the clear felling is complete).

Thanks for the info' on your props Chris.I do think Hugh is being a bit unfair describing you as a "passive" investor! As you point out, the bureaucrats down here have almost ensured that large swathes of Chch, including the central city, will be moribund for decades. We aren't moving to Epsom to get away from all that, but are going to the least affected side of town, where there is some building (residential, commercial and industrial) going on. A mini-boom amidst the gloom!

HughP - your arrogance is staggering. That plan was the cumulative result of what the people of Christchurch wanted.'
The Govt (the same kind of ideologues as you) couldn't have that, not on behalf of their 'growth at all costs' cronies, so they've taken over.
Where do the public voice their anger at that? The media? Spare me, the media need to know there's pages of houses to sell, or their business model is stuffed. So they remain silent. That leaves marching - the last resort.
The joke is that the 'funding' to do the 'rebuild', doesn't exist, and won't be available. 

I would be very hesitant to describe the Central City Plan the "plan that people wanted" on the basis of the Share an Idea exercise that preceded the Plan's formulation.  Remember the Plan was written by the same CCC planners who have presided over the mortification of the Central city in the decades preceding the EQs. Have these peoples values changed?
Note also the Share an Idea exercise came with an ultimatum - the powers that be were only calling for ideas that assumed the Central City stay put. Anyone who thought this should not be the case was ignored and not invited to contribute.
Businesses here have relocated to where they believe they have the best chance of surviving and (shock, horror!) growing. Families will relocate (if they want to, and can, or if they HAVE to) to where best suits them, and as Waymad has pointed out, commerce will follow them. This is microeconomics at work, Bureaucrats (no matter what their academic pedigree) will not prevent this, though their obstructiveness can make these adjustments more challenging.
I don't believe Hugh P will get the political change he so desperately wants in Chch, nor (as a result) the $50k fringe sections. Yet it is clear that he cares about the wellbeing of his fellow citizens, and I'm not sure I can say that about some "experts" commenting from hundreds of miles further afield.

The reasons I think the changes you want are UNLIKELY (not impossible) boil down to who I think governs in this society. Over my lifetime (in my opinion) a new ruling class has emerged, composed of the monied and the informed (so called!), a sort of technoplutocracy. This group firmly believe that they have achieved their positions of power  and wealth due to merit, and so have earned the right to make the major decisions on behalf of the unwashed, who subconsciously they regard as lesser beings (they are generally careful not to say this outright). They infest the upper reaches of bureaucracies and, due to the small size of NZ, suffer little outright challenge from those of a different world-view, who might not wish to scupper their chances of "getting ahead". Many have worked in Government bureaucracies all their working lives and have little or no understanding of the private sector workforce and its life experiences and challenges.Yet they have an unwavering belief in their own competence and wisdom.
We can vote in a National coalition , or a Labour coalition, or a new Mayor and councillors, but the bureaucrats carry on regardless. Only their utterances change a little to accommodate their new "masters". The interests of the technoplutocrat class will always be preserved.

Without also asking the public how they would like to pay for their wishlist, its a bit naive to think it could all be afforded.

The Government may be.... as you say.... concerned.... however the public sector culture thinks its own are the only option. Ministries run the show.
What will really change from taking key people from Government departments and moving them to CERA..same change.

Hugh, I know the franchisee very well, and $200,000 for a new house is no miracle or anything special - it's exactly the price range I've quoted you before.
A small standard spec house at that price range is entirely acheivable.
The sky high prices I've mentioned are the cost of rebuilding character style properties as exact replica (the insurance cost).
I've mentioned before that you can build quite a nice house if you are prepared to make some compromises at that price level.  However just because a nice but budget house can cost as little $150k to build, means nothing if people don't particularly want to live in that style of home or in the type of area where cheaper sections could be created.
Take inner Auckland $1m buys a pretty average property possibly even on a cross lease, no cheap housing 45 minutes away is really going to change that at all even if it was a quarter the price (and to be honest it actually isn't much more than a quarter the price out there anyway!).

The building company's are depedent on cheap trade wage's which I would suggest is changing. More in it working for a or citycare than building in Canterbury so why not migrate to better paying jobs.... and they are..... 

"Now listen you central bankers and pollies you have to save the world from the hole you put it come on now...let's have a flood of BS about growth in our time and jobs galore...."
Let's recap....Europe is stuffed...not just with socialist splurging idiots but with so much debt there aint no way to BS a path to recovery, The USA has just woken up to poor growth figures that doubtless were cooked anyway and the housing market is NOT recovering and the liars are still in charge....the UK is discovering where political stupidity can take an economy and we are not talking about the current idiots at number 10....China the great economic powerhouse of  thieving Party members and riotous greed is in the pooh....3% GDP from here on, is the high side target...which brings us to the aussie property collapse....oh did I leave out Japan...must have been a good reason!
No worries folks and fellow peasants...the bank bosses continue to bloat themselves on fatter salaries...Sir Humphrey's mates are counting down to Shearer and another round of splurging on themselves....and JK still believes he can magic up a surplus that will signal an end to the new normal recession set to remain with us for oh about another thirty years.

Wally, India is not going as well as we have been told either.

 S&P lowered its outlook for

India’s sovereign credit from stable to negative and warned

of a rating downgrade to below investment grade if the external position continues to deteriorate, growth prospects

diminish, or progress on fiscal reforms falters


and have a read of todays California Milk producers report on Dairy


According to  Dairy Market News the milk supply 

situation in Europe and Oceania is much like it is here in the U.S.  “…Current output is far exceeding demand” 


 “…Current output is far exceeding demand”  - at current prices.  The thing with supply and demand is that they generally tend to meet at 'price'.  My demand for milk is set by price, if it was 1c/l my demand would be a lot higher, if it was $20 my demand would be lower.  Supply is also semi elastic, especially in a factory farm setting.  Individually farmers make the descision to increase production to take advantage of higher prices, collectively increasing supply causing lower prices.  "the answer to high prices is high prices, the answer to low prices is low prices"  At least in a free market with all else being equal.

Yes, but in a globalised world dairy farmers have major differences in costs of production.  Will high cost producers cut first, or be protected as in the past?

In a world where everyone is broke, or at least reluctant to spend, those who have invested in low cost systems have the advantage.   I believe the cost of inputs is rising faster then revenues, not unique to dairy just biflation at work.  Even apple 1.5% profit from revenues, down from over 3% last year.  Which is still terrible IMO.  Margins are getting tighter, and I'm not sure what will change that.

Bill Clinton kinda gets it.


Double-dip recession to trigger house price fall

Britain's official return to recession has raised the risk of a sharp fall in house prices, economists have warned.

The central banker for the ECB finally don't get the required growth by borrowing and splurging on make work and measures that lead to bloated state come it took him so long!
Now please would somebody tell Shearer about this fabulous discovery.
Remember folks. when you are tired of smiley and his band of fools, when you have forgotten all about aunt Helen and her lapdog, when all you can say to the question "why did Labour and Bollard allow the property bubble" a dull "DOH"'ll be time to make another stupid voting decision....bringing back the socialist idiots for another bash at catching up with Greece.

just seen the hikoi in hamilton .
i hope my taxes aren't paying for this bunch of unemployed and unemployable to travel to where ever they are heading..
no doubt somebody will reply saying that theres doctors lawyers  and business people on the march.
sounds like the same people who use the hookers.

Do you think the police escorting them have the same access as the secret service?

So she really was sitting on a gold mine :-).

There was a snippet on Radio New Zealand this morning about the SPCA in ChristChurch being 'concerned' about the high level of pet owners having Fido or Felix put down, because Landlords won't accept pets.

I thought to myself, how can this be?
The Salvation Army is doing a large appeal, people are living in garages, this EQ has been the biggest disaster in NZ history.

How can it be  that Fido has to go to the big chair?

Then I remembered, That's the Propertry Investors way.

You would think these things could be negotiated, ie. Pets are OK, but tenant must sign a longer than normal lease (say 2 years), higher damage bond etc. There is any number of creative solutions ... in any event not all people with an animal is the 'same'.