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Murray Grimwood has a plan for our housing stock that would be more comfortable, appealing, more resilient to change and cheaper to maintain

Murray Grimwood has a plan for our housing stock that would be more comfortable, appealing, more resilient to change and cheaper to maintain

By Murray Grimwood*

Whenever there is a discussion about housing, you can guarantee one thing; entrenched thinking.

From their pre-assumed positions, they launch forth.

It’s ‘land supply’ or ‘those Greenies’ or ‘overseas buyers’ or ‘rip-off Councils’, or whatever cranially-conjured-up impediment appears to impede that particular utterer’s unfettered personal advancement.

What we need, of course, is unvested, unfettered thinking.

How about we give it a go?

We live in a finite country, part of a finite planet.

Available to us are: finite resources (some of which can be recycled, some of which can’t) and renewable resources – which you have to use at no more than the renewable rate.

And there’s a biological envelope that if – regardless of our conceit - we push things outside of, we die.

Beneath those overarching facts, our short-lived species has a need for shelter, and a tendency – mating-driven, if you stop to think about it - to display status and to increase it at any opportunity.

Unfortunately those collective status-driven tendencies went forth and multiplied, to the point where we are now a species in overshoot, drawing down natural capital at a grotesquely-unmaintainable rate.

So any discussion about housing – shelter, no more, when you get down to it – has to bear that in mind.

For instance, if there are twice the numbers of folk stomping around this wee tennis-ball-in-space than it can support, then by the time we sort that out, there is more than enough housing NOW.

There is a nonsense tendency – not just in housing – for vested-interest folk to project growth in demand as a justification for doing more of what their status relies on.

More dairy-farming, more house-price-rises, more land to subdivide, more votes for the Party.

Then they advocate the advancement of those collective-and-competing demands, all within a finite playing-field.

Go figure – and if you do go figure you’ll be well ahead of them, because they sure aren’t.

So, what’s the answer?

Let’s just stick to NZ. Let’s agree that the yardstick should be ‘sustainable’, given that ‘unsustainable’ is just what it says.

Sustainable says we – at some number – have to limit our population.

Right there, we can estimate the required number of houses existing at any one time.

Sustainable also says we need to not draw down finite resources, and to stay within the maintainable limits of renewable ones.

Right away, oil-fired, gas-fired and coal-fired, go out the (built from renewable-resources, of course) door.

Although there’s an argument that if the existing resources are going to be used, then their best use is to establish the new, sustainable housing – indeed the new, sustainable everything – before they are squandered unsustainably…….

‘Sustainable’ also EXCLUDES current farming practices, which puts vast tracts of land up for reassessment.

That would pull the plug on ‘land prices at the periphery’, but common-sense says that the fiscal system would also be somewhat compromised due to the losses of ‘equity’ in both farms and urban land.

The magnitude of the change would make 1929 look like a mild hiccup.

Forgetting personal fiscal readjustments, the land will be there as will the existing housing stock, and the housing will be what is lived in.

Which brings us to the real question:

What kind of housing? Why? And Where?


If we accept that there has been a drift from country to city during the ‘up’ phase, it is reasonable to assume a reverse drift in the ‘down’

It is also reasonable to assume that folk like to interact, and that they’ll cluster.

It depends on the orderliness of the transition, of course, but we could expect refilling/infilling of established rural towns.

We probably need to address ordinances to allow for something like tenants-in-common clusters on previous farm-land – which may have the added advantage of giving our younger folk some realistic options.


The fossil-energy-underwritten ‘jobs’ and ‘income’ won’t be in the cities (indeed won’t be anywhere) but folk will still need to eat.

They’ll go where the food is, and where it can be produced.

What kind?

If it is existing – and 80% of our present housing-stock will be with us through the transition – then it has to be upgraded to ‘as near sustainable as possible’ in the remaining time.

That upgrade is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ which Government at both levels should be addressing, with all haste.

Multiple glazing, elimination of thermal-bridging, solar gain, thermal mass, insulation, on-site energy and water collection (and where appropriate, disposal), are the target areas.

If new, then as near sustainable – self-contained, in other words – as possible. New-builds have to have access to local food-production – whether that requires an ‘own garden’ ordinance, an ‘allotment’ provision, or a ‘commons’.

They have to be as near self-sufficient in energy, water and waste systems, as is possible.

And if I’m wrong?

If our species somehow manages to ‘grow’ its ability to buy processed bits of its one-and-only planet both exponentially and indefinitely without choking itself?

Well the housing stock would still be more comfortable, appealing, more resilient to change and cheaper to maintain.

Is that so bad?


Murray Grimwood says he is "a Columnist, and a Generalist specialising in energy efficiencies". He comments on this website as Powerdownkiwi. You can find out more about him here ».

He publishes his views here » 

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Here are the current plans for our housing

Trying to convince anyone with any ability to do anything in this country that all this grow grow grow business is totally unsustainable, is pushing snow uphill with a hot rake, as long as we have the kind of governments we do, who seem hellbent on covering as much land as they can with concrete 

All levels of Government have "sustainable" growth in their policy statements.  Until this myth is proved to be wrong we will continue along the same path.  Unfortuinately instead of addressing this problem appropriately it will most probably end in a suden stop and chaos.

" fossil-energy-underwritten ‘jobs’ and ‘income’ won’t be in the cities (indeed won’t be anywhere)"
"depends on the orderliness of the transition"
" need to address ordinances "
I do admire the single-mindedness of our Kilmog denizen, but these three statements alone point to the need for Governance.
Which means a political arrangement to invent and enforce Laws.
Which means GoT style patronage cities/castles/standfasts, a surplus devoted to the care, amusement and maintenance needs of said Guvnors (which tend to the extensive end of the spectrum).
And as cities are the birthplace of most innovation over the past coupla thousand years, my quibble is as simple as the solutions in this article:

  •  any 'solution' which ignores or hand-waves away several thousand years' worth of human experience (civilisation, in a word) ain't worth the electrons tortured in order to propose it.

I find it interesting that you assume medieval governance is the only solution to dealing with a future powerdown. I'm sure we could come up with a more just setup it just might mean people like you won't get their weirdly sadistic way.  Perhaps the best idea would be to ban anyone from a position of power who has been a politician, most certainly a local councillor.
I love your reason for why the solution is no good. "But it won't be like it was".   I can see you in a hospital being told you have a gang green foot and it has to be amputated or you will die of blood poisoning.   You would of course dismiss it out of hand; after all you can't accept a solution where you lose your foot, better to die whole aye?

Actually no you missed the climate denier aspect. So after being told by 99 out of 100 qualified and experienced MDs it has to come off. He'll demand we wait a decade just to make sure and then want to  take the witch doctor from Africa advice, the chanting and the oxen blood.
Then wonder why the next bit to fall off will be his d***.

Watermelons always tend to suffer from the same conceit, that is they believe they have sufficient information right here and right now to make civilisation impacting decisions on behalf of all of us.
Removing the concept of a city (perhaps the single most important contributor to wealth in our civilisation's history) and reducing us to a medieval agrarian society is simplistic nonsense. The destruction of wealth, utter misery and impact upon society defies belief.
The funny thing here Murray is the world is moving in your direction already, it's just slower than you'd like. Technology (increasing renewables, electric cars) is moving us to more sustainable positions over the long run. 
The good news is that NZ'ers won't vote for such a policy platform and unless the watermelons develop a flair for totalitarianism it's unlikely to happen.

cities concentrate such wealth and convenience.  Historically just the travel to nearby towns was a major day killer.   Even now for rural communities, distance, time and fuel is a constant nightmare.  And low density population means many amenities just aren't available (you want a zoo or theatre, you need a city)

There is enough info out there, simple.  What decisions we make are, well up to us, but right now we are making the decision to ignore the imperitive for change and a drastic downshift we have no choice in doing.  The only choice is the rate of change, manageable or catestrophic, we are choosing the latter.
As for moving in that direction and its pace, its not in time for what resources that are left to make it manageble. So its not Murray's pace but the pace that is needed.
There you go, watermelons.....yada, yada...watermelons....
Supports your argument very well.......not.

Really is that the best you can do!?
The choice Murray is advocating is to put it simply is to regress civilisation. To choose this path (because of its monumential impact) one has to be absolutely confident that one has both their facts right and has crystal ball gazing down pat! Do you really think you've got this covered Steven? - the club of Rome had a good crack at it but even this body got its numbers fundamentally wrong by orders of magnitude.
If we use NZ for an example, we are close to 80% renewable for our electricity supply, with PV making economic sense within 5 years we're not far away from moving our electricity production to a completely sustainable position. Transport is being taken care of through the pricing mechanism, as the price of carbon based fuels increases the stimulus to electric powered vehicles is increasing significantly. Within 10 to 15 years most cars will be electric. I think we've got more issues and challenges with agriculture which is clearly unsustainable particularly dairy but given enough focus that can be sorted out too.
All in all I think there is much reason to be optimistic about the future.

In a few paras, yes.
Really you show a large slice of ignorance in the facts wrapped up with cherry picking.
In terms of a choice to regress, it isnt a choice, the choice is how we regress not if.  It is very simple, we peaked in crude oil production in 2006 and have more or less flat lined ever since which is why oil is priced at $100 and not $20.  To grow our global economy takes 2.5% more energy (and most of it is fossil) for 4% growth per annum.  The bugger is we will shortly ie within 5 years see a drop in crude oil production, ergo grwoth in most things will stop and reverse.
In terms of covered, it isnt "me" or "Murray" directly but a whole slew of experts and academics. We simply look at the information, data and conclusions and without political blinkers on see the Math, geology and thermodynamics all are correct.
No the Club of Rome didnt get it wrong, if you bothered to go back at the revisit we are on their track of forecasts.
In terms of energy in NZ that is a cherry pick, for renewables actually its closer to 70% and that is only about 37% of the primary energy.
"Approximately 37% of primary energy is from renewable energy sources in New Zealand.[1] Approximately 72% of electricity comes from renewable energy, primarily hydropower and geothermal power."
That % is also higher than expected as we stopped adding to our use at 2~4% per annum for the GFC, so new wind has come on line....
PVs as a on the house thing are not really a good scale for us as a nation, on top of that the peak demands are morning and evening winter, just when there will be little PV output.
Transport through pricing, well that is la la land free market economics. When say the bottom 20% of workers cant afford the fuel to get to work, well that will be a shock to WINZ and tax. When the next 30~40% struggle with fuel bills that will dampen the housing market and consumer spending, to say the least.  That is of course the direct impacts, then there is the impact of expensive fossil fuels within the economy ie making goods and transporting them.
10~15 years for EVs is frankly a funny.  A EV costs $65k, the lithium production is goign to be limited and thanks to the pricing model will stay expensive as those countries with higher per capita incomes take the cars first.  maybe you have not noticed that many cars in NZ are brought in second hand? Or that EVs have a life expectancy of 10~12 years and not 20years?
Agriculture, again fossil fuel dependant....
"Optimism" is nothing more than wishful prayer on your has not substance supporting it. 

Oh and in terms of totalitarianism, there are the obvious ones and the hidden ones.  So when a decent % of the population is cripled by debt and the rest crippled by not wanting their pensions to fold you sort of have a pliable nation.
In terms of a real totalitarian state that has been through its own peak oil, Cuba has successfully done it. After the collapse of teh Soviet Union its oil imports stopped over night, it had to adjust and fast.
So frankly if a species had to choose between a democratic method that may work but is un-tested and is likely to be too slow and "sorted" via price with risk of collapse into anarchy V a totalitarian method that has more or less worked then as a species it makes sense to choose the latter.  My preference is very much we do it in a democratic way, however its unlikely given the current crop of pork barrel politicians that that is possible.

Agree with the idea that there are too many people for the planet to sustain, I think this is a one off event with the drop in child mortality. So with less children needing to be born which is now causing aging populations with luck this problem may start to fix it's self.
I think the oil thing will sort its self out as well, oil has done a great job of pricing its competitors out of the market for the last 100 years and only now alternatives might have a chance. In time people may not need a car each?
When China stops building infrastructure equal to New Zealands every week, there will be heaps of material for us to build a few houses.
Agree with your ideas Murray but think your timing is off.

Oil, wishful thinking on your part.  You are right population will fix itself, not having enough oil and since we intend to do nothing nature will fix it.
Clearly you have no idea of scale...none...

Well, I'm glad other common taters have picked up my core theme - that abandoning civilisation for rural idiocy, is not a Great Idea.
I have another small theory about the genesis of such ideas.
Anyone with a nautical background is familiar with the notion that a captain is God on his (and, funny, it's usually a Him) ship.
So issuing edicts, expecting instant compliance, making 'ordinances' etc is about the only form of Governance one needs on board.
After all, the famous line 'pour encourageur les autres' refers to an incident where an admiral was hung from his own yard-arm by the British, around Waterloo.
However, this simple on-board technique (I was going to say 'needless to say' but I think it has to be made explicit in this case) does not apply to the far messier world at large, where politics - the constant negotiation between shifting caoalitions and sentiments/memes in the widest sense - is the only game in town.
That's why these 'orders from the bridge' - however well-intentioned and even how well-grounded in science, physics or other Laws of the Universe - fail the most basic smell test of all - that of - how does this translate to the world we actually live in?

The scare mongering and "power down" talk I read so often on this site follows the exact same flawed thinking it tries to challenge. It assumes the status quo of our existing technology to extrapolate and mock the status quo of our fossil fuel driven economic growth model.

You've seen the sort of technology oil sustained at $100 a barrel has unleashed (oil sand extraction, fracking, cheap solar, electric cars). Just wait and see what human innovation achieves when oil is sustained at $150, $200 and $250. I promise you one thing it will make a mockery of your doom and gloom forecasts...

..h ha sound like the politician in San Antonio (was it) whe when confronted with facts on their water crisis (ie year on end droughts) suggested they employ more water engineers/scientists. 

No one is denying there is a finite amount of oil in the ground, there are however endless other sources of energy. Everything in existence is just energy packaged in different ways. Do you really think nobody will figure out how to tap one of them? The real question isn't if they can (they already can) the only question is when does it become financially viable. The higher the price of oil the more viable options there are, this is the natural buffer to the oil "crisis" I'm referring to. It will ensure there never is a crisis.

...heres on for you.  In theory time travel is possible both to the future and back in time.  Does the fact that we haven't been visited by anybody from the future give you a hint as to how succesful as a species we ended up being?  So much for technology eh!

Put it look like this, if you look back over the last decade do you see new technology in the energy sector?  What about the decade before that, and the one before that etc?  Given we see significant advances every decade over the previous several hundred years who is being the most unrealistic. The people predicting doom who believe this advancement suddenly stops or those like me who think it will continue?

Sure there is new technology in the energy sector but the EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) is dropping.   In simple terms this mean that each new unit of energy requires more energy to produce, so after you account for the energy spent on gaining new energy you end up with less net energy.  
Technology allows us to access more difficult resources and turn to energy but it does not help with net energy as the more technical the task of extracting energy (in general) the more energy intensive the extraction becomes. 
I think the people who refuse to accept any decline in their current lifestyle really don't appreciate just how much work energy does for us.  Pretty much everyone in New Zealand live better than most kings 300 years ago.  All this has been achieved on the back of cheap energy.  I have no doubt that human ingenuity could produce energy from the most difficult to get at resources but as soon as it costs more energy to get a unit of energy out the ground it becomes pointless.  Techonology does not fix this problem.  
I know its scary but trying to pretend we don't have a majore issue is silly.  Peoples political views should not define what problem the world has only the solution.  Global warming is real and energy depletion is real, being a libertarian does not change facts.  Your political bent will shape your solutions to the problems but should not determine what is fact.

If we take the fission reactor being built in France as an example, it takes a huge amount of energy to build and a huge amount to power it. Once built though it produces much more energy than that required to power it and runs on only small amounts of hydrogen. If we use the energy it produces to make another fission reactor and repeat we have broken free from our oil dependency. Once we have enough to meet our energy needs we would be able to enjoy cheap energy indefinitely.  How does that equate to having to accept a decline in our lifestyle?

You mean fusion not fission.  You do realise no fusion reactor has ever produced more power that it took to start the reaction.  It is called the ITER  the E stands for Experimental.  It is not even going to start a proper fusion before 2027.  
Below is an extract from wikipedia
The ITER fusion reactor itself has been designed to produce 500 megawatts of output power.[5] The machine is expected to demonstrate the principle of producing more energy from the fusion process than is used to initiate it, something that has not yet been achieved in any fusion reactor. Construction of the ITER facility began in 2007, but the project has run into many delays and budget overruns. The facility is now expected to finish its construction phase in 2019. It will start commissioning the reactor that same year and initiate plasma experiments in 2020, but isn't expected to begin full deuterium-tritium fusion until 2027.[6][7] 
I don't mind if you want to bend your knee to the alter of technology and pray for salvation.  It is possible a future breakthough will be developed but it is also possible it won't be.  Perhaps planning for a world with both possibilities in mind is a good idea?

Wrong on so many levels it isnt funny.
Fusion not fission....and its not a reactor but a test bed.
Not only a huge amount to build, but a huge amount of energy has gone into this reseacrh project, its decades long.
Even if this test rig works the earliest we would see a fusion plant is 20 years from now.
If you wanted to play technology them thorium, which the chinese could do in 10~15 years.
The conversion to a hydrogen liquid is at best a 1 to 1 process in terms of EROEI...and realistically more like 0.6~0.8 to 1 when all the factors (like compressing it) are considered.  
Consider oil has a EROEI of 8+ to 1, then think how many refiners we have to get that 8+ to 1 output and then consider that at 0.8 to 1 we would need a factor more....then consider that cost and the time needed to do it....its scale.
So lets recap, fusion 15~20 years away to production. Then build the refineries, lets say in parallel and ignore who pays....each refinery takes 4 years+ to build...and we want 10x the ones we have now plus the fusion plants to run them....say we put a fusion plant along side, fission takes 8 years to do a plant. We are looking at 30 years and trillions of $s no one has.
Oh and peak oil was 2006....8 years ago and production will drop inside 6, probably 4 years.
4-30= -26 years...wont happen.
So really that means a deline in lifestyle...if only in transition and frankly its la la land to think we would see a severe decline in just have to look at the ramp up to WW2 as a similar scaled event to see that.

New technology and in which bit of the energy sector?  Lets pick one, Horizontal drilling and fracking has I think been known since the 1980s its expensive to do in $ terms let alone water use, pollution and its economics.  What does it achieve? well for tight oil some millions of barrels that may well last 5~8 years for the US, so a small sunny day in late autumn.  For Ngas the US may indeed be "self-sufficient" for some years maybe even 20.  That is less than a generation, an indian summer.
Meanwhile the crude oil decline rate is 4~7 MBPD per year which is currently being made up, more or less with new.  So we are treading water on fossil fuel...just.

"In theory time travel is possible". Any links to that theory? Thanks. I'd like to travel to next week :)

...yep.  Go have a read of any recent book on astrophysics, black holes, the big bang, theory of relativity and so on.  It's all there.

Forward is easy...LOL....except for the energy needed.

But by the time I have studied astrophysics and stuff, I may have to travel BACK in time to get to next week - if I don't get lost in a black hole :)


No one has yet, or more importantly at a cost you will be willing or able to pay.

EROEI, energy return on energy invested. So we are using money as an IOU on future work/energy to get energy out of the ground today.  The minimum EROEI that can sustian our present economic system is 8 to 1 (though some think 6 to 1) so once we get below that its bye bye "lifestyle".
You cant promise anything....suggest praying harder....a non-existant super being handing out yet more oil is your best bet.

Technology largely thanks to oil above $100 has already provided alternatives like cheap solar and increasingly affordable and more powerful electric cars. There is already the first version of a fission reactor being built in France. I can promise there will be technology surprises because there always has been, they are already here and money is a very good motivator for finding them. While we wait there will also be technology surprises to extend the life of our existing fossil fuel reserves like fracking and oil sands.

Steven quietly ignores the fact the IEA analysis showing "ample oil and liquid fuel resources for the foreseeable future" and proven oil reserves going from 600 billion in 1980 to 1.5 trillion in 2012. Not to mention vast resources of natural gas at a around 220 years at current consumption, technology and efficiency. The gas:oil differential in the US now being such that converting a container vessel to run on LPG has a 18 month payback plus low emissions to boot.

Even assuming this is true we can't burn it because of Climate change.   Oh wait whats that you believe scientists when they tell you there is x amount of oil and gas left but when they say something you don't like you don't believe them.   Also if we have so much oil left can you explain why the price is so high?  Oh of course supply and demand also is only true when it tells a story you want to hear.  I'm guessing you work at a forecourt at BP?

Steven comments that,
He doesnt ignore the la la land profile / IAE claims
a) Profile quietly ignores that the tar sands are not economic at the price our economy is willing to or can pay.   
b) Profile queitly ignores that in 1980 OK 600billion conventional crude oil with 1.5trillion tar sands on top.  In 2012 now tar sands in lumped in with conventional crude, no change really in the data, just how its counted. Or the fact that the tar sands is still un-economic to produce 30 odd years later.
c) The tar sands production rate is not climibing significantly, at least enough to keep oil at under $80 and hence our world economy growing.
Again profile quielty ignores the "current consumption" myth....the consumption wont stay at current levels but will climb.
profile then quietly ignores the doubling time in teh expotential function
Lets say thats 2% per year, that is a doubling time of 35 years.  So 35 years from now the consumption will twice what it is today and 70 years from now 4 times.
ergo in the real world that profiel quietly ignores even gettng to 70 years is questionable.
Containership, lets see a deep sea one running Natural gas with the same range and uh safety....cause liquid natural gas is one huge bomb....let alone energy density less space for cargo, less economic. Not to mention it will have no where to fil up.
yes great idea.

I think you mean fusion and its not a production item but a test.
Come back with some real knowledge.
You cannot promise a thing, you odnt control it or even have a clue.

Come back with some knowledge? you missed my argument which was to point out that new technology will inevitably come.  How can I have knowledge of technology not yet invented?  Fusion (yes not fission) is just something in the pipes I was using to demonstrate that innovation hasn't stopped.
Cost is far more important than EROEI, who cares if oil is 8 to 1 if it costs $200 a barrel cheaper alternatives will be viable inspite of a lower EROEI. Hydrogen and electric powered vehicles generated from solar and wind out at sea is a personal favourite based on exisiting technology.  Before you pick that to bits bear in mind you are attacking it based on current technology which is my point.

The only merit I see in your arguments is in predicting a temporary slowdown or recession in the gap between expensive oil and new solutions coming to market.  We don't need to prepare for any impending crisis any more than we should prepare for an inevitable recession.  The only reason the world is still dominated by fossil fuel driven vehicles is because it is still the cheapest option.  If oil had been at $200 for the last 15 years you would be seeing a very different landscape right now.

No, you are praying for such technology  to occur, you have no proof they will. On top of that you miss the fundimentals of science and math which proves they will not.  ie there are limits, thermodynamic limits. 
Cost v EROEI shows that a) you just do not understand that paper money is a proxy for work, or energy.  b) do not understand the effect energy has on our present economy. ie lifestyle.
In terms of future technology, take fusion, thats taking 30+ years....
If oil had been $200, yes you are correct...we wouldnt be using it in the quantities we are now and our world population would be more like 2billion, where it needs to be.
Just where are these solutions? they have not even been thought up yet let alone proven in an academic environment and then productionalised and all at an affordable cost.
Electric powered vehicles cost $65k v 420k NZ for a converntional car and last 1/2 as long.  How many NZers or ppl in the lower 60% of the economy can afford a $65k car every 12years?  If they are foced to due to holding down a job, just what does that do to their spending ability?  ie rent, food, power, consumer spending?
Do you not think that this down blip is more on the scale of a Second Greater Depression? because I do.
You may well have a personal favourite, however that doesnt cut it for the National economy.
Oh and all this building will take huge quantities of steel and concrete, huge energy users and co2 emitters.

Yes - I completely agree.
Predicting future technology is a mug's game. No one can really predict where and when future developments will occur but we only have to look back at the last 100 years to see the massive advances in technology that have raised living standards immensely.
The fact is Steven & Murray are arguing quite correctly IMHO on the facts as they stand right now but this is entirely insufficient when faced with the future innovation unleashed by pricing pressure.
So where does that leave us? the argument for massive forced societal change has to prove to my satisfaction that no new technology change is possible/viable and therefore force these massive changes. Proving that technology advances won't occur is pretty damn difficult so I don't really think any progress is possible in this debate.
I'm an optimist and think the long term future for us all will be good and that we will overcome our issues. That being said we live in a free society and people are free to make their own minds up about the future and make informed choices for themselves. Bottom line if they want to buy a 10 acre block and do the good life thing then that is entirely up to them.

Thanks Simon, well said

Ironically the "prepers" who bought 10 acre blocks have done rather well on their investments even though everything has been business as usual.

No-one said anything about abandoning cities. A drift from city to small town is already happening in Canterbury. Businesses are realising there are advantages in not being located in the CBD.

Don't take away their stawman argument.  If we arn't crazy fringe doomist then we might actually be onto something. 

can I please keep my laptop when we head off back to the caves,Murray?  dont want to miss out on your funnies

yep no problem, carry any dead weight you want....charging it is also your problem...