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Monday's Top 10: Labour's revolution 30 years on, Green NIMBYs, it's just not cricket at the Bank of England, Europe's debt wish, Dilbert and more

Monday's Top 10: Labour's revolution 30 years on, Green NIMBYs, it's just not cricket at the Bank of England, Europe's debt wish, Dilbert and more

Here's my edition of Top 10 links from around the Internet today.

We have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for Top 10. Bernard will be back with his version this Wednesday. We will have another guest posting on Friday.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to

See all previous Top 10s here.

1. 30 years ago today ...
It was the 'revolution' we needed to have - even though some later observers still don't get the necessity of that change (today's DomPost editorial being one of them).

The unshackling wasn't smooth, but those who expected long-overdue change to be done "with consultation" and then without any negative impacts have both a complete misunderstanding of the times and the nature of change after such huge un-natural pressures were allowed to build up.

Basically, the country was broke in 1984, stuffed by crony-capitalism (via import licensing and protecting favoured domestic manufacturers), and unsustainable welfare transfers.

Thirty years on we are very different. The search for a steady-state future goes on by the naive and it will never be. But New Zealand is in a vastly better place no than in 1984, principally because of the brave decisions made then.

It will likely be a long time before we get such clear policy thinking again. (And it certainly won't come from the Nats.)

It was 30 years ago today that the Lange Labour Party won the election that would change all our lives. This proved to be one of the major reforming governments of our history, comparable with the Liberals of the 1890s and the Labour government of the 1930s. It made profound changes in our economy, our foreign policy, and in race relations. Some of these changes were for the better, and some were not. We are still wrestling with the legacy of David Lange and Roger Douglas.

National's Robert Muldoon was a backward-looking leader who had in many ways painted his country into a corner. Douglas used the economic crisis - massive internal and external deficits, a frightening overseas debt - to push through a Right-wing, top-down revolution which never figured in Labour's election manifesto.

2. Out of their depth?
Maybe the regular bank playbook isn't working this time - all for the inability to manage their investment properties. The very left-wing Salon has the story:

I’ve followed the Wall Street rental scheme for some time. You know the basics by now: Big Money investors decided to buy up all the foreclosed properties their pals at the banks created during the financial crisis, and rent them out to many of the same people who lost their homes. Then, they started selling securities backed by the rental revenue, just like the mortgage-backed securities from the crisis. Profiting off their own failure: It was Wall Street’s perfect plan.

There was just one problem: turns out that institutional investors have no idea how to manage rental properties.

Investors think they’re solving problems with their rental scheme, while earning a profit on the side. But this so-called solution may create additional problems. Renters get abused by bad property management, junior bondholders lose out on their investments, local housing markets get riled by price swings, tenants in the rental properties could face future evictions, and neighbors must live with increasing blight.

3. Taxpayers stuck with 'stranded assets'
New Zealand lines companies and electricity generators will no doubt be watching as Australian consumers put their counterparts to the sword. People power is killing power companies. Their main defense is to use their regulators to protect them; that is, make the rules so much in their favour that consumers can't get any benefit. It is only a matter of time before this issue hits New Zealand. At 88 USc, the cost to import the gear to go off-grid now makes it very do-able.

This is yet another good case for why the Government needs to get out of the traditional electricity business. A good start was made, but we now need to go the next step. The Government's only role should be to regulate in an agnostic way. Having skin in the game is a terrible conflict. The current opposition parties are all on the wrong side of this one; they should have pushed to sell all the floated SOEs.

Australia's household solar revolution has caught the energy sector by surprise, and may leave NSW and Queensland taxpayers footing the bill for billions of dollars worth of "stranded assets".

More than a million Australians have already installed solar panels on their roofs, causing demand for electricity from the grid to plummet.

For decades demand for electricity had grown, a trend the industry and government banked on.

Energy economist Greg Houston describes the solar take up as "a once-in-a-generation shift".

"I don't think there's been anything like this that's affected the energy market in the last 50 years," Mr Houston said.

4. Moving on, with grunt
Our electronic devices are powered by batteries. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have changed the world. The Tesla is a car built on them. They can now hold a charge for an impressive time. But you still see people hovering around power points in airports 'recharging' their phones or laptops. And as everyone has experienced, there are only so many recharges they will tolerate before a new battery is required.

Enter the supercapacitor. It will soon give batteries a run for their money, says the Economist. And they can be scaled up significantly to power trucks, buses and other public transport, something lithium-ion batteries cannot do. The Prius is almost obsolete (be glad you didn't get one).

The main beneficiary will be transport. Toyota is already incorporating lessons from the TS040 into its road cars. The Yaris Hybrid-R, a concept car, uses a supercapacitor to provide quick bursts of power. There is industry gossip that the firm is also working with BMW on a sports car that will use supercapacitors. PSA Peugeot Citroën has started fitting supercapacitors to some of its cars as part of its stop-start fuel-saving system, as this permits faster start-ups when the traffic lights turn green.

Public transport, too, is benefiting. Maxwell Technologies, an American supercapacitor-maker, reckons more than 20,000 hybrid buses use the devices to provide bursts of power during acceleration. They are particularly popular in China.

China also claims the world’s first trams powered by supercapacitors. Seven such will go into operation later this year in Guangzhou. When one of them stops at a station, a bank of supercapacitors on board it is recharged in 30 seconds by a device positioned between the rails. That provides power for the tram to run for up to 4km - more than enough to get to the next stop, where it can be charged again. Guangzhou Tram, the operator, believes the supercapacitors will have a life of ten years.

Some electric trains, too, use supercapacitors to harvest energy that would otherwise be lost during braking - and such energy need not be employed by the locomotive it comes from. A system made by Bombardier, a Canadian firm, uses supercapacitors to feed energy recovered this way back into the railway’s power supply, making it available for other trains when they are pulling out of stations.

5. Winning the battle, losing the war
It's official. Adidas won the soccer World Cup (sorry, football World Cup). They sponsored both teams in the final today. And Nike has walked away from the Manchester United  kit sponsorship deal, and Adidas are right in there expecting to take it over. And it's worth a lot.

But actually, Nike is winning the soccer war, as Quartz reports:

Nike’s soccer business has been booming. During its earnings last month the company disclosed that its “global football” division generated $2.3 billion in revenue last year, up 21% from a year earlier, and about double the pace of revenue growth for the broader company.

Adidas has said it expects to generate a record €2 billion ($2.7 billion) in soccer revenue this year. But the fact that Nike is catching up is worrisome. Adidas has been selling soccer products for 66 years, reports Businessweek; Nike only got into the business in 1994. Nike is also well-positioned to tap rising enthusiasm for soccer in the US (which is Adidas’s biggest market for soccer products), because it sponsors the US men’s national team.

The German apparel giant’s stock price has suffered from over-exposure to Russia. And soccer (although admittedly not the World Cup), is providing further headaches for its investors. 

6. Green NIMBYs
NIMBYs are getting more intransigent. They seem to be morphing from "my back yard" to "any change". The art of politics is compromise, but the new NIMBYs just don't do compromise. Green NIMBYs have a thing about building public infrastructure; no new building is their goal, it seems. The most aggressive are those in Germany, where they seem to have taken their 'no compromise' attitudes into a winning position at the ballot box. The costs of replacing public infrastructure has skyrocketed as a consequence. More from Spiegel Online:

Binner's form of protest has a radical undercurrent: Well-informed, confrontational and devoid of respect for authority, he is typical of the new grassroots activism spreading across Germany. Wherever ambitious construction ventures loom on the horizon in Germany -- from the cities to the countryside, from the coastlines in the north to the Black Forest in the south -- opponents are taking to the streets.

More often than not, the demonstrators are protesting against projects that stand for change: extensions to airports, railways, new wind farms or power lines. Not even new subways or sports stadiums are exempt.

7. Europe's debt wish
Kenneth Rogoff is convinced that economic recovery in Europe will require some form of debt restructuring or rescheduling. It's just a matter of time, he says:

Beyond growth-enhancing investment, however, the case for greater stimulus becomes more nuanced. Brad Delong and Larry Summers have argued that in a repressed economy, short-term increases in borrowing can pay for themselves, even if the expenditures do not directly increase long-run potential.

By contrast, Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna argue that in an economy with a large and inefficient government, debt-stabilization measures directed at reducing the size of government can actually be expansionary.

My general sense, however, is that both views are extreme. In general, neither pure austerity nor crude Keynesian stimulus can help countries escape high-debt traps. Throughout history, other measures, including debt rescheduling, inflation, and various forms of wealth taxation (such as financial repression), have typically played a significant role.

It is hard to see how European countries can indefinitely avoid recourse to the full debt toolkit, especially to repair the fragile economies of the eurozone’s periphery. The ECB’s expansive “whatever it takes” guarantee may indeed be enough to help finance greater short-term stimulus than is currently being allowed; but the ECB’s guarantee will not solve long-run sustainability problems.

8. Anyone for ice-hockey ?  ... anyone ?
The staff at any organisation can often have different tastes to its leadership. In fact a very revealing character split has happened at the Bank of England last week. The previous Governor loved his cricket and that was the focus of their annual staff function. The new Canadian governor asked the staff what they really wanted, and they said ... rounders ! I kid you not. Yes, the regulator of the tough old world of the financial City of London is staffed by people who chose rounders. They sound like a soft, patsy lot to me.

Carney has some work to do.

When Mark Carney arrived as Bank of England governor a year ago, he promised to shake up the 320-year-old institution – and he has delivered.

Forget forward guidance, his latest revolution involves something much more important – cricket – which will no longer serve as the centrepiece of the Bank's annual summer staff party because it is considered too exclusive.

A spokesman for the Bank said: "The governor has not banned cricket. He wanted the activities at governors' day to be chosen by staff for staff and their families. Staff chose a number of sports, such as rounders, football and tug of war, among others."

9. We have had a 100 year head start
The United Nations last week released its estimates of population in the largest cities - or "urban agglomerations" as the organisation calls them because the areas do not necessarily conform to city boundaries - and found that just eight of the 30 largest cities were in countries that the World Bank defines as high income. In the future, cities will be bigger, in poorer countries, and in warmer climates.

A dig into their data shows that by 2050, China will only have reached an urbanisation that New Zealand had in about 1950.

The same Report shows that by 2050 New Zealand will have a population of 5.6 million, 90% in urban areas (ie 5.1 million). Our population today is 4.5 million, so that's an expected 1.1 million more in 36 years, or an extra 30,000 per year. I think they may be underestimating. Then again, I doubt they are thinking hard about New Zealand, despite our Helen.

10. Today's quote
"Cloud nine gets all the publicity, but cloud eight actually is cheaper, less crowded, and has a better view." - George Carlin


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#6 Green policy will become more entrenched in politics all around then world.  As the younger generations get older their views towards the environment will dominate more of the mainstream.    I will be 36 by election time and have always voted for environmental reasons over economic.    I agree everything must be a balance, but so far I feel it has been unduly weighted towards economic prosperity over environmental sustainability, which is why I vote this way.


    One thing we must start taking seriously is climate change.  If you look at my Facebook photo you will see a climate voter tag beneath it.   I am seeing this on other peoples Facebook pages now too.

I'm a similar age myself and probably 80% of my friends most of whom are professionals will be voting Greens this year (or at least saying they will).   It will be interesting to see how the big parties adapt once the environment starts to get 20% plus of the vote.

I think some are trying to adapt now (Labour), if not well bye bye.

Agree, same here.

"10 August 2007
The Forecast for 2014...
Climate scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre will unveil the first decadal climate prediction model in a paper published on 10 August 2007 in the journal Science. The paper includes the Met Office's prediction for annual global temperature to 2014.
Over the 10-year period as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 °C warmer than 2004. At least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record
These predictions are very relevant to businesses and policy-makers who will be able to respond to short-term climate change when making decisions today. The next decade is within many people's understanding and brings home the reality of a changing climate."
Clearly the next decade was not within many peoples understanding - especially climate scientists...
"Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that the warming should have continued at an average rate of 0.21 °C per decade from 1998 to 2012. Instead, the observed warming during that period was just 0.04 °C per decade, as measured by the UK Met Office in Exeter and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK."

The climate debate is a side show for those not intelligent enough to understand resource depletion is the real threat. Actually the threat are those stupid enough to think we can go on business as usual.

The majority of people used to have a better understanding of the natural climate factors and cycles due to them living and working more in rural type areas/activities. The transition into cities and people taking up so called Professional type employment opportunities has seen this group (educationally speaking) become less intelligent as they no longer have the knowledge and skills on climate factors that are natural and cyclical!
The fact that city dwellers have isolated themselves from the natural environment factors and have subjected themselves to everything being available at the flick of a switch makes them somewhat ignorant to life outside of a city. 
I think the only reason that people actually stress about climate change is that they have rather selfish motives. They do not want their lifestyle to undergo any change, they don't want to get their hands dirty, they don't want to have to do hard physical work or toil. They are protecting the environment of the city life that they have.
Green Politics is nothing but a Socialist voice that will allow the city people to maintain their priviledged position and has nothing to do with Environmental issues. They use the word Environment to create fear to obtain votes.......the gullible and naive will fall for it !!!
Is city living environmentally sustainable?  Huge quantities of pollutants condensed into small physical areas is very environmentally damaging and upsetting to ecosystems.
Now can you please explain why there was a move from the words Global Warming to Climate Change?

i aint a simialar age (wish I was)..but as an older person am not happy with the way my generation has raped and pillaged and continues to do so.  It is time for you younger guys to get an organisation together as powerful as 'grey power'.  The self interest and greed of this mob goes on unabatted.

#2 Trusting the banks continues to be a foolish act. Why should they be able to profit from their own dishonesty?
#3 the lesson here is that the power companies should not get so greedy as to price themselves out of the market by setting prices so high as to make the competition attractive.

That #4 cartoon of Steven is great!

#4 - you have only to look at the intelligent systems being cooked up and trialled (in Grenoble) by Toyota (Ha:Mo) to see that dino-juice is rapidly going the way of - er- the dinos.  
And the app-based infrastructure is gonna mean more choice, less overall capex needed (renting cars, not owning), and coupled with the Chinese initiatives (30% EVB's in Govt fleets real soon now, EV-hiring by the hour, biofuels) this is all gonna is going to make a mockery of the Green's 'Thou Shalt Ride on - um - Diesel Buses to Commute' mantra.  Truly, Power to the People.....EV by EV.
#6, and in another unintended consequence - ah - I so love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning - Germany is ever more dependent (28% and rising) on that Greenest of Gaia's Fruits (well, Brownest, anyways) - Lignite, for its electricity generation......whereas dirty ol' Oz has a decent BIPV product which also produces raw heat as well as excited electrons.  Oh, the ironies just abound, don't they?

#6 and the (un)intended consequences of banning golden rice and depriving millions of a balanced diet. You would think photos of few blind babies would be enough to get Greens off their high horse but alas no. Add to that particulate related deaths exacerbated but opposing 3rd world electricty projects. Also opposing DDT to prevent millions of malaria deaths even when WHO supports its use.

I see India has woken up. Green NGOs reducing GDP by 3%/annum in a poverty stricken country.

Oh right, meanwhile India is blaming someone else for their failure to address over-population.
Aint going to end well.

Failure to address over population? India's birthrate is similar to the US, barely above replacement. Google stuff before you comment? Surely Greens could "address over-population" fantasy by more humane means than Vitamin A deficiency, malaria and particulate pollution deaths? The population bomb - just another chicken little Green myth.
"This is news to many people, and also a source of alarm, even hysteria — mostly in the West."

Not really,
The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people (2011 census), more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.5% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population reaching 1.6 billion by 2050.[4][5] Its population growth rate is 1.41%, ranking 102nd in the world in 2010.[6] Indian population reached the billion mark in 2000.
1.41% is a lot when you have that many people, 4 times the USA, which is 0.7% btw, half india, hardly "the same", but about par for your posts accuracy.
So 1.4% more people all needing more food. petrol, electrical energy, housing etc and then that is before the expectation of achieving developed world lifestyles.
The above has been achieved effectively by converting fossil fuels to food. Ergo less fossil fuels = less food, more climate change = more extreme weather = less food.
Not hysteria, reality.

No comment on golden rice, WHO support of DDT to prevent malaria deaths or the shocking level of particulate deaths maintained by Greens opposing electricity/any development?
As for the India/US population thing - from the link posted above.
"In actuality, India’s TFR is only 2.5—and falling steadily. This figure barely exceeds that of the United States. In 2011, the US fertility rate was estimated at 2.1, essentially the replacement level; a more recent study now pegs it at 1.93. Still, from a global perspective, India and the US fall in the same general fertility category, as can be seen in the map posted here."

While growth is slowing it doesnt effect my comment that we are over-populated already and that over-popualtion will get worse.

You said India hadn't addressed population growth. They clearly have. How will "over" population get worse if they they are barely above replacement now and will be under it in no time. Check the slope of the first graph in the first link and do the math. Or are you moving the goalposts?

Golden rice,
"Shiva argued, golden rice proponents were obscuring the limited availability of diverse and nutritionally adequate food.[38] Other groups argued that a varied diet containing foods rich in beta carotene such as sweet potato, leafy green vegetables and fruit would provide children with sufficient vitamin A.[39] However Keith West of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health countered that foodstuffs containing vitamin A are either unavailable, or only available at certain seasons, or that they are too expensive for poor families in underdeveloped countries.[15]"
Depends on whether you look at it short term or long term, short term it might be a good thing. Longer term it comes back to is it really safe and as usual too the symptom of too many people and the growth for ever mantra.

Thay "diverse and nutritionally adequate" food you quote isn't getting to people now hence all the blind babies and malnutrition. People eat rice daily and hence can get their A daily. Why waste all that extra oil growing extra crops when a single cheap staple crop will do. Try and think more sustainably.

Let the poor buggers decide for themselves which crops to grow not some billion dollar big green corporate.

From WHO: 250k to 500k children go blind from VAD every year, half of which are dead within 12 months. Nice one Greenpeace.

Barely above replacement is still far too many in a world that needs a REDUCING population

Yes let's vote Green and REDUCE that population using malaria, vitamin A deficiency and particulate pollution.

Yet voting Green will see the push to a renewables powered economy, that will reduce pollution as we use less fossil fuel for generation and with electrical public transport less deisel powered buses around.
things like Malaria are always with us, take what the US spends on military hardware each year, a fraction of that would do wonders for Malaria and food output, but oh no right wingers want their military and nukes.
Global population has to be reduced, if we dont do it a a species nature will and that wont be pretty.

What is your policy prescription for reducing the global population?  How do you propose that "we as a species" go about it? 
If reducing the global population is your objective, what is your problem with spending large on military hardware rather than on fighting malaria and increasing food production?   Sounds to me like a highly efficient way of reducing population.

Well lets see,
"For just $3.5 billion per year, we could supply contraceptives to the 222 million women in the developing world who want to avoid a pregnancy, but who are not using a modern method of contraception. That's just 0.1% of the US federal budget for 2013, and less than what FIFA expects to make in profit ($4 billion) from this year's World Cup in Brazil."

It isnt specifically my objective, I am pointing out that with less oil we wont be able as a species to feed the population we have, let alone more. 
So we have choices and wow maybe we could make a decision or 2,
a ) In terms of war machinery, yes I guess we could run around machine gunning ppl, if thats your um method of choice, OK, I'd rather take a paecful approach myself.
b) We could have a world wide program on contraception, costing little it seems.
c) Education, which feeds into b)
d) Let nature do it, let ppl starve or if they try and migrate here as they are desperate, well see a).
e) Increasing  food production is
      i) oil dependant, so isnt going to happen (let alone lack of water).
       ii) you cant keep growing food production for ever mathematically thats easy to prove.
f) Malaria, indeed that and any such method is one way to control the population. Not a terribly nice way to do it, but I guess if you are happy to machine gun ppl letting them die from desease wont move you either....or maybe that's how you get your kicks?  ***shudder***

#4 So remind me again why we invested millions in electrifying Auckland rail and new trains, when we could have done it with Zebra Batteries and/or supercapicitors?

I don't think you quite get it. Supercapacitors are only a storage medium, they don't create energy.

Scarfie, I more than get it but was observiing that 100 yo technology was seen as the way to continue BAU, which more than explains the inability of the PTB to deal with the real situation, that is the end of growth. It is however just as inane to see all techno-advances as simply mechanisms of  denial, they may also be adopted to smooth the transition to a lower energy future but for this to happen their adoption must be acknowledged not shrouded in spin and rhetoric, like those fools at the auckland transpot blog who are so blinkered they ignore the facts

I find it interesting how little is said on Peak oil until the newest tech darling comes along and then its "no worries its solved! we no longer have a problem!! peak poil is dead!!!! dead I tell you!!!"
Despite all the extra shale oil the US is pumping out, US Petrol is still around $3.75 a gallon and crude world wide $100.   My Q is if it wasnt for the US's extra 5% which is significant what would the price be?
"PTB to deal with the real situation," is anyone? I see no sign of any political party standing out on this....why? because its how to get wiped out in the polls/election.

Steven , I respect your posts but "if it wasnt for the US's extra 5% which is significant what would the price be?" The answer is grossly unstable it would be spiking and collapsing on the basis that money requires growth - growth requires energy  - energay is oil, So I find the whole "price of oil" question a bit like "How high can someone lift themself by their own bootlaces" btw I used the NZ bootlaces not  US Bootstrap which gives us"to boot a PC"

Exactly what I meant.
I would suggest as Matt Simmonds said we'll see a saw tooth pattern. As the world's economy recovers, up goes oil demand and hence price killing the recovery and maybe even seeing a noticable price drop for a short period.
Right now Libya's output seems dubious as does Iraq's, hence the US's lack of overseas demand casued by its domestic consumption seems to be a stabilizer, maybe for 2~4 years.
I dont subscribe to the theory of $200 or $500 oil in a sustainable sense.  If we say had a war in the strait of Hormuz an old US strategic scenario said that we'd see a 4xspike in the price of oil (I think it was $40 to $160). Today that would be a trajectory to $400 but frankly I think the world economy would collapse before getting there......
Seems we are on a wing and a prayer, but everything is OK as it hasnt happened yet seems to be the strategy (on so many things).

Yes. Pull the seventh fleet to the straights of Malacca and the yanks close down China and/or Japan. As supply dwindles and the US needs to secure more of the pie for themselves they will also cut Europe loose and bypass the suez. For logistical reasons they may focus all the carrier groups on one transit route and send it all across the pacific. Hence a marine base in Australia.

Remind me again why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour?

Lol. But also why missing the aircraft carriers led to their defeat. Check out who has most of the worlds carriers, plus how many more that are mothballed that could be brought back into service.

The problem is an aircraft carrier takes years to build and a nuclear torpedo doesnt have to get that close (a few kms) to take the carrier offline if not sink it.
Ditto the oil tankers have to pass through the southern pacific ocean to get to the USA, convoys? again a nuclear torpedo within a few kms is close enough and I'd be damned if I'd sail on such a ship in such a situation unless a marine had a gun to my head.
If there is a war then personally I think it will be faught with what is on line and available over a few months, (forget refurbing old carriers once the oil is gone for some months the game is over). After that whom ever is left wins.  As someone said the guy with the last bullet in the mag wins.

No they wont close down china.  China is one big piece of land, a carrier meeting a nuclear tipped torpedo, or a nuclear tipped exocet loses.
Will the US try and cut the EU lose? certianly, will it happen? frankly ppl have written and I agree that the USA will go dark long before this and simply cease to be a superpower as internal conflict destroys it.
Transit route, have you ever sailed across the pacific? I have.
Ever listened to a merchant ship from many many hundreds of miles away?
You cant hide and it takes weeks, it is a lot of ocean.

Steven, a couple of my past vocations are the military and marine engineer, largely unrelated to each other.

Were the 84 to 87 economic changes that great?  Sure, it ushered in globalism, and a lot of merchant bankers made billions from hocking off state asserts , but maybe a country like NZ is worth having some sovereignty and active economic management.  
We have benefited from the large Hydro schemes etc which will never ever be built again under the free markets environmental limiters now.  
and all the blue collar workers are now 2nd generation welfare homes ,  formerly railway & freezing workers.    

The large hydro schemes were pre-84 - Clyde Dam being the last of the biggies, part of the Think Big projects. Flogging off Railways was a disaster for all those other than the asset strippers, such that, of course, we ended up buying it back in total disrepair. Then there was the Telecom sale - another absolute disaster - so rushed the government sold the rights to the numbers, and hence for decades afterwards you couldn't change service providers without also changing your phone number.  And Clear, of course spent years and years in litigation over the poorly thought out competition regime - great for lawyers, bad for customers. Then there was (is) the Resource Management Act, still trying to fix that one. And employment law changes gave birth to our low wage economy in a way no one could have predicted.
Actually the Editorial criticised by David did a pretty good job in summary.
Granted we needed to change import licensing laws - but if David thinks they were an example of crony capitalism .. lord knows what he'd call the Faye-Richwhite and BRT relationship with the Lange/Douglas government. 

Blinkered nonsense 

Yes, indeed, hopefully the bad memories die along with Act this election.

Telecom did need to be privatised.

the Bulldog was very much in favour of keeping it a state infrastrucutre, but it was every politicians pet football.  No decisions were being made for business reasons, only non-profit and political ones.  This ended up with a very poorly operating system with no way and no-one able to change it.  Any attempt at change just developed more expensive report papers !!   

It's biggest failure point as a State Service, was that it was Nation wide/monopoly.  so it was the one stop shop, expected to be everything to everyone, failing at all of them.  There was competition to keep pace against, and political "advice and assistance" meant all decisions were compromised.  If there were at least regionalisation or a split (like the baby bells) there would have been sort of comparative operations, but that threatened the power of the football.

Agree, privatisation had to happen but Aus, for example, did a much better job of it with the more considered, staged privatisation of Telstra.

Think big on the dams, well my understanding is they were done becuase of the concern on future energy prices, I suspect it will save our necks.
Not sure on the railways but they needed slimming down to take the birden off the tax payer.   Now the tax payer is investing where its paying back, seems like its probably a win.
Telecom was frankly an awful drag on our economy, yes its finally been neutered but if the Govn had kept it god knows where we would be today, way worse I suspect. 
Oh and by the way Clear is no better than telcom as a friend in the scene says "just another telco" ie grasping and coneiving thieves ie using their position to extract the maximum rent.
"And employment law changes gave birth to our low wage economy in a way no one could have predicted" actually read Steve Keen on that one.  His opinion is that business tends to a monopoly and hence you need a strong union existance to counter that.  take away unions and hey presto the low waged (in particualr) are worse off.

In-equality made a huge jump just after that, so for all the promises, achieved diddly as a societal change.
The evidence is condemning really.
I agree on having the large hydro, it will save our collective ass IMHO.
Environmental limiters, not so sure. When we get brown and black outs then the screams to do something will be overwelming. There will be a lot of those however, eg petrol rationing.

David, you may poo-poo the steady state (aka sustainability gial) but my rentals have the same number of rooms they always did. same square meterage of section and roof too.

The cows eat the same kgDM, to produce the same kgMS.  It requires the same energy to cool as it always has.  The water to wash up has fallen admittedly, due to some clever changes.
However, the grass still requires the same amount of sunshine, the same amount of rain, and same nutrients it always has.

My garden is the same size as it was many years ago.  the corn, beans and spuds all take pretty much the same maintenance and nutrients.

My light bulbs certainly cost more to buy... but run longer, and use less energy.

So just where is this drive to march to armageddon coming from?  not 'round here mate.

#6 "Not even ... sports stadiums are exempt" Wait, so it is now bad to think that the debt burden of stadiums is going to cripple cities? what about #3.

Mr Chaston's take on this is even more lop-sided than his view on #1.
Capacitors, super or otherwise, will not replace batteries. Just like an accumulator in a hydraulic or pneumatic system, capacitors are good for smoothing the bumps or providing bursts of power over and above the maximum output rate of the main motive power source, baterry or what-have-you.

Even more clearly than nuclear fusion, supercapacitors as a main power source are "50 years down the road and always will be."
The readers' comments in the Economist's article are more informed than the author's.