Submersible Power Station Symbolises Abrupt Shift in Class Politics as General Election Nears
The social licence accorded to pine plantations is transferring to solar power schemes as the hazards of pine are being revealed in the extreme weather that these forestry schemes were supposed to avert.
The emphasis is on solar power in spite of still even more obvious hazards.
These are illustrated by the official determination to ramrod through the Auckland solar farm at Helensville in spite of the site having been underwater this year for several days at a time.
Quietly the government seeks to transfer responsibility for the troublesome pine plantations to local government.
The covert nature of this backtracking is easily achieved because the main political parties until even a few months ago demonstrably supported the plantations as they basked in the international approval for them.
The transfer of official and all-party enthusiasm into solar is now also encouraged by the dismal failure of repeated carbon dioxide pine plantation related auctions where reserve prices were not met.
The decision to sideline timber with its attendant problems in favour of shifting the emphasis to solar is a tacit one.
The reason is that both Labour and National went all out on the timber scheme and disregarded alternatives available to them under international covenants.
This is why the emphasis is now on solar.
The impression given is that these vast solar installations will be equipped with shoulder-high panels with sheep safely grazing beneath these modest structures.
In fact the panel arrays scheduled for sites such as Helensville and Wellington regional tourist areas will be the size of houses.
So will associated ISO container sized structures for electrical current flow control and battery equipment interspersed among these panel arrays.
Aware of this new electronic emphasis international finance companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of these solar projects with their higher value over the pine planting schemes.
They are doing so because these electromagnetic installations carry more direct and realisable trading payloads internationally than the increasingly uncertain offsetting benefits of the tree plantation schemes.
The gigantic BlackRock investment firm of New York is not usually publicly clutched to the bosom of a Labour party, let alone one in government, and with such glee.
But New Zealand’s Labour government shone with pride in announcing that the investment banking colossus was setting up in New Zealand to work with the government in establishing a flotilla of solar projects.
Not so well known is the German Aquila Group headquartered in Hamburg which is already active with financing at least three scheduled large-scale solar projects in both islands.
A political mystery is why the government keeps silent about New Zealand this year achieving a 93 percent of its reticulated power from renewables in the form of its dam sites and the now little-mentioned geothermal technology.
The reason for politicians keeping silent about this international triumph is so extraordinary as to be unbelievable.
It requires us to step back to that moment when Christopher Luxon took over as leader of the National Party opposition.
In what must rank as the greatest example of candour in Oceania, he proclaimed quite simply that his objective was to win back the 413,000 National supporters who had defected to other parties. He was definite about the number.
They are the reason why in New Zealand the parties delicately edge around the whole power topic, and especially around its costs to the taxpayer.
They skirt also around the one about prime farmland by definition being low-lying, but close to community grid sub stations, being taken out of production and carpeted with electro chemical solar industries
We now come to the official silence about the 93 percent renewables achievement. Such an announcement would have given the 413,000 privileged voting sector the impression of official complacency.
It could have conveyed an impression of self-satisfaction.
To the effect that the governmental foot had eased on the renewables pedal in a political smugness indicating a fading of faith, of a diminution of the earnest intensity needed in pursuit of this clique’s single issue; King Charles’ cause……
The single issue climate voters are known to dwell in the more upscale metropolitan suburbs, and especially so in Auckland where the mainstream media conscious of these individuals high net worth ignores the bizarre and newsworthy matter of the Helensville submersible solar farm evolving in their midst.
The party leaders meanwhile know that their general election outcome is quietly residing in the nation’s urban and virtuous drawing rooms which are so far away from the sound and the fury on the streets about schools, hospitals, crime, farms, supermarkets, homelessness.
In their determination to appease and cultivate this well-to-do voting sector politicians will put the rest of the electorate to any expense. They deliberately ignore that New Zealand is anyway almost 90 percent renewables and in fact substantially ahead of exactly the northern hemisphere countries which they are so eager to impress.
In their anxiety to demonstrate their eagerness politicians will stoop to any approach as they prostrate themselves and thus their country too before these internationals.
An example is the way in which they deliberately ignore the nation’s innovations in renewables technology.
Geothermal especially escapes official memory, even consciousness, in the politico-bureaucratic collective and weird determination to demonstrate a kind of juvenile we-can-do- better humility to its northern hemisphere superiors, as they are viewed.