Return to Welcome Page  Submission to
 Meridian Energy Mill Creek Hearings.

Aug 2008 

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Background.  I personally presented this  hurriedly written submission to the Hearings of the Greater Wellington councils to Meridian Energy's proposal to erect 31 industrial scale 
wind-driven turbines west of Wellington City. It was hard to judge the response of the three panel members. None had any questions. The Chair did say I had kept my promise - to supply the big picture.

In summary I opposed the application and called for a moritorium on all such proposals until NZ communities had been re-enfranchised and can again have the capacity to make intelligent uses of their electrical potential.

My reflections on my submission to Sustainable Energy Forum are included below.


Submission  re Project Mill Creek 
– Dave McArthur

I appreciate this opportunity to make a submission on the Meridian Energy proposal. I apologise for its brevity. Monday week ago an error at the Regional Council meant I received two days notice of my submission to the Ngauranga-Airport Corridor hearings and on Thursday the Green Party called for urgent submissions on their participation in the ETS. My submission outlining the folly of the ETS can be read on my website or My website plus both submissions form background to my submission today.

 I have been involved in one way or another with the Bulk-gen electricity industry for three decades now and have long been a proponent of making intelligent use of our wind potential. I do not perceive this Meridian Energyproposal as an intelligent use of it.

The summary of submissions suggests that most people supporting the proposal do so because they believe “wind turbines are a renewable source of energy” and those opposing it do so because of their concerns for the health and welfare of those living close to them. I did not spot any submissions that really looked at the big picture. I will attempt to do so 

In summary:

  At the advent of the Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas age in 1900 there were 1654 million human beings, the majority of which were rural based. At the end of the Age, as of yesterday, there are an estimated 6,717 million human beings, the majority of which are urban based. NZ’s population has increased 4 fold too in that time and has increased by over 400,000 this century alone. That is the equivalent to an increase of 8 million people in terms of the global average consumption of resources - assuming the average NZer uses at least 20 times the global average. 

Nations like NZ have made the fatal error of confusing energy with some of the forms it can take – fossil fuels and Bulk-generated electricity in particular. As a result we have vastly undervalued resources such as mineral oil/gas and now our credit systems based on this fallacy are about to implode. In brief, the era of access to cheap mineral oil/gas is over and over 6 billion humans are now at grave risk of perishing in an imminent hideous global war as inflation and credit collapse demolishes the remaining civics in wasteful countries like New Zealand, the USA, the UK et al and we go feral. 

This catastrophic event is not inevitable. We can avert it if we instantly start a radical restructuring and begin to make intelligent uses of our carbon, electrical and solar potential. We have one great unprecedented advantage. We are at the confluence of a number of great technologies:

  • Dwelling-scale electrical and heat generators,
  • Smart monitoring/response devices such as meters and technology, smart dwelling appliances (fridges, windows, heaters, washers etc),
  • Cellular radio networks
  • And broadband over our 230-volt systems.

This confluence can enable communities to radically reduce their consumption of mineral and biomass resources while sustaining their credit systems and their wealth in general. It will enable us to develop our dwellings as generators that play an intelligent role in enhancing the resilience of their local electrical grid.

 There is a requisite for this to occur. Communities need to have the intelligence so we can best use and conserve resources. This intelligence cannot occur where democracy is lacking and there is not a free flow of information.

This high risk of catastrophic warfare can only be averted if regions like the Wellington region provide the world a model of sustainable uses of our solar, electrical and carbon potentials.

 What doe s such a model look like?

The community has full control of its regional electrical grid and this is administered by a directly accountable and democratically elected council. This enables true intelligence to be generated. Citizens retain control of how and who has access to the knowledge of how they use their dwellings. This knowledge can be collated and used for the planning and provision of urban development, health systems, education programmes, open source broadband, efficient transport systems and maximising the resilience of the electrical grids and the efficiency of resource use generally. This control of knowledge is critical if the community is to make effective use of variable resources such as wind, solar and tidal forms of energy.

It is essential too that the intelligence gained by the community from its local electrical grid is supplemented by constant review of the performance of local dwellings, its local urban solar capacity and of local resources such as soils, water, air, plants etc. 

How does the current Wellington model compare with this (sustainable) model?

The documents I received concerning the Meridian Energy proposal suggests Wellington councils and most submissions are very concerned about the impacts on drainage, water quality, some transport, visual and local houses. This is evidence of considerable intelligence in these areas. However this body of intelligence exists in a vast vacuum of intelligence that suggests the region simply has not the capacity at present to evaluate this proposal.

For instance:

Re Population

There is no body of intelligence underpinning a sustainable regional and nation population size. Our political and business leaders espouse continual population growth. Translate their logic into demand for Bulk-generated electricity then soon the whole region will be covered with large turbines. This alone is a recipe for misery.

Re Democracy

 Since 1998 democracy has not existed in our nation with regards to how we use our electrical potential. In particular, Wellington citizens have lost a range of essential civil rights and we are now effectively just tradable commodities. Indeed almost every Bulk-gen electricity consumer living in our region for this century has been traded at least once in the new regime. We have little or no access or control over how our personal information is used. As a result local councils have no access to this vital data for planning and education purposes and it is now dissipated among three or four corporations who use it to maximise the short- term returns to their principle shareholders (mainly merchant bankers).

Re Solar Capacity

Again there is an almost complete vacuum in this intelligence in the region. What intelligence there is suggests that speculative builders are rapidly destroying our solar potential. For instance my cottage received all day sun for over 70 years till 1998 when the WCC allowed my northern neighbour to extend upwards, thus destroying most of my access to the sun in winter periods. (See my website –David Parker presentation) Similarly it recently allowed my neighbour to build a fence that shades the concrete floor in my solarium during winter months. I am now poorer, live in a less healthy dwelling, and the local electrical grid is less resilient. This destruction of our solar potential is endemic the Wellington region.  It is clearly unsustainable to permit these Bulk-gen wind turbines to be installed while this is occurring. In this context Meridian’s application is just daft.

Re Broadband.

Broadband over 230-volt systems is still some way off but the potential is very real and great, especially for communities that own their local wiring grids. Wellington City has no such control and at present our grid is at risk of collapse. The optic fibre system is literally pulling the poles over. This risk, which rocketed after the city sold it to overseas owners, has been averted by the temporary stewardship of it by the Auckland community. However this is about to end soon. The city has ended up with very expensive and low quality broadband of very limited intelligence. (See Photo essay of poles falling over on my website.)

Re “smart” monitoring and response systems.

 The Electricity Reform legislation of the 1990s effectively precludes the region from using its 230-volt electrical grid “to encourage efficiency in energy use and the development and use of energy from renewable sources.” (Wellington Plan 25.2)

The Electricity Reform legislation specifically bans communities from owning both their grid and its intelligence. It effectively forbids strategies that might reduce profits from Bull-gen electricity sales i.e. the diversion of investments into general energy efficiency practice. I witnessed first hand the impact of this legislation on Capital Power-TransAlta operations. Energy efficiency strategies and technologies were dismantled  for these empowered customers and “reduced profits”.

“Smart” technology, eg the Meridian-ARC meters are being installed in other regions but the technology is designed to serve Meridian interests only. Citizens cannot use it to broadcast to their local council or consumer support group or other research/advisory body. The current owners of Meridian Energy might not but future owners may well farm and on-sell customer data. 

The conversation using the smart technology fails to meet the parameters of an intelligent dialogue – the conversation is basically all one way – Meridian does all the talking. I was informed the Wellington region is not getting the ARC technology and so the capacity to use “smart” appliances in an intelligent way will pass us by anyhow.

Re “Smart” Appliances

Traditionally NZ was a leader in this field and our capacity to make intelligent uses of the ripple system was a world model in sustainability. This capacity was destroyed by the Electricity Reforms which created a national structure in which the Bulk-gen electricity companies can make their largest profits off stressed grids – especially those with fossil fuel fired generation plant.  

NZers in all communities throughout the nation have lost their  democratic right to vote how such technology is used. As such it can be used by the new owners of the technology to control and commodify us and repress the development of truly intelligent systems, including dwelling based generation. Which is the real reason behind the Electricity Reforms here and around the world. 

In this light I find the submissions in favour of the proposal by the likes of EECA, the MED, Transit NZ and the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce remarkably ignorant. They and those who argue this project will work to achieve nation energy efficiency goals and work to sustain vital climate balances fail to understand the wider issues and ignore the current reality in New Zealand. 

The reality is we have invested in these Bulk-gen wind farms turbines for several years now and we are emitting more pollution than ever. They have not added to security of supply and never can while our economy remains based on constant population growth and while the system remains undemocratic and designed to maximise inefficient use of resources.

Are they not aware of the secretive Meridian-Comalco deal, which effectively gives them control of Meridian? It means until 2030 Comalco controls over half of NZ’s current capacity to generate electrical products from hydro resources i.e. 15% of our total national electrical product?

Are they not aware this probably means the average citizen ends up paying for the costs of the thermal generation required to balance the grid load?

Are they not aware that over 90% of the aluminium Comalco produces gets exported to make car parts so the average NZ citizen ends up subsidising more cheap polluting devices on the planet? So much for caring for the planet! And now Meridian Energy attempts to foist huge wind turbine conglomerates on us in the name of “carbon neutrality”. 

And how can Transit NZ be neutral about the proposal when the reality is the shambolic state of Wellington City’s infrastructure means the trolley bus system is at risk of failure?

I hear rumours that this year the Bulk-gen wind conglomerates have generated 10% of their potential capacity. This is a fraction of what we were promised. It shows the folly of huge, poorly planned projects like this.

I am for community-owned wind turbines in community owned grids with high community intelligence.  This makes for balanced development and resilient grids using all the resources in the community. I understand that is more the model in places like Denmark, the pioneer in wind turbine use.

Until we have such sustainable models in place here I oppose this proposal and call for a moratorium on all Bulk-gen projects until (1) we have a clear and sustainable framework of what our region’s ultimate demands on resources are and (2) legislation is in place ensuring communities can use their electrical, carbon and solar potential in democratic and intelligent ways.

The model that Meridian Energy is part of is very unsustainable and if we leave it to follow its inevitable course we can expect our landscape to become one great industrial military complex.  Many decades ago I did a psychology degree and it was clear to meet since its genesis the Meridian model ticks all the boxes for being a psychopathic structure.

 I know for certain a sustainable model exists. It is here. It lies in our history for most of last century. So lets take time out to resurrect it and provide humanity with a way of avoiding that hideous global catastrophe I spoke of. I am sure the Meridian folk would be much happier working in such a humane model. The moratorium may require another Parliamentary Inquiry into Electricity but this time its committee should be filled with people who enjoy a sound knowledge of civics and democracy. 

I look forward to your questions.


 Reflections on submission to Sustainable Energy Forum


Well that was the week and a bit that was. First giving a submission re the Ngauranga –Wellington Airport proposal, then a submission re Green Party ETS decision and yesterday a submission re Meridian Energy’s proposal to build a conglomerate of Bulk-gen wind turbines (Project Mill Creek) in Wellington. All in all it is remarkably easy to conclude these were just rather exhausting and futile exercises – particularly now that the Green Party has transferred control of much of New Zealand’s future to the Money Traders, in particular the Eronian Carbon Traders. 

The question for me now is do I go along with the Green Party decision, accept the regime and start to concentrate on earning money and consuming in the lavish manner of the promoters of Carbon Trading? The Green Party decision reveals a fatalistic acceptance that a catastrophic global war is now even more imminent and inevitable. In face of such hopelessness perhaps I should just give up and join the Carbon Binge Party too while it lasts? I am sure I could blast through a few hundred barrels of mineral oil tripping around the planet over the next year or two.  

I suspect there will be quite a few people asking similar questions. For others the Green Party has solved many of their personal dilemmas re carbon use. 

The Green Party plays a critical role because it is highly influential among the 15% or so of the population who are mainly middle class, who destroy about 60 barrels of mineral oil each day per 1000 people and who are looking for guidance on how to live sustainably. This group is often identified as the “change leaders” that enable the 50-60% who are “change passive” to alter their behaviour and thus societies adapt (or fail to adapt). This drags the “change resistant” minority along.  

The Green Party caucus has signalled very clearly to the “change leaders”– Its OK folks – Carry on as Usual – the Market will provide for your children. I did hear Jeanette trying to say otherwise but it is clear she is unaware of the fact that we are Mirror Beings – our brains are wired with networks of mirror neurons that cause us to respond to what is, not what is said. What matters is the walk, not the talk.  Our neural networks now register the reality that the Green Party formally dances to the ETS tune now. And we can be sure the media will amplify this reality in the popular mind. 

The Green Party has supported the ETS informally for quite a period now, even when Party leaders were saying they opposed it. Jeanette reacted quite sharply and objected to Mary Wilson’s suggestion on Checkpoint on ETS DAY (Tuesday) that “We always all knew that the Green Party was going to support the Emissions Trading Scheme…” Mary reflected the insights of many. 

I knew it was almost a certainty after the 2006 budget in which the Green Party caucus negotiated tens of millions of dollars towards the entrenchment of the Enviroschools ethos into our education system. Longer-term SEF members will recall how I have provided the forum with a detailed exposition of how Enviroschools had its genesis in the psychopathic world of Arthur Andersen and Co and the Enronian trading ethos. That is why it was designed without substantive reference to the role carbon plays in our lives and fails to provide a coherent vision of our roles as stewards of carbon flows and balances. This means it accurately reflects Parliament’s fundamental ethos and funding for it occurs.   

I am aware the resource is being reviewed. However to my knowledge it still is unable to communicate a comprehensive vision of humans as Carbon Beings and at this point in time a recent survey I did of NZ’s leading Environmental Educators has provided no evidence of such a vision. 

I have very good reason to believe the Green Party caucus believes that Carbon Tax ethos is the way to go but their lifestyles as Parliamentarians are very much in dissonance with the concepts of stewardship implicit in the ethos. This dissonance has consistently been reflected in the symbols used in their media statements and the vote reflects the Parliamentarian walk. 

The ETS ethos was very apparent in an address Jeanette gave to the Methodist national conference at the Wesley Church in Wellington a year or so back. What was interesting is that the congregation was in sympathy with her for most of her sermon but belief systems diverged sharply at the point at which she started talking about carbon trading mechanisms as a solution. The audience turned off in a most palpable way. One of the first questions afterwards asked her if the concept of “carbon offsetting” is just a way of our justifying our continuance with unsustainable uses of carbon and I sensed the congregation felt that Jeanette was unable to provide a convincing case that this is not so.  

This observation leads to the question: now the Green Party is committed itself formally to the ETS framework where will people who are strongly driven by beliefs in sovereign rights, peace, equity, democracy and stewardship put their votes now? Will the vacuum lead to the resurrection of the Values Party again or some other movement that expresses the will of all those who reject the pathology of the ETS? 

The implications for our sovereignty are enormous. Federated Farmers and others are correct when they say the ETS has the potential to have a far more profound and destructive impact on New Zealand than the Economic Reforms of the 1980s. Just think of the potential of a few overseas merchant bankers to be able to manipulate and profit from our every use of carbon and what a massive control and wealth accumulation the ETS affords them.  

Of course the process will be opaque to most people, as evidenced by the current carbon trading systems – in particular mineral oil/gas trades:  

Observe beneath the hysterical media headlines about “sky high prices” for mineral oil. The reality is that the price set by “The Market” trades represents a vast undervaluation of the resource by an elite billion people.

What is really occurring is that the profits and power base of the elite of that billion elite are now put at risk as their credit systems implodes because their access to cheap mineral oil/gas is reduced. And within that global reduction of access we have some dramatic sector reductions. SEF readers will recall the NYT article I quoted last week in which reference was made to the fact that whereas once the big corporations (Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total of France and Eni of Italy) once controlled the majority of global mineral oil reserves they now control only 13% and currently instead of investing their current huge profits in research they are using them to buy back shares in an attempt to sustain their market price. That’s often the sign of a sunset sector with its principle shareholders skipping out at the last moment just before the whole valueless structure implodes. 

Similarly we are seeing the unsustainability (insanity?) of basing a massive credit expansion based on valuing mineral oil at $US10-20 a barrel. The Stock Markets and dwelling speculation went rampant with no underpinning of real wealth. Now we witness the Money/Carbon traders frantically propping up the prices of the Stock Markets and mortgages by siphoning off vast quantities of wealth out of the pockets of the average person using inflation and publicly funded bailouts.  

I read recently that the US Fed effectively doubled the liabilities of the average US citizen in one weekend. By accepting public liability for Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac it doubled the effective public debt of the USA over night from $US5 trillion to $US10 trillion. The situation is probably no better in NZ and KiwiSaver is effectively just another bailout of the traders. (AMP reported this morning KiwiSaver had underpinned its profits – this is a “Government approved” company whose share price has dropped from $NZ28 to about $NZ8 during a decade of very cheap mineral oil!) 

The article pointed out that US citizens remain oblivious to the massive destructive impacts the Fed’s $US5 trillion bailout of the Money Traders will have on all manner of public services. I suspect most NZers, including many Green Party supporters are similarly oblivious to the impacts of the Party’s endorsement of the Carbon Trading Ethos.  

The ETS works to destroy stewardship of mineral oil and the consequent severe undervaluation of the resource leads to it premature destruction of reserves. All that most of these people will be aware of is that somehow the Green Party is overtaken by the events it helped cause and the Party will become irrelevant in its current form. It will be seen as “out of touch” with the desperate reality of inflation, stagflation and general divisiveness afflicting the average person.


Similarly the $NZ1 billion “insulation” package works out at about $NZ200 a person over 15 years. The package will soon evaporate into the economic black hole of the ETS and general mayhem. Already many of us are experiencing 10% inflation and this is set to escalate i.e. the purchasing value of our dollar will be halved in 7 years. It is also helpful, if painful, to recall the sale of Telecom for $$NZ4 billion. 

Already the new ownership structure of our telecommunications system has cost us many tens of billions of dollars. Recall how a special “education package” of $NZ400 million was constructed from the Telecom sale proceeds to appease opponents of the sale. Where are the benefits of the package for the classes of 1990 now? Ask our young people who are experiencing escalating student loans ($NZ11 billion now?) and general personal indebtedness and homelessness.  

The reality of the ETS ethos is that the State Owned Enterprises, which are supposed to be much of the source of this billion-dollar package, will not exist much longer. Recall how the mineral oil price blip in 1979 created considerable division and strife in NZ, enabling  ”Market Forces” to dictate that we sell many of our national assets. Well soon those “Market Forces” will be stronger than ever once the election year sweeteners have gone sour here and in the US. The “insulation” package will evaporate in the same way that all such packages do that are born of an unsustainable ethos. 

Talking of democracy and the likes of Meridian Energy, I will post below my submission against their Mill Creek Project proposal. It may be of use to those who are confronted with and need arguments against such proposals in their region. It may also help provide a framework for developing sustainable models of living.  

381 of the submissions were in support with 417 opposed and 5 neutral. The summaries of the submissions evidenced very few that looked at the big picture so I made that my aim. (I had received a ready-made submission document from Meridian for me to sign and post in detailing my/their reasons for supporting their project – many supporters reflected Meridian’s viewpoint.) 

I point out that the commission looking at the Meridian Energy proposal is working in a national vacuum of intelligence that is particularly evident in the Wellington region, which has a 230 volt grid system near collapse and which local councils have no control over at all anymore. I call for a moratorium on all such proposals until we establish both an ultimate limit on demand for Bulk-gen electricity and the basics to ensure resilient local grid structures.

As an aside I said to the panel that there is a very real probability that under the current regime we could see our countryside converted to a military-industrial complex of Bulk-gen turbines. They should not underestimate this probability. Within hours of my statement to the resource consent hearing the Government announced it is “calling in” the Contact Energy proposal for Raglan as a matter of “national security”.  

This is revealing. The Government is prepared to take such drastic measures for private companies like Contact and TransPower. And the Government describes the institution of Fascist measures by such a euphemism. It is as though the removal of civil rights is like calling in children from their play to have dinner or to class or calling the cows in to be milked. 

At the end of my submission I opened my arms wide and invited questions. There was not a single question. The chairperson complemented me that I had kept my promise and had indeed provided a big picture. There was no indication that the commissioners could see it though. I detected not a flicker of agreement when I said at the end it is critical they conclude is critical that NZ declare a moratorium on such projects, including this one. 

I had an hour to fill before a lecture and thought I would go to the Rita Angus exhibition at the nearby Te Papa. Even though I had long anticipated the Green Party caucus decision some part of me hoped against hope that maybe a groundswell of sanity within the Party might prevail. And now the unquestioning commissioners had left me hanging in a vacuum. I am not used to talking into a microphone and hearing my voice booming back at me through amplifier systems. It creates a sense of a strange artificial loop in my head and it is hard to feel I am part of a real conversation. 

I needed spiritual sustenance after experiencing two weeks of mean, miserable visions of the nature of energy and I knew Rita Angus enjoyed a potent and vibrant vision of its nature. 

I walked into yet another squalid vision of the nature of energy.  I discovered Te Papa is featuring an exhibition of art works framed as “ Moving towards a Balanced Earth -Kick the Carbon Habit”. I watched families reading the propaganda about how the exhibit is Government and MfE sponsored and how it is “carbon neutral” and how “ 120 trees will be planted to offset the carbon emissions for the New Zealand venue, through carbon-offset credits from the CarbonFund…” As I observed the visitors to Te Papa soaking up this ethos I realised just how insidious the Spin promoting the denial of stewardship in us is and how morally bankrupt our Government structures are now. 

Rita revitalised me but the lecture worked to devitalise me. A range of Government Departments including Treasury have sponsored the destruction of yet more barrels of mineral oil bringing Dr Roberto Roson from Italy to tell us about using economic modelling to examine the consequences of climate change.

In summary, the modelling was based on 2001 data –including, I established afterwards, IEA data. SEF members are very aware how IEA projections have been based on mere wish fulfilment and are no reflection of the limited nature of mineral oil/gas reserves. 

Roberto’s modelling suggests climate change could reduce the global Real GDP by up to 0.10% by 2050 and “one would be better off living in Holland than in Bangladesh”. Perhaps I did not ask my question clearly enough when I asked if it would be more useful to focus on the impact of mineral oil use on GDP. Roberto answered they could alter the oil or “energy” factors in their model but his response did not satisfy me. 

The immediate feedback between mineral oil prices and our use of biomass is very rapid and enormous, as we have seen with the move to biofuels for cars. It has promoted the use of massive monocultural farming techniques that destroy vital forests and soil balances. Poorer countries are reverting to wood-based cooking as mineral oil prices become prohibitive. There was not time to point out to Roberto that the above mentioned Bangladesh is now close to famine as the global food growing potential is increasingly used to fuel cars.  

Roberto’s research is displayed on a graph that was required to show maximal variations of O.1% with US-EU-EEFSU variation under 0.02% of GDP.

I suspect it will require a very deep graph to illustrate the drop in global GDP if we attempt to persist with current mineral oil/gas policies till 2050. I left the lecture wondering if anyone is modelling how much impact the Climate Change industry is having on vital carbon balances. 

The unedited and hurriedly written Meridian Mill Creek submission is below. At least the act of making the submission is a vote for democracy and I am grateful that democracy has not yet been “called in” on Meridian Energy’s proposal too.  

Hope it helps someone somewhere.





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