The Mahurangi Magazine

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Zero-carbon energy

With 80% of global energy coming from fossil fuels, photovoltaic panels and batteries are a very small and unsustainable part of the solution

Wasting storms of the grandparents

When Dr James Hansen published Storms of My Grandchildren nine years ago this December, he lambasted governments for greenwashing while doing nothing meaningful to curtail fossil-fuel use. But despite, by that time, having already seen his…

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With every fibre and electrified-transit solution

Aucklanders once took an average of more than 400 public-transport trips per year. In 1945, with a sixth of the population, Aucklanders were taking nearly 120 million trips, compared to today’s paltry 90 million boardings. Not that all Aucklanders should be…

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Future Mahurangi transport network feedback

Mahurangi Action’s feedback pro forma on Warkworth’s future transport network is good to go. Members, and readers generally, are warmly encouraged to use the pro forma as-is or as a starting point for their own feedback, and to put their oars in…

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This might have been one more for the roads

September’s town-hall talk is now cancelled, and possibly the balance of this year’s. The September slot was pencilled in for the topic of paedophilia awareness—apparently paedophile networks operate locally—but no subsequent response was…

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One billion trees and bugger the science

In 2004, $3 million over 5 years sounded like all Mahurangi’s Christmases had come at once. But a back-of-a-seed-packet calculation strongly suggested that the $3 million the former Auckland Regional Council had budgeted would barely…

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Faith in the 1% and fighting the 80

Photovoltaics have a huge future and have grown enormously, to about 1% of global energy use. Banking heavily upon it, Germany has plunged it’s poor into energy poverty, by shuttering nuclear, not because of the risk or impact on health, but to pander…

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Forlorn futility of faith-based climate action

One person’s demagogue is another person’s saviour, and, for many, the Elon Musk credibility needle will have finally flicked from where it has been firmly stuck on f, to e. For most students, in this age of social-media-supercharged celebrity, learning…

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Proposed zero-carbon bill submission

Comment on the proposed zero-carbon bill closes at 5 pm on 19 July. The following pro forma is provided by the Mahurangi Magazine in the earnest hope that the resultant legislation is exponentially more substantive than a zero-carbon-by-2050-target…

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Reimagining the roads of Mahurangi

Roads, historically, were not about cars. They were not even about private vehicles, until the last 100 of human civilisation’s 5500-year existence. So perhaps the Labour Party’s pandering to Penlink is understandable, as it seeks to wrest more of the...

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Climate-reaction rubber meets the road

New Zealanders have just demonstrated the perfect problem, perfectly. After three decades of denial and procrastination, including nine years of Clark-led Labour government inaction, Jacinda Ardern has announced transport policy timidly…

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Triggering automatic change to green

Most Warkworthians are unhappy that their town is now a satellite growth centre. Had a concerted campaign been waged against it, and unlimited funds spent fighting it, Auckland Council may have been forced to rethink. But that would not have…

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Tidal-river-power and grid electricity

Most public transport in Aotearoa is fossil-fuel powered. But that would not excuse a fossil-fuelled ferry forming a key component of the Mahurangi Coastal Trail. Fortuitously, as described in Minimum Impact 100% River-Powered, a fossil-fuel-free solution…

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Democratise coalitions and lists now

Half voted for change, and half for the status quo. The 44.4% who voted for the New Zealand National Party, and the 0.5% who voted for what remains of ex-Labour-finance-minister Roger Douglas’ rebel act party, are now represented by 57 opposition…

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Mahu youth has National munted

If the local Kids Voting result is any indication, New Zealand’s youthquake is going to visit most damage on National. Mahurangi College students, their Kids Voting coordinator has reported, gave the Labour Party a clear majority: 35% versus the National…

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Last call for climate action commission

Dr Jan Wright’s last report is also her least likely to ruffle feathers. Until now, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s refreshingly evidence-based reports have probably unsettled more Green Party supporters than the balance of…

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Paris climate accord not the half of it

Not all agree it’s a bad thing Trump’s made good on his campaign promise to pull the United States out of Paris. One climate researcher argues that the Trump circus could do less damage outside of the tent, than in it. But regardless, a bad-tempered…

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Zero-carbon energy ultimate nuclear waste solution

In the last 6 years and 8 weeks of published measurements, global sea level has risen a whisker more than an inch. At least that is the raw, seasonally adjusted data from the incredible, and credible, Jason 2 satellite, however, the El Niño…

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Nation with least need for nuclear has most to gain

Even the pro-nuclear-power Dr James Hansen doubts Aotearoa needs it: “You happen to be very fortunate and be very wealthy in terms of renewable energy.” But New Zealanders’ future prospects now directly depend upon an unprecedented international…

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Short open letter to environmentalists

As conservation scientists concerned with global depletion of biodiversity and the degradation of the human life-support system this entails, we, the co-signed, support the broad conclusions drawn in the article Key Role for Nuclear Energy in Global Biodiversity

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Only honourable option to oppose in full

The best strategy might have been to support the proposal in full. That way, the Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway board of inquiry might have been more receptive to the opportunity for a large-scale trial of open-ground indigenous plants. Realistically…

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Only with nuclear is there time to feed the world

Forty years ago this year, Band Aid released a single that in its first week became the fastest selling track in all time in the United Kingdom. Co-written by Bob Geldof, Do They Know it’s Christmas went on to sell more than three million copies, and led to…

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Mahurangi Action motorway condition 36c‍ ‍viii

It’s not, in fact, the harbour’s biggest threat since deforestation. The proposed Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway is only the biggest proximate threat. The biggest threat of course—the existential threat—is rampant global warming. The entire litany of…

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Renewable energy, nuclear power and Galileo

Climate scientists have long warned of potential catastrophic effects of unchecked fossil fuel use. Public awareness of the climate threat has increased. Yet growth of carbon dioxide in the air, the main driver of climate change, has accelerated…

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Mahurangi headwaters estimated not measured

In a straight line, the stream would run from Mahurangi to Palmerston North. That is, if all the streams in the Mahurangi catchment were laid end-to-end, and assuming, of course, that there was sufficient head to cause this hypothetical stream to run. Then…

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Mahurangi Harbour urgently needs to sign her friends

Paid-up ‘friends’ of the Mahurangi once numbered 300—on the back of the launch of Jade River: A History of the Mahurangi. The society titled Friends of the Mahurangi, now Mahurangi Action Incorporated, published Ronald Harry Locker’s masterly 416-page work in…

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Only way forward for Labour seriously green

Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes describes it as unhelpful. But when the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment finds that subsidising smart meters would make a significant contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, in…

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Urgent need for nonpartisan Brown transport plan

There are mandates, and mandates. The mandate fairly claimed by the newly created Auckland Council’s inaugural mayor, Len Brown, was for building the city rail link. However, since Len Brown’s election, a National-led government has been…

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Nuclear power fan-death phobia

It will shortly be four years shy of half a century. In November 1965, the United States president’s science advisory committee warned: “Carbon dioxide is being added to the earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas at the rate of…

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100% pure space mission or motorway madness

It would cost about 7% of the planned Pūhoi–Wellsford motorway. But rather than generate more greenhouse gases and trust to luck that its ministers will never have to face an international climate court, the government could fund an urgently…

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Shweeb and/or trail-with-rail saving rail

Aotearoa must urgently re-invent its tourism model. Currently it is heavily dependent upon air travel, which will increasingly become cripplingly expensive thanks to peaked oil and user-pays for greenhouse gases. Aside from the obvious need for more…

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Advantage of green pure genius

The concept’s catching on like wildfire. Since Pure Advantage launched on Thursday evening, the number of registered supporters has shot to more than 1000—responding to the call: The greater our numbers, the greater our influence on business…

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Storm sidestepped over fewer grandchildren

In one notable respect, he was not preaching to the converted. With the possible exception of the odd journalist, the 350 people who packed the 250-seat Auckland University lecture theatre on Thursday evening had been ready to hear everything…

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Loss of holiday highway won’t be lamented

Labour’s Transport spokesperson Shane Jones is welcoming reports that the so-called ‘holiday highway’ from Pūhoi to Wellsford may be delayed, with completion of the $1.3 billion highway possibly pushed back to 2024. “There is no way Labour…

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Time to submit to better transport

It can be done online, up until midnight Friday 28 January. Feedback is sought by the New Zealand Transport Agency regarding the indicative route of the Pūhoi–Wellsford motorway. Submissions that a motorway should not be built…

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Billion-dollar motorway flyover

Takes just 3.43 minutes to ‘fly’ the preferred route. The New Zealand Transport Agency’s simulated flyover of the preferred route deserves high praise for vividly and dramatically illustrating the magnitude of what is involved in building a motorway…

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Future of Aotearoa is nuclear visits

Blanket-banned for nearly all the right reasons. In 1984, when nuclear warships were banned from visiting Aotearoa, the French military was to continue testing nuclear weapons beneath Moruroa and Fangatafoa for more than 11 years. And the…

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Google and the Shweeb sounds of success

The first section would run to the Wilson Cement Works. In time, it could run between Snells Beach and the Mahurangi College. And then form a coastal ‘walkway’ from Waiwera to Warkworth. Largely unnoticed by New Zealanders, the Shweeb is set to…

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Redeeming the once-was-smart grid

Once, it was internationally award-winning. Specifically, New Zealand’s national electricity grid was feted for its sophisticated wireless telecommunications control system that facilitated load balancing and real time response to operational…

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Bridging energy chasm the Ayres rock

Most are utterly unrepentant. Free-market high priests appear more than happy for the subprime mortgage market to take the fall for the global economic downturn—all those folk with no business aspiring to home ownership, really! Other economists…

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Marcus Shipton says give nuclear a chance

I am not here to convince you Aotearoa needs nuclear power. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, however I am convinced that the world needs it. The real reason I’m here is to urge you to challenge our dogma, in these challenging…

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Ramp renewables but energy efficiency first

It doesn’t seem cheap. Filling the tank seems to cost a prince’s ransom, particularly for older folk who can remember doing it prior to the first oil shock. For a decade before 1973, four dollars would fill the tank of a Mini. But the oil shocks to date are nothing to...

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Goodbye old motorway, hello new rail

It was an entirely reasonable expectation. That the best features of the constituent local bodies would be melded into the new region‑wide council. Len Brown’s announcement that he would “take onboard the Waitakere eco‑city concept” may…

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Safety first trumps weak economics

A good deal of sense was talked in Auckland and Wellington yesterday. Auckland Regional Council listened to two options that put safety first, in quickly and affordably upgrading the dangerous highway between Pūhoi and Wellsford motorway, presented…

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On the bus for thorium-powered future

It was a sobering statement. There’s not enough power available to electrify Auckland’s transport. Gary Heaven knows a lot about such things, given that much of his information technology work is for power utilities. The immediate discussion…

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Magazine urges agency to build for future

The following submission is that of the Mahurangi Magazine, prepared by Cimino Cole, editor, with the support of John Timmins, publisher. The magazine thanks its many readers who have expressed support for the need to protect the harbourscape, and…

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Motorway extension all right for some

Submissions on the proposed Pūhoi–Wellsford motorway close today. Unless the submission is from the pro– Pūhoi access group that met with the New Zealand Transport Agency Friday, which has until 16 August. The agency’s Amanda…

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Marvelous place to stop the motorway

It may be a case of joining the wrong dots. Or even a case of joining dots that aren’t there. But the spectre of a motorway snaking up Mahurangi Harbour, to the east of Schedewys Hill, Windy Ridge and Pōhuehue, is threatening to swamp reaction to the potential loss of...

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Regional council’s informal position

The Auckland Regional Council respects and commends the NZ Transport Agency’s concern over growth pressures arising from transport infrastructure, and the need to reinforce and recognize the regional growth strategy etc as signalled in the regional policy statement....

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Mahurangi may need to take one for the team

It is clearly working. Expectations for increased property demand at Mahurangi West have been dashed. In line with the growth objectives of the district and regional plans, the NZ Transport Agency signalled that there would be no access to the planned motorway between...

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Motorway: Think on

The agency has said what it thinks. Headed ‘What we think’, the New Zealand Transport Agency a month ago outlined its broad plans for a Pūhoi–Wellsford motorway, and invited feedback. Since then, the Mahurangi Magazine has published seven pieces on the proposed...

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Fossil-fuel solutions stratospheric cost

‘Sofia’ has cost $1.3‍ ‍billion. If built, the Pūhoi–Wellsford Motorway is estimated to cost $2.3‍ ‍billion. Nine years behind schedule, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy has just begun studying the atmospheres of other planets, when the extreme...

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Thinking a little beyond 26 July

The motorway consultation process is generating considerable debate in the area. Communities, understandably, are currently focused on what can be done between now and 26 July to influence those making decisions about the design of the proposed Pūhoi‍–‍Wellsford...

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Never negotiate out of fear; never fear to negotiate

The raison d'être for this publication is the Mahurangi landscape. More specifically, the Mahurangi Magazine’s mission has been to help ensure that recognition of the harbourscape was a principal part of the Mahurangi Action Plan. And it is, although it appeared...

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Smarter agency models gagging for it

The New Zealand Transport Agency must be immensely bemused. A community reacts in outrage to the prospect of being denied direct access to a proposed motorway, when it should be erupting in righteous indignation at the absurdity of…

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Alternatives to the agency model

Predictably, all the ruckus is over the off and on ramps. An entirely refreshing idea has been suggested by Mahurangi West man Cluny Macpherson. Professor Macpherson contends that bus bays should be provided opposite Pūhoi and Mahurangi West. This would facilitate...

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Yes-we-can clean energy ministerial

The green stars of the show are set to be the Arabs and the Koreans. South Korea is spending a greater percentage of its economic recovery stimulus on green initiatives than any country in the world. And the United Arab Emirates is investing heavily…

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Mahurangi Harbour might dodge another bullet

Mahurangi’s first near miss was being by-passed by the Great North Road. To avoid being bogged down, early road builders preferred, where possible, keep to the high ground. By electing to run the highway along the Windy Ridge, the harbour was put just out of sight of...

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Power and the dammed Mahurangi

Dam the Mahurangi River and generate electricity. Such a proposal would face fierce opposition. But what if the dam was already in place; built more than a century since. The dam, otherwise known as the Wilson cement works weir, is located almost…

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Sustainable energy without the hot air

Bill Gates puts it as well as anyone: “If someone wants an overall view of how energy gets used, where it comes from, and the challenges in switching to new sources, this is the book to read.” Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air was written by physicist…

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Well-spotted that big riverboat wheel

Master mariner Melvyn Bowen warmed up his audience with a quiz: ”Where am I?” he asked of the dozen or so who turned out on Friday evening to hear from the commercial sail aficionado. The first image of the presentation was of Melvyn stood…

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Commercial sail – the way it could be

After thousands of years powered by sail, commercial navigation switched over completely to fossil fuels. Since then, the revival of commercial sail has proved to be a curiously elusive goal. But the same reason electric cars are making a stampeding…

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Low impact design that’s got to (be) smart

In a perfect world, economic drivers would be indistinguishable from environmental drivers. Readers of the Mahurangi Magazine will no doubt range from climate-change sceptics, all the way through to those in the we’re-already-dog-tucker…

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Some capping and trading but an electric redemption

This piece was going to be titled: Too Little, Too Slowly—Pray it’s Not Too Late. But then it would have been doing the Labour government’s announcement on climate action a huge disservice. And it wouldn’t be doing any better than the New

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