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Government Work Load & Policy Implementation

When we think about government and its reason for being, we mainly think about development and maintenance of law & order and development and maintenance of infrastructure.

So how does this all happen?

Government makes decisions based on the will of the population, prioritises those decisions and then the workers implement those decisions.

Well that’s what should happen!!!

But currently in New Zealand we have a Government that more resembles something out of Alice in Wonderland!

We have the Fairy Princess making proclamations with no connection to reality and all of the fairies and elves running around exclaiming how this is so good and how it will be so good for everyone. It as if all we need to do is be kind to everyone and we can sit around, join hands and sing Kumbaya my Lord, and all will be well with the policies implemented by some mysterious being with a magic wand.

We need to look at the policies that the government has bought out in this term and work out how many people we need to implement them all?

Some examples of policies that have been bought out are: Local government & RMA reform, 3 waters, NPS on water quality, NES , Climate Change, District Health Reforms, bio diversity, trade, Rail upgrades, electrification of the vehicle fleet across the country etc.

Are there enough people in New Zealand to do all the reforms that are required in the timeframes that this government has set?

We haven’t got enough trades people now and we haven’t got enough workers to perform every day labouring tasks such as harvesting crops etc. So how are we going to implement all of these new policies that they have indicated will be adopted in this term of government?

Let’s just look at one policy that is the result of the Climate Change Commission’s final report which the Prime Minister has already stated that they will be adopting. Electrification of our vehicle fleet, to in their words, “de-carbonise our transport sectors”.

This one policy will in my opinion have a devastating effect on our personal life choices and also on our national economy, when the truth of the matter is that as the Climate Commission has admitted, under the ETS we will already be able to reach our emissions targets.

The Commission's own experts say that the ETS would actually get us to our emission's targets without radical interventions.

You read that correctly: The Commission’s own fine print concedes that the ETS has put us on a track to meet our “net zero” target.

Electric Cars and Electricity Supply Requirements

Toyota Warns (Again) About Electrifying All Autos. Is Anyone Listening?

Depending on how and when you count, Japan’s Toyota is the world’s largest automaker. Toyota was among the first to introduce gas-electric hybrid cars into the market, with the Prius twenty years ago. It hasn’t been afraid to change the car game.

Toyota understands both the car market and the infrastructure that supports it perhaps better than any other manufacturer on the planet. Toyota has grown by building reliable cars for decades.

When Toyota offers an opinion on the car market, it’s probably worth listening to. In March this year Toyota reiterated an opinion it has offered before. That opinion is straightforward: The world is not yet ready to support a fully electric auto fleet.

Toyota’s head of energy and environmental research Robert Wimmer testified before the US Senate in March this year and said: “If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refuelling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”

His remarks came on the heels of GM’s announcement that it would phase out all gas internal combustion engines (ICE) by 2035. Other manufacturers, including Mini, have followed suit with similar announcements.

Tellingly, both Toyota and Honda have so far declined to make any such promises. Honda is the world’s largest engine manufacturer when you take its boat, motorcycle, lawnmower, and other engines it makes outside the auto market into account.

Wimmer noted that while manufacturers have announced these ambitious goals, just 2% of the world’s cars are electric at this point. For price, range, infrastructure, affordability, and other reasons, buyers continue to choose ICE over electric, and that’s even when electric engines are often subsidized with tax breaks to bring price tags down.

The scale of the switch hasn’t even been introduced into the conversation in any systematic way yet. Toyota warned that the grid and infrastructure simply aren’t there to support the electrification of the private car fleet.

According to Finances Online, there are approximately 289.5 million cars just on U.S. roads as of 2021. About 98 percent of them are ICE-powered.

A 2017 U.S. government study found that they would need about 8,500 strategically-placed charge stations to support a fleet of just 7 million electric cars. That’s about six times the current number of electric cars they have but no one is talking about supporting just 7 million cars. They should be talking about powering about 300 million within the next 20 years, if all manufacturers follow GM and stop making ICE cars.

The final report from the Climate Change Commission has set New Zealand almost identical goals and we will face the same challenges just on a different scale. New Zealand has approximately seven million vehicles in our fleet.

Simply put, we are going to need a bigger electricity generation capacity and upgraded infrastructure to deal with connecting all those cars to the electricity grid. A LOT bigger!!!!

We will need much more generation capacity to power about 7 million cars if we’re all going to be forced to drive electric cars. Whether we’re charging them at home or charging them on the road, we will be charging them frequently. Every gas station you see on the roadside today will have to be wired to charge electric cars, and charge speeds will have to be greatly increased. Current technology enables charges in “as little as 30 minutes”. That best-case-scenario fast charging cannot be done on home power. It uses direct current and specialized systems.

Charging at home can take, from a few hours to overnight to fill the battery, and will increase the home power bill. That power, like all electricity comes from generators using natural gas, coal, wind, solar, or hydro-electric power.

We already have weather related generation issues with power supply even at current usage levels. The government has already banned any further oil or gas exploration which will mean that we will soon run out of natural gas as a generating fuel and with their moves to ban the use of coal, we will move to increasing usage of wind and solar, neither of which can be throttled to meet demand, and both of which prove unreliable in crisis. Wind simply runs counter to needs — it generates too much power when we tend not to need it, and generates too little when we need more. The storage capacity to account for this doesn’t exist yet.

In actual fact we are woefully short of the generation capacity that will be required and have, nowhere even remotely approaching, a satisfactory level of electricity grid infrastructure in place to achieve the government’s targets of electrification of our fleet.

Half an hour is an unacceptably long time to spend at an electron pump. It’s about 5 to 10 times longer than a current trip to the gas pump tends to take. That’s for consumer cars, not big rigs that have much larger tanks. Imagine the lines that would form at the pump, every day, all the time, if a single charge time isn’t reduced by 70 to 80 percent. We can expect improvements, but those won’t come without cost. Nothing does. There is no free lunch. Electrifying the auto fleet will require a massive overhaul of the power grid and an enormous increase in power generation.

Elon Musk the owner of Tesla car manufacturer, recently said the US might need to double the amount of power they’re currently generating if they go electric. He wasn’t saying that from a position of opposing electric cars. His Tesla electric vehicles dominate that market and he presumably wants to sell even more of them.

Toyota has publicly warned about this twice. Toyota isn’t saying none of this can be done, by the way. It’s just saying that so far, the conversation isn’t anywhere near serious enough to get things done.

Toyota’s addressing reality and its record is evidence that it deserves to be heard.

The New Zealand government is pushing to go electric. Without a solid financially supported plan to address our shortcomings in the electricity infrastructure in relation to electric vehicles.

Our government has stated many times recently that the price of EV’s will come down with more of them becoming available over time. Is this based on the history of fossil fuelled vehicles, because in my world I fail to see anywhere where the prices of vehicles of any kind have dropped? I may be a bit slow but I believe this is an issue of supply and demand in both EV’s and the electricity to power them.

I have yet to see any evidence anywhere around the world where there is a supply shortfall of an item that leads to a drop in prices. In fact in my experience the exact opposite is normal, i.e. when you have a shortfall in supply the prices rise on the back of an increased demand!

And then we can look at the price of electricity in New Zealand and see that there has been a steady increase in the price of power with no signs that anytime in the future there is going to be a drop in price. In fact I believe that as the demand increases and outstrip supply the prices will raise markedly!

For a classic example of how this works we just need to look back a couple of years to the decision to deregulate the power generation industry in New Zealand. At the time the government of the day said that it would lead to wholesale drops in the price of electricity and this has been proven to be the absolute opposite of what has happened to prices. They have risen!!!!

Given all of the above issues around lack of forward planning and financial analysis, in my opinion electrification of our total vehicle fleet is more about virtue signalling to win favour around the world and in the media than it is about addressing reality.

And that is only addressing one of the current government’s major new policies. Coupled with all of their other unrealistic policies, I definitely think that the government needs to employ more fairies with much bigger magic wands because the current ones have not got a very good record of achievement in their term of office. (But at least they get an A+ for consistency! They’ve failed to implement their policies consistently!!!)

 

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