Thinking outside the box to solve the Three Waters debacle


Back in 1997 I edited a national newsletter called The Indicator. One day I reviewed a book by ecological economist, Richard Douthwaite called The Growth Illusion: How Economic Growth Enriched the Few, Impoverished the Many and Endangered the Planet.  He had also written  Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economics for Security in an Unstable World, 1996) which gives dozens of examples of currency, banking, energy and food production systems which communities can use to make themselves less dependent on an increasingly unstable world economy.

Jeanette Fitzsimons, Deirdre Kent and Richard Douthwaite 1997

It wasn’t long before I was in contact with Richard and he agreed to come to New Zealand to promote his books. I drove him round New Zealand and recall visiting the then Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons. We had many conversations in the car and I recall him saying that if a community wanted more self sufficiency, then it needed both a community currency and a community bank.

So hold that thought. Continue reading “Thinking outside the box to solve the Three Waters debacle”

Councils need a new superpower as climate costs escalate


Recently I spent two hours at a council meeting of Kapiti Coast District Council where the topic was a workshop focussing on creating a district wide plan for climate mitigation and adaption.

It seems the apocalyptic climate events of the past weeks in Northland, Auckland, Tairawhiti and Hawkes Bay has had a noticeable effect on our own councillors. It was heartening to see them enthusiastically stepping up aspirations on climate action.

But when it came to implementation there was something to be faced. A reality check was needed.  I was left in no doubt at the end that councils simply haven’t got the resources, the money, the staff to do any accurate assessment of the districtwide emissions. Nor have they the resources to implement what is desirable.

Continue reading “Councils need a new superpower as climate costs escalate”

Negative interest rates are very different from a demurrage currency


With the prospect of New Zealand one day going as far as negative interest rates, we need to examine the consequences of that. The trouble is that those of us who know a little about demurrage currencies tend to think they are the same, whereas they are very different. Continue reading “Negative interest rates are very different from a demurrage currency”

Is there a solution to inflation?


In July 2022 New Zealand inflation hit 7.3%.  It was worse in some other countries. Both US and UK were at 9.1%. In US 85% thought the economy is getting worse, a figure that should make us all think hard.

The usual solution to inflation is for the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates, but we will never win this way. Inflation is here to stay until we see the light regarding currencies. This at least will resolve food price inflation to some extent. Continue reading “Is there a solution to inflation?”

We need 700 times as much lithium as we are currently mining to electrify global transport


Mining professor Simon Michaux has done a mammoth study on electrifying the global transport sector. He worked out how many cars, trucks, ships there were and how far they travel. Since most are still ICE(internal combustion engines)  vehicles he figured a great many things from there. Among his calculations were:
Continue reading “We need 700 times as much lithium as we are currently mining to electrify global transport”

Welcome to a baby born at 416ppm CO2 and overshoot


Welcome to a baby born at 416 ppm CO2 on the day of COP26 in Glasgow. This is the last chance to turn around runaway climate change. Mind you they said that last time and the time before.

Continue reading “Welcome to a baby born at 416ppm CO2 and overshoot”

Climate catastrophe or inevitable after COP26?

Train in flood

Often during the last twenty years, climate activists have had high hopes that humanity will avert a climate catastrophe. Continue reading “Climate catastrophe or inevitable after COP26?”