Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Big bangs

According to the Herald, New Zealanders last year set off 1,700 tonnes of fireworks. That means we beat the North Koreans puny 500 tonne nuke!! Suck that Kim Jong Il!

(Ok, so gunpowder only has 1/10 the energy of TNT but I still think we're getting pretty close. Everyone needs to buy more firecrackers this year so we can try and get well up into the small nuke range).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Energetic improvements

I commented earlier on No Right Turn about the government's scheme to reduce fuel usage by restricting the import of gas-guzzling cars.

I said I had a better idea, so here it is:

Some petrol usage is clearly non-discretionary - e.g. driving to work. Other usage is highly discretionary, e.g driving to a bach in the Coromandel every weekend. I propose that we tax the former less heavily than the latter.

One mechanism for this is for each vehicle owner to get a smartcard (no more than one per person, clearly). This would allow them to buy a certain amount of petrol each year at a discounted price. Fuel bought outside this would be taxed more heavily (to pay for the scheme and to allow for the purchase of carbon credits).

The amount of cheap fuel would be based on driving one of the most economical cars currently available (e.g. a Daewoo Matiz) for an average commute (this could possibly be regionally based). This equates to around 400 litres annually. The price of this cheap fuel would be pegged to inflation, while the amount would reduce every year to allow for changed travel patterns and improvements in vehicle economy.

The chart below shows the effect over five years. I've assumed that to start with the price of cheap fuel would be $1.30, resulting in an unsubsidised price of $1.56. I've also put various inflators in. This is a very rough calculation, but it serves to illustrate.

I reckon this would modify people's behaviour in a positive fashion. It would also help the less well off, who would benefit from reduced, predictable fuel costs.

PS: I will post the spreadsheet when I track down a suitable site!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My new project

I've started a new blog. This one covers everything about mixing, mashups and emerging multitrack music formats like ChoonML, Umixit and U-Myx.

Have a look if you're interested! No politics there, of an NZ or any other flavour...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stand up for the boys in...

The capacity of Eden Park needs to be increased by 25% for the 2011 World Cup.

This is expected to cost NZD320 million - for which the NZ taxpayer and/or the ratepayers are being hit up (for some reason the NZRB are suddenly too poor to afford more than 10mil - they didn't seem to mention this when they bid for the cup?)

There does seem to be a simpler solution to increasing capacity - take all the seats out. I'd reckon this would provide comfortable standing for at least 25% more people. (UK soccer grounds had more than twice today's capacities before they went all-seater).

And if the players are expected to run around for 80 minutes, can't the spectators be expected to stand up for that long? Also, the NZRB would be able to save on having stewards to get people to sit down.