If it affects your public job, then it is a matter of public interest

The Post reports:

A person with a front row seat to Tory Whanau’s Wellington mayoral campaign has talked of her missing meetings after nights out drinking and of how volunteers had to police her alcohol intake. …

The campaign volunteer, who spoke anonymously to protect job prospects, said Whanau would frequently cancel morning events after nights out drinking.

Everyone knows this has carried on as Mayor.

Questions were raised in in May when Whanau missed a regional mayoral forum to discuss water reforms.

Her frequent absence at civic functions – including monthly citizenship ceremonies, in which the mayor welcomes new residents – had also been noted. Also in May, she pulled out of a Government House ceremony for young Duke of Edinburgh award winners.

On the same day, dignitaries were embarrassed when she was missing from a commemoration of the 1941 Battle of Crete.

The Mayor is paid a salary of $180,000 a year. Turning up is not an unreasonable expectation.

Listen to the Auditor-General

Newsroom reports:

Ryan acknowledges the coming years will be challenging for the public sector, with rising costs, government-imposed belt-tightening, and the increasing frequency of emergencies like pandemics and climate-induced severe weather events.

That makes it all the more important, he says, that government agencies are assessed not just on what they spend, but on what outcomes they deliver. 

And those outcomes are about more than just their budgets and balance sheets – they must also set in place performance measures for less tangible standards, especially integrity.

“I’m not being alarmist, I’m being concerned. We should all be concerned about the integrity of the public sector, because it’s one-third of the economy, and it actually has to have the trust of the public to operate effectively,” Ryan says.

“Integrity is about more than following the rules. It is about consistently behaving within agreed or accepted ethical principles and doing what is right in any given circumstance.”

In a report this month, the Auditor-General finds three weaknesses that need to be “urgently” addressed: measures that aren’t meaningful or comprehensive; gaps in measuring what difference is being made; and poor measures for assessing the stewardship, oversight, and monitoring functions of departments.

The last Government increased spending by over $1 billion a week and abandoned measuring if they improved outcomes. It is vital we do better at measuring if spending is actually improving performance.

A great example of media bias

Edgeler nails it with this comparison. Winston’s hyperbole has been a major story in every news outlet for many days. There has been many columns about how this is a major issue for the Government etc etc.

But the far far far worse hyperbole from the Maori Party gets a total free pass. It is reported once, without comment. Where are the columns decrying Ngarewa-Packer? Where are the shouted questions to Chris Hipkins demanding he denounced Ngarewa-Packer’s comments? Where are the opinion pieces decrying such extreme language?

The media have been so uneven handed, that it actually proves the underlying point Winston is getting at – we have a media that overall is hostile to the non-left.

Labour’s Top 10

  1. Chris Hipkins – leader
  2. Carmel Sepuloni – welfare, Pacific Peoples, Auckland issues
  3. Grant Robertson – finance and racing
  4. Megan Woods – climate change and energy
  5. Willie Jackson – Māori development, broadcasting, employment
  6. Ayesha Verrall – health, public service and Wellington
  7. Kieran McAnulty – Shadow Leader of the House, housing, regional and local government 
  8. Willow-Jean Prime – children and youth
  9. Ginny Andersen – police, violence prevention, social investment
  10. Jan Tinetti – education and women

It’s great that Hipkins has kept failed Ministers in their portfolios, so the public can be reminded of how bad things were in health and education under them.

Hysterical bullshit

Radio NZ reports:

Te Pāti Māori’s co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has accused the new government of “deliberate .. systemic genocide” over its policies to roll back the smokefree policy and the Māori Health Authority.

The left love hysterical language. If you oppose racial quotas in laws, you are a racist. And now if you sack 400 bureaucrats you are genocidal.

Everyone tuts tuts (including me) when Donald Trump says outrageous things such as calling his opponents vermin, but here you have an opposition leader accusing her opponents of being genocidal. Does she get condemned for hysterical language? No. As she is on the left.

“For 150-plus years no health system has been able to address the growing inequities of Māori, we come up with a unique, well thought out, futuristic model. It’s not perfect … but it is a solution that is addressing inequities that only Māori confront.

Having 400 more bureaucrats doesn’t fix inequities. Lifting immunisation rates does.

And while there are differences in health outcomes for many groups (much due to lifestyle choices), the improvement over 125 years has been immense. The life expectancy for Maori men has gone from 25 to 73 and for Maori women from 23 to 77.

For European NZers, the change over the same period has been from 55 to 81 for men and 58 to 84 for women. So an increase of 48 years for Maori men, 54 years for Maori women, 26 years for European men and 26 years for European women.

Wellington’s Mayoral problem

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau put out a statement today saying:

I was elected as Mayor on the platform of transformational change, where I can make a difference, represent a different type of politics and of course, represent different communities. 

I am not a career politician, and leadership positions in public office are not built for regular people who may have struggles with addiction, mental ill health, or any other illness that has stigma attached. We have seen this play out with career ending moments from politicians across the political spectrum in recent times.

I did not engage in any sexual activity as alleged, but I do have a problem with alcohol. After an incident where I was drunk in public, which to my great embarrassment and shame seems to have been recorded, I sought counsel from my friends, family and colleagues and have since sought professional help.

I am a flawed person, but I care deeply about this city. I will continue to represent the hopes and aspirations of my local community and I will do so with the compassion and care of those around me and with the professional help required.

I would like to say to others struggling with alcohol issues that you can seek help and still commit to your passions, work, family, friends in a way that is meaningful. We are complex, layered people and deserving of love.

I would appreciate respect and care from the media whilst navigating this period of sobriety and professional support.

In July Tory Whanau was accused of being drunk, walking out without paying and saying “Don’t you know who I am”. She “strenuously” denied she was drunk or behaved badly.

Now she has said she does have a problem with alcohol, but only after media approached her regarding a video of allegedly drunken antics, and asked her extremely direct questions. Rather than answer the questions, she has done a press release.

National List MP Aaron Gilmore was forced out of Parliament over alleged behaviour with alcohol that was far less serious that what is alleged here.

The Mayor recently supported a Code of Conduct complaint against a third of her own Council. Of interest the Code states:

Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.

Should a Councillor lodge a code complaint against the Mayor? I don’t think they should as I hate code of conduct complaints, but she has not been shy to use them herself.

Of course there is no mechanism to make a Mayor resign. The Council can’t sack a Mayor, and the Minister can’t sack them (only an entire Council).

Only 23 months until the next local elections!

Where all the stories celebrating the increase numbers of Māori in Cabinet?

The Luxon Cabinet has seven Ministers (out of 20) who are Māori. This is a huge 35% of Cabinet. The Hipkins Cabinet that left office had only five Māori Ministers, or 28%. So where are all the stories celebrating this?

Or is there so little publicity around this, because the Māori in the Luxon Cabinet are the wrong sort? They don’t think the Treaty was about co-governance. They prioritise equality over equity. They obviously don’t count.

Also did you know nine of the 20 Cabinet Ministers are women, or 45%? The so called trail-blazing Ardern Cabinet had only seven female Cabinet Ministers when sworn in, or 35%. But again the female Ministers in the Luxon Cabinet don’t count it seems, as they are have centre-right views.

How the Empire will strike back against the new government.

Education is my thing. The Ministry of Education has been an unmitigated disaster for many years – but especially the last six years. There has been nothing positive of note and the Secretary of Education and all of the Deputy Secretaries should step down.

Education in New Zealand is in absolute crises and the new government has a massive mandate for change.

So what is the first move?

Iona Holsted – the incredibly failed Secretary for Education – under the two worst ever Ministers of Education (Hipkins and “losing the election is a weight off my shoulders” Tinetti) – sent Erica Stanford a list of the people whom she could choose to be the education lead in the new Minister’s office.

It is official that Stanford has chosen Ellen MacGregor-Reid – a current Deputy Secretary of the Misery of Education. I have had several dealings with her – the approach she takes an anathema to high quality and aspirational education.

This is like making Sauron the Mayor of Hobbiton.

For the transformational mandate in education this is a disaster and Stanford needs to re-think very quickly. Already the voters, children and families of NZ have been ripped off and disrespected.

Alwyn Poole
Innovative Education Consultants

Think if a National Party Councillor had done this about Jacinda?

The Herald reports:

Wellington City Councillor Teri O’Neill has defended her decision to post flyers featuring Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his two deputies inside the image of a penis around Wellington City.

O’Neill took pictures of herself and her friends sticking the posters up around the city on Friday night and posted them to social media yesterday.

When contacted by the Herald about the pictures, she made her Instagram private but says she stands by her decision to post the flyers – one of which featured new Prime Minister Christopher Luxon inside the outline of a penis.

Another had Act leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters inside the scrotum of the genitals while Luxon formed the head.

A child pretending to be a City Councillor.

Imagine if a National Party City Councillor stuck up posters of Jacinda Ardern inside women’s genitilia. There would be howls of outrage, and demands they resign immediately.

I don’t think O’Neill should resign for acting like a child. But it does mean that no one in central Government is going to take WCC very seriously.

Another neutral board member

The Herald reports:

An NZ On Air board member has resigned after making a social media post calling new Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters’ attack on media independence “malicious” and him being “the worst of this gang of thugs”. …

NZ On Air board member Andrew Shaw, a screen sector consultant who has previously worked as a television host, posted today on social media: “Winston Peters attack’s independence of media [sic]. He’s not truthful. He’s not accurate. He’s malicious and he is here on behalf of international tobacco. His return is the worst of this gang of thugs.”

This shows how bad things have got, that a public sector board member thinks he can refer to the new Government as a gang of thugs just because his preferred parties lost a democratic election.

Winston vs media

The Herald reports:

Peters interjected as Luxon ushered for media to leave and proceedings to get under way.

“Before you go – can you possibly tell the public what you had to sign up to to get the money, it’s called transparency,” Peters said.

Luxon was asked about those comments but did not respond. Fellow Cabinet ministers shuffled awkwardly in their seats.

Peters’ attack on the fund is tied to his criticism of the use of te reo Māori in the media.

“Well, we’ll see the speed at which TVNZ and RNZ – which are taxpayer-owned – understand this new message. We’ll see whether these people, both the media and journalists – are they independent? Well, isn’t that fascinating, I haven’t seen evidence of that in the last three years,” Peters said at Government House yesterday.

“You can’t defend $55 million of bribery, cannot defend $55 million of bribery. Get it very clear,” Peters said.

Applicants to the fund were asked to show a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including a commitment to te reo Māori.

Winston is being hyperbolic, and the media deliberately are avoiding the elephant in the room.

No the media were not bribed to be left-wing – that comes naturally.

But the media were given $55 million of taxpayer funding, and a condition of that funding wasn’t just a general commitment to the Treaty but:

Actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi acknowledging Māori as a Te Tiriti partner.

The view of the Treaty being about partnership rather than equality is a highly partisan view. It is a view in fact rejected by the parties that won a majority of seats in the last election. So it is no surprise that some of those MPs think the media were not neutral as a result of accepting $55 million conditional on accepting Labour/Greens views of the Treaty.

The oil and gas ban that increased coal imports

The Greens are wailing over the new policy to allow oil and gas exploration in NZ. This is short sighted s gas has far fewer GG emissions than coal. Let’s look at what our coal imports have been for the last few Governments:

  • 2006-08: 2.56 MT
  • 2009 – 11: 1.12 MT
  • 2012 – 14: 1.12 M
  • 2015 – 17: 1.35 MT
  • 2018 – 20: 2.76 MT
  • 2021 – 23: 2.64 MT

So the last National Government only had to import 3.6 MT of coal while the last three terms of Labour Governments imported 8.0 MT of coal.

Luxon is absolutely right

1 News reports:

Christopher Luxon says he was told by some Kiwis on the campaign trail they “didn’t know” the difference between Waka Kotahi, Te Pūkenga and Te Whatu Ora.

Speaking to Breakfast, the incoming prime minister said having English first on government agencies will “make sure” people “understand” what agencies are and what they do.

“For some of us, it’s quite straight forward, but for many New Zealanders, they didn’t understand that.”

Luxon said if people “can’t understand” their government agency, let alone hold them accountable, that is a “big problem”.

The media tone is sceptical of the claim, but this probably more reflects how out of touch much of the media is. Over three months I polled 1,000 NZers on whether they knew the English name of various government agencies, using their Te Reo name. I published the results on my Patreon in August, and reproduce it here now:

“At the suggestion of a subscriber Curia in June, July and August has asked 1,000 New Zealanders if they know the English name of various government agencies in Te Reo. We now have results for six agencies:

  1. Manatū Hauora, Ministry of Health: 8.1%
  2. Te Manatū Waka, Ministry of Transport: 7.7%
  3. Te Putea Matua, Reserve Bank of New Zealand: 5.7%
  4. Te Pou Hauora Tūmatanui, Public Health Agency: 4.6%
  5. Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency: 50.1%
  6. Te Aka Whai Ora, Maori Health Authority: 11.1%

This reinforces to me how insulting it it to the public for media or the agencies to only use the Te Reo names. Taxpayers should not have to google an agency to know what it is.

These results are not at all an argument against government agencies having a Te Reo name. I personally think it is a good thing for agencies to have names in both English and Te Reo.

But again what it shows is that if the agency, or media, only refer to themselves using their Te Reo name, then most New Zealanders do not know what agency is being referred to, and hence they are deliberately making it harder for citizens and residents to access their services or make sense of the story.

A good example is this recent press release from the Reserve Bank:

Today Te Tai Ōhanga, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga and Te Pūtea Matua are publishing a joint paper that provides an assessment of the key drivers of rents in New Zealand.

By deliberately excluding the names in English, they are producing a media release that almost no recipient will know what they are referring to.

It’s an obsession that is elitist and patronising. It shouldn’t actually need a coalition agreement to instruct government agencies to not deliberately be unhelpful to the public.

Prohibition doesn’t work

Newshub reports:

Health experts are labelling the new Government’s plans to scrap smokefree legislation “vile” and “devastating”.

The tobacco industry brings in nearly $2 billion a year in tax revenue.

And incoming Finance Minister Nicola Willis has admitted that scrapping smokefree legislation will help fund tax cuts.

New Zealand’s smoke-free laws are heading to the tip.

This is typical alarmist bullshit.

The smokefree laws that we have had for 20+ years are not being repealed. What is being repealed is the daft new law passed a few months ago that basically prohibits tobacco sales over time.

It baffles me that the very same people who argue cannabis should be legalised (which I agree with) think prohibition will work for tobacco. It won’t.

Already the high tax levels of tobacco tax has seen the black market flourish. This latest law change would have turbo-charged that. Prohibition is a failed policy.

The law change being repealed was mainly going to result in tax from sales of cigarettes going to the Mongrel Mob, instead of the Crown.


I interrupt celebrations on the centre-right in New Zealand over the successful three-way coalition arrangement and the great policies to be enacted with an issue that one hopes the new government will eventually have to confront. For those who are acronym deprived, EVs are Electric Vehicles and ICEVs Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles. As various 1st world countries attempt to reach either net zero (or significantly reduced carbon emissions), the cutting edge, indeed the picture child, for these efforts are EVs. Various governments are using a combination of carrots (EV purchase subsidies, free use of express motorway lanes, free access to central cities by avoiding congestion charging etc.) and sticks (enforced EV mandates on vehicle manufacturers, higher taxes on ICEVs like NZ’s now soon to be scrapped ute tax, congestion charging and ever-increasing excise taxes on petrol and diesel). Some countries and US states have gone as far as indicating dates in the next 12 to 15 years after which no new ICEVs will be able to be legally sold.

The purpose of these two essays is to propose that such bans will never be carried out because it will not only not be possible to get to net zero in any country without prohibitively massive costs and a huge reversal in standard of living and travel independence, but it will also not be possible for the world’s economies and mining capability to replace ICEVs with EVs for the many reasons I will explain.

The reasons for the ultimate failure of the drive for exclusive EV use will be divided into two Posts, the individual or consumer level problems (what I will call the Micro problems) are covered in Part 1 today and then there are the industry, countrywide and international barriers (that I will call the Macro problems) that I will cover in Part 2.


1 – Purchase pricing differential

Anyone wishing to buy an EV of any type will find the purchase price is usually at least 10 to 15%+ more expensive than the equivalent model, size and speced ICEV. The differential still holds even with EV buyer incentives like trade-in bonuses, tax credits or outright government subsidies. This differential comes into even sharper focus when looking at the secondhand EV market which has its own additional set of challenges with thin supply, early model EVs with rapidly shrinking battery range and then the looming cost of a new battery that will range from USD$5,000 to $10,000 for the smallest cheapest entry level EV like a Nissan Leaf all the way to USD$15,000 for a Tesla Model 3 and up to $25,000 for the luxury Tesla S. The raft of new luxury EV SVUs will have replacement batteries priced similarly to the Tesla S. For these and other reasons, the re-sale or residual value of EVs are plunging not only as more second EVs come on to the market but because of the battery replacement cost and other issues that will be covered today. Paying more up front and getting less on a trade-in for a new EV versus an equivalent ICEV adds to the total cost of ownership beyond the sticker price and the running cost equation.

Manufacturers of EVs also are targeting their new releases to the middle and upper segments of the car market meaning there are relatively few affordable EV options versus many affordable ICEVs. This skewering of EV offerings to more expensive market segments and the purchase price premium is acting as a real barrier to entry to all but the well healed upper middle-class professionals, dedicated environmentally sensitive consumers and high-income earners. Low-income families and migrant and Polynesian communities have little extra cash to pay a premium for an EV or to shell out thousands for a replacement battery even if they are able to obtain a quality cheaper secondhand EV. As market penetration of new EVs increases then the prices and availability of second-hand EVs should improve. The big promise made by the green advocates of EVs is that, over time, technology will make batteries more efficient and cheaper thus gradually reducing the new vehicle pricing gap over ICEVs. As will be seen in Part 2 of this analysis, this is a forlorn hope for quite some time into the future.

2 – Range issues

Range anxiety is usually the No. 2 biggest reason cited by people not making the jump to EVs and the concerns are well founded, and they combine with the charging issues (covered in #3), to present significant hurdles to widespread majority EV acquisition. It is true that as time and battery technology has advanced, so has the stated range of new EVs, but they are still well below the range of the equivalent ICEV. Over the years travelling across the US and other countries, I have rented a good range of mid sized vehicles (Mazda 6, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima/Maxima, Kia K5, Hyundai Elantra/Sonata, Honda Accord, Checy Malibu, Dodge Challenger etc). Each of these cars have a highway range of between 420 and 500 miles (675 to 800kms) assuming highway fuel consumption. Large SUVs and utes/pickup trucks with larger tanks feature 500 to 600 mile ranges (800 to 965 kms). Most modern mid sized EVs have a real highway range of only 200 to 250 miles (320 to 400 kms) with larger SUV and pickups around or maybe slightly over 300 miles (480kms). Now those are best case scenario ranges which are on average half the ICEV average.

Then there is the impact that extreme heat and cold has on range – in the case of heat it is the need to constantly use the power draining air conditioning which is an issue in probably half of the US, most Australian cities and in southern Europe. For the other half of the US, Canada and most of Europe and Japan, the issue is the cold in the winter. The cold has a double impact on range being the need to heat the car interior AND the impact on the battery because of the cold. There are a large number of real world actual owner range tests that you can view on You Tube that show that range in cold weather reduces around 30% on average. This adds to the range anxiety issue as even the EVs with the best range, the car in cold weather is effectively reduced to a range of under 200 miles or 300kms meaning more frequent re-charging stops on a long journey. In large countries like the US, Canada and Australia, these range restrictions are more keenly felt.

Towing is another issue particularly for tradies and other people who rely on a ute or pickup and the need to carry a heavy load in the bed and/or in a trailer for their livelihood. Despite the larger batteries for the larger EVs, a heavy load also reduces the range by up to 30% and again, there are plenty of comparison videos on YT that track the impact of the temperature and the weight of cargo on the range. In all instances, the effective range is now down to a third or less of the equivalent petrol/diesel work vehicle. For the self-employed, more frequent stops for charging will impact on their income and for companies employing trade staff, their efficiency on the job is hampered by time wasted charging the EV thus reducing profitability.

3 – Charging issues

(i) Home

The dream of the lower running costs of EVs that is promoted by environmental lobby groups and those who sell EVs is the fact that, for most city use, an EV can be plugged in at home and can recharge overnight when power tariffs are usually the lowest. There are number of issues that crop up even then and this scenario is a best-case scenario only. First off, this convenience only works for those who live in what the Americans call a single-family home or in other words a dwelling on a separate section with a car port or garage. But with the global shift to smaller, more affordable, more compact and densely populated housing, for people (particularly younger people with no or a small family), apartment living makes it much more difficult to connect an EV to your own power supply. Many complexes have no off-street parking and those that do, there is no plug infrastructure in underground car parks to enable an apartment tenant or owner to hook up from their designated parking spot. As new apartment blocks allowing for EV charging are constructed, the charging plug maybe available but not at the cheap rate your power company is charging for what you use in your apartment but at a rate that the Body Corporate or Homeowners Association charges as the power plugs will be in common usage areas.

People who live in older homes in crowded inner-city suburbs may only have on-street parking and only the ability to have a three point higher voltage plug that also has to have an extension cord put into the street that can be tampered with. For those who live in cold climates, unless you have a heated garage or have a plug-in car engine heater, recharging in freezing conditions is a lengthy and more costly process because the battery has to be first warmed before it can be properly and quickly charged.

Finally, there is the very big and widespread issue of the capacity of a home plug to deliver a high-speed charge. If you simply use the same type of heavy duty plug as is used for a stove, fridge, washing machine or a stationary air conditioning unit then this cannot deliver power to the EV fast enough to affect a full charge overnight. One of the smallest EVs available is the Nissan Leaf and its 62 kw battery would take a whopping 18 hours to fully charge from a standard residential three point socket. EV owners soon realise that they need to boost the amperage to a larger more powerful 50 amp 7 w connector. For the Leaf this brings the full charging time down to 11 hours. These converters cost between $500 to $600 in the US and you’ll need another $1,300 for electrician’s costs to install. But what about a Hyundai Ioniq with a 77 kw battery or a Tesla X with a 100 kw battery or the Ford F150 Lightening (or similar large pickup or SUV) with a 131 kw battery? There is no possible affordable capacity upgrade that allows the owner of a larger EV that boasts the longest range with the largest battery where you can fully charge overnight at home. Then there are the wider issues of limits to the local suburban electricity grid capacity to handle mass switching to EVs for suburban in-home charging, something that I will cover in the Macro issues in Part 2. All of these problems push more EV owners to having to use public charging stations more than they ever planned with a whole new set of problems covered next.

(ii) Public

There are a host of issues with the public EV charging infrastructure. These issues will vary from location to location, city to city and country to country but many of them are present in most markets:

  • Insufficient numbers of charging stations. This problem has two facets: gaps in ANY available fast chargers on certain key routes or, the more common problem, insufficient fast chargers in key locations leading to long queues to charge. California is supposedly EV fast charging nirvana and yet this video shows a huge queue in Burbank in suburban LA at 11pm at night! With even an optimal situation (newer battery, good fast charge station, no queue and reasonable weather) you’re looking at a 30 to 40 minute wait from near flat versus 5 minutes to refuel an ICEV from empty. There have been reports of so-called “charge rage” of frustrated drivers jumping queues and even unhooking cars left charging whilst an owner gets a coffee to avoid the long waits.
  • Inconsistent charger styles. It is known that Tesla’s aren’t compatible with most public non-Tesla charger sites hence why they have invested in their own fast chargers. Because the installation of fast chargers is usually barely regulated, there are not uniform standards of charging ports forcing EV owners in some jurisdictions to have to spend hundreds of dollars on adapters. Continental Europe has largely avoided this issue with standardisation.
  • Inconsistent electricity pricing. The providers of public fast charging stations are often entrepreneurs seeking recovery of the cost of installing the chargers that each cost USD$45,000 to $70,000. Unlike petrol stations who advertise their price per gallon or litre in large displays and the prices can be easily researched via Apps such as Gaspy (NZ) or Gas Buddy (US), an EV owner won’t know the price of the electricity they need until they insert their card at the charging station. Whilst gas prices in the US for instance fluctuate markedly from state to state and city to city due to differing state and county/city fuel taxes, in most countries there are more narrow petrol pricing bands making accurately costing of a road trip pretty easy. Electricity pricing is far more variable from not just city/state and country but time of day, the utility company providing power for a particular charging location and the fact that owners of the charging stations will adjust their prices at any given charging location based on demand like the surge pricing policies of the ride share companies. Because the driver of an almost flat EV battery usually cannot just keep going to another possibly cheaper charging site as is the case with an ICEV driver with so many petrol station options close by, they are forced to pay whatever price is on offer. Whilst EV owners can time an overnight charge at home to coincide with rates as cheap as $0.05c p/kwh nighttime domestic electricity tariffs, they can be hit with charges like $0.35 p/kwh or more on the road being many multiples higher making an EV road trip in some locations significantly more expensive than the ICEV equivalent trip.
  • Vandalisation of EV charging locations and other connection issues. It is not uncommon for EV owners to come to a site of multiple charging stations only to find a long line behind only one or two chargers as the others have had their card swipe machines vandalised. The Wall Street Journal recently surveyed 126 non-Tesla charging stations in Los Angeles and 27% were out of order, an additional 10% had payment issues, and still more had connection or handshake issues. In the most EV charger saturated city in the world, fully half of the chargers could not be made to work. This compares to regular petrol stations were non operative pumps are extremely rare.
  • Most public charging sites charge electricity by the minute rather than the kw/h. This is an issue in colder locations and at colder times of the year because, in order for the fast charger to recharge quickly, the charging site has to warm the car battery first before charging it. This adds to the recharge time meaning a recharge in the summer might take 35 minutes and the same EV at the same location in winter might take 15 minutes longer to charge and the driver is going to be charged for that extra time the car is hooked up the charger.
  • Public charging locations can’t accommodate the needed electricity load when multiple cars are hooked up to their chargers. When you fill up at a petrol station, all the pumps pull fuel from a common giant tank. As long as the master tank is kept topped up regularly (and they are), every single pump can be pumping fuel at the same time and the volume of fuel moving from the master tank to the individual vehicle tanks is identical. This is not the case when multiple EVs are charging at the same time at an EV charging site. Electricity is supplied to the location at a fixed amount that comes down the underground cable and is then distributed to the individual fast chargers. If one vehicle is charging alone then that vehicle will have access to all the electricity being fed to the location. As more vehicles hook up, the power coming off the grid at the site has some ability to increase flow but generally there is an overall kwh limit to the site (unless the site owner has paid for additional expensive high voltage cabling) and so the power flow must now be shared amongst all the users hooked up and when a site has all chargers in use, this can significantly add to the charging time due to diffusing the electricity amongst the multiple users. What the owner hopes will be a 35-minute stop (the time EV manufacturers tell you about in their promotional material) can turn into a 90 minute or longer nightmare of queues to begin to charge and slow charge times due to the cold and diffuse electricity supply.

4 – Fire risk issues

There is an increased risk of spontaneous battery fires with any lithium-ion battery hence why airlines won’t allow you to have a smart phone in checked luggage. There has been a raft of high-profile incidents of electric cars spontaneously catching on fire and alighting nearby cars, houses and multi-level car parks. Two of the most spectacular were: the fire in an electric bus in Shanghai that spread to 40 other electric buses parked at the depot. Put “electric car fires” into You Tube and dozens of examples show up, and a fire at a Ford dealership in Detroit of a Ford F150 Lightening that saw almost an entire row of EVs ultimately engulfed. The problem with EV fires is they are more intense and take longer for firefighters to put out than an ICEV fire and they normally involve more damage to nearby vehicles and/or property. An EV can catch alight even with only slight damage to a few of the battery cells. Because it is hard to know what cells might be damaged without a complex and costly test, slightly damaged EVs may be ticking fire time bombs without the owners knowing.

These increased fire risks have a range of complex and costly implications. Will car parks have to be modified to allow wider spaces between vehicles to reduce contagion fire risk, who pays for the more stringent fire safety provisions like the need to bring higher volumes of water to the site so the firemen who fight EV fires have sufficient volume to douse the more intensive EV fires? My prediction is that car park owners will simply avoid these additional costs and ban EV use. Will apartment complexes allow EVs to park underground due to the risk of a complete building fire after contagion to other underground parked vehicles? Will EV owners eventually be forced to park in spaces away from buildings and other vehicles adding to EV owner cost and inconvenience? The number of EV fires is only going to increase as the numbers on the road mushroom. EV supporters say there are more ICEV fires but that’s because in most countries, over 95% of all vehicles have an ICE but ICE fires are much easier and quicker to contain. EVs that have caught on fire and, if the fire has been contained before total destruction, the burnt out remains have to be specially quarantined because of the high risk of a re-sparking or a spontaneous re-ignition. This imposes big costs on car repair shops and panelbeaters who again, like the car park owners, may avoid the hassle by refusing to work on damaged EVs. These are massive safety issues that are only just now being looked at and the solutions are going to mean more cost and inconvenience to EV owners not the least of which is rising insurance costs arising from the fire risk issues that I cover next.

5 – Running costs issues

(i) Insurance

If you get an insurance quote for an EV compared to its comparable ICEV equivalent (e.g., BMW i4 vs BMW 4 series, Mini Cooper, Hyundai Ioniq, for the US the Ford F150) you’ll find in the US, Australia and New Zealand about a 20 to 30% insurance premium for like for like EV versus ICEV full comprehensive collision insurance. This is because, if the battery is only slightly damaged, it has to be replaced not repaired due to the fire risk (covered in #4 above). In the UK, due to the number of high-profile EV fires and the generally higher costs of repair of damaged EVs, insuring an EV has become a very difficult and costly task with owners facing cancellation of coverage, a tripling or more in premiums and an increasingly larger number of UK Fire and General insurers refusing to cover EVs. Whilst Tesla does offer its own vehicle insurance product, this is currently only available in the US. How long before Fire and General insurers in other first world markets begin to adopt the strategy and pricing structure now prevalent in the UK? If so, then much of the running costs savings for the average EV owners would be offset by the massively higher insurance premiums.

(ii) Repairs and maintenance

Whilst it is true that an electric engine has massively fewer moving parts than an ICE, there are more complex construction methods and more costly other parts to an EV. There are also inferior economies of scale in producing the parts for EVs so they cost more and there is not the same network of service locations even within the dealerships of EV manufacturers so scheduling service appointments can be trickier. Tesla of course do not have full-service dealerships in the traditional sense sending instead a service van to your location. Routine maintenance is cost effective and can be done quickly but anything more complex means time-consuming and costly repairs due to the difficulty in finding EV certified and trained mechanics, and that’s before we factor in the fire risks that are beginning to burden repairers with potential costly liabilities and extra storage spacing requirement that they may seek to avoid.

(iii) Tyres

EVs are on average 25 to 30% heavier than their ICEV equivalent due to the weight of the battery. This means more strain on the tyres and so, depending on the model, some EV owners find themselves having to replace their tyres twice as regularly as the equivalent ICEV.  Increasingly manufacturers use heavier and stronger EV specific tyres, but these cost the same 30% premium to replace even if they last longer than regular tyres. Either way, an EV owner is paying more for tyres than the ICEV equivalent.

(iv) Battery replacement

EV batteries can die if left in extreme heat or cold or are overcharged. EV batteries lose 2 to 3% capacity every year. There are lots of websites and You Tube channels instructing EV owners on how best to protect their battery and prolong its life. It is interesting that, on the one hand EV proponents tout the lengthening ranges now capable with more powerful batteries being installed but preach prudence by not charging to the maximum to preserve battery life. If you follow battery life instructions, then you are effectively lopping off the maximum range of your EV by 20%. Whilst an 80% charge will suit those who use an EV pretty much only to commute in the city, it adds to all the issues cited earlier to increase the frequency at which an EV owner must charge up for long trips. The high cost of battery replacement is a major issue for EV owners because either they must find $10,000+ for a new battery for the smallest of EVs or face a very low re-sale on an older EV when they come to sell or trade. Horror stories of huge costs some EV owners have had to wear in order to replace the battery abound, the worst being that of Simrat Sooch of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada who was quoted CAD$50,000 to replace the battery in his Hyundai Ioniq and he chose to scrap the car instead and got a measly $1,000! As stated earlier, this is causing the residual value of EVs to plummet. Comparing the value of an equivalent say 8-year-old ICEV of similar make and quality, the lower trade/sale value of the EV become yet another cost EV consumers must absorb versus staying with an ICEV.


Part 2 will cover some very large issues that act as major real physical resource availability barriers to widespread EV production. Part 1 has focused on the consumer side of EVs and on the various factors that are now limiting widespread EV adoption. In most first world the ecology conscious consumer who wishes to make a public point of supporting the environment by purchasing an EV (some would cynically call this virtue signaling) has pretty much already bought an EV. It is an observation that EV purchasing households to this point have been amongst the upper/professional middle class and higher because almost all have a second ICEV so the issues of taking EVs on long journeys are avoided. If you only ever tootle around town or have an ordinary commute to work in an EV and charge from home at night, many of the issues mentioned here are minimized. But that is not where governments want this product to remain. In order to meet net zero (or similar) targets, middle and working class consumers will have to transition. In part 2 I will cover the resistance to mass EV transition recently occurring with almost all the major car manufacturers. This is because of stalled EV sales and massive and growing inventories of unsold EVs as the penetration of EVs into the truly mass car markets is happening very slowly because of all the above issues. Negative word of mouth from all the dramas and unforeseen additional costs borne by EV owners for whom it is their only car is only going to further erode confidence in EVs as a viable and convenient sole family transportation solution. With consumers voting with their feet to opt to stay with ICEVs what will follow is the same consumers voting at the ballot box to reject attempts by governments to force this transition. In this matter, I predict that eventually the mandates to phase out ICEVs will be scrapped due to mass consumer electoral revolts from the proposed solution.

Guest Post: Arrested for protesting hypocrisy

A guest post by Lucy Rogers:

Yesterday at about 5pm I was arrested on Queen Street for peacefully protesting a pro-Palestine rally. I had popped out to grab coffee after being in a work meeting for the afternoon and I saw the protest occurring on Queen Street. I walked into a nearby shop, purchased an A2 piece of paper and wrote “SELECTIVE CONDEMNATION OF GENOCIDE IS EVIL” on it with a marker pen. I then stood on the pavement on Queen Street as the protesters walked past and held the sign above my head. I was silent and peaceful, and several metres away from them.

Immediately I was accosted by a group of nearby police officers who grabbed my sign off me and tore it up. They physically manhandled me and attempted to push me away from where I was standing. I refused to move and demanded my sign back. At this point I started recording them on my phone.

They refused to give my sign back and threatened to arrest me for breach of the peace and failing to comply with the lawful order of a police officer if I didn’t move on. As a criminal defence lawyer I was unfazed by this because I knew that I wasn’t breaking any law. The cops cannot tell you to do just anything: they could not for example order me to perform a handstand. I continued to refuse, asked them where in the law it said that they had the right to dictate where I stood in a public place when there was no obstruction to foot traffic, and finally attempted to walk to one side of them to silently observe the protest without my sign. (I was not carrying an Israeli flag or any other indication of being pro-Israel and because they had taken my sign there was no indication at this point what my views even were. I was just another person on the street.) It was then that the cops grabbed me from behind, handcuffed me and arrested me. All of this is on video. They then locked me in a police van. It is the following day and I still have a sore shoulder from where my arms were wrenched behind my back without warning. I also experienced sleeplessness last night.

One thing I found disturbing is that the cops were completely unfazed at me recording their police ID numbers or at arresting me even when they knew I had the means to identify them. They let me go as soon as I undertook not to return on that day. (I explained that I was only prepared to make such an undertaking because I had to get back to a work meeting, and that otherwise I would gladly stay in their van.) This shows that they didn’t care whether they had any chance of successfully prosecuting me or not. They even offered to give me information on how to lay a complaint.

What this suggests in my view is that they have misused laws against breach of the peace, resisting police and perhaps other such laws again and again and again. Section 39 of the Summary Offences Act 1981 reads as follows:

Any constable, and all persons whom he calls to his assistance, may arrest and take into custody without a warrant any person whom he has good cause to suspect of having committed an offence against any of the provisions of this Act except sections 17 to 20, 25, and 32 to 38.

I suspect that the police, who in ordinary circumstances are the ones who decide whether to prosecute someone (I have no reason to believe there is a different body set up to take criminal complaints against police officers) have taken a very liberal approach to what constitutes “good cause to suspect” a crime, and that has been used as a way for them to avoid consequences for the misuse of power without the matter ever even reaching the courts. The cops (I suspect) protect their own. They just wanted to shut me up for the duration of the protest, release me with or without charge and then get away with it.

I suspect too that these powers have been misused in cases more marginal than mine. Because I was in a very tense situation I did raise my voice, but I did not assault the cops, swear at them, drag my feet on the ground when they grabbed me or jerk my body around. I commented to the cops that I was a law-abiding person and one of them said he could tell. But I’m sure the cops have arrested plenty of people who were less polite, and hence where there was less sympathy for them. However, being unfriendly to cops is not a crime.

The whole thing has been an eye-opener for me. If there isn’t already I think there needs to be a body independent of the police set up to review complaints against police and determine whether to prosecute them. (Their actions constitute assault, false arrest, theft, wilful damage to personal property, kidnapping and a host of other crimes.) I would be interested to know how many criminal complaints against these police officers have been made and never upheld.

I am also concerned that being threatened by police with arrest for things like failing to comply with the lawful order of a police officer would be intimidating to people less familiar with the law about what the police can and cannot tell you to do. I suspect that the police deliberately exploit people’s ignorance of the law.

I add by the way that I do not consider myself to be a pro-Israel protester. I was very deliberately not carrying an Israeli flag even though flags were available from the same shop I bought the paper for my sign from. Although until recently I was a lifelong supporter of Israel, the complete blockade of food and water to all civilians in Gaza absolutely appalled me. The blockade was only lifted following American pressure and even then it was only lifted partially. Collective punishment is a war crime and I am not unsympathetic to sending home the Israeli ambassador.

I am not a pro-Israel protester. I am an anti-hypocrisy, anti-bias and anti-racism protester. I cannot understand how anyone in good conscience could exclusively protest Israel when Israel is responding to genocide, hostage taking and mass rape so brutal it broke women’s pelvic bones. By all means protest Israel’s actions. My question is why they aren’t also protesting Hamas. Being critical of Israel is not necessarily racism (I am critical of Israel) but a lot of it is. For many years now Hamas have fired missiles at civilian targets, Israel have responded with missile strikes on military targets while going to huge lengths to avoid civilian casualties, and then everyone has sided with the Palestinians. For those with eyes to see the bias was already apparent, but these appalling post-October 7 pro-Palestine protests have exposed once and for all what truly motivates these people: anti-Semitism.

Selective condemnation of genocide is not just evil but hypocritical, biased and racist.

This is an appalling story, that NZ Police arrested someone for peacefully holding up a sign, on the basis that it might upset the protesters. This is a sign that our right to freedom of expression remains under threat by the establishment. It is also difficult not to conclude that if roles of counter-protester and protest cause had been reversed, the Police would have never ever acted the way they did.

The encounter was mainly captured on video and is embedded below.