Business and Energy – Affordable energy storage lacking – World Energy Council Report

Source: BusinessNZ
BusinessNZ Energy Council executive director Tina Schirr welcomes the release of the World Energy Council’s (WEC) Innovation Insights Brief – Five Steps to Energy Storage.
The brief suggests mainstream storage technologies are likely insufficient to meet future flexibility requirements resulting from further decentralisation and decarbonisation efforts.
A narrow focus on lithium-ion batteries is putting the development of more cost-effective alternative technologies at risk, WEC discovered after interviewing energy leaders from 17 countries.
"With major decarbonising efforts to remove thermal electric power generation and scale up renewable energies, the adoption of energy storage is a key focus the world and for New Zealand," Ms Schirr says.
"However, the brief shows affordable storage systems are a crucial missing link between intermittent renewable power and 24/7 reliability net-zero carbon scenario."
Ms Schirr says while there is visionary thinking in terms of energy storage, recent progress has focused on short-duration and battery-based energy storage for efficiency gains and ancillary services. Meanwhile, there has been limited progress in developing daily, weekly and even seasonal cost-effective solutions.
Ms Schirr says energy storage presents an opportunity for collaboration between sectors like mobility and industry and clean electricity. Different vectors of energy can be used, including heat, electricity and hydrogen.
"Breaking down these silos was also one of the key takeaways of our BEC2060 project that investigated two possible outcomes for New Zealand’s energy future."
Ms Schirr says the energy sector must adopt more aggressively technologies aligned with the end-goal: affordable clean energy for all.
Relying on investments by adjacent sectors such as the automotive sector is not enough. Future-proofing our energy systems means considering alternative solutions and ensuring technologies have equal market opportunities, Ms Schirr says.
WEC’s recommends five steps to energy storage:
1. enable a level playing field;
2. engage stakeholders in a conversation;
3. capture the full potential value provided by energy storage;
4. assess and adopt enabling mechanisms; and
5. share information and promote research and development.

Activist Sector – New Zealand to Kick Off the “Global Day of Protest Against 5G”


Communities all around New Zealand are preparing for the Global Day of Protest Against 5G on Saturday 25 January 2020. From a lively educational market stall in Kaitaia to a solid protest in Invercargill, people all over the country will be mobilising against the imposition of 5G networks.

To date, Vodafone has switched on 5G in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown while Spark has started up 5G in parts of Alexandra, as well as in areas of Westport, Clyde, Twizel, Tekapo and Hokitika.

Irresponsibly, the New Zealand government is allowing this technology to be deployed here – despite the fact that it has not undergone any pre-market safety testing. Health minister David Clark, and minister for broadcasting communications and digital media, Kris Faafoi, have steadfastly ignored our concerns.

The Telcos and Ministry of Health are trying to cover up the lack of safety testing by saying that existing research applies to 5G.  This is inaccurate and misleading as the characteristics of higher frequency 5G radiation are very different from existing 3G, 4G and wi-fi.

Communities who have already been subjected to 5G radiation, as well as those not yet affected will, on Saturday, have the opportunity to come together to peacefully express their opposition to being used as human guinea pigs by Spark or Vodafone. Some areas will share information about the health risks of 5G and other sources of wireless radiation, while some towns will demonstrate resistance to the 5G rollout.

Catherine Giorza, one of the organisers of the peaceful protest for Auckland, where Vodafone has already begun deploying 5G, says she is “hoping that the Auckland community will support our event on the corner of Queens St and Wakefield St, beginning at 12pm on Saturday 25 January, then engage others on the walk to Britomart.”

“The event is specifically intended to be family-friendly “because a safe and healthy environment is important for everyone in NZ, but especially vital for babies and children,” she said.

“We need to send a clear signal to the NZ government and Spark, Vodafone, and 2Degrees that New Zealanders do not want or need 5G. Our children’s and grandchildren’s health is more important than the latest wireless gadgets,” Lisa Er, one of the organisers said.

“Telcos are trying to force 5G radiation into everyone’s environment even though thousands of doctors, engineers and scientists have signed petitions against the deployment of 5G, because it is likely to damage people’s health and the environment. We must employ the precautionary principle, Er said.”

Protest marches, rallies and other events will occur at: Kaitaia, Whangarei, Auckland, Waiheke Island, Hamilton, Te Awamutu / Kihikihi, Gisborne, Paraparaumu, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Oamaru / Waitaki, Queenstown, and Invercargill / Southland.
Details are listed here

 As it is Auckland Anniversary Weekend, and there are a number of anti war protests in Auckland and Wellington, numbers may not be huge, but this is the start of a global movement and New Zealand has the privilege of kicking it off.

Residential Housing Market – NZ QUARTERLY MARKET REPORT – Q4 2019 released today

Source: CoreLogic

According Kelvin Davidson, our NZ senior economist, it was another intriguing year for NZ’s property market in 2019. And for 2020, he’s predicting even more ‘swings and roundabouts’ for the market.

Kelvin Davidson writes: Activity was relatively subdued last year, partly due to controlled credit conditions as well as a tight supply of listings, and values had an early-year lull (centred on Auckland) before reigniting late in 2019. The year ahead looks set to see sales volumes rise gradually, with values also likely to increase further too.

The macroeconomic environment looks supportive for property in 2020. Admittedly, GDP growth will probably be slower than it has been recently, at 2-2.5% annually. However, that is still a decent pace, and should help to create more employment. Net migration is also likely to remain elevated, as NZ remains an attractive destination for work and living. All of this adds up to further growth in property demand, both rented and owner-occupied.

Credit conditions also eased towards the end of 2019 (e.g. the banks’ internal serviceability tests) and although the loan to value ratio rules aren’t likely to be relaxed any further this year, mortgage lending activity looks set to continue to rise for at least the first half of 2020. This will help sales activity levels to improve, although it remains to be seen how much of a rise is actually possible in the current listings-constrained market.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see the recent rebound in mortgaged investors’ activity (as shown by the CoreLogic Buyer Classification series) continue in 2020. The scrapping of the capital gains tax proposals back in April last year has bolstered investors’ confidence, while the low returns available on alternative assets (e.g. term deposits) are likely to continue to make property look relatively attractive. Investors don’t have it all their own way, however, with first home buyers holding their ground in many parts of the country.

By contrast, movers (i.e. existing owner-occupiers who are relocating) are fairly quiet at present, in many cases because they are concerned that the lack of available listings will mean they can’t find their ideal next property (which if course further restrains listings).

New Zealand Asset Classes:

·         Residential Real Estate: $1.2 trillion
·         ($277 billion in home loans)
·         Commercial Real Estate: $223 billion
·         NZ Stocks: $167 billion
·         NZ Super & KiwiSaver: $106 billion

Report Includes the following:

·         NZ and Australia GDP growth
·         NZ Population
·         Migration
·         Regional Building Consents
·         Consumer Confidence
·         Employment
·         Interest Rates
·         Lending conditions
·         Sales Volumes
·         Values
·         House Price Index
·         House Price Index
·         Rent
·         Buyer Classification
·         Auckland Market Activity
·         Auckland Values
·         Auckland Suburb Value Change
·         Current Suburb Values: ‘Mapping the Market’

Education – New report findings will help schools implement the digital technologies curriculum content

Source: New Zealand Government – Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education welcomes a new report by the Education Review Office (ERO) that provides a range of perspectives on schools’ approaches to implementing the new digital technologies curriculum content.
"With all schools and kura expected to be teaching the Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content from this year, the report provides information that will help them to plan and implement the curriculum content effectively," Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement, Ellen MacGregor-Reid says.
The report, On your marks…get set…go! A tale of six schools and the Digital Technologies Curriculum content, was commissioned by the Ministry of Education.
"As well as profiling the different stages of readiness and approaches to implementing the curriculum content the report highlights the enablers and barriers the schools faced, for example it shows how leadership is critical to supporting change," Ms MacGregor-Reid says.
"We introduced new digital technologies and hangarau matihiko learning into the national curriculum in 2017 and it’s now time for students in all schools and kura to benefit from this.
"As well as being literate, numerate, problem-solvers, and critical thinkers, we also want to ensure our young people are digitally capable when they leave school.
"In today’s fast evolving digital world our young people need to have the knowledge and skills to design and develop new digital technologies to achieve specific tasks or solve problems.
"We want to move students from beyond being simply users and consumers of digital technologies to building their skills and capabilities to be technology creators and design thinkers."
Ms MacGregor-Reid says the Ministry of Education has developed a rich kete of professional supports for leaders and educators. This includes the National Digital Readiness programme | Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko to ensure teachers are ready to teach the new content.
"We have also used the findings from the ERO report to develop a new resource that provides a model process of steps for schools to follow in implementing the digital technologies curriculum content and we will continue to support schools and kura on this journey."
The new resource for schools implementing the New Zealand Curriculum revised content – the Digital Technologies Implementation Support Tool – is available now. An implementation support resource for kura implementing Te Marautanga o Aotearoa revised content will be available later in the year.
More information
The Digital Technologies Implementation Support Tool, and the full kete of support can be found on Technology Online – the main sites for school leaders and teacher to seek how-to information and resources:
Search Hangarau Matihiko on Kauwhata Reo to find information and support resources for understanding and implementing Hangarau Matihiko as part of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa:

Universities – Young women encouraged to engineer a career

Source: University of Canterbury

Being a young woman in a male-dominated field hasn’t stopped Bella Franks carving out a successful international career as an engineer.

Today she spoke about her experiences to a group of female students keen to follow in her footsteps.

Bella was one of four guest speakers at the Women in Engineering Canterbury (WiE Can) event hosted by the University of Canterbury (UC).

WiE Can gives 60 female Year 13 students from high schools across New Zealand the opportunity to find out more about engineering by attending a series of hands-on workshops over five days, culminating in today’s session hearing from high-profile female engineers.

Bella, who graduated from UC in 2010 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours and is now working for Aecom as Associate Director of Buildings and Places, says engineering offers a varied and exciting career path.

She advises young women considering the profession to “go for it”. “It’s such a rewarding career. So many of the world’s most pressing issues need smart young women to solve them and drive human innovation forward.

“It’s rare in today’s work environment to have such a tangible outcome to your efforts, such as a beautiful building or public space, so it’s very satisfying to be able to see the results of your work.”

Bella spent four years living in New York working on one of the United States’ largest private real estate developments, the Hudson Yards project in Manhattan, and she is currently working on the City Rail Link in Auckland.

The 30-year-old says there is a certain amount of “proving yourself” as a young, female engineer, particularly in the construction world. “People can be very quick to write you off as inexperienced or out of your depth and it takes time to earn respect. Young males face this challenge too but often to a lesser extent.”

Other WiE Can speakers were Transpower Chief Executive Alison Andrew, water resources engineer India Eiloart, and Larissa Wilson, a UC mechanical engineering student who recently spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, the United States.

UC College of Engineering Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Evans-Freeman says the WiE Can initiative is part of the university’s commitment to boosting the number of female engineering graduates and increasing diversity in the profession.

“Often young women have skills and interests that are very relevant to engineering but it might not be on their radar as a career option or they’re not sure how viable it is. The aim of this event is to let them know they are wanted and there are amazing possibilities in this field.

“We’ve invited these four speakers because they’re all brilliant role models and show the diverse career paths and opportunities available to females who choose engineering.”

Anna Manning, 18, from Whakatane, attended WiE Can last year and says it played a major role in her decision to enrol in Forest Engineering at UC in 2020.

“Engineering was one of my ideas but I never really knew exactly what it involved, and I didn’t know there were so many different types of engineering, and different career pathways you can follow.

“I’m quite focused on the outdoors, the environment and sustainability, so Forest Engineering really appeals to me and I hadn’t even known about it until WiE Can.

“The workshops gave me a clearer idea of what I would be doing on a day to day basis in an engineering career which was really cool.”

Sport – REACTION: Host City Announcement, ICC Women’s World Cup 2021

Source: Women in Sport Aotearoa
Reaction from Women in Sport Aotearoa Chief Executive, Rachel Froggatt:
"It is outstanding to see such a geographical spread of cities and venues announced as hosting matches, making it a truly national sporting event for kiwis and showcasing our country to global TV audiences of 180m+."
We were invited to address the host city bid teams early on and emphasized the significance of this tournament in its ability to shift perceptions of women’s sport in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world, but also in terms of its potential to build a long-term legacy of sporting venues and facilities that welcome and support the involvement of women and girls in sport.
We were very impressed with their enthusiasm. They were particularly quick to understand the impact that seeing world class female athletes on home soil will have on young girls and women in Aotearoa New Zealand, and their aspirations around participating, competing and building careers in sport.
Congratulations Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin on their successful bids!"

Activist Sector – Anti-war protest rallies planned for this Saturday, January 25

Source: Global Peace and Justice – Join the protests in Auckland, Wellington and Waihopai – Saturday, January 25, 2020

Waihopai: Assemble 10am, Waihopai Valley Road from 10 a.m
Wellington: Assemble 12 noon, Midland Park
Auckland: Assemble 2pm, Aotea Square

No war with Iraq or Iran! Troops out Now! Shut down the Waihopai Spy Base!

Support for the Auckland protest has come from the Green Party, First union, Unite Union, Love Music Hate Racism, Radio Inqilaab, Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa, Anti-Bases Campaign and Socialist Aotearoa.  

Since calling this protest we have received endorsements from across New Zealand and as a result, GPJA has changed its name to Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa.  We seek to link activists from around the country to build a strong movement for peace and justice.

Those backing the protest include Golriz Ghahraman, Green Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Human Rights, spokesperson who cannot attend in person but who says: “Please note my apologies and huge appreciation for the kaupapa of the anti-war march in Auckland, especially as a victim of American war profiteering in Iran and Iraq.”

John Minto, a founder member of GPJA states: “I will be travelling to Auckland for this really important protest to begin at 2pm on Saturday at Aotea Square. All foreign troops including New Zealand soldiers need to leave Iraq now!”

Activists are invited to a follow-up meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 4 February the Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn Auckland, to help build the movement for a new decade.  

Employment – Cotton On quickly and quietly closes two Porirua stores, blindsiding workers

Source: First Union
Workers at neighbouring Cotton On and Cotton On Kids stores in Porirua’s North City Shopping Centre say they are worried about their futures after the multinational chain closed their workplaces this week without providing clarity on if and how they will redeployed to other stores, and whether or not they will be entitled to redundancy compensation if they don’t want to continue working for a profit-obsessed chain whose workers apparently come last, FIRST Union said today.
Yesterday, FIRST Union reported that bargaining between union members and corporate managers at Cotton On has stalled for four months, with workers’ demands for a living wage being ignored, despite the company’s promises of the opposite. With the news of this week’s store closures, FIRST Union organiser Richie Morris said Cotton On were the encapsulation of a business model that relies on cheap garments and disposable workers.
"This was short-notice, impulsive, solely profit-focused and insensitive to long-serving staff," said Mr Morris. "Telling workers that they might one day have a job in another store within a 30km radius is not good enough, especially if those workers are considering redundancy following Cotton On’s actions."
"There are around ten workers between the two stores, and they are all union members. They can’t help but feel like the company has paid them less heed given they’re already in an adversarial situation with the chain over the failure to live up to paying a living wage."
Workers at Porirua’s Cotton On and Cotton On Kids were informed of the closure of their stores in the last ten days, and the generic Cotton On store has already closed and is boarded up and inaccessible. The closure of Cotton On Kids is expected within the next week. Some staff have been offered redeployment within a 30km radius, but details have been rushed and delivered without adequate consultation, meaning staff are unsure what redundancy will be available to them, or when they would begin new roles.
"I wish companies who made literally billions of dollars every year would take the time to close two small stores properly – do some consultation, consider your workers’ situation, and communicate the closure publicly rather than trying to brush it under the carpet," said Mr Morris.
For one worker (who wished to remain anonymous due to their probable need to apply for new jobs in the near future), four years of service for Cotton On ending in this manner have left a bitter taste behind: "The process was rushed and poorly communicated – I haven’t heard from anyone since they told us on Monday and nobody here knows what’s going on."
"Cotton On Kids is still open – probably not for long – and we have customers coming in and asking if they can return stuff to the other store, and the answer is: I don’t know, unfortunately."
"In meetings, our managers couldn’t answer our questions and the staff are feeling stressed and uncertain about what comes next."
"They just said the lease was up and the stores weren’t that profitable… we still don’t know what’s really behind it."
FIRST Union has written to Cotton On to request a suspension of the closures until sufficient consultation with staff could be performed, but the company has rejected the request.

Recreation and Ecology – Fish & Game closes Upper Rakaia hatchery operations to help wild salmon recovery

Source: Fish and Game NZ
North Canterbury Fish and Game Council is closing their two salmon hatchery operations in the Upper Rakaia River in order to protect the wild sea-run salmon fishery.
The decision to end sea-run salmon hatchery operations is based on reviews of scientific studies and expert assessments commissioned by Fish & Game which demonstrate that hatchery releases in North Canterbury have likely negatively impacted the regions wild sea-run salmon fishery.
The decision recognises that protecting wild locally adapted salmon and trout populations, and the habitats they depend on, is essential to ensuring the long-term resilience and sustainably of the New Zealand angling resources and opportunities.
It is now understood that large scale releases of hatchery reared salmon smolt have likely been a major contributing factor in the current weakening of North Canterbury’s wild sea run salmon fishery.
The council came to this decision after having undertaken a review of historical hatchery practices in the region, the economic strain and budget overruns cause by these hatchery operations, along with an internal assessment of hatchery practices and external scientific advice on the adverse impacts hatchery releases can have on wild salmon populations.
This end of sea-run salmon smolt releases by the North Canterbury Fish & Game Council is part of their renewed determination to focus on managing and restoring the regions wild sea-run salmon populations. This decision was based on the best available scientific knowledge and ecological guidelines for how to manage and restore wild salmon populations.
Research by retired NIWA scientist Martin Unwin showed that wild salmon populations in New Zealand have evolved local adaptions, which create a "home court advantage" that results in both genetic and behavioural differences which are inherited by their offspring.
As a consequence, releasing hatchery reared salmon can be detrimental to the wild locally adapted salmon population.
The Fish & Game hatchery sites at Montrose and Whiskey Creek have now been closed and made safe.
North Canterbury Fish & Game Council will retain and aim to further develop one sports fish hatchery operation at the Issacs facility in Christchurch.
Current hatchery stocks have been released where they won’t negatively impact the wild fishery – Lake Coleridge for salmon, and in some smaller high-country lakes for brown and rainbow trout.
Once improved the Issacs hatchery facility will allow North Canterbury Fish & Game Council to rear and releases trout or salmon to landlocked urban ‘stepping stone’ fisheries, and potentially also to augment harvest opportunities in some lake trout fisheries.
To achieve this the Council are actively seeking to form partnerships and attract sponsors. An approach that is already being successfully applied in other Fish & Game regions like Otago and Nelson/Marlborough.
Once modified the Issacs hatchery operation will also ensure North Canterbury Fish & Game are able to also raise trout or salmon for releases associated with monitoring and research purposes.
Anglers can help by limiting their harvest of wild (non-fin clipped) salmon to four fish per season, and also assist Fish & Game in our Rakaia research project by providing information and otolith samples from any salmon harvested.
The otolith (earbone) of salmon enables fishery managers to see the life history of the fish and will help Fish & Game identify parts of the river system that may require extra habitat rehabilitation and protection work.

Announcements – Cannasouth appoints experienced new CFO

Source: Cannasouth


New Zealand’s only NZX listed medicinal cannabis company Cannasouth has appointed Colin Foster as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer.


Mr Foster will succeed Rob Braithwaite, who has been working with the Cannasouth team since its inception and played an important role in preparing the company for its public listing in June 2019.


Cannasouth CEO Mark Lucas says the transition is a logical progression as Cannasouth grows from a purely research-based organisation into a fully commercial enterprise.


“Rob played an integral role in the formation of Cannasouth and helped us navigate our way through the complex process of becoming a listed NZX company.


“Rob has built a solid financial foundation from which we can now grow into the next phase of our business.


“Colin is a chartered accountant with strong corporate and financial management skills gained over 33 years of senior financial leadership at Tatua Dairy Co-Operative Limited and Anchor Products Limited.     


“His wide general management experience will add significantly to the Senior Leadership Team of Cannasouth.”