Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Many roads, no fuel?

3 February 2020

The government has announced a huge level of planned infrastructure spending.

They are going to throw some $12 billion at core services and assets in a spend of gargantuan scale. So big in fact that we haven't seen this level of public spending for many decades.

The tragic thing is that, in my honest opinion, they've really screwed up their priorities.

A huge chunk of the spend is going on roading.

Okay, fair enough, it's clear that the government believes personal transport is going to be a priority as we move forward and that requires more roads, better roads and better maintenance of those roads.

Of course environmentalists are not best-pleased with this perspective -- but they should be somewhat appeased by the allocation of a fairly healthy sum to improving both rail and public transport.

However, if we go back to that roading spend again, there's a problem... a huge problem.

It seems to have totally escaped the government's attention that there's a massive shift about to happen in terms of our personal transport fleet.

Within a decade, EVs will make up a very significant proportion of that fleet so, if we're going to be encouraging even more personal transport and providing the infrastructure to support it -- why is there no mention at all of suring up our electricity infrastructure?

All these flash new roads will be far less useful if we find ourselves with electricity shortages brought about by a lack of forward planning.

And those environmentalists will be livid if, when faced with massive shortages of generation capability, the government of the day is forced to commission a raft of new fossil-fueled power stations to take up the slack.

I seriously can not believe that neither the government nor its advisors can see the massive change that is about to sweep through the whole personal transport sector.

China is already gearing up to manufacture EVs on a massive scale and, according to reports, many of their offerings are already very good in terms of range, performanc and quality. In fact, quite a few commentators are already picking that in the 2020s, China's EVs will do for motoring what cheap Japanese cars did in the 1970s.

By the end of this decade, a surprising number of Kiwis will be driving EVs, either budget cars out of China or a variante of the VW platform that is almost ready to roll out under a wide number of badges.

We'll have the roads... but we won't have the electricity.

From this perspective, our reliance (over 85%) on renewables could become a real problem also.

With hydro as the backbone of our power generation capabilities, we become extremely vulnerable to climatic variations, of the type that produce protracted droughts. And guess what?

Yep, we're facing unprecedented climate change so such dramatic changes in rainfall might well become a common feature and effectively cripple our hydro schemes from time to time.

If we haven't thought far enough ahead (and we're only talking a few short years) then New Zealand may have little option but to rely increasingly on petrol and diesel imports -- adversely impacting our promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and making an even greater mockery of our "100% pure" and "clean green" tourism slogans.

Come February 2030, if I'm still alive, I'll republish today's column and we'll see whether I was right or if I was just unreasonably pessimistic. Hopefully the answer will be neither. With luck (and good management), the government will wake up to the looming disaster they're creating and we'll see some significant work done on boosting our electricity generation capabilities -- just in time to service the demand from an increasingl electrified transport fleet.

Place your bets now ladies and gentlemen... what will 2030 look like from a personal transport and electricity generation perspective?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



The EZ Battery Reconditioning scam

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

The fascinating history of computers
I must admit that yesterday I spent far more time than I should have, strolling down memory lane and beyond...

The ultimate war strategy
The world is hotting up, in more ways than one...

Bribing the media?
I think it is pretty safe to say that we have seen a rather sad deterioration in the mainstream news media over the years...

Do not talk about racism
When I came to New Zealand in the late 1970s it was a harmonious nation of "Kiwis"...

Do not talk about racism
When I came to New Zealand in the late 1970s it was a harmonious nation of "Kiwis"...

I call Bullshirt!
There has been a lot of talk about hydrogen being the "green" fuel we need to fight climate change...

Lies and deception
Sorry, I'm talking about drones today -- or should I say I am NOT talking about drones...

Sorry for being old and late
Wow... it's lunchtime and I'm only just getting to the Aardvark column for the day...

Legalised malware
Increased surveillance by both state and private entities is causing growing paranoia within the ranks of the general public...

Oh no, the vaccine will kill me!
I published a video last week in which I mentioned that I had received my first jab of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination...

That's working well then
The NZ government has made some sweeping changes to our gun laws of late...