The Clutha’s still there

We drove down the east side of Lake Dunstan before crossing over it at Cromwell on Wednesday evening.

The lake was formed – more than a little controversially – when the Clyde Dam was built.

It interrupts the flow of the Clutha River but the river is still there, feeding and in turn being fed by Lake Dunstan.

We crossed the Clutha again north of Luggate on our way home yesterday. The water looked just as it always has, even though it’s dammed at Hawea a few kilometres above the bridge.

I have no doubt it looks the same below the  Clyde Dam too even though both dams are owned by Contact Energy which, is a publicly listed power company.

In case that’s not clear, that means the state doesn’t own the dams and hasn’t for sometime.

Private ownership of the power companies operating on the Clutha River hasn’t affected the water and whoever may or may not own it. Why would the partial float of other energy companies have any affect on the water they use?

25 Responses to The Clutha’s still there

  1. Chris Bird says:

    Good comment HP. I cant see how water going through a power station is changed in any way. It still ends up going down the river, with the vast majority of it running out to sea and being wasted for further use.

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  2. robertguyton says:

    Shareholders, by dint of their rights, influence the management of water that supplies dams. If the local community, for example, wanted to lower the level of the lake because it was threatening the foreshore with erosion, the shareholders, who demand full return from their investment, can cause the company to reject the local’s request for a lowered level, saying it will negatively affect their earnings.
    That’s just one way the sale of a state owned asset that requires water for its operation, can negatively affect thewater and locals and the environment.
    Are you consciously blinding yourselves to this, or are youjust not thinking?

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  3. robertguyton says:

    “I cant see how water going through a power station is changed in any way.”

    The adult eels from lakes Te Anau and Manapouri who for millennia have swum down the Waiau river to get to the sea for their journey to the Tongan Trench to breed but since the building of the power station at West Arm have been turned to mince meat instead as they try to pass through the turbines, might not agree with your shallow comment, Chuck Bird. A lake is more than just H2O – commodifying and simplifying the real situation suits the exploiter’s mindset, but it lacks intellectual depth.

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  4. willdwan says:

    So…no hydro dams now Robert. Don’t like farming, hydro-electricity, mining; anything else? Are you sure this country is right for you? Maybe you would be happier somewhere else. Just a thought.

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  5. robertguyton says:

    Not much of a thought, willdwan, just a little, half-baked one.
    I’ve not opposed hydroelectricity, just said they are not without their effects. There are those who believe they are benign.
    Anything else I don’t like?
    Thoughtlessness?

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  6. homepaddock says:

    Robert – the shareholder influence you fear isn’t affecting the Clutha.

    The power comapanies up for partial floats already have dams on the rivers, whatever is happening to wildlife because of them won’t change regardless of who owns them. If any companies want more dams they’ll have to go through the consent process during which any impact on fauna will be taken into account.

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  7. robertguyton says:

    It’s not ‘wanting more dams’ that I’m discussing, Ele. It’s the influence of private shareholders over what was a State operated asset. Where water is concerned, the management of that water will move from being State-managed to MOM-managed. There is a difference and you have not shown how the environment or the locals are protected from the influence of the new shareholders. You’ve made soothing noises, as have Key and English, but that’s all they are, noises. Private shareholders can and will leverage influence over how the water is managed. Our of the State’s (our) hands and into theirs. Very foolish.

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  8. homepaddock says:

    Robert – can you give evidence of any influence from Conatct’s shareholders on the Clutha. Is it any different from the influence of, for example, Meridean on the Waitaki,?

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  9. robertguyton says:

    I’ve not claimed that Contact’s shareholders have influenced the ‘Clutha’, Ele. You are claiming they haven’t. It’s your responsibility to give evidence for your claim. My claim is that under MOM, there will be influence on the management of the water. That hasn’t happened yet (and, fingers crossed, won’t), so I can hardly furnish evidence, can I. You could on the Contact situation though, unless it’s not true.

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  10. homepaddock says:

    I can’t furnish evidence for the same reason you can’t Robert – it hasn’t happened.

    If it hasn’t happened on the Clutha under 100% private ownership why would it happen on other rivers with a minoirty (up to 49%) of private shareholders.

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  11. robertguyton says:

    How many of Contact’s shareholders are non-New Zealanders, Ele?
    Surely the advantage you tout for private ownership of any company is that it’s stimulated by its responsibility to its shareholders to become more efficient and increase its returns to them. This changes the emphasis and the behaviour of the company. When your shareholders are not New Zealanders, they will have different requirements from their investment that those who are. The effect of their decisions on the local environment will have less sway than it would for those who live here. This puts the environment at more risk than before. It also puts the wellbeing of local consumers at risk. Where they might resist price rises, knowing what it means to the customer on the ground, a shareholder in distant parts, isn’t going to feel the same connection and is less likely to modify their expectations as a result of feeling the pinch personally. have you considered these things at all, Ele?

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  12. homepaddock says:

    I don’t know where any of Contact’s shareholders are from. Private ownership of that company has had no impact on the river and a partial float of other energy companies should be no different, regardless of where the shareholders live.

    Any impact on the environment is governed by the RMA not shareholders.

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  13. Roger says:

    Guyton you are a pig headed dick. You have no proof for your assertions and you have avoided Ele’s reasonable questions of you. You are alleging a “private” company like Trust Power or a MOM like Meridian will have different use rights for water than an SOE. What absolute tosh.

    Can you provide one example where the non government owned Contact Energy has put the “well being of local consumers at risk”.

    As you well know, because its a trough you wallow in, the water use rights are governed by the RMA and regulated through the local Regional Council and the Environment Court. Your expostulations on this blog are completely one dimensional – there is nothing novel coming from your mind. Key and the Gnats are bad is all you say. Go tell your mates at The Stranded – we are bored with your lurking here.

    Remember power rate increases were higher under the last Labour regime.

    Your reeking xenophobia is a disgrace for a local government councillor – little southlander anyone.

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  14. Paranormal says:

    RG your comments here are completely wrong. State owned companies are poorer corporate citizens than privately owned companies. SOE’s know they have the might of the state behind them whereas private companies have to be far more cautious in compliance with the regulatory environment and their relationship with the public.

    As a regional councillor you will know how the RMA works. Are your misleading comments above regarding lake levels politically motivated perhaps?

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  15. Guyton you are a pig headed dick. You have no proof for your assertions and you have avoided Ele’s reasonable questions of you.

    Robert avoiding questions, whilst expecting everyone else to answer his? Sheesh; the more things change, the more they stay the same 🙂

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  16. Roger says:

    Paranormal makes an excellent point. As we have long seen, SOE’s have resources that are effectively unlimited relative to similar private owners and if the state reduces the rate of return expectation (witness Kiwirail) or adds capital while not seeking an economic return (Kiwirail again) the private operator cannot compete. Private owners have to be cautious with environmental law compliance – to suggest the incentives are otherwise is specious. Lastly Guyton, the Statist, would have us believe mating dinosaurs will produce gazelles…..

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  17. robertguyton says:

    Perhaps, Ele, you could help me out as I flounder with the details here. Are Contact’s shares required to be entirely New Zealand-owned, or can shareholders be non-New Zealanders. It’s not a xenobhobic question, just one of fact.
    Roger – Your heated claim that I am ” alleging a “private” company like Trust Power or a MOM like Meridian will have different use rights for water than an SOE. ” is wrong. I am describing different pressures that could come on a company as a result of shareholding that has a less local component. I don’t mind being pinged for the things I do say, but you’re making stuff up. As for your ad hom attacks, ho hum, they don’t impress me much (Shania Twain, is that?) Your accusation ‘reeking xenophobia’ is so misguided and mistaken that I won’t even bother to try to straighten out your thinking.
    Paranormal – private companies might well feel they have to tread more carefully than a State-owned one, but that’s not necessarily how shareholders might feel. Some one from a country where environmental controls are next-to-non-existant might baulk at some of the decisions made by the company they have shares in and, if there were sufficient numbers of similarly-backgrounded shareholders, exert pressure on the company to try to take the least environmentally-friendly action. The RMA certainly is designed to protect the environment, but as you know, is presently subject to ‘re-jigging’ by this Government and is in my view, in danger of being made more friendly to agencies that don’t hold the environment in as high a regard as I do. Your comments, and those of Roger’s seem very naive to me, in light of that.
    Keeping Stock – you didn’t tell us why you post under two different nom-de-plumes” Keeping Stock and Inventory2. Why not?

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  18. robertguyton says:

    Paranormal – “State owned companies are poorer corporate citizens than privately owned companies”

    Oh yes? Shall we discuss the new private prison and how well they’ve performed since they set up here? Failed to meet so many of their benchmarks that it’s not funny!

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  19. homepaddock says:

    Robert @ 12:29 – I don’t think there is a requirement for Contact’s shares to be owned only by NZers – but I don’t know for sure. It would be most unusual if they were.

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  20. Richard says:

    Yes KS and Roger – agree about RG
    As for Contact Energy, anyone can by the shares. Contact is the perfect example of how free market works. A few years ago they raised Director fees. Shareholders protested and sold shares and 000’s of user switched to other companies- the company never recovered to what it was.
    Ele, have now decided when coming to your blog that if RG is in the comments section I will go elsewhere such is the drivel he writes. A real spoiler to debate.

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  21. homepaddock says:

    Richard – I don’t censor comments (unless I think they’re defamatory or attacking people personally) but I respect your right to ignore anything you might consider drivel.

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  22. robertguyton says:

    Richard – don’t sweat it, I’ll leave you’ Homeys’ in peace now. Thanks for the good times.

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  23. Roger says:

    Guyton I hope that’s a promise you will keep.

    The good thing about public companies is shareholder meetings are public. You assert shareholders may request the company management to operate in a manner that is less than environmentally appropriate or comply with relevant legislation or practice. While the notion is ludicrous, in the MOM case the collective votes of external shareholders will have to overcome the 51% owned by the Crown. The standard leftie trick of registering dead voters won’t work there. The math ain’t there.

    Also, there are no closed sessions like we see at council meetings. I guess because you are used operating behind the closed door you think it’s normal and appropriate.

    What was it about the “unanimous vote” report in respect of the CEO in February 2012 that caused you so much concern? Was your secret vote on a publicly funded body like the Council effectively outed? As you said elsewhere – sunlight is the best disinfectant and electric light the best policeman. Hoist by your own petard, methinks.

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  24. Gravedodger says:

    Was going to suggest Robert stops digging before he incurs the wrath of his local regional council for transgressing the RMA and local bylaws. The ‘hole’ must be nearly as big as the one the lignite mine is creating
    Did he collect his arse he had handed to him earlier, on his way out.

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  25. He’ll be back; there’s nothing more sure…

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