The Sustainability Principle
 of Energy


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The NZ Election 2011 Campaign
(An Exercise in Subliminal In-Your-Face Campaigning)


  A letter to the editors and other policy makers of New Zealand

What'smynumber? It's a revealing question. Since 1992 you and I are no longer exist as citizens with rights to conserve our electrical potential. We are now owned by "energy corporations" and have become mere tradeable commodities and are now mere "energy numbers".  

August  2011

I would like to draw your attention to the intense election campaign that started several weeks ago. In many ways its political impact is almost certain to prove to be far more potent than the official campaigns that have yet to start. This is because the era of Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas has just passed and thus this election occurs at a pivotal point in history. We will be formally voting against or for an orderly transition to a new era. We will be voting for whether NZ is a proponent of global warfare or a saviour from such a catastrophic event.

(Such as event is an imminent prospect as money is rapidly becoming debased as a means of exchange and storing wealth because it has no longer has real collateral in cheap mineral oil. We are seeing nations becoming desperate and making futile attempts to provide real collateral for their currencies by inflating the value of other minerals such as gold. These activities form a recipe for war.)

Last elections we made pivotal decisions about how we use our carbon potential. Tragically our media were completely distracted by allegations that Winston Peters had acted in an improper way. Thus there was very little intelligent comment in our media on the central issue of the day: how do we best conserve our carbon potential?

As some of us predicted, as soon as the ETS regime became law the Winston Peters Distraction immediately ceased. It had served its purpose and diverted critical discourse. While we were obsessing about the supposed impropriety of Winston we New Zealanders had formally imbedded the Eronian Carbon Trading system into our legislation, thereby destroying much of our capacity for sovereignty, equity and stewardship. The adoption of the ETS ethos was a major step in setting New Zealanders on a path towards insolvency and since 2008 we have seen the predicted escalating implosion of our wealth occur on scale with our abuse of mineral oil/gas continuing unabated.

I hope our media are not going to be distracted this election from the critical issue: how do we best conserve our electrical potential so we can survive in the post Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas Era? Will our media drop the ball this time by being distracted by a game of rugby?  

A New Zealand town is reflected in this shop window loaded with handcrafted rugby balls. It is an example of how the World Rugby Cup dominates our sensibilities.

Maybe I have missed intelligent commentary on the current massive media campaign to shape our awareness of our electrical potential? 

Maybe you have wondered how a majority of people can profess to be against the privatization of our remaining SOEs (Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and Solid Energy) while also professing to support the Parties who intend to privatize them? Polls indicate 60% are against the sale proposal while 60% intend to vote for the parties pusing the sale.Well the dissonance may not be what it appears to be and a very subtle explanation can be found in the names of the SOEs.

In brief, this seeming conflicted response is actually very consistent with our society's fatally flawed visions of the nature of energy, power and electricity. It is testimony to the ingenious capacity of the ego for both consistence in dissonance and denying reality. See footnote re symbol use.

Even if a citizen does not see much of our New Zealand television or broadsheets or news websites it is extraordinarily difficult to avoid being clobbered by the intensive Banker Spin providing the political framework for the transfer of our remaining assets into the hands of the money merchants.

There have been all the Genesis Energy ads for its bond issue to pay for the supposed “asset swap” with Meridian Energy. The alacrity with which Michael Cullen committed to motorways the special $700 million dividend Meridian Energy generated when it sold its Australian windfarm assets remains memorable. There is little reason to doubt John Key will also pour this “Meridian dividend” into further subsidies for the oil companies i.e. debt generation too.

Then of course there is the usual flow of material into our letter boxes from the likes of Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy et al inducing us to believe the Electricity Industry Reforms promote wise uses of our electrical potential and offer us freedom of choice. (They fail to mention, for instance, that the latest Electricity Authority decision effectively disenfranchises citizens by entrenching the removal of our right to own and broadcast our personal dwelling information via their electrical meters to whom we choose.)  

This sheet arrived in my letter box this week. 
It is a classic example of the unsustainable equation: 
energy = power = electricity =Bulk-generated electrical products.
Symbol use: Energy (17 ) Power (1) Electricity (4)

Meridian Energy Symbol association:  Meridian Energy;  energy planning; energy usage; 
energy plan; energy needs; energy rates; energy needs; Meridian Energy Centre;
energy bill; continuous energy; energy savings; electricity; electricity supply; 
electricity outage;  power

It is near impossible to miss the blitz of PowerShop advertisements (featuring, for instance, our latest bogeyman Moammar Gaddafi and Richard Nixon as an Afro-hippie). These ads accost us on our webpages, confront us from the bus shelters lining our main roads and they loom over us from huge billboards on high buildings.  


Apparently the rationale is to capture our attention by placing despots in unlikely situations. These ads are a classic example of the ingenious capacity of the ego for denial of change/stewardship. The irony is  PowerShop is part of a despotic regime that disempowers all New Zealanders...

Similarly it is almost impossible not to be impacted by the current dominant barrage of spin for the Electricity Industry Reforms and associated privatization of our hydro dams and other devices: the What’smynumber?  campaign.

It’s so hard to avoid. I sit in the bus waiting at the traffic lights and I am confronted with a huge billboard with people with dollar signs attached to their foreheads. I stand for fifteen minutes in the checkout queue at my local bulk-supply supermarket and it is near impossible not to be mesmerized by the row of several huge TV screens sited behind the counters. Each relays the same parade of people with dollars signs stuck to their forehead repeating in an endless cycle the mantra that choice and competition is alive because of the Electricity Industry Reforms.  

These ads are potent. There are about 1.9 million connections to the NZ and, as of 17 September, the Electricity Authority  site claims "399,279
calculations have been made, identifying potential savings of $62,980,879". The savings figure quoted is meaningless for a number of reasons. They are not actual savings from churn and the quoted average saving of $150 is miniscule against the costs for all citizens of the Electricity Industry Reforms.

No one I know thinks to question the "freedom of choice" mantra. Indeed I am becoming very aware of the extraordinary ignorance that prevails of our electrical potential and of our nation’s history. Very few people now seem aware of the amazing sacrifice, generosity and foresight of our grandparents in creating and bequeathing on our Baby Boomer generation a freehold, integrated and, for its time, a very intelligent national electrical grid system.

There are several reasons explaining this ignorance.

*The Economic Reformers of NZ in this past generation actively wrote this contribution out of the history books: Government policy makers, media and academics speak as though the national high voltage electrical grid miraculously sprang into existence with the Electricity Industry Reforms. People who questioned this new regime were stripped of their credence and brutally shut down.

*The Economic Reformers of the 1980-90s valued the grid system at its nuts, bolts and wires value while severely undervaluing its civil protection and intelligence potential. Most of its wealth potential resided in the latter.

*At a subliminal level the Baby Boomer generation who were at the heart of the Reforms made a decision that they would rather trade this wonderful gift from past generations for massive subsidies to maintain their profligate car-jet lifestyles. Such behaviour involves serious denial of stewardship/change and this is profoundly evident in their language.

*Our population has exploded 10% in the last decade with considerable churn. Most people born here after the mid-seventies are too young to have experienced the historical reality of our community-owned freehold and democratic MEDs and Power Boards. Few have experienced the horrors of war and witnessed severe deprivation. In other words, over half our population lacks awareness of vital context. Labour’s policy of asset retention reflects and speaks to a vacuum.

This week Q/A advertised that it was going to feature a discussion of about the proposed “asset sales”. Ever the optimist I looked forward to a substantive discussion of how best to use our electrical potential to successfully transition beyond Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas. It was not to be.

Both panel members, Don Brash and David Cunliffe have an enormous amount in common: both historically evidence profound delusion in that neither understands the reality that our economy is based on a vast under-valuation of mineral oil. Their fundamental worldviews are almost identical.

Don is credited with and prides himself on bringing down inflation in the 1990s using fiscal measures. The reality is mineral oil prices descended in the period of his tenure as Reserve Bank Governor to an absurd $US10 a barrel by 1999, which equates to an equivalent value of 0.04 cents per man-hour of labour.

This was the prime reason for the decrease in inflation. If mineral oil prices had been rising then inflationary pressures would have become explosive beyond any fiscal measure – as they are about to prove again. Even a valuation of O.4 cents per manhour of labour equivalent decimates the wealth of all our systems based on 0.1 cents per manhour of labour equivalent, which most of them are now.

This is because mineral oil does about 99% of all our lifting, pulling and pushing as well as most of our fertilizing. This is an insane under-valuation of this wondrous material. SUV use and mass jet travel boomed under Don’s stewardship while most of the integrity of our national electrical system and much of our democracy was destroyed.

David Cunliffe is similarly delusional. He worked to destroy much of our capacity to provide a sane, equitable valuation of mineral oil by voting in the ETS while also voting to imbed the fatally flawed Electricity Industry Reform legislation into our national technology.
(Note: the ETS and the EIR have the same origins and this is exemplified in Enron. Enron of course collapsed in the biggest corporate failure in history, causing enormous misery around the world. It’s a warning and small precursor of what is to come if we persist with our delusional behaviour.)

It seems fair to conclude that almost all of the media discussion of our electrical, carbon and solar potential is occurring in this delusional framework. Thus I have been searching for ways to alert people in our media to this dangerous vacuum in our national discourse.

The Electricity Authority campaign  What’smynumber? links people to the Consumer Powerswitch and so I thought it timely to create a short video that analyses Consumer Powerswitch using the Sustainability Principle of Energy. 

This Consumer NZ website is an ode to unlimited consumption and non-science. It provides another classic example of the fatally flawed equation:
 energy = power= electricity = Bulk-generated electrical products
In just 10 of its pages pages we find the equation manifest in 128 uses of the energy symbol, 89 uses of the power symbol and 60 uses of the electricity symbol.

I track the history of Powerswitch’s three prime symbols (power, energy and electricity) and show its use of them is clearly proving unsustainable, as the principle predicts. The video also explains the drivers of this unsustainable behaviour and illustrates the potency of the Sustainability Principle as a psychoanalytic tool. 

In brief:
The video alludes to the barbaric Battle of the Currents that occurred at the advent of the age of reticulated electrical products. 

Animals, including human beings, were burned to death using electrical currents as an elite of brutal bankers fought for control of our electrical potential and the wealth of our planet. Their battle for control continues unabated.

The video then discusses how this evolved into a century long war by an elite of merchant bankers on the state of science in our communities so as to prevent the development of distributed generation of electrical and other products that might compete with their Bulk-generated products.

The video makes it clear that the chronic malaise of Consumer Powerswitch is endemic in our culture. Some of our most respected citizen’s protection agencies act as the frontline assault troops in this war on the state of science in our communities and wise uses of our electrical potential.


Examples shown: Greenpeace, WWF, Switchme, Ministry for Economic Development, WWF(Australia), The Royal Society of NZ,  Age Concern, Citizens Advice Bureau

We are all casualties of this war, especially our children.

The video is entitled The Ego and Consumer Powerswitch and you can watch it at

I find writing letters such as this one tiring and painful for a number of reasons:

I am diplopic. This letter has taken days to write.

I can understand if it is not welcome and know from experience that there is a very high chance the letter will be dismissed as the work of an extremist or fool.

The insights in this letter are largely derived from working for over two decades for “service driven” municipal electricity departments and witnessing first hand their transformation into “profit driven” agencies for the bankers. * The Reform legislation effectively unleashed on scale the psychopathic element that resides in us all. Writing the letter causes me to relive the trauma and violence I experienced.

* These terms, “service driven” and “profit driven”, describing imperatives are not my terms. They were the official discourse as managers described the transition from community-owned to banker-owned systems. The managers also explained how they would be on a steep learning curve as they were completely unfamiliar with managing debt because historically the community owned-enterprises were all freehold in NZ.

I hope my endeavours to enrich our national discourse have not been in vain.

 Dave McArthur

Footnote: Our use of our prime symbols generates and reflects our culture. Millennia of history prove that any society that makes flawed uses of them soon implodes. You may be interested in my correspondence with our Minster of Education (Hon Anne Tolley).


Note the extraordinary care that she and her officials take to avoid defining science, energy, power and electricity. This is because they know if they provide a definition based in the state of science then it will highlight how our national curricula is dominated by unsustainable uses of these vital symbols. If they provide the definitions used in our schools then they risk ridicule when these are set against definitions based in the state of science. Also note how the Minister’s link to a TKI page that no longer exists.

To reiterate, this fatally flawed use of these vital symbols is endemic. The Broadcasting Standards Authority has officially ruled that our “energy”, “power” and “electricity” symbols can be used interchangeably.


Postscript September  2011

Gordon Campbell explores some of the deceits surrounding the planned asset sale in the September issue of Werewolf magazine on Scoop News. Below are my comments in which I point out that the myths are nearly all dangerous delusions and attempt to add a number of extra dimensions to the discussion.

Click on picture to link to Gordon's article.

Ten Myths About Asset Sales
by Gordon Campbell

Selling down the public’s stake in energy companies and Air NZ makes little sense, socially or economically

Comments on article

Thank you so much for this article Gordon. Our children will bless you for your endeavour – if they get to survive to adulthood. This is now in doubt.

Your conclusions that the “sale” of these assets will cost us dearly are correct. However the article lacks context and vastly underestimates the costs of this deeply corrupt action. Here, very briefly, are some of the reasons why: 

All our narratives are myths. The question is whether the myth is sustainable or not. The myths surrounding the transfer of these national assets to the global banker oligarchy are unsustainable and are better symbolised as dangerous delusions. The exception is Air NZ, which is a national liability.

The physics of mineral oil is that a 42-gallon barrel of mineral oil has the energy equivalent of about 25000 man-hours of labour. It now does 99% of all our pushing, pulling, lifting and most of our soil fertilising now. It is not a resource. It is a finite, effectively non-renewable material and in the last two generations we have destroyed most of the wealth inherent in global mineral oil. The only imminent alternative source of wealth resides in wiser uses of electrical phenomena. 

NZ does not have an economy. We have a diseconomy in that our use of materials is based on ever growing consumption and extreme wasteful practices. It is, on balance, extremely non-conservative. All our systems, including our credit system, are based on an insane undervaluation of mineral oil $US25 a barrel or 0.1 cents per man-hour of labour. The global price, still insanely cheap, is now approx $US100. Consequently our diseconomy is exploding while both our real wealth and our means of exchange is evaporating.

A secondary driver of the diseconomy is the repeal of legislation such as the Glass Steagall legislation, which tended to limit the risk of credit creation to be disconnected from real collateral. This plus the immense capacity of a few individuals to game the stockmarkets using massive computers means that the proposed transfers of control of our SOEs to the money speculators effectively makes them WOMD that will be used to destroy us.

Note: even some of those swindlers who have accumulated enormous wealth through these psychotic and corrupt trades are suddenly realising the monster they created now threatens to devour them. 

By the late 1980s it was apparent a great confluence of new technology was occurring: “smart” dwellings and appliances broadband and solid state metering systems. Since then the emergence of cellular radio and the Internet have amplified this extraordinary confluence. 

Until 1992 NZ still retained real elements of democracy. Traditionally every community in democratic ways owned its local 230-volt grid system plus its intelligence. This localised, democratic framework meant NZ was in the ideal position to enjoy the immense wealth potential of this great confluence while providing humankind with a sustainable model of how we can best use of solar, electrical and carbon potentials.

The first systems for reticulating electrical products in NZ communities occurred in the 1890s and were privately owned. By about 1905 it was clear private ownership was a costly, failed model. Our cities brought up their local company freehold, hence the Municipal Electricity Departments. The private ownership model completely failed rural communities and rural people formed cooperatives to build their own freehold, democratic generation and reticulation systems from scratch, hence the Power Boards. Thus NZ became a land in which 60 community grids serving all New Zealanders worked cooperatively together.

By the late 1970s Anglo-American credit systems based on the insane undervaluation of mineral oil were imploding and the global elite of money traders were desperate for new sources of real wealth for collateral. Our Parliament, especially the Labour Party, obliged them by instituting Electricity Industry Reform legislation. This, plus the “sale” of Telecom and NZ Rail broadband, enabled the global banker oligarchy by 2000 to assume control of most of our electrical potential and leverage credit/debt off it.

The major source of wealth in the community-owned, freehold electrical systems was the intelligence potential of the system.* This intelligence is the capacity of the system to transfer information freely between all parties to the system. The massive wealth potential of the confluence of the new technologies was not the technology but rather intelligence potential of the technology.

The psychotic and psychopathic nature of the modern private corporation necessarily destroys this intelligence. New Zealand is now a global exemplar of this necessary destruction and our electrical systems have become essentially debt generators.

 * An illustration proving wealth primarily resides in the intelligence of these systems is the fact that the “sales consultants” administering the transfer of community assets to private companies valued the meter and ripple control system of a dwelling at perhaps $5 (most had been written off under our accounting system decades earlier). The new owners – the bankers of the private corporations - levered off the intelligence inherent in this technology so that within two years of “purchase” of them their agents were on-selling the meter and ripple control of a dwelling for over $700. Their private profit - our communal loss. 

Psychopathy is the inability to experience compassion. Psychosis is the inability to comprehend reality. We all retain elements of both. The ultimate reality is the continuous universal change in which we are stewards.

The excesses of the Industrial Revolution have been enabled by the increasing dominance of the ego with its incredibly ingenious capacity to deny change/stewardship. This denial is reflected in our language, general lack of science and escalating debt, pollution and waste. The exploding diseconomy of the 20Century is founded in the widespread belief in this fatally flawed equation:

energy = fossil fuels = power = electricity = Bulk-generated electrical products.

This equation is manifest in the emergence of both the “energy sector” consisting of  “energy companies” and the legal redefining of individual citizens as tradeable “energy numbers”.

The practical impacts of this dangerous delusional equation were WW1, WW11, most wars last century and now the extreme probability of a catastrophic global collapse by about 2013. 

The modern corporation is the pure manifestation of our capacity for psychopathy and psychosis. And the NZ Treasury is the essence of the modern corporation. Its methodology is founded in profound psychosis and psychopathy. No truly sane person could gain employment or make a sustaining contribution at NZ Treasury. For instance its analysis is totally delusional because it is based on the premise that there exists eternal mineral oil at 0.1cents per manhour of labour equivalent. Thus it vastly undervalues the subsidies provided car, truck and jet users.

Similarly Treasury has consistently demonstrated it has no capacity for evaluating intelligence. For instance, it has consistently valued electrical systems for their nuts and bolts value, thus undervaluing them by hundreds of billions of dollars. We see Treasury policy manifest in our exploding diseconomy and associated debt. 

2011 Election
This election occurs at pivotal moment for humanity, including all NZers. We have already largely voted the outcome at the petrol pump and airline counter. At present we are voting for imminent catastrophic warfare.

Officially the election campaign is just beginning. However for about four months all our political parties and media have been complicit in a massive subliminal advertising drive to ensure the successful transfer of the control of our remaining assets to the global banker oligarchy. This includes prime national assets such as Meridian Energy, Solid Energy, Genesis Energy and Mighty River Power. (Note how the language of the disecomomy equation dominates this sentence.)  

We can vote for cars, trucks and jets, for the increasing destruction of our carbon, electrical and solar potential and for warfare. Or we can vote to conserve these vital potentials and peace for our children.

We can choose to reverse our voting behaviour decision by changing our daily behaviour and voting at the ballot box against the transfer of our remnant control of our electrical potential to psychopathic bankers.

I know the decision is not easy. I am a Green Party member and acknowledge the Green Party seems determined to play a pivotal role in promoting the asset transfer, in destroying the state of science in our communities and promoting the diseconomy in general.

However we can choose to remain silent or to speak out, as I am doing, and make it clear the transfer of these national assets is a criminal act in terms of the past generations that sacrificed to bequeath them on us freehold and in terms of the future generation for whom the transfer of wealth means war, poverty and misery.

I have circulated a letter to several of our leading editors alerting them to this massive subliminal election campaign in which tens of millions of our dollars are being spent using agencies such as Consumer NZ, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, Electricity Authority -What’smynumber?, PowerShop, “business advice” columns and “energy company” propaganda. You can read the letter here. This hidden yet right-in-your-face campaign threatens the remnants of our democracy.