Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Snails.
August 9, 2008, 4:21 am
Filed under: In the News | Tags:

Apparently, there is a species of snail from New Zealand that’s been in North America for a long time but has just appeared in the Great Lakes.  The New Zealand Mud Snail.

Another great souvenir from New Zealand.  This is a bad thing, by the way.

(I still have a few planned posts to get up, so I am still going here, albeit slower.)


More Stories About Gas.
July 7, 2008, 11:37 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags: ,

So I’m riding the bus home with my Pizza Fresco pizza and I notice that gas is for sale at the BP for 218.9/L tonight.

You might remember that when I landed in Auckland that gas was 150.9/L.

This is me mailing in a post because I spent the weekend working and tonight packing.  I’m going to be idle for a few days while I’m getting back to Canada, but I will definitely keep blogging about New Zealand until the end of July.  Then I need to figure out what to do next…

Truck Strike! Part Two.
July 3, 2008, 7:29 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags: , ,

My site traffic has tripled since I did up that itty bitty post about the truck strike.  So you are aware (and I can be all disclaimer-ish in the future), I heard the supposed route from a radio DJ who was interviewing a trucker at 9 PM while I was plodding my way through actual work at the office, so it may or may not be 100% accurate.

Even so, if this thing does in fact hit critical mass (and the police sure think it will), the bulk of the central city will be gummed up, as will the motorways (especially the Harbour Bridge).  The original route I forecasted is two posts down.

It’ll be a futile effort driving tomorrow morning.  You can join me on the Devonport Ferry on (hopefully) one of the 7:00, 7:15 or 7:30 sailings (I’ll be the one with a chocolate pastry and Phoenix juice) if you like.  And I will definitely be bringing a camera along.

NZ Herald coverage of the Auckland truckers strike.

Our Weekly Gas Update.
June 16, 2008, 3:20 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags: , ,
Gas is up to NZ$2.12/L now in Auckland (one chain kept theirs down to $2.10).  That’s Cdn$1.64.
So I went and bought my final personal souvenirs on Saturday.  I was chatting up the elderly clerks and told them about how I did all my Christmas shopping through their store back in the good old days of NZ$1.50/L gasoline – which is true; that’s how much my first fill up cost me in October 2007.  NZ$1.50 is equivalent to Cdn$1.15. 
And that is what Kiwi commuters are dealing with these days.

Cold Houses.
June 9, 2008, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Happenstance, In the News | Tags: , ,

Trip over. I’m back at work now.

I’ve been preoccupied, however, with one very very very VERY significant cultural difference between Canada and New Zealand. People are beginning to fuss (as they do every winter, apparently) over lowering lake levels and the imminent effects those will have on electricity generation. Yeppers, the electricity conservation calls have begun here.

Here, peak electricity consumption occurs in the winter (June through mid-September) between 6 pm and 8 pm at night. Just like home, calendar-wise. The issue is that everyone gets home and turns on their stoves, lights and space heaters all at the same time all over the island.

Space heaters?

I have a brilliant idea to help out with energy conservation in New Zealand. And as always, I have to explain it in a roundabout manner.

See, no houses in New Zealand are really insulated. At all. None of the windows are double glazed. I haven’t seen the Pink Panther anywhere. There are no central heaters/furnaces (but all sorts of mysterious “heat pumps” and “air reticulation systems”). As such, heat leaks out of houses like a sieve…and cold floods in like the tide. Best of all, once the house gets really cold inside, it’s tough to get it warmed up. Think of it like how a Canadian house gets impossibly stuffy during the summer if you don’t have AC.

In a country that barely gets to 35 degrees in the summer, how on earth could nobody have thought to make warm houses a requirement? Even in Queenstown, the ski capital of the South Island where I was last week, nothing is designed with warmth in mind. New Zealanders who have been to Canada or know someone who has lived there ALL say that nobody is ever cold inside a house in Canada.

Naturally, a few more layers in bed cuts most of the problem (except for those three nights back in April when the temperature “fell” to 6 above zero). But the air is so cold that it compromises everything else. I want a longer, hotter shower. I turn lights on to bask in the waste heat. The space heaters keep on churning and churning.

Yet nobody is talking about putting better insulation in houses – although I did catch a news clip tonight where insulating the roof was discussed as an energy saving option (???!!???), which was dismissed by the homeowner being interviewed as “too expensive.”

I get kind of cold at night here. I don’t like this part about New Zealand.

(Edited to add: Mark, I totally get it.)

Dem Varmints.
May 12, 2008, 3:05 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags:

There was a classically retro breakout at Mount Eden Prison today. The prison is just across the Motorway from Downtown Auckland.  A 26-year-old male, in the big house pending trial for burglary, actually scaled the wall of the Victorian era prison using a knotted rope and climbed down the wall.

Everything old is new again.

The Talk of the Nation.
February 8, 2008, 5:47 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , ,

I have yet to find a single Canadian link to this story, but a woman rushed a cockpit on a small, domestic flight from Blenheim (top end of the South Island) to Christchurch today. She allegedly knifed both pilots and hurt another passenger as well.

NZ Herald coverage.

It’s a surreal story, but it is entirely possible in New Zealand to bring knives aboard one of these small planes. There is no security screening on these smaller flights, which I thought was awesome (I was carrying the usual terrorist implements of toothpaste and Old Spice and wanted to travel carry on).  And these are typically tiny little commuter planes. When I flew on a similar plane to Rotorua two weeks ago, On the way down, the pilots shut the cockpit doors while on the way home they did not.

No idea what’ll happen next but the radio stations continue to play Nickleback and I still plan on going for a run in the park. But boy howdy, was I ever glad to be on the ground tonight.