So, clearly the deputy prime minister of the Cook Islands jumped the gun announcing travel will shortly be possible for  New Zealanders seeking to  escape the winter blues.

I had no sooner ironed my flippers and dug out a flowery, short-sleeved shirt when our government – which is kind of their government - filled its ice bucket and emptied it on us all.

Newly minted health minister Chris Hipkins says nobody wants to be responsible for any increase in risk, in the Cook Islands or the Pacific.

“New Zealand and Australia, in the past, have been transmitters of infection into the Pacific, and we don’t want to do that again in the future.”

I guess he’s talking about the 83 deaths caused by the measles outbreak in Samoa last year, although I’m pretty sure the borders remained open throughout that humanitarian crisis.

Anyway, I guess I’ll just use that money on a heat pump and a woolly jumper and ride out the rest of winter.

Power to the people

On the subject of staying warm, it was quite telling this week when billions of dollars in value was wiped off the share prices of our major power companies.

The reason for this is that the country faces the rare prospect of having enough power to satisfy all its needs for the foreseeable future. Shock, horror!

And the reason for this horrendous boost to our infrastructure is the decision to close the aluminium smelter at Bluff.

Bluff is actually quite an appropriate name for this whole saga which has been dragging on for years.

Basically, New Zealand’s largest hydro-electric power station – Manapouri – is solely dedicated to supplying the smelter. It equates to 13 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation and this power is provided to the smelter at a much lower price than what you or I pay.

Apparently this power is not cheap enough though and after years of haggling, and a drop in the price of aluminium, the owners say they are finally going to shut it all down and make their shiny ingots somewhere else.

I’ll believe it when I see it but freeing up this energy for the rest of the country effectively tips the supply-demand dynamic in the consumers’ favour.

This is an industry where the price fluctuates constantly based on supply and demand. The more desperate the situation becomes, the higher the price and the bigger the profits.

Maybe another high energy user looking for a carbon neutral solution will move onto the site and fill the gap left in Southland’s economy.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we all got an energy boost from it too.

New harbour discovered

We might as well stay on the subject of large infrastructure projects with the ongoing review of where to put Auckland’s port.

Everyone knows there has been endless campaigning to free up the Auckland CBD by shifting the whole ship-filled she-bang to Northland.

Hamilton also has plans for a big inland port with ambitious plans to move it by rail to the Ports of Tauranga.

However, the explorers, analysts and forward thinking freight movers have discovered that Auckland actually has more than one harbour. In fact there is an entire ocean on either side of the city.

After years of studying the problem it now appears that Manukau Harbour might be the sort of place where ships could dock.

I wonder if that light bulb moment came when someone was gazing absently out the window while landing at Auckland Airport.

That’s politics

I know what happened to John and Bill and Simon but I’m not sure what happened to Todd. The absence of a back story to all this is a bit weird but hopefully it’s nothing a day out at Rainbows End can’t fix.

Actually, I am a bit miffed at not being kept in the loop over all this after accidentally becoming a “friend” of the National Party.

I was actually just trying to sign up for the latest press releases but now they all start off with ‘Dear friend’, which is a bit creepy for a journalist.

I guess you can never have too many friends but where was the friendly email saying Todd was about to sidle out while the band is still paying.

Anyway, I’m quite thrilled for Judith and Gerry. They actually look like they would host a fantastic barbecue, so I’m looking forward to that.

But what I like most about it is that, with a stage name that wouldn’t look out of place in the WWF, Crusher Collins is going to start swinging some punches.

Let’s face it, nobody wants an election where the main players try to “out-nice” each other. I’d rather sit through a month of high school prize-givings.

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch