The lunatic fringe is at it again. What’s next on the agenda?
Midway through June 2008, it was announced that by the end of 2009, incandescent light bulbs would be outlawed and would not be able to be imported. Instead, consumers would have to use those fluorescent energy-saving bulbs that look like a cat’s intestine. Actually it turned out to be the ‘we know what’s best for you’ Green Party co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, who was responsible.
Fitzsimons followed up the supposedly government announcement the following day by saying that incandescent bulbs will be phased out because they are inefficient and produce more heat than light, and they would be replaced by the energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. As a way of enforcing this on New Zealanders, suppliers will not be able to import incandescent bulbs from the end of 2009.
On the surface, most New Zealanders would not have given this a second thought on the basis that one light bulb is the same as any other.
Another money-making venture
However, we all know that with one or two exceptions, politicians never dream up these marvellous ideas on their own, and it doesn’t take long to work out that someone somewhere is going to benefit financially from the government’s new initiative. And it is true in this case.
Not that long ago, a local New Zealand manufacturer sponsored a trial for their new energy-efficient light bulbs. These are the ones filled with ‘harmless’ mercury that cannot be disposed of in your local landfill. As a result of the trial, which was deemed a huge success — by the lighting manufacturer — the Government has been persuaded to pass the necessary legislation outlawing the old incandescent bulbs. Who will benefit from this, I hear you ask? Well not you and me, that’s for sure. In fact, I’d suggest that you start saving now, because I don’t think the government will be able to finance the level of compensation required for this stupid idea. What does this have to do with cars?
The end of the classic car?
Next time you venture out in your classic car in the evening, have a look at your interior lights and dashboard lights. In my old 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood, with the lights on and all the doors open, no less than 13 incandescent bulbs light up! Now, for the life of me I cannot fathom out how one of these new-fangled fluorescent bulbs, which are about 200mm long, are going to fit into any of the current fittings. So, clearly the new owner of the Cadillac will be approaching the government for compensation for the extensive (and expensive) modifications required to enable all the current lighting to still function. Knowing the Green Party, it will probably suggest an auxiliary light that plugs into the cigarette lighter (prior to those being outlawed also), and you simply wave that around the vehicle interior for lighting.
My Zephyrs are not exempt either, as its headlight bulbs are of the incandescent type, and 200mm-long bulbs just will not fit except if you remove the headlight glass!
It gets worse
But wait, it gets worse! You know that neat old ’50s Kelvinator beer fridge you have in your garage? Well the fridge light is incandescent too, so I’m afraid under the government’s new initiative you’ll just have to fumble around in the dark for your beer from now on. And that applies to the kitchen, as your range hood and oven both take incandescent bulbs. And your car upholsterer will be caught up too, because his industrial sewing machine uses the old bulbs.
I will bet a dollar to a doughnut that this local manufacturer had only anticipated making the standard domestic interior light bulbs (and new fittings). The fact that hundreds and thousands of New Zealanders will be put to unnecessary expense will not be their concern. This is yet another hair-brained scheme for making money, and the government has once again been sucked in.
I haven’t even touched the surface yet. Those of you with chandeliers that use those small incandescent bulbs which look like flames? Gone in 60 seconds. Those recessed light fitting in modern ceilings? Don’t expect the new lights to work effectively in them, either. And when you go to the movies the theatre lights will now go out suddenly, because dimmers will not work with these energy saving bulbs.
The potential costs to you
So, how much is this new innovation going to cost me? Well, my old cars won’t be able to be used at night, so they will need replacing. I will need a new fridge, oven, range hood, sewing machine, new light fittings throughout the house and garage, at least two new cars, several new motorcycles, and about a dozen new standard lamps. About $100,000 should do it. I would give you the estimated total costs across the country, but my calculator doesn’t have that many zeros. I haven’t even looked at Museums such as Ferrymead in Christchurch, and MOTAT in Auckland, but I’m sure I’ve only touched the surface.
And why are we even looking at doing this? Because some business has dreamed up a way to make some money, and our green politicians cannot see this for what it is. Energy saving has nothing to do with it — it’s all about making money courtesy of Nanny State.
What to do?
Write a letter to your local politician and ask what they intend to do about compensating you for this supposed power-saving scheme. Mention the base figure of $100,000, as your home will probably need to be gutted so new wiring can be installed which will be compatible with all the new light fittings!
As I said in the lead up to this, whatever will they dream up next? Has the government given up on consultation with voters on significant issues? Roll on the General Election!