NELSON Lebo wrote in the Chronicle a few weeks ago that it is not viable to run your house using solar panels.

I must respond to this, because he may have some sort of qualification in this area but no common sense.

I have been off the grid since 2004, so I have some practical knowledge in this field.

He states that until you get a better rate for your power sent to the power companies, it's not worth it. Let me put my spin on it.


When I disconnected from the grid, my power bill was about $50 — that same amount of power would now cost me $120.

Work out my saving there, Nelson.

This is how it works: Get all your panels on the roof, and get new lithium ion batteries.
You run your house on the batteries once they are charged, the remainder goes to the national grid. The trick is you don't buy it back, they pay you.

Or you put in a low-wattage hot water element and use this to pre-heat your hot water.
My solar power system isn't huge and owes me about $10,000, but I own it. No line charges for 14 years, saving $1500; power bill conservatively $11,700, less LPG for cooking and infinity hot water $2300 — net saving $9400.

So my system has virtually paid for itself in that time.

However, I will agree that you sell it to the power companies at a wholesale rate, then when you buy it back you pay retail. This needs to be changed.


Council contracts


Pull your heads in, council. Have a look at what has happened by contracting everything out: Rubbish, roading, parks and reserves, the list goes on.

All you have done is fork out more money and get rubbish results, as your contractors are only interested in getting paid and don't care about the quality of their work.

Even worse, those contractors based overseas are laughing all the way to the bank — and not a NZ bank. All that money goes back to their country, not invested back into our community to create our own wealth.

Every house in Wanganui pays rates. Why not incorporate rubbish collection into this?


Abortion debate

Teddy Marks wants to curtail my freedom to write on the subject of abortion. Science is my bailiwick, he says, and "abortion is not usual turf for Mr Hay to tread on".

Well, as the topic has been recycled since the mid-'60s, usually by Right to Life/Catholic antagonists to more liberal changes in the law in relation to abortion , I have advanced my opinion in the press where I have been resident.

As is my practice, that opinion has been informed by considerable research, some of it scientific, and I make no apology for that. It seems necessary in light of Mr Marks' letter to remark that such matters of public and parliamentary debate are open to all citizens to address.

But "when the baby's due" and similar emotional simplicisms show that Mr Marks does not want the debate. He wants to avoid it by pretending that all pregnancies would be fine if "we" all just thought so.

Sadly, the truth is that the debate is about those pregnancies that must or may require termination. That needs honest consideration of such issues as women's choice when confronted with unintended pregnancy or one likely to end with congenital damage, for example.

Mr Marks's avoidance of such issues proceeds to calling all such consideration "legally justified — killing of the baby". Such nastiness conveys the hypocrisy of attitudes that deny the clear and universal practice of abortion throughout history and which belittle the many hours spent in Select Committee meetings and before Parliament.

There is, in his diatribe, scorn of modern scientific knowledge and demonstration of the lack of compassion and of empathy for women who are often making choices that are cruel enough in themselves without the psychological brutality of people like the so-called pro-life proselytes.


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