'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Had a Hobbit-full of Air NZ?

Share |
NZ is going all-out with its tourist dollar - here is another successful promotion - this time from Air NZ. This one has a 'Hobbit' scheme. At the point of writing, this video had 9.5 million hits on YouTube. Even if NZ'ers account for a third of these hits, that's still a lot of promotion abroad. Nice one! I hope however they will not fall for the mistake of giving their country a single dimension. NZ is a long way to go for a 'diamond' with just a few 'facets'.

NZ Property Guide Philippine Real Estate Guide Japan Foreclosed Guide

Well done NZ!

Share |
This is probably going to sound a little patronising coming from Australian. Not to worry - its fully intended. 
I meant to write this a few months ago; but I was awaiting the result of a final undertaking in NZ, the sale of my car, and I never got around to it.
During Sept 2012 I travelled from Queenstown to Auckland in 10 days. The purpose of the trip was to move some possessions and to sell the car. During this trip, I would have to say that I met some lovely, generous people. 
Arriving in Queenstown..ok there was a little bit of suspicion when I arrived with just a small backpack. Clearly they thought I was running some drugs. Nope; just moving house. Anyway, on to Christchurch where my car was in storage. The people at A1 Storage were very generous. They helped me kickstart the car after 3 months of non-use; and they gave me flexible access until I confirmed by WOF, which had already expired. Fortunately, I only needed a new tire, and the guy who did that was wonderful as well, because he found me a prospective buyer for my car as well. No money? Fine, generous spirits all round.
I received great service from a motel in Christchurch; though fortunately I could rely on my Filipino partner in the Philippines to make the booking for me because the entire city is booked out due to the 'earthquake rebuild'. This period is a goldmine for motel owners. They were unsurprisingly generous with their service too. Perhaps that is the great news about hardships like earthquakes insofar as the turnaround is destined to be a great confidence builder...with all that spending. 
It was a rush up to Picton, and a ferry ride across to Wellington. During this part of the trip I was looking for some car repair work to cut out some rust and repaint. I found a guy in Palmerston North, and stayed in a local motel. Before I could fix the car I went to my NZ base of Wanganui. I absolutely love this town. It has a prison and some delinquent people, but there are some wonderful people there as well, and the town has a wonderful feel, and some lovely parks. Perhaps not as impressive as Taranaki, 2hours up the road, but special to me. Returning to Palmerston, these guys really worked hard to finish my car in time. It was a big ask, and I was pleased they were able to stick to their commitment. I had to board a flight on Saturday afternoon to Sydney, and I still needed to sell the car. They allowed me to drive up to Auckland to offer my car at auction. 
My original intent was to sell my car at auction with Turners. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the service I got from Turners in Purnell, Auckland. The service was far fairer and generous in Palmerston North, where they even drove me to the bus stop, and allowed me to set the reserve price at auction. In Auckland, I was told that there was an oversupply of cars, so they can only give me a very low price. I knew my van was worth $4500-6500 to an end-user, but clearly I was in a hurry to buy. They would not allow me to place my own price like before, so I rejected their $2500. An auto mechanic team up the road gave me $3000, and generously allowed me to sell through them. I decided to just give them any upside, since they did me a great favour, so I accepted their $3000 cash. I also just wanted to leave NZ freely; and also I worry with very generous people if its all a ploy to take advantage of your trust. I trusted him because of the positive sentiments of his staff, and because he was a business owner. It was a little hard though to trust as I felt vulnerable leaving the country. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. 
Thank you NZ. There are some tragic sentiments in the country; but I only saw the best of you on this trip. Rest assured, you will be akin to Arab oil sheikhs when the country discovers more oil & gas in coming years. Very beautiful country...lovely place to drive. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The economics of NZ renewable energy

Share |
Wind and solar power generating options are falling in price; though you might wonder at what point these options will become viable. Well, in the realm of 'green ideology' that decision-point might be reached soon. i.e. The commercial viability of solar and wind turbine systems might soon be at hand. The question is whether you should participate; or defer that decision. I say that it depends - and here is why....

You can buy a low-capacity system to meet your low-capacity needs, but consider several points:
1. Your system is not necessarily an asset because it might not meet your future needs like it might meet your present needs. i.e. If you in future have an electric car, then your small household system will not be satisfactory to meet the high-demand of your car. You'll be back on the grid. The clumsy or gorky system of old will probably not be compatible with your future system. 

In the next 10 years, I fully expect some very compelling developments in the fields of energy economics. One of the biggest developments will be in the realm of battery devices. I expect this innovation to come from carbon nanotubes as a form of heat storage or thermal as opposed to electrochemical battery. I fully expect that we will advance material science to a point where will be storing heat on an atom-scale. The materials are already known; its just a matter of engineering a scalable solution. These solutions will be very cheap as well. Carbon and silicon are widely available. 

These are exciting times; though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you listen to the tragic greenies. The sad point is that these 'parasites' are destined to sabotage the real progress that science is capable of. The non-thinkers will get in the way of progress. Under our political system, we are looking at another dark ages despite the developments in science. You might wonder how that is possible. The reason will be apparent in 20 years time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What the frack? Coal seam gas development in NZ

Share |

NZ oil & gas producer Todd Energy has responded to criticisms that its fracking process used to extract coal-seam methane is a threat to life. ‘Fracking’ or hydraulic fracturing has emerged as a controversial process on the basis of claims made from mature producing basins around the world. Todd Energy argues that its operations are at “great depth and away from freshwater aquifers”. You can view the company’s 177-page submission to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, who is due to report by year-end. It is important to acknowledge that the legitimate concerns to fracking need to focus upon the particular application of the user. Broad generalisations cannot be made. For instance, Todd Energy is drilling to a depth of 3.5km (see presentation), so there is little prospect of any waters at these depths contaminating human ‘surface’ activity. Having said that, it would be preferable to avoid any contamination by:
1. Minimising the use of chemicals which can contaminate
2. Using chemicals which have a benign impact on the environment, or which otherwise are so chemically unstable that they breakdown in the natural environment
The problem is that Todd’s approach is conventional oil & gas exploration; even if it uses fracking methods to increase recover. The problem is that relatively shallow methods have a different impact because:
1. Their impact has an effect on the near-surface hydrological system
2. Their chemicals are coming into contact with near-surface fluids
3. The number of holes being drilled is far different
4. The amount of water released into surface runoff
The implication is that it’s really a ‘straw argument’ to package all fracking as ‘akin to Todd’s’, just as its inappropriate for the green movement to castigate the use of all fracking. Sadly, there appears to be a propensity for vested interests to polarise the debate. In fairness to Todd; they do make the disclosure that their position will differ from other users of fracking technique. We might expect them to distance themselves from practices and practitioners which they would regard as ‘unsafe’ for legal reasons.

There are several different applications of near-surface fracking:
1. Methane extraction from shallow coal measures
2. Hydrocarbon extraction from shallow oil shale deposits

The Todd suggests that the industry is in the process of developing ‘non-toxic alternatives’ that will have a benign impact on the environment. That would have to strike people as entirely unsatisfactory because these chemicals might be retained in groundwater. It matters little whether they account for 1% or 10% of the water used; if they are toxic, then they need to be better assessed before they are used in the environment.
The arguments that fracking can cause earthquakes is a moot point because any such ‘stimulation’ could only have averted a bigger event; and for that reason, any ‘dubious impact’ is more likely to be beneficial rather than adverse, since it would be entail releasing energy build up prematurely. 
The argument by Todd that “oil and gas explorers seek to avoid seismic faults, partly because they could lose hydrocarbons they are targeting into such faults”, strikes me as a dubious argument when explorers generally have a poor understanding of the location of fault structures, as the Canterbury earthquake recently demonstrated. This is not to say that major faults cannot be identified; but that methods of detecting faults rests largely on the application of geophysical seismic surveys, and such surveys will only detect faults where there is a significant offset indicated by offsetting ‘reflector beds’ in survey profiles. 
Attacks upon critics as ‘vested interests’ is silly because the oil & gas industry is just as ‘vested’; and as I have shown, their lack of critical, objective thinking upon their own arguments is a testament to their ‘shared’ lack of respect for facts, along with opponents in the green movement. We cannot under-estimate the significance of fracking in terms of boosting the oil and gas extraction from existing fields. This however is not reason to contaminate areas if there are alternative options. Clearly conventional exploration at 3,000-4,000m doesn’t present an immediate threat, but neither is it a compelling argument for contamination. In the defence of these companies, the 1-3% chemical mix will be further diluted at depth. It might be prudent however to avoid contaminating these deeper reservoirs, for are they not the intended destination for future CO2? The implication is that rupture of these deep reservoirs due to CO2 emplacement for global warming mitigation might result in these contaminated waters coming to the surface. We need to know the toxicity of these chemicals. My own view at this time is that there is a lack of compelling evidence for significant anthropogenic global warming at this time; so carbon sequestration is not justified. Matters might change in future.
The fact that well-casings fracture and release their contents into the environment is reason for concern. The question is – is it significant. We must acknowledge that oil & gas producers don’t want pressure loss; so one would expect them to fix any leakage. The question is whether they tolerate leakage. We might well argue that Todd’s activities are more dangerous because there is the possibility of its casing failing over a longer distance, and might the stresses be greater upon casings at 1500-2000m as opposed to 300m. The secrecy with respect to drilling fluids is also a reason for concern; though it may simply reflect the extortive influence that the green movement has over industry. Todd argues that deep fracking has not resulted in any evidence of groundwater contamination in the last 20 years. It strikes me as likely that no one is looking for such contamination, so such empirical evidence is misleading. The question is whether it drilled any holes in the 300m near-surface environment to attempt to detect contamination. I doubt it because it had no reason to look. i.e. No motive to hold itself accountable. In fairness, the contamination may or may not be there, and need only be explored, if in fact a casing ruptured and released large amounts of drilling fluids. I wonder at which point these fracking chemicals are added? Have they demonstrated that the well retains integrity before they add the chemicals?
We might want to consider the following news given the fact that coal seam gas industry is a huge business in the USA, accounting for about 12% of the nation’s gas production. That is a lot of holes. The USA has mature experience with fracking and the nation has a large population; so the muted and belated criticism of the industry might speak to the safety of contemporary practices. Doesn't the sourcing of domestic water supplies from groundwater not raise a safety concern; both now and in the future? In man Are US pastures contaminated by the chemicals used in drilling fluids? This should be the first question given the size of the US industry. 
If there is ever a nuclear war which poisons all surface water with nuclear fall-out; the spectre of deep pure water might be a compelling value proposition....do we really want to contaminate it today because we cannot find a current application for that water. The world changes; and we need foresight to anticipate the implications of our actions. I'm just as worried by the green arguments as the corporate arguments.

'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.

Japan Foreclosed Property 2015-2016 - Buy this 5th edition report!

Over the years, this ebook has been enhanced with additional research to offer a comprehensive appraisal of the Japanese foreclosed property market, as well as offering economic and industry analysis. The author travels to Japan regularly to keep abreast of the local market conditions, and has purchased several foreclosed properties, as well as bidding on others. Japan is one of the few markets offering high-yielding property investment opportunities. Contrary to the 'rural depopulation' scepticism, the urban centres are growing, and they have always been a magnet for expatriates in Asia. Japan is a place where expats, investors (big or small) can make highly profitable real estate investments. Japan is a large market, with a plethora of cheap properties up for tender by the courts. Few other Western nations offer such cheap property so close to major infrastructure. Japan is unique in this respect, and it offers such a different life experience, which also makes it special. There is a plethora of property is depopulating rural areas, however there are fortnightly tenders offering plenty of property in Japan's cities as well. I bought a dormitory 1hr from Tokyo for just $US30,000.
You can view foreclosed properties listed for as little as $US10,000 in Japan thanks to depopulation and a culture that is geared towards working for the state. I bought foreclosed properties in Japan and now I reveal all in our expanded 350+page report. The information you need to know, strategies to apply, where to get help, and the tools to use. We even help you avoid the tsunami and nuclear risks since I was a geologist/mining finance analyst in a past life. Check out the "feedback" in our blog for stories of success by customers of our previous reports.

Download Table of Contents here.