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I'm kind of scratching my head at the moment after hearing that Kiwis will likely be paying through the nose to meet their obligations under the Kyoto protocol.
According to this story (One News), there's a good chance that our power bills will soar if the government's proposal to punitively tax thermal power stations were to go ahead.
Quite frankly I don't really get Kyoto. Why take money away from those countries who most need to invest in carbon-reducing technologies?
By effectively fining countries for their carbon emissions, surely we're just making it harder for those countries to switch to cleaner, greener alternatives?
Just as worrying is the idiocy that sees tiny little NZ paying a huge fine (measured in hundreds of millions of dollars) for its emissions, while much larger polluters such as the USA and Australia were smart enough not to bother signing up to this document of self-flagellation.
Is the payment of this huge burden (by way of higher power prices or whatever) supposed to make us feel better about ourselves?
Right now, the country is so messed up in respect to its energy generation and distribution infrastructure that the last thing we need is a bunch of bureaucratic politicians signing us up to an idiot scheme like Kyoto.
$300m (or so) would go an awfully long way towards improving our "green" electricity generation capabilities and beefing-up our shaky power grid -- so why are we going to simply hand it over to the administrators of the Kyoto agreement?
Utter lunacy -- isn't it?
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Does anyone remember WDNZ?
Well for those who don't, way back in 1996, an attempt was made to create a local "industry group" to represent web designers.
Leading the charge was Dave Blyth of WebDesign but although it created a fair amount of interest, the group never really took off in the way that was initially envisioned.
Now, some ten years later, a new attempt is being made -- in the form of WDANZ.
Will this one fly?
I don't know, but I have my doubts. One of the problems is that I really don't know that the web design community needs an industry body. Despite the benefits that will allegedly flow from such membership, I strongly suspect that most good web designers are already doing "very nicely thank you" and the rest are always going to be "also-rans", regardless of any affiliations or memberships.
If WDANZ were offering some kind of consumer guarantee (as many other industry groups do) then I might be more inclined to think that it will become a significant presence -- but they don't. In fact, if a member of the public wants advice about the work of a non-WDANZ designer or to complain about a WDANZ member, they have to fork out $ to ring on an 0900 number (according to this page. That's pretty consumer-unfriendly.
Another concern is that, according to the website, "Some of the key advisors [to WDANZ] are Dan Khan (NetProfess), Michael Brandon (SearchMasters), Harvey Kane (RagePank)".
If that's the case, how can other members be assured that there's not going to be a degree of cherry-picking going on when the good contracts come along?
Perhaps WDANZ should clarify the role of these "advisors" so as to clarify the potential for any conflicts of interest there.
Despite my few reservations, I wish WDANZ luck and hope it turns out to offer some positive contributions to the industry and its customers.
Do you think (ten years after the first attempt) that NZ's web designers need a group like this, or (bearing in mind that it is a limited liability company and not an incorporated society) is this just a cunning plan to make some money from industry members?
Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines