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How bad does it have to get?

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, March 5th, 2013 - 62 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, food - Tags: , ,

A new Australian report has coined the phrase “angry summer“:

Angry Summer’ made worse by climate change: Commission

The latest report from the Federal Government’s Climate Commission says the weather extremes experienced around the country this summer were made worse by climate change.

The report – The Angry Summer – says the extreme heat, floods and bushfires experienced around country were all aggravated by a shifting climate, and it warns the trend is likely to continue.

More details here and here. It’s no coincidence that the same thing has been happening in America:

Historic U.S. drought will continue into spring and summer, experts say

Nearly five months after expanding to cover the greatest area on record, the devastating drought of 2012 continues to spread woe across the central and western U.S. And, according to climate researchers, severely dry conditions will persist throughout the spring and summer.

Meanwhile in NZ

Counting cost of big dry

The big dry has parts of the country firmly in its grip. The president of Federated Farmers in Waikato fears the drought could have an even greater economic impact than those in 2007 and 2008 – estimated to have cost the country $2.8 billion.

Internationally the trend is all bad, and likely to get worse. According to the World Bank it is already the case that “Severe Droughts Drive Food Prices Higher, Threatening the Poor“.

Agriculture – food – is fragile. I suppose at some point we will decide to take action against climate change (though it is already too late to avoid massive damage). But when? How bad does it have to get?

62 comments on “How bad does it have to get?”

  1. vto 1

    There is no drought in NZ, there is standard summer weather pattern in an el nino cycle.

    Drought is relative to what farming has done to the new zealand land in ripping off the ground cover of bush.

    In evidence, go see whether there is a drought in the Waipouau Forest, or any other block of native bush in Northland. Betcha the flora dn fauna is fine (not in drought death throes).

    I think it is a case of we reap what we sow.

    • infused 1.1

      Pretty much.

      Worst weather since when? Always some date, which means it’s happened before. /end.

    • felixviper 1.2

      Quite literally.

      How come these same tories who bang on about ‘living within our means’ seem to think that doesn’t apply to the land water and air?

    • Colonial Weka 1.3

      +1 vto.

      We still need to take action about CC.

      And we need to change our food production practices while we still can. The reason weather is being classified as a drought in Northland is because of the industrial farming model (esp dairy). Plenty of people in the world grow food successfully in places a lot drier than Northland is currently (but of course this isn’t about growing food, it’s about strip mining fertility to make excess profit).

      • Colonial Weka 1.3.1

        I would add though, that I have seen plants in native bush dry stressed in bad years. Not so bad that trees die, but still very dry. Native ecosystems are at risk from CC, and we should be paying attention to that – if we start losing those most robust ecosystems, we are deep, deep shit.

        Plant more trees!!

      • Ennui in Requiem 1.3.2

        Been observing the Southern Oscillation (La Nina and El Nino) for years: this drought does fit within the El Nino characteristics of more rain in the west and drought in the east. Where the last few months have seemed unusual is that we have had (in Wellington) dry southerlies and easterlies as opposed to the normal westerly pattern. That in itself strikes me as abnormal, best leave it to NIWA to work out though.

        With soil moisture VTO comments that the bush does tend to retain moisture better, as you would expect from shading and a lack of human drainage interference. From the hours I spend in the bush (daily) it is as dry as tinder, it is only that the trees are well rooted that is keeping them alive (so I don’t agree that this is a normal state of affairs: lets just say the bush has adapted to cope with this occasionally). The issue we have is that it may no longer be “occasionally”.

        With regard to land use practices NZ farmers might best be described as grass miners. The trend is to go rip shit and bust with what ever will yield the best returns, which is currently dairy. As a consequence land that is unsuitable for cows gets “converted” with all the energy and petrochemical based inputs, water is also “mined”. The end result is the whole economic model predicated on high capital inputs is vulnerable to any input variance, such as a cost blow out in fertiliser prices or a lack of rainfall. This is balance sheet farming as opposed to sustainable / suitable land use.

        Don’t be too hard on the farmers: We too reflect their capture within a paradigm that is past its use by date. Their export receipts and infrastructural support industries pay a chunk of the cash and wages we see, and we in turn use it to buy SUVs and drive to the Warehouse. Our consumption generates the industries that put the carbon in the air that causes the droughts……

        • Anne 1.3.2.1

          we have had (in Wellington) dry southerlies and easterlies as opposed to the normal westerly pattern. That in itself strikes me as abnormal, best leave it to NIWA to work out though.

          It is abnormal. It is also correct to say the overall weather fits into the normal El Nino pattern, but the outcome of this El Nino is anything but normal. And because of CC it can be reliably assumed it’s going to happen more and more frequently. It stands to reason that ‘extreme weather’ is going to be just as likely under intensive, slow moving anticyclones as it is under low pressure cyclonic conditions.

          Labour, presently, is not giving Climate Change anything like the priority it demands. It seems they have also put it in the too hard basket and then buried their heads in the sand.

          Not brave enough to face facts or too busy playing politics with the facts? Take your pick.

    • jo 1.4

      I am in Nz in Auckland. There has been no rain in “rainy” auckland for 3 months now and the grass everywhere looks like yellow straw. I have lived here 10 years and it used to be humid and tropical and rain every day. It is like this all over the country this year. It is scary. Also a new player that I have noticed particularly in the last year is the constant wind as I walk quite a lot. The wind is very uncomfortable, dries out the skin, and goes away completely at night. Very eerie if you ask me.

      • Anne 1.4.1

        Nothing abnormal about the wind jo. Quite usual for the wind to die down overnight especially in summer-time anti-cyclones. What you are experiencing during the day is a fresh to strong sea breeze caused by the difference in temperature between the heat of the land and the relative coolness of the sea. At night as the land cools down the difference between the two narrows and the wind dies away.

  2. muzza 2

    No worries though, NZ has signed a food safety standards *deal* with the USA, so the FDA (Monsanto), can now further experiment on NZ, with their brands of GMO crops, foodstuffs etc, all rather convenient , the cross over of FDA/Monsanto executive eh!

    As for food prices, perhaps you might take a look at the commodities futures markets to see where the real problem there are, R0B! You think those who control the markets, and prices of food, oil etc give a toss about the poor, or anyone else, they despise humanity, which is why they are wrecking environments, seemingly carte blanche!

    Geo-engineering – Yeah its happening, no its not a secret, no sweat R0b, the action you’re looking for is already being taken, its just that people want to blow it off as conspiracy etc, and its not going to have the outcomes we would all like to see.

    So while people scratch around trying to understand when *action* on CC will happen, its already being done to you, its just that people can’t get their heads around it, because its not the solutions which they might consider *acceptable*!

  3. karol 3

    Very good post, Anthony. Yes, the droughts are very worrying.

    It’s been a very good Auckland summer for urban living, but the long term trend, and the impact on food production is very worrying.

    • kiwi_prometheus 3.1

      “It’s been a very good Auckland summer for urban living,”

      You are obviously not a gardener.

      • karol 3.1.1

        Actually, I am a novice gardener, with a small vege garden and collaboration with my landlord, also a novice. Requires much watering right now.

    • klem 3.2

      It better worry you, you live on a small island, you are much more vulnerable than the rest of the world. I live in N America, it does not worry me in the least.

  4. kiwi_prometheus 4

    ” How bad does it have to get?”

    Balls out all the way.

    Evolution hasn’t designed us to think that far head or that laterally.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Evolution hasn’t “designed” us for anything at all. Evolution does not have agency.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Well, it may not have designed you to be that capable but some of the rest of us are.

      • muzza 4.2.1

        Actually B, *evolution*, is what has rendered entire nations helpless to the systems which now dominate them, and the worlds people.

        So are the *rest of us* capable, I would sugegst not, because *the rest of us*, have not yet stopped the evil!

      • kiwi_prometheus 4.2.2

        You are missing the point.

        COLLECTIVELY humans don’t think that far ahead.

        Like the OP pointed out, we are already fucked, its just a question of how much?

        By the time humanity’s collective arse hole is really feeling the burn it will be game over anyway because of the cumulative/delay nature of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        • Colonial Weka 4.2.2.1

          “COLLECTIVELY humans don’t think that far ahead.”

          Some humans do.

          “In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.”

          http://www.indigenouspeople.net/iroqcon.htm

          • kiwi_prometheus 4.2.2.1.1

            Still missing the point.

            It doesn’t matter if some humans do. If the rest aren’t interested the earth cooks, and they aren’t interested.

            Why? Because humans have evolved to satisfy immediate needs and wants. The earth is littered with dead civilisations that collapsed after using up their resources.

            • Colonial Weka 4.2.2.1.1.1

              I was just correcting your assertion that humans are not evolved to think ahead.

              ” The earth is littered with dead civilisations that collapsed after using up their resources.”

              And other peoples that have survived very long periods of time. What’s the difference?

        • Colonial Weka 4.2.2.2

          “COLLECTIVELY humans don’t think that far ahead.”

          Some humans do.

          “In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.”

          http://www.indigenouspeople.net/iroqcon.htm

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_generation_sustainability

        • Ugly Truth 4.2.2.3

          “COLLECTIVELY humans don’t think that far ahead.”

          The main problem with humans (i.e. Cicero’s homo humanus) is that they think that they are the be-all and end-all of mankind. It’s just Roman universalism at work.

  5. kiwi_prometheus 5

    Nature article on how annual precipitation may stay the same in a region but become more unevenly distributed over the seasons making for more floods and droughts.

    “Although the magnitude of the shift is uncertain, largely owing to limitations inherent in the data sets used, the sign of the tendency is robust. On a regional scale, the tendency for wet seasons to get wetter occurs over climatologically rainier regions. Similarly, the tendency for dry season to get drier is seen in drier regions. Even if the total amount of annual rainfall does not change significantly, the enhancement in the seasonal precipitation cycle could have marked consequences for the frequency of droughts and floods.”

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1744.html

  6. ianmac 6

    Over 2007-8 there was a serious drought in NZ which precipitated the early fall into the Global Recession for NZ. However the National line then was to deny that as a cause and claimed Mismanagement as a cause. What goes around comes around? This drought is likely to cause an economic downturn now isn’t it? (A bit like the call about all those people heading to Australia being a bad thing and blaming the Labour Government of the day then Next Minit…)

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Yip. Wondering if this will finally be enough for RB to drop interest rates.

      • Ennui in Requiem 6.1.1

        Which sums up the problem nicely Lanth, money money money, we care more for interest rates than the planet we have to live on.

        Best to imagine a huge stack of cash which you can just take from at will, buy a Porsche, but because of environmental issues (related to the production of Porsches etc) absolutely no food available to buy. Enjoy the ride.

  7. RedLogix 7

    A worthwhile read in conjunction with this post.

    The apocalypse: Here’s the thing, though. It’s difficult to organize for or even against a future that you can’t imagine yourself and those children and future generations in. The thought of world-ending events may simply close down our operative imaginations. The end of the world may be popular in fiction, but in everyday life, I suspect, the apocalypse is the version of the future that it’s hardest to mobilize around. If the prospect is that it’s already hopeless, that the suffering is going to be largely down the line, that we’re all going down anyway, and the planet will simply be destroyed, well, why bother? Why not focus on what matters to you now and forget the rest? This is where denial, the almost involuntary turning away from unpalatable futures that seem beyond our power or ability to alter, comes into play. If the future is essentially over before it begins, then better to ignore it and go about your still palatable enough daily life.

    • Ennui in Requiem 7.1

      There is a theory that the death of a few million Amazonian natives post the Columbus introduced epidemics resulted in massive reforestation in the Amazon basin: consequently the theory goes carbon sequestration lead to the freezing winters recorded in 16th century Europe.

      My own version of hope goes much the same: get rid of the people and the whole planet will grow so much carbon sequestering vegetation that climate change will be a blip in planetary time frames. Us, well we are likely finito.

      • Jenny 7.1.1

        If that is what you believe
        I don’t buy it
        This world would not be the same
        Without people to admire it

    • Rogue Trooper 7.2

      Right On!

  8. SpaceMonkey 8

    I can see it now… neolibs declaring a “War on the Weather”!!!

  9. Bill 9

    A problem with asking “How bad does it have to get?” is that the question assumes that what we see is the full extent of ‘what is’. Unfortunately, due to lag factors, the full extent of how bad things are is well beyond what we can observe directly.

    When they signed the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, governments declared they would use the best scientific knowledge to hold warming below +2 degrees C. They’ve reneged on that commitment and are now (at best) seeking to mitigate the effects of a supposed 2 degrees C increase while looking for ways to avoid a 4 degrees C increase.

    I’m not going to bang on about the effects of + 4 degrees C again.

    Suffice to say that things are much, much worse than they appear and that our governments got into bare faced lying. I think it’s time to stop framing questions the way this post does (as though our or any government is going to take some required action at some point), and seek ways in which we can hold our government fully to account for the b/s they have and are peddling. They need to be made to commit to fast and drastic cuts in carbon emmissions. And they need to relegate the importance of the economic effects, so that some type of ordered chaos has a chance to prevail as we come off (‘plummet away from’ might be a better phrase) our current emmissions trajectory .

  10. pollywog 10

    What can I, as one man, do?

  11. Athena 11

    GE is already being promoted as the solution to climate change related decreases in food production. Last year the rural papers were very excited about Mark Lynas apologising for ripping up GE crops. Any opposition to GE is portrayed as heartless and irrational, given that, apparently, GE drought resistant ryegrass is going to save the world.

    • Jenny 11.1

      Any opposition to GE is portrayed as heartless and irrational, given that, apparently, GE drought resistant ryegrass is going to save the world.

      Yay! The mad scientists save the day, allowing us to mine coal and frack for oil until the cows come home, to roost.

      And a new building material formed from asbestos safely embedded in pitchblende will allow us to start up the asbestos mines again.

  12. Jenny 12

    Now we know the problem. Here is the solution.

    Stop all coal mines: Coal has been identified as the single biggest causative factor in climate change.

    Stop all coal mines: Starting with stopping the proposed open cast coal mine at Mangatangi South of Auckland

    Stop all coal mines: At a time when we should be closing existing coal mines – one more new coal mine, is one more new coal mine too many.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      The world wants energy Jenny, and in particular it wants a lot of coal.

      • Jenny 12.1.1

        Sez who? You? The coal miners? The Coal companies? And why coal “in particular” even though it is the most deadliest of all the fossil fuels? (And the cheapest).

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Yeah I said. Just look at the global increase in coal consumption over the last 10 years.

          And why coal “in particular” even though it is the most deadliest of all the fossil fuels? (And the cheapest).

          Cheap upfront cost and low price volatility is part of the attraction. Supply stability is another. Chindia has been key to the global growth of coal consumption.

          • Jenny 12.1.1.1.1

            I understand now. Cheap upfront cost, low price, ie big profits.

            If blood be the price of your accursed wealth we have bought it fair

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1.1

              MY accursed wealth?

              I hope you don’t use any appliances, materials or other household or personal items made in China, Jenny. After all 70% of their industrial energy needs is supplied by coal, and I wouldn’t want to think that you are supporting that.

  13. Jenny 13

    How bad does it have to get? (before we decide to take action against climate change?)
    It is great Anthony that you have raised this problem in the way you have.

    Raising the problem means thinking about solutions.

    let’s talk some solutions.

    Coal has been identified as the number 1 biggest single causative factor in human induced climate change.

    NASA climate expert James Hansen says that to have any chance of reining in uncontrollable climate change, all coal mining must stop. And definitely no new coal mines must be allowed to start, period.

    This is incontrovertible.

    So Anthony will you be calling for Labour Party supporters to attend the public meeting in Mangatangi against the proposed new coal mine?

    Everyone is welcome to attend.

    WHEN: 7 pm, Thursday 7 March 2013

    WHERE: Mangatawhiri Hall, cnr of Mangatawhiri and McKenzie Roads, Mangatawhiri (directions below). See location on Google Maps.

    SPEAKERS & TOPICS:

    Dr Young Lee (to be confirmed) on international research into the health effects of coal mining in the local neighbourhood.
    Dr Jim Salinger on the role of coal in climate change and the expected effects of climate change on farming in New Zealand.
    Jeanette Fitzsimons on how to make a submission under the Resource Management Act on the proposed mine.

    Chair: Peter Young, JP

    DIRECTIONS FROM AUCKLAND:

    Head South on SH1 and turn off onto SH2 towards Tauranga and Coromandel. After about 5 minutes you reach the new section of SH2 where the speed limit goes up to 100. The old SH2 goes off to the left and is Mangatawhiri Rd.

    Veer left on to Mangatawhiri Rd and soon you pass the famous Icecream Castle on your left, the former cafe now closed because of road rerouting.

    • klem 13.1

      “Coal has been identified as the number 1 biggest single causative factor in human induced climate change.”

      Um, but they haven’t proved their case for human induced climate change yet. I think you’ve jumped the gun on that one dearie.

      cheeers

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        Um, but they haven’t proved their case for human induced climate change yet.

        It’s been proved to better than 90% probability. I’m expecting the next IPCC report to say 95% probability. Personally, I’d say that’s close enough to say that it’s proved beyond reasonable doubt and that we should be acting on it.

        • RJLC 13.1.1.1

          You are wasting your breath DTB. “Klem” has been directed to the evidence on numerous previous occasions. ‘Denier troll’ is a term that appears apt in his regard.

          • Arfamo 13.1.1.1.1

            What’s happening to Arctic sea ice and the increasing loss of mass to glaciers and ice shelves pretty much clinches it for me – if it continues. There’s no doubt the global temperatures been steadily increasing for the last 300 years and especially steeply in the last 30. And it’s generally accepted scientifically I think that this co-relates remarkably with human-related CO2 emission levels. I haven’t seen the latest annual temps so I’m still waiting to see if they break out of the 16 year levelling off the denialists claim has happened. The graphs show the steady rise is happeng over decadal scales. From year to year they go up and down but the median point on the graphs keeps shifting inexorably up. If the climatologists are right we should be at the point where we should be clearly seeing consistent weather pattern changes, and it seems like we are. I don’t think cyclones/hurricanes can be said to be occurring more than in the past yet though. They have natural 20-40 year cycles of frequency and severity.

  14. klem 14

    “Historic U.S. drought will continue into spring and summer, experts say..”

    Headlines like this always make me laugh. They forget to mention that the drought occurred in arid and semi-arid parts of the USA. They do the same thing for floods, they forget to mention that the floods took place on established floodplains.

    Droughts in arid regions and floods on floodplains are about as unusual as snow at the south pole. Neo-libbies fall for it every time. Lol!

    Oh well, what can you say.

    cheers

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      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    3 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    3 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    4 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    4 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    7 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    7 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    7 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    7 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    7 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    7 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    7 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    7 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 week ago

  • Schools Will Reject ‘Extreme’ Sex Ed Guidelines
    Family First NZ says that most schools along with the parents in the school community will rightly reject the extreme elements of the new sexuality education guidelines , and that resources should be targeted at parents to help them educate… ...
    23 mins ago
  • Taxpayers Union Welcome Remuneration Authority Determination
    Responding to the Remuneration Authority’s determination on the salaries for Members of Parliament, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams says: ...
    30 mins ago
  • Med student crisis wake-up call
    The national student NZUSA is putting its full weight behind the growing calls by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association, political parties, youth wings and professional associations for the Government to immediately reinstate access to the ...
    57 mins ago
  • EMA Supports Need to Get the Health and Safety Bill Right
    With New Zealand facing the biggest changes to health and safety laws in 20 years, the EMA supports the Governments delay of the Health and Safety Reform Bill if it means getting the right result for employers and workers. ...
    18 hours ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa meets with transition providers
    Relationships Aotearoa met this morning (Thursday, 28 May) with representatives of four of the five providers appointed by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to transition RA clients. ...
    19 hours ago
  • ‘Count human health in your climate calculations’
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. Doctors, nurses,… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Mccully Must Disclose Legal Advice
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, to publicly release the legal advice relating to the Saudi sheep deal. ...
    20 hours ago
  • ‘Count human health in your climate calculations’
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. ...
    21 hours ago
  • Salaries for Members of Parliament
    The Remuneration Authority has issued its determination on the salaries for Members of Parliament following amendments to the provisions in the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 earlier this year. ...
    21 hours ago
  • Government must not abandon health and safety reform
    While resistance in the National Party caucus delays the passage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill, FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid says there should be no health and safety law exceptions for small businesses and farmers. ...
    22 hours ago
  • MasSiVe Hikoi welcomed by Human Rights Commission
    The Human Rights Commission is welcoming this week’s MasSiVe hikoi led by Kiwi men who oppose sexual violence. ...
    22 hours ago
  • Ongoing celebrations for Supreme Court ruling
    Recreational fishers are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that changed the fisheries management landscape in New Zealand. In a landmark decision in 2009 the Supreme Court confirmed the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, ...
    23 hours ago
  • Banks investigation “not subject to political interference”
    A report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority found that the Police investigation into John Banks’ return of expenses and donations at the conclusion of the 2010 Auckland Super City Mayoral election was thorough and robust and was… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Using racism to win means you’ve already lost
    The Human Rights Commission is urging everyday New Zealanders to stand up to racist sports fans and players. ...
    23 hours ago
  • Jim Butterworth
    Jim Butterworth was the elder statesman of our great union. He served to protect and advance the interests of New Zealand working people over many years of union organising and leadership. Jim led the northern region of the Engineers’ Union… ...
    24 hours ago
  • Closure of Relationships Aotearoa
    The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed is concerned about the closure of a national service which provides a wide range of services to rural and urban communities throughout New Zealand.  ...
    24 hours ago
  • Three Years Since Villaggio Fire
    Jane and Martin Weekes, the parents of the two-year-old triplets, New Zealand citizens, who were killed in the Villaggio mall fire in Doha, Qatar, on 28 May 2012 will be reflecting on the short lives of Lillie, Jackson and Wilsher… ...
    1 day ago
  • Count human health in your climate calculations
    The government may be asking for public input on New Zealand’s planned action to address climate change in the lead-up to global negotiations this year in Paris, but health is left out of the equation, health groups say. ...
    1 day ago
  • PSA welcomes Hawke’s Bay DHB’s decision on food services
    The PSA welcomes Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s decision to reject Health Benefits Limited’s proposal to outsource food services to multi-national company Compass Group. ...
    1 day ago
  • Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices and Volumes)
    We are combining the Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices) and Overseas Trade Indexes (Volumes) into one release as of next week’s 2 June publication. ...
    2 days ago
  • Core government cap disappointing and disingenuous
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says the Government’s continued focus on capping the size of core government administration is counter to providing New Zealanders with the services they need and depend on. ...
    2 days ago
  • Saudi ‘Compensation’ Not in Full And Final Settlement
    The Taxpayers’ Union is has uncovered that despite building a $7.5 million ‘Agri-hub’ and paying $4 million to the Al Khalaf Group, no settlement agreement or liability waiver was secured in relation to the apparent claim the Government is using… ...
    2 days ago
  • SkyCity still holds winning hand
    SkyCity still holds winning hand despite having to pay more for Convention Centre The Problem Gambling Foundation says it is not surprising SkyCity was prepared to put more money into the Convention Centre considering the Casino has been granted ...
    2 days ago
  • Doctor, I’ve got a 7 year itch
    Young Labour supports the campaign by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association to have the 7 year lifetime limit on student loans scrapped. “This policy by the National Government makes no sense. It means that medical school students may be… ...
    2 days ago
  • Vulnerable people will be most affected by closure
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is concerned that vulnerable clients are being left in the lurch in the wake of the abrupt closure of Relationships Aotearoa. ...
    2 days ago
  • Young Nats call for Govt to back Med Students
    The Young Nats support the New Zealand Medical Students Association’s campaign to exempt medical students from the seven year equivalent full time study cap on borrowing for course costs, and want the cap extended to nine years for this group… ...
    2 days ago
  • Review of fire services a major opportunity for future
    Wellington, Wednesday 27 May 2015 - Rural and urban volunteer firefighters make up 80 percent of New Zealand’s fire services. Their representative organisation, the United Fire Brigade’s Association (UFBA), says the Minister for Internal Affairs, ...
    2 days ago
  • Fire Service review rules out fairest option
    Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton says “the Government has made a mockery of genuine consultation by ruling out the fairest, most cost effective and sustainable way of funding the Fire Service” in its release of the Fire Services review… ...
    2 days ago
  • NZMA supports students’ call on loans
    The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) supports the call by the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) for the Government to urgently address the impact of time restrictions on the student loans of many medical students currently ...
    2 days ago
  • No Rights of Access to $11.5 Million Dollar Saudi Farm
    Exclusive: No Rights of Access to $11.5 Million Dollar Saudi Farm WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Taxpayers’ Union has uncovered that despite taxpayers forking out $11.5 million to build an ‘Agri-hub' in Saudi Arabia, officials failed ...
    2 days ago
  • Abduction attempt blamed on lax politicians
    Commenting after yesterday's attempted abduction of a five year old boy outside a Hastings school the Sensible Sentencing Trust has lashed out at politicians for “putting our kids at an undue and totally unacceptable risk”. ...
    2 days ago
  • Press Release from SuperGrans Aotearoa
    SuperGrans applaud the government for providing an extra $25 per week for low income families and further supporting Whanau Ora, Children’s Teams and CYF. These are all initiatives that will enhance collaborative effort to support our precious and ...
    2 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa welcomes discussion
    The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) advised by phone this afternoon (26 May) that five agencies have been selected to undertake the work Relationships Aotearoa (RA) had been contracted to provide for MSD. “Since 15 May, RA has been working… ...
    2 days ago
  • Human Rights Commission welcomes Rotorua partnership model
    Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy has welcomed news that Rotorua District Council has agreed to a modified version of the Te Arawa Partnership model. ...
    2 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. ...
    3 days ago
  • Comments sought on Takapūneke Reserve
    Comments sought on Takapūneke Reserve Christchurch City Council wants public input into a plan that could help make Banks Peninsula's Takapūneke Reserve a National Reserve. The Council is currently seeking written suggestions to help draft a Reserve ...
    3 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    What the Dickens is going on at SDHB? Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping ...
    3 days ago
  • Maori Party Labels One Man, One Vote Supporters as Racist
    The Maori Party’s approach of bullying and intimidation against those who have stood up for one person, one vote, in Rotorua, is a dishonourable act by Members of Parliament that should know better. Democracy Action, a pressure group which champions… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government proses weakening the Health and Safety law
    “The Government’s suggestion that the new workplace health and safety laws will be weakened is very disappointing”, says Hazel Armstrong health and safety lawyer and member of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel. ...
    3 days ago
  • Giving faces to the faceless
    Powerful films and unforgettable documentaries can highlight human rights in ways speeches and documents never will says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. ...
    3 days ago
  • Deaf Aotearoa applaud NZ On Air funding announcement
    Deaf Aotearoa are thrilled with the announcement that NZ On Air will be providing additional funding for captioning on TV One, TV2, TV3 and FOUR. Independent captioning and audio description service Able will receive $400,000 more in the coming year,… ...
    3 days ago
  • Scott Technology lays off Christchurch workers
    Thirteen workers at Scott Technology, which manufactures, services and installs equipment for the appliance industry, were informed last week that they have been made redundant. This announcement, which came as a shock to the workers, comes after ...
    3 days ago
  • Smaller Convention Centre Should Mean Less Pokies
    Family First NZ says that with the downsizing of the SkyCity Convention Centre, the legislative concession for allowing an increased number of pokie machines should be significantly reduced, if not scrapped. “As we said from the outset, this deal ...
    3 days ago
  • Parliament missing in action on RMA reform
    Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said recent indications of ‘no change’ to sections 6 and 7 of the Act means it is now clear that after six years Parliament is incapable of delivering anything more than the lowest common denominator –… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government wants safer workplaces… or does it?
    Government wants safer workplaces… or does it? Today a widow and a mother sit together in the High Court in Wellington fighting for justice for the men that were killed at work in the Pike River Mine disaster of 2010,… ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders reckon they’re doing pretty well
    The majority of New Zealanders say they’re highly satisfied with their lives, and slightly more rate their sense of purpose highly, Statistics New Zealand said today. These are the first results from Statistics New Zealand’s survey of nearly 9,000 ...
    3 days ago
  • Rural hospitals’ services vulnerable
    “The Southern District Health Board’s efforts to tighten its financial belt are clearly going to have very serious consequences for rural hospitals,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists ...
    3 days ago
  • Settlement and iwi unity overwhelmingly important to Ngāpuhi
    The settlement of historical Te Tiriti Waitangi grievances and iwi unity are growing in importance to Ngāpuhi, says a Horizon Research survey report released on 24 May. ...
    3 days ago
  • Protecting workers’ lives is not “onerous”
    26 May 2015 Media Release Protecting workers’ lives is not “onerous” The government must not water down changes to health and safety legislation which are vital for New Zealand workers, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union. “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayers Short-Changed by Skycity Deal
    The Taxpayers’ Union is outraged over the latest details of the SkyCity convention centre released today, specifically that the number of delegates the centre will be able to hold has been reduced for a second time. Taxpayers’ Union Executive ...
    3 days ago

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