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Muddying the Waters

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, February 13th, 2014 - 62 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, farming, farming, Steven Joyce, sustainability, water - Tags: , , , , , , ,

We can go on subsidising the crippling pollution of the ag sector, argues Dave Hansford, or we could use that money instead to bring about urgently-needed change.

region-beziers-st-nazaire-pont-vieuxLast month, I was walking over the Pont Vieux – the old stone bridge that links the French city of Carcassonne to its mediaeval progenitor – when I noticed a flurry in the waters of the Aude River. A pair of otters was frolicking in plain view of the hundreds of tourists plying the bridge, and just a few hundred metres from the contemporary city centre. To see wildlife, especially aquatic wildlife, thriving so close to society and industry is not something New Zealanders are used to. Even if we had otters, I seriously doubt they’d be cavorting in the dull brown reaches of the Whanganui, or the squalid Manawatu.

I live five kilometres from the small Aveyronnaise village of Coupiac, through which a small stream flows. I can stand on its banks any weekday and watch bullies, trout and other fish chase a myriad of pond skaters, water striders and mayfly larvae through its clear waters. I don’t want to portray French water bodies as somehow unsullied – overall, they’re in better shape than New Zealand’s, but they still have their problems – but they have an integrity both reflected and protected by the surrounding countryside. In this corner of the world, rolling cultivated downs nestle within hill tracts of oak and chestnut woodland that offer habitat to roe deer, foxes and badgers.

Around here, farmers have specialised in milking sheep for a niche product: high-quality, high-value Roquefort cheese, a delicious blue that directly and otherwise employs some 4,500 people on an estimated 2100 farms. The regulations around its production are tight: all ingredients must be sourced locally, especially the tiny bacterium that supports the entire industry, Penicillium roqueforti, which must be cultured in just one natural cave complex in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. All processing must similarly happen within the district.

Roquefort sheep must be grazed outdoors as often as weather permits, but spend the rest of their time indoors on supplementary feed, which the farmers are required to grow themselves. That means much of the land use round here is cropping, on spreads the European Commission estimates average around 53 hectares. Sheep flocks average 150 to 200 animals, and – I kid you not – when a farmer calls from the gate, they go running to him. I’ve watched it.

If all this sounds like some bucolic, pastoral planet away from the intensified New Zealand broadacre, high input, thousand-cow dairy herd approach to farming, you can bet that it is. New Zealand has instead banked its fortunes on trying to be the world’s biggest and cheapest producer of a distinctly low-value and fiercely-contested global commodity – milk powder – the price of which dances precariously at the whim an online auction system.

Whipped to the gallop in this race to the bottom, New Zealand farmers have enslaved themselves to frightening debt levels in pursuit of ever-greater production. The Reserve Bank says Kiwi farmers are among the most debt-laden in the world – three times higher than their Australian brothers of the soil. Average per-dairy farm debt has almost tripled in the last decade, to the point where New Zealand’s dairy sector alone owes some $30.5 billion.

cow in riverThis industrial-scale model of agriculture has had another crippling consequence: New Zealand’s lowland fresh water bodies are now in a parlous state, so polluted with effluent and nutrients that in 2012, the Ministry for the Environment reported that the quality of just over half of 210 monitored river swimming sites around the country was either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Around the country, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has found nitrogen and phosphorus pollution to be climbing, in step with dairy cow numbers which now number more than 6.5 million, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Here in Aveyron, everyone accepts that Roquefort doesn’t always pay its way, so farmers are paid to sustain their benign land use practices. Under the contentious European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), smallholders here receive an average of €208 (NZ$ 335) a year per hectare (and set to get more, after Francois Hollande recently promised to smooth out huge historical inequities that saw large-scale cereal croppers cream more than their share of subsidies).

The CAP has been the prime target of trade ministries, free-marketeers and even environmentalists since its inception in 1962, but Brussels has doggedly stuck with it, regularly drafting reforms aimed at solving inevitable imbalances and unintended consequences.

Subsidies, of course, are a dirty word in New Zealand. Kiwi farmers will proudly insist that they’ve successfully stood on their own two feet since they were abruptly cut adrift in 1984, when the repeal of subsidies here saw farmers promptly lose up to 40 per cent of their income. Internationally, free trade think tanks like to hold our farmers up as the poster boys of market reform. But few make mention of the crippling environmental cost those reforms have brought, the astronomical debt levels, and doubtless none will concede that in fact, the New Zealand taxpayer still spends a fortune supporting the industry and profits of the country’s producers in a variety of ways.

We could begin with the greatest rort of all: that Fonterra has successfully convinced New Zealand consumers that they must pay the going global rate for locally-produced dairy products, so that a working mother in Hamilton pays the same – and suffers the same spikes and hikes – as a businessman in Beijing. But let’s talk instead about all that polluted fresh water: to date, the Government has committed just under $14m to try to rehabilitate such fouled reaches as Lake Ellesmere, and the notorious Manawatu, found by the Cawthron Institute to be the filthiest river in the western world.

The bid to try and stem nutrient pollution of Lake Taupo was projected to cost at least $80m, but has needed extra funding. The Waikato River has so far had $210m of taxpayer money directed at its rehabilitation. The Rotorua Lakes cleanup will cost at least the same. Al these projects are funded by some mix of central and local Government funding. All up, according to Environment Minister Amy Adams, New Zealanders have already had more than $450m of their tax bill committed to cleaning up their own lakes and rivers after farmers have finished with them. That, in any language, is a subsidy.

Then there’s the successful bid by New Zealand farmers to avoid paying for their share of air pollution under the Emissions Trading Scheme, from which they have been serially exempted, most lately until 2014. Agriculture is directly responsible for nearly half of all our greenhouse gas emissions – which, if we can’t reduce them, will cost us under deals we’ve variously committed to (and more recently, reneged on, but may well rejoin).

But while farming produces by far the lion’s share of climate-changing pollution, farmers have convinced successive governments that they cannot afford to pay for it, as the Emissions Trading Scheme requires them to. Instead, we’ve seen the more benign forestry and energy sectors get nailed. Meanwhile, the rest of the eventual bill for all those greenhouse gases has been pushed again to the taxpayer – ironically, the same taxpayer that farmers turn to when climate change bites down, seeking emergency drought relief.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a $400m seeding fund – the Irrigation Acceleration Fund – to help farmers water a further 420,000 hectares of land. Much of that irrigation is tipped for Canterbury where, this month, the region’s medical officer of health, Alistair Humphrey, reported that nitrate levels in a third of tested Canterbury groundwater supplies were already so high they posed a risk to infant health.

We shouldn’t be surprised that farmers keep externalising their costs – depleted and polluted water, climate emissions and eroded soils – onto consumers and taxpayers: most businesses do. But can we at least be honest about the fact that all these programmes – along with the vast-scale appropriation of fresh water that actually, the public was using for its own enjoyment, thank you – represent state support for farmers? In other words, subsidies. The semantics we’ve heard from Federated Farmers and Fonterra over the years have successfully obfuscated this obvious truth, but we badly need to revert to plain, honest language before we can have the next vitally important conversation.

First; let’s acknowledge that if farmers continue to insist that they cannot afford to pay for the costs of their own environmental damage, they are ipso facto admitting that their businesses are neither environmentally nor truly economically sustainable – a point freshwater campaigner Mike Joy has repeatedly made. So, in truth, farmers are not standing on their own two feet, but leaning heavily against us, the taxpayers. That gives us moral representation around the boardroom table. Nobody wants to put farmers out of business, but we’re entitled to a say in what happens next.

Second, given that we’re subsidising farmers anyway, shouldn’t we just put the Friesian before the cart? In other words, seriously consider a version of the European CAP system which, detractors frequently prefer to forget, is in large part conceived to encourage environmental sustainability (it also seeks to encourage diversification and local employment, but those are whole other stories of direct relevance to New Zealand).

It has been repeatedly shown that it’s far cheaper to pay farmers upfront to adopt more environmentally sustainable business models and practices, than it is to clean up after them. By one estimate, it would cost $6000 to stop a tonne of nitrogen and/or phosphorus entering Lake Rotorua. It costs around $240,000 to try to get it out. That’s a lot of cash we could instead be using to promote change for the good, while liberating farmers from the intensification treadmill. We could call such payments anything we like: after all, we’ve come all this way without using the “s” word. Let’s call them incentives, so that we don’t run foul of the World Trade Organisation. Lets administer the payments through the Sustainable Farming Fund, which would need better resourcing to cope with all the demands of monitoring, compliance and diligence.

Let’s stop farmers blocking regional councils’ attempts to enforce water quality limits and nutrient caps. Let’s back incentives with tougher legislation to deal with premeditated polluters. Let’s develop a rigorous, standardised water quality assessment and monitoring regime, so that all farmers are bound by the same rules, and all governance is informed by the same values and thresholds. In other words, National Environmental Standards.

Meanwhile, let’s enforce water pricing, and levies for the demand management and allocation of water. And finally, should some farmers resist all overtures to clean up their act before the fact of pollution, can we please start charging them directly for the costs of cleaning up after it? It’s called polluter pays.

And then let’s have the really tough conversation: is a low-value, mass-market business model really the best we can do? Are cheap, anonymous, industrial commodities our finest work? And are they worth the hidden cost to farmers, taxpayers and the environment?

Subsidies might be a dirty word at the WTO, but here in France, they’re targeted and administered with a view to promoting diversification, and supporting high-value, environmentally-responsible enterprises. The neoliberals hate them, but I bet the trout would have a different view…

Dave Hansford

62 comments on “Muddying the Waters”

  1. Cnrjoe 1

    Thank You and brilliant.

  2. Chooky 2

    +100….tourists notice what is happening to New Zealand rivers, lakes ,waterways and they are not impressed

    …on purely economic terms alone the tourist dollar must be factored in

    ….and in the end NZ’s Clean Green brand image will be affected, which affects all products and produce from NZ

  3. Bill 3

    I wonder what the average acreage is for a French farm compared to a NZ one.
    I wonder how many French farmers are in the slave like position of NZs share milkers.
    I wonder at what rate French farms are amalgamated and corporatised.
    I wonder how much the lack of subsidies pushes amalgamation/corporatisation.
    I wonder if most French farmers are locked into selling their produce to one buyer as in NZ.

    And I wonder how many French children go seriously hungry because the agricultural sector sells its produce overseas in the first instance and then only over priced sub-standard (from an export perspective) produce to the domestic population as a secondary afterthought.

    Anyone out there got a good reason as to why we should tolerate NZs corporatised agricultural sector?

    Finally, here’s one possible (arguably inevitable over the long term) real world effect of corporate agriculture pursuing export profits…

    Life a struggle for Pygmy family, Globe & Mail (Toronto), December 17, 1991, p. A15. “A diet consisting mainly of manioc flour, beans and rice has affected [northeastern Brazilian laborers'] mental development to the point that they have difficulty remembering or concentrating. Fully 30.7 per cent of children in the Northeast are born malnourished, according to Unicef and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. . . Brazilian medical experts have known of undernourishment in the country’s poorest region for more than two decades, but they confirmed only recently the existence of a much more startling problem — a severe lack of protein in their diet that is producing a population of Brazilian Pygmies known by some medical researchers in Brazil as homens nanicos. Their height at adulthood is far less than the average height recording by the World Health Organization and their brain capacity is 40 per cent less than average. . . . In the poorest states of the Northeast, such as Alagoas and Piaui, homens nanicos comprise about 30 per cent of the population. . . . Much of the Northeast comprises fertile farm land that is being taken up by large plantations for the production of cash crops such as sugar cane.”

    • Murray Olsen 3.1

      Away from the coast, the people of the northeast of Brazil are noticeably short. I expect that this will become a problem along the coast as well, as many of the rivers and mangroves are being taken over for prawn farms. Sugar cane, soy beans, and now prawns have caused a huge increase in the number of landless peasants right through Brazil. The “colonels” who own the land these days are basically slave holders, with their own armed militias. It’s not hard for me to imagine Fonterra doing the same to Aotearoa. How long before we see homeless encampments under black polythene along the sides of country roads? Fonterra is our equivalent of the United Fruit Company.

      By the way, I saw trout in the canals in the middle of Ulm. The Germans have made huge strides in cleaning up their rivers. I also pay less for Mainland cheese in Brisbane than I would in Auckland.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        It’s not hard for me to imagine Fonterra doing the same to Aotearoa

        Well, it’s not as though a different species runs Brazilian corporations…it’s the same people there as here.

    • Sean 3.2

      Not sure where many of your points come from – I use the term “points” as the majority aren’t able to be called facts as they are incorrect. The only one worth discussing would seem to be child hunger – which, where it exists, no one can countenance. But thats not driven by the price of food products – its driven by a combination of poverty and bad decisions/prioritisation by parents.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1

        Let’s just drill down into that unsubstantiated assertion about “bad choices”. There are well established links between income inequality and a range of social ills, infant mortality, for example.

        You think this is about “bad choices”? Perhaps you mean bad choices made by blind ideologues who say things like “no sensible company owner would treat their employees badly, so we don’t need to regulate”. Who say things like “Minimum wage increases lead to unemployment”.

        Of course, you are welcome to provide citations that support your thesis that parents are responsible for employment law and economic policy.

        Good luck.

  4. fender 4

    Excellent article on an increasingly serious set of problems we are making for ourselves. I hope Nathan Guy reads it, rather than his usual bending over for the people responsible for these crimes against the environment. But unfortunately there are too many National MP’s who own dairy farms for them to act in any ones interest but their own short-sighted ones.

  5. Ad 5

    Fully appreciate the well written comparisons, but dairy – unlike the well-diversified France – is the closest thing we have ever had to an industry that can get us rich beyond the standard boom-bust 20-year extractive horizon. There is as yet no alternative, and we’ve done well to alter our economy this far.

    Having said that, I like your practical directions at the end. I believe the “really tough conversation” about bulk commodities should be first. Farmers will take production where their dairy companies lead them.

    When the legislation was passed that enabled Fonterra to exist, there was supposed to be a focus on high-value products from the beginning.

    I believe the next government should review the legislation, and review Fonterra, to see if that is what they are doing.

    Right now, because they are following the route of infant formula demand from China and India, their business is driven by the massive production plants – and farms – needed to sustain them. Fonterra is becoming less and less a value-added business and more akin to a utility company that is driven by its Asset Management Plans. Whither depreciation and supply certainty go, goes Fonterra.

    Turn Fonterra towards requiring more complex inputs and less bulk, and you turn most of the dairy farmers. Review them first, and the water standards will be a logical next.

    • Saarbo 5.1

      “When the legislation was passed that enabled Fonterra to exist, there was supposed to be a focus on high-value products from the beginning. ”

      I think with the huge growth in capacity in the South Island, Fonterra simply had to build capacity as quick and as cheaply as possible…hence the focus on powder…as things settle down I suspect they can focus on branding/higher value products. Milk Powder is a commodity and wont stay at the current $5k usd per tonne for ever.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        It’s the reverse.
        Fonterra and other dairy companies respond to demand in the markets they operate, determine the kind of product they want, and the farmers supply it.

        • Saarbo 5.1.1.1

          Ya reckon Ad? I don’t think so. Farmers convert as much farm land into Dairy then Fonterra builds capacity to process it into exportable product. Don’t forget, Fonterra is owned by the farmers that are converting farm land into Dairy. Fonterra is selling a commodity so they will sell everything that they can get their hands on…customers are coming to Fonterra via their auctions.

          • Ad 5.1.1.1.1

            The auction isn’t for Mars Bars. It’s for milk powder. That milk power doesn’t go from from Mr Bob from Temuka direct to Kraft. It’s supplied to Kraft by the dairy company, who tell the market loud and clear it’s worth converting land. Change the waterways? Sure needs doing, but start with the retailer.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s not just about water ways. You can’t have industrial dairying and an intact environment, it’s just not physically possible. Better to be honest about this.

              • Ad

                I was seeking to stick with the focus of the post – go ahead and widen if you like but it’s a big enough topic as is.

      • Mary 5.1.2

        I think you will find the focus on powder is the fact that it is a product that can be stored for longer if there is less demand, as opposed to cheese and butter, which has a much more limited shelf life.

        • Sean 5.1.2.1

          Correct Mary – and also worth people when commenting thinking about the milk supply curve (you need to have more processing capacity in Spring than the rest of the year as thats when the most milk (by far) is produced), the cost of transport (powder is cheaper to transport), what customers want to buy, and profitability (selling something for more $$ doesn’t mean more profit if the cost of processing, transport etc are higher or if the wastage levels are higher).

          And to other comments on this particular thread – Fonterra responds to supply when building processing capacity. farmers make the decision to convert to dairying if they want to.

    • weka 5.2

      “Fully appreciate the well written comparisons, but dairy – unlike the well-diversified France – is the closest thing we have ever had to an industry that can get us rich beyond the standard boom-bust 20-year extractive horizon. There is as yet no alternative, and we’ve done well to alter our economy this far.”

      Sorry mate, but if dairy farmers like yourself want to get rich at the expense of everything else you can go fuck yourselves. Hansford is being generous when he suggests that we should spend so much time and effort supporting current industrial farmers to transition to something else. There is a window here for such farmers to change, but that window won’t always be there. In my life time farmers have gone from being the backbone of the country to becoming one of the most loathed professions, largely thanks to dairying. The really shit thing here is that it appears that industrial farmers will wait until they are forced to change, and by then hugely more damage will have been done.

      There are real alternatives. Why not educate yourself about what they are and then see if you can make the arguments you make.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        No argument that things need to change.
        You can lay out the whole-industry alternatives thanks.

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          I’m not interested in the industry. If saving the industry is your agenda, that’s up to you to find solutions, ones that don’t included fucking the country. Also, I seem to remember the convo we had about this recently where various ideas were put out and you came back with TINA, so I’m not yet convinced you’re interest is genuine.

          Farming should be about producing food for NZers. It should be done sustainably (in the true sense of that word), and it should make the farmer and their family a decent living as well as the other people that work there (note, I don’t meant make them rich). All those things are possible, and there are farmers in NZ already doing them to varying extents. Industrial dairying isn’t, it’s just making a big mess of the environment and tying NZ even further into the oil and global finance economies. Both those things make us much more vulnerable as well as reducing quality of life considerably.

          • Ad 5.2.1.1.1

            Your position is too far removed from New Zealand’s reality to be real.

            New Zealand’s economy will not survive without exporting. New Zealand’s exporting economy is almost exclusively built on natural resources whether they be minerals, agriculture, or tourism. Even the key ingredient to value-adding to reources – electricity – is in New Zealand based on natural resources.

            New Zealand’s food economy will never be reduced to servicing the tiny local market.

            We base our exports on agriculture. To start with farmers as the origin of changing the land for good has never worked here, and will never work here. They are and will remain highly conservative in practise and in demeanour. Start with the companies who respond to international standards and tastes. They above all drive the kind of production New Zealand’s farmer produce.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1.1

              New Zealand’s economy will not survive without exporting.

              It’d survive fine without exporting. IMO, we’d be far better off if we minimised exports and so would the rest of the world.

              New Zealand’s food economy will never be reduced to servicing the tiny local market.

              Yes it will. It’s just a question of how that comes about – by choice or by force. That’s what depleting resources means.

              • Ad

                Perhaps you could write a post about your economy without exports.
                Some other time.

                We have been going for 150 years depleting resources, no argument. And every time we expect the loggers, gold miners, farmers to change. Rarely does. the power is with the retailers and processors ESP in dairy.
                By the way, compare this debate to be Countdown one.
                Different farmers, but the power centre is same and writ large.

                • Flip

                  The problem with primary production exports is that the markets are a long way from NZ. When oil prices go up so will our export prices. Production then must become more efficient to be competitive and thus more industrialised, not to mention attempts to manipulate currency to stay competitive. This is not going to be good for our future. Everybody can see the train coming. Question is are we smart enough to get off the tracks?

                  • weka

                    Exactly.

                    Ad, I’m curious how you see Peak Oil, AGW and the GFC fitting into your picture. You seem to be saying that we have no choice therefore we will just continue polluting until NZ can’t support export farming any more. Then what? Or do you think we can do this indefinitely.

                  • dave

                    the train is turning the bend and the oligarchy will grab as much as possible before it hits then blame the public with propaganda like bad choices. and if the their caught they run just like bandits.

                    lets not forget that a lot of farmers run there farms at a lose to avoid paying taxes they take the capital gain. So they rape the the environment ,constantly demand corporate welfare ,push loses and costs on future generations and when busted run for the hills with there plunder.

          • Sean 5.2.1.1.2

            If it were just supplying food for NZers then 1) we’d only need approx 5% of what we currently produce (so majority of farmers are out of work) 2) we can’t produce many of the products we would still want and 3) we wouldn’t have the funds to buy the things we want but can’t supply (you do realise we struggle to produce the appropriate wheat for bread making?? – little things like that). Not sure what thigns we buy with overseas funds we aren’t going to going forward – medicines perhaps.

            I get the feeling yours is an emotive position rather than one well thought through.

            • weka 5.2.1.1.2.1

              Do you have some backup for the 5% statement? I’m bound to disagree with your point (I think there are many ways for farmers to make a living from their land, so long as the debt issue is resolved), but I would be interested to see how that number was arrived at before I respond.

              What you say makes a kind of sense within the current economic model. But it’s not the only model that exists (Draco would be the one to ask about how NZ would manage with a greatly reduced export economy).

              However, what you say is also predicated entirely on the idea that we have a choice in the matter. If you take Peak Oil, AGW and the GFC into account, then the choice is around timing and whether we use the resources we have now to transition or wait until we have no choice and face a much harder power down. Industrial farming for export is only possible because we use farm inputs that are completely dependent on cheap oil. Once that’s gone, you can’t farm like that any more. What do you think will happen then?

  6. adam 6

    Our dairy farmers are all welfare capitalists – who have there very own form of vulgar communism, albeit a strange world were they get to keep the land, profits, and we pay the costs.

    Maybe we should be involved in co-operative’s more – Maybe the whole country should start join co-ops more and more. I know my banking is now done with a co-op. I buy at farmers markets – as the majority of farmers I deal with are great.

    So I just have a problem with an economic system which defers the real costs of dairy farming onto the rest of the population. I suppose you do to.

  7. Saarbo 7

    Fascinating article Dave. I am amazed at the number of farmers (not only corporates but generational farming families) who request debt from their banks to buy more and more farmland. These farmers are buying for ONE reason: Capital Gain. Amazingly these farmers no longer go to their Accountants to assess whether they can afford to purchase another farm, they go to their Banks. The Banks don’t look at the feasibility of the Farm being purchased but simply whether there is enough equity in the overall Group…so the banks effectively set the price of affordability at the point where total costs = total revenue for the target farm being purchased. So what this means is most farmers cant afford to put money into mitigation of adverse environmental practices because they simply don’t make financial surpluses. And then even worse, to pay for their farms, farmers OVERSTOCK their farms, feed additional supplemental feed (Buying in PKE, Maize, Spread Urea, whatever…)…many farmers are really in the shit at the moment because of their DEBT. Rabobank recently did a presentation which clearly showed that the cost to produce Dairy Produce in NZ is reaching parity with the US and other high cost nations; the main driver is, surprise, surprise…INTEREST costs.

    I don’t know what the answer to our massive dairy farm driven environmental degradation is but I know that the BANKS are in part to blame, our obsession with Capital Gains is also to blame and of course Greed…Dairy farmers are one of the most greedy groups of people I have ever known.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      The Banks don’t look at the feasibility of the Farm being purchased but simply whether there is enough equity in the overall Group…so the banks effectively set the price of affordability at the point where total costs = total revenue for the target farm being purchased. So what this means is most farmers cant afford to put money into mitigation of adverse environmental practices because they simply don’t make financial surpluses.

      As Steve Keen proved – when you run a business on the margins you go broke. The banks are doing well out of it though.

      • Saarbo 7.1.1

        Yep…and why they will do anything to ensure we don’t get a Labour/Green govt later this year introducing a CGT. The banks are relying on capital gains for growth in their loan portfolio…

    • dave 7.2

      the last thing these farmers want is a labour greens government there dirty little game would be up !
      CAPITAL GAINS TAX

  8. scotty 8

    Excellent post.

    Federated Farmers ,Dairy nz , irrigation Nz, latest co-ordinated defence strategy is to highlight degraded Urban waterways in an attempt to frame ‘townies” and Regional Councils as the ‘real’ polluters.
    Straight from the Joyce / Key playbook, imo

  9. Flip 9

    + Nitrogen tonnage going into waterways.

    Well said.

  10. greywarbler 10

    Questions. And another – Am I right in thinking that NZs tend to go for the low hanging fruit most of the time? The practical man or woman’s approach rather than the advanced, careful, researched and environmentally sound way.

    The only theories that get accepted are ones connected with neo lib management of money and any that seem to favour the near or already wealthy.

  11. xtasy 11

    Quote:
    “New Zealand has instead banked its fortunes on trying to be the world’s biggest and cheapest producer of a distinctly low-value and fiercely-contested global commodity – milk powder – the price of which dances precariously at the whim an online auction system.”

    “This industrial-scale model of agriculture has had another crippling consequence: New Zealand’s lowland fresh water bodies are now in a parlous state, so polluted with effluent and nutrients that in 2012, the Ministry for the Environment reported that the quality of just over half of 210 monitored river swimming sites around the country was either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.”

    NOW we are TALKING!

    Yes, while I would not recommend the EU model for farming as the perfect solution for New Zealand to follow, farmers and society as a whole here could learn a lot from the more sustainable practices described in this post here! In many EU countries they are years ahead of New Zealand, not just in environmentally friendlier farming practices, but also in value added production.

    There is much to learn, and Fonterra and others should start to focus on producing cheeses and more, made from milk here, also developing unique New Zealand products, that could be patented, copy righted and found nowhere else, earning more dollars than bulk milk powder. Bring it on, that is if the industry “wants” to bother!

    The government can set the needed framework, but this one we have will certainly not do so, as they rather carry on as usual, and take the easy solution, producing ever more quantity of the same, instead of top of the shelf, and unique quality products.

  12. Ashton Lovell 12

    I think it is greatly unfair to criticize New Zealand farmers on not investing in value added products. This is not a farmers job in the slightest, it’s Fonterra’s job and it is something that they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into already and will no doubt continue to do so because it’s in their best interests to diversify their income sources.
    The fact that the vast majority of dairy exports are milk powder has more to do with the fact that we produce such huge quantities of milk, more than we can add value to.

    I think however that the gist of the environmental portion of the article is right, there is too much nitrogen being applied at obviously diminishing returns.
    Subsidizing the cleanup is obviously also just dumb. Farmers already have strict compliance requirements, why not have a code of compliance in regard to nutrient usage?
    Limit the per acre amount that farmers can apply and we will limit the pollution.

    I agree that methane emissions are a huge issue and farming could be added to the E.T.S. Perhaps there are other more specific ways to compensate for the huge emissions of farming though?
    Seemed pretty unpopular when Helen Clark tried that however.

    • Flip 12.1

      “…more than we can add value to.”

      Then Fonterra should do a better job at marketing high value products. The execs are paid enough.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        Execs are there to ensure a constant return to shareholders. Nothing more. Milk solids work just fine. There’s a steady return. Value added products would involve investment and a loosening of the vice like grip over farmers and their product. That would result in a dip in short term returns.

        Not happening.

      • dave 12.1.2

        if have chance go to one rod orams presentations “value added will not be fonterra there just a commodity producer supplying the big boys where the real value added is the likes of nestley

    • xtasy 12.2

      Fonterra though is OWNED by farmers, so farmers have a say, or should have at least! As owners they can tell Fonterra what they should develop and do with the milk they produce.

      See:
      “The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council is an elected national body of farmer shareholders”

      http://www.fonterra.com/nz/en/About/Our+Governance/Fonterra+Shareholders+Council

      “Representing Farmers

      The Council represents the views of Fonterra farmer shareholders. The Council consults frequently with farmers, and meets regularly with the Board to ensure Shareholders’ voices are heard and considered. This is particularly important when major change is proposed or significant issues are being addressed. The Council also provides a Shareholder perspective when new policy is being developed.”

      • Bill 12.2.1

        One farmer one vote, is it? The farmer with 20 heads has the same voice as the corporatised entity with 1000s of heads spread over multiple properties? I doubt it.

    • Colonial Viper 12.3

      has more to do with the fact that we produce such huge quantities of milk, more than we can add value to.

      This really is a bit of a cop out.

      Who decided to keep encouraging farmers in the production of bulk volume, undifferentiated milk?

      Who decided to keep building milk powder factory capacity to take on more and more bulk volume undifferentiated milk?

      Who decided to keep shipping milk in the form of products from the 1960s and 1970s?

      Seemed pretty unpopular when Helen Clark tried that however.

      That’s the fucking out of touch Feds for you.

    • Bill 12.4

      more than we can add value to…

      Erm…Bollox. But here’s the thing, Fonterra is a co-operative in name only – in reality it’s an iron fist. Dairy farmers have no option but to pass their product through ‘the co-operative’. What the fuck do you think the reaction would be, should a farmer decide to hold on to some of their product and develop a ‘value added’ enterprise? They’d be fucked over and cut out of the market or ‘their’ farm taken under management..

      Am I wrong? Then someone will easily show me the clauses in the agreements/contracts that allows a farmer to hold onto, or pass their product through any other avenue apart from ‘the co-op’.

      And I say the above on the naive premise, a premise I don’t actually believe, that there is some conglomeration of small farmers rather than a sprawling industrial/corporate unit marked by a reality of ‘farmers’ as employees.

      • Ashton Lovell 12.4.1

        You are right about the fact that many farmers are essentially forced to be a part of Fonterra, though in many areas(such as the Waikato) there is alternatives.
        That said Fonterra is still largely supplied by small farms, I heard(and this was from a farmer with no supporting evidence so I’m sorry if it’s untrue) that Fonterra is still over 50% supplied by farms with under 300 cows, this essentially means that the majority of Fonterra voting rights are still held by family farmers. Unfortunately they often do not chose to use them.

        • Bill 12.4.1.1

          So, let’s go with the line that small farmers…even family farmers… supply Fontera (50%). What alternatives exist for them? I’m punting that it’s a monopolistic buyers market. They, Fonterra, own, operate and control all the distribution networks/infrastructure, and have locked down supply agreements/contracts, no?

      • weka 12.4.2

        I’m not sure how this works re the ‘co-op’ but afaik there are farmers in NZ who are doing the value added thing and selling excess milk to Fonterra. Mostly they’re selling within NZ. The value-added businesses operate outside of Fonterra afaik, and we know that Fonterra is not supporting organics in NZ. Fonterra is about making money not supporting creative initiatives, and it does this with an iron fist.

        But I think that big hurdles for more farmers getting out of that are: knowledge and experience; lack of support from govt agencies relative to what conventional farmers get (including R and D); lack of support from the farm advisors; and debt. I reckon it’s the last one that is the hardest to overcome, because once they are tied into that above a certain level there is probably no way out other than to play the game as you are told. That doesn’t explain the numbers taking on that debt in the first place though.

        • Bill 12.4.2.1

          Maybe ‘convention’ and ‘received wisdom’ goes a way to explain your last point – ‘it’s the way *this* is…’ always been this way’ etc. That, and that we’re all geared to ‘make a buck’ – sadly.

    • Tracey 12.5

      Do farmers have no choice who they sell to?

      • Bill 12.5.1

        Let’s say I’m a farmer with x output. Do I have access to a distribution network to reach customers? If I don’t, and my output is beyond what I can sell at ‘the farm gate’, then I guess I’m signing a supply contract with Fonterra. So sure. There’s choice.

        • Tracey 12.5.1.1

          Is Fonterr the only plyer, or is the “competition” only regional, nd not Nationwide?

          I’m sking cos it seems like farmers have hobson’s choice, which is the same for, say, average employee “negotiating” directly with their boss?

          • weka 12.5.1.1.1

            afaik Fonterra is the only nationwide player for selling milk in the mainstream. There are alternatives in some regions.

            Bill, the companies I linked to above use non-Fonterra distribution networks. Have a look at Clearwater’s retail list, they’re definitely getting their product out there.

            • Sean 12.5.1.1.1.1

              There are alternatives in: Westland (WMP), Canterbury (Synlait, WMP, CMP and others), Otago (OCC), Southland (OCC), Manawatu/Wanganui, South Taranaki (OCC), Waikato (Tatua, OCC, Miraka)…… No one HAS to supply to Fonterra – in some regions they are the only processor that will pick up milk as other players don’t find it economic to do so. On the other hand Fonterra HAs to collect supply from those who want to supply them within some very generous (to the suppliers) criteria. Even when Fonterra may not want to collect the milk (economics, because they don’t support dairying occurring in certain places etc).

              And Fonterra suppliers can supply a significant volume of their supply to others (was up to 20% at one point – not sure what it is now).

  13. Philj 13

    Xox
    And when interest rates rise and milk powder price falls?

  14. nodtheplod 14

    Hang a minute all you well educated twits. None of you have answered the question of how are we going to clean up our polluted waterways. maybe all of you can take me to a factory manufacturing fresh water. Just remember that there is no substitute for fresh water. It is our only life surviving force on this planet. We cannot survive without fresh water and we are sysematicly destroying this life giving force. Maybe just one of you could give me the answer or do we have to watch while the dairy industry increase their output and pollute our remaining waterways and yes cattle will be absorbing the pollutants via drinking contaminated water. What effect could that have on our children?

  15. captain hook 15

    this country is overpopulated and ramped up to the max.
    every farmer wants to have enough surplus cash to go to the Super Rugby final, buy a hotrod, or a hardly davison or some other toy or buy another proeprty and ramp up their debt level and do the same thing over again.
    Anything that gets in the way will be swept aside by fed farmers and the national party.
    This country has gone mad and that is the long and short of it and the great fat dotcom of it.

  16. aerobubble 16

    A business needs passing traffic. So often I see a business retail start up in the wrong place and disappears after a few years. And its because they need a core consumer base that will carry them
    (and that means a unassailable market niche).

    The problem with NZ is unlike France, where restaurants are low taxed, and food culture naturally grows out of that, hates the idea that any common citizen should also get fraternity. NZ has imported the class snobbery of the British, or maybe some insipid left over racism toward the Maori… ..or imported apartheid… or whatever divisive views that rich are show how the Randian betters.

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    Labour | 23-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”, and calls it “an outrageous use of taxpayer money”. “But the only thing that is outrageous, is how outrageously stupid Jordan Williams was...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    The Green Party will help schools install solar and save money on their power bills by investing $20 million into solar PV systems in schools. The $20 million is expected to:Help around 500 schools install solar over three yearsResult in...
    Greens | 23-07
  • Extent of job losses at Invermay remain hidden
    Despite growing concern in the agriculture and science sectors, both AgResearch management and the Minister responsible are continuing to hide the true extent of job losses at AgResearch’s Invermay campus, Labour’s MP for Dunedin North David Clark says. “Science and...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    “MANA is launching its te reo Māori policy this morning ahead of the first reading of the government’s Māori Language Strategy Bill this afternoon”, saidMANA deputy leader and candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. “MANA’s policy is based on a love...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Connectivity Upgrade to close digital divide
    Labour will close the digital divide with its Connectivity Upgrade to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of a growing, more connected economy and have the right to access quality broadband, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.  “The digital revolution...
    Labour | 23-07
  • New parents deserve support – Labour will deliver
    ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood: Weekend at Bernie’s lll – ACT in Epsom
    While no one will be surprised by yesterday’s deal to prop up ACT in Epsom, the audacity of it is still astounding. ACT is a political corpse. Their sole MP has been found guilty of electoral fraud and bides his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • So how’s all the ‘ Labour Party man ban’ hysteria working out for you...
    Remember all the screams from the media at the so called ‘man ban’ of the Labour Party? Labour’s attempt at gender equality was really just more evidence of Labour’s man hate,  feminists were taking over, heterosexual red blooded men burnt at the stake....
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Paul Henry; the issue is you, not flag-burning
    There will always be reductive, dangerous and reactionary responses to different forms of oppressive violence by our western, often biased, mainstream media. These reactionary responses purposefully distract from the real issues and those who are at the root and the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Oh now John Armstrong and Vernon Small want to talk about policy?
    The audacity of the mainstream media seems to know no end. This week both John Armstrong and Vernon Small had the hilarity to demand a focus on policy and not ‘gotcha’ politics… John Armstrong: The ‘gotcha politics’ disease is afflicting...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“I’m sorry I can’t be at parliament for the valedictory speeches of Tariana Turia...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Burning the flag or accepting the evil
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Burning the flag or accepting the evil Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press ReleasesBurning the Israeli flag in Auckland in protest over the murder of innocent civilians...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid” Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press ReleasesJordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”,...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches te reo Māori policy  Posted on July 24, 2014 by admin in Annette Sykes, Press Releases, Te Hamua Nikora“MANA...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 | Press Release Our Solar in Schools policy will allow them to save money on electricity – money which can be...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Media Release: New report on GP costs for 6-17 year olds
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: Media Release: New report on GP costs for 6-17 year olds 24 July 2014 Free doctor’s visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • 3 reasons why I can’t care about Gerry Brownlee’s airport security fias...
    I find it very difficult to get upset about Gerry Brownlee barging through airport security for 3 simple reasons. Firstly I think airport security in this country is a total farce. Why we need to be conditioned to security searches...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • How the Opposition win Epsom now Key has cemented Goldsmith into place
    One fear I had this election would be that National listened to Matthew Hooton and removed Goldsmith from the ballot box to leave the race open enough for David Seymour to ensure an ACT Party victory. Thankfully National Party hubris...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Now Conservative Party has been killed off, is a vote for NZ First a vote f...
    Are Winston and John Key new Best Friends Forever?   Colin Craig and his Conservative Party have been cleverly played and tricked and trapped by National. Whatever promises and flirtations Key made with Craig last year have eventuated into nothing....
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away ...
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Best National Party Billboard
    Best National Party Billboard...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate...
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Annette Sykes to launch campaign for Waiariki Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Posted on July 28, 2014 by admin in Annette Sykes, Press ReleasesAt midday tomorrow, Annette Sykes will officially launch...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Something Fishy About Nick Smith’s Game.
    NICK SMITH’S crude intimidation of the Fish and Game Council points to the bleakest of environmental futures should National be re-elected on 20 September. It is now considerably clearer than 60 percent of New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams that...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | Press Release Fish and Game is supposed to advocate for clean and healthy rivers, it’s the law. It...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Key’s odd personal hypocrisy in Epsom, his kiss of death to the Maori Par...
    Aside from tricking Colin Craig into running in an electorate National can crush him in, John Key has announced three things in his election deals that are ill thought out. The first is his deal with the Maori Party. At a time...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Public deserves electoral integrity
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Public deserves electoral integrity National’s deals with spent political forces ACT and United Future will be met with a deepening sense of unease over the manipulation of MMP, Labour Leader David Cunliffe...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges Amid strong criticism of the value of the National Science Challenges from some of the country’s senior scientists, new figures show administrative...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing? Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • UNEMIG: Disgraced hotel operator still hasn’t learned
    MIL OSI – Source: First Union – Headline: UNEMIG: Disgraced hotel operator still hasn’t learned A publicly disgraced Auckland hotel is still not paying their workers the minimum wage, according to the Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG). Last week the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Christchurch CHEP workers walk off the job again
    MIL OSI – Source: First Union – Headline: Christchurch CHEP workers walk off the job again Workers at Brambles-owned CHEP Christchurch have walked off the job again today to protest the employer’s refusal to negotiate an improved pay offer, according...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Why it’s all over for the Conservative Party
    Whatever flirtations were made months ago to Colin Craig by National strategists, the polling must have come back showing them too much of their soft urban vote would walk if Key was in Government with Colin Craig.  The necessary inside muscle to...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Balance in the NZ Herald and has something gone terribly wrong at the Heral...
    So the ‘balance’ in the NZ Herald this year for the election will be… Guest columnists will include the acerbic Cactus Kate from the radical right, former Labour candidate Josie Pagani and broadcaster Mark Sainsbury. Right, so that would be...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | Press Release “The heavy hand of Steven Joyce is destroying New Zealand’s innovation economy.” The National Government should allow scientists and businesses...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights CERA has spent $1.8 million on 7286 flights from Christchurch to Wellington in three years – a huge waste of money as Cantabrians still wait...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again Nick Smith has yet again completely overstepped the mark as a minister – this time with a threat to muzzle Fish and Game if they...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Phew – National Party hubris seals strategy
    The National Party are bot listening to Matthew Hooton. Phew. Hooton has crunched the numbers and based on past polling National always drops 6 points come election day. National aren’t listening. Barging through the need to cut deals with all...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Noam Chomsky on the TPPA
    Noam Chomsky on the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Unacceptable secrecy around labelling people terrorists
    It’s good to see the Sunday Star-Times attempting to get more information from government agencies about Daryl Jones, the Kiwi killed in a US drone strike in Yemen.  The paper is right to complain about the government’s refusal to provide...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • A critical deconstruction of John Key – what’s behind the facade?
    Aspiring national leaders need a popular narrative of their rise to power.  Once in office, the narrative can be refined to fit the requirements of leadership and re-election.  Such is the purpose of John Roughan’s John Key: Portrait of  a...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Radio Live – off Mark
    The Top Marks lasted five weeks on Mediaworks radio station The Sound. This may have something to do with last being relevant in the mid-1980s when there were only two commercial FM licences in Auckland and they were on one...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression
    .   . Wellington, NZ, 26 July – About 600 Wellingtonians, and from further afield, met at the Cuba Mall Bucket fountain under a wintery sunny sky, to protest Israel’s continuing aggression in the Gaza strip, which – at the...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Greens call for shipping lanes backed by Maritime Union
    MIL OSI – Source: Maritime Union of New Zealand – Headline: Greens call for shipping lanes backed by Maritime Union The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced 27 July...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    MIL OSI – Source: Maritime Union of New Zealand – Headline: Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through a Bill reforming the fishing industry. Maritime Union of New...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga  Posted on July 27, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“It’s great to have Georgie on board” said Hone Harawira, MANA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers What does Amnesty International think of the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 23 July? What should happen next?Amnesty International welcomes resolution S-21/1...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 | Press Release Like New Zealand chose to go nuclear free, we can add to our national...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Shasha Ali – I am an indigenous person but I will never call ...
    Yesterday was indeed a politically hectic day in Aoteaora New Zealand, especially if you are an activist that cares about both human and non-human animal rights. Protest actions were organised to demand an end to factory farming from about noon, and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine or ‘Pro-Peace’?
    Latest protest for people of Gaza in Auckland In the past couple of weeks I have heard a lot of people say that they are neither Pro-Israel nor Pro-Palestine; they are pro-peace. This is a stand that I respect. Everyone...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • So we can’t feed the kids, the poor OR the sick now?
    Let me get this straight. We can borrow $10 billion in tax cuts over the last 6 years for the richest NZers, but we can not feed the kids, the poor or even the sick now? Revealed: Warning over hospital food...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Kim Dotcom has said it, Laila Harre has said it and now David fisher says i...
    Fascinating piece by David Fisher in the NZ Herald breaking down how many opportunities the Government had to listen to officials and stop KDC entering the country and concludes KDC should never have been allowed in… It prepared papers for the...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • You, Me and the GCSB Public Meetings
      The GCSB and TICS legislation rushed through Parliament by John Key represent the largest erosion of civil liberties this country has seen since the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. In the post Snowden world we now know a mass surveillance state operating...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • A feminist takedown of Whale Oil
    Whale Oil does it again. How many more times is he going to attack and discredit Tania Billingsley publicly? In a short blog published on Wednesday ‘Nothing to be sorry for‘ Whale Oil also known as Cameron Slater, is defending John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Ares Rolinson – New Zealand First – We’ll Be Back
    Earlier this week, Bomber penned a missive which set out in some detail why he thought my people, New Zealand First, wouldn’t be making it back into Parliament later this year. Being a pugnacious, vindictive sort who’d never let such an...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • The changes teachers DO want
    “Oh you teachers, you just want everything to stay the same – what’s wrong with choice?  Bloody teachers.  Typical that you don’t want testing – trying to hide that you’re all useless. What about our poor kids?  Gnash gnash rant rant...” That’s...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • A feminist take down of Whale Oil
    Whale Oil does it again. How many more times is he going to attack and discredit Tania Billingsley publicly? In a short blog published on Wednesday Nothing to be sorry for Whale Oil also known as Cameron Slater, is defending John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • On so called Labour Party ‘distractions’
    The right wing of the Labour Party are constructing a narrative that Labour need to stop chasing distractions and focus on the real issues that matter and not these silly GCSB, inequality, domestic violence, media bias, TPPA issues. It is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • National getting students into science
    National Party Hutt South candidate Chris Bishop today supported the government’s launch of A Nation of Curious Minds: He Whenua Hirihi I te Mahara, a programme to boost community involvement in the science sector....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • NZ NGOs respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza
    NZ NGOs are responding to the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip with news today of an upsurge in violence and an increasing number of civilian casualties....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • ACT Candidate for Epsom delighted by second endorsement
    ACT Candidate for Epsom delighted by second endorsement David Seymour, ACT Candidate for Epsom 29/07/2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Colin Craig (sic) Launches New Website
    Colin Craig today advised that his web presence was not large enough, especially when compared to similarly polling parties such as the Internet/Mana Party. “After extensive discussion and advice from my full time legal team, and my IT part timer...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Spat between Minister Smith and Fish and Game overdue – ACT
    With the latest spat between Minister Nick Smith and Fish and Games Bryce Johnston hitting fever pitch, ACT Primary Industry Spokesman Don Nicolson says a review of the Fish and Game legislation will be an ACT ambition in the next...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Maori King challenges Ngapuhi leader to front up
    Following his strong condemnation of the Maori King, Tuheitia yesterday, Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has received a challenge this afternoon from prominent Kingitanga [King Movement] supporter Mamae Takerei....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • ACT Speech to Waikato Conference: Race has no place in law
    David Cunliffe recently apologised to a Women’s Refuge symposium: “I don't often say it – I'm sorry for being a man … because family and sexual violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men.” The Prime Minister accused Cunliffe of being insincere....
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • Greg Campbell Chief Executive of Wellington Regional Council
    Chair of Wellington Regional Council, Fran Wilde today announced the appointment of Greg Campbell as Chief Executive of the Council. Greg Campbell will take up the role in September following the departure of outgoing Chief Executive David Benham...
    Scoop politics | 29-07
  • We are going to campaign harder
    “It was great news to learn that John Key says I am his recommendation for Epsom. While the Prime Minister is an important person and he is my pick to remain Prime Minister, John Key is just one voter. I...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Why Green isn’t the best colour for water
    Why Green isn’t the best colour for water Ian Mackenzie is Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson and was on the reference group for the National Objectives Framework. An opinion is also running in the New Zealand Herald. The Green Party recently...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Rainbow Wellington General Election Candidates Forum
    In many ways the transgender community is in a similar position now to that faced by lesbians and gay men a generation ago. It is having to face many of the same difficulties, often based on the same ignorance and...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Defence Lawyer Disgust!!!
    “ The Sensible Sentencing Trust is horrified by Defence Lawyer Steven Zindel's comments at the Sentencing of a Man Jailed for the Rape of his 4 year old daughter .”...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Ōhāriu deserves better than a rort
    The National Party's deal with Peter Dunne is a rort and shows the people of Ōhāriu are being taken for granted, Labour candidate Virginia Andersen says. "Peter Dunne has been placed on political life support by the National Party. His...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • FMC Backs Fish and Game’s Role on Freshwater
    Federated Mountain Clubs today reinforced its strong support for the New Zealand Fish and Game Council's statutory role in advocating for anglers and hunters interests in freshwater. FMC President Robin McNeill stated that the Federation's 17,000 members...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • The Letter: Key Gives Nod for Seymour in Epsom
    This afternoon the PM acknowledged the importance of Epsom to National’s re-election prospects when said he wanted National’s supporters in Epsom to vote for ACT’S David Seymour. We always thought David could win Epsom, for which he has been campaigning...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Forest & Bird supports Fish and Game’s freshwater advocacy
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is concerned over allegations the Fish & Game Council has been threatened over its advocacy for freshwater quality....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Time for Epsom to say “no deal”
    “Epsom voters will be disgusted by the deal announced today to try and once again gift their electorate to the ACT Party”, says Labour candidate for Epsom Michael Wood....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Petition for release the of seven Bah
    At the invitation of the Honourable Annette King the New Zealand Bahá'í community is presenting a petition to the House of Representatives asking the NZ government to demand the release of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Capital gains in the capital city
    Victoria University will today be hosting a public debate on the merits of more comprehensive capital gains tax—a step which taxation expert Associate Professor Dr David White considers would be beneficial for New Zealand. Organised by student group Beta Alpha...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Te Kupenga supports efforts of anti-violence campaigner
    Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – National Network of Stopping Violence Services (Te Kupenga) wholeheartedly endorses statements made by DJ, Kickboxer and Anti-Violence Campaigner Richie Hardcore this morning on TV3’s Firstline about the role of men...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • iPredict Ltd2014 Election Update #28
    The chances of a fiscal surplus in 2014/15 continue to plunge and are down to 50%, according to the combined wisdom of the 7000 registered traders on New Zealand’s online predictions market, iPredict. The forecast surplus is now just 0.22%...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • TPPA is a bad idea
    “Currently New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Mexico are still negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Officially talks finished last August, but the reality is that they keep...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Getting privacy right in our data future
    Privacy Commissioner John Edwards welcomes the release of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum’s report....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good
    Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy. The conference is hosted jointly...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Paddock to plate, and smart roads possible
    New Zealand’s international brand and exports could grow significantly with the creation of a data sharing ‘eco-system’ according to a paper released by the NZ Data Futures Forum today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ngapuhi wants to overthrow Maori King
    Ngapuhi is planning a hui for the end of the year – organised by iwi leader David Rankin – in which the future of the King Movement will be discussed....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Housing warrant of fitness little help for sick children
    A housing warrant of fitness has been promoted as a way of preventing sickness among children in poverty. The attached report shows that such a regime would have little impact on health outcomes but would come at a considerable cost,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Upcoming Fabian Events in Auckland
    Sue Bradford ’s PhD thesis, 'A major left wing think tank in Aotearoa—an impossible dream or a call to action?' looked at why no major left wing think tank has developed in Aotearoa and whether the left in 2010-2013 was...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Senior Citizens, Not Senile Citizens
    The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the merits and costs of the “ No car? No problem! Getting around your community without a car” brochure, released by the Office for Senior Citizens. The brochure’s purpose is to explain to senior citizens...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • NZ Troops Hone Their Skills in Queensland
    Around 260 New Zealand troops are on a 25-day Australian-led warfighting exercise in Townsville, Northern Queensland....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Maritime Union backs Green Party call for shipping lanes
    The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban
    Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban The Auckland Council has announced that they are abandoning the rodeo ban on council land, put into place in 2008. This was done with virtually no consultation, says SAFE, the animal advocacy organisation....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor
    Ministers Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor Police Minister Anne Tolley and Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman have a rare opportunity this week to gain first-hand knowledge about Indonesian police and military activities in West...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Minister Right to Give Fish & Game a Serve
    Reacting to Radio New Zealand’s report concerning allegations that Conservation Minister Nick Smith warned the Fish and Game Council that it acts like a 'rabid NGO', Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through a Bill reforming the fishing industry....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ivory trade laws look set to tighten following petition
    A petition mounted by an Auckland schoolteacher has won the support of a powerful Select Committee and has moved the New Zealand closer towards a fully enforceable ivory trading ban....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Bilingual guide a demonstration of leadership
    “Waikato River Restoration: A Bilingual Guide” to the Waikato River that saw Tainui Waikato, Landcare Trust and the Waikato River Authority working together is a demonstration of rangatiratanga or leadership says Race Relations Commissioner...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    "It's great to have Georgie on board" said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP. "She's strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven't had any - and won. That...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Sir Bob Harvey
    SUSAN Sir Bob Harvey was behind the transformation of Norm Kirk, and one of New Zealand's most popular Prime Ministers. He also advised Bill Rowling, David Lange and Helen Clark, the latter as Labour Party President. Wild Westie a new...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Rod Drury
    Xero boss Rod Drury told TVNZ’s Q+A programme what the political parties are offering at this election is ‘all too small.’ “There's no policy, all it is a bunch of incremental stuff. “All too small. What we want to do...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Gerry Brownlee
    Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee Rules Out Fastracking Auckland’s City Rail Loop Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee told TV1’s Q+A programme this morning that he won’t be bringing forward an Auckland City Rail loop based on new figures showing...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Owen interviews Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey
    Lisa Owen interviews Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey Headlines: Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey suggests “we can move on some” changes to welfare for New Zealanders in Australia New Zealanders “brothers and sisters” who make “a massive contribution”,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Flavell and Harawira on The Nation
    Lisa Owen interviews Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana leader Hone Harawira Headlines: Hone Harawira says realistically his Mana Party can take three Maori seats, Te Ururoa Flavell sticks to prediction that Maori Party will win all seven....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • The Nation 26,27 July: Flavell & Harawira, Joe Hockey
    On The Nation this weekend…. With the Maori seats primed to play a pivotal role this election, Torben Akel reports from the key battlegrounds and meets the top contenders. Then the Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana Party...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Announcement of New Zealand First Candidate for Rangitīkei
    New Zealand First has endorsed Dr Romuald (‘Rom’) Rudzki as the candidate for the Rangitīkei Electorate in the 2014 General Election....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Labour Offer Len Brown a Hotel Tax
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Labour Party's plan to allow councils to levy new 'pillow taxes' and regional petrol taxes. Reacting to this afternoon’s NZ Herald report Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union ,...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Cell phone evidence a first
    Cell phone evidence a first Evidence gathered solely from a cell phone has been used for the first time to convict a Hastings man for possessing child sexual abuse pictures. Michael Lawrence Worsnop, a 29-year-old orchard worker pleaded guilty to...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealand Aid Worker Helping in Gaza
    A New Zealand Red Cross nurse working in Gaza says she has never experienced anything like the current conflict in her long aid work career....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Parking officers deserve safety at work
    The union representing the Auckland Transport parking officer severely beaten on July 17 says everyone has a right to go about their job without fear for their safety....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Caritas Aotearoa NZ to provide Gaza humanitarian aid
    Caritas Jerusalem is providing medical assistance, food and other necessities to the thousands of vulnerable people affected by the escalating conflict in Gaza, and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is contributing an initial $20,000 to support the humanitarian...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
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