As we bind ourselves with the TPP, so other countries will fill the need

Written By: - Date published: 5:58 pm, December 4th, 2015 - 112 comments
Categories: business, Economy, Environment, exports, farming, farming, food, sustainability, trade, uncategorized - Tags:

Insecure, insufficient and adulterated food supplies are set to become one of the major problems of the 21st century, causing societal upheaval and discontent. In Egypt and Syria, they were central elements which helped to foment revolution. In Tahrir Square, masses of anti-government protesters chanted, “Bread, Freedom, Dignity.”

But bread was first.

As NZ is a party to the TPP, our ability to restrain the use of GMOs, pesticides and other non-organic approaches to food production and ingredient sourcing is likely to become very limited. This is a shame as NZ produce has always been valued for its “clean, green” image (if not always the substance), at a time when the increasingly wealthy middle classes in rapidly growing countries like India and China become more health conscious.

By signing up to and keeping NZ in the TPP, both Labour and National are crippling the potential NZ has in this field.

Russia, still reeling from food and other sanctions placed on it by Western countries last year is using the opportunity not just to become self-sufficient in food production but to undertake a strategic journey to become a world leader in ‘ecologically clean’ organic food production.

Russia could become the world’s largest supplier of ecologically clean and high-quality organic food, said President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. He also called on the country to become completely self-sufficient in food production by 2020.

“We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing,” said Putin, addressing the Russian Parliament on Thursday.

In contrast, with politicians and civil servants seemingly under the sway of trans-national corporate interests, NZ seems to be willingly surrendering this high-value, highly differentiated market to other players who have seen its possibilities.

According to Reuters/CNBC, official government pressure in Russia has seen the share of GMO foods in Russia decline from approx 12% a decade ago to virtually none today.

 

112 comments on “As we bind ourselves with the TPP, so other countries will fill the need ”

  1. weka 1

    “As NZ is a party to the TPP, our ability to restrain the use of GMOs, pesticides and other non-organic approaches to food production and ingredient sourcing is likely to become very limited.”

    Can you please be more specific?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      My expectation is that NZ will not be able to exclude or label food product ingredient imports or exports on the basis of GMO status.

      • Sacha 1.1.1

        Unless we negotiated a carve-out, that seems correct. I haven’t checked.

      • Macro 1.1.2

        That is how I understand it to be too. There are already many conditions put on the supply of new seed and that will be extended by TPP, all for the benefit of Monsanto…

        • weka 1.1.2.1

          Are you suggesting that Monsanto (or any company) can force NZ growers to use GMO seed? Or that they can try and sell it here despite any NZ law prohibiting GMO crops?

          • Macro 1.1.2.1.1

            Well that would be a restriction of trade wouldn’t it if the NZ govt persisted in banning GMO’s so I’m sure Monsanto would be off to the ISDS:

            Here is Andrew Geddis on the matter
            “If a country seizes an investment or passes new laws which make it worthless (for example, it suddenly bans a product produced in a factory owned by a foreign investor) and pays insufficient compensation, or none at all, the investor could use ISDS to bring a claim directly against that country, claiming a breach of the expropriation provision in the agreement and seeking compensation. ”
            http://pundit.co.nz/content/of-tpps-isdss-and-the-constitution

            • weka 1.1.2.1.1.1

              That’s referring to existing businesses. CV appears to be suggesting (although it’s unclear) that new businesses could start selling GMO crops here. Why not body parts, or child slaves then?

              • Macro

                That’s referring to existing businesses
                “Round up” is an existing product which is used extensively in this country. Many countries have now banned its use. Including South Africa, France, Chile, Brazil and Sri Lanka. It was banned years ago in Canada.
                http://ultraculture.org/blog/2014/04/01/5-countries-throwing-monsanto-ass/
                and
                http://theantimedia.org/more-european-countries-banning-glyphosate-monsantos-roundup/
                Under the TPP NZ could not do that.

                also – many GMO’s are developed specifically because they are as Monsanto claim “Round-up Ready”

                All the more reason for Monsanto to put pressure on NZ to introduce them.

                • weka

                  ““Round up” is an existing product which is used extensively in this country.”

                  Yes, but AFAIK it’s illegal to grow GMO crops in NZ without specific permission from the EPA. Which is what I was asking CV about, GE crops.

                  “All the more reason for Monsanto to put pressure on NZ to introduce them.”

                  Right. But that’s true whether the TPP exists or not. There is this idea that the TPP will allow companies to force contracts that don’t exist yet. I’d like to see that confirmed. I haven’t followed that closely but I thought it was only existing contracts that had to be honoured eg if Monsanto were growing crops in NZ and we tried to ban Roundup then we’d have to pay for the loss of business. Not sure if that applies to other companies using Roundup (eg if councils stop using glysphosate, can Roundup sue them?). But I don’t see how it applies to GE crops given there are so few of them in NZ currently.

                  I get the concerns, but the TPP is bad enough without overstating it’s reach.

                  • Bill

                    I believe the case of Canada seeking to ban a pre-existing, but “not for sale in Canada” US manufactured petrol additive might be a case in point. Canadian H&S found against the product. Their government department was over-ridden through a ISDS. At about the same time the EU banned the substance. No ISDS available in that case. A complaint from the company was heard in a UK court and rejected.

                    Petrol additives and GMO crops. I can’t see where any difference would lie between the two in terms of a company launching an ISDS claiming their trade was being restricted.

                    • weka

                      We already effectively have a ban in place on GE crops. Are you saying that is the same as the Canadian example (which I took to mean they tried to ban something after the agreement).

                    • Bill

                      Hmm. Could be a bit different I guess. Might say in the Canadian example that something cropped up? 😉

                    • weka

                      Or that process was well oiled ;-p

                  • Sacha

                    “There is this idea that the TPP will allow companies to force contracts that don’t exist yet. ”

                    Gives them more leverage to force concessions, regardless of the legal outcome. That’s the concern with Pharmac too.

              • greywarshark

                weka
                That’s conflating the argument surely. I thought you liked to keep coolly to the point under discussion. Just coping with the seedgod companies is bad enough without extras like body parts and child slaves entering the attempted discussion.

                • weka

                  CV appears to be saying that NZ can be forced to do X (grow GE crops) against its own existing laws. Other people have said this is true. I’m asking if that is true is it also true for other things that we have existing laws about. That doesn’t seem an unreasonable question and the examples seem relevant to the point. Use cannabis if body parts and child labour are too inflammatory.

          • AmaKiwi 1.1.2.1.2

            “Are you suggesting that Monsanto (or any company) can force NZ growers to use GMO seed? Or that they can try and sell it here despite any NZ law prohibiting GMO crops?”

            Absolutely.

            That’s the purpose of TPPA. To make American standards (or lack thereof) universal across the Pacific region.

            • weka 1.1.2.1.2.1

              AK, I’m asking how the TPP means that companies can force NZ to do either of those two things. Please explain how, in detail.

              • In the case of GM crops, anything has to go through the approval process. However, if we let something through the approval process that we shouldn’t and try to change the legislation so that we can ban it… THEN the ISDS will apply and would most likely have us paying for the privilege of writing our own law.

      • weka 1.1.3

        “My expectation is that NZ will not be able to exclude or label food product ingredient imports or exports on the basis of GMO status.”

        That’s for processing right? How does that affect growing?

        • Bill 1.1.3.1

          This example certainly applies to various consumer goods where price is impacted by standards (eg – safety standards). Just putting it out here in a GMO context for you to mull over.

          If GMO crops are cheaper for us consumers and if they are cheap enough that local non-GMO food producers are at risk of going out of business, then industry could pressure for the GMO free thing to be dropped in order to establish a level playing field.

          • weka 1.1.3.1.1

            Sure, but that situation (or potential for it) already exists and doesn’t have anything to do with the TPP.

            Pretty sure that industry pressure groups have been lobbying the NZ government all through the GE debates and processes over the last few decades. If they hadn’t, we’d have had absolute GE-free status (which is what by far the most of NZers wanted).

            • Bill 1.1.3.1.1.1

              No, the difference is that a country could, via various ploys, restrict sales of given products depending on safety regs etc. That’s now a restriction on trade and the lowest denominator will prevail…think ‘car safety regs’ that differ over countries etc.

              • weka

                Yes, trade. But not growing crops in NZ. Am I missing something here? If NZ companies want to grow GE crops in NZ they have to go through a process that is mandated by law. I assume it’s the same process for overseas companies. What you are suggesting is that that law has to be repealed because a new company wants to do a new thing (grow GE crops) in NZ. If that’s true, then why not the other examples I’ve given in this thread?

                I feel like we’re just going around in circles here. What are the various ploys specific to the TPP? Perhaps if that was made clear (the ‘how’) then it would make sense to me.

    • savenz 1.2

      TPPA not only supports Genetically Modified food (and monsanto is a big driver of TPPA) but also does not allow it to be labelled AND limits the ability to challenge at the border unsafe food.

      The limits of border control is a HUGE issue to NZ in particular as we have very few diseases here. Look at PSA virus – caused by the government changing the regulations of unmilled pollen for Kiwifruit. Under TPPA the government can be sued if they try to stop potentially diseased food coming in.

      TPPA is a race to the bottom of the lowest possible level of regulation with the highest possible regulation of litigation to stop poor, unsafe, unproven or diseased food entering each country.

      • savenz 1.2.1

        Far from being a help to an exporter of food like NZ, TPPA has the ability to actually wipe out our entire food economy by increasing our risk of bringing in diseases like Mad cow, foot and mouth, fruit fly and so forth…

        There are other issues too, like bloodstock in NZ which is disease free.

        The risks are HIGH the rewards are non existent… remind me again why we should be signing such a terrible deal to ALL the countries?

        (Oh yes, Obama’s legacy and the energy polluters need to get the governments to guarantee their existing pollution profits in case they go to clean power, etc etc ).

      • weka 1.2.2

        Can you please cite something credible to support the assertion that the TPP means NZ can be forced by companies to grow GE crops?

        I’ve now asked this multiple times in this thread and no-one has been able to either link or explain how that would happen.

        • savenz 1.2.2.1

          “Under the TPP, food labels could also be challenged as “trade barriers.” The TPP would impose limits on labels providing information on where a food product comes from. The TPP also would endanger labels identifying genetically modified foods and labels identifying how food was produced. The TPP would expand the limits on consumer labels already included in existing
          http://www.citizen.org/tpp-food-safety-facts

          “trade” agreements, like the World Trade Organization (WTO). But already under the WTO, the U.S. “dolphin-safe” tuna fish label and our country-of-origin meat labels have been successfully attacked by other countries. And, under the TPP, a foreign meat processing or food corporation operating within the United States could directly challenge our policies that they claim undermine their expectations – meaning a barrage of new demands for taxpayer compensation.”

          “Under the TPP, any U.S. food safety rule on pesticides, labeling or additives that is higher than international standards would be subject to challenge as “illegal trade barriers.” The U.S. could be required to eliminate these rules and allow in the unsafe food under threat of trade sanctions.

          The U.S. Food and Drug Administration already inspects less than 1% of all seafood imports for health hazards. Entering into the TPP with Malaysia and Vietnam, both TPP negotiating parties and major seafood exporters, would increase seafood imports and further overwhelm inspectors’ limited ability to ensure the safety of our food. Some TPP countries have serious shrimp and fish safety issues. For example, even with the minimal inspections, high levels of contaminants have been found in Vietnam’s seafood.”

          • weka 1.2.2.1.1

            That doesn’t answer my question. Can you please go and reread what I have said in this thread. I am asking specifically how GROWING GE CROPS could be forced in NZ due to the TPP. Sorry for shouting, but I feel I have been clear on this and everyone is answering questions I haven’t asked.

            CV in his post implied that NZ could be forced to grow GE crops. I’d like to know how the TPP makes that true. Labelling for international markets is a different issue. The link you provide is talking about food imports, not growing food domestically.

            • savenz 1.2.2.1.1.1

              @Weka – I’ll try to find the link for you. I think it is to do with the competition clause that means that TPPA signatories can not dis allow practises that are recognised internationally. i.e. if you want to plant a GM crop the local council or government can not stop you, as this would be considered anti competitive and stopping some ones rights to a profit.

              In addition this is a ‘living’ agreement too, whereby clauses can be continually added to the agreement by the signatories.

              And the US can also somehow add clauses in post the agreement as well.

              http://justinvestment.org/2014/08/tppa-shocking-us-certification-process-that-violates-countrys-sovereignty/

              • savenz

                @Weka

                Interesting link – our ability to market our GMO-free status under threat as well as a whole host of other issues.

                http://www.iatp.org/blog/201511/tpp-fine-print-biotech-seed-companies-win-again

                “Of the TPP countries, Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico and New Zealand are not yet members of the UPOV 91. Chile is also not yet a member, though it is already required to become a member under a previous Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. Under the TPP, these countries could face major changes to laws and rules that protect farmers’ rights when it comes to plant breeding and seed saving. The TPP IPR chapter also requires any additional countries that join the TPP to become members of UPOV 91. Countries currently considering joining the TPP include South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan—none of which are members of UPOV 91.”

                “Strong opposition may also arise in New Zealand, which currently has not approved any GMO crops for commercialization, requires any imported GMO foods to be labeled, and uses its GMO-free status as an export marketing tool. Brunei is just developing its regulatory framework for GMO crops.”

                • weka

                  Our ability to market our GE-free status internationally.

                  And sorry, but that assertion still doesn’t explain HOW this could be done.

                • savenz

                  @Weka

                  http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20151008.htm

                  “New Zealand depends on its clean green image and markets its GE-free status as a positive feature overseas. The damage to our national reputation could amount to a loss of billions of dollars over the years.

                  The loss to New Zealand agriculture is likely to be much more than the $256 million expected to be gained by the removal of tariffs [6].”

                  • weka

                    lolz, ok, I give up. (your quote about the effect on NZ’s exports is irrelevant to my question. I’m asking HOW the TPP countries can force us to grow GE crops).

                    • savenz

                      Weka our farm land is already being sold from under us, with TPP then any corporation can challenge local rules under the ISDS scheme.

                      Ie they can challenge in court NZ GE status – just like tobacco is currently challenging plain packaging in Australia which has cost 50 million to the government so far in legal action.

                    • weka

                      Tobacco companies had business already in existence before the Australian government decided to bring in new laws. That’s different to the situation with GE in NZ.

                      Under what law/court are the tobacco companies challenging the Australian govt?

              • weka

                Thanks. I’d like to see some evidence because it’s not quite making sense to me.

                “i.e. if you want to plant a GM crop the local council or government can not stop you, as this would be considered anti competitive and stopping some ones rights to a profit.”

                Ok, so would this apply to child labour? Or harvesting organs? Growing cannabis? Opium? Where’s the limit if it’s not countries’ existing laws?

                • savenz

                  @ Weka – the agreement is 6000 pages for a reason. If it was about ‘removing tariffs’ then a few pages can suffice. It is not about that it is about deregulating countries rules and regulations and having a separate court to arbitrate it. Monsanto is one of the leaders of the TPPA so that gives you an example of the motivation within the agreement.

                  TPPA would only apply to internationally legal things now, such as GMO which is legal in the US not child labour, harvesting organs, cannabis etc which are currently not legal internationally:)

                  However minimum wages could potentially be subject to legal action.
                  Currently in Wyoming, USA the minimum wage is $5.15 so that can give an idea of where NZ wages could go, even without the 65 cents minimum wages in Vietnam.

                  If you feel you are having financial difficulty on the current NZ minimum wage, then think what is going to happen under TPP.

                  • weka

                    Cannabis is legal in the US. Child labour appears to be practiced in Malaysia (although I couldn’t find the legal status of that). Two TPP signatories.

                    Not sure what you mean by legal internationally.

            • Macro 1.2.2.1.1.2

              The fact is weka that Monsanto has very deep pockets and is very litigious… not only in the states
              http://gmwatch.org/news/archive/2014/15760-monsanto-and-dow-sue-maui-county-over-gmo-cultivation-ban
              but in other countries as well. The TPPA gives them the opportunity to start legal proceedings under ISDS (which incidentally are not in a court of law but 3 chosen corporate lap dogs). At this very moment they are attempting to overturn mexican law banning GMO’s
              http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/03/20/monsanto-and-dupont-lose-initial-appeals-over-mexico-gm-maize-ban/#.VmJfbnt8g7A
              The TPPA will make it much easier for them and NZ hasn’t quite the same depth of pocket as Monsanto.

              • weka

                The upholding of the ban adds to a growing list of victories that includes the multinational corporation Monsanto, which last week saw its latest appeal rejected unanimously. On Wednesday February 25, the DuPont Corporation also lost an appeal. The class action case faces one more juridical review but there are an additional five amparos pending over limits the corporations seek, in effect, to block verifiable and effective application of precautionary measures previously ordered by the courts.

                That article appears to be saying that Monsanto can’t force Mexico to allow it to grow GE crops. Also, I think that Mexico allowed GE corn and then banned it, so that makes sense in terms of the TPP (Monsanto can argue that they’re being denied business they’ve already invested in).

                In that article the actions are being heard in domestic courts, so it’s not clear that this is an ISDS dispute. Do you know?

                I’m open to being wrong about this, but I still don’t see the evidence for NZ being forced into repealing laws that existed before the TPP was signed.

            • greywarshark 1.2.2.1.1.3

              weka
              There seems a difficulty in the opinionated commenters here to actually point to facts that presumably they know, and should be able to quote chapter and verse.

              Here is one from anti-GE group:
              http://itsourfuture.org.nz/trade-deal-threatens-farmers-and-food-businesses/
              “In essence the secret free trade agreement could be signed under the proviso that legislation will be changed to allow New Zealand to grow GE crops,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ (in food and environment)….

              The Ministry of Primary Industries is drafting changes to the HSNO regulations defining what a GMO is, and potentially subverting oversight and avoiding regulation. The changes could go even further, by mirroring the “Monsanto Bill” in Guatemala….

              “By advocating to remove the zero tolerance for transgenic seeds through changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) and Hazardous Substance and New Organisms (HSNO) legislation, they are kneecapping Brand New Zealand’s competitive position in the world market” said Claire Bleakley.

              Our unique reputation is based around producing healthy, safe high-quality food for consumers. More and more companies like Sanitarium and Goodman Fielder have sought to source all their ingredients as GE-free, using a verified segregated “non-GM” supply chain.
              However companies around the world are finding it increasingly difficult to source corn or soy that is uncontaminated, and look to countries such as New Zealand as a source of clean ingredients.

              And from Malcolm Eves a retired Hawkes Bay financial advisor:-
              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503459&objectid=11365319
              A sovereign country that attempts to enforce its laws against an American corporation can be sued by the corporation for “restraint of trade”.
              For example, New Zealand benefits from being a GE Free food producer. If Monsanto wants to sell GMO seeds in New Zealand or US corporations wish to sell genetically modified foods in New Zealand, and New Zealand enforces any laws against GMOs, the TPP allows New Zealand (or “GE Free” regions) to be sued in jurisdictions outside the courts of New Zealand for “restraint of trade”.

              and
              http://www.nationofchange.org/trans-pacific-partnership-and-monsanto-1372074730
              The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique. If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits….
              There appears not to be a specific agricultural chapter in the TPP. Instead, rules affecting food systems and food safety are woven throughout the text….
              The labeling of foods containing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) will not be allowed. Japan currently has labeling laws for GMOs in food. Under the TPP Japan would no longer be able to label GMOs. This situation is the same for New Zealand and Australia….
              Monsanto (the US corporation controlling an estimated 90% of the world seed genetics) has a dark history with Vietnam. Many believe that Monsanto has no right to do business in a country where Monsanto’s product Agent Orange is estimated to have killed 400,000 Vietnamese, deformed another 500,000 and stricken another 2 million with various diseases….
              With little or no competition for large corporations Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta now control 57 percent of the commercial food market.

              Note: The sentence in bold say that the references to food systems and safety are woven throughout the text rather than in a specific chapter for agriculture. Food, our most important need. Or is it water – what does This Pernicious Piece of Abuse say about that?

              The full text is apparently in this link.
              http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Treaties-and-International-Law/01-Treaties-for-which-NZ-is-Depositary/0-Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Text.php
              I started a word search on GMO and found none.
              Then I looked for Agriculture and it alternated between USA and Japan about four times.
              Changed to New Zealand and the first thing I came on was Tariff Elimination Rules (or similar wording). I thought – the usual suspects!
              Have no time for further searching.

  2. billmurray 2

    I fully support Labour walking away from the TPPA and making it a “point of difference” with National at the 2017 election but Labour are still having a ‘dollar each-way’ with the voters on the matter. By being both ‘for and against’ TPPA Labour is spreading confusion and idiocy in the electorate mind and they still bemoan their stalemate in the polls. The Greens do not want to ratify TPPA but Labour who need the Greens to form a coalition government are sitting on their hands whilst Rome burns. Who in their right mind could trust Labour with a government mandate.

    • AmaKiwi 2.1

      Because Labour prides itself on being a “broad church.” To maintain caucus consensus, they are reduced to the lowest common denominator which is zero. Do nothing.

      • Macro 2.1.1

        I think you just nailed it there! And that is exactly the philosophy of National too. National’s only driving “principle” is do nothing to upset the economy (ie make sure that we are alright), Labour, are now, not so far from them, however – to be charitable – they are more inclusive as to who constitutes “we”.

      • Chris 2.1.2

        That’s right. Labour stands for nothing. The Nothing Party. They need to be honest with the public about this and say clearly to everyone that they stand for nothing in order to make room for a party that stands for what Labour stood for 30 years ago.

        • Chris 2.1.2.1

          This would also have the added benefit of allowing those current Labour supporters who know that Labour stands for nothing to continue to vote for nothing and for those who haven’t caught up yet to vote for a party that stands for what Labour stood for 30 years ago.

        • greywarshark 2.1.2.2

          All this standing! We are in earthquake territory here, nothing is steady and reliable since the neo-liberal termites took over, and ate away our regulations, our inspectors, our controls on shoddy workmanship in favour of being fast and high flyers.

      • That’s the general gist of it.

        The more specific gist is that while the left wing of the party despises the TPPA, (perhaps a bit over-broadly, a few parts of the agreement are good, but unfortunately the rest of it is so bad it’s like trying to eat cereal someone’s puked in) the right wing of the party has a very significant faction of “trade liberals” who basically haven’t met a FTA they don’t like, who would likely walk away from the party (largely to its benefit) if it outright came out against the TPPA completely without some nuance.

        Not that nuance is bad in general, it’s simply that Labour has not come out swinging against all the parts of TPPA that are bad. Their reservations on the deal are hugely insufficient, but if they DO decide to be clear that they’re opposing it eventually, (or even proposing withdrawing from it if elected) then they get points for coming to the right conclusion.

    • savenz 2.2

      @Bill Murray – +100 – its called blind neoliberal ideology plus, there is a TRADE DEAL not good but DONT MISS OUT!

      Gets them every time.

      • Tautuhi 2.2.1

        Nationals stance on the TPPA is just sign it and worry about it later, just like Asset Sales just sell them and move on, they don’t actually think about the long term consequences of these decisions.

        A 6000 page legal document ?

        I wonder how many lawyers in NZ have studied it thoroughly and understood the ramifications of this document ?

        Why doesn’t Q + A get Key and Groser on their show live and ask them some pertinant questions after all they are the ones signing the document ?

        • Leftie 2.2.1.1

          @Tautuhi

          +1000

        • greywarshark 2.2.1.2

          Tautuhi
          Q. How many lawyers does it take to screw a country?
          A. (I can’t think of anything sharp enough. Anyone?)

          With certain exceptions to the above: Micky Savage etc.

  3. Michael 3

    CV, why do you post about Russia so much? I think you’ve been watching too much RT.

    And GMOs don’t need to be banned, they aren’t unhealthy. The left should not be anti-science on GMOs like the right is anti-science on climate change.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      GMOs represent a systemic danger to the ecosystem.

      The science behind GMOs is driven by corporate greed and corporate shareholder profits.

      Russian scientists understand this and their leaders are acting on it.

      Why are you such a proponent of this adulterated, untested food?

      • Michael 3.1.1

        I personally support compulsory GMO labelling so that people who don’t want to buy/eat them don’t have to. But I don’t think there is strong enough scientific evidence to warrant a ban.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          You’re looking at this from the wrong perspective. You want to wait until there is evidence of systemic and permanent ecological damage before acting? How does this make sense?

          Why open our ecosystem to risks like this for the sake of corporate profit?

          • Kiwiri 3.1.1.1.1

            Do check out Nassim Taleb and colleagues on the application of the Precautionary Principle to GMOs.

        • The scientific evidence is that there is currently nothing harmful about existing GMO crops, true.

          However, there are still two good reasons not to use them.

          One is the problem of contamination. If anything subtle goes wrong with a GMO organism that isn’t grown in a clean lab, it’s pretty likely to escape where it’s being grown and spread before it can be destroyed. The obvious failures and disasters will likely be contained, but on the precautionary principle, would you really want to risk a subtle failure getting out and causing damage to the ecosystem somehow?

          Secondly, GMOs don’t market well. Wherever they’re required to be labelled, GMO products do not sell. Why would we want to have any GMO crops or animals in New Zealand and risk cross-contamination when GMO-free is a positive marketing value?

        • greywarshark 3.1.1.3

          I think Michael wants to be a cute furry thing with spots – a guinea- pig. Which would be preferable being a guineapig with spots or just being oneself with unexplained spots from some allergic reaction.

          And GMO labelling – reading the label takes time if you need to do it with each item. And actually finding the wording you are looking for and then deciphering the spider writing with the important information. And have you ever watched a parent shopping, have they got time to study, while the children dash round and pull things off shelves or get bored and break into the food?

          The average person can’t imagine the mendacity of the country’s leaders and directors of departments. People think they do their job with full information applied to ensure the best outcomes for people. They would never recommend anything that could harm.

          And then there’s the drift of pollen into an innocent grower’s own crop and being sued for possession of proprietary pollen, or someone racing round their crop with Roundup and you notice all the other plants dying within two days instead of the usual week. And the lack of bees which have succumbed to a diet of chemicals like Roundup and a sprinkling of nicotinoids? on top. Not strictly GMO but part of the arsenal against Nature and your fellow man, woman, child and bee, butterfly, cat, or dog or…..

    • One Two 3.2

      And GMOs don’t need to be banned, they aren’t unhealthy

      You can’t prove that GMO are not unhealthy

      Simple risk assesment renders your comment to junk status

    • maui 3.3

      Unless you want to be eating food crops that have been genetically modified so they can be drenched in Roundup and still grow I would be very wary of GM. Roundup is now being banned from use across Europe because of health concerns.

      If Fonterror came up with a new milk that they said had double the calcium with a caveat that they had played around with the genetic makeup, I’m not how many would be keen to go for it.

      • Tautuhi 3.3.1

        Interesting question marks are starting to arise about glysophate (Round Up) toxicity, could be a major if proven. Unfortunately with agricultural chemicals toxicity problems only tend to appear 20-30 years after the product has been released onto the market?

        Genetic engineering is another story and the long term effects will not be understood for another 20-30 years, we need to proceed with caution and make sure we do not lose the genetic seed/gene pool we already have.

        Interferring with nature and the use of chemicals in the environment I believe is causing major health problems in the 1st world countries ie bowel and breast cancer here in NZ where we have some of the highest rates in the Western World.

    • Macro 3.4

      It’s not so much the suspicion of adulterated food – although that is a factor. (Why is the precautionary principle never applied for example? It’s more a case of let’s just wait and see how it affects people.)
      There are all the environmental issues as well, mono culture, the degradation of the genetic base, the loss of species, almost all these new seeds are developed with the use of herbicide (roundup) in mind, with all the consequent problems associated with that, and there are many.
      But underlying all of this are the weazel words that all this is really to help feed the poor, when actually nothing could be further from the truth. The only people to gain from these new seeds are not the farmers or the poor, but the corporations who supply the seeds, fertilizers, and herbicides, manly Monsanto.
      All these are issues of the left, and so it is not being anti science to campaign against the impoverishment of farmers by corporations placing inequitable restrictions on farmers. It’s not anti science to see the dangers of monoculture and ecological degradation, it’s not anti science to point out that the persistent use of herbicides kills earthworms, and bees, and other soil organisms, upon which we depend for the maintenance of healthy soils.

      • AmaKiwi 3.4.1

        I was watching a documentary from the “good old days.” People were being drenched with DDT, which they were told was as harmless as baby powder.

        Then we had Agent Orange.

        Today DuPont is losing massive lawsuits in Ohio and West Virginia because the waste from their Teflon factory has poisoned a thousand square miles of farmland and its ground water (reference: The Intercept).

        The TPPA wasn’t written by the International Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Friends of the Earth, Save the Children, etc. It was written by the meanest people for the meanest motives.

        • Macro 3.4.1.1

          Yep! It’s all very short term, once over lightly thinking, with regard any new product, or silver bullet for this, that, or the other thing. Sometimes I think as I get old (and more grumpy) “maybe the Luddites were onto something?”
          I’ve banged on about plastic bags here before – but really – when you look at the environmental damage that this, supposedly benign product, has caused; you wonder – “what the F**K are we doing to this planet?”

  4. Once was Tim 4

    @ CV – looking at the headline – I presume you mean there are other nations (such as BRIC countries – but not necessarily them) waiting in the wings to fill the needs of the many when the inevitable happens? (Question Mark).
    Pardon me if that sounds a bit fik, but if that is what you mean then I’d agree.

    Right now politicians (predominantly the Right), more more generally, seem to unwittingly be putting themselves in a place (perhaps I mean ‘SPACE’) that will ensure they become totally irrelevant in Joe and Josephine’s thinking.

    For example (but more broadly), Labour seems determined to alienate itself from its base, te Natzis never really did understand the concept of representative demockeracy (and choose every opportunity to defeat it), and the Greens ….. well they’re becoming harder to explain as the days go by (I mean ffs – imagine appointing a corporatist as a so called Leader – and imagining that is somehoe going to turn out OK)
    Not much left really is there! What i do care about however is the idea of self-determination (and sovereignty) – firstly locally, secodly regionally, and then (AND ONLY YHEN) globally.
    It’s scary to think which political party comes closest to that concept.
    One thing is for sure tho’ …… Labour ain’t getting a vote UNTIL, and ONLY until they prove themselves committed to their founding principles and a GENUINE concern for the least well off in whatever society emerges.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Labour is a political vehicle that was hijacked 30-40 years ago, first for a completely different ideology than it was founded on (neoliberalism), and since then that crew has been replaced with a wishy washy careerist lot for whom keeping their positions and getting power is the main motivator.

      Sincerity, genuineness, authenticity around left wing ideology are therefore not things you will see out of Labour or out of Andrew Little.

      • Tautuhi 4.1.1

        Labour lost it’s way in the 1980’s and has never recovered, however NZ needs Labour to get it’s act together otherwise we will have another 3-6 years of the neo-liberal Nact Party!

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          I agree that’s what NZ needs from Labour, but it’s not possible.

        • Kiwiri 4.1.1.2

          More like Labour is gettings its ACT together ? heh.

          • greywarshark 4.1.1.2.1

            Kiwiri
            Too Right!

            and Chooky
            Good if Labour was sitting on a picket fence. Maybe when they get called to answer for their crimes of omission and commission, they will be forced to do that for hours, suffering the sort of non-torture (according to the west) that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners did.

  5. Chooky 5

    +100… good post CV…New Zealand should not be signing the TPP …thus far NZF and the Greens are against signing

    the NZLP as per usual is sitting on the fence …and will probably go along with signing it like Jonkey nactional

    • Leftie 5.1

      @Chooky say that to the National government. It doesn’t matter to National what the other parties think, like us, Labour and the opposition do not have a say in it. National’s executive are wanting to sign it off. Most other TPPA countries are putting it to a parliamentary vote, why is John key refusing to do that here?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        It doesn’t matter to National what the other parties think, like us, Labour and the opposition do not have a say in it.

        Labour can still bloody OPPOSE the TPPA instead of caving.

        And they can commit to exiting the TPPA when they take power.

        Instead of co-operating with National’s plans.

        • Leftie 5.1.1.1

          And then what CV? it won’t stop National’s executive from signing it off, will it? All those who oppose the TPPA should be putting pressure on the current National government, not wasting time tearing the Labour party apart, who like us have NO SAY in it whatsoever.

          • savenz 5.1.1.1.1

            @Leftie – of course Labour has a say in it. They can say they agree with it or not. Yes we know National bought it in, we know National are going to sign it, but the Greens and NZ First have a clear opinion on TPPA – don’t sign it.

            Labour have not been able to say yes or no, which is actually more of a cop out than all the other parties, arguably including the Natz.

            Labour don’t have a say in Christmas Island either, but still have a clear position on it, and have travelled to Christmas Island and had talks with the OZ PM about it. Nope it is not their decision but they have influence on it.

            So their excuse can’t be ‘We can do nothing on TPPA so we will not do anything” does not wash.

            • Chooky 5.1.1.1.1.1

              +100 savenz…well said

              …we have a gutless neolib Labour Party…which does not deserve to be called a Labour Party….it is a watered down version of jonkey nact

              • Leftie

                Well you would say that Chooky, you have made your hate for the Labour party well known. Does it help? Does it change what the current National government are doing? Does it hold the current National government to account?

                What we really have here is a gutless self serving corrupt neolib National government that has largely placed itself above our laws and away from any kind of accountability, even from people like you.

                • Chooky

                  @ ‘Leftie'(?)…as you are such a sycophant of Andrew Little …read this…Little and Labour could have done a lot more to oppose the TPPA…

                  ‘Flouting The Rules: Why has Andrew Little rejected a winning TPPA strategy for a guaranteed loser?’

                  http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/10/14/flouting-the-rules-why-has-andrew-little-rejected-a-winning-tppa-strategy-for-a-guaranteed-loser/

                  • Leftie

                    @Chooky, yes you would say that too, but I am not a sycophant of Andrew Little, and not everyone holds the same opinion as Chris Trotter, who is a big fan of John Key, and is as anti Labour as you are.

                    Still nothing on the sell out National government and it’s TPPA then.

                    • Chooky

                      plenty has been said on the sellout of the jonkey Nactional government ….we just dont expect the Labour Party to support them

                      ( quit the disingenuous pretence)

                      …as for Chris Trotter being a big fan of John Key…this is an outright lie and if you have anything to back it up …i suggest you do so

                      (imo you are not a ‘Leftie’ at all …wolves in sheeps clothing and all that)

                    • Chris

                      And a fucking idiot, to boot.

                      [lprent: Read the policy. Pointless abuse is unwelcome. I can’t see a point in this comment. ]

                  • Chooky

                    @ Chris…’Leftie’ is a bit like punching the tar baby…this tar baby is into quantity and lies rather than quality of argument

                    …in other words search for truth /facts is not where ‘Leftie’ is at …but rather defending the indefensible and having the last word

                    imo ‘Leftie’ is a waste of time

                    • Leftie

                      Well that’s pointless abuse Chooky, just in case you missed this comment posted earlier. In regards to your comment further above that I am unable to leave a reply on, “plenty has been said on the sellout of the jonkey Nactional government” but not really by you Chooky, and as for “we just dont expect the Labour Party to support them” as yet Labour have not made a decision on the TPPA.

                      “( quit the disingenuous pretence)” maybe you follow your own advice.

                      “…as for Chris Trotter being a big fan of John Key…this is an outright lie and if you have anything to back it up …i suggest you do so”

                      In the last 7 years Chris Trotter has often wrote glowingly of John key, and there have only been about afew articles in the vast swathes of anti Labour pieces where he has shown annoyance at John key’s bad behaviour.
                      Chris Trotter even made John Key his pick for New Zealander of the year.
                      <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/chris-trotter/9565227/New-Zealander-of-the-Year

                      “(imo you are not a ‘Leftie’ at all …wolves in sheeps clothing and all that)”

                      I don’t think you are in a position to judge anyone on how left they are. At least I am not using lines from RWNJ’s to argue with, like you do.

                    • Chris

                      That’ll learn ’em, Leftie! You’re on fire!

            • Leftie 5.1.1.1.1.2

              You don’t get it Savenz, John Key is refusing to put it to a parliamentary vote, Labour, like us, DO NOT HAVE A SAY IN IT. It doesn’t matter one iota to John key what NZF, Greens or Labour says, and Labour have not made a decision on it yet, that’s their call, it’s not a cop out to be fully informed before they make their decision publicly known. National’s executive are the ones who want to sign it off, it’s no excuse when Labour said they can’t stop what National are doing. To repeat, Labour like us, have no say in it, John key made sure of that. You should be asking why is NZ not talking the TPPA for a parliamentary vote like most other TPPA countries are? All it would take is for one country not to ratify it and the whole deal is off.

              Labour were doing their job to highlight the abuse of human rights and a gutless John key sitting on his hands when it comes to standing up for NZers. Did anything change for the better? What influence are you talking about?

          • Chris 5.1.1.1.2

            You’re right, leftie, Labour has no say in anything because they’re such a fucking hopeless opposition.

            • Leftie 5.1.1.1.2.1

              No surprise with that comment Chris. Was National hopeless when they were in opposition?

              Why won’t John Key and his National government put the TPPA to a parliamentary vote? Doesn’t seem democratic, does it?

              • Chris

                I despise the National party and everything it stands for. I think Key is a nasty operator and his behaviour around the TPPA is just one example amongst many that shows that. But I’m not going to be told to shut up about Labour’s hopelessness as an opposition and that I need to be state the obvious about how fucked the government is.

                Your analysis is unbelievably shallow and superficial. You assume that criticising Labour is akin to giving National a free pass. Well, my friend, it’s actually the other way around. By failing to hold Labour to account as an effective opposition we’re giving Key and his mates a free pass. And that is what you’re doing and if you really did want to oust this horrible government you’d be doing all you could to make sure Labour woke up and started doing its job.

                • Chooky

                  +100 Chris

                  • Leftie

                    -100 Chris.

                  • Leftie

                    @Chooky. In regards to your comment further above that I am unable to leave a reply on, “plenty has been said on the sellout of the jonkey Nactional government” but not really by you Chooky, and as for “we just dont expect the Labour Party to support them” as yet Labour have not made a decision on the TPPA.

                    “( quit the disingenuous pretence)” maybe you follow your own advice.

                    “…as for Chris Trotter being a big fan of John Key…this is an outright lie and if you have anything to back it up …i suggest you do so”

                    In the last 7 years Chris Trotter has often wrote glowingly of John key, and there have only been about afew articles in the vast swathes of anti Labour pieces where he has shown annoyance at John key’s bad behaviour.
                    Chris Trotter even made John Key his pick for New Zealander of the year.
                    <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/chris-trotter/9565227/New-Zealander-of-the-Year

                    “(imo you are not a ‘Leftie’ at all …wolves in sheeps clothing and all that)”

                    I don’t think you are in a position to judge anyone on how left they are. At least I am not using lines from RWNJ’s to argue with, like you do.

                    • Chris

                      Thanks for brightening up my otherwise work-filled afternoon, Leftie. You’re a gift that keeps on giving.

                • Leftie

                  @Chris, why don’t you show it then? and no one is telling you to shut up about Labour, but be constructive, how about playing fair by speaking out about the National government, they are the ones signing the TPPA, not the Labour party, and while you tear Labour apart you ARE giving National a free pass, because you are not discussing National and highlighting what they are doing are you?
                  Breaking news dude, Labour is NOT the government, National is. So how does slagging off Labour at every opportunity, while saying nothing about National hold the National government to account ?

                  Was National hopeless while being in opposition for 9 years? Have the opposition ever truly been effective in our political history?

                • Korero Pono

                  +100 Chris

          • Chris 5.1.1.1.3

            Thanks Clem.

  6. Tautuhi 6

    Not sure about this GMO stuff from my experience nature always wins, ie chemical resistant weeds and fungi. Similar to human resistance to penicillin, only time will tell.

    Corporate profit making is definitely behind GMO’s.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    I wouldn’t bet the farm on the organic purity of Russian produce either – Russian oligarchs do what they please, and if food purity especially offshore were to suffer they wouldn’t lose much sleep over it.

    GMOs will be safeish one day – when they concentrate on low risk non-contentious applications like lysine synthesis or pharmaceuticals rather than terminator genes and herbicide tolerance. About a generation away, unless there’s a major screwup.

    • weka 7.1

      If Russia wants to export organically produced food, like everywhere else it will need growers that are certified under a scheme that reports to IFOAM, the international certification body. Places like Europe aren’t going to accept a container of food labelled ‘organic’, it will need to be certified.

      As for internal consumption, the sustainability and food resiliency movements now work with concepts of moving in the right direction rather than concepts of purity. So producing local, spray-free, organic and beyond organic are all on a continuum with the intention of supporting best practice. Russia producing all its own food with the intention of that food being ‘clean’ is revolutionary compared to NZ which still only manages a 10 or 15% organic rate (I’m guessing) but still imports large amounts of food. This makes us vulnerable to oil shocks, GFC, PO and AGW.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      I wouldn’t bet the farm on the organic purity of Russian produce either – Russian oligarchs do what they please, and if food purity especially offshore were to suffer they wouldn’t lose much sleep over it.

      Putin has no problem jailing Billionaire Oligarchs who undermine his strategies.

      • Stuart Munro 7.2.1

        Quite – but is Putin’s strategy organic food or the claim of organic food? Key’s carbon position in Paris shows that claims are cheap.

        Russia may not have gone down the GMO path but their regulation of agricultural poisons is an unknown. If they have treated the hazard the way they have radioactivity there are likely to be pretty serious problems.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          Yep fair criticism…time will tell if its just hot air akin to our “Knowledege Economy” or “Jobs Summit”.

          • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1.1

            The interwebs point to declining pesticide use in Russia in the 90s (Russia was broke) but pesticide use is growing at over 20% a year, and Russia now manufactures most of its own. Could go either way.

  8. Scottie 8

    Fantastic post with informative opinions. It strikes me the National government has taken the same approach with TTP as the corporates have with GMOs. Let’s just do it and see what happens. All the worse when the public has not been given all the information about TTP to take part in the decision.

  9. savenz 10

    http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=5411

    (info on food and TPP)

    also quite funny reading about TPP from a right wing American perspective. (who are also against TPP for similar reasons in many cases but from a different ideological perspective).

    “Unfortunately, some of the loudest critics on this score are notorious leftists who regularly parade against capitalism. Republican leaders have been able to use that fact as a reason to disregard the compelling evidence that these criticisms of TPP/TTIP are solidly based. First of all, it is important to note that in most cases the big, international mega-corporations long ago ceased to consider themselves American companies and also long ago ceased to favor free enterprise capitalism: They are corporate welfare drones, the masters of government bailouts, government loans, government subsidies, government contracts. They are little different from the giant State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) or “private” corporations owned by communist princelings and commissars in China and Russia.

    This is especially evident in the lineup of globalist corporations behind the TPP/TTIP: Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Dow Chemical, Unilever, Chevron, Caterpillar, UPS, Walmart, Chase, Citi — and a bevy of Big Business coalitions: Global Business Dialogue, Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Transatlantic Policy Network, Atlantic Council, and more. These are “crony capitalists,” not free enterprise capitalists; they prefer to use the power of government rather than innovation, risk, and excellence to prosper. Many of these corporations and associations have their representatives working directly with the TPP/TTIP negotiators, and they are the “cleared” elites that get privileged access to the documents you and I don’t get to see, and our elected representatives only access under extreme controls.”

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/21010-10-reasons-why-you-should-oppose-obamatrade

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    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    6 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    7 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    1 week ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago

  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
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