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Written By: - Date published: 11:09 am, October 18th, 2008 - 64 comments
Categories: economy, Environment, families, greens - Tags:

We live on a finite planet. We can’t just keep adding 75 million people a year to the human population while also increasing the average resource consumption per person without collapsing the biological systems that support us. 

Current projections have the world population rising another 2-2.5 billion in the next 40 years to peak around 9 billion before beginning a gradual descent. But that is likely too be too little, too late. We are already well above the population carrying capacity of the world; we are consuming not only the natural resources we need but degrading the ability of the world to produce more resources that we can consume. Barring some technological miracle, the human population will start to fall. The only question is whether we manage the process by lowering our birthrates to significantly below the replacement level (2.1), which has already happened in many developed countries, or we wait until its too late and collapse is forced on us. 

Which is why it is such a shame that we can’t even talk about population management in our politics. Even the Greens’ policy to “Ensure that all potential and existing parents have full and free access to family planning services so that informed decisions about the number and spacing of children can be made by the parents concerned” has come in for attack as if it was some kind of call for a One-child policy. I expect that kind of reactionary, head-in-the-sand garbage that National and ACT came out with from them but the Maori Party disappointed me. There is also a long history of population management among Polynesian peoples and we can look to Polynesia for the classic example of what happens when population exceeds carrying capacity: Easter Island. I would have thought the Maori Party might have a more mature attitude to the need for our population to be in harmony with our environment.

The Greens do not, and would not, propose any kind of compulsory limits on birthrates. Like all Green politics at heart, the Greens’ population policy is about informing people and encouraging them to take responsibility to the consequences of their choices. It’s a tragedy that our political discourse is not mature enough to have that conversation.

64 comments on “Childish”

  1. randal 1

    our poltical discourse is not mature about anything. we have a meedia that operates under a mantle of creating dissatisfaction over unmet needs created by itself and addiction to oil and its derivatives. still its not just new zealand. the whole world has gone mad trying to fulfill juvenile dreams of omnipotence fostered by an infatilising process that wil not cease till the oil runs out.

  2. milo 2

    Education for women seems to be the key to containing population growth.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    I think it would be useful to have this debate.

    There are big differences however between the international population issues and the New Zealand population issues. We need to maintain and grow our population if we’re going to pay for the retirement incomes of the baby-boomer generation. We don’t have a population problem in New Zealand.

    There is a big disparity between the population growth of low-income families and middle-income families. Most of the non-immigration population growth in New Zealand is from low income families. How do you discourage low-income New Zealanders from having so many children?

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    I would have thought the Maori Party might have a more mature attitude to the need for our population to be in harmony with our environment.

    The MP, IMO, is working toward Maori being the dominant race in the country so that they have control. They seem quite proud that Maori have well above replacement birthrates even though such a birthrate is probably adding to their poverty.

  5. LOL!!!!!

    Then Green Party out of all the partys are less about giving informed information, but are all about making their views being complusory.

    In fact they are downright disgusting in not listening to other points of view that may conflict with their viewpoint.

    If they get 10%, this country is going downhill.

  6. coge 6

    The Greens score a big own goal on this one. Frankly, it is only one step away from having policy addressing “the fertility of the unfit”

  7. higherstandard 7

    Why don’t the greens potter off and sell this policy to those countries where it might make some sense rather than foist it on NZ, truly bizarre.

  8. Greg 8

    “Like all Green politics at heart, the Greens’ population policy is about informing people and encouraging them to take responsibility to the consequences of their choices.”

    Is that a joke? ……….Two words, ‘light bulbs’………………..Oh and lets not forget about another two………’shower heads’

  9. Brett Dale
    “If they get 10%, this country is going downhill.”

    Were you the one on kiwiblog the other day claiming that NZ is not a viable country in the meidum term?

  10. toad 10

    Brett Dale said: Then Green Party out of all the partys are less about giving informed information, but are all about making their views being complusory.

    Brett, try reading the policy. There is nothing in it about anything being compulsory. Frankly, I was disgusted with the 3News coverage of it:


    The Green Party “recognises that a sustainable population level for New Zealand would not be final and fixed but flexible.”

    There is no mention of a “population cap”.

    3News: “But the party’s population policy was attached to it too and it warns the world’s population is growing too fast and New Zealand’s population should be capped at a maximum of 5.7 million.”


    “Ensure that potential and existing parents have full and free access to countrywide Family Planning services so that informed decisions about the number and spacing of children can be made at the appropriate level, by the parents concerned

    3News: “…a policy limiting the number of children.”

    Policy: The Greens immigration policy is about increasing NZ’s refugee quota from 750 to 1000 per year to allow for climate-change immigrants/refugees primarily from the Pacific, and that we should retain capacity for returning kiwis.

    3News: “They are suggesting Kiwis should think twice about having children of their own but keep the door open to immigrants and refugees.”

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    Toad. TV3 may as well have got the Brethren to write their copy for them. 😉

    Are you aware of plans on making a formal complaint? That’s some shit journalism right there.

  12. Quoth the Raven 12

    I wholeheartedly agree with Steve’s post. No environmentalist should be taken seriously if they don’t broach the subject of human populaion growth. It is the issue that underlies all other environmental issues. It should be discussed more openly because we’re going to have to face up to it sooner or later and it will be a lot harder to do something about it later.

    coge – your being absurd. It’s not one step away from addressing the fertility of your kind.

  13. Gooner 13

    Maybe the World is over-populated. But NZ isn’t

    Maybe the World emits 99.98% of all greenhouse gases. But NZ doesn’t. It emits 0.02%.

    We are irrelevant.

    This is simply Green Party alarmism.

  14. coge 14

    QTR, it’s not absurd at all. This green ethos implies we are all unfit to breed.

  15. Bill 15

    I always get suspicious when peeps bang on about over population. Where is the evidence? I believe that Europe has some of the most densely populated areas on the planet and yet, relative to global measures, debilitating poverty is not a problem.

    Environmentally, Europe is no more screwed overall than the islands of the Pacific. Before anyone jumps up and down on that point, understand that there are absolutely no natural, (ie original) environments left in the Pacific…they are all products of human intervention through centuries of immigration.

    Easter Island is NOT an example of over population. Easter Islanders over harvested a particular palm tree that was growing there. It couldn’t replace/ regenerate because of introduced pests. With no materials left for building ocean going canoes, those left behind were surviving in the face of denuded resources.

    On the resource front, it is true that resources we depend on are being depleted, wasted and mis-used. A smaller population would only delay the effects of an absence of resources. Population is not the problem. our systems of (mis) distribution and idiotic resource use are the problems.

    On the few comments above regarding breeders being more prevalent lower socio -economic groups well, maybe they simply haven’t understood that they are meant to aspire to be rationally optimising economic units yet and have instead preserved a sense and feel of what it means to be human.

  16. Coge:
    “QTR, it’s not absurd at all. This green ethos implies we are all unfit to breed.”

    Exactly, any real blue blooded National supporter knows its only the poor and the Maori who are unfit to breed.

    Pascal’s bookie:
    “Are you aware of plans on making a formal complaint? That’s some shit journalism right there.”

    Yep, fire off an email to Bill English and he can drop his mates on the board a line, it will be sorted out in no time, in fact Canwest will broadcast a retraction on all of their stations world wide, and all their radio stations.

  17. randal 17

    yep…the real problems are monocultures and oildependence. at the moment we have the luxury of debate but when the effects sheet home there will be a rapid de-population beyond anybody’s ability to control and flapping the gums will be of no use whatsoever.

  18. Lance 18

    “Like all Green politics at heart, the Greens’ population policy is about informing people and encouraging them to take responsibility to the consequences of their choices.’

    Uh huh:


    Though sometimes the incentivise step gets skipped.

    This kind of progression would be like those “voluntary” standards that get “suggested” with the warning that “voluntary” standards must be met or they will make them compulsory…

    “We are already well above the population carrying capacity of the world; we are consuming not only the natural resources we need but degrading the ability of the world to produce more resources that we can consume.” [citation needed] (multiple, independent sources would be helpful])

  19. coge 19

    Killinginthenameof. It’s the Green party that has proposed this policy, not National. Does that make it OK?

  20. The Realist 20

    People get upset because it is a stupid policy. While the world may supposedly have too many people the arguement could be made NZ has too little and that around 5 m would be better. And the Green policy in most cases is being put into action all around with lower birth rates among all ethnic groups as people in theory get ‘richer’, better educated and have access to health care, start their families later.

    In most Western countries (i.e Italy, Spain etc) the birth rate is now too low with huge social issues in 10-20 years due to a lack of young people, tax payers and support for the elderly.

    It smacks a bit too much of big brother….and think about it if NZ first had come out with this idea, we would all be yelling Facist!

  21. chris 21

    Well obviously I expected this sort of response from all the ‘head in the sand’ types that still to this day refuse to believe pressing environmental issues and deduce that such policies because they are from the greens are some sort of mass social engineering conspiracy. WAKE UP, they are simply pointing out realities in the world that we some day will have to bite the bullet about, Change now is necessary to mitigate the effects we will inevitably see down the tracks and because delaying it any further we run the risk of doing too little too late.

    No doubt people eg. Bill, Brett Dale, ‘coge’ and ‘higherstandard’ etc. who posted above. My speel probably won’t resonate with you because you are too fucking closed mind to cast away prejudices or whatever it is to accept Facts.

    To Bill, who thinks that overpopulation is not a global problem whatsoever.

    If you want to delve in to the number of ACADEMIC RESEARCH (Nerd researches, NOT deranged greenies) coming out for… ohhh I dunno maybe the last 40 years? Warning about the problems with overpopulation eg. since Ehlrichs ‘The Population Bomb’ Its become pretty clear that given that the worlds population has doubled since 1960 and it is increasing at a rate Never before seen in world history. IT IS BEGINNING TO HAVE A BIT OF AN IMPACT

    eg. Resource Depletion, (Oil, Forestry), global food crisis.

    Global food production has only just managed to stay ahead of population growth however all projections I have seen have made it pretty darn clear that population growth is now overtaking food production. Couple this with the fact that currently food is already disproportionately distributed globally ie. the richest 20% of the world consume 80% of the worlds resources. ie. Poor people die of hunger everyday, Add in the fact that prices for many staple foods have been skyrocketing recently eg. Maize price has tripled. Price of rice has doubled, Wheat has doubled All in the last two years. Combined you have a nasty recipe for disaster.

    Now you sitting in your comfort here in NZ can choose to be oblivious to such problems or you can listen to what the Greens suggest.
    It is simply Impractical that population can keep growing at the rate it does now because the earth cannot support us, this is true of right here in NZ. eg. Water in Canterbury and parts of the Waikato is now fully allocated. Also we get plenty of food from overseas so We Are part of the problem in that more of us = greater demand for a smaller supply of food.

    I could go on and on but I am disgusted by the narrow mindedness of the aforementioned morons who posted to this with shit like ‘Oh the greens should take this policy somewhere else’ and laughed at it. Without being aware of lots of Science out there that supports this

    We are the end of this world and only a few people seem to give a shit.

    SOURCES: EXAMPLES http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/aug/31/climatechange.food


    Go look at them and learn something.

  22. marco 22

    Good on the Greens for standing up for what they believe in. They are the one party that refuses to comprimise their principles to pander to the general public. Unfortunately the policy is completely bizarre given New Zealands low overall birthrate.

  23. Lance 23

    Ironically I’m in the middle of cooking dinner – so I’ll keep this brief.

    “Couple this with the fact that currently food is already disproportionately distributed globally”

    From whence this distribution? The finite stockpile of food we keep in big silos? Ready to be shipped out in fair and equal amounts?

    Captcha: observe green

  24. rave 24

    This is exactly NOT the issue that the Greens need to come up with just before an election and at the beginning of a global recession. Idealist wankers! It has the same unworldly quality as backing Key to steal from the piggy bank for a moral high.

    Population is ONE variable in the global situation and the least amenable to urgent action short of genocide. And that’s happening anyway and must be stopped.

    What is much more actionable is removing the fucking bosses who run the system for their profit and screw the rest of us, keeping the workers and peasants in poverty so they have more children so that some might survive and work for a subsistence survival.

    The bosses’ have proven again and again that they are superfluous. They are parasites.

    Population control will come when the masses take over the world’s resources and decide democratically how to allocate to each according to their need and from each according to their work.

    Its Malthus or Marx.

  25. outofbed 25

    i see in the latest poll National are trending down
    so is Labour, but the Greens are trending up
    which would entirely match my anecdotal evidence campaigning.
    Green will get 10% for sure

  26. Lance 26

    “Population control will come when the masses take over the world’s resources and decide democratically how to allocate to each according to their need and from each according to their work”

    Gee sounds peachy. Why didn’t we think of that already…

  27. randal 27

    hey I’ve got a car. its big. its blue. bigger than yours and bigger than my wifes, and my sons and my daughters and its loud and heck I just gotta have my car…brrrmmm brrrmmmbrrrmmm.

  28. chris 28

    because progressively we have become a greedy world where our primary concern is number #1, oneself and the drive for the Dollar. Ring any bells Lance? And look where that has got us.

    Thankfully we are starting to become a little less introverted. Things such as intergenerational equity are hopefully becoming more prominent.

  29. Bill 29


    Let’s make it simple. We agree that 20% of the human population consume about 80% of resources.

    So if we reduced the human population by 80% today, would we then not have a population problem? Even if the 20% remaining continued to use resources at the same level as the 20% in the 20/80 divide do today?

    Secondly, commodity prices have risen to false highs because of speculation…notice how oil has tumbled all of a sudden? You think that’s because of supply and demand or an inflated price returning to earth?

    Population is NOT the problem. The real problem is what I sign posted in my previous comment.

  30. randal 30

    over 15% of all food produced in the u.s. is thrown out

  31. Bill 31

    “over 15% of all food produced in the u.s. is thrown out”

    + wastage in cropping techniques…economically fine given economy of scale, but…

    + crops as bio-fuels

    + food crops as animal feed

    + waste at factory level, wastage in transport, waste at retail level (spoilage)

    + mono culture degrading soils

    + a whole lot of etcs that aren’t coming off the top of my head

  32. chris 32


    Im afraid I cant see what your getting at with your 20/80 point.. please rephrase.

    The point of the 20/80 is that we as the Developed world consume far too much as is. More of us = More Consumption… you understand?

    A fine solution would be to curb our insatiable appetite for consumption. But many would accuse that of being Stalinist Social Engineering and a stranglehold on your rights? SO – Unfortunately an attitude change is not an easy solution. An easier solution is to reduce our trend of popping out babies indsicriminately.

    Are you honestly going to tell me that it is sustainable that everyone in the world has for example…. 4 kids? Go on Bill, I dare you to say yes.

    Plus did you even take the time to go and look at any of the articles out there, not just in mainstream media, but in academia that highlight the problems I mentioned?

    If you want me to address your original comment:

    Firstly: I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say ‘our systems of (mis) distribution and idiotic resource use are the problems.’
    But Bill you are Wrong and misinformed to suggest that ‘
    ‘Population is not the problem’ – Population is a huge problem and can be linked to as the roots from which a number of global problems stem or a catalyst to a number of global problems.

    You said dense population eg. Europe, doesnt mean debalitating poverty. Care to look at the population densities in China, Bangladesh, Nigeria and parts of India then look at the state of their local environments esp. China.
    Plus its all very nice to say Europe doesnt have any issues with its dense population…. But have you heard of the concept of an ECOLOGICAL footprint? to put that simply, what Europe consumes doesnt come from Europe itself, it is part of the world market and affects all corners of the globe. Eg. Deforestation of Indonesian jungles may provide timber for Europeans… Funny that you dont see the impoverished soils that result from deforestation in Europe, Because it doesnt HAPPEN there.

    Easter Island is WIDELY, WIDELY shown to be a tragic example of an environmental disaster caused by a number of factors including: Overpopulation and over-consumption.

  33. randal 33

    1940- one calorie of ffe to produce 2.3 calories of food
    2008- 12 calories ffe to produce one calorie of spermarket “food”

  34. QoT 34

    Ah, so good to see that to some people, “informing people so they’re better able to make choices about their own lives” will always mean “telling us what to do”.

    Mind you, they’re from the same parts of society who think “freedom” means “allowing the rich to fuck the poor at whim and denying said poor the information necessary to better their situation” so it’s hardly surprising, is it?

  35. Quoth the Raven 35

    Bill – Throwing out food does not mean using it as biofuels nor using it as animal feed. What does degrading soil have to do with it? He means actually thrown out. I can’t vouch for the stat but I’ve seen higher estimates than that. You are being foolish and embarassing yourself with your little list. look at
    this article.

    On average, households waste 14 percent of their food purchases. Fifteen percent of that includes products still within their expiration date but never opened.

  36. Felix 36

    Lance mate you might want to read up a bit about food distribution in the global marketplace because your comments about silos just make you sound ignorant when I’m sure you’re actually not.

    Short version is for a variety of reasons a lot of very poor countries produce huge amounts of food which is consumed by very rich countries while the same poor ones starve.

    If you think that doesn’t make any sense you’re right it doesn’t. Especially not for them.

    In general it’s worth noting that the Greens are usually right about the big issues and usually get ridiculed for years until everyone else catches up. Sad.

    Sorry for the long sentences but Brett used all the commas on another thread.

  37. Bill 37


    What you on about? Randal says 15% of food is thrown out. Fine. Taken as read. AND THEN you might want to add on bio-fuels, retail waste etc to get an idea of the %age of crops that actually get consumed.

    Degraded soils mean that you cannot grow crops on or in it. And industrial agriculture degrades a lot of soil.

    Did you actually READ my comment or just scan and jump to conclusions about what I was saying?

    The article you linked to is saying essentially the same thing as I did in my comment.

  38. I have been discussing population with people for almost 20 years. I agree that the conversation too often rapidly veers from mild observations that resources have limits to genocide and mass murder……

    But most people will accept that there are limits and it makes sense to stop well short of them if we are to have any hope at all of maintaining our current standard of living.

    Usually I point out that our population is at or below replacement rate when births and emigration are taken into account. The only reason we keep growing is immigration. That’s a tap we can turn off any time. This ties in with the sentiment that immigration has changed New Zealand and no one was consulted. Some combination of elements along these lines may be our only local hope of making rational choices about population and resources.

    As usual, the more extreme among the religious tend to be impervious to reality of any kind….including population matters.

  39. Brett Dale should do more homework with respect to the Green Party. His claims on behalf of that party are unrecognisable to anyone who is a member of it.

  40. Bill 40

    Steve Withers

    “But most people will accept that there are limits and it makes sense to stop well short of them if we are to have any hope at all of maintaining our current standard of living.”

    I’m assuming the limits you refer to are population limits.

    Our current standard of living is simply not maintainable Steve. As I commented at 5:08. Reduce human population by 80% and we are still going to hit a wall if we maintain our standard of living because we (the privileged 20%) are using 80% of resources.

    Why can’t people get it? What’s so difficult to understand? Kill 4 out of 5 people and we are still in essentially the same position we are in today. We will have bought ourselves a tiny bit of grace….not much. We will not have extended our survival (assuming calamity) by 20% (our resource use reduction). Nothing like it.

  41. Tony Norriss 41

    IMO population growth is not a problem in Western countries. Most of them are in gradual population decline.

    What we need is for the right people to be having more children. We need those who are successful and intelligent having more children and young unsupported tween agers and dysfunctional families having less children. After all, children are our future.

  42. dave 42

    Why is the Greens even having a policy to have “informed decisions about the number and spacing of children’ when it is no business of any political party outside of china. If a decision about how many children to have is one for the parents alone, as Locke rightly says, how on earth did the ‘ number or spacing of children’ get into the family policy? Its none of the Greens business how many kids I have or even if I smack them. Next they`ll be making sure I don’t shower my kids too much.

    However if one wants a population management policy, how parents space out their kids is no concern of any political party in this country. If they want to have 3 kids in three years, its up to them. But if they have triplets first up, policy on spacing out of kids isn’t going to be much help.

    We’ve got enough spaced out kids as it is. Perhaps the Greens have a policy on that.

  43. As predicted the kiwi blog right has flipped their lid, entirely misrepresenting the truth. I guess that’s to get expected in the face of the green massive successful campaign so far, they are willing to sacrifice any remaining shred of honesty they had left to try and score political points.

    Always a risk when you have substantial policy during a bumper sticker campaign, I would have thought that considering how skilled the operator behind the bill board campaign is that they would have known better than to take this risk.

    Ahh well, now how about someone who can post on kiwiblog challenge Farrar to quote the greens actual policy at the bottom of the item, yeah right!

  44. Mike 44

    “Why is the Greens even having a policy to have “informed decisions about the number and spacing of children’ when it is no business of any political party outside of china.”

    That is incorrect, reproductive issues such as abortion and contraception are hot topics of debate in most Western societies.

  45. “That is incorrect, reproductive issues such as abortion and contraception are hot topics of debate in most Western societies.”

    And as usual National is adopting a position of ‘keeping the peasants ignorant and docile ‘

  46. JoshRV 46

    “how on earth did the ? number or spacing of children? get into the family policy?”

    I’m guessing, Dave, it has something to do with the fact that families include children?

    “Its none of the Greens business how many kids I have or even if I smack them.”

    If you want to beat your kids and use the country’s resources in raising them, I’d say that is society’s concern and not simply your own.

    “Next they`ll be making sure I don?t shower my kids too much.”

    Hadn’t thought of that before. Good idea!

  47. Macro 47

    “IMO population growth is not a problem in Western countries. Most of them are in gradual population decline.”
    Typical right wing comment – use a down right lie to support an otherwise untenable argument.

  48. frog 48

    Steve P – thanks for this post and for adding some balance to the debate after the hysterical media coverage yesterday. I reckon the actual Greens’ policy (as opposed to the reported one) is actually quite mild and practical, and impinges on nobody’s freedoms. Population is an important environmental and social issue, and not having a stated policy, like most parties, simply means blindly supporting the status quo.

  49. Macro 49

    “Next they`ll be making sure I don?t shower my kids too much.’
    For your uninformed benefit – the proposed regulations are NOT the work of the Greens but were the work of the NZ building standards team, following ideas from other countries. NOR are they as prescriptive as Smith and co want to make them out to be. They are aimed at encouraging a more efficient use of energy for hot water heating. And good on these officials for thinking that. Israel has had mandatory solar water heating since 1974. I work in the construction industry. I see streets of new houses built every year and almost none employ energy efficient water heating. Why? Because architects, builders, and plumbers are too fixed in their ways to think outside the square.
    This country does not need new power stations – it needs to think energy efficiency. National’s proposed trashing of the retro-insultation of homes is another piece of stupidity – No they would rather build more power stations!

  50. dave 50

    MIke what has abortion got to do with it -are you suggesting that women have abortions if they get pregnant shortly after having a child so they can space their kids out as the Greens would like? Or is abortion just a ploy to save hot water as the fewer the number of kids you have the less water is used in showering these kids?

  51. burt 51

    Tim Ellis way back here said;

    How do you discourage low-income New Zealanders from having so many children?

    This is a point that is being overlooked. Limiting WFF to a maximum of three (or four) children would be a start.

    Or making WFF a universal per-child allowance that is not means tested would be another way.

  52. Felix 52

    Get ready folks, we’ll be seeing many more baseless attacks on the Greens as the extreme right-wing realise that their attacks on Labour aren’t sticking.

    They know the Greens don’t have the resources to engage every time.

    Labour need to start sticking up for their real mates a bit more visibly.

  53. toad 53

    Appalling as the TV3 coverage was in misrepresenting the Green population policy, David Farrar over at Kiwiblog managed to get it even more wrong, and as you suggest Felix, I suspect deliberately.

    The Green candidate for Te Atatu, Xavier Goldie, sums it up well here:

    According to Farrar:

    “The Greens want negative population growth

    Wrong. If Farrar had bothered reading our FULL Population Policy, rather than relying on that bastion of objective analysis, the New Zealand Herald, he would have noted nowhere in our policy to do we advocate or promote negative population growth.

    Current projections from Statistics New Zealand indicate our population is likely to level off at around the 5.5 million mark. Funnily enough this is under the predicted ecological carrying capacity of New Zealand anyway. Nowhere in our policy implicitly or explicitly do we advocate negative population growth. But that’s not important to Farrar or his readers: why let the truth get in the way of a good angry ignorant rant?

    If Farrar had bothered to read our population policy – hell, if he’d bothered to browse the policy summary so kindly available for him on the Greens website rather than cherry pick some things to twist out of context – he would have seen that the maximum sustainable population for New Zealand that will keep allowing him to enjoy the lifestyle he’s so hell bent on ruining by voting for National is not final or fixed, but flexible. That means that if we get our arses into gear and stop consuming natural resources beyond what our systems can provide, then we can support more people. But if we insist on, and indeed advocate for as Farrar and the National Party do – consuming more than our fair share and beyond our means, then we’re up shit creek.

    Methinks the reason Farrar and his ilk are so angry is that they recognise the truth in what we’re saying. The fat over fed chickens that have eaten beyond what they can afford are coming home to roost, and the roof is caving in.

    You will have to build up enough carbon credits in order to get permission to have a child.”

    Wrong. This line’s so retarded I shouldn’t even have to address it. Yes David! And if you have more than the limited number of children, we’ll turn them into organic fertiliser. Would you like to take that line and run a wild eyed post on that too?

    “So let’s make sure we have this right. NZ already has a shrinking population from fertility. But in order to allow India, Libya, Saudia Arabia, Pakistan and the Niger to carry on with their over-populating, NZ families should have less children.”

    Wrong. Again. If Farrar had bothered to read the damn policy, he would understand that we do not advocate people having less children. What we suggest is that people and are informed about the issues of constrained resources, something that Farrar clearly isn’t. I especially find this part deliciously ironic because you can bet your bottom dollar that it would be someone from the Kiwiblog Right who would make the first utterance about Bloody Useless Maoris Breeding For Businessâ„¢. Maybe it’s only ok to talk about how many children people should have if they’re brown? Wasn’t it National that advocated putting a limit on how many Useless Teenage Mums could have last election?

    “What this means is taxpayer funded bureaucrats working on pamphlets and seminars to frighten parents off having more kids. Can you imagine every school in NZ having some dour faced do gooder preaching to all the kids they they should not have children, in order to save the planet.”

    Wrong. Unlike the National Party, the Greens don’t believe in frightening people into making decisions. Communities need to know about the consequences of their collective decisions. People are free to have as many babies as they want. People also need to know that lots and lots of babies will put pressure on our resources, and we need to get prepared now to deal with extra pressure if we collectively choose to go down that path.

  54. Oh well, the many voters won’t forget on election day Toad.

  55. Bill 55

    Since children are not ‘stuck in their ways’ as adults tend to be and since we are rocketing up shit creek propelled by our stupidity, the simple, obvious solution to all our impending woes is to have children. But with a caveat. For every child conceived, parents should eat one adult neighbour.

    This would ease some of our resource use problems and diminish the influence of the destructive head set that so much humanity seems to be stuck in.

    A veritable win win situation.

  56. higherstandard 56

    Bill what happens if your neighbour is overly large ?

    Imagine for example that you lived next door to Gerry Brownlee or Parakura Horomia and you had to consume them, surely these two would be worth more than one child conceived ?

    Toad why if there is a projected maximum population in NZ at around the 5.5 million mark which is well below the ecological carrying capacity of New Zealand, do we need to have this kind of policy from the Green Party of NZ ?

    Releasing policies such as this which are close to irrelevant in a NZ setting only set the Green Party up for ridicule.

  57. randal 57

    unlimited optimism is usually indicative of manic depression or megalomania HS. take three thorazine and go straight to bed.

  58. higherstandard 58

    Randal as I said before thorazine is no longer available in NZ ?

    Mani c depression is rather odl terminology we prefer bipolar affective disorder, talking of unlimited optimism are you still voting for the great NZer Winston Peters ?

  59. randal 59

    HS it appears you are addicted to post modernistic relativism and infatilisation. manic depression is manic depression and not some fancy term to mollycoddle persons who dont want to face the truth. as far as the thorazine is concerned I am sure you have a secret stash somewhere. and last but not least are you going to vote for the boiler room operator who sold crook derivatives for Bankers Trust, devised sub primes for Merril Lynch and took a profit for money laundering from Enron.

  60. higherstandard 60


    No I am not going to vote for Key – now how about you answer my question.

    It’s infantilisation not infatilistaion, that is what has happened to Gerry and Parekura.

    Manic depression is a poor description of a complex disorder which presents quite differently depending on the person. Bipolar affective disorder is a far better term.

  61. > We live on a finite planet. We can’t just keep adding 75 million people a year to the human population while also increasing the average resource consumption per person without collapsing the biological systems that support us.

    This is absolute rubbish. We have been doing this for years and getting by just fine. Where is your evidence for this absurb remark?

    I have seen no evidence that suggests that we cannot feed an additional 100m people each year for the next decade or two. And as you say, the population growth is falling,

  62. > Our current standard of living is simply not maintainable Steve. As I commented at 5:08. Reduce human population by 80% and we are still going to hit a wall if we maintain our standard of living because we (the privileged 20%) are using 80% of resources.

    We are not using 80% of resources. We have barely begun to scratch the surface. In fact that’s exactly what we do – scratch the surface of this huge ball of opportunity that is Planet Earth.

    The poor countries are already getting richer. The challenge is to get them all into the position where they can buy toothpaste and own a motor car by the end of the century.

    Our current standard of living is very maintainable, and about to get better. It will continue to get better year after year after year for 100s of years. The only question is ‘at what rate?’ If environmentalism takes over, the rate of improvement will be very small, and in 50 years our grandchildren will be sad that so much human potential was wasted.

    If pro-humanism re-asserts itself, our grandchildren will be happy, and will not resent us for wasting all that time chasing fairies.

  63. Pascal's bookie 63

    optimist, checked out your blog and thought I’d share the wealth, hope you don’t mind:



  64. Felix 64

    Heh. The Optomist’s blog is brilliant. I’ve never seen such a pointed parody of mental illness.

    It’s great to see that a humourist is willing to put in so much effort for art’s sake.

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