Debate of the Day: should farms be regulated to centre climate action and nature?

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, April 24th, 2023 - 44 comments
Categories: climate change, farming, national, nature - Tags:

We’re trying something new, an intermittent post called Debate of the Day, that presents an idea or current event as a starting point for discussion and debate. Same rules apply as elsewhere on The Standard. Bring your best game, share your thinking, with humour or gravitas. We’re looking for engagement with ideas, a sense of curiosity, and robust debate.

Feedback on the Debate of the Day concept and format is welcome in this thread too.

Today’s topic: should farms be regulated to centre climate action and nature?

Rod Oram at Newsroom,

Opinion: “National is committed to this country’s climate change goals,” declares the party that could form the next government.

Then in the very same statement on Wednesday, National announced a bonfire of farming regulations not seen since the 1990s.

But eliminating these regulations would intensify existing farming practices, which in turn would make farming’s climate impacts worse. Either National doesn’t understand such climate causes and effects. Or it cares only to win power, whatever the cost.

44 comments on “Debate of the Day: should farms be regulated to centre climate action and nature? ”

  1. Michael 1

    100% yes, farming should be regulated to centre climate change and nature. For too long, the farming sector has been able to do what it wants without consequences. While some individual farmers have done incredible work on their farms, they are sadly the minority. If the farming sector had been serious about mitigating climate change and caring for nature, they wouldn't have fought the misnamed "fart tax" when Helen Clark was our Prime Minister. Instead of working with the government and becoming world leaders in sustainability, they kicked and screamed like a bunch of toddlers having a tantrum. They drove tractors up the steps of parliament and pushed a narrative that they know best and that they care for the environment. Meanwhile, their sector bodies and main players pushed intensification and milk being "white gold". Now we have dairy farms in areas of the country that are not suited for dairying. They only exist and survive because mass irrigation has screwed our rivers. At the same time, the intensification has meant our rivers have become, by and large, unswimmable due to the nitrate run-off. Now, when we are in a climate emergency and urgent action is required, they are dragging the chain again and continuing to rape and pillage the earth. The farming sector has had its chance to be responsible and create sustainable farming practices but these are still only niche ideas and not widespread. More regulation, not less, is required.

    • Hunter Thompson II 1.1

      In 2019 a USA website called Circle of Blue carried an article "New Zealand Waterways Fouled by Farm Runoff, Tourist Waste" (https://www.circleofblue.org/2019/pacific/new-zealand-waterways-fouled-by-farm-runoff-tourist-waste/)

      True to form, a dairy industry chief tried to deflect criticism by saying most polluted rivers ran through urban centres and called for a "more nuanced exploration of New Zealand’s water contamination", ie the government should pussyfoot around the problem and let the industry carry on as before.

      Foreigners aren't fooled by the Tourism NZ advertising.

    • Eric Mischefski 1.2

      Absolutely the industry needs to be regulated. As you state farmers trivialised methane pollution by calling it a fart tax when all the while knowing the methane comes from the front of an animal. There are some farmers who are trying to mitigate their pollution but by far and away the majority are not.

  2. Mike the Lefty 2

    If National gets into government this year and embarks upon a ritual disembowlment of regulations, it could find markets outside Asia a bit more difficult to crack. The world has changed since National last ruled. Most of our trading partners expect us to have policies that limit emissions, and yes that includes agriculture too.

    National just saying they don't care anymore will not go down well with European or American countries, who DO care and expect their trading partners to care as well.

    Naturally most of the Asian markets won't give a toss and so National will end up making our economy even more dependent on Chinese Communist Party goodwill, for what that is worth.

    I wonder if National has thought any further about this beyond the populist posturing vote gathering element?

    Probably not.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    If regulation means more god-awful pine forests on productive land, then spare me.

    If we are going to require farmers to grow trees on their land, then they should be required to plant a certain number of indigenous plants per hectare. This would mean they would naturally plant the trees in the most unproductive areas of their farms, such as steep slopes etc. Or around rivers, to provide a natural barrier to stock.

    This would actually result in something being achieved not only to improve our carbon profile, but would also restore our natural beauty as well. And, also reduce erosion risk to those areas.

    So far as farming, and other activities are concerned, we need to realise that the emissions from these activities are a world problem, not isolated to NZ. Hence, it is counterproductive from a world perspective to regulate NZ farmers, if that means reduced production from NZ is picked up by less efficient producers in other countries. If that happens, the planet is worse off.

    Hence, there needs to be an international regime to penalise inefficient agricultural producers world-wide.

    So far as animal waste is concerned, there needs to be a way for farmers to monetise that so that they are incentivised to collect the waste efficiently so they can turn it into income.

    • AB 3.1

      The god-awful pine forests you rightly complain about are what happens when we expect market mechanisms to solve climate change. When capital moves to take a profitable opportunity to solve a public-good problem, it will tend to sow the seeds of the next problem. It's an intrinsic characteristic.

      • weka 3.1.1

        also a function of putting centrists in charge instead of parties with ecological literacy.

    • weka 3.2

      In the 2017 election, the Greens had a plan to plant $1.2 billion trees on marginal land as part of their climate policy (alongside other measures).

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96690066/green-party-to-set-up-a-climate-commission-and-instate-universal-dividend-from-climate-fund

      They promoted both pine and natives, but with specific goals and placement in mind.

      1. limit deforestation and conversion of existing forest land
      2. offset current forest harvesting by planting on other kinds of land (eg marginal)
      3. incentivise planting natives
      4. incentivise pine and other exotics in appropriate places
      5. plant permanent forest sinks
      6. help farmers to find other income streams eg mānuka honey

      from the 2015 policy Yes we can! A plan for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions

      https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/beachheroes/pages/10840/attachments/original/1582514397/Yes_We_Can.pdf?1582514397

      As we know, in 2017 NZF had the major power to influence policy and they were given the tree planting scheme as part of the coalition deal with Labour. Where the Greens would prioritise climate and ecology while protecting the economy, NZF would prioritise economics. This is why NZ is the way that it is.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/130153430/one-billion-trees-programme-almost-at-halfway-mark

      We still need plantation pine eg for building houses. But how that gets done matters. The slash and silt issues on the East Coast from Gabrielle are a consequence of poor ecological literacy, poor regulation, and industrial culture mindset.

      • tsmithfield 3.2.1

        I have signed two Greenpeace petitions now btw:

        The one for requiring things to be repairable, and the one for a refund for returning bottles etc.

        Good ideas are good ideas regardless of the side of the fence they come from.

    • Michael 3.3

      Yes, carbon emissions are a global problem. However, we need to play our part. Our biggest emitters in terms of sectors are agriculture and transport and although we are a small country, our gross emissions per person are way too high. We are also far too heavily reliant on carbon credits to achieve our emissions targets. These things show that we are clearly not doing enough to meaningfully achieve what we promised to the global community. We need to do way better. Our farming sector has shown it is incapable of regulating itself to help us achieve our climate change goals so we must regulate.

      • bwaghorn 3.3.1

        I'm sure we could make our gross emmisions per capita look like the rest , import mor humans job done,

      • tsmithfield 3.3.2

        As bwaghorn pointed out below, the issue is that we don't have enough people. If the number of farms stayed constant, and we opened the gates to immigration into our cities, then the average global emissions per person would drop, and the farming emissions suddenly wouldn't look so bad.

        If we had 100 million living here, we would suddenly be one of the greenest countries on earth I suspect.

        • pat 3.3.2.1

          "If we had 100 million living here, we would suddenly be one of the greenest countries on earth I suspect."

          I suspect not…we are no different to any other national grouping, except that we use more FF per capita than most…although if we did increase our population to anything resembling the figure you quote i suspect we would collapse any semblence of order or environmental viability so perhaps our emissions would decrease…..but not as the result of anything good.

          • tsmithfield 3.3.2.1.1

            Of course I don't want to see 100 million people here. But, I am just pointing out the stupidity of including agriculture in the per capita carbon emissions.

            As I said earlier, if the amount of farming stayed constant and the more general population increased dramatically, then per capita carbon emissions would fall, without farmers doing anything. It is a mathematical fact.

            So, there needs to be a better way of apportioning carbon emissions for it to make sense.

            • pat 3.3.2.1.1.1

              The (biological) methane measure is a (poor but likely necessary) method of buying some time to reduce and (hopefully) mitigate the release of stored carbon aka energy production….that energy is what has enabled the growth in population.

              I agree that planting pine plantations on productive land is a fools errand and will do little to solve the problem of CO2 emissions in this country (or the world as a whole) ….there are however other very good reasons to adjust our land use, not least of which is water quality/use.

              Ultimately the best measure (as Kevin Anderson points out) it is total (stored) carbon released that is the metric that counts, and given the way we as a population in NZ use that stored carbon energy then any increase in population will result in an increase in carbon emissions….until we change how we live.

              And that is something that most are unwilling to accept, so we will continue to grasp for anything, including 'carbon credits' and methane reductions to buy some time to continue our lifestyles.

              • tsmithfield

                I really don't think we need more dairy farming. Despite the fact that my business does very well out of dairy factories across the South Island.

                Obviously, the run-off is a major issue. But, from an economic perspective, it is putting all our eggs in one basket too much, I think. Especially since a lot of that goes to China. So, there is a lot of production in one basket going to a large market basket (China). So, I think we are very economically exposed.

                One of the best ways to motivate people to do things is for there to be monetary gain for them.

                Hence, why farmers are planting awful pine plantations at the moment.

                So, I think the emissions side of the equation will be solved if people can make money from cutting back their emissions. For instance, if research finds ways to minimise methane emissions from cattle, that will mean less production lost to emissions, and more going into the product farmers want to sell.

                If ways can be found to economically and efficiently collect animal waste, then that could be sold for reusable products such as urea, or natural fertilizer.

                In the end, we have to find a way to harmonise farming with our environment. Seeing those polluted water ways such as "Fanta Lake" and lake Ellesmere here in Canterbury is absolutely disgusting, and something I definitely want to see solved.

                • pat

                  Yes financial incentives will drive the investment, unfortunately the investment is likely to require a significant input of energy….and that results in carbon emissions.

                  The only way to truely reduce our emissions is to recognise that FF consumption has to reduce in total and as I see it the only way is a sinking lid on the availability…and that will. demand a reprioritisation on what that reduced FF will be used for., preferably on a non monetary basis (i.e a ration )…and a substantial change to how we live our lives.

                  That change will be greatest for the currently well heeled.

                  All politcally problematic

                  • tsmithfield

                    unfortunately the investment is likely to require a significant input of energy….and that results in carbon emissions.

                    But isn't that the case with nearly anything that is done to innovate to solve the climate change problem? For instance, if we increase the production of solar panels, or solar batteries, that will increase carbon emissions as well.

                    But, it is a case of investing for the future. If the longterm benefit outweighs the initial carbon cost, then the initial investment is justified, even if there is an increase in carbon emissions from manufacturing the technology in the first place.

                    • pat

                      It will depend upon the saving long term but much of the 'investment' proposed has a negative return (carbon)…so yes nearly all investment will create emissions and we have a very limited carbon budget so where that investment is placed needs to be exceedingly discerning

              • gsays

                "….until we change how we live.

                And that is something that most are unwilling to accept, so we will continue to grasp for anything, including 'carbon credits' and methane reductions to buy some time to continue our lifestyles."

                That's it in a nutshell.

                This idea that CC mitigation is someone elses responsibility is fertiliser. Once 'the farmers', the Chinese, the supermarkets and the government are sorted then 'I' can look at making some changes.

                It all reeks of :Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;

                and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

                • pat

                  And then overlay national interest on top….if we (nz) behave logically but in isolation, it becomes illogical.

                • weka

                  This idea that CC mitigation is someone elses responsibility is fertiliser. Once 'the farmers', the Chinese, the supermarkets and the government are sorted then 'I' can look at making some changes.

                  I tend to agree but I think part of that is because so many people still believe that green tech will save the day. Which is the responsibility of government and business and when they step up consumers will follow by buying the 'green thing. It's very neoliberal.

                  Green tech won't save the day, even if all governments and business got on board this week. We need green tech of course, but there is no substitute for FF to maintain BAU. We will powerdown, either intentionally as transition, or via eventual collapse.

                  This is the biggest challenge I see. People are so inured in the idea of BAU or nasty/brutish/short, that they can't see any other options, so have stuck their head in the sand.

        • bwaghorn 3.3.2.2

          I find the emmisions per capita argument ridiculous when used against farming ,

    • Graeme 3.4

      The pine forests may be going on productive land, but is that production profitable?

      The land use is simply transitioning to a more profitable usage. If the property was making a good profit the owners would be able to sell it to a buyer who would see the utility of the previous business and continue it.

      Reality is that sheep / beef on hill country isn't making as much profit as pines, simple economics, and been the case for a very long time on marginal hill country.

  4. Ad 4

    Volume and Price Driver. Annual milk production is declining and will continue to do so. Dairy farmers will still be driven by highest volume production until there are better pressures upon Fonterra who still commands over 80% of all dairy production here. A dairy solids price at $9-$10 is a pretty good attraction for sustained production.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/dairy-land-use-declining-1-a-year

    Lower dairy volume = lower dairy impact. Labour passed the DIRA Amendment Act late last year which removed the requirement for Fonterra to take all milk volume produced. But Fonterra itself need to determine whether they will ever shift meaningfully from volume to lower-volume+higher-value-density products. The water-to-wine value equation has been going through the roof; dairy value equations within Fonterra makes yearly promises and frankly just lies every single time.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/is-the-volume-to-value-mantra-true-yes-and-heres-why

    3 Waters and Stormwater. If you want to change farmer practices, you have to support the key outcome of Labour's 3 Waters reforms in the stormwater outcomes. That is the biggest hit upon lazy+fearful regional councils who regulate stormwater and water take. That is the thing to fight hardest for and what Federated Farmers have fought hard against. The Greens want to keep stormwater management in Council hands which is utterly dumb.

    “The failure to separate stormwater management is another missed opportunity. Managing stormwater needs to stay as the responsibility of local councils because of the connection between land use and stormwater volumes and quality."

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2304/S00076/three-waters-rebrand-insufficient.htm

    If National wins the election there will indeed be a bonfire of water regulations on dairy farmers.

    SO: if Labour gets back in by some miracle it would take a fully implemented 3 Waters programme stormwater management revolution to turn it around as it is, and that would also require much stronger coalition partners.

  5. ianmac 5

    I asked a sheep farm manager what was the top farming regulation to be got rid of. She said she didn't really know. "Perhaps 3 Waters," she asked. I thought 3 waters affected mostly urban people. She thought maybe it was lack of labour.

    But I really think someone who knows about such things could tell us what regs to abolish.

  6. ianmac 6

    By the way I heard a whisper (just a little whisper) that the Nats have a leadership challenge on the go. I would rather Mr Luxon stayed on at least to the Election.

    • weka 6.1

      lol, so would I. Or at least wait another few months for the challenge 😈

    • Ad 6.2

      Don't even think it.

      Willis would suck female vote and that's all you need to get the win when it's this tight.

    • tsmithfield 6.3

      I haven't heard any such rumours. But who knows. Probably a seemless way to make a change would be for Willis and Luxon to swap roles. So, she becomes leader and he becomes deputy.

      That would require Luxon to be onside with the change. But, would be the least disruptive way to do it I would think.

      But, I doubt it will happen. National has already had enough instability. So, personally, I think they will stick with what they have.

  7. Hunter Thompson II 7

    Good idea to have "Debate of the Day" format.

    If the advertising by Fonterra and the others in farming sector were true there would be no need for regulation at all.

    Farmers definitely need to be regulated for the greater good (just as there are speed limits for motorists using the highway).

    But when it comes to climate change we all must respond, no matter where we live. Nature is now calling the tune, as anyone in Hawkes Bay will tell you.

  8. SPC 8

    The more enlightened farmers get it, but National seems to moving past FF towards Groundswell with its policy direction.

    Farmers need to have their environment, animal husbandry and GW positions respected in the wider world of foreign markets. As do we given their place in our economy.

    Which is why there should be interest free loans to farmers to help them meet any required farm standards (debt against the farm on sale).

    The methane from ruminant livestock is the big one and hopefully the work to realise a one dose (slow release) product which halves methane released is successful – this will change our and the global circumstance.

    https://cen.acs.org/environment/climate-change/scientists-want-cut-livestocks-methane/100/i36

    • georgecom 8.1

      yes generally it seems so, the groundswell national party. I recently heard Damien O'Connor challenged on radio recently about the pace of legislative change on the rural sector, his answer, if things had been done during the 9 years National was last in power the farming sector would be further down the road for change. because it was 9 years of a do nothing government (ie groundswell) the farming sector is having to play catch up. Luxon and mates will mark another era of doing nothing government (ie groundswell)

  9. bwaghorn 9

    Definitely for nature and that's happening, I went recently to a day to learn the new regs on winter crop feeding, nothing to be afraid of in my opinion, of course boss is resistant and will nodoubt hold out on coming above the radar for a year or 2, but I'm the day to day guy so will be implementing the best practice stuff anyhow.

    But get after those river destroying dairy practices.

    On cc 8 billion people need to eat, so emmisions need to be reduced but should be treated alot differently to pointless pollution like tourism, .

  10. tsmithfield 10

    One reason I want to see farmers incentivised/compelled to plant native plants on their unproductive land is that it is amazing how quickly native birdlife returns to those areas.

    I was taking my grand-children for a walk through the little nature area in the botanical gardens the other day. And there were beautiful fan tails flitting around, land on people's arms, and some native parrots as well. It was fantastic, just in that small area.

    It would be wonderful to see that extended across more of our land. Those pine forests aren't really compatible with our native species as far as I know. Which is one of the reasons I really dislike them, and don't want to see them expanding across the country side.

    • bwaghorn 10.1

      If you want to make real difference to nz native forests, get the government to get the wild game recovery industry going again, I started my hunting years when you could sell wild deer to the chillers, deer numbers where low, and it was a tidy little income for some, goats could be treated the same,

      1000s of deer are being shot and left to rot on farms with bush blocks on or next to them

      • weka 10.1.1

        why can't shooters sell deer now?

        • arkie 10.1.1.1

          MPI forbids it, unless they’re registered as a listed hunter:

          You can't sell recreationally hunted meat under any circumstances. All commercially traded meat (including commercially hunted wild game meat) undergoes thorough procurement, hygiene and processing standards and controls before it reaches the consumer. Recreationally collected meat doesn't go through these processes.

          https://www.mpi.govt.nz/outdoor-activities/hunting-and-gathering-biosecurity-and-food-safety/risks-restrictions-and-rules-for-wild-food/

          • weka 10.1.1.1.1

            that doesn't seem unreasonable (depending on the process and cost).

            If shooters are leaving deer carcasses to rot, that's just stupid.

        • bwaghorn 10.1.1.2

          Looks like you can but when I did it there was a chiller in every town , most of us sold the odd one but there where a few that did large numbers, I'm picking bureaucracy is the big killer.

          It must be quit hard as I genuinely have heard of chopper shooters shooting 1000s to rot, from easily recoverable areas.

          If there was an extra $ in it they would recover them

          • weka 10.1.1.2.1

            sounds like two things to me

            1. no-one is doing the mahi to make it easier for hunters to register

            2. the infrastructure isn't there any more.

            Part of that will have been 1080 and the need to make sure deer weren't coming from poisoned areas.

            Also, if chopper shooters are leaving the carcasses, that's free food for stoats, rats etc, so DOC, regional councils etc should be paying for retrieval. Make them into pet food ffs.

            These are not hard things to solve, it's just systems, and intention to do things well.

            • bwaghorn 10.1.1.2.1.1

              1080 is what killed it if my rumors where correct late 90s I believe. .a deer got poached from a 1080 block and was sold into Europe and it was picked up there,

  11. Jimmy 11

    Does Farming need too be regulated?

    Well maybe.

    However it looks to me as if the market will regulate farming.

    As a farmer supplier to Fonterra, it seems as though Fonterra is ahead of Government and local council.

    If you want to supply Fonterra, you will need to prove that you use less than 135kg/N/per hectare or face a financial penalty, yet the Government limit is 190Kgns/N/per hectare.

    you also need to prove you are discharging effluent to land, and not water, regardless of regional council rules.

    you will need to prove you are not dumping or burning plastic waste on farm.

    You will need to prove you are not destroying bobby calves on farm.

    You will need to know what your GHG emissions are for your property, and comply with Fonterra limits.

    There are more rules comming from Fonterra, market driven, not Government.

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    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    1 day ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network
    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!
    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The politics of managed retreat
    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 day ago
  • Some changes are coming
    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • About fucking time
    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking
    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.
    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    2 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?
    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.
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    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent
    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac
    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation
    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...
    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz
    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    3 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again
    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister
    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    3 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.
    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won
    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16
    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16
    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother
    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?
    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)
    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    4 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.
    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1
    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor
    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15
    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15
    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?
    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    4 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution
    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky
    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond
    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?
    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ
    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28
    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    5 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response
    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment
    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President
    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Questions from God
    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence
    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity
    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    6 days ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?
    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.
    Recent elections around the world got me to thinking about voting. At a broad level, voting involves processes and choices. Embedded in both are the logics that go into “sincere” versus “tactical” voting. “Sincere” voting is usually a matter of preferred … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Women in Space.
    Count downThree twoI wonderIf I'll ever see you againI'm 'bout to take offI'm leaving youBut maybeI'll see you around somewhere some placeI just need some spaceA brief reminder that if you’re a Gold Card holder you can subscribe to Nick’s Kōrero for 20% off. You’re also welcome to use this ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 13
    Auckland waterfront, July. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 13 are:The National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government watered down vehicle emissions standards this week, compounding the climate emissions damage from an increasingly ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Dems need to ask the right question about Biden as his age now defines the campaign
    Midway through the news conference that many American political commentators had built up as critical to Joe Biden’s re-election chances, the US president said European leaders are not asking him not to run for a second term, “they’re saying you gotta win”.The problem for Biden and his advisors is that ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Govt flounders while ocean temps soar
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items of climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer, most of which they discussin the video above. According to experts, the rate of ocean surface warming around New Zealand is “outstripping the global ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Learning From Brexit
    Whether Britain leaving the European Union was right or wrong, good or bad is for the Brits to decide. But there are lessons about international trade to be learned from Brexit, especially as it is very unusual for an economy to break so completely from its major training partner.In Econ101 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Friday, July 12
    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of Friday, July 12 are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns
    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    35 mins ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'
    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs
    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals
    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset
    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance continues to increase
    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights
    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language
    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery
    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki
    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston
    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety
    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship
    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality
    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers
    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy
    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants
    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
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