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Enough to finish us off

Written By: - Date published: 10:20 am, October 30th, 2011 - 58 comments
Categories: accountability, Economy, Environment, greens - Tags: , ,

Five million kilos of radioactive yellow cake uranium are being shipped through New Zealand ports every year. ERMA was unaware this practice has been going on for the last 15 years and only learned of it in 2009, but not to worry, according to John Key’s spokesperson the yellow cake is “Australian dirt, which is essentially harmless”.

So can the Government assure the New Zealand public that none of this “harmless [radioactive uranium concentrate] dirt” is aboard the Rena? Gareth Hughs wants an immediate independent inquiry. If Nuclear Free New Zealand ports are playing host to five million kilos of yellow cake uranium concentrate each year, I want to know more about it. I also want to know what’s on the Rena’s cargo register.

You think oil spills are a problem for our tourism and 100% Pure food exports image? Try a few tonnes of yellow cake washing up on Mt Maunganui and Papamoa – especially when the Tauranga Habourmaster confirms that the Port of Tauranga has no equipment to even detect, let alone contain, radioactive material.

If we get another Rena-like disaster with a yellow cake carrier and it leads to widespread dispersal of the cargo, then kiss good bye to our agricultural exports sector – and with it, pretty much our entire economy as we know it.

58 comments on “Enough to finish us off ”

  1. jimmy 1

    There won’t be any radioactive material on the Rena or they would have made a song and dance about it when the manifest was examined. Instead we learnt of the “hazardous” goods; ferrosilicate, which is effectively dirt.

    That said; this incident highlights the risk of shipping any hazardous material via New Zealand.

    On the filpside, what’s good for the economy is good for all New Zealand (tui)

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      There won’t be any radioactive material on the Rena or they would have made a song and dance about it when the manifest was examined.

      Given that the practice of shipping yellowcake had gone on secretly for years without authorities admitting it, I wouldn’t assume its as clean cut as all this.

      especially when the Tauranga Habourmaster confirms that the Port of Tauranga has no equipment to even detect, let alone contain, radioactive material.

      Two things. This means all kinds of radioactive shit can get shipped through Tauranga and no one would know. Secondly were’nt major ports supposed to have gear installed in the name of anti-terrorism (or something) after 9/11?

      On another note 5000 tonnes of yellow cake =! 5000 tonnes of uranium.

    • thejackal 1.2

      Here is the preliminary list of hazardous substances and their quantities the Rena is known to be carrying… buried in the Maritime New Zealand website.

      MNZ are now saying that it is a container of Alkysulphonic Acid UN2856 that has gone overboard. It is important to note that the United Nations recommended maximum transportation quantity is 5 litres, while the Rena was carrying 23,240 kgs.

      Now you tell me if these substances with high aqautic ecotoxicity are just dirt Jimmy?

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    You can tell there’s no yellowcake on Rena because she hasn’t visited either of the Aussie ports that export the stuff recently. Unless the Aussies are illegally exporting un-reported yellowcake that is. Good luck down that rabbit hole.

  3. lprent 3

    It is yellowcake, which will usually have minute amounts of U235 which is radioactive over the short term, and mostly U238 which has lower radioactivity than most iron ores – most common isotopes of which have shorter halflifes. You have to concentrate the U235 in uranium before it is of any radioactive danger.

    Depending on the source and processing, I’d expect that yellowcake from Aussie will probably be less radioactive than a typical iron balustrade. It will certainly be less of a radioactive risk than building on top of granite.

    Uranium isn’t even that good a heavy metal poison – its outer electron shell is pretty full. It simply isn’t promiscuous like plutonium or mercury. The oxides in yellowcake make it nearly inert and nonsoluble.

    Hughes is acting like an idiot. But I have come to not expect too much actual science knowledge from the Green party MP’s. Some are more into chicken little labelling without thinking enough.

    Mind you, John Key’s spokesperson is also either ignorant or a liar. Yellowcake is the resulting product of some highly intensive industrial processing. It could never be described as dirt. Mind you he could just be channelling his boss, who also tends to be a bit vague about just about everything….

    The only thing of interest is the level of reporting to ERMA. That is something I haven’t thought about and I will have to dig into a bit.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      “Hughes is acting like an idiot. But I have come to not expect too much actual science knowledge from the Green party MP’s. Some are more into chicken little labelling without thinking enough.”

      Yes, like their own goal about Happy Feet. Asking the National ministers about the possibility that Happy Feet had been caught in a fishing net from a trawler, and how there was a boat not far away from Happy Feet’s last known position. The National minister responded that that closest boat was the DOC one that had let Happy Feet go, and the most likely explanation was that Happy Feet had become a Happy Meal.

    • Alwyn 3.2

      If I can remember my decades ago chemistry all the naturally occurring isotopes of iron, except Fe54 are stable and not radioactive at all. FE54 has a half life of about 3.1*10e22, which is about 10 billion billion times the age of the earth.

      Uranium 235 has a half life of about 800 million years which is a bit more than being radioactive in the short term.

      On the other hand I agree with the general gist of this comment. The Greens are scientific idiots.

      ps I like your comment on Uranium not being “promiscuous”, unlike mercury. I can’t get out of my head the image of yellowcake shrinking back from any passing crewman and protesting that “I’m not one of those girls” whilst a vial of mercury whistles and asks “looking for a good time sailor”. Yes I know I have a weird imagination.

      • Ari 3.2.1

        It certainly would be nice if the Greens at least began fact-checking a bit more extensively before they launched off on this stuff. On some parts of science they can be really thorough, but when it comes to nuclear issues, genetic modification, or alternative medicine, there’s a tendancy to shoot from the hip which is embarrassing and not parliamentary behaviour at all. (Not that National haven’t tried their hardest to lower the standards in that regard)

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      You have to concentrate the U235 in uranium before it is of any radioactive danger.

      There is some doubt about that.

      Rokke, a health physicist who became the Pentagon’s most senior DU expert during the first Gulf War, became convinced it had contaminated the battlefield and could be a factor in Gulf War Syndrome, the mysterious mix of illnesses that have afflicted returning soldiers. Rokke acknowledges DU’s brilliance as a weapon – because it is an extremely dense metal that sharpens and burns as it hits its target, it is used on the ends of tank shells and missiles to penetrate steel and concrete much more easily than conventional weapons. But he also believes that he and the research team became contaminated. “Everybody is sick,” he says. “We’ve all got rashes, respiratory and kidney problems. It’s there; there are no two ways about it.”

      That said, you’re probably right about yellowcake which isn’t solid uranium but is a mixture of chemical compounds which contain uranium.

    • Rich 3.4

      Maybe it’s relatively harmless in it’s natural state – though it’s many times more concentrated than any “dirt” found in nature.

      But put it in a reactor, and you’ve got plutonium and fission products. When there’s an accident (like Fukushima) these escape. The other risk is proliferation – any state which has an evolved nuclear industry is a few years away from making a bomb, should it choose to do so.

      Uranium’s a commodity – the more gets mined, the cheaper it becomes and the more attractive it is to countries to use nuclear power. By participating, even in a small way, in the supply chain, we’re contributing to nuclear accidents and bombs.

    • QoT 3.5

      lprent, I take your word on the science, but here’s the thing: do you think our trade partners and tourism industry are going to sit down and say “righto, let’s establish the actual scientific situation here” or are they going to go “MOTHERFUCKING URANIUM IN NZ WATERS, BURN ALL YOUR MERINO!”?

      • KJT 3.5.1

        Part of the problem here is, the Greens are the party of the environment. The media expect unscientific ideological brain farts from other parties and largely give them a free pass.

        Greens do not have that Luxury.

        Agreed that a “Nuclear free” country participating in the Nuclear industry., like NZ investments in Nuclear power, is not good PR.

        P.S. M F–king is a derogatory gendered insult. Black marks. 🙂

      • the sprout 3.5.2

        are going to sit down and say “righto, let’s establish the actual scientific situation here” or are they going to go “MOTHERFUCKING URANIUM IN NZ WATERS, BURN ALL YOUR MERINO!”?

        exactly

        • lprent 3.5.2.1

          Honest mistakes I can live with. Deliberately and knowingly screwing with the science for purely political purposes just annoys me

          Which leads to the question of responsibility. I like to assign it where I can see it. Somehow I can just see a post with the title of “[insert MP]: ldiot or liar?”, “New Zealand Greens lie about yellowcake”, or “Green lies” in my future – frequently. I am sure that I can get that repeated around science and engineering blogs for an added google effect. Hell if I make the words simple enough, the right may be able to understand it and repeat it.

          Where do people look up information from afar? Begins with a G…

          If the greens want an issue then they should find one of the real ones. Something like this is just easily disprovable bullshit and will simply irritate every tech orientated around. It simply makes it harder to convince hard nosed engineers that there are actual environmental problems that need looking at.

          Ultimately the greens need techs working for fixes earlier rather than after disasters strt striking. Damaging the greens credibility is not useful.

          • *_* 3.5.2.1.1

            Tetchy aren’t we?

            Since the transportation also took place during a Labour administration then you’d have no problems in defending it while belittling the Greens.

            • lprent 3.5.2.1.1.1

              Nope. I think that the science that Hughes pushed not only crap – I suspect that he knew it was crap.

              I notice that you are not supporting his science – I wonder why? Gutless wonder or just too pig-ignorant to understand the issue?

              • incorrect. it was not known about by the Labour Govt,
                ERMA became aware of the practice in 2009 – under National

                • lprent

                  I guess that was a reply for the punctuation puppet from context

                  What concerns me with ERMA is that they should be tracking the transport of any heavy metal over water as a matter of course. Many can have some pretty severe consequences if they get dumped in a corrosive seawater environment. They tend to be pretty evil in enclosed waters because the sediments get a lot of rework by local flora and therefore fauna.

      • lprent 3.5.3

        Yeah, but also they ignore dangerous radioactive waste transfers from Japan to the UK that have actual dangers. What makes you think that they will notice something that is not dangerous. Ummm because our local morons of science tell them right?

        Quite frankly I prefer to deal with the local idiots. Starting with this Green MP who needs a lower high school education in basic science. I seem to remember he is on my Facebook.

        • QoT 3.5.3.1

          I assume they’ll ignore anything right up to the point there’s a pageview-generating story in it.

        • KDV 3.5.3.2

          If a ton of yellow cake washed up on our beaches then, regardless of its actual toxicity, our tourism industry would be decimated for decades. We might still be able to sell food products overseas, but only at knock down prices, never again at premium prices.

          If authorities told you the food was safe, but you had the choice of an alternative, would you choose to eat food from somewhere washed with yellow cake? No, me neither.

          • NickS 3.5.3.2.1

            You’ve got no idea how sparing soluble yellowcake is do you?

            • KDV 3.5.3.2.1.1

              I assume you mean ‘sparingly soluble’? You seem to have a literalist disposition but perhaps I should have used the more literary ‘awash’ rather than ‘washed’.
              Whether the shit disolves or is dispersed as a solid is immaterial. Of course it doesn’t even have to disperse. As long as it’s lost in the sea close to our coast it will have an enormously serious economic impact via denigration of our export image. Actual toxicity is immaterial.
              Get it now?

              • NickS

                What I get is that you have absolutely no idea about the relative non-toxicity (inhalation problematic for the same reasons inhaling silica is problematic, otherwise only UO2 in the 2+ state is a problem, but it’s not generally found in yellowcake) of uranium oxides in that it’s only highly toxic once it’s reduced to uranium salts which the uranium cation(s) in which ever oxidisation state (aka is it +1, +2, +3 etc, etc) it’s in can then co-ordinate with organic molecules and gum things up. And because uranium oxides are very sparingly soluble, environmental impacts would only be seen when dumping more a couple of tonnes of the stuff, and even then you have to take into account ocean currents diluting any spills, along with it being locked up in marine mud or buried via other means.

                Uranyl is another thing entirely and prone to bio-accumulating due to it’s affinity for coordinating with phosphates (see DNA and RNA for what that’s “fun”). However, environmental impact as noted before will depend on environmental factors and amount dumped.

                On the radioactivity front, U238 is less radioactive than granite, and the proportion of U235 in yellowcake is far too low to make it a significant radiation risk until enrichment processing.

                But hey, why fact check when you can just be ignorant instead?

                As for tourism impacts, well, I can’t be fucked caring about the opinions of stupid idiots who can’t be bothered checking out stuff properly.

                • KDV

                  It’s a shame your reading comprehension skills aren’t as developed as your trumpet blowing.
                  So one more time, but with fewer words for you to read: Actual toxicity is immaterial.
                  Get it now?

                  • NickS

                    As for tourism impacts, well, I can’t be fucked caring about the opinions of stupid idiots who can’t be bothered checking out stuff properly.

                    What part of “I can’t be fucked…” do you not understand? If people are too stupid too understand risks properly based off the science than I really couldn’t care what they think, especially as, unlike with the Rena disaster, you’d still be able to eat sea food post the spill of yellowcake (provided uranyl levels are at WHO guidelines off course).

                    As for trading partners, they’ll be basing risks off toxicity data, not public opinion, making your quip about toxicity being immaterial rather braindead.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      As for trading partners, they’ll be basing risks off toxicity data, not public opinion, making your quip about toxicity being immaterial rather braindead.

                      Nah, once consumers in those countries hear of a spill of radioactive material they’ll start turning away from NZ produce immediately. And they won’t be looking at toxicity data.

                      Effect will probably last for months.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.5.4

        “lprent, I take your word on the science”

        No offense to lprent, but the only way to be sure of scientific pronouncements is to check the source.

        • lprent 3.5.4.1

          As you should. There is a Wikipedia link in my earlier comment that on links to other references. If you hunt around the net you will find unreferenced sources that talk about it’s radioactivity – by few with actual levels or comparisons too other substances. Ones that do tend to compare it to granite as a good reference level.

          Like heavy metals, I would get concerned about the release of large quantities into the environment. However it is transported as a stable oxide and sulphate rather than as a metal. But it is innocuous compared to even a tiny shipment of batteries with its cohort of lead, cadmium, and every other nasty heavy metal in an metallic form. I would be interested to see if ERMA tracks those.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.5.4.1.1

            If you really want to give yourself nightmares, Maritime rules part 24A is a good place to start.

          • Bob 3.5.4.1.2

            You mean like the toxic tailings dump just outside of Waihi ? Which is full of heavy metals associated with gold mining from hard rock sources .
            Once NGW leave the area , the rate payers of the waikato get to look after these tailings dams in perpetuity , there is a bond but as the Tui mine tailings clean up showed, it costs a lot of money to try and remediate problems .

  4. What is even more terrifying is that Tauranga is not testing anything for radioactive material coming from Japan (as it does not have the equipment to do so) which has still got four full meltdowns going on and we are importing Cars and food from that country!

  5. NickS 5

    @Llyn (reply fail)

    Uranium isn’t even that good a heavy metal poison – its outer electron shell is pretty full. It simply isn’t promiscuous like plutonium or mercury. The oxides in yellowcake make it nearly inert and nonsoluble.

    Toxicity in the case of yellow cake is more of a function of how damn much has been spilled, as that will determine how much potentially of a small fraction will form far more toxic soluble uranium salts*. But then you’ve also got to take into account where it’s been spilled, water currents, depth, temperature to get a fuller picture of any potential risks.

    Hughes is acting like an idiot. But I have come to not expect too much actual science knowledge from the Green party MP’s. Some are more into chicken little labelling without thinking enough.

    This +1

    And yeah, the Greens really need someone with a fucking background in modern molecular biology and genetics on board, as they’re still not so smart on genetic modification risk assessment + the uses of GMO’s.

    The only thing of interest is the level of reporting to ERMA. That is something I haven’t thought about and I will have to dig into a bit.

    It is slightly weird, especially considering NZ’s known anti-nuclear stance, which would make shipping it through rather stupid from a PR perspective.

    From the post:

    “Australian dirt, which is essentially harmless”

    That’s not dirt, as if you tried growing plants in it, they’d die from lack of nutrients and It’s fucking processed uranium ore you chemically illiterate PR hack.

    ______________________
    *Statistical thermodynamics + probability fun, aka shit will happen even if it has a small probability of happening…

    • lprent 5.1

      The ERMA side I need to look at more closely. For instance do they track shipments of batteries. Imagine the effect of a container of nicad batteries on a seafloor harbor ecosystem. If they missed a type of processed heavy metal shipment, then what others have they missed. That is a question worth asking.

  6. Rich 6

    the Greens really need someone with a fucking background in modern molecular biology and genetics on board

    Could you detail who in other parties has such a background? Paula Bennett?

  7. locus 7

    Public belief in scare stories is sometimes helpful sometimes disastrous. You can’t blame anyone for not buying a 2nd hand car just imported from Japan if they think it might be radioactive. But the damage done to people’s health and livelihoods from erroneous beliefs can be irrepairable, e.g. local fishing industry decimated not by an oil spill but by belief that their catches are contaminated; children possibly getting damaged by or dying from measles as not vaccinated following the MMR autism con. Before people with a public profile go out with scare stories you’d think that they would consult with experts – or in some cases just talk to someone with a School C in the subject..

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Thing is, consulting with the experts is often worse than useless, at the time. Think Sellafield, think dioxin in New Plymouth, think thalidomide.

      No problem! Its safe! Then 20 years later you find out.

      • locus 7.1.1

        True, and so even more important that politicians and others with public profile do the best they can to research a subject and tackle the root causes of risk, and avoid pronouncements on presumed consequences.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2

        I know what you mean, but I think you’ll find it isn’t so much the experts saying “it’s safe”. They’ll be saying “we have 95% confidence…” It’s the politicians and lawyers and marketing people who repackage science into press-releases.
        Unfortunately it appears that unless this repackaging occurs, people (for the most part) will not engage with scientific findings at all.
        This makes it doubly important (as NickS says above) that parties employ scientifically literate people to help them get it right.
        As for the rest of us, the baloney detection kit is a good place to start.

        • Rich 7.1.2.1

          Some scientists are the ones pushing that ‘evidence based policy’ means that you ask the appropriately learned people and a policy pops out fully formed that will be Correct.

          But all science will usually give us is a range of facts – that gets conditioned by a bunch of subjective settings:
          – how important do we consider the preservation of ecosystems?
          – how important is low cost transport for imports and exports?
          – how much do we want to maintain friendship with ‘traditional allies’ like the UK and US?
          – how much are we morally complicit in events which our government’s actions influence?

          These are just some of the questions that drive a decision here. If you’re on one side of the scale (stuff the ecosystem, cheap freight, suck up to the us, what’s a moral) then you’ll possibly take a hazard level at the high end, or ignore any hazard. If you’re the other way, the immediate risk might be a bit irrelevant.

          • NickS 7.1.2.1.1

            the ecosystem one you can cost on the basis of ecosystem services and estimated replacement costs, which is pretty much well formed at present (bar a few stupid economists who can’t grok ecosystem services), so it’s not really subjective unless you’re an idiot blinded by ideology or greed.

            • Rich 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Take an incident or practice that leads to the destruction of a minor non-food species with no economic impact. Slime, for instance, or dolphins.

              Is it a problem? Depends on how much you value that ecosystem, which is a value judgment.

              • NickS

                /facepalm

                Why thank you for showing your lack of knowledge about food webs, as dolphins are important predators and thus have significant impacts on community assemblages, while slime oft provides important microhabitats and food for various micro and macro-fauna, those presence of absence can have knock on effects throughout the ecosystem.

                Basically, go take 2nd and 3rd year uni ecology courses, then get back to me.

                • Rich

                  Not until you’ve taken 3rd year maths and can explain Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem using only high-school concepts.

                  • NickS

                    What the fuck?

                    Wiles’ proof is utterly inconsequential to this discussion, which centres on your ignorance of ecology, of which the maths involve in ecology barely rises to 3rd year maths levels and primarily involves statistical modelling. Heck for the most part first year calculus is all that’s needed unless you branch out into network topology stuff to do with foodwebs.

                    The Goalposts, you have failed to move them. Please try again.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1.2

            “..evidence-based policy…science will usually give us is a range of facts ”

            So what? Policy must take account of those facts, as distinct from anecdotes or advocacy.

            So, for example, the assertion that you can attribute a “value” to a member of an ecosystem and make sound judgements on policy based on that value is an example of advocacy, whereas NickS points you to the evidence that annihilates your argument.

            What do we want?

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    3 days ago
  • A New Day, a New Cease & Desist
    Hi,At 4.43pm yesterday it arrived — a cease and desist letter from the guy I mentioned in my last newsletter. I’d written an article about “WEWE”, a global multi-level marketing scam making in-roads into New Zealand. MLMs are terrible for many of the same reasons megachurches are terrible, and I ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • Blowing Off The Froth: Why Chris Hipkins Must Ditch Three Waters.
    Time To Call A Halt: Chris Hipkins knows that iwi leaders possess the means to make life very difficult for his government. Notwithstanding their objections, however, the Prime Minister’s direction of travel – already clearly signalled by his very public demotion of Nanaia Mahuta – must be confirmed by an emphatic ...
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #5 2023
    Open access notables Via PNAS, Ceylan, Anderson & Wood present a paper squarely in the center of the Skeptical Science wheelhouse:  Sharing of misinformation is habitual, not just lazy or biased. The signficance statement is obvious catnip: Misinformation is a worldwide concern carrying socioeconomic and political consequences. What drives ...
    3 days ago
  • Universities that punish reading – even of books from their own libraries
    Mark White from the Left free speech organisation Plebity looks at the disturbing trend of ‘book burning’ on US campuses In the abstract, people mostly agree that book banning is a bad thing. The Nazis did us the favor of being very clear about it and literally burning books, but ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Hipkins has a chance to show he is more effective in getting results  than Ardern in his Canberra t...
      Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has undergone a stern baptisim of fire in his first week in his new job, but it doesn’t get any easier. Next week, he has a vital meeting  in Canberra with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, where he has to establish ...
    Point of OrderBy tutere44
    3 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on extending the fuel/public transport subsidies
    As PM Chris Hipkins says, it’s a “no brainer” to extend the fuel tax cut, half price public subsidy and the cut to the road user levy until mid-year. A no braoner if the prime purpose is to ease the burden on people struggling to cope with the cost of ...
    3 days ago
  • U-turn on fuel taxes could pump up poll support for Hipkins and Co but the poor – perhaps – won...
    Buzz from the Beehive Cost-of-living pressures loomed large in Beehive announcements over the past 24 hours. The PM was obviously keen to announce further measures to keep those costs in check and demonstrate he means business when he talks of focusing his government on bread-and-butter issues. His statement was headed ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • Mike’s Cracked Record
    Poor Mike Hosking. He has revealed himself in his most recent diatribe to be one of those public figures who is defined, not by who he is, but by who he isn’t, or at least not by what he is for, but by what he is against. Jacinda’s departure has ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Chris Hipkins hires a lobbyist to run the Beehive
    New Zealand is the second least corrupt country on earth according to the latest Corruption Perception Index published yesterday by Transparency International. But how much does this reflect reality? The problem with being continually feted for world-leading political integrity – which the Beehive and government departments love to boast about ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • Pick o’ the links: Brown vs Fish; Brown vs everyone
    TLDR: Including my pick of the news and other links in my checks around the news sites since 4am. Paying subscribers can see them all below the fold.In Aotearoa’s political economyBrown vs Fish Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Pick o’ the links: Brown vs Fish; Brown vs everyone
    TLDR: Including my pick of the news and other links in my checks around the news sites since 4am. Paying subscribers can see them all below the fold.In Aotearoa’s political economyBrown vs Fish Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Dawn Chorus: Classic middle class welfare to win 'Ford Ranger Man'
    In other countries, the target-rich cohorts of swinging voters are given labels such as Mondeo Man’, ‘White Van Man,’ ‘Soccer Moms’ and ‘Little Aussie Battlers.’ Here, the easiest shorthand is ‘Ford Ranger Man’as seen here parked outside a Herne Bay restaurant, inbetween two SUVs. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Dawn Chorus: Classic middle class welfare to win 'Ford Ranger Man'
    In other countries, the target-rich cohorts of swinging voters are given labels such as Mondeo Man’, ‘White Van Man,’ ‘Soccer Moms’ and ‘Little Aussie Battlers.’ Here, the easiest shorthand is ‘Ford Ranger Man’as seen here parked outside a Herne Bay restaurant, inbetween two SUVs. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Government confirms a light rail rethink possible
    Transport Minister and now also Minister for Auckland, Michael Wood has confirmed that the light rail project is part of the government’s policy refocus. Wood said the light rail project was under review as part of a ministerial refocus on key Government projects. “We are undertaking a stocktake about how ...
    4 days ago
  • Why Nicola Willis is door-knocking in Johnsonville
    Sometime before the new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced that this year would be about “bread and butter issues”, National’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis decided to move from Wellington Central and stand for Ohariu, which spreads across north Wellington from the central city to Johnsonville and Tawa. It’s an ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • “With great power comes great responsibility”: we’ve all heard that, but stepping up to it is ...
    They say a week is a long time in politics. For Mayor Wayne Brown, turns out 24 hours was long enough for many of us to see, quite obviously, “something isn’t right here…”. That in fact, a lot was going wrong. Very wrong indeed. Mainly because it turns ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 days ago
  • The escalator rises again
    One of the most effective, and successful, graphics developed by Skeptical Science is the escalator.  The escalator shows how global surface temperature anomalies vary with time, and illustrates how "contrarians" tend to cherry-pick short time intervals so as to argue that there has been no recent warming, while "realists" recognise ...
    4 days ago
  • Dusk Chorus: ‘Bread and butter’ chosen over cutting emissions
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTLDR: Here’s a quick roundup of the news today for paying subscribers on a slightly frantic, very wet, and then very warm day. In Aotearoa’s political economy today Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Dusk Chorus: ‘Bread and butter’ chosen over cutting emissions
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTLDR: Here’s a quick roundup of the news today for paying subscribers on a slightly frantic, very wet, and then very warm day. In Aotearoa’s political economy today Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • We never get to feel one thing at a time, us grownups
    Tomorrow we have a funeral, and thank you all of you for your very kind words and thoughts — flowers, even.Our friend Michèle messaged: we never get to feel one thing at a time, us grownups, and oh boy is that ever the truth. Tomorrow we have the funeral, and ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Garrick Tremain’s view…
    ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Isn't this the rainy day we're supposed to be saving up for?
    Lynn and I have just returned from a news conference where Hipkins, fresh from visiting a relief centre in Mangere, was repeatedly challenged to justify the extension of subsidies to create more climate emissions when the effects of climate change had just proved so disastrous. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Isn't this the rainy day we're supposed to be saving up for?
    Lynn and I have just returned from a news conference where Hipkins, fresh from visiting a relief centre in Mangere, was repeatedly challenged to justify the extension of subsidies to create more climate emissions when the effects of climate change had just proved so disastrous. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Much excitement as Hipkins gets down to business – but can he defeat inflation with his devotion t...
    A  new Prime Minister, a revitalised Cabinet, and possibly  revised priorities – but is the political and, importantly, economic landscape  much different? Certainly  some within the news  media  were excited by the changes which Chris Hipkins announced yesterday or – before the announcement – by the prospect of changes in ...
    Point of OrderBy tutere44
    4 days ago
  • E-bike incentives work
    Currently the government's strategy for reducing transport emissions hinges on boosting vehicle fuel-efficiency, via the clean car standard and clean car discount, and some improvements to public transport. The former has been hugely successful, and has clearly set us on the right path, but its also not enough, and will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hipkins’ need to strengthen focus on “bread and butter” issues suggests the Ardern team was lo...
    Buzz from the Beehive Before he announced his Cabinet yesterday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced he would be flying to Australia next week to meet that country’s Prime Minister. And before Kieran McAnulty had time to say “Three Waters” after his promotion to the Local Government portfolio, he was dishing ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • 24,000 employed under Labour
    The quarterly labour market statistics were released this morning, showing that unemployment has risen slightly to 3.4%. There are now 99,000 people unemployed - 24,000 fewer than when Labour took office. So, I guess the Reserve Bank's plan to throw people out of work to stop wage rises "inflation", and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • February Stars.
    Another night of heavy rain, flooding, damage to homes, and people worried about where the hell all this water is going to go as we enter day twenty two of rain this year.Honestly if the government can’t sell Three Waters on the back of what has happened with storm water ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup:  Hipkins’ bread and butter reshuffle
    * Dr Bryce Edwards writes – Prime Minister Chris Hipkins continues to be the new broom in Government, re-setting his Government away from its problem areas in his Cabinet reshuffle yesterday, and trying to convince voters that Labour is focused on “bread and butter” issues. The ministers responsible for unpopular ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Hipkins’ bread and butter reshuffle
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins continues to be the new broom in Government, re-setting his Government away from its problem areas in his Cabinet reshuffle yesterday, and trying to convince voters that Labour is focused on “bread and butter” issues. The ministers responsible for unpopular reforms in water and DHB centralisation ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • The Neverending Curse of MLMs
    Hi,It’s weird to me that in 2023 we still have people falling for multi-level marketing schemes (MLMs for short). There are Netflix documentaries about them, countless articles, and last year we did an Armchaired and Dangerous episode on them.Then you check a ticketing website like EventBrite and see this shit ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Dusk Chorus: Mahuta and Little demoted
    Nanaia Mahuta fell the furthest in the Cabinet reshuffle. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: PM Chris Hipkins unveiled a Cabinet this afternoon he hopes will show wavering voters that a refreshed Labour Government is focused on ‘bread and butter cost of living’ issues, rather than the unpopular, unwieldy and massively centralising ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Dusk Chorus: Mahuta and Little demoted
    Nanaia Mahuta fell the furthest in the Cabinet reshuffle. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: PM Chris Hipkins unveiled a Cabinet this afternoon he hopes will show wavering voters that a refreshed Labour Government is focused on ‘bread and butter cost of living’ issues, rather than the unpopular, unwieldy and massively centralising ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • We just need the Wayne to stop
    Shortly, the absolute state of Wayne Brown. But before that, something I wrote four years ago for the council’s own media machine. It was a day-in-the-life profile of their many and varied and quite possibly unnoticed vital services. We went all over Auckland in 48 hours for the story, the ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • 2023 More Reading: January (+ Old Phuul Update)
    Completed reads for January Lilith, by George MacDonald The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (poem), by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Christabel (poem), by Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, by Anonymous The Lay of Kraka (poem), by Anonymous 1066 and All That, by W.C. Sellar and R.J. ...
    5 days ago
  • Is Britain doomed (again)?
    Pity the poor Brits.  They just can’t catch a break. After years of reporting of lying Boris Johnson, a change to a less colourful PM in Rishi Sunak has resulted in a smooth media pivot to an end-of-empire narrative.  The New York Times, no less, amplifies suggestions that Blighty ...
    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    5 days ago
  • After The Deluge.
    On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth.Genesis 6:11-12THE TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS that dumped a record-breaking amount of rain on Auckland this anniversary weekend will reoccur with ever-increasing frequency. The planet’s atmosphere is ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Education (who might be replaced later today) left it to his ministry to apologise for i...
    Buzz from the Beehive There has been plenty to keep the relevant Ministers busy in flood-stricken Auckland over the past day or two. But New Zealand, last time we looked, extends north of Auckland into Northland and south of the Bombay Hills all the way to the bottom of the ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • The other ‘big one’: How a megaflood could swamp California’s Central Valley
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters When early settlers came to the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers before the California Gold Rush, Indigenous people warned them that the Sacramento Valley could become an inland sea when great winter rains came. The storytellers described water filling the ...
    5 days ago
  • Tuesday's pick o' the links: Wayne Brown's WTF moment
    Wayne Brown managed a smile when meeting with Remuera residents, but he was grumpy about having to deal with “media drongos”. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: In my pick of the news links found in my rounds since 4am for paying subscribers below the paywall:Wayne Brown moans about the media and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Tuesday's pick o' the links: Wayne Brown's WTF moment
    Wayne Brown managed a smile when meeting with Remuera residents, but he was grumpy about having to deal with “media drongos”. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: In my pick of the news links found in my rounds since 4am for paying subscribers below the paywall:Wayne Brown moans about the media and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: The gamechanger PM and polls
    Dr Bryce Edwards writes –  Last night’s opinion polls answered the big question of whether a switch of prime minister would really be a gamechanger for election year. The 1News and Newshub polls released at 6pm gave the same response: the shift from Jacinda Ardern to Chris Hipkins ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Dawn Chorus: Why 2023 will be a year of indecision & delay
    Hipkins’ aim this year will be to present a ‘low target’ for those seeking to attack Labour’s policies and spending. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: Anyone dealing with Government departments and councils who wants some sort of big or long-term decision out of officials or politicians this year should brace for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Dawn Chorus: Why 2023 will be a year of indecision & delay
    Hipkins’ aim this year will be to present a ‘low target’ for those seeking to attack Labour’s policies and spending. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: Anyone dealing with Government departments and councils who wants some sort of big or long-term decision out of officials or politicians this year should brace for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: The Gamechanger PM and polls
    Last night’s opinion polls answered the big question of whether a switch of prime minister would really be a gamechanger for election year. The 1News and Newshub polls released at 6pm gave the same response: the shift from Jacinda Ardern to Chris Hipkins has changed everything, and Labour is back ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • After the deluge – initial thoughts on the Auckland floods
    Over the last few years, it’s seemed like city after city around the world has become subject to extreme flooding events that have been made worse by impacts from climate change. We’ve highlighted many of them in our Weekly Roundup series. Sadly, over the last few days it’s been Auckland’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Cheated?
    And so the first month of the year draws to a close. It rained in Auckland on 21 out of the 31 days in January. Feels like summer never really happened this year. It’s actually hard to believe there were 10 days that it didn’t rain. Was it any better where ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Ani O’Brien: Luxon can’t afford to continue ‘small target’ politics
    A ‘small target’ strategy is not going to cut it anymore if National want to win the upcoming election. The game has changed and the game plan needs to change as well. Jacinda Ardern’s abrupt departure from the 9th floor has the potential to derail what looked to be an ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • Shaking up science
    When Grant Robertson talks about how the economy might change post-covid, one of the things he talks about is what he calls an unsung but interesting white paper on science. “It’s really important,” he says. The Minister in charge of the White Paper —  Te Ara Paerangi, Future Pathways ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Dusk Chorus: Auckland schools closed til Feb 7
    The clean up has begun but more rain is on the way. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: Auckland’s floods over the last three days are turning into a macroeconomic event, with losses from Aotearoa’s biggest-ever climate event estimated at around $500 million and Auckland’s schools all closed for a week until ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Dusk Chorus: Auckland schools closed til Feb 7
    The clean up has begun but more rain is on the way. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty ImagesTLDR: Auckland’s floods over the last three days are turning into a macroeconomic event, with losses from Aotearoa’s biggest-ever climate event estimated at around $500 million and Auckland’s schools all closed for a week until ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • How we get a new Prime Minister – it’s a simple matter of vice-regal appointment without a swear...
    The news media were at one ceremony by the looks of things. The Governor-General, the  Prime Minister and his deputy were at another. The news  media were at a swearing-in ceremony. The country’s leaders were at an appointment ceremony. The New Zealand Gazette record of what transpired says: Appointment of ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago

  • Advancing our relationship in India
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for India tomorrow as she continues to reconnect Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.  The visit will begin in New Delhi where the Foreign Minister will meet with the Vice President Hon Jagdeep Dhankar and her Indian Government counterparts, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government Northland housing investment to spark transformational change
    Over $10 million infrastructure funding to unlock housing in Whangārei The purchase of a 3.279 hectare site in Kerikeri to enable 56 new homes Northland becomes eligible for $100 million scheme for affordable rentals Multiple Northland communities will benefit from multiple Government housing investments, delivering thousands of new homes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago