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Fertile land is priceless

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, August 15th, 2019 - 220 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, food, housing, sustainability - Tags: , , , ,

I’m very pleased to see the government moving to protect prime food growing land from development.

Environment Minister David Parker said the government would “prefer potatoes” to more subdivisions.

He and the Agriculture Minister today released a document for public consultation on the threats this highly productive farm land faces and how to protect it.

The document includes a draft National Policy Statement.

“In parts of New Zealand we’re losing too many of our productive soils to subdivision… we’ve got to get that balance better,” Mr Parker said.

“Every day, truckloads of brocolli and other winter greens leave from the Auckland region, not just to feed Auckland, but also to feed the South Island.

Given the encroaching climate emergency, and the now mainstream acceptance that there will be food shortages going forward, this is an important move by Labour. Fertile land is priceless.



Let’s join up some more dots. A big part of the ecological footprint of food in New Zealand is the domestic food miles. An economy based on transporting food from Auckland to Invercargill will have to change. We need more local food growing and seasonal eating, supported by improved rail and shipping networks for the foods that can’t easily be grown in a region (feijoa for Southland, oats for Auckland).

Urban land can also be highly productive. Many backyards are still suitable for vegetable growing. In some there is room for a fruit and nut orchard and some hens. The carbon footprint of lettuce or potatoes grown in our backyards is minuscule. People who don’t want to or can’t garden can provide a living to other people who want to garden and don’t have land. This is food production in resilient systems, that provide employment and support local economies. The Farmers Market is no longer on the other side of town, there’s one in every suburb.

All those Nimbys in Auckland with the big lawns and mature trees who are stopping housing infill are doing us a favour, because those landscapes can easily be converted to food production if/when we start getting crop failures internationally. We need to prepare rich folk to learn how to share, and there are social justice issues to resolve, but protection of that land is a good thing.

While we will continue to grow food in large farms, they’re not as resilient to extreme nature events as smaller farms and gardens growing polycultures. It takes one flood to destroy a farm crop of potatoes. An orchard flattened by gale winds or one summer’s bad drought, takes much longer to replace. Smaller farms and gardens can be more easily protected from weather and pest species.

Green urban spaces also have the benefit of protecting people. Cooler in summer, and more conducive to good mental health. Lots of wins here.

Finally, if we want more potatoes and less subdivisions, at some point we will have to talk about population and the carrying capacity of each watershed in New Zealand. The push to infill our cities, while understandable as a short term response to the housing crisis, is going to create another set of problems down the line. Sustainability and climate resiliency are intrinsically tied to how much food we can grow relative to the number of people who need to eat it. The global economy built on fossil fuels hides this fact.

There’s also an ethical imperative here, because in a climate change world if we don’t grow our own food we are expecting other, often poorer countries to do it for us and they may not be able to afford to do that. 




A couple of further notes. I hope to see urban vegans all over this if they want to put their money where their mouth is in terms of climate change change. Importing industrial yet vulnerableplants crops from across the globe is a major climate mitigation fail. When I see vegans doing the mahi of getting New Zealand to grow beans and tree-crop nuts I’ll give the movement more respect. This isn’t an invitation to spam comments with vegan propaganda, but thoughtful, solution-based discussion is welcome.

The other is that it was hard to write this post without thinking about the juxtaposition of Labour protecting food growing land around Auckland at the same time as refusing to step in and protect the archeological site of some of the oldest food gardens in the country: Ihumātao. Māori have been pointing out that they’ve been trying to protect land for a very long time. Maybe the rest of us could learn something here. As long as we value profit over people and the environment we will get both these things wrong.

Proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (MPI documents and submission forms)

220 comments on “Fertile land is priceless”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Stunning initiative!

    The Right-wing farming community will be fully supportive of this, having forever decried the loss of good, productive farmland to housing and life-style block proliferation.

    However, the demand by land owners for the right to sell to whomsoever they want to, as evidenced by the anguish presently about selling farms to forestry companies, shows the issue that might tip-up the plans. 

     

    • Gosman 1.1

      The right wing farming community SHOULD (but probably won't) acknowledge that it should largely be up to individual property owners what happens to their land and not councils dictating what they should and shouldn't do.

      • weka 1.1.1

        are you ok with someone building a large and noisy factory next to your house?

        • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.1

          He SHOULD (but probably won't) be.

        • Gosman 1.1.1.2

          I live next to a railway line across from a noisy factory. So in short I don't care.

          • WILD KATIPO 1.1.1.2.1

            I live not far from a railway and hear the Eagle Police chopper at 3 AM,… I kinda do care cos its usually them checking out burglars or traffic problems , which needs to be  done… I want to go back to the bush before I get too old.

            The bush doesn't do you any wrong.

            People do.

            Anyhow's,… every time I hear that train comin' or goin'… I get a little Johnny Cash about things…

            Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues – Live at San Quentin … – YouTube

            Johnny Cash – San Quentin (Live from Prison) – YouTube



          • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.2.2

            Physically as well as ideologically deaf, huh.

          • Tricledrown 1.1.1.2.3

            That explains a lot'. That's why you never listen to any other opinion. 

      • woodart 1.1.2

        in your world gosman, the right wing farming community will chase unlimited growth and in the end sell off to large farming corporates, who for a while will let those same right wing tenants stay as unpaid help. then those right wing squatters will be asked,, then told to leave. they will then moan, and blame those same councils for not doing anything to stop it..the remaining few in situ farmers(i.e. not based in ireland or singapore)will gather together under the fading umbrella of fed farmers, and be used as dupes by foresaid offshore farmers.dont believe me. look at far older farming communities and economies than ours. 

      • New view 1.1.3

        The right wing farming community didn’t buy their land with the intention of flogging it off for housing. In general I imagine they will be supportive of efforts to preserve that land. There will always be exceptions. 

    • Molly 1.2

      Locally, the right-wing farming community are both vocal about the diminishment of available cropping land AND those who have utilised both current policy and political connections to get their A1 class soil land subdivided.

      Despite the good intentions of this National Policy Statement, the implementation of such as statement is done by local governments and needs to be carefully monitored.  Also it has to be in conjunction with exceptional, cohesive planning for residential, industrial, commercial development and transport otherwise it will be ineffective.

      I would also love to see the National Policy Statement mechanism to bring in the need for regional and local authorities to consider climate change.  Any planning – including the sequestering of fertile land – needs to be considered with this restriction in mind else the mechanisms of implementation might prove to be detrimental in the long run.

      • weka 1.2.1

        good point about climate change. Will you be making a submission?

        I'd be happy to do another post, but I haven't read the documents, so if anyone wants to contribute bits or a whole post, let me know.

        • Molly 1.2.1.1

          I've briefly spoken on the use of the National Policy Statement with Robert Guyton on TS, and he mentioned that there was work going on.  It would require ALL regional and local authorities to adapt/design planning documents, and make decisions on resource consents that have climate change adaptation in mind.  Any requirement for elected officials to be informed and effective would be minimised, as their local authorities have to meet the requirements.  It would also stop any climate change washing that is presented by councils by actually making it a consideration of planning and resource consents, whereas now councils can hold up individual projects as PR and still conduct BAU in regards to the issues that matter.

          Will have a look at the submissions – thanks for that – later.  But am having a bit of a hiatus at the moment regarding consultation and submissions, and don't put as much time and effort in as I used to.  Submission fatigue.

  2. marty mars 2

    Good post. Good initiative.

    "When I see vegans doing the mahi of getting New Zealand to grow beans and tree-crop nuts I’ll give the movement more respect."

    Don't agree with that statement – vegans aren't the enemy – they are on the good side of history imo and one vegan doesn't speak for the many vegans out there. 

    • weka 2.1

      We should probably stop talking about vegans as all being of a like mind for sure. My comment was about the current push for everyone to be vegan as a solution to climate change. People arguing that should be stepping up on how that can be achieved locally.

      • marty mars 2.1.1

        I don't agree – but small bickies really imo especially in the context of the post.

        • gsays 2.1.1.1

          Try replacing the word vegan with the word Maori and see if the point of like-mindedness becomes clearer.

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            You probably need to specify which sentence, but also please keep on topic. Other conversations can be taken to Open Mike.

            • phillip ure 2.1.1.1.1.1

              given 71% of farmed land on te planet is used to raise/fatten animals or to grow the food to feed those animals..

              it is difficult to see how this can not be 'on topic'..

              to ignore it while fretting about the use of productive farm land..

              is setting a new benchmark in ignoring te pachyderm in te house..eh..?

      • phillip ure 2.1.2

        trying to think of a name for greens/enviros/save-te-planet!-pple/who can't even get their shit together to stop eating animals + who recoil in horror @ any suggestion they shouldd stop chowing down on flesh – (y'know..!..seeing they are helping to fuck te planet..?) –

        i came up with 'hand-flappers'..?

        anyone got a better one..?

        'cos more and more each day we need a name for these people..

        'cos this phenomenon can no longer be just ignored..

        the urgencies are too great..

        • lprent 2.1.2.1

          Personally, since I actually read reports rather than the insane religious tracts that you do, I’m more concerned about :-

          1. burning fossil fuels because of CO2 production
          2. creating concrete because of CO2 production
          3. deforestation, reducing CO2 sinks
          4. increases in human populations driving increased resource usage
          5. increases in human affluence levels driving increased resource usage
          6. increases in air travel using kerosene because of injections of high atmosphere CO2
          7. moralistic fuckwits of faith and ignorance who are obviously too stupid to prioritise what is important

          Reducing food animal production and rice paddy production with their heavy methane production are further down on my list. They are short climate change cycles, are a matter of changing fashion, and very short-term issues.

          Putting on my judgemental hat, you appear to be one of the nutters at number 7. Along with Trump.

          • phillip ure 2.1.2.1.1

            wow..!..um..!..not really in the habit of reading 'insane religious tracts'..heh..!

            i am just going on those 'reports' you place so much faith in..

            y'know..!..all those things the mainstream media are saying..?..(c.f.  guardian..?..daily..?..about how we have to stop eating so many animals..?

            you just discount all those imperatives/'reports'..?)

            let's take yr worries into account (seeing as you are refusing to see the pachyderm..(!)..eh..?

            one thru three – fine with those (tho' none of them outweigh the pachyderm..eh….)

            number 4) am puzzled you have bought into the population increase panic bullshit…

            that is seen by most rational thinkers as a distraction from what needs to be really done..

            6) air travel is the other big one people are goin to have to cease and desist on/

            7) i see 'fuckwits of faith and ignorance' as those who pretend to 'care'/be green – but this is outweighed y their addictions to eating animal flesh..

            so really..and hand-wringing they do whilst being in that deluded state..

            is just so much hot air/bullshit..

            and as such is to be studiously ignored..

            and stopping eating animals is 'a matter of fashion'..?

            are you listening to yrslf..?

            i haven't eaten animal flesh for nearly 40 yrs..

            and i have been arguing this case since then..

            (one long fashion cycle..)

            my arguments washing up against walls of ingrained leftwing ignorance/bloody mindedness – insult and scorn..

            then..as now….as you so clearly just demonstrated..

            i am arguing for the animals..and you call me 'a nutter'..?

            of course..if i called you that – i wd probably be banned..eh..?

            as well as being firmly on the wrong side of history – and part of the problem..

            you also clearly have issues with abuse of power..eh..?

            • lprent 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Did a brief scan of that self-pitying rubbish. Came out with 'I claim the absolute right to criticize others but find it dangerous when others criticize me in exactly same way.

              So who made you the font of all wisdom if not a god? Or a mental illness?

              Basically if you don't want to be judged like that by me – then argue your case to convince me and others. If you want to sit in judgement like a Salem magistrate over the your perception of the flaws of others – well then I am happy to judge you judge as harshly.

              If you want to just be a sanctimonious nutbar, then you either put up with me replying to your inane comments in kind or you can just fuck off.

              This site was set up for robust debate, not to provide a broadcasting soapbox for simpleton fools who can’t handle criticism of their ideas.

              As far as I’m concerned your track record of appalling commenting behaviour adds nothing to this site and the discussions on it except to waste my resources. I intend to make sure you get a robust and very personal debate of your motivations and direct analysis until you learn to civilize yourself.

              At that, I’m making a concession to allow you to use your voice here. Normally I’d suggest that you read the last section of the last paragraph of our about. But as we know from previous experience you aren’t particularly competent at attracting readers. Probably has something to do with how dumbarse many people find your ideas and behaviour.

              • wow…!..(redux..)

                hey..i'm an old guy…wanna race up mt eden..?

                it could be billed as the unreconstructed-carnivore – vs. the vegan who annoys..

                if you win i'll eat (fake)-meat – (a prospect i dread..)

                if i win – you go vegan for a month..(you may find you like it..)

                my 8 yr old (vegan)-dog who is super-fit/toned could also race..we could match him up against whatever carnivore-hound you like..(i should warn you he gets to run on a long west coast beach each/every day..he is up for it..)

                as am i..)

        • Andre 2.1.2.2

          Depending on who is doing the estimating, the difference between a human eating a red-meat and dairy heavy diet and a vegan diet is around 1 to 1.8 tonnes CO2eq per year.

          That's equivalent to 3000 to 8000km of driving, or swapping out a little nana's shopping trolley for a big SUV for your daily drive. Or one longish flight. Or keeping a couple of small dogs (or large vegan ones), depending on who is doing the estimating.

          • weka 2.1.2.2.1

            where'd  you get those estimates from Andre?

          • The Al1en 2.1.2.2.2

            So around the same saving as me driving low mileage pa in a well maintained and very fuel economic classic MX5 compared to my gas guzzling suv owning veggie neighbour?

            I've gotten near 50mpg on trips to Auckland before. My next door drives a tank to the supermarket 2 minutes walk away.

            • Andre 2.1.2.2.2.1

              Yeah.

              Or around the emissions saving I got from changing all my compact fluorescent bulbs to LEDs, dropping my hot water thermostat to just over 60, and modifying my shower head to be ultra-low flow (assuming all my saved electricity resulted in less fossil fuels being burned at Huntly).

              • The Al1en

                Done the led lamps at $12 a pop when they came out, had the hot water turned down under 60 since my babe was old enough to turn a tap 17 years ago, and my shower head is ultra low flow through needing a couple of nights with a glass clr.

                Got to be worth a whopper, nay double whopper for dinner tonight.

                • Andre

                  Hope it's not much under 60. The risk of Legionnaire's growing in your hot water goes up really quickly as the set temp goes below 60.

                  Nowadays with decent LEDs regularly going on special under $2 each, it's time to require lurid labels on incandescent bulbs warning about how much money they waste. Like ciggie packs.

                  • The Al1en

                    Labour should just ban the old bulbs… But not in election year this time, please.

                    Point taken about the hot water, but I wish I could get a 100w equivalent lamp for 2 bucks. On special they're about 9 dollars in pak n save.

                    • Andre

                      A 100W incandescent puts out around 1400 lumens, evenly distributed around the full spherical direction. A 2buck 9W LED puts out around 800 lumens, well aimed into the hemisphere pointing away from the socket. For most of my fixtures it seems like pretty much the same amount of useful light.

                      Pak'n'Save always look bloody expensive for LED bulbs. Bunnings regularly have cheap ones. Mitre 10 occasionally. So far the cheapies from Bunnings have lasted over a year, so they've paid for themselves in savings even compared to the fluorescents I used to use.

                    • The Al1en

                      I service my car but I'm not 'handy' so I seldom venture into places like Bunnings and the like, but I'll check them out next day off. Savings on savings is always good yes

                    • Andre

                      Just look online. Right now they're selling 6packs for $9. They're calling them equivalent to 60W since they're 800lumens/10W, but in a lot of fixtures they'll be a lot better then a 60W incandescent since almost all the light is going directly out of the fixture, rather than half of it going back towards the the lampshade and then reflected (with losses).

                    • The Al1en

                      Way back some fashion victim put downlighters through my house, so they may just do the trick. The ones I have now are better than the old fluro ones I had before, so when one eventually dies, whenever that is, I'll get me a pack in for back up at the weekend.

              • lprent

                Or around the emissions saving I got from changing all my compact fluorescent bulbs to LEDs…

                The largest element of my power usage is this site's server and associated gear like network routers and UPSes. Fortunately it doubles as my partner's apartment heater. Which is good in winter, but kind of  a waste in summer. It is a pity that I can’t easily use a computers waste heat to power a aircond unit in the fetrid Auckland summer

                Every time that I manage to get a lower power usage CPU, I really notice the drop in power costs. After I dropped off the 8 core 220W FX CPU down to more economical 65W Ryzen 7, there was a sustained drop in the power bill. Same when a threadripper with better idle was put in for those occasional 4k video editing jobs to replace the old 125W FX.

    • Robert Guyton 2.2

      It's interesting how willingly we classify people according to the food preferences.

      • WILD KATIPO 2.2.1

        Just don't take my steamed veg's from me OK?

        People can keep their stuffed grouse and fricasseed prawns whatever that is , – I'll stay with a massive plate of steamed veges topped with any number of simple sauces and grated cheese , preferably with nuts like almonds and cranberry's and a can of oily fish mixed in or on the side! 

  3. 'Food' ,… is the natural ' currency ' of the biological world,… be that of the hunter gatherers, or … the 'animal kingdom'.

    ————————————–

    Small wonder in every hunter gatherer / hort / agricultural society… food was the currency.

    Koha,… in NZ ,.. often as not . Also the reason we have feasts during festivities.

    Money , – being a unit of measure of labour over time,… only came when the old system of barter and trade,… grew too complex… and evil minded people saw it ( money ) as a way to wealth and power over others…

    Which brings me to a point you have raised , Weka,… the rich wont share,

    Ever.

    The best we can hope for is for them to be a parasitic land banker until such time as their lands will be sequestered from them… IF ,… the needs arise. Until then , as they always were,… the extremely wealthy in general will always be parasites. 

    Now,… it may come as a surprise ,… but 'potatoes' belong to the Solanum family… WHICH  ,… is the same family as the Nightshades… eg: deadly nightshade. The same family as Eggplant, Tomatoes and Potatoes. All of which contain alkaloids that exacerbate arthritis.

    Interesting , eh?

    Sugar being the worst inflammatory.

    Then Potatoes, then Tomatoes.

    Here's the trick … Pineapple, Papaya … Black Grapes are the counters to that. And lastly but not least… Kumara,… if your want your carbs and a wealth of minerals and other nutrients… eat Kumara as a substitute. Not Potatoes. Far better for you.

    As always , all things in moderation.

    Enjoy those spuds, have those delicious tomatoes and take in that lycopene… 

    But the humble Kumara is far better for you.

    Just sayin'….

    • Oh , and curry. If you want a ton of benefits, get used to putting a simple curry sauce in /on  everything,… even melt a little peanut butter in with the curry and olive oil… goes great with steamed veges,… add some grated Edam cheese and your literally eating good health.

      There are many other foodstuffs available,… 

      But hey ! … those Kumara's!

      So many good things came from the Americas,… not just Potatoes and Toms!

    • Stuart Munro. 3.2

      Though I like the odd spud myself, I really think a little rice growing wouldn't go amiss. You don't have to peel it so there's little or no waste, and it can be stored pretty easily, which makes it good rainy day stuff. Kumara doesn't prosper this far south unhappily, though it's looking like it may before too long.

      • James Thrace 3.2.1

        Rice is basically Asian candy floss.

        I can't find the link at the moment, but a few years ago there was a study done in terms of the glucose effect of rice on those who have eaten it for thousands of years (Asian) and those who are only recent (European)

        What came out was that in Asian races, their blood glucose levels rose very slowly over time, as their bodies were better able to process the sugar and starch in rice for longer periods.

        In Europeans, blood glucose rose very quickly, and dropped over a much longer period of time.

        Fascinating to note that in Europeans, the hunger came back much faster than in Asians.

        So effectively, rice is bad for Europeans as their physiology is not built to process rice as efficiently as Asians. 

        Experiencing extreme blood sugar spikes like that tires out the pancreas. I know there's more study to be done regarding pancreatic fatigue, but as a type 1 diabetic I used to notice myself the horrendous effect that rice has on BGLs. 

        I no longer eat rice, and have substituted for cauliflower rice.

        • Robert Guyton 3.2.1.1

          There's rice and there's rice!

          I like black, red, brown and wild varieties, organically-grown and bought through our food cooperative here in Riverton. I've seen rice growing on Waiheke Island and imagine there are parts of NZ already suitable for rice growing. I support the Masanobu Fukuoka way of rice growing; that is, without the mud and flooding, with seed sown into standing stubble and the rest of what he practiced, bless him!

          Rice is nice.

          • Stuart Munro. 3.2.1.1.1

            It's common nowadays in Korea for rice to include a smattering of purple rice, or quinoa, or beans to make it more interesting. Once one masters the basics of doenjang jjigae, the stew-like relative of miso soup, the meat or fish fraction of the meal becomes more of a flavouring and less a staple, and an abundance and variety of banchan, vegetable side dishes, leaves plenty of scope for gourmandizing. One place in Gyeongju piled banchan literally three deep on the table, it was impressive, healthy, and in spite of its rural location it had hundreds queuing to get in.

          • Molly 3.2.1.1.2

            … was delighted to find One Straw Revolution for sale at 20c at the local library a few years ago.  Obviously amongst a group of donations that were unwanted that contained a wealth of organic gardening books.   Whoever collected them must have been an interesting person.  I thanked them, whoever they were, for this unexpected gift.

        • WILD KATIPO 3.2.1.2

          Yer – you gotta look at brown rice. 

          White rice is a crock like white sugar is.

          All the goodness is stripped from it. Tasty though it may be… its candy floss.

          Brown rice is the way to go ! And the grittier the better , as a rule of thumb

  4. Lucy 4

    When I listened to the farmer rep on morning report this morning she appeared to be edging towards being paid by the Government not to sell land to the highest bidder. In a market economy cash is king and the farmers have spent the last 20 years telling us they barely break even. Expect the yearly bill to not sell!

    • weka 4.1

      lol, easy fix there, they can sell their land to people who want it to grow food on it.

      • bwaghorn 4.1.1

        An Easier fix is dont subsidize forestry companies and don't let fossil fuel burners offset there profits by planting trees.  Also zone farm land nothing under class 4 to be blanket planted . Nothing under  class2 to be subsidized. 

        • greywarshark 4.1.1.1

          Three things to think about – the need for forests to enable some limit in climate change and severity of seasons affecting growth of food, and the need to have land to grow food being ring-fenced, and then the methods by which food is grown should be healthy for people, and the land, and any animals involved.

          We all have to walk and chew on a ploughman's lunch of cheese, celery and roast meat at the same time!

          • phillip ure 4.1.1.1.1

            'We all have to walk and chew on a ploughman's lunch of cheese, celery and roast meat at the same time!

            no we don't – two of those three are the most inefficient use of productive land..

            and are a large part of our current problem..

            how can you advocate for that..?

            • Stuart Munro. 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Though it's not true of contemporary intensive dairy, dairy products gave the Beaker Folk a significant competitive advantage. As with many farming practices it is a matter of using it in such a way as not to impact negatively on the animals, the neighbours, the environment, and the long term health of the soil.

              • and if you take those imperatives into account – clearly that is a very long way from what we are doing now..

                • Stuart Munro.

                  Yeah – CAFOs are pretty much polluting concentration camps for animals. There's something intrinsically fascist about corporate farms that isn't obligate at the family farm level.

        • weka 4.1.1.2

          what's that zone classification system?

          • bwaghorn 4.1.1.2.1

            I'll try find when I have time but class one is the best soil contour and 4 is steep hard hill.

            • weka 4.1.1.2.1.1

              thanks, I'd be really interested to read about that (couldn't find it via google) and look at your solution suggestions in that context.

              • bwaghorn

                Turns out I had it back to front😬 

                Class 1 is high country class 9 is intensive cropping /finishing. 

                I cant work out how to link files.

                Go to beef and lamb nz web site and search land classes . 

                • weka

                  cheers.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Trees should have the poor soils, cows the best?

                  • bwaghorn

                    Probably crop the best. 

                    Surely steep hungry erodable soil is what we should be retiring ..

                    Farming is at least 10000 years of culture and we need to protect the right to farm . It's a great way of living . (Thinking more sheep n beef than cold hard dairy)  

                    • weka

                      cold hard dairy is a good phrase.

                      We will always need farmers. How we farm is what's being debated. NZ's biggest problem is our reliance on exports and farming being geared around that rather than producing food especially for locals.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Each of us can farm. When we do, all will be well.

                      But what is farming?

                    • weka

                      all will be well. Or gardening.

                      Farming as cropping and/or livestock? As distinct from gardening?

                    • The Al1en

                      Older than that. Animal husbandry has been in effect since the neolithic revolution when animals were first domesticated, some 13,000 years bc, preceding farming of the first crops.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      When we humans all, interact with our environment in a manner that doesn't diminish it or ourselves, especially with regards sustaining ourselves with food, we'll be "farming"; it's step up from foraging and requires the conscious management of edible resources.

                    • weka

                      Nomadic, pre-farming cultures both raised stock and had gardens. Farming is what happened when people settled in one place intergenerationally and stayed there (then outgrew the place and their descendants had to start colonising).

                    • weka

                      Robert, are you using the term farming to include food forests? Home and community gardens?

                  • greywarshark

                    Weka makes the point.   Exporting food has become the main thrust of farming, and growing it fast and lots of it if the price is right, not growing it well and in a manner that is in tune with the soil health and people's health.    That farmers in general don't bother about, except those in organic farming.

                    We need to switch attention to producing good quality food and getting a good price for it – at the farmers end.   There is a practice by supermarkets to contract for food and squeeze their suppliers who are then forced to use the methods required to produce to demand and on time and will be forced to use any means lawful to them.   Organic food may be able to resist this, but the spots and bumps you get often, may still not be acceptable to supermarkets.

                    This morning radionz report on tests on processed food in supermarkets.   This link from scoop.

                    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1908/S00062/most-of-our-packaged-food-is-ultra-processed-unhealthy.htm

          • Molly 4.1.1.2.2

            Class 1 soils are the highest fertility, and used for cropping etc.

            When I was doing submissions during the Unitary Plan, I looked at the Soil Classification maps being utilised at that time by Franklin District Council.  They were compiled decades ago – around 1950, and were the go-to for that council for classifying land.  However, despite being treated as the soil bible for classification of properties there was a considerable lack of detail in the zoning, due to low sample numbers and the boundaries of the classes could be up to 5km out of line.

            I don't know if this has been updated, or undergoing any updates at present or whether current systems are still utilising those historic figures.  Given the requirement for many resource and building consents to have geotechnical samples done, this information may be being utilised to update the previous maps.  But I have no faith in the current systems to be that efficient with dealing with such accrued information.

    • mike 4.2

      market garderners are behind the move its not the dairy farmers there was artical q and a 2 years ago its soils around pukakoe and hawks bay something like only 5 percent nz soil is good for growing vegstables

      • Robert Guyton 4.2.1

        "only 5 percent nz soil is good for growing vegstables"

        Nah!

      • Molly 4.2.2

        Franklin is my district, and I can think of a few local market gardeners – who owned land – who have personall benefited from subdivisions.  They are often those who are now berating the lack of arable soils.  One particularly conflicted example, is one whose son is following in the family footsteps but who cannot find enough arable land for lease.

  5. Warren Doney 5

    I see infill as the preferred solution to the housing shortage, so not a fan of building on horticultural land, which may have issues with pesticide residue etc in any case, but I do wonder if the problem is being overstated. 

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't NZ capable of producing far more food than the current population needs? Look at the UK with roughly the same land mass and 13x the population. Much smaller islands with double our population- Haiti, Cuba, Ireland etc.

    I wonder how much dairy land could be converted to horticulture too?

    • Dukeofurl 5.1

      Potatoes onions etc are already exported.
      Fresh greens etc  has a limited life and not really suitable for export. Except with frozen foods, and we are seeing plenty of  stuff like that from China even in frozen food mixes that Watties and McCains sell. Others packs are completely from China

    • Yep.

      And in light of the fact we are omnivores yet better suited to a vegetable based diet.. makes you wonder. Interesting that the Plains Indians lived off Bison and supplemented their diets with wild vegetables and traded with more sedentary horticultural nations …

      And the difference was instead of the market driven 'marbled fat' of domestic stock and the demand for that ,… those cultures avoided much of the coronary heart diseases we see in the West  by living active lifestyles and living on lean meat.

      I guess that the per acre/ profit is greater for meat based products than vegetable ones.

      And therein lies the problem.

      Lamb / mutton / hogget is fatty , but not in the same density as domestic beef… and lean wild meats must be cooked slowly because of the lack of fat content … which means the human body metabolises the former and the latter far more easily than domestic beef. Beef is very dense in its fat content. Clogs artery's so much easier. Onions and garlic are good to help move that, btw…

      Now,… vegetable growing land use is far smaller than that used for beef… 

      Which makes one wonder… is it not more a matter of ' mindset ' in the domestic market… 'meat and 3 veges' mentality…

      As for the export market… that's another thing entirely… but surely there's room for reeducation and change… at least here in NZ.

    • lprent 5.3

      We currently export about 17x as much food as we consume ourselves. It has pretty low profit margins, but indirectly pays for most of our populations imports (outside of our remaining manufacturing and growing IP exporters who effectively pay for what they import). 

      The problem is that without those food exports paying for the imports, much of our existing economy won't work.

      I think that what weka is talking about is replacing some of the food that we import. Potassium rich bananas from Equador or Brazil Nuts with their Selenium from Brazil for instance. Both will grow here in specific locations – as will many others. 

      Whereas the UK doesn't come close to fulfilling their own food consumption and hasn't since the 19th century. But does export way more manufacturing and services.

      You made a pretty useless comparison between the UK and NZ – just totally irrelevant.

       

      • WILD KATIPO 5.3.1

        You'd want the bananas in Northland.

        Maybe Gisborne and Nelson regions…?

        Brazil nuts?… more suited to various climes in NZ. And that's a good case… in NZ we have Selenium poor soils. We have to add it in fertilser's. Our soils are Selenium poor and what little there is is leeched by heavy rainfall… in some cases has to be added to our foods… its that bad, thus a strong case for growing our own Brazil buts here.

        Just a small handful… 3-5 every day can supply our Selenium needs… and as far as I can recall, isn’t destroyed by the heat process in cooking… so add em to the steam up or stir fry.., we can even replicate what Aussie does and package sliced Brazil nut produce for just that purpose…

        The problem is this serves our domestic good health and that market… but doesnt really address the balance of payments of international trade… so we are hooked into that.

        But with the smaller land mass needed for horticulture… surely we can think outside the square…

        • Robert Guyton 5.3.1.1

          I'm thinking Brazil nuts can't be production/plantation-grown and have to be harvested from natural forests/jungles.

          • greywarshark 5.3.1.1.1

            We should build trade agreements importing from lacalities that can produce for export and receive a return that enables a better standard of living.  Fair Trade was started by a NZer wasn't it?   They do this sort of thing already.   Being able to rely for domestic basics from our own country would be the intelligent thing. 

              And then exporting what is wanted or what we can develop as a new or quality product.   And then we buy in from the poorer areas and go for organic, natural and so it would be land and product not loaded with added chemicals that interfere with nature usually because of a blanket spray overall.

          • McFlock 5.3.1.1.2

            I think I've heard that, too – some particularly ecosystem-specific fertilisation process?

            Ah: wikipedia says bees.

            Olives and bananas should be doable, and other nuts too.

          • lprent 5.3.1.1.3

            https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/nut-trees/brazil-nut/how-to-grow-brazil-nut-trees.htm

            It is more like it is uneconomic to farm due to the fertilization by local animals.

            This was interesting and discusses the issues with plantations.

             

          • Molly 5.3.1.1.4

            I think that is right.  We watched an Al Jazeera programme on Brazil Nut harvesting in Bolivia (no longer online but good Google skills might find it).

            The nuts are harvested from the rainforest, and given the trip they make to market, only a small portion of those make it all the way.  Makes the price of Brazil nuts at our end look very cheap.

        • lprent 5.3.1.2

          We used to grow bananas in our backyard in Auckland.

      • weka 5.3.2

        Pretty much. It's easy enough to grow calories, but if we want all the nutrients that humans need to be healthy and reproduce themselves over generations, then counting wheat and corn crops globally isn't even close to good enough.

        NZ has a good range of climates to grow diverse crops and animals. I think we will be fine, but agree the economics and our reliance on exports will be the big hurdle. From memory the Greens were talking about things like the knowledge economy and value added exports instead of commodities, but I haven't looked at it in a long time.

      • Gosman 5.3.3

        Or perhaps we can export something else or reprioritise what we import based on the added cost that is likely to occur as a greater demand on foreign currency if we have to import more food. That is how the market works.

      • Warren Doney 5.3.4

        Did you actually look at the numbers? only 48% of UK food is imported. That means they supply 6x our population locally, on top of exporting a great deal too. 

        Interesting that they export 8.4 billion NZD worth of whisky a year, which, as we know, is made from grain.

        Hope that makes my comparison a bit more useful. 

    • weka 5.4

      "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't NZ capable of producing far more food than the current population needs? Look at the UK with roughly the same land mass and 13x the population. Much smaller islands with double our population- Haiti, Cuba, Ireland etc."

      Things we need land for in an altered climate:

      • food
        • regenerative agriculture, food forestry, organics take more land because they're not trying to strip mine it like conventional farming but rebuild soil and fertility. This applies to the following as well
      • building materials (timber, hemp, wool)
      • clothing (hemp, wool, flax, cotton, leather)
      • plastic alternatives (think paper bags instead of plastic ones)
      • everyday products such as paper
      • industrial materials (plant and animal based replacements for as many as we can)
      • I'm guessing medical and pharmaceutical supplies too, haven't thought about this one
      • biofuels (limited amounts)
      • energy generation (wind farms)
      • protection of native species, we need this in semi-rural and rural areas as well as DOC reserve
      • reforestation to protect biodiversity, waterways, air quality, human mental health
      • reforestation as part of natural carbon sink
      • the list goes on

      If we look at countries like the UK, they're not growing their own food, let alone all the other things, they're importing. Haiti is a country struggling with poverty. Cuba is a useful example because of how they transformed their food production when they lost their cheap oil supplies in the 90s but parts of their standard of living are well below what NZers would accept currently.

      Afaik no-one has really done an analysis of what NZ's carrying capacity is, especially rohe by rohe. Whenever I ask about this people start guessing and many assume that we have heaps of land. I've not seen much work done on nutritional needs of humans (no, NZ cannot become vegan if it wants to keep a healthy population over generations) and how much land is needed to supply that here. Lots of the international figures are based on things like how many calories can be grown, that's not enough.

      At the moment nearly all of our food is grown in a way that is dependent on fossil fuels and artificial inputs like fertiliser. When that ends, how we grow food will change, and that will mean looking at land use differently. An easy example is that we will need far, far lower stocking rates where animals are being farmed.

      Yes, most dairy farms can and should be converted to other things. Part of that is going to required land restoration from the damage done to soils by industrial farming. So allow extra land for that. We also need to allow for crop loss.

      I think all of that is totally doable in NZ. But I think the idea that we could for instance double our population and be fine is based on ignorance of the natural systems underpinning nature. The degree to which fossil fuels are propping up our lifestyles is something we're not yet looking at.

      For the population we have now I'm going to guess we have spare land, thus we can grow food for other countries, but I think we should be viewing this as an aid issues, not a maximum profit issues. When people start starving in more obvious numbers, our economy should already be geared up for this. Food exports will need to not be contributers to climate change.

      • weka 5.4.1

        Just seen Glenn's comment, we can add nurseries to the list (native plants, trees, vegetables, fibre/materials)

      • Warren Doney 5.4.2

        I'm truly impressed by the amount of thought you've put into this. I tend to think Labour is appealing to sentiment given their track record, but you make a really good case for the land to be preserved as it is.

        • weka 5.4.2.1

          Cheers Warren. Lots of good work being done on this outside of the mainstream where people are getting on with pioneering how to grow sustainably and relocalise economies.

          I read a lot of Peak Oil theory early on which changed how I saw what we needed to do.

      • Molly 5.4.3

        .. Don't forget earth, stone and straw as building materials … they have a long, established history of use for building.wink

      • peter 5.4.4

        Well said Weka,

        I grew up on a farm in Africa and farmed in Africa. I saw the ravages of drought and also what happened on natural grassland farms when they were over stocked. The rainfall went in cycles(a number of years) and during a cycle of high rainfall some farmers, and particulalry young/new/or inexperienced farmers increased their stocking rate….the number of stock units on the farm. When a dry cycle hit, most of them were caught with their pants down and suffered huge stock losses….many going bankrupt. Human greed and ignorance was the driver.

        I see the world as one huge farm, stocked with many types of animals, of which Homo sapiens (the wise???) is by far the most numerous, if you convert weight to a standard "living unit"). I suspect that with the aide of fossil fuels and the bounty of nature that in many ways we have raped, we might have had our "good seasons". In the process we have destroyed forests, different types of swamps, kelp beds, sea grass paddocks, savannahs, peat boggs, plus, plus AND no doubt millions of hectares of SOIL destroyed permanently by towns, cities, roads and human infrustructure – destroyed that on which we THE WISE ones, are almost totally dependant, for our food production.

        I refer to this distruction as Environment Degradation and one of it’s components and a very important one, is Climate Change. It is a fact that the alarmingly rapid rate of climate change is also very closely linked to Environment Degradation….and NOT just the burning of fossil fuels. Unless we “attack” both these issues with every means at our disposal, we will loose, and I am not trying to be an alarmist. I fear, as I hope you do or will do when you have them, for my children and my grand children!!!

        New Zealand could be a world leader on this front, but it almost appears to me, that if it was not for school children standing up to fight for their futures, not too much would be happening in what used to be call Clean Green New Zealand. For a long time, we have not been that. We are green, but most certainly not clean. Dying lakes and stream due to dairy run-off and fertilizer leaching, soil damage due to bad dairy stock management on pastures during Winter, and the seemingly unchecked urban expansion…..the list goes on and on.

        Surely, if the gun laws could be changed so fast, we do not have to wait for two years for electric vehicles to be subsidized? Fossil fuel users could be taxed immediately to subsidise a speedy transition to electric and hydrogen driven vehicles. If there have been so many obviously changes in climate over the past two years, how much more will there be in another two years? The change in climate is accelerating, not slowing down……because humanity and their leaders have not taken the problem seriously!! SURELY government can expedite this transition if it  wanted to?

        Reducing the use of fossil fuels dramatically is only part of the solution. A far more important aspect of this debate is environment degradation, and in many case total destruction. Humanity is rapidly destroying the very thing that has sustained us, and can help and is helping, in reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. What is happening in the Amazon as I write can only accelerate our demise…..and yes, it is caused by human greed – nothing else!!

        Natural forest, savannahs, swamps, kelp forests, sea grass and perennial pastures to name but a few, store carbon and if preserved and restored, can help fight CO2 pollution. Our soils store carbon!! We are not restoring them, but are destroying them at an ever increasing rate.

        I got very excited recently, when I heard that government was pushing for city accommodation to go up, only to want to cry, when in the same breath, I heard that urban spread was being pushed with farmland to be made available, for urban expansion. I asked myself…..have we gone made? We can go up very easily with minimal environmental impact, but once productive,  environmentally friendly  farmland is ripped up by developers, it is lost for ever!!!

        Farmland feeds us and will continue to feed us, if we look after it properly. Inferior farmland can and should be returned to nature, to help fight Climate Change. As pointed out earlier it is also a carbon soak. Surely there are more than enough old houses in towns and cities that can and should be knocked down to make way for high density, high rise accommodation.  If cities like Singapore and Hong Kong can be a thriving metropols with huge amounts of high density housing, then surely this can work in New Zealand as well. We need to stop the destruction of essential soils. All soils are precious and essensial!

    • Gosman 5.5

      Where and when is all this infill housing going to happen? 

      • WILD KATIPO 5.5.1

        Soon as you apply to the bank for a refinance with your equity,… Australian banks, mind… but never mind,…. you can always pass on the costs to your minimum wage rentiers… cant you.

        And practice your slumped shouldered Mr Burns routine while doing it.

    • the film guy james cameron has been doing some interesting work here in returning dairy farms to producing real food..

      he bought a bunch of dairy farms in the wairarapa..and has been experimenting with different crops to see what works best..

      and i understand he has been making his findings open-source..

      • Stuart Munro. 5.6.1

        Some of it here
        One of the things the dirty intensive folk need to become aware of is that taking the organic road can give you a quality margin that makes for a better return, instead of being a Fonterra price taker.

  6. Glenn 6

    Plant Nurseries are also being affected the same way. Their land is becoming too valuable to grow plants on and given a choice of working harder with wholesale plant material selling at stagnating prices, being squeezed by the chains or selling off the land for housing and retiring with a good wack in the bank…well theres no choice really.

     Auckland was a plant hunters paradise but no longer.  Shame really but I guess thats what they call progress.

    • In that case redirection would be the cure.

      But all so often in NZ politics we have short sighted, short term planners who kick the problem down the road for future generations to deal with.

      Pretty wanky , TBH…

      Its the rip, shit and bust mentality that comes with a relatively new country. Every bastard out for their own for them and theirs.

      Perhaps these rip , shit  and buster were challenged and tactfully edged out of positions of influence… that is,… if we / you  / me  REALLY believe this society can go on for another 500 years… 

      Like North America has…

      What say you?

      Human Beings… need to learn and grow up a little, it seems…

      You don't like knowing do you?

    • Robert Guyton 6.2

      "a plant hunters' paradise"

      That's the place I'm always searching for…

    • greywarshark 6.3

      By wiping the special zones in town planning areas and leaving it to the  (housing) market when what we must have is the market gardeners, the neo lib no-regulation blitz has diminished our society's ability to sustain itself.

      Just another similar move to the Scottish Highland Clearances – the powerful forced the local people out of their traditional hamlets, not caring about the effects on the locals and their network of reciprocal businesses and supply. The powerful wanted the land for something else so it was too bad for those living and working there and providing essentials to the area.  

      • WILD KATIPO 6.3.1

        Indeed,… those who worked the land were either given the option of working the fishing fleets in dangerous, back breaking work on the bleak coasts or were sent abroad… thus the genocide that ensued with the elderly and young family's being relocated – often in the dead of a northern winter…,.. and thus was the mass emigration from the Highlands to the Americas, Australia and NZ.

        • greywarshark 6.3.1.1

          The fishermen had to find places to live and often were forced to build very close to the shore line, in narrow valleys without much sun, and prone to being hit by waves at high tide and storms.    So they are very admirable those who stayed and managed to rebuild their little communities with times for fun and music.

      • Gosman 6.3.2

        Land value rises is the major component of unaffordable housing in NZ and YOU seemingly want to make it even more expensive to get land. Bravo.

        • WILD KATIPO 6.3.2.1

          '' Bravo? Tango one nine,… this here's Whiskey , Papa come in ? '' 

          Hang about, … wasn't it National that put family's up in motels or was that just Pugnacious Paula overriding Beloved Bill?

          Never mind, there's always room for a family to sleep in a van or a car ( more cozy) under a street lamp despite holding down two jobs per parent and still not being able to afford the rent…

          '' Whats up with those dilapidated state houses, one nine? ''

          '' You've managed to sell em off to the Aussies?''

          '' Sure have '' .

          '' Good score, one nine, … hell , – lets tell Tango that's its all in the bag '' .

          ''For sure Papa Gumba, … lets proceed with them tax havens before the OECD finds out and the IMF makes a report ''…

        • Molly 6.3.2.2

          Replied to you on this matter previously without response, Gosman. 

          So I've reposted here so that you can ignore it again, but others can perhaps take something away from it:

          As you began to point out Gosman, there are multiple causes for the housing crisis, but you failed to continue past your simplistic and neoliberal talking points:

          1.  Landsupply is also restricted by landbankers and developers who are sitting on residentially zoned land, or releasing it only in tranches because that is the most profitable, especially when land is in short supply.

          2.  Taxation and investment policies have encouraged NZers and overseas investors to use property – particularly residential properties and flipping as a means to accumulate capital.  These individual gains have externalities borne by communities both locally and nationally.

          3.  Similar policies and failure to address landbanking or houses kept empty intentionally, also restrict supply of housing.

          4.  Reduction in Housing NZ stock availability along with a reduction in access to existing stock, has increased the hardship of many.

          5. We have inadequate data on the increase in household income vs the increase in housing costs, having only the small sample of the Housing Economic Survey to report on.  Even this has average housing costs rising 43% while average household incomes rising 41%.  But this ignores the reality of the uneven distribution that is contributing towards growing inequality.  Those households that have incomes that rose higher and faster, are those more likely to be owner/occupiers and they often have lower housing costs than renters.  Those whose incomes did not rise as much, will often incur greater increases in housing costs at the same time, putting them at greater financial stress.

          6.  National government and local government policy has no coherent strategy towards considered planning, and attempts to do so will result in a pushback that is typical for attempts at regulatory control.  This would be a great move, but the Overton window  – in this respect – is not currently open.

  7. Robert Guyton 7

    In any case, we are expecting a lot if we want Central Government to sort out our food issues. Much better to act now, locally, and get you own small community readied. Start at home, spread out from there.

    • weka 7.1

      I think so, although I definitely see a role from government (central and local) in using legislation to protect land.

    • Yes but the problem is to get it politicized enough that it becomes a political force/ gains critical mass… and we all know us gardener types… we love to work the land but are quite silent when it comes to the unsavory aspects of driving political mindsets…

      It really needs a forum all of its own…

      The Rifle Assoc of NZ and many other groups have their political wings… what does the quiet home gardener have?… yet therein is a huge wealth of knowledge in both the older and younger generations… why has this not congealed into a movement?

      From PHd hort scientists to climatologists to those wise old chook's who do their science by observation and empirical evidence and practical hands on experience…

      Where is their voice to challenge the ' meat industry' duopoly with central govt concerns?

      • weka 7.2.1

        "why has this not congealed into a movement?"

        People are too busy in their gardens. It's a good idea though. Imagine if gardeners were in charge of regional councils instead of farmers 😉

        • WILD KATIPO 7.2.1.1

          Aye… we'd have sensible town planning for a start !

        • Gosman 7.2.1.2

          Imagine if people had the ability to elect their local officials. Oh wait… they do.

          • weka 7.2.1.2.1

            Imagine if we had participatory democracy instead of the lower forms of majority rule democracy that is easily swayed by the special interests with the most power and money.

            • WILD KATIPO 7.2.1.2.1.1

              Bloody well said. 

              The extremely wealthy will always be parasites , mark my words.

              Our job is to keep a check on them so they do not get out of hand, as parasites tend to do.

              • Gosman

                Why don't you try and remove these wealthy " parasites"? Countries like Venezuela have been very successful at doing that. They don't have as many weathy people any more.

                • Stuart Munro.

                  Nonsense – they haven't culled them at all, which is why they're still there, fomenting mischief.

                • Oh yes ,… the American bogeyman of Venezuela ,… always the favourite of the American far right.

                  We just wont mention the Scandinavian's who put the Americans to shame with their generous welfare , high wages … and wait for it… the terror of the neo liberal far right… HIGH TAXES!!!

                  EEEEEEEK !!!

                  Oh yes,… we wont mention them to the Americanized far right … we are sensitive folks,… we don't want them to suffer from an apoplectic fit…

                  And BTW ,… what has Venezuela got to do with VEGETABLES ???

                  FFS.

        • Robert Guyton 7.2.1.3

          Ha! But let's not forget Maggie Barry…

          • weka 7.2.1.3.1

            my point destroyed in one fowl swoop.

            • WILD KATIPO 7.2.1.3.1.1

              Cheer up,… Maggies helping to keep them opposition , as Gosman didn't mention her… maybe salt based phosphates isn't the answer after all… and compost is…

              And maybe Gosman knows this …

              * NPo fertilizers. ( hope I got that right ) 

              Create a saline soil, destroying beneficial bacterial / fungal life that creates a rich humus, and induce a plant to uptake vast amounts of water to counteract the salinity , and while promoting rapid growth because of that… diminishes the ability of the plant to uptake essentials minerals necessary for both the plant and healthy animal / human consumption.

              This is modern plant growth technology.

              In essence , … it means over several decades, .. depletion of the soils ability to support growth and vastly diminished ability to provide animal / human nutrient requirements.

              Only natural humus and compost provides the optimum requirements for a healthy ecosystem and supportive animal / human sustenance.

              In a nutshell using chemical fertilizers? ,… it means your vegetables are bigger but full of water,… not nutrients.

              • Robert Guyton

                Natural guano too; attract birds to your place, invite them to make a deposit before they head off foraging elsewhere and the richness of your soil will increase markedly. I've mentioned our plan for a fish&chip-odour-generating machine before; the perfect way to add ocean-nutrients to your soil.

                • '' a fish&chip-odour-generating machine ''

                  Oh dear… 🙂

                  Still,… when you consider the massive amounts that birds contribute per annum with their bird poo… it isn't insignificant. And as the chap said on Weka's other great post ,… ''there’s no waste in nature''

                  Now I'm not a 'Greenie'. I was an avid gardener when I was a pre teen and brought up in the bush and later on when I had some land . I did a number of Hort papers and a Dip in Science / Technology.

                  I'm a simple kind of guy. I like simplicity.

                  I get more sense out of those who speak plainspeak than I ever observed by those with the Oxford / Cambridge accents…

                  And there aint nothing like getting ones hands dirty in a group situation thats beneficial to nature itself and all concerned ,- even to the extent of ones own country and other country's. I love seeing things being reveged . Its that old adage,… '' if in doubt ,… follow the hippies''.

                  And guys like Alan Savory.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  I observe birds very closely. They land on something before they go to their nest. they check it is safe, then take a shit, then they go to the nest. To my mind there are nesting and resting trees: nesting trees are more dense in most circumstances.

                  You can direct bird guano by placing T structures (I just make em out of bamboo) where you'd like them to 'rest'. Above wintering garden beds, over land you plan to break in next season, besides swales that feed into the garden system…

                  Fertiliser in future will be guano (P), composts (N, K), rock dust/seaweed (minerals) and shellfish (lime aka calcium). It's that simple. Add in nitrogen fixing plants and deep mineralising plants you can chop and drop for mulch/biomass to feed soil. 

                  Some of those N-fixers and chop and drop crops can be considered resting trees (and bird feed stations as they attract a high quantity of insects). Resting trees get free guano under them. 

                  Watching Pukeko in the mangrove tops the other day. Ungainly! laugh

                  • Robert Guyton

                    That's right, WTB. I made tipi-style perches from "craddy" sticks; flower stalks of harakeke, to attract native birds to an area I was revegetating; I figured they'd bring their own seeds and fertiliser if I gave them somewhere safe to sit and …

                    I also tried feeding hens berries from coprosma and korokia and collecting the poop afterwards for spreading under gorse. Mixed results. I wonder if aviaries could be set up as processing plants for native berries and the results packaged and sent to denuded places for restoration purposes. 

            • greywarshark 7.2.1.3.1.3

              Lol    Watch out for those seagulls.

      • Robert Guyton 7.2.2

        What political wing does the home gardener have?

        Why, The Garden Party, of course.

        • greywarshark 7.2.2.1

          That sounds like a great non-political party behind the scenes to be in.   It would take political action to ensure that people get every chance to garden in a convivial and happy way.   Going up to the local community garden with your home-made lemonade, doing some weeding, playing guitars, potting up things for a certain time each week.   Not even a labour of love, it would hardly seem like labour, with a party atmosphere.

          I think that would be nice.   Perhaps the kids and parents could drop in there after sport on Saturday morning, and have lunch there, keep up the connections, and water the shared patch of something novel that the kids are growing (marijuana? just to be a stirrer).   Then they might cook it up with the help of a chef to make a nice finish to the trial, and all sit down and see how it can taste.

          That would be good for a Garden Party activity I reckon.

          • WILD KATIPO 7.2.2.1.1

            And large helpings of steamed vegetables for all those attending free of charge. What does a few bottles of Olive oil and peanut butter cost ,- all cooked on a few barbeque's?

            Think of it… the sharing of gardening ideas, in a festival atmosphere,.. where all generations can participate…from the things one can do with herbs to vegetable recipes to tree planting and ecology… the list is endless.

            Bands could play ! Lolly scrambles for the kids ! Select wine tasting !

            It would be a smash hit !

            • Robert Guyton 7.2.2.1.1.1

              The Garden Party already exists, you just didn't know about it till now ("scuse pun). If you think you'd like to join, you have. If you'd like to contribute to the Party's manifesto, you are. If you'd like to represent the Party online, that's what you are doing now. If you'd like to contribute to the Party's coffers in a tangible way, get outside and garden. It's the most elegant of Parties. Been around for a while now. Our numbers are difficult to assess and we like it that way. Our influence though, is clear to those who know what to look for smiley

            • greywarshark 7.2.2.1.1.2

              WK 

              You have started me off on a how to get more people involved in voting enthusiastic piece.   I have put it over on Open Mike 16 August.  Perhaps you could have a look and say what you think about it and add or subtract from it as you feel.

      • Warren Doney 7.2.3

        I can't help thinking of Maggie Barry after reading that 🙂

  8. Gosman 8

    Fertile land is not priceless. This is why many on the left can't grasp basic economics. Fertile land can be used for commercial agriculture which has a value attached. Therefore Fertile land has a price. If the return from growing crops or raising livestock is less than the return that the owner (remember this land is mostly privately owned) can get from converting it to something else like a lifestyle block or residential area then that is likely what will happen. The reason houses are so expensive in NZ is mainly because the supply of land for residential houses is so limited compared to the demand. If you restrict it further you will just drive up house prices even higher.  

    • Sounds good if you lived / still live in the 1950's… but unfortunately , times have moved on and we have to look at practical measures in 2019.

      Just sayin'…

      And as for housing?

      Who was it but the neo liberals who advocated the decimation of rural community's and the mad rush into the city's like what happened in 19th century England during the industrial revolution… and the earlier Highland Clearances ?

      Different folks? ,… same strokes, idiot.

      Or who was it other than your beloved and corrupted tax haven asswipe John Key that tried to sell off state houses to Australian private interests/- and left them to degrade and rot?… like the schools in Northland or the Hospitals in Auckland.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      You truly are a moron.

      • weka 8.1.1

        please don't start with the pejoratives.

      • Gosman 8.1.2

        You mean the same industrial revolution that lead to the greatest increase in living standards for the population ever?

        • WILD KATIPO 8.1.2.1

          Tell that to the people who lived in the East End and the Toffs who came looking there for a 'bit of  rough , prostitution , gambling and dog / human pit fights'.

          Read a little of William Booths accounts of the Salvation Army of conditions in the East End of London for your glorious ' greatest increase of living standards for the population ever '.

          The Salvation Army.

          To which my great grandparents were some of the originals in the Hawkes Bay, mate.

          I could go on , and tell some good family story's,… but I'll leave the good works of the S. Army up to you to dig into and discover.

          'Greatest increase in living standards for the population ' ,  … my arse it was.

          For some, Gosman,… for some.

        • Stuart Munro. 8.1.2.2

          Claim take the credit for the industrial revolution will you? It wasn't the self-serving financial parasites who made it happen, they were just as happy to exploit the agricultural economy that preceded it, and the slave trade, the gin mills, all that crap. Face it, the Right contribute nothing more to society than you do to the Standard – relentessless, content-free carping.

    • weka 8.2

      Climate change doesn't care about the market, and I don't see any evidence that the market is responding well to climate change.

      The post isn't about how to provide housing, it's about not letting the market destroy food growing land. If you have solutions to that I'm all ears.

      Btw, we know that it's not as simple supply and demand eg rural land prices have been raised by overseas buyers with more capital and a favourable exchange rate.

      • Gosman 8.2.1

        The market cares about climate change and will adapt accordingly

        • WILD KATIPO 8.2.1.1

          How?

          Proof?

          Edit?

          Nothing.

          Zero.

        • Incognito 8.2.1.2

          The market does not care about anything; you are attributing a mind (and heart?) to the emergence of the market(s) from the activity and behaviour of many individual consumers. This is like saying that the brain feels pain (it doesn’t) because brain cells receive signals from their immediate and distant environment and each other (they do). How it will respond and adapt to CC in a way that increases our chances of survival is up for debate. Take it away.

    • End of the day, Gossy, you can't eat money!

  9. Ad 9

    Auckland Unitary Plan is locked.

    Auckland Growth Alliance in full steam.

    Looks like central totally out of synch with local.

    • weka 9.1

      Climate change is locked in too and will make monkeys out of pro-growth authorities and allies.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        Any time they want to have coherent National Policy Statements with local government plans would be great.

        This is just a poorly integrated mess.

  10. Stuart Munro. 10

    I think it's early days in terms of government or council making sensible determinations of land use in NZ, but of course we have to start somewhere. The unregulated woodcutting that deforested Japan 300 years ago was the perfection of Gosman's misguided market forces, but the regulatory regime that was imposed to end the erosion and famine it caused has been so successful that no-one wants to go back to it. This is from Jared Diamond's Collapse, a book that has a few apposite warnings for countries obliged to handle ecological matters.

    Korea also has a kind of ecological consensus, whereby flat or valley land is reserved for crops and some animal raising, while slopes are used for orcharding or timber. Having been essentially deforested in the 1950s by the need for winter fuel, and obliged to forage wild greens for the Spring Hunger of the years that followed, Korea has yet to forget stories about the barley mountain – that part of the year when you've run out of rice and are obliged to eat barley and be glad if you have any.

    Hunger has become a real issue in New Zealand – one need only ask the food banks. Our economy has divaricated, with the wealthy and professional classes essentially able to go on as before, while the working class and poor face increasing difficulties. 

    Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will muppets like Gosman realize that one cannot eat money. And by then it will be too late.

    • Robert Guyton 10.1

      Perhaps Gosman will become grist to that hungry mill?

      He sounds well fed.

      Plump even.

      • Stuart Munro. 10.1.1

        Ambrose Bierce might have considered Gosman one of the "persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize." ~The Devil’s Dictionary

        • Robert Guyton 10.1.1.1

          Gosman's a classic cumberer, at least of left wing thinkers. I'm quite selective though, of what I put in my compost heap: if it's toxic or synthetic, I divert it to the refuse bin; we organic growers have our standards!

          • Stuart Munro. 10.1.1.1.1

            My compost heap is shamelessly omnivorous – like cadwallon (iron belly), the original excalibur, it will eat anything.

          • greywarshark 10.1.1.1.2

            Thinking about compost and the breakdown of organic matter.   I was thinking of crops being grown between lines of trees which would be planted on the grave of a natural burial.    So the land isn't set aside and cannot be used, becoming a barren place of concrete and stone.

            In a practical society which accepts nature and respects humans and needs tree shade from the hot summer, with spaced deciduous and non deciduous to ensure light all year, this would be intelligent practice to begin in the near future, once thinking councils can focus their minds.

          • weka 10.1.1.1.3

            I thought for a minute there you said Gosman's a classic cucumber.

    • weka 10.2

      I too was thinking the Labour announcement was a starting point (I decided to not read the MPI docs until after I had written the post 😉 ). Good to see the conversation happening and a recognition from central government that good growing is important. In these late stage neoliberal days, sometimes it seems like everything is a commodity even on the left.

      • Stuart Munro. 10.2.1

        We really don't know how fast AGW is going to hit us, though increasingly it seems much faster than was anticipated. If the governments and councils are used to planning land use they may be able to take sensible measures in a timely fashion, which won't happen if they're not prepared.

        In the meantime a habit of converting lawns to more productive or even simply more biomass retentive culture would be the kind of thing that should be encouraged. We could do worse than invite suggestions from the likes of Mike Joy et al.

        But the market is going to have to be tamed – better than half of NZers don't own their housing now, and going green under a toxic landlord isn't going to work.

        • weka 10.2.1.1

          Funny how it's all interrelated. Housing and food security being part of the same systems. I agree about councils/govt being prepared for changes, which means robust democracy is also part of the picture.

          The good news for me is that we already have many resilient food growing practices in NZ adapted to our local climates and soils, include how to convert lawns fast. I'd love to see an emergence of strong gardening culture. So much good work has been done on this already, it's waiting to go mainstream.

          Long term tenancies will solve some of the home gardener issue, as will collective ownerships models. Housing really is our biggest mess to sort out now, it flows out into so many other things.

        • greywarshark 10.2.1.2

          Toxic landlords have houses that go green from damp, moss, algae etc!

          • WILD KATIPO 10.2.1.2.1

            And that's why the village green and the hedgerows of England…

            Honestly we could bulldoze down half the crap that passes for NZ residential property's and the owners comfortable retirement plans on the backs of half a week and more of a labourers wages to pay for a moldy, run down shithouse,- such as the one I live in , whereby half the wiring doesn't work , where you will spend a $1000.00 on a leaky pump and a blocked shower, ( to which the grabastic landlord never hears about by a cowardly head tenant) a toilet that leaks, guttering so bad it caused the ceilings to spring a moldy leak in the ceiling and you have two buckets to catch the drips next to your bed… and it flooded up to a centimeter twice across the kitchen and living room carpet.

            Twice ! , – poured in through the walls cos of illegal guttering  and poor regulations.

            That's the state of NZ  housing at present. 

            I live there. But will soon be moving out after 4 years of the shit.

            A two bedroomed sleep out. 

            But far better than the crap shit garbage I saw when I first began looking for a place to stay in Auckland. Some of them I wouldn't put a dog in there. But they loved packing the Asian students in , didn't they….

            I hope you hear this Jacinda.

            I hope you hear this real good.

    • Gosman 11.1

      Which The Greens really should look in to if they truly cared about a Science based approach to policy. Unfortunately they only care about that when it suits them politically.

    • Soooo…. what does this mean?… that we advance GM type solutions?

      I dunno about that….

    • weka 11.3

      hmm, should we be gearing up for a political fight over GE again? I've been seeing a fe of these arguments lately.

      • Robert Guyton 11.3.1

        Yes. I think we need to have the updated debate. By declaring the issue over, we leave ourselves vulnerable to mockery and justifiable charges of head-in-the-sandness. I would welcome the new iteration of the debate.

        • weka 11.3.1.1

          In that case, I hope the Greens have this sorted within the party.

        • WILD KATIPO 11.3.1.2

          Yeah. Nah.

          100 Out of work robust young fellas can do the job.

          Whack em down with a straight bladed or curved bushman's hook.

          Provide some work.

          Why are we so soft?… they did it in the 1920's and 1930’s… whats changed?… its not as if they are going to be ball and chained to the job forever… same with Possums… why not a fur industry made from them?

          Same deal.

  11. Robert Guyton 12

    Robert Guyton

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Really?

    • weka 12.1

      it's just a bug, happens periodically and randomly to people.

      • Incognito 12.1.1

        No, this time it was triggered by a word in the comment.

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          ah, I see what you mean.

        • Robert Guyton 12.1.1.2

          Was it, "asse*s" as in, we must asse*s our resources?

          • Incognito 12.1.1.2.1

            pesto

          • Craig H 12.1.1.2.2

            Ah, the Scunthorpe problem. 

            • Robert Guyton 12.1.1.2.2.1

              Cool!

              "The Scunthorpe problem is the unintentional blocking of websites, e-mails, forum posts or search results by a spam filter or search engine because their text contains a string of letters that appear to have an obscene or otherwise unacceptable meaning. Names, abbreviations, and technical terms are most often cited as being affected by the issue."

              • Incognito

                It was entirely intentional, Robert, and associated with the Christchurch massacre. With Weka back as Moderator, comments held up in Auto-Moderation will be checked more regularly and released if they are otherwise harmless. Apologies for the inconvenience.

              • Poission

                There of course is the other scunthorpe problem.

                The loss of jobs,and replacement with lower paying jobs to fulfill ideological whims.

                The Bank of England's Andrew Haldane really knows how to promulgate his prose.

                off the football pitch,it has not been all wins for Scunthorpe recently. Problems at the British Steel plant in the town have put at risk the jobs of 5,000workers and a further 20,000 in its supply chain.1Hopefully, a new buyer can be found and jobs in the town and beyond can be assured. This is the latest chapter in what has been a long and sometimes painful story for the UK steel industry recently. It has been a recurrent theme of my visits around the UK, including in Red car  and Port Talbot. The loss of signature industries can leave lasting social and economic scars –jobs lost, families disrupted, communities decimated. I tis a pattern we see repeated across many industries in many advanced economies. It has been a key cause of the disaffection and disconnection felt by many and a potent polarising force in our politics, policies and societies.This polarisation is also a potent force shaping the fortunes of our economies, as I will go on to discuss.The travailso f the steel industry lead me neatly to the issue I want to discuss today–jobs and pay. In the UK recently, this has been  good news/bad news story. The good news has been the new jobs created –the best jobs recovery in the UK since at least the Second World War. The bad news has been the subdued performance of payover much of that period –the weakest pay performance the UK has experienced since at least the Boer War.

                https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/speech/2019/climbing-the-jobs-ladder-speech-by-andy-haldane.pdf?la=en&hash=427F17CEDFEC6AE82075792F82238C96006F65BC

    • You've planted your corn where the watermelons should grow , shading all of them out and your climbing beans are spreading rampant among the tomatoes and smothering them.

      No choice but to dig them all up and start again.

      Maggie may disagree but then again she isn't a gardener.

  12. Glenn 13

    Panama Disease has hit the Americas for the first time. This deadly fungus has hit every continent bananas are grown and there is no cure.

    Since the 1990s a fungus called Panama Disease has been spreading across Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. Wherever it took hold, commercial growing ceasedThe consolation was that the Americas, the largest producer, had remained untouched.

    And now the Fusarium type 4 (TR4) organism was detected across nearly 180 hectares in the northeastern province of La Guajira.

    It is hoped that genetic modification and exploiting wild varieties may help find a solution"

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7358481/Fears-world-banana-shortage-Colombia-declares-national-emergency-destructive-fungus.html

  13. This basically what you want for the home garden,… in actual fact commercial as well. Back in France in the 19th century they had a lot of horse poo… horse poo makes good dry mulch and compost, not so water logged as cattle poo but drier, almost like dry chicken poo but not so acidic.

    Essentially you don't need to use horsey poo, but if you have a lot of compost, use that as a mulch. Buy in commercial compost if you must initially. Don't dig the soil because that damages soil structure and kills the earthworms, oxidizes humus and destroys the soil bacteria and fungi…therefore mimic nature, and simply successively apply compost / mulch on the top layers. Plant in that only.

    Its the lazy mans way to garden,… without putting your back out.

    Build your gardens with one inch by six inch planks… untreated.

    They will last for years before you need replace them. Use the soil between rows to build up the beds. Provide netting to prevent Roberts delightful birds and their poo from knicking off with your seedlings. Do the usual watering. Maintain that compost heap. Use grass and hedge clippings ,- and if you can get it, – non treated sawdust shavings in successive layers.

    It'll be so hot in a day you wont be able to hold your hand in it. That kills off the pathogenic bacteria and fungi. I used 40 gallon drums with both ends cut off. That encourages ' tiger worms' to devour the rest as the heap cools down and provides easy access. I had six of them running . Great additives in nutrients to the heap are those tiger worms.

    In summer, the whole process can be over in a week or two,…winter?.. a little more time, please.

    Throw the compost as mulch on your raised garden beds.

    I did this in Cambridge for several years and we lacked for nothing regards vegetables. The richest tasting veges you / I have ever had. Took up an area behind my garage.  No go area for my German Shepherd. Hard to convince her. But I did. Finally.

    And that's all there is to it.

    Raise those beds, throw on the mulch, and plant in that. DONT DIG.

    Easy.

    French intensive gardening – Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_intensive_gardening

    Everything You Need to Know About French Intensive Gardening

    https://gardenerdy.com/french-intensive-gardening

    So there you go,… the internet is full of good advice  on the subject. 

    Enjoy !

    • Robert Guyton 14.1

      "therefore mimic nature"

      waddabout…moles?

      They dig. Aerate the soil. Should we emulate those wee mammals, even though they're "foreign"?

      When I "manage" my herbaceous understorey, I use sound as my guide: if my hand-weeding sounds like a herbivore browsing, I'm happy. 

      Good enough?

      • WILD KATIPO 14.1.1

        Hang on , moles eat worms, but they are in fact aerating the soil like a gigantic worm, – but not turning the soil over for the humus to be oxidised and destroyed  . Largely , they leave the bulk of it intact, and not exposing the humus. Ummm… I think I read the Amish also created large humus layers in their fields by not  deep ploughing.

        The Amish and a few other groups might bear a looking into for some of their techniques, just quietly as , come to think of it.

  14. left_forward 15

    Nice article Weka, but not sure why you think vegans need to be any more accountable than anyone else.

    I choose to be a plant-only eater and am aware of the indisputable benefits to environment, animal rights and health and will sometimes engage in pointing out hypocracy, I often hear on the subject of veganism from carnivores or 'veganophobes' – but not sure why I and other vegans have a greater duty to impress.

    • Robert Guyton 15.1

      Agree about the accountability and vegans; why target them, or at least our straw-man vegans and the beliefs we think they have?

      • weka 15.1.1

        Kiaora you two, I thought it was reasonable clear but let me clarify. I was referring to the current phenomena of mostly urban vegans urging people to become vegan to save the planet from climate change. There are serious problems with this, including that for NZers this means importing a lot of food. I think the messaging globally is dangerous because it takes people down an industrial food path right at the time when we need to be transitioning to regenerative food growing systems.

        So, if urban vegans in NZ are going to push this politically I think they have a responsibility to get their hands dirty and make sure that land in NZ gets prioritised for growing local vegan foods rather than importing them. By local I mean local to where one lives, because at the moment the biggest part of our food miles is domestic. Vegans in Otago need to be pushing for Otago grown crops as much as possible.

        Of course other people have responsibility in this as well, but for people that want climate change change, I don't see most in NZ being averse to relocalising food. Vegans have a particular problem because the message is that don't ever eat animal products, and if that means importing instead of eating local meat or dairy or eggs, then do that. It's just wrong with regards to CC.

        • weka 15.1.1.1

          btw, 'eat less meat' is a different message than 'become a vegan'. At the moment those messages are being conflated. Which is kind of interesting because it may end up watering down the vegan movement ie people calling themselves vegan when they eat locally grown hens eggs. My own position is that for climate mitigation, local will generally be best. For people that want to eat local vegan, fantastic. But for people wanting to eat with the climate in mind, better to choose from what is real on the ground rather than ideology. That might be their neighbour's eggs and this is a better choice than soy imported from China or even from the other end of NZ.

          • phillip ure 15.1.1.1.1

            the 'eat less' imperatives are only because flesh-addicts are horrified by 'eat none'…

            (and i have never met anyone claiming to be a vegan – who eats eggs..

            'cos if they do – they ain't…)

          • left_forward 15.1.1.1.2

            Thanks for your response, but it falls short of defending your different expectation on vegans. I fully support the main thrust of your article here, but I am indeed an advocate for veganism as a means to a range of ends – including reducing greenhouse gases and unsustainable land use.

            Your position on this seems to be restricted by an idea that meat production is the only way to sustain our food supply – yet the evidence is that it is significantly less efficient than plant based food production. You are advocating here for change in the way we grow food, yet somehow you don't incorporate a change from our country's dependency on meat production.

            Your ‘food miles’ concern applies equally to all types of food production, not just the food favoured by plant eaters.

            • weka 15.1.1.1.2.1

              "Your ‘food miles’ concern applies equally to all types of food production, not just the food favoured by plant eaters."

              Exactly. So if someone wants to choose their food to mitigate CC, they can eat local. If local protein is in the form of eggs, meat or dairy but not plant foods, then it makes sense to choose the animal products. The message from the vegan movement is that this is wrong, and the person should be eating plant foods only, which means importing them. Which is not a good choice for climate mitigation.

              "Your position on this seems to be restricted by an idea that meat production is the only way to sustain our food supply"

              Not at all. If you follow my posts and comments you'll see that I'm proposing that our primary response should be to convert our food for NZers to regenerative agriculture, food forestry, local gardens (home, community, market), and should be polyculture. This would mean less animals than we have now and better integrated into ecological systems. I think we should be growing a range of legumes in NZ and integrating those into our diets as mainstream, but also producing free range eggs (actual free range).

              If vegans are going to tell people to stop all animals products, then they need to step up majorly and support transition farming so vegans can eat local. I don't hear that, I just hear the message of don't eat animal products. I honestly don't get what is so controversial about that.

              Most of NZ's animal farming is for export, and that's a different conversation.

              "yet the evidence is that it is significantly less efficient than plant based food production."

              I"d be really interested to see that evidence for NZ. The discussions I've seen have been based on global figures that are generalised across multiple countries and are reliant on large scale industrial cropping that is also highly damaging to the environment (local and global). NZ is different for a number of key reasons eg geographical distance from crop growing, the lack of use of CAFO.

              • left_forward

                'If vegans are going to tell people to stop all animals products, then they need to…'

                Again, it is this line that I take issue with because it is so much in conjunction with the words all vegans have to endure – whether they actually tell people what to do or, as is more often the case, not. Being committed to a plant-based diet seems to be so offensive for many people, and I am curious why you are letting yourself be offended in this way when the rest of your article and the things you are saying is so reasonable.

                • Poission

                  Have you heard the silence of the silverbeet.

                  The Orch OR hypothesis, which is based in quantum physics, proposes that, when a sufficient mass of tubulin molecules has assembled into cytoskeletal microtubules (MTs) within neuronal cells of the brain, these structures become sites of quantum computation and of quantum state reduction (OR) events resulting in moments of protoconsciousness. Because plant cells also have large populations of MTs, and because plant MTs share properties with those of animal neuronal MTs, which putatively orchestrate OR events, plant MTs might also be sites of quantum reduction events and, hence, lead to momentary protoconsciousness. The extent to which the Orch OR hypothesis is applicable to plants is examined, and it is argued that, within the plant body, the most likely tissue where OR events could be located and promote protoconsciousness is to be found in the system of ray cells of tree trunks in which bundled MTs and actin filaments are prevalent. A single complete ray complex is estimated to contain about as many tubulin molecules as a single human cerebral neuron.

                  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594572/

                  • left_forward

                    Cheers Poisson for pointing out the rich tapestry of life, and the same old 'but carrots have feelings too'  yawn.

              • left_forward

                'If local protein is in the form of eggs, meat or dairy but not plant foods, then it makes sense to choose the animal products.

                Yes, in such a hypothetically rare situation then this would be so, but you are not going to survive long on such a poor diet, and very soon you will begin traveling to other communities seeking greens and veges – necessity will extend the food miles for this poorly fed community until they locally grow and harvest the most critical foods for their survival – plants!

                • weka

                  I'm not sure if you are trying to be smart or are just struggling to follow the points. If someone can eat eggs from their neighbour's hens then they should eat those rather than eating almonds imported from the US. That's if they want to eat with CC in mind.

                  If they don't want to eat any animal products, but still care about CC, and are advocating veganism for all people for CC reasons, then I believe there is an onus on them to promote local vegan food growing. Otherwise people are going to eat imported almonds and just create GHGs in other ways. 

                  That was the point of my postscript in the post.

                  No-one is suggesting eating eggs and no plants, so please don’t do that.

                  • so..vegans have to be perfect in their food-choices (no imported almonds..clearly..!..)

                    carnivores – not so much..eh..?

                    but the fact is that yr local meat has a larger environmental-footprint than imported fruit/vegetables..

                    and we could become a food-basket…

                    imagine all those inefficient dairy farms in the waikato – being returned to growing food to eat – not animals to eat..

                  • left_forward

                    Actually you did suggest that weka (see your quote I singled out), hence my response.

                    As both phillip and I have pointed out, there is no valid rationale for you to have a different expectation on vegans in the context of your article here.

                    We could grow all the almonds we need in NZ (and export them) if it wasn't for our obsession on growing and killing cows which dominates food production on our most productive land, and at a great cost to our environment.

                    • weka

                      I routinely write and talk about the need for everyone to help relocalise food production. I've been banging on about it for years. I chose to single out urban vegans promoting climate mitigation because I think they're causing a particular problem that needed naming. Hard to see how I could do that without naming them. I also don't see what the problem with naming them is, than some vegans are getting defensive for no good reason.

                      "We could grow all the almonds we need in NZ"

                      Yes, but we aren't. This is my point. If you want people to stop eating meat and eat NZ almonds instead, then tell them to relocalise food production. Otherwise they will just eat imported almonds.

                      "(and export them)"

                      I'll take from that that you aren't concerned about climate mitigation. Wish you had said that at the start, might have saved us all some trouble.

                      "if it wasn't for our obsession on growing and killing cows which dominates food production on our most productive land, and at a great cost to our environment"

                      Most, nearly all, or our dairy production is for profit. It''s not about growing food for locals. I also write and talk regularly about the need to stop industrial, export-driven dairying. The problem fundamentalist vegans have is that it's possible to raise and keep dairy cows humanely. The other problem is that drinking almond milk instead of cow's milk is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  15. Ad 16

    18 months of consultation gets us to 2021.

    What a load of working group wank this is.

  16. Infused 17

    Ag will be grown in office block type farms soon anyway. Growing in the ground is old school

  17. SHG 18

    White people, telling the tangata whenua what should be done with the land of Aotearoa since ages ago

  18. Janet 19

    I live on land zoned Horticultural A by my district council. It is protected for the food growing of future generations. It can not be subdivided unless the block is over 4 hectares. I totally support this. What I have never understood is why this protection has not nation-wide  long before now. It seems that at last this is happening. Good on the present government team  for this.  

    • weka 19.1

      The subdividing over 4 hectares, what can that be broken down into?

      • Janet 19.1.1

        Unfortunately it allows those with over 4 hectares to subdivide off blocks less than 4 hectares. eg a 5 hectare place could be subdivided ,  1 hectare and 4 hectare.

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    8 hours ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #4, 2020
    Suggested suitable pairings The US EPA has just announced revised regulations for wetlands maintenance. Among other backward effects the freshly degraded rules will allow land developers and others to pretend that the world ends at their own property line, which is of course a fallacy. Homeowners are not ...
    8 hours ago
  • To ensure a factual campaign, all Labour Party advertising will be in question form
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today made the commitment that all her government’s election advertising will be in question form, ensuring a “robust?” but “fair?” campaign in which there would be no risk of the Labour Party making any misleading statements. Ardern has spent the last two weeks strongly emphasizing her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    8 hours ago
  • Winston Peters claims vindication after not being charged in National Party SFO investigation
    Today’s boastful press conference hearkens back to 2012, when New Zealand First celebrated not being charged in relation to the murder of Scott Guy. New Zealand First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is claiming total exoneration this afternoon after the Serious Fraud Office did not charge him with ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    11 hours ago
  • Charged
    The Serious Fraud Office has filed charges against four people over National's donations scam. No-one has been named yet, because name suppression hasn't been dealt with yet, so I guess we'll just have to wait for completely coincidental resignations (cough name suppressed cough) to see if any of them are ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    13 hours ago
  • So much for raising the retirement age
    For the past twenty years, the right has plotted to raise the retirement age, supposedly because preventing old people from starving to death is "unsustainable". Of course, it would also let them deliver an enormous tax cut to their cronies, which tells us that its financial sustainability is simply a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    13 hours ago
  • A squandered opportunity
    Late last year, in the face of economic bad news, the government announced a massive $12 billion infrastructure spending programme to keep the economy ticking over. Given shortages of housing and public transport, and the pressing need to decarbonise our economy, this could have been a massive opportunity to fix ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    16 hours ago
  • The coronavirus outbreak: what is R0?
    There are a few misunderstandings about the coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan getting around. Below is a short explanation of one of them: what is R0, and what does it mean. Current estimates for R0 centre around the mid 2s—call it 2.5 or thereabouts—not the higher values some are scare-mongering online. ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    21 hours ago
  • Global warming is happening here and now
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Signs of global warming are being observed all over our planet. Thermometers measure surface warming. Buoys sunk to ocean depths measure heat building up in our oceans. Ice is melting across our planet, with ice sheets crumbling and glaciers ...
    1 day ago
  • Whiteness, class and the white working class
    This essay by Kenan Malik, on the controversy over the funding of scholarships for white working class boys, was originally published in the Observer on 5 January 2020, under the headline‘Bursaries don’t help when it’s not their colour that thwarts these boys’. There is a scene in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • We have a date
    The Prime Minister has just announced the election date as 19 September. So, its a Suffrage Day election, and well before the Trump hits the fan in the US. The no-longer-new practice of announcing the election date well in advance is good, and puts everyone on a more even footing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • With the En-ROADS climate simulator, you can build your own solutions to global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as “de-nihilism“. One manifestation: An increasing number of ...
    2 days ago
  • The coronavirus outbreak in China: what a difference a week makes
    When it comes to emerging infectious diseases and outbreaks, so much can happen in a week. In the case of the coronavirus outbreak in China, I’ve gone from not being too alarmed, to thinking “oh, crap!”. But that still doesn’t mean we should all panic. As I’m writing this on ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • National cries wolf over Coronavirus
    Opposition MP Michael WoodhouseLast week, the current National Party leader, Simon Bridges, claimed that the Minister of Health wasn’t leading on ‘significant issues that matter to New Zealanders within his Health portfolio’ when commenting about the Government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.This silly comment was made despite David Clark working ...
    3 days ago
  • Fluoridation and sex steroid hormones – or the mouse that roared
    All the recent research anti-fluoride campaigners promote as “evidence” of harm from community water fluoridation amount to cherry-picking a very few statistically significant results from a large number of non-significant results. The whole exercise is a bit like the “Mouse that Roared.” Credit: The Mouse that Roared – TMTR Intro ...
    3 days ago
  • Leave Neve alone
    Neve Te Aroha Gayford at RatanaI’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that the Ratana birthday celebrations this year were a well-attended event that went off without much of a hitch. This is in stark contrast to previous years, where some form of controversy has usually taken centre ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #4
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 19, 2020 through Sat, Jan 25, 2020 Editor's Pick The companies that have contributed most to climate change Thought-provoking readings on those most responsible for the pollution. Sometimes, ...
    4 days ago
  • The swimming pool paradox
    It’s another warm day, but the breeze isn’t helping much, so off I go to the inviting outdoor swimming pool (banner picture) at the other end of campus. It’s an unheated pool (well, there’s no artificial heat source), which means one thing: It’s going to feel cold when I get ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    5 days ago
  • 100 seconds to midnight
    The Doomsday Clock is a tracker created by he Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for how close we are to global destruction. Created in 1947, it got worse as the Cold War started, then improved as it cooled down, then got worse again as Ronald Reagan tried to confront the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A multitude of drops: Social tipping points in climate action
    If you’re here, you probably know that the climate crisis is upon us, that it’s getting steadily worse, and that attempts to address it haven’t worked yet. People are still driving and even advertising SUVs with impunity, and oil companies are exploring like crazy, even in New Zealand. Politically, socially, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • The Thoughtful Mr Parker.
    Stunningly Wrong-Headed: So blinded are the “left-wing” believers in free markets and free trade (like Trade Minister, David Parker) that even when they are staring directly at the wreckage of the lives and communities which these “unconscionable freedoms” (to borrow Marx’s telling phrase) have left in their wake, they cannot ...
    6 days ago
  • What’s the problem with all science being “done” in English?
    I’ve been listening to a wonderful podcast this morning which left me thinking. The podcast was a 30-min well-spent break, in the company of Daniel Midgley and Michael Gordin.  You might know Daniel Midgley from the Talk the Talk linguistics podcast. Michael Gordin is the author of “Scientific Babel”, which ...
    SciBlogsBy Andreea Calude
    6 days ago
  • Snakeflu?! An intriguing source suggested for new Chinese coronavirus
    The whole world is on edge over a coronavirus outbreak that started in early December in Wuhan City, China. The virus is thought to have first infected people working at a seafood and live animal market. So what could the original source have been? There’s no official word yet, but ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Simon’s Philippine jaunt: #LittleBoysPlayingToughguys
    Not too far back, Simon Bridges the Leader of the Opposition and National Party, went on an excursion to China. This was arranged not by MFAT (NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), but by their MP Jian Yang – a man who also just happened to “forget to mention” ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Will Turia ever forgive Labour?
    Dame Tariana Turia with former PM John KeyWhat is it about Tariana Turia’s grudge against the Labour Party? Not content with attacking the Government over Whānau Ora funding, which was increased by $80 million in 2019, she has now made it personal by saying that Jacinda Ardern is out of her ...
    7 days ago
  • What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?
    Scaremongering graphic currently being promoted by Declan Waugh who is well known for misrepresenting the fluoride science This graphic is typical of current anti-fluoride propaganda. It is scare-mongering, in that it is aimed at undermining community ...
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #3, 2020
    Biography of a policy metric Bård Lahn performs a sweeping literature review to present the history of our notion of a "global carbon budget" and how this number has come  to encapsulate a massive amount of scientific research into a useful, easily grasped tool in our policy skill set.  A ...
    7 days ago
  • Oxfam Report: Time to Care – Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis
    January 2020 Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people. This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • How to avoid being a cunt to hospo workers’
    Working hospo is hard mahi for many reasons, from long hours and gruelling high-volume weekends to customers who treat us as their servants. There are always lovely and polite customers who treat hospo workers with respect and kindness but, throughout my 15-years in the biz, I’ve collected a number of ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • 2019-nCoV (the new coronavirus): Should we be concerned, and will there be a vaccine?
    Probably yes to both but don’t panic yet. There is a plan. What is this virus? 2019 novel coronavirus, aka 2019-nCoV, belongs to a family of viruses called coronavirus. These are very common viruses that infect a wide range of animals including humans and can cause mild to severe disease, ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • The Chinese coronavirus outbreak: what are the options for vaccines and treatments?
    By now you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City, China. The number of cases is rising, up to about 300 with six deaths. Cases have been reported in several more Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Educating New Zealand’s future workforce
    Judy Kavanagh Do you remember your first day at school? The education I received was for a very different world than the world of today. Along with huge social shifts there have been big changes in the New Zealand economy and the work people do. There are occupations unheard of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A casual attitude towards transparency
    Back in December, when the government was introducing new secrecy legislation on an almost daily basis, I posted about the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill. The Bill establishes a new class of public entity, "special purpose vehicles", which collect and spend public money and enjoy statutory powers. Despite this, they ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Against a carbon bailout
    If we are to avoid making the planet uninhabitable, we need to cut carbon emisisons fast. Which basicly means putting the fossil fuel industry - coal, gas, and oil - out of business. But this means that the banks and other lenders who have bankrolled the industry's environmental destruction will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Still a criminal industry
    More evidence that the fishing industry suffers from pervasive criminality, with Forest & Bird highlighting some odd numbers in the annual statistics:The Annual Review Report For Highly Migratory Species Fisheries 2018/19 (Pg 4, Table 4) showed only 4% of commercial long lining trips for tuna and swordfish reported non-fish bycatch ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?
    A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China
    By now you’ve probably heard of the new virus causing an outbreak of severe pneumonia in China. The question on most people’s minds is, how worried should we be, especially as hundreds of millions of people will soon be travelling across China and beyond to visit family for the Lunar ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • How did climate change get so controversial?
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Our human brain is poorly equipped to deal with a threat like climate change. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved to avoid life-threatening dangers like predators jumping out of bushes. We’ve survived by quickly detecting and avoiding immediate, short-term ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers are ruining Canterbury’s rivers
    Its summer, so people naturally want to go for a swim. But in South Canterbury, you can't, because the rivers are full of toxic goo:As of Monday, the Waihi River at Wilson Street footbridge, Geraldine, the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge, and three spots on the Opihi River - at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Sack Shane Jones
    Late last year, NZ First was caught trying to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Regional Economic Development Minister shane Jones' "explanations" were patently unconvincing, and his recusal from deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BIG idea physics
    This morning I’ve been having a quick look through some documentation from The Ministry of Education on proposed changes to NCEA Level 1 Science. For those not familiar with the NZ secondary education system, a typical student would complete NCEA level 1 at the end of year 11.  In this ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!
    No Fires Thanks, We're Kiwis: For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being: “We have found the way to make tomorrow better ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... 'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of ...
    1 week ago
  • Britain exits the European Union and takes a sharp right turn
    by John Smith  Britain’s exit from the imperialist bloc known as the European Union (EU) is now irreversible. The crushing electoral defeat of the Labour Party has dismayed many workers and youth who had placed their hopes in Jeremy Corbyn, its left-wing leader. This article assesses these historic events, neither of which ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020 Editor's Pick The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How climate change influenced Australia’s unprecedented fires
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections, and has been adapted into a new myth rebuttal on climate-wildfire connections with the short URL sks.to/wildfires Australia’s frightening bushfires, which kicked off an early fire season in September 2019, have already had cataclysmic effects, and the continent is still just in the early ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Gender Identity Ideology – A Partial Bibliography of Online Coverage
    This great resource has been contributed to Redline by Janie Doebuck. Janie made some notes on the bibliography: 1) It is by no means exhaustive. There are tons more gender critical posts, essays, articles, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. online. 2) There are links in the bibliography that are behind paywalls. There ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • About those biased Oscar Nominations
    There’s been a lot written about the 2020 Oscar Nominations and their apparent lack of diversity. It’s true, there are in fact no women nominated for the Best Director and very few nominees of colour across the board. But is this a result of a biased process or a symptom ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How New Zealand media reports chronic pain
    Hemakumar Devan Around three million New Zealanders access news media (both paper and online) every week. Yes, you heard that right! So, the potential for news media to shape public health beliefs is common sense. As chronic pain affects one in five New Zealanders, we wanted to find out how ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
    Unfinished Republic: Though the United States' crimes against democracy are legion, most Americans are blissfully unaware of them. The brutal realities of American life: the officially sanctioned violence; the refusal to hold racists accountable for their actions; the seemingly endless tragedy of African-American suffering; of which White America is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
    Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
    Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bud Ward (Image: Courtesy of John Cook) When it comes to climate change, it seems every family has its own version of the proverbial Cranky Uncle. An uncle, cousin, grandparent, in-law, neighbor, whatever. Just think back to the recent holiday season’s large ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
    I am pleased to say that I have been granted NZ citizenship. I need to do the ceremony for things to be official, but the application was a success. I now join my son as a dual NZ-US citizen. To be fair, very little will change other than the fact ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
    The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
    Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott  At its inception, the British Labour Party was a vehicle for the propagation of racist and imperialist views within the working-class. Such views are still widespread in the party, as they are in Europe’s Social-Democratic parties, though, in the case of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
    It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
    Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
    For the past decade, the government has been responding to the obvious Treaty issues raised by water allocation with the mantra that "no-one owns water". But last year, the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that actually, Māori owned it, and that those rights had never been extinguished. They recommended that iwi bring ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
    Same-sex marriage has finally become legal in Northern Ireland. But not through any decision of the Northern Irish Executive or Assembly, which has only just reformed after a three year walkout by the DUP; instead, Westminster made that decision for them. I've talked before about the constitutional impropriety of this, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
    Claire Cohen-Norris volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby as a chapter founder and leader in rural New York. Her climate advocacy sprung from her drive to provide a secure, joyful and fulfilling life for her two wonderful children. It has become a life’s mission, shared with her like-minded husband and partner. Claire ...
    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
    I’m back at work following a nearly three-week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
    Blank And Pitiless: Having ordered the assassination of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, President Donald Trump promised to reduce the cultural monuments of Iran’s 3,000 year-old civilisation to rubble if a revenge attack was mounted. A breach of international law? Certainly. A war crime? Indisputably. Who’s going to stop him? Nobody.WHAT ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
    This interview is from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) and is the first of an ongoing series of interviews they plan to do with workers from various sectors who are having their well being and livelihoods damaged. They begin with an educator in Southland. Due to the attitude and actions ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    3 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
    This article was submitted to Redline by Seattle-based activist Lucinda Stoan J.K. Rowling recognizes repression when she sees it.  That’s why the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books recently tweeted in defense of Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her job for stating that sex is real and immutable. A judge ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
    Empires rise and fall, and the American Empire is absolutely no different. But while an Empire, in order to further the footprint, it seems to pay to do one primary thing above all else: project that everything – everything – is “simply for the good of the world” at large, ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
    Over on Newsroom, Professor Jacqueline Beggs writes about the action she is taking on climate change. Its the usual list: reduce meat, don't fly, consume less. I'm doing some of this myself, and none of it hurts - but the way our economic system is constructed means the impact of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    3 weeks ago

  • FAQ – Everything you need to know about the Big New Zealand Upgrade
    Today, our Government announced the biggest infrastructure investment in a generation. We’re investing $12 billion to upgrade and build rail, roads, schools and hospitals across the country – modernising our infrastructure, preparing for climate change and helping to future-proof our economy. Find out everything you need to know about the ...
    16 hours ago
  • Week That Was: 2020
    We are back for 2020! From changes to Family Funded Care, to a record high number of Kiwis in construction in the trades - we're already back making progress on those long-term challenges. Read all about it and more ...
    6 days ago
  • Winston Peters: “Ihumātao deal still a long way off”
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Mike Hosking that a settlement deal regarding Ihumātao in Auckland is still a long way off. The Maori King's flag was lowered at the site near Auckland Airport yesterday, sparking suggestions an announcement of a deal could be made by Waitangi Day. Pania Newton, ...
    7 days ago
  • Winston Peters accuses Gerry Brownlee of ‘politicising’ Holocaust memorial
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is accusing Gerry Brownlee of "politicising" a Holocaust memorial event after the National MP questioned the lack of Kiwi representation there. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel, is holding the World Holocaust Forum on January 23 to mark 75 years since ...
    7 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to help Waipukurau Pā sites attract thousands of tourists
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project is receiving $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It is is expected to boost the town's employment and tourism, creating sixteen new jobs once completed and attract up to 15,000 visitors a year. Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development ...
    1 week ago
  • “Common sense will prevail, not extremism” Winston Peters backs Shane Jones’ pro-meat stance
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing his MPs who have spoken out against a new climate change teaching resource that advises students to eat less meat to save the planet. The new teaching resource, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, tells students ...
    1 week ago
  • Violent assault on paramedic highlights need for law change
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Justice Today’s horrific violent assault of an on-duty female paramedic which rendered her unconscious is truly unsettling. “Our thoughts are with the paramedic, her loved ones and the St John’s team at Warkworth Station,” says New Zealand First Justice Spokesperson Darroch Ball. “Harsher penalties for perpetrators ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting PM Winston Peters confirms NZDF troops in Iraq not hit by Iranian attacks
    Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called for calm and diplomacy following Iranian missile strikes on bases housing United States troops in Iraq, but confirmed New Zealand's base in the country was not hit. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was earlier today investigating claims New Zealand's base in Iraq had ...
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Delivering a stable water supply to Wairarapa
    Hon. Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in Wairarapa The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $7.11 million to create a sustainable water supply for the Wairarapa. The PGF will provide a $7 million investment to Wairarapa Water Limited to progress the Wairarapa Water Storage Scheme towards procurement, consenting, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing consents hit highest level since 1974
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