Foodstuffs: Voluntary regulation fails

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, September 2nd, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: business, Environment, national/act government - Tags:

plasticbagchinaI find myself in the curious position of sympathising with a company reneging on an environmental promise.

Foodstuffs announced yesterday that the charge on plastic bag was to be optional, and that they would not charge people for plastic bags if they object.

Get Real, a New Zealand organisation campaigning for the elimination of disposable non-biodegradable plastic bags have labelled the move a farce and who could blame them? The scheme led to a reduction in bag use of 50%, or 40 million bags and long may that reduction continue. What that 40 million statistic, provided by Foodstuffs’ MD Tony McNeil, illustrates is the huge number of bags used in New Zealand.

Why is this a problem? Firstly, they are made from a non renewable resource that is in fairly high demand, is becoming rather expensive to extract, and when supply becomes scarce compared to demand civilisation will have some serious issues to face. Secondly, they are outrageously prolific (a forty million reduction since the campaign started one month ago, for one organisation in NZ, and that’s only half of their output?!) and non biodegradable. if you haven’t heard of the North Pacific Gyre, hopefully you will think of it every time you use a plastic bag now. Plastic bags have an external cost; one that is not borne by the cost to the consumer (especially when they are free!).

So why do I sympathise with Foodstuffs? Because they were taking steps to do the right thing, they were not supported by the government, and as a result were threatened with losing business. A company should not lose business for trying to reduce an externality that is by no means exclusive to them. National refused to impose a mandatory charge on bags when the idea was raised. Nick Smith: ‘National’s position is that there are sensible, voluntary initiatives that we can take to reduce plastic bag usage.’

That’s one sensible, voluntary initiative that is being abandoned because of its voluntary nature. National’s approach? ‘…encouraging more environmentally friendly behaviour with financial incentive rather than through regulation or prohibition.’ The only financial incentive at play here is the one encouraging Foodstuffs to abandon a good policy.

This is a clear indication that a voluntary approach does not always work regulation or prohibition would put all retailers on an even playing field, instead of punishing those trying to do the right thing.

Maynard J

44 comments on “Foodstuffs: Voluntary regulation fails ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    My rubbish bag is made up almost totally with packaging. This to me seems to be a much bigger problem. I recycle what I can but packaging around packaging is a PAIN!
    Of course my few supermarket plastic carry bags get reused in my kitchen-tidy. Without them I would have to pay for plastic bags instead. Ummmm

  2. r0b 2

    Excellent post.

    What are the cases in any industry where voluntary regulation has worked or is working? It would be interesting to see some examples to compare with the cases where it fails.

    • Maynard J 2.1

      Thanks r0b.

      “What are the cases in any industry where voluntary regulation has worked or is working?”

      I would love to see some good examples too – if these could be readily identified then government would have a framework to work within – they would know whether regulation would (should?) work in a specific situation, or whether a less forceful approach would work, and not have any of the downfalls assocuated with regulation or prohibiton.

      The opposite would also be useful – I am sure we can think of a few examples where regulation or prohibition have failed. Like the Prohibition 🙂

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Wasn’t voluntary regulation of the banking sector a whopping success? And doesn’t it continue to be? All that money from us to them. All that power concentrating in ever fewer banking hands?.

        Perhaps success is a bit like beauty…

        In all seriousness though, I don’t think any type of regulation will be satisfactory until and unless it results from affected constituencies being given an input to decision making processes in relation to the amount they will be affected.

    • Chris S 2.2

      The ASA (advertising standards authority) in New Zealand is voluntarily regulated.

      Or at least self-regulated, not sure if there’s a difference. I was under the impression that if they didn’t, the state would step in and do it for them.

      • Tigger 2.2.1

        The ASA typically does a good job (well, we think they do but can’t really judge since there is no right of appeal beyond the bounds of the self-regulated arena) – but did you see their decision making around election advertising last year? It was largely flawed as Steven Price points out http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=195. Worse, when they ruled against ACT the decision wasn’t released before the election http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=196.

        As for plastic bags – yep, let’s regulate them out of existence. My other half and I often spend evenings in summer cleaning up Petone beach – plastic bags are overwhelmingly what we pick up.

        And it’s not an either/or with packaging. Packaging is a problem as well. Capitalism doesn’t like being told what to do but certainly waste minimisation around packaging could do with some legislative help.

        • Graeme 2.2.1.1

          Decisions of the ASA are susceptible to judicial review. And on the whole, I’d say it was a pretty good example of self-regulation working.

          On the broader issue, however, plastic supermarket bags are the easy target. Packaging is a far greater concern – we can now buy individually-packaged prunes FFS – but also far harder to tackle, so we don’t.

      • Maynard J 2.2.2

        Same with the Real Estate Institute and their whopping $500 fines – that is self regulated IIRC.

    • Quoth the Raven 2.3

      Here’s an article, not very industry related, but it shows the pernicious effects of government regulation on the lower classes: Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as We Know.
      There are numerous examples where regulation has been actively lobbied for by big business and ended up restricting competition to the detriment of consumers. For interest read this.

    • Swampy 2.4

      The Labour party goes around abolishing laws restricting people’s behaviour – unless they are employers or businessmen. The message is very clear.

  3. no leftie 3

    I applaud Foodstuffs for having the honesty to admit this publicity stunt didn’t work out(in Wellington at least) and it’s once again providing shopping bags free of charge.

    That doesn’t of course mean people have to stop taking their own bags to the supermarket. It just means those who don’t, won’t face an extra sting in their grocery bill.

    • Izzy 3.1

      Dude. It’s a few cents. It’s not a sting. Maybe a “st…”

    • Swampy 3.2

      It wasn’t a publicity stunt. It was the supermarkets finding a convenient way of being able to recover the costs of the bags from the public at a time when they are all feeling the financial pinch.

      The supermarket business is one of the most cut throat in the country and they collude with food manufacturers, public interest does not enter into it a lot of the time, don’t let anyone con you that the supermarket chains really care about anything except the bottom line.

  4. Seti 4

    Plastic bags have multiple domestic uses. The packaging that most goods are surrounded with do not. As ianmac says this is the real issue.

    • Bill 4.1

      I seem to recall reading a piece about legislation making it unlawful to sell roadside food in one of the Indian states if it was wrapped in banana leafs or some such. In the supposed interests of public H&S, all food had to be sold in plastic wraps or similar.

      Last I heard McD and others of their ilk were just lovin it.

      How much packaging here was introduced under similar pretences with the result that small and local businesses went under in the new ‘healthier packaging’ playing field?

  5. infused 5

    Excatly.. Only reason I get plastic bags is to put the recycling in and to use as rubbish bags. Otherwise you have to buy rubbish bags…

  6. Is that picture taken from a New Zealand rubbish dump?

  7. outofbed 7

    I try an use the brown paper mushroom bags for all the fruit and vegies i buy at a Supermarket However they can get a little pissed with me
    Good to support small local butchers , bakers and vegie shops where possible though

  8. BLiP 8

    The plastic bag issue is symptomatic of the huge struggle we have as a nation to come to terms with our individual commitment to the environment. Government isn’t going to do it for us and nor is big business. It is up to you and me working together.

    Yet, it seems as if the simple act of bringing your own bags to the super market is just too much of a burden for your average New Zealander. And, if that’s the case, then how can we expect New Zealanders to also walk to the shops and leave the 4WD at home? How many operational televisions and cell phones have ended up in the dump so that we might have the latest flat screen and ultra-touch units?

    The 100% Pure New Zealand brand is fake, not because the government is prepared to turn the National Parks into mines but because individuals can’t be bothered reflecting its values. We’ve got the government we deserve.

    • Bill 8.1

      And if consumers are ne’erdowells then how about producers simply refuse to produce poisonous pap?

      I know I’ve proposed this before as a more effective course of action and the more I think about it the more convinced I become.

      I cannot consume what is not being produced and the corporate buy happy propaganda is aimed wholly at me as a consumer. Imagine the wharfies simply refusing to handle nonsense products and other NZ workers simply refusing to produce them. You might disagree, but I think that is a far more imaginable scenario than expecting consumers to not consume shelves full of crap in the face of a corporate consumerist propaganda.

      Unions and workers have only to convince their members and fellow workers respectively to stop contributing and force company compliance without having to combat the devious propaganda that would have us believe products are environmentally innocuous and somehow enhance our value of life.

      Workers know the processes and components/ingredients of production and cannot be misled or kidded where the focus is their own industry. Consumers are made for misleading.

      • BLiP 8.1.1

        I agree absolutely. No longer are we citizens in a democracy, we are but happy consumers, unconscious of the impact of our behaviour outside the four walls of our own home and the irrational basis of our decision making.

        It suits the corporates and their subservient politicians to keep us in this numb, credit-crunched zombie state for it would be far too dangerous if we were to act consciously in a collective fashion. Just look at the way Tele-Scum is treating its striking workers – breaking them up into smaller and smaller chunks via the redundancy strategy and setting them up to compete not with the corporation but with each other.

        I fear the idea that unions could cease to produce and/or handle needless products is as wonderful as it is forlorn. Union members are, first, consumers and convincing them to take action for the beneift of wider society would prove to be a hugely difficult task given the fire power of those who would oppose such “treason”. Would be great, though.

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          Perhaps ceasing to produce or handle needless or damaging products should be seen as an end point rather than a strategy.

          There are a million and one launching points to a road that takes us there. It’s often not rocket science to figure out where the unnecessary and damaging points are in any given industrial process. Refusing to do things stupidly while offering smarter ways to do things could be a starting point. I.e. introducing the idea in a non-confrontational way and then escalating could be a way to go.

          And getting consumers involved too. All consumers… from idiot hippy new agers to animal rights and environmentalists to political and religious types… eg what if the workers at Cadbury had stated they would not be adding palm oil to chocolate because of the CO2 effect of palm oil plantations?…and then introduced the orang-utan angle?….then the fact that a proportion of beans are harvested by child slaves?….etc, etc. Throw in media management and consumer involvement. Stir up and spread in a all countries Cadbury operate in.

          Then make the connection between Cadbury operations and Nestle… between Nestle and whichever other transglobal corporation…from food producers to non-food products.

          I’m not holding my breath on any of this mind. I can already hear the unions moaning that current employment law won’t allow for such and such a course of action…the employer has the legal right to run their business as they see fit as an eg… as though preserving the sanctity of half baked laws is worth the trade off of a half baked earth.

          • BLiP 8.1.1.1.1

            Again, I agree absolutely. The breaking of ridiculous laws would be the least of my concerns.

            The example set by the consumer backlash against Cadbury’s is a great example of what happens when consumers act collectively – but look at what initiated the movement: the taste of their chocolate. F F S ! How can we rise up against “the machine” because we don’t like what they’ve done to our chocolate and then ignore pouring filth into the environment when we upgrade the PC?

            I’m really interested in Joanna and Maynard’s comments below about the retail outlets for goods also becoming responsible for the sustainable disposal of packaging and “redundant” products.

            Now . . . how to “sell” it to the masses?

  9. JohnDee 9

    While i am simpathetic to Foodstuff’s plight, i suspect it is not as big a problem as they make out.
    Pack n Save has never in recent years at least supplied plastic bags. You can buy plastic bags but you usually use theoir left over cardboard boxs or pack it into your car or what ever other methods. New World has always supplied plastic bags free and while i am sure that overall they use substantial amounts, in the overall sceme of things it is not huge.

    • Swampy 9.1

      Wrong, I shop P&S every week and have always had plastic bags and never been charged for them until this new policy came in

  10. Joanna 10

    I am currently living in South Australia and here the state govt banned plastic bags earlier this year. The first week shops were allowed to give out any remaining stock they had. The next couple of weeks week, it was a real pain forgetting a bag and having to buy (another) reusable one. Now a few months down the track everybody carries reusable bags (and are very happy to lend the odd times one forgets, like today…). Anyway, from wo to go in two months and the entire attitude to bags for a city the size of Auckland has changed for the better and people generally seem much more aware about litter and waste in general. This type of legislation can and does work – if only the NZ govt would follow suit

    • Ianmac 10.1

      Great to hear Joanna. I think that our current govt. might be reluctant to upset the horses. Why it might set off a “Nanny State” barrage. And once that became common usage for blaming the last Government, it will become a genie out of a bottle.
      I wonder if in SA they could just introduce an act forbidding hitting of kids without a great fuss?

      • Joanna 10.1.1

        Actually thats quite interesting – some states (NSW) have given children the same rights as adults wrt to assult, others (such ans SA and QLD) are moving in that direction though more slowly. The courts are also taking a more of a stand. But it has not generated anywhere near the same publicity as in NZ.
        The “nanny state” idea which is so prevalent in NZ is a phrase I never hear since I moved to Australia – they seem much more hung up on percieved corruption of officials (which is luckily not a problem at home) and sex scandals but i’ts the really big issues (environment, recession, health and education at the moment) that dominate.

  11. RedLogix 11

    I am currently living in South Australia and here the state govt banned plastic bags earlier this year.

    Evil nanny-state Stal*n^st trogdolyte bloodsucking, parasitic bureaucrats sucking the life out of good free men trying to make an honest living hand-crafting plastic bags….sighs, I just can’t do it… where’s the ‘baiter when you need him?

    Seriously, I guess this is yet another comparison with Australia we won’t be hearing from that nice Mr Key anytime soon either.

  12. jcuknz 12

    Plastic bags have never been free becuase they are a part of the retailer’s margin on goods we buy. People should be convinced by logic, as I was a year or two ago when I bought my first green bag, i now have four of them, rather than penalties. If the charges had started earlier I could have justified my purchase of the bags from the savings of not buying plastic. It used to annoy me the way the checkout ladies used many more bags than were really neccessary, perhaps becuase they were afraid that a full bag would break. Baging meat products separately when they are already covered in plastic. Another thought, why do we need new materials to make the bags, why not recycled plastic? Some shops use black bags, are they recycled plastic? I too have noticed that my rubbish bags are mainly filled with wrapping material.

  13. jcuknz 13

    “Comments for this post will be closed on 2 October 2009” …. Really! 🙂

  14. Maynard J 14

    I agree with you all that getting rid of plastic bags is not the be-all and end-all of pollution control; this case was a shining example of voluntary schemes and their downfalls, more than the focus on bag use reduction itself.

    As for getting rid of packaging, a decent waste levy combined with compulsory waste repatriation would help. The idea of going back to the supermarket with reusable bags, filled with excess non-recyclable packaging for them to deal with is an attractive one. Their suppliers would quickly get the message to cut down on packaging or use recyclable alternatives.

    • Joanna 14.1

      We could adopt a “product stewarship” approach a la Germany. We only studied this briefly so I don’t know/rememeber heaps about it, but done correctly it was making a huge difference to waste.
      wrt packaging, shops could be required to have bins where you could remove the packaging at the point of purchase and the stores had to pay for recycling (if possible) or disposal – onus on retailers to pressure suppliers for less packaged goods.

      • Maynard J 14.1.1

        I know in Germany with large goods you return them to the supplier when they are at the end of their life cycle, is that what you mean?

        It would certainly encourage them to make goods last longer, if it is no longer in your interest to promote a rapid replacement cycle!

        • Joanna 14.1.1.1

          Yeah thats what I’m talking about – but extending these principles to the total product (ie: packaging/waste as well). Encouraging (forcing) manufacturers to consider the total life cycle of their product should lead to changes in the design, packaging, shipment and disposal of goods.
          I’m not sure NZ is a large enough market for this to make an impact on goods made off-shore – it may just result in people chosing to not sell their products here (which could have a spin-off encouraging more manufacturing in NZ…) but as more countries adopt this kind of legislation we should start to see differences.

  15. Felix:

    I ask because the whole story was about New Zealand and recycling, and if the picture wasnt fron New Zealand it gives a false impression.

    I dont see race in it?????????????????????

    • Maynard J 15.1

      Our pollution does not stay on our shores, Brett, it is a global problem.

      For a good example, have you seen where our IT waste goes to die?

  16. I just think it would of been more accurate to use a New Zealand tip in relation to the story, I guess the standard likes watching Faux News, they seem to get their journalistic ideas from them.

  17. Maynard J 17

    Oh, you are just being pathetic and pedantic, Brett, as you were.

    Here is a picture of the results of our use of plastics (as I just told you, before it did the Dale Special – in one ear, out the other – our rubbish does not all end up at new Zealand landfills, so a picture of an NZ tip is no more relevant) if it will make you quit your whining (as if): http://adelaidegreenporridgecafe.blogspot.com/2007/11/ocean-rubbish-dump-bigger-than.html

  18. I dont see it as being pedantic.

    If Ia right wing had done a post about how peace protesters get violent and then posted a picture of something throwing a glass bottle at a police officer, but the picture was from overseas, the left would be up in arms.

    • Maynard J 18.1

      If at the protests a bottle was thrown at a police officer, but that act was not photographed, and someone used a photo depicting such an act then I would have very little to complain about – but that might have something to do with me not being pedantic, and also not being desperate to avoid talking about the topic.

  19. Herodotus 19

    Be it Foodstuffs/Progressive or anyone else it is what has a positive/negative effect on profit. They have reacted to their key KPI. Another example of this is both coys support in not selling booze as a lost leader. Does anyonre reading this REALLY believe that they are acting on what is best for society?
    If I think the Alcohol advisory board ( I will take correction on this most willingly
    ) said that it was wanting coys to have a social conscience and NOT sell their goods at a loss, what company would not follow that voluntary initiative. There is some duplicity here !!

  20. no leftie 20

    Auckland shoppers have voted with their wallets as well.

    Time to celebrate another victory for people power?

    Or time to call for more controls and bans?

    I wonder which.

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    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    5 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    6 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    7 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    7 days ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
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