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Its all just manure – mix it in and avoid the river.

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 am, October 30th, 2020 - 39 comments
Categories: election 2020, political parties, Politics - Tags:

There has been a rather patronising meme running in recent weeks that voters who previously voted National did so because they wanted to make sure Labour didn’t want the Greens to be in government. I was rather amused by this when reading the post-election coverage.

I’ve gotten less amused over the last weeks. The usual political idiotic ‘pundits’ have been emulating dung beetles pushing this crap uphill ever since. Since these are also the same kinds of political morons who seem to think that political parties own their supporters, or that they can make up political ‘conventions’ about who NZ First should have gone into government with last election, or any number of other self-promoting reasons why they’re not getting traction amongst voters.

Henry Cooke did a reasonable analysis of how much of a crock of shit it was. Since it expresses just about all of the crucial factors – I’ll do a abnormally large quote from it

This is the case with the theory currently being circulated by some Federated Farmers branch presidents and others that a large contingent of the rural vote backed Labour in order to keep the Green Party from being needed to govern.

At this point there is no evidence this happened at sufficient scale to seriously change the election result.

But the theory is very useful for people in the sector and on the political Right who need to explain why a Government supposedly at war with the regions got so much support from them – and to pressure Labour to not give the Green Party an inch of power.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there were people who did vote this way strategically and will be on their way to write an email to me right now. There could even be thousands of them.

But whether there are tens of thousands is another prospect completely – the kind of numbers needed to really swing an election. (It is also completely possible that a large number of the Green Party’s votes came from Labour voters voting strategically, of course.)

This could be the case. But at this point there is no real evidence for it.

University of Auckland political scientist Dr Lara Greaves said voting intention was often a lot less complicated than people would like to think.

“Most people probably voted for Labour because they wanted to vote for Labour,” Greaves said.

She is part of the team that runs the New Zealand Election Study, a giant post-election survey that explores voter intentions. (The survey is being conducted for the 2020 election currently and has been running for decades.)

Greaves says the idea many voters are switching from National to Labour is not at all that surprising, as most voters don’t rate themselves as particularly ideological.

Stuff: Election 2020: There is no evidence National voters backed Labour to keep the Greens out

That pretty much sums up the actual political and voting position. I’d add that what actually counts in politics is three things. How many seats that each party actually has in Parliament after the final results get published in a week. Which of those parties want to work together to support Bills becoming Acts, and having an eye on how to win the next election so they can carry on moving their agendas forward.

For the voters, we elect parliaments to govern our laws and regulations. We usually get a pretty good idea about where the parties are at before elections with what they say their objectives and goals are, and based on their past performances. We tend to reward poor or shambolic performances with what we collectively gave the National and NZ First this time – reduced number or no parliamentary seats. We give seats to those political parties who give better performance for our varying requirements – in this election Labour, Greens, and even Act.

When you look through the past NZ Election Surveys and the other information like demographics and movements in particular polling places. This is the pattern you see. Most voters aren’t ideological. They vote for what they see as being the best for themselves, their friends, their families, and their society – not only in the current election but also going forward into the future.

I know that is how I vote. Mostly I vote Labour, but my vote is up for grabs every election. My first vote was for the Values party (a precursor of the Greens) back in 1978, and I party voted Green in several of the past elections simply because I feel the need to keep them in Parliament. But mostly I party vote Labour as I did earlier this month.

I didn’t think that the Greens needed survival support this time – and I was right. I suspect that in the next election I’ll be helping Helen White win the Auckland Central electorate seat because I think that Greens need a lesson in what it costs to hold an electorate seat, and I’d prefer my neighbours had a good long-term electorate MP.

None of my voting behaviour or any of my political work is based around what is good for me (getting involved in electorate campaigns certainly isn’t). I have a lot of choices about what I could do, and I’m not crippled like some people with an obsession for money and possessions. So I choose to vote and work for my society and where it needs to head in the long term.

I do this in my work life as well. I choose to work creatively in industries pushing technology exports as a software engineer. I chose that long ago after working in manufacturing, farming and the army. I saw decades ago that as providing the best use of my time both for me and for my society.

I’m always proud to see that the majority of adult voters in this country, mostly even the ones I disagree with, seem to vote and frequently operate in a similar way – for our collective futures.

I’m also pretty confident that both Labour and the Green party MPs and their supporters will support some level of cooperation in the coming government. We’ll find out sometime on Sunday when the Green membership will vote on whatever has been hammered out.

After all, we need to keep the pressure on those ideological extremists who keep winding up in Federated Farmers to stop pushing shit into the rivers and into our collective societal memes.

39 comments on “Its all just manure – mix it in and avoid the river. ”

  1. Ad 1

    I would like to see this new government foster an alternative public voice for progressive farmers, than having to push Federated Farmers crap up hill every week.

    • lprent 1.1

      It'd be nice. Most farmers I ever ran across or even who I have met recently seem to have very little in common with what I see coming from Federated Farmers.

      They're just quietly upgrading what they do because it makes business sense to not have crap spilling into the rivers, hillsides sliding into rivers, calves drowning in mud, or their bores running dry.

      Mostly they complain about mortgage costs, weather and the prices they're getting. With asides on their dogs, fencing, neighbours and stock.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Wouldn't that be, like, up to those farmers?

      IIRC, Federated Farmers is a voluntary organisation that farmers don't have to belong to.

      • Ad 1.2.1


        There have been plenty of working groups already established by this government to develop a progressive agenda for agriculture. The people and the policy are all in place if they want it to be.

        • Draco T Bastard

          So, what you're after is a government group that researches sustainable farming and that progressive farmers can then join to use that government funded research?

          • Ad

            They have been set up already. The policy launches have already occurred this year. The farmers worked together for over a year on them. And all the government needs to do is grow them.

            This is what occurred in multiple other policy fields last term, with the plethora or working group and reports that the government was criticised for at first.

            The most notable of which of course was the precursor group to the Climate Commission.

    • Try Country Calendar for progressive farmers!

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    That "substance" quite often thrown at "Townies" over their water quality…

    Well heres something.

    "Treated Akaroa wastewater will be used to irrigate native trees in the area."


    • Stuart Munro 2.1

      Sad that it's been such a struggle.

      Once people get used to the idea that feeding to vegetation treatment_with_trees is the default for waste treatment then they'll find it's not more logistically difficult than discharging into water was – and given the right set up can even be done to advantage.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        There are a lot more dairy farms set up for doing their manure spread on fields these days. I managed to get out of town for a week with one of those Maui camper vans last month as a way or getting over the 'covid locked in and cramped in the apartment' effect.

        From up in their cab it was interesting seeing just how many pastures had the gear or the marks of manure irrigation or spread.

        Making crap expensive to drop into the rivers is economically just like requiring minimum wages. It causes businesses to invest into capital investments to use their resources more productively. It usually also reduces risks of the economic free lunch disappearing.

        This is a lesson that the orchards and gleaner industries like fishing are starting to learn about their misuse of imported labour.

        But I suspect that it is also going to show up in my export tech industry as well. We don’t seem to have dropped in our exports much if at all because it is the easiest industry to make remote capable.

        But there seems to be quite a lot of angst going on about being able to hire skilled people. Our local education industry hasn’t been producing enough local tech heads for a very long time.

        • greywarshark

          It takes NZ a while to creakingly turn the wheel. Spreading manure on pastures was being done in Belgium when I went through there in the early 1970s. FGS let's get up to date with old technology, and remember some good old ways, and utilise it along with modern systems in careful measure that will give us the best results long term and maintain a healthy country with good appropriate values.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Our local education industry hasn’t been producing enough local tech heads for a very long time.

          Finished my Bachelor in CompSci three years ago – still don't have a job using it.

          From where I'm sitting, its not that our education isn't producing enough but that local industry isn't hiring them as they have a preference for experienced imported labour.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.1.2

        Yea, Otago Towns still just discharging into Rivers. Probably same through NZ. Sad its "just another drain"….

        Anyway. Keep up the Interest.

        • lprent

          Most of the towns in the North Island, even quite small ones seemed to have taken up the subsidies to put in decent waste water systems after the "The New Zealand Waste Strategy" in 2002…

          Ummm. Looking at an article from 2018 "$3500 bill for every household in small-town New Zealand to fix ageing wastewater plants". Implies that many weren't maintained – stupid stupid stupid….

          It looks like these are the reports it was referring to

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            " Implies that many weren't maintained – stupid stupid stupid…. " Sadly…Yep.Forward Thinking? Ha…not even. Trying to get local Council to even agree that Climate Change was happening…let alone Urgent.

            Re local Waterways/Rivers :…faecal contaminant count so high advice was No Swim. One was due to (I, and others sure) farm runoff Nitrates. Well, there were Dogs Warning signs out re toxic Algal Bloom…

            And others due to Councils drain thinking….

            Anyway, I try to walk the talk too, so dug up front lawn and planted Natives. Cut roof spouting and put Rain catch barrel with hose to feed overflow onto plants etc…

          • Draco T Bastard

            Looking at an article from 2018 "$3500 bill for every household in small-town New Zealand to fix ageing wastewater plants". Implies that many weren't maintained – stupid stupid stupid….

            To do the maintenance properly would have required putting the rates up and I'm pretty sure you'll find that most small towns have right-wing councils that see rates as theft.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    National voting farmers saw coming the whipping their team was due, needed someone to "beat" so they chose the Greens, as they always have, and claimed to have succeeded in keeping them out of Government. Later on today, I expect they'll be terribly upset to learn that a satisfactory agreement has been reached between Labour and The Greens and their Claytons-action was a farce.

  4. WeTheBleeple 4

    Self-entitlement, righteous indignation and fantasy oppression. The right are very boring.

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    I have an issue with "feeding" trees with humanure; I reckon they don't like it; would you? Trees don't "eat" manure, soil organisms do. Humanure should be fed to the tiny creatures of the soil first, then the resulting "super-dirt" used for growing crops; trees, shrubs, whatever. The concept of direct-feeding plants "nutrient", is short-cut thinking in the way hydroponics is. Ideally, humanure should fall directly onto soil medium; let the tiny critters get busy from the get-go. No water required, AT ALL.

    • Pataua4life 5.1

      Perfect – next time i'm down your way i'll make sure i take a dump in your garden

    • Stuart Munro 5.2

      My understanding is that fungi are the best intermediary between waste and plants – but cellulose is desirable both as a substrate for the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrates, and to soak up excess nitrates. You might remember fish bark, evidently a decent effort to combine an unpleasant byproduct with forestry waste, which didn't stink, and was by all accounts enjoyed by roses.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      I reckon they wouldn't care so long as the amount wasn't too much.

      My suggestion has always been to treat the human sewage, dry it, turn it into fine dust and then drop it using airships over the forest above the farms. The forests would be well fed (yes, plants need food) and then the rich soils would wash down onto the farms when it rains.

      Careful research would reveal the best times and places for the drops and farms.

      This is also why I say that a country can only support the population that lives there. Human sewage is the fertiliser that feeds the plants that feeds the humans. The only way to feed more is through the importation of fertiliser which would probably push the amount being fed to the trees into the too much bracket which would be likely to cause damage.

    • Ad 5.4


      Thats what Auckland has done with Puketutu Island for 20+ years.

      Also its v important to follow mana whenua advice as its a very sensitive issue.

  6. I've seen a few of these guys on Twitter saying they voted Labour so it wouldn't need the Greens to form a government, so there's now a moral obligation on Labour not to work with the Greens. The overweening self-importance displayed certainly explains why they usually vote National.

    And of course, even if we made the (unlikely) assumption that a majority of Labour's support came from voters who don't want them to work with the Greens, this is a representative democracy – we elect people to Parliament and then they do whatever they see fit. What our intentions were when we voted for them counts for shit. Very obvious example: 4th Labour government.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      this is a representative democracy – we elect people to Parliament and then they do whatever they see fit. What our intentions were when we voted for them counts for shit.

      As I say – Representative Democracy is an Elected Dictatorship and is not fit for purpose.

      • Psycho Milt 6.1.1

        Seems very fit for purpose to me. I don't want the people I elected supposedly to govern the country instead asking me constantly what they should do. If they can't figure that out for themselves, what am I paying them for?

        • Draco T Bastard

          There's the parts where what they're doing is day to day stuff that they shouldn't be asking us about.

          There's also parts which determine the direction of the country, policies and how we interact with the rest of the world etcetera, where they should be asking us.

          Thing is, they don't believe that they need to ask us at all. They work on the delusional idea that if we don't like it then we will vote them out but when that does happen we still don't see the repeal of the policies that we, as a nation, didn't like such as the selling off of the power shares.

          So, yeah, the system we have is not fit for purpose.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Environmental thoughts amongst others in this decision:


    A trust featuring Waihopai Valley farmer and former councillor Geoff Evans had been barred from selling land to Malaysian-owned forester Ernslaw One. Photo: Chloe Ranford / LDR

    Malaysian-owned forester Ernslaw One asked to buy 630 hectares of "uneconomic" land from a sheep and beef farm in the Waihopai Valley which neighboured its plantation.

  8. Gyrogearloose 8

    I am one of the normally national voters who voted labor so they did not need the greens.

    A number of people I know did the same….

  9. Craig H 9

    No doubt some voted tactically to block the Greens, but the polls had Labour governing since Covid. That swing was because people preferred Labour over National, not to stymie the Greens from governing.

  10. CrimzonGhost 10

    If Labour keeps dithering, being indecisive, lacking vision, trying to be all things to all people, Green Party vote share will grow. Could be after several more electoral cycles that Greens & ACT supplant Nats & Labour as main forces.

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