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Miners having a whale of a time

Written By: - Date published: 6:15 am, July 13th, 2018 - 59 comments
Categories: Environment, Mining - Tags: ,

 

Just as a beacon shines to announce that, perhaps, southern right whales are returning to frolic and feed close-in to coastal New Zealand we learn that a mining exploration company has quietly been given a permit to, among other activities, drill and extract bulk seabed samples from within the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

The sanctuary was established specifically to protect the all-but extinct Māui dolphins but is also frequented by blue, humpback, orca, pilot, and southern right whales.  Now, Ironsands Offshore Mining Ltd will be able to drill and extract bulk samples from within the sanctuary. The permit to do so was rubber-stamped by MOBIE’s New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals division. The exploration is allowed to proceed without further official consent because “mineral exploration” is a non-notifiable permitted activity under the Taranaki District Council’s coastal plan rules.

Ironsands Offshore Mining Ltd will need a resource consent to shift from exploring the area to actually mining the seabed, and obtaining that consent won’t necessarily be as easy as filling-in a MOBIE form.

The company is headed by Dr Neil Loftus and is one of a suite of front-of-house companies under the CASS group. It appears to have attracted investors from the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. Dr Loftus is taking a below-the-radar approach to the exploration of the marine mammal sanctuary but seemed quite happy to talk up a potential “billion dollar” mine when seeking to prospect the coast off the pristine Waihi Beach.

And we can expect to see more of these exploration permits being handed out by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals. This week it announced it is now open for applications, on a first come first served basis, for the mineral exploration of  33,006km² in the Otago region and 7,828km² in the Nelson region. Those areas had previously been under a moratorium for three years but, as of Monday, its open slather.

Its was great to feel proud of the fact that the Matariki fireworks were postponed for fear of upsetting a southern right whale which turned up in Wellington Harbour for a great big feed – but gobsmacked now. Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director Dr. Russel Norman, pretty much, sums it up . . .

The idea that New Zealand would allow seabed mining in a marine mammal sanctuary is absolutely absurd – it beggars belief. As well as being a Māui dolphin habitat, this area is a winter shelter for Southern Right Whales. It’s a terrible irony that the next stop for the beloved ‘Wellington Whale’ could be the new site of a seabed mining operation.

Pressure from over fishing, pollution, and a warming climate means whole ecosystems are threatened. We’re part of nature, not separate from it – ocean life has to be protected, because without it, life on Earth cannot continue. It’s that simple, and it starts with the areas we have already supposedly protected.

 

59 comments on “Miners having a whale of a time”

  1. DH 1

    I’d think there’s more to this than meets the eye. A permit to mine ironsand near that area was refused back in 2014. Why would a business want to spend significant sums on exploration when recent history suggests they’d be refused a mining permit.

    Link to last ironsand refusal;

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1406/S00631/trans-tasman-resources-iron-sand-mining-consent-refused.htm

    I wonder where this would sit with the TPPA, can NZ be sued when/if the permit is denied.

  2. Tuppence Shrewsbury 2

    An outstanding display of verbal gymnastics to somehow blame this entirely on the company that is just doing its job and not at all on the government that approved this. In May. After banning all new mining and exploration. In March I think.

    • Puckish Rogue 2.1

      To be it politely this government does seem to be giving…mixed messages when it comes to the environment

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 2.1.1

        That’s kind of you. I’d say it’s meaningless sloganeering at best and downright unethical lying at worst

        • Puckish Rogue 2.1.1.1

          I’m more the thought that Labour and the Greens didn’t actually expect to win the last election and so are trying to play with as much of their policies as they can

          Tell you what though its interesting watching it all play out

    • SPC 2.2

      The ban was to allow no more oil and gas expoloration permits. It did not cover other/minerals as well.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 2.2.1

        That you had to explain that and rely on semantics to make this ok shows how far out of touch the government is

        • SPC 2.2.1.1

          It is not their fault you do not realise that a ban on new oiland gas exploration did not include minerals.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury 2.2.1.1.1

            I’m sure it’s not labour or the greens fault that very few people, except there most ardent supporters, split hairs that finely.

            • dukeofurl 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Oil and gas exploration restrictions was about low carbon future

              Your bicycle cant be built without ‘minerals’. But of course doesnt have to be in sensitive areas

  3. SPC 3

    A three year moratorium on mineral exploration of 33,006km² in the Otago region and 7,828km² in the Nelson region ended on Monday.

    And a belated report of consent to explore in a Taranaki marine reserve area, signalling a cavalier approach to approving requests once they are made.

    That a green minister approved that, and the Green Party did not inform interested parties about the matter, but kept in very much in house suggests

    1. Green Ministers do not keep Green MP’s informed about their ministerial decisions.
    2. If informed, Green MP’s are expected to keep it to themselves.

    Thus the green movement is not better informed about government activities when the Green Party has closer connection to government, and thus they should not be complacent just because there is a Green Party support for the coalition and a Green Minister handling such matters.

    • Koff 3.1

      The permit was issued by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, which is part of MBIE. The permit was not issued by a Green Party Minister. However, it does seem that Eugenie Sage as Minister of Conservation was aware of this particular permit back in March as DOC passed on the info. to her.

      • SPC 3.1.1

        The problem appears to be that exploration in marine reserves does not require the consent of the Conservation Minister (or is not simply banned outright on the grounds that mining is not going to be allowed in marine reserves).

        • dukeofurl 3.1.1.1

          Then why did you say earlier
          ‘That a green minister approved that”

          and then say
          ” does not require the consent of the Conservation Minister”

          Confused much?

          • SPC 3.1.1.1.1

            I made the assumption that it would have been policy to require consent
            from the Conservation Minister before one could explore in a marine reserve.

            Apparently not.

            As Koff explained, the Conservation Minister only need be informed and consent can occur at another ministry.

            I am still wondering why the Green Party did not inform conservation groups about this, so they could launch a campaign to get government to make legislative change as to mining in marine reserves.

            • JC 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Believe IS covered this succinctly yesterday … sure Blame the “Govt “… but have a look at Legislation that allows this .. And Review that Shit ! Immediately,!

              (along with the Rest!)

              http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2018/07/we-need-to-protect-dolphins-from-mining.html

              Quietly Hopeful all you Doom-sayers out there! …

              • Koff

                As IS points out in the post you linked to, a change in the law ensuring marine mammal sanctuaries have the same protection as conservation estate on land could prevent ironsand mining off the Taranaki coast.

                This is a copy of an email I received from Eugenie Sage yesterday which seems to suggest that is what she wants to do.

                “Like many of us, I feel a deep connection to our oceans. The rich marine life that surrounds our shores is what makes our place in the world so special and why we’re so passionate about protecting it.

                There are only 63 of the unique Māui dolphins left in the world. Only 63. And they and other marine life are under threat from potential seabed mining off the Taranaki coast in the exact area of a marine mammal sanctuary. Mining in a sanctuary is not acceptable.

                I’m really disappointed that in 2018 there are new proposals for seabed mining and an exploration permit has been granted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. We need to update the law to better protect our oceans.

                Let’s be clear – the Green Party does not support exploration or mining in marine mammal sanctuaries and has consistently campaigned against seabed mining.

                Last year we stood arm in arm with Taranaki locals and declared our commitment to creating a whale sanctuary. We stand by that and I’m working hard to make it happen.

                We’ve expressed our concerns around the impacts of exploration activities like seismic surveys to the Energy Minister. I am actively working to fix the Marine Mammals Protection Act to give dolphins and whales the protection they need.

                As a part of this Government, we’ve taken a strong stand opposing all new offshore oil and gas exploration and we’re doing the work to implement the Government commitment to a policy of no new mines on conservation land. Seabed mining has no place in marine sanctuaries either.

                Changing the laws so they protect our natural treasures isn’t a fast or easy task. But the Green Party has been a political force for two decades now and working for change has always been at the core of what we do and always will be.”

  4. Chris T 4

    What are the Green Party doing in govt again?

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      The Zero Carbon Bill for starters. The cessation of new exploration permits for oil and gas as a topper. Plenty of other environmentally-protective stuff as well, ChrisT. Attempts to paint them as hypocritical or ineffective are nothing more than ignorant attacks by naive right wingers, Imo, looking for any possible chink in the Green/Labour suit-of-Government. Eugenie and James in particular, are doing an excellent job within the legal/political restraints that reality presents. I rate them and trust that they’re doing everything possible to turn the ship of Government in an environmentally-supportive direction.

      • Chris T 4.1.1

        You missed helping to expand foreign water bottling companies.

        I’m not painting them as hypocritical

        I’m pointing out how irrelevant they are now they are actually part of the government

        • SPC 4.1.1.1

          Do you know who the parties to the coalition are and who is not?

          Apparently not.

        • Robert Guyton 4.1.1.2

          Irrevalent? Why mention them then? The Greens are not disabled, as you would have us think; they are doing what’s possible, in the circumstances. I rate them.

    • Gabby 4.2

      Picking their way through the gnatz road apples christy.

    • JC 4.3

      Endevouring to turn the Ship around! ….

      How about that for an Idea …….

  5. RedLogix 5

    Absent more information it’s hard to quantify exactly what the risk to the Sanctuary is going to be. Seabed mining using suction dredges is potentially at the lower end of the disruption scale … the biggest risk has to be around the discharge tailings stream creating a plume of sediment in the water column near the surface, disrupting the phytoplankton/krill/food chain in the wider area. I would definitely want to see exactly how the proposed process dealt with this issue, it could be quite an intractable problem, but not insoluble.

    There shouldn’t be any chemical or toxic waste involved, I would expect any concentration process would use gravity separation only.

    The other may be excessive acoustic noise, although that can be controlled for. Marine mammals generally don’t seem to mind the presences of boats and ships per se, indeed they’re often attracted to them.

    And there is an obvious physical impact directly on the seafloor in the immediate extraction zone; but I’ve no real sense of how this would impact the wider protection zone. It could be trivial, it could be the show-stopper.

    On the face of if DoC have reservations there must be good reason to take a strong precautionary approach to this. It would be helpful to see any documents or reports that may have been done already.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Seabed mining using suction dredges is potentially at the lower end of the disruption scale … the biggest risk has to be around the discharge tailings stream creating a plume of sediment in the water column near the surface, disrupting the phytoplankton/krill/food chain in the wider area.

      I believe that they don’t discharge near the surface any more. I’m pretty sure that they discharge back into the channel that the previous suction produced with minimal spread.

      There shouldn’t be any chemical or toxic waste involved, I would expect any concentration process would use gravity separation only.

      All I’ve read says that they use magnetic separation.

      No toxic waste produced in the extraction but all living things caught up in the sand will be killed.

      The other may be excessive acoustic noise, although that can be controlled for.

      The noise seems to be the problem:

      The effect of underwater noise pollution is more painful than anything else for the animals. Most animals are alarmed by the alien sounds. The deaths can occur due to hemorrhages, changed diving pattern, migration to newer places, and damage to internal organs and an overall panic response to the foreign sounds.

      Depth charges work on submarines not because they hit the submarine but because of the pressure wave carried by the water.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        Of course iron ore will likely exploit magnetic separation … doh. Otherwise yes I can’t see any inherently obvious problems that can’t be solved.

        Yeah noise is of course a real problem, especially explosions and high intensity sounds … but again I can’t see why suction dredging should necessarily cause this kind of sound. In general marine mammals seem to tolerate normal ship noises to a fair degree, and with care I can’t see why an operation like this could not be designed to substantially minimise it.

        • RedLogix 5.1.1.1

          PS; That was a Homer /doh moment btw 🙂

        • dukeofurl 5.1.1.2

          Its exploration not full extraction

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.2.1

            Yup … I was assuming the exploration phase would be reasonably benign. I’d expect they’re only interested on what is on or close to the surface so there wouldn’t be any need for explosive surveys.

            More information needed.

        • lprent 5.1.1.3

          Depends if they are also looking at other minerals. Titanium comes to mind. Which aren’t magnetic.

          There is considerable amount of titanium in those west cost sands – mostly concentrated further south. But if you are going to pick up sand then extracting higher value ores become viable.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3.1

            The titanium seems to still have issues:

            The typical composition of the magnetite is 82% iron oxide, 8% titanium dioxide and 8% silica; 0.015% sulfur, and 0.015% phosphorus. In 100% concentrations of magnetite this had a maximum potential to yield ~ 58% metallic iron, although the titanium is unrecoverable by modern techniques.

            Which explains why it’s sold for use in paint.

            Although, that not last much longer:

            The scientists used xylene as a model compound to test the titanium dioxide nanoparticles’ ability to eliminate VOCs from the air. From their results, they hypothesised that UV radiation activates the nanoparticles, causing them to emit hydroxyl radicals. These radicals attack both VOCs in the air, as well as organic compounds in the paint. So while the paint eliminates xylene, the reactions behind this process create a series of new VOCs and also degrades the surface of the paint, releasing nanoparticles. Formaldehyde is among the new VOCs they identified, which is an irritant and classed as a carcinogen.

            My bold.

            • lprent 5.1.1.3.1.1

              Probably the main use of titanium is as a whitening agent in paint, plastics, and many other things like toothpaste (titanium dioxide). It doesn’t surprise me that it has problems as a building material. Virtually every component of paints and every other building surface system does, from paint to brick to roofing iron. If you think about the job that they are trying to perform of protecting one enclosed area for decades from weather, then that is simply inevitable.

              Incidentally I remember looking aghast at the list of possible breakdown products for untreated NZ native woods like many of the older Auckland villas when I was more interested in building materials back in the early 1980s. That included formaldehyde (ie embalming fluid) as one of them. I was working at Ceramco at the time and there was some concern floating around about silicosis from some types of house bricks. I simply don’t know of an inert building material. Hell – the breakdown products of rocks have issues.

              However ultimately the trade off for humans is between having a substantial building and that of having one lets the weather in. And it isn’t exactly hard to find the issues with buildings that have leaks.

              However the growing area for titanium is as a alloying metal. It has a number of properties that lend themselves

              The reference in the wikipedia article is somewhat old (1906 is old even by my standards – it was 53 years before my birth). I think that the only viable method for a long time was the Kroll process which is what they would have been referring to. There are a number of other newer techniques developed in very recent years simply because of the utility of the material.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium#Production_and_fabrication

    • soddenleaf 5.2

      Iron, like whale excrement, helps boost the biological processes of the sea?
      I heard that one way to help the planet was fertilize it with iron. Am I missing
      something, is iron sand mining actually aside from the sound and othe immediate effects a ecological good?

      • Andre 5.2.1

        There’s plenty of info easily available about iron fertilization of the ocean.

        In short, if iron is the limiting trace nutrient then increasing the bio-available iron does increase the growth of phytoplankton. It’s not the case that all the oceans are iron deficient, however. In some cases, this could even be too much of a good thing, leading to problems such as algal blooms and flow-on problems from that.

        It’s a complex issue, and even just considering the iron aspect of it there’s a good chance that just stirring up more iron into the waters off Taranaki as a side effect of ironsands mining will do more harm than good. The complexity of the issue and the poor state of understanding is one reason why there’s international agreements against deliberate iron fertilization.

      • Stuart Munro 5.2.2

        Any dredging or seafloor interference tends to cause damage by fine particle smothering. Mitigation techniques for this are not well developed.

  6. SPC 6

    The comments section on the link displays how those who support National operate on comments sections on media sites. It is to undermine confidence of voters in Labour/Greens and reduce turnout in 2020 – which is how they win.

    thus https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/105428150/mining-exploration-permit-inside-marine-mammal-sanctuary-is-slammed

  7. Gabby 7

    I suppose the management of the company could be held personally criminally liable for any wildlife deaths in the course of their exploration. Though that might break the I’m in a suit I’ll do as I please rule.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    We need to stop this extraction and exporting of our resources. It’s making us poorer and will end up with us not being able to support ourselves.

    Economics is about resources – not money. By exporting our resources we’re exporting our economy.

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      You have Labour and the Greens in government, what more do you want?

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        An economic system that actually works. Labour is still tied to the delusional capitalist one that doesn’t.

  9. McFlock 9

    So Sage was told about it in March, but if a MBIE unit approved it why didn’t Parker know about or stop it?

    And why the fuck doesn’t DoC have a say?

  10. SaveNZ 10

    Disgusting! The RMA and council rules need to be strengthened ASAP because it’s open slather in NZ of our natural wonders and resources.

    Get rid of MOBIE’s New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals division.

    The pillage of NZ resources by morons has to stop.

    Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/27/sand-mining-global-environmental-crisis-never-heard

  11. SaveNZ 11

    It’s happening all over NZ.

    Opinion: Mining new threat to rare dolphins

    http://www2.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11905588

  12. marty mars 12

    Another gray industry slowly dying but just not fast enough. Ironsands, fracking and the rest are the last death rattles of unsustainable, polluting, and destructive mining/oil/energy industries.

    The defenders of these industries are gray too.

  13. adam 13

    It’s looking more and more the first thing this government should have done when it came to power was repeal the Reserve Bank Act 1989.

    Otherwise we just left with the message these are the same devotees of hard right economics. And we will keep getting more of these terrible decisions.

  14. soddenleaf 14

    Iron, like whale excrement, helps boost the biological processes of the sea?
    I heard that one way to help the planet was fertilize it with iron. Am I missing
    something, is iron sand mining actually aside from the sound and othe immediate effects a ecological good?

  15. mosa 15

    While we are focussing on animal habitats under threat what about the torture of animals for medical science.
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2018/07/12/animals-still-suffer-in-experiments-safe/

  16. Timeforacupoftea 16

    Come on guys the Green Party need mining as much as every party does.
    We have to build 3 million electric cars probably more windmills and batteries.
    I say mine baby mine, as shortages of special elements are in short supply.

  17. Robert Guyton 17

    “Central and local government are looking to patch legislative holes after a seabed mining exploration permit was granted inside a marine sanctuary with little consultation.

    In May Ironsands Offshore Mining Ltd was granted the permit to explore a 220-square-kilometre section off the coast of New Plymouth where it will drill holes, some deeper than 10 metres into the seafloor, to collect mineral samples.

    The decision, made by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, didn’t require resource consent to be sought from the Taranaki Regional Council because its coastal plan allows exploration as a permitted activity.

    And loopholes in central government legislation meant the permit could be approved without the involvement of the Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage or Department of Conservation, which administers the sanctuary.

    READ MORE: Govt quietly grants mining exploration permit inside Māui dolphin sanctuary

    Yesterday, Sage said she was disappointed the permit was granted but said her hands were tied on the matter.

    She said under the Crown Minerals Act there was no opportunity for formal consultation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with DOC.

    There was an obvious gap in the legislation which DOC was now investigating how to fill, she said.”

    • John up North 17.1

      Kia Ora Robert, makes me wonder how all these gaps and loopholes came to be – it’s almost as if somewhere, somehow, some-ones all got together and purposely created these “get out of jail free” legislative lapses.

      Turning the ship around is a apt analogy………….. takes a long, long time for any rudder inputs to effect course change, and that’s without any crew members putting spanners in works to screw up the new skippers preferred route.

  18. Robert Guyton 18

    That’s business, John. Clever, ain’t it.

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    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    6 days ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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