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Open mike 03/05/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 3rd, 2022 - 81 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

81 comments on “Open mike 03/05/2022 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Economist Rod Oram:

    Remilk, an Israeli pioneer of bio-brewing “dairy-identical” proteins, has just announced plans to build a large plant on Zealand with an output equivalent to the milk from 50,000 cows a year. It estimates its process, compared with farming, will use 1 percent of the land, generate 4 percent of the greenhouse gases and use 5 percent of the water.

    ReMilk’s big leap into commercial production is well-backed by investors. A few months ago, it raised US$120 million in its Series B funding. It’s in good company. Perfect Day, Real Deal Milk, Change Foods, Imagindairy, Formo and betterland foods are just some of the other companies abroad making rapid progress on animal-free and climate compatible dairy foods.

    Rod's referring to "the Danish island." I thought Abel Tasman named this country after a Dutch province, but perhaps the name gets around a fair bit. Anyway, Muldoon told the nation to wean itself off traditional dependency on Britain, so it switched to dependency on China instead. Rod's pointing to a way traditionalists here could get off switching from one tit to another and become independent instead.

    But why would ReMilk invest in Kalundborg, a town of 16,000 people in Danish dairy country 100km west of Copenhagen? Because for some decades the town and its businesses have been on a journey towards deep sustainability. In doing so, they are very strategic, highly collaborative and fully commercial long-term thinkers and doers.

    The town calls its project The Symbiosis because waste products, surplus energy and other by-products from some 20 businesses become inputs for others. Just in the past five years, these relationships have saved 4 million cubic metres of groundwater by using surface water, cut CO2 emissions by 586,000 tonnes and recycled 62,000 tonnes of residual materials.

    Danes smart, kiwis dumb. No, I take that back. Kiwi capitalists, National & Labour parties – the establishment – dumb.

    Since 2015, Symbiosis members have cut their CO2 emissions by 80 percent and the local energy supply has become CO2 neutral. The main power plant, owned by Ørsted, is the largest in Denmark and once the largest coal-fired one, now runs on biomass. It supplies electricity and heat to local homes and businesses, and steam to two local pharmaceutical plants. The relationships in The Symbiosis are all commercial and mutually-beneficial ones negotiated between the parties.

    They extend well beyond the industrial park to include the likes of some farmers, a soil remediation company, a fish processing plant, recycling facilities, other businesses and the municipal government. This large commercial community is renowned for its high degree of trust and collaboration…

    Our resource use, production systems and supply chains remain unrelentingly linear and wasteful. Thankfully, though, we have some pioneers. One is the Sustainable Business Network, which recently launched the country’s first Circular Economy Directory; another is Āmiomio Aotearoa, a circular economy research project at Waikato University. A third to watch is the Ngāwha Innovation and Enterprise Park under construction outside Kaikohe in the Far North.

    Rod visited that last one, a model regional development, and goes into a bit of detail about it. Welcome good news! https://www.newsroom.co.nz/rod-oram-old-zealand-teaches-new-zealand-to-use-its-natural-resources-fully-without-waste

    • Patricia Bremner 1.1

      Thank you Frank. We need more of these Circular economies and less of the Contact Acts race to the bottom model.
      Learning to see money as an exchange mechanism and resources as finite.
      Investing needs to be in areas that sustain not destroy.
      Every industry changes and the thinking evolves pressured by better ways, and people drive that change in spite of the diehards.

    • Ad 1.2

      The Ngawha Industrial Park got $20m for the Provincial Growth Fund, so this government can claim it. The western and central Far North need all the help that they can get.

      The most complete agricultural research-led city we have is Palmerston North, where Massey University has massive research foundations and spinoffs that rotate around DairyNZ and Fonterra's global R&D headquarters.

      The rate of patent growth and spinoff production is remarkably small for what is put into it. And there's not a native tree in sight for many kilometres.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        this government can claim it

        Well, let's see the minister in charge actually doing so to the media & public! I recall Anderton promoting regional development, so it ain't as if mainstreamers are incapable of seeing the need – it's more as is there's a problem with the doing.

        Nothing wrong with govts marketing their achievements as models & exemplars of how to make progress. I've had the distinct impression with this govt that pandemic focus has too much distracted them from general governance – they need to get a balanced perspective on things. No point deferring pr, then doing a boast in election year. Embed perception of achievements in the public mind now.

        • Ad

          The kumara does not sing of its own sweetness, as Shane Jones often said.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Many Maori have been held back over the years from better jobs because of that saying. Unwilling to convey at interview how good they were and what skills they have.

            Some of the fault lies with a western style of interview but I've seen really good people miss out many times on jobs they should have got and incompetent people who can promote themselves at interview well get the job instead.

    • Matiri 1.3

      Zealand is the large Danish island that Copenhagen is on.

      Zeeland is the Dutch province.

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.1

        Ok, thanks. I wonder why the spelling got changed. That must have happened in the 18th century, presumably. Map-makers, English, not Dutch. Map used by Cook.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    From the "Win Friends and Influence People (not)" file:

    Russia's Foreign Minister, Lavrov really upset the Israelis by claiming that Hitler had Jewish origins. The point of the claim was to make a case that Ukrainian president Zelensky could also be a Nazi, despite having Jewish ancestors.

    Up until now Israel had remained neutral with respect to the Ukraine conflict due to co-operation between Israel and Russia with respect to the local conflicts that Israel has an interest in. However, this sort of comment from Lavrov probably is the most inflammatory thing he could say to swing Israel behind in Ukraine.

    Given Israel's own military expertise and innovation forged in existential conflicts against much larger forces over the last 70 years, Russia probably doesn't need Israel sharing its knowledge with Ukraine, arming them with weaponry, or offering training to Ukrainian forces.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    To reach Gorge River head south from Haast & walk for a couple of days. Chris Long gives us a glimpse into life as a child there:

    One of my earliest memories is of helping Mum and Dad collect sedge-grass seed to make flour. Sedge grass grows along the sides of the airstrip and on each spiky stalk is a marble-sized seed that looks a bit like a light brown, fluffy ball. We would dry the seeds in a metal camping pot behind the chimney of our wood fire. Once they were dry, Mum would grind them into flour. If we had wheat, she would also dry and grind that to make heavy wholegrain flour and I would watch intently as she mixed some of it together with the sedge-grass flour, yeast, salt and water in her stainless- steel bowl to make a thick brown dough. Mum would leave the dough to rise for an hour while she stoked the fire with dry wood and placed a large aluminium camp oven on top of the firebox to preheat.

    Then she’d bake the bread for two hours in a round enamel baking pan, turning it over just before it was done to finish cooking the top. The bread from that camp oven smelled so good and tasted delicious with its thick, crunchy crust. We didn’t always have much to put on the bread when I was young, but we might have some butter or jam or canola oil and that was extra exciting. We always had Vegemite because hunters would leave it in the hut next door.

    We also ate bull kelp. The huge ten-metre swells that come straight from the Southern Ocean regularly tear clumps from the rocks and after a big storm we would always search the beaches for freshly washed-up kelp. My favourite way to eat it was to dry 30-centimetre lengths behind the fire for a few days until it was crunchy. I loved the salty flavour that tasted like the sea. Mum would also grind it up to make kelp powder, which I see is now very expensive in some shops. Dad liked to make a pudding out of fresh kelp tentacles chopped into three-centimetre lengths that floated in a milky broth.

    Almost all the food we ate in the early years came from the wilderness around Gorge River. This was not only because we wanted to be self-sufficient but also because with an income of just $2000 a year we couldn’t afford to fly food in from the supermarket by plane.

    While Mum did most of the gardening, Dad would do the fishing (with me always by his side). Whenever the weather allowed, he would set a gill net in the river mouth at low tide, and he would retrieve it the next morning. A net is more efficient than a fishing rod at Gorge River and in summer he would usually return with a few yellow-eyed mullet or a big kahawai in the bucket. During the winter months it’s harder to catch fish in the river and he would often have to go to the south end of the airstrip to catch ‘kelpies’ (blue-striped wrasse) on a hand line in the rock pools on the incoming tide. Some days he would stand down there surrounded by crashing waves for hours through the middle of a cold southerly storm just to catch us enough fish for dinner. He would never give up.


    I saw the tv story on NZ's remotest family years ago. Chris has since become a globetrotter, travelling to 66 countries so far. His dad dropped out of medical school & travelled in India before settling in the hut in 1980. His mum was a microbiologist. Both his parents have since had their autobiographies published.


    • RedLogix 3.1

      As it happens the reason why Robert found Gorge River is because I told him about the place and gave him a map of the area. An old 1 inch to the 4 mile map titled Cascade.

      Robert grew up in Toowoomba and is the cousin of a very old friend of mine. We met in Auckland sometime around 1976 just after I got back from a season tramping and climbing in the SI. We naturally connected and spent the evening looking at maps. He asked a lot of questions and it was when I suggested to him that the Cascade River was really the last major SI river without a road bridge anywhere along its length that I think he became intrigued by the area. I had also seen the mining company hut at the mouth of the Gorge River and showed him a picture of it.

      He left a day or so later and I never heard much more of him until 2001 when I had taken a break from work that summer and was travelling down the West Coast on my own. Spent a night at Haast and decided it might be interesting to visit. The two day walk down the coast is a very cool tramp (read – major boulder hop). When I finally got to GR it was late in the day and the tide was full slack, so I waded chest deep across the lagoon entrance and plodded dripping wet the 60m or so up to their home.

      Robert was in his little workshop at the entrance, looked up, immediately recognised me – and said 'So you want your map back?'

      Stayed a couple of days before returning to the road end via a much more challenging route up the GR, crossing over into the upper Cascade and pack-floating down the three major gorges.

      During the winter months it’s harder to catch fish in the river and he would often have to go to the south end of the airstrip to catch ‘kelpies’ (blue-striped wrasse) on a hand line in the rock pools on the incoming tide. Some days he would stand down there surrounded by crashing waves for hours through the middle of a cold southerly storm just to catch us enough fish for dinner.

      The memory most clearly stuck in my mind was fishing for those exact same kelpies on those rocks one evening with their son Christian, who was about 10 at the time. We both used handlines and within about 20 min had at least 6 fish for dinner and breakfast.

      His natural self-composure, competence and ease in the landscape made me realise that while I was comfortable visiting – he was totally at home. That growing up with the natural world, encountering hardship and risk, learning to accept and manage this was something most children in the modern world are very much missing out on.

      While Robert had clearly chosen to turn away from modernity as much as he could, they were never hermits. They enjoyed my visit as much as I did, and there was never a sense of rejecting the outside world. Indeed they saw many visitors, trampers, pilots and fishermen during the course of a year. During periods of rough weather they would be isolated physically – but never socially or intellectually. Part of their success I think is this realisation that they could control their relationship with the outside world, but not sever it entirely. Indeed they recognised their ongoing dependence on it.

      When I was there they had just started installing solar and were moving beyond the early primitive stage of their life. The children were going to leave home one day, and they understood the need to make that transition possible for them. Of course both parents were highly educated and had diligently worked to pass much of this on.

      Interesting comment Dennis – I could write a great deal more about that visit. Of all the things Robert and Catherine did, I suspect their children would be what they could be most proud of.

    • Rose 3.2

      I've watched a few videos on this family with some envy. Not sure if it's covered in the book but I wonder how he has, or if he requires permission to occupy this hut and live on the land. Assuming he doesn't own either.

      • Dennis Frank 3.2.1

        Looks like they're allowed to live there:

        when DOC discovered Long squatting at the Gorge River caretaker hut, they simply said “You can stay here, as long as you tidy the place up a bit.” https://www.critic.co.nz/culture/article/529/a-life-on-gorge-river–new-zealands-remotest-famil

        So there must have been a caretaker living there once upon a time! The tramper's hut is adjacent – a separate building – photo of that on the DOC website. The airstrip gets used regularly (according to the Longs) by those who can afford to fly in – they probably stay in that hut. Not many squatters achieve long-term habitation, eh? smiley

        • Rose

          Thank for that info Dennis. That really is quite incredible. Amazing that no-one has taken the pip somewhere along the line and booted them out. Good on them, they have made the most of it.

  4. It seems that cancer is suffering from Putin and is going under surgery to have Putin removed from it. Hopefully cancer makes a full recovery.

    • ianmac 4.1

      Very clever TS. Never thought to sympathise with Cancer.

      • mac1 4.1.1

        Rogue cells. The body politic has them, too.

        I remember a film about the takeover of Greece by an army coup that likened the left wing in Greece as a cancer that needed cutting out.

        The title escapes me now but the central image of a cancer invasion really stayed and should serve as a warning , too, that the use of allusion and comparative imagery is a two-edged sword.

        Words are a sword according to how they are arranged.

    • Blazer 4.2

      From your link…


      Asked about the report Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said it could not be confirmed.

      “I have seen nothing that could help us corroborate that,” he said.

      • tsmithfield 4.2.1

        That is why I said ''it seems''. But other sources are saying similar if you have a look around. I guess all will become clear if Putin goes off the scene in a few days and the other guy takes his place as is speculated.

    • fender 4.3

      Be best for the world to have cancer win a battle with PooTin

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Pipsqueak has problems: "I have a problem with poverty, I have a problem with people lacking opportunity…"

    "Where does that come from," Swarbrick interjected, "that comes from that inequality." But Seymour disagreed saying, "No, it comes from having an education system that is not engaging kids, it comes from having an infrastructure funding regime that makes it hard to get homes built and it comes from a lack of investment and innovation that creates high paying interesting jobs that are globally connected."


    Those three groups that are causing his problems: education bureaucrats & teachers stuck in the 19th century, politicians & capitalists providing too little funds, and capitalists lying down on the job instead of investing & innovating.

    Which rather points to another problem he's got. Inability to tell the media that these groups are making his life difficult. Could be that he doesn't want to alienate them? Obfuscate instead. Problem: obfuscating makes voters think he's Labour. Poor bugger, he's surrounded by them. It's like a boxthorn thicket. Perceptive viewers probably thought he was mental. "Hey, dude's just advocating more neoliberalism like National & Labour. Why would anyone think he could do it any better?" Still, if he can split the neoliberal vote three ways, he's providing a classic re-run of divide & rule – which will appeal to conservatives. Chloe didn't notice.

    If she had, pointing out that almost 40 years of neoliberal failure produced the inequality problem would have impressed plenty of viewers. They would reflect on it later: "Hmm, things have indeed got worse since the mid-1980s." They'd been getting worse under Muldoon too, however. It's the system, not the ideology.

  6. Ad 6

    Useful reminder from Minister Roberston this morning on the recycling of proceeds from the Emissions Trading Scheme into the Climate Emergency Response Fund.

    This will fund the programmes required to meet the targets set by the Climate Commission. The big polluters paying in will be the likes of Fonterra and BP and whomever now owns Z.

    It will work very much like the National Land Transport Fund for transport projects, where fuel excise and road user charges are fully dedicated to transport investment. ie can't be robbed for other projects.

    It's going to generate $4.5 billion to 2025.

    I'd expect we'd get quite a bit more detail in the budget beyond the first go from Ardern's initial 'emissions reduction plan' which seems to have mostly gone on subsidising new electric cars. Ideally we'll get a first list of projects.

    Not quite sure how it will work together with other funds like NLTF and Green Infrastructure Finance. Nor exactly which Department will administer and choose the projects. Likely the Infrastructure Commission will have a strong say, hopefully not MfE.

    But if you want to think big and bold, here's a big new funding pot to grab.

    • Patricia Bremner 6.1

      The comparison between Robertson's grasp of the way forward and Luxon's griping speech with no concrete suggestions. The Herald and other Publications "moved on", and have enlarged on Robertson's take.

      I think the next Poll might show a slackening in the slide. The answers you wanted are rolling in Ad.devil

      • Ad 6.1.1

        If Roberston goes the usual Labour-Green way of big spending promises way into the future, versus National's way of short term tax cuts, National will win the next election.

        It's not whether Robertson is generating an answer, it's whether he has the right question.

        • Patricia Bremner

          It appears we are paying for covid and inflation. Let us hope the budget has an affect.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    The American Taliban strikes again, and why elections matter.

    The US Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and if Alito's comments are any guide is pretty open on turning back the clock on decriminalising homosexuality and getting rid of same-sex marriage.


  8. Peter 8

    Does anyone know why Winston Peters has been been trespassed from the Parliament grounds for a period of two years?

    Are all people known to have simply visited the area at the time of the protests also being trespassed? I presume all those known to have actually occupied the area for days have received the same order.

    If occupying the grounds was illegal, is merely visiting there punishable in a lesser way by a trespass order?


    • Nic the NZer 8.1

      Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Winston would have been even more offended if he had not been trespassed.

    • Ad 8.2

      Winston gets the political gift he sowed at the protest.

      They just need a 4% showing in the next poll and it's HE'S BAAAAAACKK!!!

    • pat 8.3

      News flash!

      Politicians make complete dicks of themselves….meanwhile in the real world shit happens.

  9. Jimmy 10

    This will be an interesting decision for the judge to make.

    Gunpoint stand-off before teen burglar's finger cut off, court hears | Stuff.co.nz

  10. Dennis Frank 11

    Greens lunge for the pc vote:

    The Green Party has removed a rule which requires one of its co-leaders to be male, which the party says affirms its commitment to provide leadership opportunities for non-binary and intersex people.

    The party originally had a requirement to have one male co-leader and one female co-leader. One co-leader still needs to be female, however now the other person can be of any gender. They have also included a rule that one co-leader is Māori.

    The move was part of constitutional considerations decided at a special general meeting. It was also decided to adopt a te ao Māori organisational framework within the party, create a new party council to provide leadership and to formally recognise the role of Green Party members who are on local councils.


    So it's the end of the era in which the Greens envisaged gaining broad public support. Life on the margins of politics is their terminal choice. Sad. Their learning around the consequences of using an extreme-left posture has been zero – all the periods when they rose above the initial 7% of 1990 were proven to be a bubble, blown away by a fresh political wind a few years later.

    Can they survive as the Cinderella party, perpetually dependent on ugly sisters for a role in govt? Possibly – that depends on other minor parties failing to become centrist or the dumb & dumber mainstreamer parties exhibiting sufficient competence to impress centrists again. The pc vote is only worth a few per cent so it's an own goal.

    • weka 11.1

      what's the problem exactly? (other than that you think it's a mistake politically).

      • Dennis Frank 11.1.1

        what's the problem exactly?

        Niche marketing. Doesn't really work in politics, where traditionally the broad church ethos prevails – that's why Labour & National copy each other all the time.

        So late the year before last they censored an 80 yr old feminist & I decided not to renew my membership. Discriminating against women is stupid.

        Now they're sending the signal that they want to discriminate against men too. As if men hadn't already been alienated by years of petty drivel from the Greens! Apparently they felt there weren't enough nails in the male vote coffin.

        • weka

          so your main objection is that this change discriminates against men?

          how have men been alienated by the party in the past?

          • Dennis Frank

            It has never talked to males in the language they understand. It hasn't even tried to do that. Okay, I'll concede that Rod Donald did eventually figure it out – but Russel Norman never did & James only does so on pragmatism – not via lingo – and that isn't sufficient (due to him not doing centrist framing). Female Green leaders have also been blind to the problem, of course.

            • Incognito

              Men speak a transactional language and view relationships and thus politics as closed & exclusive and a zero-sum game.

              Women speak a relational language and view relationships and thus politics as open & inclusive and unlimited.

              That it? Or are you referring to some other way of stereotyping of the sexes – there are so many to choose from.

              • Dennis Frank

                Tonal, mainly. I suspect it emerged from biological signalling originally. Operates similarly to emotional intelligence (which most men lack). But I agree that the two points you made are part of the whole.

              • weka

                that's the start of an interesting post.

            • solkta

              Do they not grunt enough?

            • weka

              what would be some examples? I don't quite get what you mean other than very generally.

              • Dennis Frank

                It's not the sort of thing one can readily give examples of. Not stereotypical stuff either. More subtle than that…

                • weka

                  If it can't be named, how could people in the party address it?

                  • Dennis Frank

                    By knowing that you need good male leadership as much as good female leadership. And selecting for both.

                    • weka

                      you haven't explained why though. Other than to say that you don't like the change and you believe that a significant number of men won't like it too.

      • Visubversa 11.1.2

        If one co-leader is required to identify as a female – they could end up with 2 blokes. It will be interesting to see how they define "female". I bet they won't be able to define "woman".

    • Ad 11.2

      Greens are tracking at 9% and would need a managerial fuckup of 2017 proportions not to get more seats than last time.

      Their vote is so solid they could constitutionally require every candidate to be a trans-sexual dolphin sucking harpooned whale blood and they'd still poll 9%.

      • weka 11.2.1

        Lol, not quite, but I agree it's unlikely they would be out of parliament next election. Unless they did something like Turei's speech in 2017.

        I think Denis is pointing to the idea that the Greens could grow over time. Does this policy make 20 MPs at some point more or less likely?

        • Ad

          Depends much more on the Shaw Show in 2 weeks.

          • weka

            I tend to agree. Mostly it's about whether current Labour voters will go Green in 2023, and that will be affected by many factors including those outside of the GP's control. eg how well Ardern and Labour are doing.

            • Dennis Frank

              Yeah I agree with that. Multiple influential factors at play, some cancelling each other out.

        • Grey Area

          Way less likely. The Greens are going backwards.

          I am someone who has voted left my entire life starting with Values, been a Green Party member off an on, and done a stint as a branch co-convener. I am a grey hair who tried to do the mahi and contribute, not just talk. But in recent years I have lost confidence in the party and its leadership and consider it has lost its way.

          I have progressively pulled back as it has continued to disappoint as it has shot itself in the foot again and again.

          I then switched my energy to XR but it imploded.

          I continued to vote Red/Green but can't anymore.

          When the total focus should have been on climate collapse Davidson was reclaiming the C word. Gender issues are important but I sense that the Greens will be be pleased with their focus on gender/sex issues while the world drowns or goes up in flames around them.

          I now have no party to vote for. Labour are unrepentant neoliberals who habitually over-promise and under-deliver while the Greens for me have become a joke. I tried to hang in there Weka, I really did.

          • pat

            Its not an uncommon story.

          • weka

            what do you think the purpose of voting is?

            I will vote on climate at the next election, there's just no question for me of not voting and allowing Labour or National to have all the power.

            Gender issues are important but I sense that the Greens will be be pleased with their focus on gender/sex issues while the world drowns or goes up in flames around them.

            This makes me wonder what you see? Is it what is in the MSM? The membership emails? The MP speeches or twitter or FB? Gender/sex is a pretty small part of what they do. Climate is a huge part of what they do.

      • Dennis Frank 11.2.2

        Nice limb you've parked yourself out on the end of. Will the next poll saw it off? Put it this way, if the Green vote holds up they will feel vindicated, and you could be right. In that case I would reserve judgment until the poll after that. Folks often take a while to digest political changes. They mull stuff over awhile. I do agree that the sea-level news would tend to spook more people into supporting the Greens though.

  11. Molly 12

    Details published of the horrific Malachi Rain Subecz murder case.


    Hard to read, but nothing compared to what that small boy to live through

  12. Once again, Luxon turns up at QT in parliament with a pocket knife for the gun-fight.

    Easy meat for Jacinda.

    And Willis thinks that a deadpan face and a serious tone makes up for lack of hitting power in questions.



  13. tsmithfield 14

    Someone needs to tell the Russians it is not a good idea to smoke in an ammunition factory. Especially one that produces critical ammunition and components for the Russian war effort.

  14. Joe90 15




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