Open mike 04/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 4th, 2016 - 191 comments
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191 comments on “Open mike 04/01/2016”

  1. John Shears 1

    The Herald, that many of you don’t read, has an editorial opinion today that really shows the arrogance of the Key led National government IMLTHO, about water and water quality and what they are NOT doing.

    One of my pet subjects but I will stop now before I get too angry.

    • Paul 1.1

      Editorial: Time to take action over rivers

      New Zealanders cannot stand by while our rivers become so polluted we can no longer swim in them.

      This week The Press reported that the number of Canterbury rivers safe for swimming has reached its lowest point in at least five years. Now, nearly one-third of the monitoring sites on Canterbury rivers have been deemed unsafe to swim in, according to Environment Canterbury (ECan). This compares with five years ago when one in four sites were considered unsafe for swimming.

      Now, some of our most popular swimming and camping spots such as Coes Ford are blighted by a toxic algae which can cause rashes, nausea, and numbness. It can be fatal to dogs and other animals. The warm summer expected with El Nino is only likely to see the situation worsen.

      Depressingly, in 2010, ECan’s new commissioners – brought in after elected members were sacked due to failings in water management – set as one of their goals improving the swimmability of the region’s rivers.

      Yet under these commissioners, river quality has worsened. Sites along the Waimakariri, Hurunui, Selwyn and Ashburton rivers are rated “poor” or “very poor”.

      Dairy farming is often fingered as a prime contributor to water pollution. And with good reason.

      In 2010, Canterbury had about 700,000 cows. Five years on, they total more than 1 million. The growing number of cows produce more urine and can lead to more fertiliser use and irrigation, both of which drive excess nutrients into our water systems.

      Yet, only 16 per cent of farmers in Canterbury have a farm environment plan, according to an ECan survey, despite being required to do so. Only 44 per cent of the nearly 500 farmers surveyed saw reducing their impact on the environment as a high priority – some way behind the 68 per cent who cited said farm profitability as their strongest motivating factor

      As one farmer has previously said, if the phosphate and nitrate floating down a river was as visible as $50 notes “people would be out there picking it up”.

      How many more reports do we need before we act?

      – The Press

      • marty mars 1.1.1

        “As one farmer has previously said, if the phosphate and nitrate floating down a river was as visible as $50 notes “people would be out there picking it up”.”

        What does that mean?

        • Paul

          It means there are large amounts of it, but you can’t see it.

        • Graeme

          It means that nitrogen and phosphorous are running off the farms into the river, and the farmers are paying large amounts of money putting nitrogen and phosphorus onto the the farm (fertiliser /super phosphate) to compensate.

          With better management they’d keep the money on their farm rather than watch it go down the river.

          A lot of them just don’t see it however. Just put more on…..

      • weka 1.1.2

        Time to take action over rivers

        New Zealanders cannot stand by while our rivers become so polluted we can no longer swim in them.

        New Zealanders ARE standing by while our rivers become so polluted we can no longer swim in them. That’s why we have rivers too polluted to swim in, and have done for many years. FFS.

        If 25% of rivers were unswimmable 5 years ago, and nothing has changed in terms of environmental practices, then of course we are going to have more unswimmable rivers now.

        The time to take action was ten years ago. The regional councils have been left to manage this and they’ve failed, in large part because they are stacked with members of Federated Farmers. Which we voted in, or didn’t bother to vote out.

        We can sit and wring our hands about this issue, but we are just as culpable as Ecan and NACT. This is the classic example of NZ wanting to feel good about the environment but not if it means actually doing something to protect it. It’s shameful given our strong history of environmental activism. I think it’s also about people not wanting to rock the boat in their local communities and with their neighbours.

        We have people willing to tree sit to save Kauri. Why are there no occupations groups on the Hurunui or Waimakariri? Serious question.

        • Draco T Bastard

          We can sit and wring our hands about this issue, but we are just as culpable as Ecan and NACT. This is the classic example of NZ wanting to feel good about the environment but not if it means actually doing something to protect it.


        • Macro

          Ecan an elected body was replaced by Nact with commissioners as you may recall. This was because of the farming lobby wanted to draw more water from the aquifer than they, Ecan, would allow. Cantabrians have been protesting and writing about this for years. Even last year the Nact govt extended the term for its toddies to allow the continued degradation of the Cantabury water system.
          You can read more about it here

          • Manuka AOR

            There was also “meat sewage and animal waste” (treated) being released into the Waimak by Silver Ferns Farms. They were applying for a 5 year continuance for this, last November (2014):

          • weka

            Thanks Macro. In my rant I forgot about Ecan and was thinking about councils further south.

            Have to say the problems predate the firing of the Ecan council though. NZers are very poor at making good use of local body elections. I’d like to see more discussion of the clear and direct line between regional council elections and polluted waterways. Those councils are only going to improve their policies and enforce them if they know that the general public is behind them.

            • Macro

              Have to say the problems predate the firing of the Ecan council though.

              that is very true – the main problem in that whole sorry saga has been the intransigence of the rural sector and their unreasonable demands for more and more water. The sacking of Ecan only removed the democratic stalemate that existed and allowed the unfetted pillaging of the water commons.

      • Graeme 1.1.3

        The ironies in the last 4 paragraphs are stunning.

        The NZ dairy industry has got it’s self into a bind by confusing production wiht profitability. It’s become a huge juggernaut focused on producing more and more at dramatically increasing marginal costs, so we get huge inputs of PKE, fertiliser and irrigation. The mindset is more input – more production. But the wastage is huge, that’s the $50 notes going down the river, really more like $100 ones.

        James Shaw made a comment recently about this, saying that a lot of the environmental issues of dairy would be solved by shifting the focus of farm management from production to profitability.

        It might happen, current economics are making the big inputs hard to sustain at the individual, on farm level, but turning the industry / Fontera juggernaut around is going to be really hard and will really need a major crisis to effect.

        • Paul

          Or going for quality not quantity.

          • Graeme

            Yeah, same thing. Tatua vs Fontera models.

            Trouble is this restricts the opportunities for the suppliers while the individual farmers will probably end up doing a lot better.

            Everyone bags the “farmers” but there’s a whole industry pushing them to make the decisions they are making.

            • Macro

              True – unless they decide to turn against the industry – and then they are to a large extent on their own. But not really – there is a increasing number of farmers turning to organic and less intensive farming practices and many are finding it profitable, and the more that do, the more support they will get.

              • Paul

                The dairy industry is increasingly run by big players, who don’t care one jot about the environment.

                • Macro

                  True – and the Ministry is trying desperately to clamp down on any indivdualism – but there are those who are hanging out and making good progress nonetheless. eg Live Milk
                  We buy our milk here – and can I say – it is the best milk ever!

                  • weka

                    What’s the deal with that? I gather that MAF changed the rules on raw milk distribution and selling but I’m seeing conflicting reports on what the new rules are.

                    • Macro

                      Yes – what was the old MAF (can’t think of it’s new Joyce-ian title) have changed the rules to some extent despite hundreds of submissions from around the country arguing the rules should stay as they were. However, the existing suppliers (such as ours) have continued with the collection points or farm gate sales.
                      We get 4 x 2L bottles every week for our household. We make our own yoghurt, Kefir, and no need to buy cream. Each bottle has around 25% cream mmmmmm. It truly is a wonderful product. When we head off to the mokapuna over the Tasman we drop our standing order down to 1 bottle ( a daughter lives with us here.)

                    • weka

                      I heard that they banned gate sales but allow delivery, which seems weird to me. I suppose I should go look it up.

                    • Macro

                      I think the problem with gate sales was that there was some thought that the milk would not be stored properly. We argued in our submission that collection points were fine and was a good way to ensure the milk was properly stored. From there it was up to the purchaser to ensure they kept the milk safely stored. The problem with home deliveries was that trucking it around was impractical and non-safe.

                    • weka

                      “I think the problem with gate sales was that there was some thought that the milk would not be stored properly.”

                      As opposed to deliveries being inherently safe and not down to the practice of the farmer 😉

                      There seem to be quite a few people advertising online now, good to see them being able to go public (I’ve always bought from people under the radar).

                    • we still have raw milk gate sales down the road from us – very popular, they’ve been running out.

                    • weka

                      Glad to hear it. I think those dispensers are great.

                      Looks like both farm sales and delivery is going to be legal.

                      Under the new policy announced by the Government, farmers must meet requirements such as registering with the Ministry for Primary Industries, meeting hygiene requirements, testing milk for pathogens, keeping records of sales, and labelling so consumers are aware of the risks of raw milk.


                      All sounds reasonable to me.


                      That is a real victory. The person in the Stuff article is objecting to the record of buyers. They’re a nationwide chain, so there we have it, the profit motive again.

                    • Macro

                      Actually in the case of Live Milk – milk deliveries would not be a safe way to go about it. They distribute milk, (as you can see from their web site) from Tauranga to Auckland and the Coromandel. And there is a large number of members recieving milk weekly. To deliver it to individual customers would involve a huge logistic undertaking and people would have to be at home to receive it. If you think about it, it would become horrendously expensive, and there would be no guarantee that the milk would be kept below the necessary temp for the whole journey in the back of a truck (with continual opening and closing). The centralised delivery means that only one journey is required. The milk is quickly moved from the truck to a properly refridgerated chiller, and members can pick up their order in their own time.

                    • Macro

                      I gather that the gate sales needs to be tightened up – ie not casual buyers. (from the safety point of view)
                      Thanks Marty we used to get gate sales from a local farmer – and yes that was popular. But with drought coming regularly he had to dry off his cows so that was that! 🙁

                    • weka

                      I agree, deliveries seems much more fraught than farm pick ups. But both can be done well and essentially its down to the system that gets set up. I’ve done it both ways.

                      I’m happy to leave raw milk on the bench and let it naturally ferment and drink it that way. I have to be able to trust the farmer to do that. I’ve always bought from people who are drinking their own milk and highly conscious of the hygiene and safety issues. But when something is small like it has been that’s much easier. It will be very interesting to see what happens now that the capitalist, growth model can be used.

                    • weka

                      “I gather that the gate sales needs to be tightened up – ie not casual buyers. (from the safety point of view)”

                      Which will make it more difficult for the people with dispensers, but not insurmountable.

                  • beatie

                    The farm down the road sells raw milk.

                    Beautiful! I have problems digesting pasturised milk, but no problems with raw. Also makes lovely yoghurt and fresh cheese. It’s nice to buy local and I can ‘visit” the cows on my way to the nearby beach.

              • Graeme

                Tatua are part of the “industry”, their payout has remained reasonably stable compared to Fontera’s nosedive. It’s also always been considerably higher.

                I think there’s a change coming around agriculture. I have to listen to The Farming Show at lunch when I’m working on a couple of farms and there’s been quite a change in tone in the last few months. They’ve made Nathan Guy walk right into being a prize tit a couple of times (admittedly, shooting fish in a barrel) and are challenging people a lot more. Wasn’t like that 12 months ago, if it was blue or sat at a flash desk in Hamilton it was right.

      • wyndham 1.1.4

        Ecans 2010 new commissioners were not appointed to worry too much about water quality. They were appointed to facilitate the spread of irrigation across some of the driest parts of Canterbury.

      • The short answer is until the Commissioners go, nothing good will happen. They and their National Party puppet masters are in the sort of denial about the problem that the Republicans have with climate change.

        The longer answer is that it depends on what sort of Environment Canterbury Council we have when the Commissioners go. If it has the rural/urban split that it did last time, we will be back to square one. The problem also depends on WHEN the Commissioners go. They were supposed to go in 2013, but National told them to stay until 2016, so it is entirely possible they will get asked to stay again.

        • weka

          “If it has the rural/urban split that it did last time, we will be back to square one”

          Because it’s a stalemate?

    • Manuka AOR 1.2

      Mike Joy, speaking about our rivers, says farmers are “incentivised to pollute”.

      He also says “it is only a matter of time before a child dies after ingesting some of this” (the algae which has killed dogs).

      It takes courage to speak out. Joy “became a household name three years ago after he was quoted in the New York Times on the eve of the release of The Hobbit saying the pristine environment portrayed in the film was at odds with this country’s poor showing against many international benchmarks. Previously, an article he’d written saying that New Zealand was “delusional” about its environmental performance was used to embarrass Prime Minister John Key in a high-profile interview with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur.

      “After the New York Times story, political lobbyist Mark Unsworth emailed Joy, accusing the Massey University ecologist of economic sabotage and describing him and his cohorts as “the foot and mouth disease” of the tourism industry. “Most ordinary people in NZ would happily have you lot locked up,” he wrote. Political activist Cameron Slater blogged that Joy ought to be “taken out and shot at dawn” for his treachery. The New Zealand Herald accused Joy of overstatement, and scolded that his damaging analysis had reached an international audience. ”

      • Anne 1.2.1

        Re- your last paragraph MA @ 1.2:

        It infuriates me that these “philistines” get clean away with their venomous spittle. Surely there’s a decent MSM journalist somewhere who can dig out the offending words/articles and let everyone see what boof-heads they really were/are…

        I was accused of being a traitor once after having ‘whistle-blown’ on a government run unit. I even had the appropriate passage in the legislation dealing with punishments meted out to traitors read out to me – plus a caveat placed on me for the next 12 months. Eighteen months later the offending unit was closed down and the management sacked. Did I receive an apology? Oh dear no…

    • weka 1.3


    • Manuka AOR 1.4

      Farmers are “incentivised to pollute”, according to ecologist Mike Joy. ” The dairy-cow population has doubled since 1992 without there being regulation controlling the volume of nutrients and pathogens that flow from their free-range excrement through the soils and into waterways. This intensification has been enabled by new inputs such as palm-kernel expeller (PKE) and a 420% increase in nitrogen fertiliser use since 1990, leading to stocking rates than wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The ability of catchments to absorb the effects has simply been overwhelmed.”

      “The underlying problem, he says, is that those who pollute don’t pay to clean up the damage.” Joy has also co-authored a paper on the cost of environmental clean-ups which concluded that “if the pollution caused by the dairy industry was properly accounted for it would exceed the industry’s total economic value.”

      • Manuka AOR 1.4.1

        It takes courage to speak out. Mike Joy has variously been vilified by many for doing so, and at one time there was a call for him to be shot (ok, that one by our friend cam).

      • Draco T Bastard 1.4.2

        if the pollution caused by the dairy industry was properly accounted for it would exceed the industry’s total economic value.

        That’s the big one and it makes it easy to understand why the farmers and politicians don’t want to ensure that those costs are properly accounted for through regulations and strong enforcement of those regulations. Doing so would collapse the industry over night.

    • weka 1.5

      From the Herald Editorial,

      New Zealand has immense water resources but much of it is in the wrong place. In some regions, limits to water use are approaching, crimped by supply or quality. All New Zealanders expect reliable access to clean water. The economy rests on its assured supply. As many as 200,000 jobs – in dairying, horticulture and tourism – directly depend on water.

      The water isn’t in the wrong place. What’s wrong is we don’t work with the natural land and water cycles to protect those cycles and thus the resource. The notion that water is in the wrong place underlies the polluted rivers problem. Industrial dairying is not possible in many parts of NZ without irrigation. Moving water to the ‘right’ place directly enables polluting industries. You can regulate the end pollution all you like but the problem is at the source. Leave the water in the ground (and in the rivers) and farm traditionally and if you can’t do that then find something else to do.

      • Kevin 1.5.1

        Couldn’t have put it better Weka.

        Grow what the land will sustain. It’s a pretty simple concept.

        • weka

          And it’s not like we don’t know how to do this. Plus, working with what the land will sustain is ultimately more productive than what we do now.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Grow what the land will sustain. It’s a pretty simple concept.


      • Naturesong 1.5.2

        There is also the issue where an area may have more than enough rain fall, but once the trees are cleared for pasture, it doesnt rain as often.

        This is the story of Waikato, where we now see regular droughts.

      • Paul 1.5.3

        Interesting that the Press and the Herald both have editorials on the issue within a week.
        Maybe, just maybe, some conservative sorts, care enough about this to force change.

        • Naturesong


          Not going to happen.

          With the shear volume of propaganda and PR campaigns taking up the majority of public discourse, and a decade of positive press for the current incumbent it will take months of sustained and coordinated reverse ferret to move people out of the current political cul de sac.

          • Paul

            So why the 2 editorials?
            Are the usual teams away at Wanaka/Omaha/Hawaii?

            • Naturesong

              Herald is NZME, The Press is Fairfax.

              I’m going to go out on a limb and say coincidence.

              It’s summer, many people are on holiday, seems reasonable that both editorial teams decided to address water quality at the same time.

              Also, both those companies are about profit.
              I’m guessing their largest advertising spends will be with large companies and corporates, Nationals constituency.
              If you were CEO, would you let your editorial team risk losing losing the papers biggest customers?

              And, over the past 5 years the govt, various PR firms, the two companies above as well as assorted groups of shady characters have made it crystal clear to everyone in NZ what happens to journalists that really want to get to the bottom of any of the important issues facing New Zealand.

              • Paul

                The Press gave David Caygill, the deputy chair of Environment Canterbury, a right of reply.

                Caygill has form.

                From wikipedia.
                ‘When the Fourth Labour Government was formed after the 1984 elections, Caygill aligned himself with Roger Douglas, the controversial Minister of Finance. Douglas, Caygill, and Richard Prebble were together dubbed “the Treasury Troika”,and were responsible for most of the economic reform undertaken by the Labour government. The “Rogernomics” reforms, which were based on free market economic theory, were unpopular with many traditional Labour supporters, but Caygill managed to avoid the worst of the condemnation directed towards Douglas and Prebble. When the two became founding members of the ACT New Zealand political party in 1994, Caygill chose not to join them.
                Caygill was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry, and Minister of National Development, on 26 July 1984 The Prime Minister at that time was David Lange.

                When Douglas was fired by Prime Minister Lange, Caygill was appointed Minister of Finance in his place. After Lange himself had resigned, Caygill retained his position under both Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore, Lange’s short-lived successors as Prime Minister.
                In his last budget as Minister of Finance before retiring, Caygill lifted the quarantining of rental losses on investment property, allowing an investor to offset losses on their investment property against their other taxable income.

                ‘The last great pillar of Rogernomics was the Reserve Bank Act of 1989 which defined the bank’s primary function as limiting inflation.
                Roger Douglas had outlined the policy in his 1988 budget but at the end of the year he had been forced to resign because of tension with Prime Minister David Lange.
                It was left to his successor, David Caygill, to enact this most fundamental aspect of Rogernomics.
                Controlling inflation through monetary policy has remained central to the economic policies of all governments for the past 23 years even though critics suggest the Reserve Bank’s targets should be broadened to include economic growth and employment.’



                • Some informed and righteous commentary below Gaygills rebuttal.

                  • Paul

                    I particularly like this comment from burt.

                    ‘David, there is an elephant in the room…or rather, hundreds of thousands of additional dairy cows since democracy was removed from ECAN.

                    ‘Dairy cattle numbers in Canterbury rose sharply between 2011 and 2012, with an increase of 19 percent (194,000). This is the biggest annual increase at a regional level for any type of livestock for the last two decades.’


                    You and your fellow unelected Commissioners have enabled the biggest in history percentage increase in dairy numbers in any region in NZ. The expansion has been largely onto light free draining soil type areas unsuited to dairy farming, requiring high inputs and guaranteed to result in massive nitrate, phosphate and BS leaching into the aquifer.
                    This central govt directed agenda has been implimented via the removal of democracy and taxpayer subsidization. It is no accident. It was and is a deliberate and large scale program.
                    Most of the farms already operating are making substantial operating losses.
                    More dairy farms are being rolled out as the CPW scheme extends its coverage.
                    Most new units need above $6/kgms to break even.
                    Our regional environment has been compromised to take a think big dirty dairy gamble, and that gamble has turned to custard.
                    The only winners now are the foreign banks who now hold security over the farmland and water rights.’

                    Wonder how many corporates have assisted Caygill’s shameful and traiterous career?

                  • Magisterium

                    Some informed and righteous commentary below Gaygills rebuttal.

                    Moderators, homophobia.

                • alwyn

                  I realise that this is only a Wiki extract and you aren’t responsible for the views expressed but the extract includes
                  “Controlling inflation through monetary policy has remained central to the economic policies of all governments for the past 23 years even though critics suggest the Reserve Bank’s targets should be broadened to include economic growth and employment.”

                  Have a look at graph 2 in the link, showing NZ inflation from 1970 to 2015 and honestly answer the question as to whether you would want to go back to the pre 1990 situation?
                  The only people who really benefit from inflation are borrowers who are being subsidised by the tax-payer and Ministers of Finance who love bracket creep.


                  This, if nothing else, is why we should be grateful to Roger Douglas and Don Brash.

                  • Paul

                    Roger Douglas was a traitor.
                    I am not grateful for his betrayal of this country to corporate greed.

                    • alwyn

                      Don’t be so silly. “Traitor” the man says.
                      You’ve got the wrong Roger. You mean Roger Casement.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    For the most part, 1970’s inflation was caused by Oil Shocks, the change in the inflation rate has little to do with the formation of the reserve bank.

                    • alwyn

                      You are entitled to your theory. I don’t think it corresponds to history however. There were oil price shocks in 1974 and 1979. However after 1979 the price of oil declined steadily until there was another small jump in about 2000 and a major jump in about 2008. Can you please explain why our inflation rate remained so high until about 1990 and then never had any jump in either 2000 or 2008? Here is some information on US dollar oil prices.


                      If oil price increases did the damage in the 1970s why didn’t they do it again in the 21st century years?
                      By the way it wasn’t the “formation” of the reserve bank in 1990. It was a change in the way they were meant to operate and in the target they were given

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Sure, the main difference being a significant change in the unemployment rates over the periods. In 1970’s unemployment was running below 1%, but since the 1990s unemployment is over 4% pretty much constantly. That coupled with de-unionization means that there is no underlying wage-price spiral to transmit Oil Shocks (or other price shocks) into inflation. This also has little to do with the Reserve Bank Policy.

                    • alwyn

                      Who was the dopey clot who wrote the first “opinion” piece? I can’t find any reference.
                      Presumably it was one of these nonentities who seem to have been leaders during the parties death throes.

                      Party President and spokesperson Victor Billot (2006–2007)
                      Victor Billot and Kay Murray (2007–2008)
                      Andrew McKenzie and Kay Murray (2008–2012)

                      Even Jim Anderton realised that the Alliance was long dead and smelling like a very old fish.

                      I certainly wouldn’t regard that rubbish, or something in “No Right Turn” as being evidence of “Traitor” claims. Do you even know what the word means?

                  • Expat

                    alwyn, you’ll find that NZs inflation for any period pretty much mirrors that of the rest of the western world, at best, govts can only tinker around the edges, unless of course, you happen to be Zimbabwe or similar, then you have no chance.

                    • alwyn

                      I can’t be bothered gathering data for the whole western world. However I will refer you to the figures for the US, which you would expect to have a dominant effect wouldn’t you?
                      If you would look at the numbers in this document
                      You see that inflation peaked at 13.5% in 1980 and then dropped to 10.2% in 1981, 6.2% in 1982 and 3.2% in 1983. It has remained at similar levels since then.
                      If we “mirror” the rest of the western world why, except for the introduction of GST in 1986, did our rate of inflation not drop in the same way as did that of the US? Why did we stay very high and only drop about 1990 with the change in RB targets? Note, of course that the spike due to the GST introduction was a one-off and can’t be used to explain years other than 1986.

              • Paul

                Starting to spot a pattern here….

                Environmental reform to become the major issue for Waikato farmers

                Major environmental reforms look set to be the biggest issue facing Waikato farmers in 2016.
                These new rules will set nutrient limits in a bid to clean up Waikato’s waterways. The rules will be set by the Collaborative Stakeholders Group, which was formed to create a regional plan change for the region’s rivers under the Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change process.
                Economic modelling released in September 2015 put the potential cost of cleaning up the region’s waterways at $7.7 billion. The group will put a plan change proposal to the Waikato Regional Council in April.
                This plan change and its implications for farmers will be a massive issue for farmers this year, Waikato Federated Farmers president Chris Lewis said.
                “It will be decision time… and what it looks like will have consequences for everyone.”


        • Graeme

          Sooner or later the number at the bottom of the page gets their attention, especially if it’s got brackets around it.

          Most of the real farmers I’ve met, that’s those that own either or both of their land or stock, care a lot about both and get pretty upset about people who abuse either. They are generally frugal barstards and conserve is part of their nature.

      • Ad 1.5.4

        Looking just ridiculous from Tarras to Hawea now.

        All the super-bright phosphate driven greens, all the Kanuka gone, a really deep sadness.

        • marty mars

          ” a really deep sadness”

          so true and an eloquent sentence. Thanks.

          • Paul

            Mike Joy’s talk is well worth listening to.
            The demise of New Zealand’s freshwaters: politics and science

        • Graeme

          Don’t look too closely at the Hawea river, or Clutha below there, that’s absolutely tragic. But the Clutha’s been going downhill fast since Wanaka boomed in the late 80’s

    • b waghorn 1.6

      “Warning signs beside freshwater lagoons at Piha, Karekare and Bethells because of overloaded septic tanks are a familiar summer sight.”
      This is from John Shears herald link just to give some balance.

      • Manuka AOR 1.6.1

        “because of overloaded septic tanks

        That is so unnecessary! There are safe, easy to apply and inexpensive treatments for the tanks, using bacteria or enzymes.

        • weka

          It’s probably also to do with those historic septic tanks being designed for far less use than they get now. And the overflows going straight into the waterways. Seen that down south too.

    • DH 1.7

      There’s a pattern been emerging on this. Like any commodity demand for water can be controlled by price. I expect we’ll be seeing some opinion pieces in the Herald claiming we use too much water because the price is too low.

      The recent review of Auckland City’s finances did not make sense. Metrowater is a non-profit entity, it’s unsaleable because no-one in the private sector will buy an asset that doesn’t provide a return on investment. Yet the consultants wanted it sold. It could only be sold if it was turned into a profit making venture and to make a profit the price of water & wastewater would have to go up. Strange that wasn’t mentioned when it’s what they were really demanding.

      What I think we’re seeing is an acceleration of the ongoing process of privatising our water supply. I’d lay odds National sold off our water for thirty pieces of silver a long time ago.

      • Graeme 1.7.1

        Would be electoral suicide for them.

        The biggest “fear” in agriculture is that they will have to pay for water. Nothing winds them up faster, total irrationality in less than a sentence. Get “the maoris” in just after pay and it’s instant nuclear.

        • DH

          “Would be electoral suicide for them.”

          Only if they did it overtly and admitted their plans, which they won’t. They are rather clever, they’ve been quietly dismantling the state, selling it off piece by piece, for the last seven years and few people have even noticed.

          “The biggest “fear” in agriculture is that they will have to pay for water. Nothing winds them up faster, total irrationality in less than a sentence. Get “the maoris” in just after pay and it’s instant nuclear.”

          This isn’t really about agriculture but I would point out that they will be paying for water already and there are few complaints about it from farmers. The Canterbury irrigation scheme is a pay as you go deal.

          • Graeme

            They are paying for the delivery of the water, and pretty steeply in some cases. And leaping in like hungry dogs. Still no charge or royalty on the actual water. That’s a bridge too far.

            The economics of expensive irrigation are pretty suspect at current returns, a $6.00 /Kgms figure has been quoted often as the cost of dairy production on these schemes, if something doesn’t change very fast there’s going to be trouble very soon.

            • DH

              Yeah I can recall reading about the cost of that and wondering how viable it would be if/when the price of milk fell. I’m expecting them to suddenly discover they costed it too high and miraculously it will be affordable after all at the lower milk prices.

              But back on topic. You might like to try reading the Herald editorial again with an open mind and ask yourself just what are they really on about. Farms don’t use rivers for drinking water, for example, so why bring that up?

              Herald editorials are often a precursor to a sly propaganda campaign to subtly sway public opinion over something.

              • Auckland gets its water from a river though – piped straight from the Waikato

              • Graeme

                Reading the Herald editorial again and I don’t see any specific reference to drinking water, just to freshwater standards and maybe regulation.

                I’d say the govts polling has shown they are vulnerable on the issue and they are either going to do something, if the polling is bad enough, which won’t make the ag lobby too happy, or get their mates to run a couple of editorials to give the impression that their onto it. That’ll mollify the campers who aren’t feeling too flash, and have a funny rash after swimming in the country stream.

      • Ad 1.7.2

        It’s Watercare not Metrowater.

        Need to make a distinction between metering and ownership. This country needs massive water re-regulation.

        • DH

          “It’s Watercare not Metrowater. ”

          Ok. Residual memory, still think of it by the old name

          “Need to make a distinction between metering and ownership. This country needs massive water re-regulation.”

          Perhaps, but I think there’s also a need for us all to be vigilant and more observant. Many people here have jumped on the hobby horse of water pollution when the Herald editorial wasn’t really about that. It was about water supply. From that one might question what their point is.

          (The article largely attributes poor water quality to water shortages – drought, excessive consumption etc.)

          • Ad

            Do either Greens or Labour support a national water price regulator? Anyone know?

            • DH

              Why would they? If water supply isn’t privatised there’s no compelling need for price regulation. Public utility-provided water tends to be charged out at what it costs to supply, no real reason to regulate that is there.

            • Naturesong

              The Greens policy is worth a read.
              It codifies a way of managing water in the public interest. I can see this being a fairly big and resonably complex bill.

              Has four sections covering: Water Quality, Commercial Use of Water, Conserving Water, Water is a Public Good

              Water would be managed via regional councils, and domestic supply distributed using a non-profit model.

              I’d like to see them consult tour of all the tribes to see how it would be received.

              • Sorry about this: “them consult tour of all the tribes

                I know it’s crass, but for some reason I was unable to think “Iwi” for the entire edit counter =/

    • Paul 1.8

      Further evidence of our polluted waterways.

      ‘Swimmers and recreational water users are being advised to stay out of two Taranaki waterways after high counts of eColi were measured.
      The Waiwhakaiho River at Lake Rotomanu and Te Henui Stream both have elevated levels of the bacterium.
      Contact with eColi contaminated water can cause stomach cramps, diarrohea, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever.
      The Taranaki Regional Council has also warned there was a risk to dogs from algae mats in the Waiwhakaiho River at Merrilands Domain, and below Lake Rotomanu and the Kaukoponui River at Beach Domain.’

    • Paul 1.9

      Toxic algae levels rising in South Island rivers

      ‘In the past five years, scientists say levels of cyanobacteria have spiked dramatically in rivers in the Canterbury, Nelson, Tasman and Hutt regions, and they’ve put that down to more intensive land use.
      Nelson boasts some of the most pristine swimming holes in the country, but under the surface they’re being threatened by a slimy menace.
      “Under certain conditions like hot temperatures, no rainfall, just like we’ve got at the moment, they can rapidly grow and form blooms, and that’s when they pose a health risk to humans and animals,” says Cawthron Institute scientist Susie Wood.
      The algae isn’t a problem in low abundance, but if the hot weather continues, scientists warn a teaspoon of the toxin from algal mats can kill a small child.
      “You need to actually ingest the material for it to have a toxic effect on you, so for adults it’s less a risk, but for small children who might be playing near the edge of the river it’s a really serious risk,” says Ms Wood.
      The Hutt River is one of a number of waterways nationwide that has seen a dramatic increase in cyanobacteria in the past five years. Scientists put that down to nutrient and sediment run-off from intensive farming and forestry.
      “Toxic algal blooms are just one of the symptoms of degrading fresh water, and it’s something we really need to take action on soon if we’re going to preserve our ability to swim in our rivers and lakes around New Zealand, which I think is something all New Zealanders aspire to,” says Ms Wood.’

    • Paul 1.10

      Interesting map showing the present ecological state of the Hutt River.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Makers of OxyContin Bankroll Efforts to Undermine Prescription Painkiller Reform

    The over-prescription of opioid products has made the United States the center of the painkiller abuse epidemic. Americans consume about 81 percent of the global supply of oxycodone products (the active ingredient in OxyContin) and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone (the active ingredient used in brands such as Vicodin). More than 16,000 people die from opioid painkiller overdose every year.

    The free-market in action. Kills people and then lobbies to continue to do so.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Despite National and their supporters claiming how bad it is to do business in NZ it still in the top five places to do business. Beating such free-market paradises as the UK, The US and all of the Asian economies as well.

    • alwyn 3.1

      Where on earth has National, and by that I mean the Government ever claimed it was hard, while they have been in power, to do business in New Zealand?
      I can imagine them saying something like “If we got a Labour ….” etc or possibly that there can be some improvements but I can’t imagine them saying it is hard now that they are in the driving seat.

        • alwyn

          It’s hardly devoted to the difficulty of doing business but your point is taken.
          They are really talking about home owners having trouble with Local Bodies in all these Press Releases.
          I wonder if Key’s claim about the ranch slider is true?

          • Draco T Bastard


            Mr Key believes compliance costs on companies should be cut, as should be the “high regulatory environment” of red tape in which they operate.

            National go on about red tape left, right and bloody centre. They never stop.

            What they don’t seem to understand is that red tape is there so that costs can be properly associated and billed and also to sheet home accountability when needed. Of course, National doesn’t actually believe in business people being held accountable for their actions which is why they keep going on about red tape.

            • alwyn

              That one is NOT evidence for your theme.
              It is from before the 2008 election. I don’t know the exact date but it clearly talks about Prime Minister Helen Clark and what will happen in the upcoming election.
              I would certainly expect to see John Key complaining about what he thought should be changed then, just as I would expect Andrew Little to be going on NOW about what is wrong with New Zealand.

              • Draco T Bastard

                That one is NOT evidence for your theme.

                Actually, it is. It was you who put in place the time limit.

                I would certainly expect to see John Key complaining about what he thought should be changed then

                My original point was that National always complains about red-tape no matter who’s in government and that they then use their own complaints, which aren’t founded upon reality, to justify removing essential rules and regulations.

                • alwyn

                  Picky, picky. I said why I found your statement hard to believe, and that it was because I found it hard to believe that a Government would really badmouth its own performance. The time limit was an implicit part of the disbelief and in the fact that you used the present tense when you said “claiming how bad it IS to do …”

                  Can I reword your original comment that
                  “Despite National and their supporters claiming how bad it is to do business in NZ it still in the top five places to do business”
                  To say
                  “National claimed during the last Labour Government that it was very hard to do business in New Zealand. Now, thanks to National’s actions while in Government New Zealand is in the top five places …”?

                  The quotes you gave from recently were appropriate. The one from 2008 wasn’t when you answered my question.

                  • Andre

                    Did a real quick google, found In 2008 NZ was ranked #2, for 2015 NZ was ranked …ta-daa…#2.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Can I reword your original comment that
                    “Despite National and their supporters claiming how bad it is to do business in NZ it still in the top five places to do business”
                    To say
                    “National claimed during the last Labour Government that it was very hard to do business in New Zealand. Now, thanks to National’s actions while in Government New Zealand is in the top five places …”?

                    No because that’s not what I said and, as Andre points out, it’s not actually true.

                    • alwyn

                      Right. On your original quote you are right that National were moaning about a non-existent problem. That it was hard to do business here. The facts don’t justify the 2008 complaint as Andre and yourself have pointed out.
                      As far as them still complaining about the same thing the original three quotes seemed to be about a slightly different topic. They are really about housing. Complaining about red tape goes on. They just shift the origin of the red tape from Central Government where they are now responsible to Local Government where they can duck out of the fire.

          • lprent

            You’re accusing him of telling the truth? Steady on..

            We’d need more evidence for that startling change of behaviour. It is more likely that he has omitted relevant details

          • Pat

            the targeting of local bodies red-tape is a red herring in any event….unless you have zero restrictions on property development there will always be cost, dispute and different interpretations (and pedantic bureaucrats)…i would suggest of far greater concern and ultimately of greater impact is the propensity to add levels of compliance that make it nigh on impossible for any group other than corporates to actually perform any task without a substantial bureaucracy of their own thus eliminating the competitive benefits of the single/small operator and forcing them to be nothing less than sub contractors and handing the market (and profit) to corporations.

  4. One Two 7

    “If we had to break the glass and flip the switch in order to do it … it would be helpful for the alarm to go off at least. It’s a sign that normal law isn’t set up right,” she said. “States of emergency always bypass something else. So what we need to look at is what’s being bypassed, and should that be fixed.”

  5. Gristle 8

    Just ignore the GMO implications for now but there at least two biochemistry Silicon Valley entities trying to use yeast to produce milk. If successful then these processes are supposed to use only 5% of the water and 5% of the energy inputs that a standard dairy farm uses. Is that the sound of alarm bells ringing?

    We have dairy industry that focuses on volume and struggles to be profitable at the $6 level, let alone what they are getting right now. It is quite possible that the future will not be that lucrative either. My presumption is that the milk products from yeast will start featuring in all those manufactured products before it shows in supermarket chillers. (Noting that vagans are behind one off the yeast start up operations.)

    Quality grass fed dairy is the only advantage nz has but somehow this all gets lost when after putting all that water into cows and grass that Fonterra dries it all out and sends off sacks of powder milk.

    Oh, and as far as baby formula is concerned (again forgetting about GMO) how hard would it be to tweak those yeast organisms to produce human milk. My guess is that once the cow milk is flowing, it would only be a few months to do sheep milk, goat milk, human milk.

    So stuffing the environment to add more cows and get more pop p p p

    • Ad 8.1

      Lack of R&D + commercialisation leading to reliance on bulk cheap commodities (as Callaghan wrote) over 150 years is the main reason I have little long term economic hope for NZ.

      I’m not blaming government – though they could have helped more – I blame NZers over 150 years.

      Apart from tramping our mountains, I’d probably just leave.

      • gsays 8.1.1

        hi ad,
        that begs the question – and go where?

        • Boringoldfart

          Your query beg the question of itself….. what question was Ad presumably answering in order that he was ‘begging it” ?
          Probably you meant that his comment raised a question?
          To beg the question is to ‘answer’ it presumptively rather than in actuality.Some people on this site beg the question of Key’s intrinsic dishonesty when they inform us that he is a liar because he doesn’t tell the truth, you know. I happen to agree with them despite their begging the question.

          • gsays

            i’ve not heard the term used in that way.

            i am amused by the slight misquoting/spelling in this text based environment.

            also the deliberate eg casting nastirtiums.

        • Ad

          London or Amsterdam probably.

          Lyn P probably has the right idea.

    • weka 8.2

      I think there will be consumer resistance to artificial milk especially in a place like NZ. If you are meaning that the artificial milk will collapse the milk powder export business, then I’d have to say that’s the only good thing I can see about growing milk in a lab.

      The alarm bell that gets set off for me is that artificial milk (and meat) is just replacing one stupid set of variables with another in an otherwise completely munted system that will simply not survive in a post-carbon age. I don’t know why its so hard for people to think across disciplines.

      Milk in a lab or industrial dairy, it’s all the same mindset and approach to practice that is inherently unsustainble. There are much easier ways to grow food, ones that don’t fuck the planet, but of course we’re not talking about growing food we’re talking about growing money.

      • BM 8.2.1

        I’d drink artificial milk, from what I’ve read it’s indistinguishable from the “real thing”.

        The big difference is that it comes without all that nasty animal cruelty and pollution.

        Any greenie not pushing this product for all it’s worth is an ignorant fool.

        • weka

          Good for you. Do you think I was referring to you when I said there would be consumer resistance? Did you think I meant every consumer would resist?

          I doubt that you care about the animal cruelty or pollution (except where it affects you).

          It’s in no way a greenie solution and I’ve already explained why, which you’ve just ignored. This is getting boring. Honestly, how hard is it to argue the actual points?

          • BM

            I’m saying, with the internet, people have become much more aware of the damage dairy does to the environment.

            Combine that with the animal cruelty and the, what seems to be indifference to that cruelty of your average dairy farmer and the success of artificial milk is guaranteed.

            Your problem is that you have so much invested in your peak oil doomer cult bull shit that it’s completely paralyzing your thought process in the here and now.

            Artificial milk is a good thing and should be supported be any one who has any care for the environment.

            • weka

              You are confusing dairy as food for NZers to eat, and industrial dairy that provides milk powder as a commodity as a way of making dosh. The first is entirely compatible with animal rights and sustainable land management. The later is entirely incompatible with it.

              I think most people have no idea what happens to animals on dairy farms. Like they used to not know what happened to chickens in factories. The main animals rights push at the moment is from vegans and they’re skewing the knowledge base in a bad way.

              Do I think that there will be people who will eat artificial milk? Of course, especially because of the price difference. But I do think there will be resistance to it as well. Do I think it’s a sensible solution to industrial dairying? No, it’s just swapping one set of problems for another. Just like becoming vegan does if you continue to rely on industrially produced food.

              So yeah, there will always be people like yourself who are happy with industrially produced and processed food, but many more people are unhappy with that than in the past and I don’t see that trend slowing.

              NZ in particular is unlikely to buy wholesale into the vegan lab food vision. We’re much more down to earth and wanting food to be real.

              • You are confusing dairy as food for NZers to eat, and industrial dairy that provides milk powder as a commodity as a way of making dosh.

                There is no confusion, because all dairy production consists of food for people to eat or ingredients thereof, that they pay money for. It would be possible for NZ to produce only the food necessary for locals to be able to eat, but that would only be feasible if the population of NZ was interested in becoming a Third World country in which blog discussions like this don’t happen because hardly any bugger owns a computer. Can’t see a lot of people voting for it.

                • weka

                  “There is no confusion, because all dairy production consists of food for people to eat or ingredients thereof, that they pay money for.”

                  Sure, but that just sidesteps my point.

                  “It would be possible for NZ to produce only the food necessary for locals to be able to eat, but that would only be feasible if the population of NZ was interested in becoming a Third World country in which blog discussions like this don’t happen because hardly any bugger owns a computer.”

                  You seem to be implying that the only way the NZ economy can function is if we have industrially produced milk powder exports. I don’t believe that. Have a look at the GP economic policy for smarter ways that NZ can earn an income without resorting to highly polluting industry.

                  I’d also be curious how you see industrially produced export milk powder being produced and sold in a post-carbon world. And in a NZ that decided to not trash the environment (hypothetical).

                  “Can’t see a lot of people voting for it.”

                  I don’t see a lot of people voting for climate change either, but here we are.

                  • You seem to be implying that the only way the NZ economy can function is if we have industrially produced milk powder exports. I don’t believe that.

                    More like, the only way that NZ can continue as a first-world economy is if we have things like industrially-produced milk powder exports. It doesn’t have to be milk powder in particular, but without industrially-produced somethings we’re a subsistence economy in no time. (Sure, it’s possible to have a first-world economy based entirely on services, but that just shifts the problem – it depends on your customers basing their economies on industrially-produced somethings.)

                    I’d also be curious how you see industrially produced export milk powder being produced and sold in a post-carbon world.

                    It’s just a matter of how you source energy. Milk can be transported from farms to processing plants without diesel. It can be dried to powder without coal. Ships can use any or all of nuclear, wind or solar power.

                    And in a NZ that decided to not trash the environment (hypothetical).

                    The fact that dairy farming has intensified to the point where it’s wrecking NZ’s environment doesn’t mean dairy farming is impossible, it just means the intensification has to be rolled back.

                    • weka

                      I haven’t said that we can’t have industrial production of anything. like I said, go look at the GP work on this.

                      Yes milk can be produced with other forms of energy (obviously), but you would have to demonstrate that this is possible with technology we have now in the context of peak oil and EROI and modern economies.

                      Of course dairy farming is possible without wrecking the environment. I’m not talking about dairy farming. I’m talking about industrial export commodity production that is inherently polluting and unsustainable. Exporting milk powder is essentially exporting soil fertility. It’s intrinsically unsustainable because the soil fertility is non-renewable in that model (not all models). Even if we try and do industrial export commodity dairying less intensively, it’s still unsustainable. So we might buy ourselves some time if we dropped back production but it’s still a finite world.

                      If we were to convert to sustainable farming, it’s theoretically possible to do that and export milk powder but I doubt that there would be any economic incentive to do so. The reason we have the kind of dairying we do is precisely because its extractive and doesn’t take into account sustainability and by doing so makes people lots of money. One easy way to understand that is to consider what would happen to the industry were it required by law to pay for all costs including AGW, land/river pollution, riparian fencing etc. But it’s worse than that, because to be sustainable they’d have to stop relying on irrigation and artificial fertilisers, both of which are essentially subsidised (and themselves extractive and unsustainable). Then, PKE etc. The whole model only works because of fossil fuels and the huge benefit of the EROEI that FFs have brought historically, and because no-one is accounting for the true costs.

                      I’d also like to know how the model would continue to work without perpetual growth. People are already calling for a moratorium on new dairy farms in some places. What happens if we’re past saturation? Do those business models sustain themselves if there is no more growth?

        • Draco T Bastard


      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.2

        I think there will be consumer resistance to artificial milk especially in a place like NZ.

        I don’t think there will be as the majority of people buy on price first, habit second. And it’s not really artificial milk but a milk replacement.

        Consider margarine. I can recall everyone saying that it would never catch on but when I go to the supermarket now I find more margarine on the shelves than butter.

        The alarm bell that gets set off for me is that artificial milk (and meat) is just replacing one stupid set of variables with another in an otherwise completely munted system that will simply not survive in a post-carbon age.

        Which particular system are you talking about?

        • weka

          the one that ignores future proofing food production. But let’s not go there, we both know that you and I disagree on the value of growing food in artificial environments.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I see a future for both because traditional farming simply won’t provide enough.

            • weka

              Maybe, but I think ultimately we will be forced into a position of having to live within our means including how much food NZ can actually produce from its landbase for the population that lives here. Yes we can utilise high tech, but relying on that too much is not future proofing food security.

              If we had a hard crash from GFC or oil shocks I reckon we could transition pretty quickly to producing all our food locally with the population we have (by hard crash I mean over a year), so at the moment I’m not too concerned about the ability of the natural systems to manage that. Traditional farming wont’ be enough, I agree, which is why we need to take up the new regenerative agriculture techniques faster than we are.

              Where you and I would largely disagree on the lab milk (apart from the fact that I think it’s not real food) is that I don’t believe we will have the luxury of such energy intensive production whereas you believe that we will transition to renewables fast enough and soon enough to estabilish the sustainable infrastructure for high tech society (albeit in a more limited fashion than we have now). If I have understood our respective positions correctly.

              If we look back at the original point, will lab milk undercut diarying in NZ and cause us economic strife, then I’m not sure if you are suggesting that we just start making lab milk here and exporting that instead. To my mind that just creates a whole ‘nother set of problems that are very similar to the ones we have now. It’s not like we would transition to the systems you are wanting (or mine). We’d just still have rich and greedy fucks burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow. The pressure might come off the land for a while, but I suspect that that would just be replaced by the next polluting greedy fuck initiative (if the vegan fundies have their way we’ll be growing monsanto corn and soy).

              That’s what I mean (in part) by it’s the same munted system. It’s not just capitalism, it’s the whole way we relate with the natural world that is problematic, and all the life destroying things we do as a result.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Where you and I would largely disagree on the lab milk (apart from the fact that I think it’s not real food) is that I don’t believe we will have the luxury of such energy intensive production

                This is where you’re going wrong. The yeast milk and even 3D printed meat actually use less energy than present systems or even the regenerative systems which is one of the reasons why they’re actually essential. Throw in the fact that they can be produced in cities means transport costs come down and we get to allow the land to return to being a naturally evolving ecosystem.

                If we look back at the original point, will lab milk undercut diarying in NZ and cause us economic strife, then I’m not sure if you are suggesting that we just start making lab milk here and exporting that instead.

                Yeast milk and the other varieties out there will undercut dairy milk because 1) dairying is just so damn expensive and 2) it can be produced anywhere and so there will be no export market for it. It will be produced locally for the local market using renewable energy.

                It’s not like we would transition to the systems you are wanting (or mine). We’d just still have rich and greedy fucks burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow.

                Yes, we need the government to put in place policies to bring about the needed changes rather than them continuing policies that protect and entrench capitalism.

                • weka

                  Draco, I don’t believe and never said that lab milk will use more energy. You’ve misunderstood what I meant. But it’s not hard to see what I meant. In terms of energy I wasn’t comparing lab milk and industrial dairy, I was comparing lab milk and regenerative agriculture. I was also comparing export commodoties and local food because as I mention upthread there is some confusion between those things. Good that you clarified you don’t see lab milk as an export commodity in these scenarios, but I’m pretty sure that others in this thread do. Not convinced about that people won’t want to create markets out of lab milk just because anyone can grow it locally. China are quite capable of growing their own cow milk.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I was comparing lab milk and regenerative agriculture.

                    So was I.

                    China are quite capable of growing their own cow milk.

                    Yes and they’re building up their capability now which is what will kill NZ dairy exports in the end. The fact is that any country can produce enough dairy for themselves and it’s inherently cheaper than importing it. IMO, it’s only the delusional financial system that even makes exports work now.

                    Not convinced about that people won’t want to create markets out of lab milk just because anyone can grow it locally.

                    I didn’t say that they wouldn’t want to, I said that they wouldn’t be able to due to local production. Even inter-regional trade would probably be limited.

                    • weka

                      “So was I.”

                      In which case you are wrong. Which just takes us back to my comment earlier that we’re not going to get anywhere because we fundamentally disagree on what is going to be possible energy wise.

        • Psycho Milt

          Consider margarine. I can recall everyone saying that it would never catch on but when I go to the supermarket now I find more margarine on the shelves than butter.

          Yes. Margarine’s a wholly artificial industrial food that many NZers are happy to eat. Of course, it helps that there are so-called health professionals advising them to eat it, and I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole myself, but regardless – there’s clearly no consumer resistance to artificial food.

          • weka

            “I wouldn’t touch it myself”

            “there’s clearly no consumer resistance to artificial food.”


            • Psycho Milt

              At the individual level, there’s consumer resistance to every single food. Everybody has a list of things they won’t eat, even if it’s a very short one. I don’t think margarine manufacturers will be lying awake at night worrying because Psycho Milt doesn’t like the greasy swill they produce.

    • Expat 8.3

      I don’t really know how much Baby Formula NZ produces, but in Au at the moment, the demand for the formula is so great that super markets limit the sale to one 1kg tin per customer, the reason being that is so popular in China that people are trying to buy up large (from the supermarket) and export to China and double their money.

      The Au manufacturing company currently produces 5 million units annually and can’t keep up demand and are ramping up production this year to 10 million units which they believe is still not enough to meet the demand, and the change in the one Baby rule will only increase demand further.

      A 1kg tin of bay formula retails in China for A$90.00.

      I’m interested to know why NZ isn’t cashing in the on this same market, don’t we like adding value to primary products and making a “killing”.

      Dairy exports into China from Au have doubled in the last two years.

      • gsays 8.3.1

        hi expat,
        i heard an interesting article on rnz this morning (7.30am ish).
        it was the head of a baby formula factory, karicare from memory.
        the factory was down south and there is lots of talk of growth and expansion.

        • Expat

          Thanks gsays
          I was little worried that NZ was being sidelined after the Fontera thing, middle class China is cynical about the safety of their food, most won’t purchase local products(Chinese) as they don’t trust it, I don’t know if they are still concerned over baby formula crisis during the Olympic games which was attached to Fontera.
          A good news story for NZ if Karicare can take their opportunities, good luck to them.

      • b waghorn 8.3.2

        The first shows we’ve been there done that with shortages and the synliat is one of a few Chinese owned plants operating in nz.

        • Expat

          Thanks b waghorn

          I vaguely remember that issue in 2011, but there still seems to be plenty of opportunity, given demand outstrips supply.

      • The Fairy Godmother 8.3.3

        Well there are the ethical issues around baby formula. Mother’s milk is far superior for infants and is much better for the environment and it involves no animal cruelty. Also the hard marketing campaign leads to people abandoning the practice of nursing their babies for formula which requires things like clean water to ensure no bugs. A lot of infants have died of dysentry as a result. Anyone remember the nestle boycott in the ’70s and ’80s? I think it is a tragedy that Chinese mothers are not nursing their babies thanks to the efforts of corporations and I am ashamed that New Zealand is a part of this.

        • gsays

          hi tfg,
          breast is best.

          to give this formula factory guy his due he did acknowledge this,- gold standard was one of thecouple of terms he used.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.3.4

        I’m interested to know why NZ isn’t cashing in the on this same market, don’t we like adding value to primary products and making a “killing”.

        Apparently not. We just seem to like doing the really easy stuff that costs SFA rather than doing the somewhat harder stuff of adding value.

        • Expat

          “Apparently not. We just seem to like doing the really easy stuff that costs SFA rather than doing the somewhat harder stuff of adding value.”

          Disappointing really, NZ has so many opportunities, but no one with any vision.

          • Paul

            We are a colony of the neo-liberal order.
            Don’t expect change until we get rid of neo-liberalism.

            • Expat

              “We are a colony of the neo-liberal order.

              Probably should read “We are the colon of the neo-liberal order.”


          • Expat

            I should rephrase that, “but no one with any vision” , there are plenty of people with a vision, just none in a position to implement them.

            • Draco T Bastard


              And that is truly the waste of capitalism. The majority of people don’t get the support needed to realise their ideas and so those ideas are wasted.

  6. I was rather captivated today with this pithy comment by Te Reo Putake –

    “Yes, racism is a symptom. But capitalism is the disease”.

    I’m ever hopeful we’re finding Arnold Toynbee’s “middle way” between the (unregulated) free market and (communal or state) socialism; what I call “Democratic Free Enterprise with Social Responsibility”

    I haven’t managed to come up with a pithier term for it. “Enterprise Socialism” doesn’t quite work because of the connotations of “socialism”. “Social Enterprise” is taken already as an “economic unit” name.

    I haven’t figured out exactly where I stand yet either, and may never do so, and I know I speak naively, but I sense that free enterprise is the best way to initialize an economy and basically generate income. This is anarcho-capitalism’s “production comes first”. The question, to my mind, is how to mitigate its natural tendencies, which roughly align with the “me, me, me” side of human nature? Me and “us” on my side, “you” and them on yours.

    I certainly favour mitigation, or more correctly the provision of social responsibility, in its current form of “taxation and redistribution”. I believe it would probably be healthy to extend redistribution as far as a “citizens’ dividend” or UBI, retaining additional benefits or subsidies for special circumstances and keeping some government departments like WINZ – perhaps much downsized (and not renamed) – for “guidance” on how one might contribute to one’s community or to society if one chose not to seek “the ultimate goal” of paid employment. Imagine having a “positive, community education and healthy influence” job at WINZ!?

    Then there are capitalist or “enterprise” tendencies which it seems to me require mitigation in the form of outright constraint. One such might be “income differentials”? Another might be the difficult subject of the accumulation of wealth as capital? Wealth tax perhaps? A relatively simple suggestion to remedy this I have encountered is for currency to have a time limit placed on it. (Frank E Warner, ‘Future of Man’, 1944)

    And here’s me doing exactly what I do over at YourNZ, writing voluminous posts that probably say very little and require almost no commentary.

    My “blego” – I’m not sure exactly how many words I have coined for the English language now but its getting up into the teens I think, vis “intuitellectual”, “emotellectual” and “necrography [possibly] – anyhow, that’s two today alone, the other being “votivation” – so my blog ego has taken a bit of a dent today in resigning to the “fact” this country is not going to get a written Constitution.

    Go easy, if you will … but of course you don’t have to … I think I’m trying to find a suitable home for my personal ideology …?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      …but I sense that free enterprise is the best way to initialize an economy and basically generate income.

      Free enterprise may get dog walking and lawn mowing services going but it’s never got more than that going. Apple exists not because Steve Jobs was a great man but because the US Federal government spent billions of dollars* over decades to develop the technologies that Apple use and to make them publicly available.

      The question, to my mind, is how to mitigate its natural tendencies, which roughly align with the “me, me, me” side of human nature? Me and “us” on my side, “you” and them on yours.

      Yes, competition is bad for us**.

      * The Entrepreneurial State
      ** The Case Against Competition

      • PartisanZ 9.1.1

        Draco – thanks for the links. Yes, The Entrepreneurial State preview clarifies my thinking and why I prefer the term “enterprise” with its competitive-and-cooperative dimensions, rather than “capitalist”. Regardless of how much they snarl at each other and ‘compete’, capital and labour also cooperate in some way(s) at the enterprise level. Good to know the state has a legitimate place in encouraging enterprise as well as mitigating its worst tendencies?

        I don’t especially like the implication (or possibility) that the various components of a smart phone may be the result of the U.S. government’s military research and development programs though. (Not stated in so many words but …?)

        In the same way (I believe) I coined the term “necrography” in an attempt to prevent two things being called by one name; eros and necros; the “competition” and “cooperation” thing seems to me like the opposite form of “polarisation”; namely one thing (essentially) – organised human endeavour – being called by two different names?

        I like to think stuff like that in my more positive, hopeful moments anyhow.

  7. RedBaronCV 10

    Is it only me that finds this project somewhat insensitive and upsetting? The internet is being asked (for free) by an American university and an internet platform (For their own personal profit?) to transcribe all the details of New Zealand’s World War I soliders from their service records and information gathered up in the years beyond that. This will then be made available over the internet names included.

    The military turned the records over to Archives NZ in 2006 when the last surviving soldier from the NZ WWI expeditionary force died. The records were scanned onto a data base by Archives NZ and this is what is effectively being transcribed.
    I can understand researchers being interested in the data for research purposes but this could be done just as well if it is effectively anonymous data. I can’t see any statements any where about any ethical component with respect to this transcription.
    Do those researchers think they are anonymous historical people not our grandfathers and fathers whom we may have farewelled only during the last 20 years? People that we have real and genuine memories of and whose details we may not want splashed all over the internet? There are already some pretty personal disclosures about individuals on the site.

    • PartisanZ 10.1

      RedBaronCV – It does seem rather suspect. The Kiwi connection is Waikato University but they and Minnesota State (?) initially seem interested in data about the health of Anzac troops at the time? As you say, this could be anonymous.

      I haven’t looked at the site itself, but exactly what people’s personal stories have got to do with this health information I’m not sure? The reporter almost seems to be saying that while processing the data, internet volunteers or “citizen scientists” might be vicariously interested in the personal stories associated with each person whose data they treat? Like it might be of interest generally or to fiction writers or something?

      This is clearly not the same as having to prove one’s identity to obtain a relative’s military records.

      If it has to do with the internet and the globalisation of anything including information and knowledge, I’m not in the least surprized if ethical disconnect is also involved (though I acknowledge the “two edged sword” nature of this).

      In this case there may be a double disconnect in that the reporting itself may even be questionable?

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