Open Mike 09/01/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 9th, 2019 - 274 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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 …

274 comments on “Open Mike 09/01/2019”

  1. Jenny - How to get there? 1

    Be afraid….

    Be very afraid.

    There’s a climate change statistic that is particularly thought-provoking: if you were born after February of 1985, you haven’t lived through a month in which global temperatures were colder than the 20th century average.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/109766212/the-year-in-which-climate-change-gained-momentum

    • Robert Guyton 1.1

      Be courageous…
      Be very courageous.

      • Jenny - How to get there? 1.1.1

        Courage is not that uncommon Robert. How often do we say; that person faced their terminal cancer diagnosis and death with courage.

        Courage is to unflinchingly look death and defeat in the face. By that measure even fatalists and defeatists have courage.

        What we need more than courage is daring.

        My definition of daring, is courage, plus imagination.

        He who dares wins.

        I dare to stop coal mining, as an example to the world that it can be done.

        Are you with me?

    • Tamati Tautuhi 1.2

      Nah Simon Doull the Cricket Commentator reckons it’s all B/S and he would know IMHO ?

    • Ed 1.3

      Thank you Jenny for starting the day with a meditation on climate catastrophe.

      We need to be brave.

      We need to fulfil our obligations.
      To those who came before
      To those who will come after
      And to the Earth itself.

      I saw a link to this excellent article on Rachel Stewart’s Twitter feed. It is an edited extract from The End of Ice by Dahr Jamai.

      I have selected 5 paragraphs from it to help us reflect on and contemplate the changes we face.

      “Modern life has compressed time and space. You can traverse the globe in a matter of hours, or gain information in nanoseconds. The price for this, along with everything we want, on demand, all the time, is a total disconnection from the planet that sustains our lives.

      I venture into the wilds and into the mountains in large part to allow space and time to stretch themselves back to what they were. The frenetic pace of contemporary life is having a devastating impact on this planet. Humans have transformed more than half the ice-free land on Earth. We have changed the composition of the atmosphere and the chemistry of the oceans from which we came. We now use more than half the planet’s readily accessible freshwater runoff, and the majority of the world’s major rivers have been either dammed or diverted.

      As a species, we now hang over the abyss of a geoengineered future we have created for ourselves. At our insistence, our voracious appetite is consuming nature itself. We have refused to heed the warnings Earth has been sending, and there is no rescue team on its way.

      We are already facing mass extinction. There is no removing the heat we have introduced into the oceans, nor the 40bn tons of CO2 we pump into the atmosphere every single year. There may be no changing what is happening, and far worse things are coming. How, then, shall we meet this?

      Like so many people, I have wondered what to do at this time. Each of us now must find our own honest, natural response to the conditions that we have brought upon ourselves

      While western colonialist culture believes in “rights”, many indigenous cultures teach of “obligations” that we are born into: obligations to those who came before, to those who will come after, and to the Earth itself. When I orient myself around the question of what my obligations are, a deeper question immediately arises: from this moment on, knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do I devote my life?”

      https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/08/when-the-ice-melts-the-catastrophe-of-vanishing-glaciers

      • Robert Guyton 1.3.1

        What is your vision, Ed? What do you see, in your mind’s-eye, your hopeful mind’s-eye, when you imagine how the world could be?

        • Ed 1.3.1.1

          I have put forward 4 ideas so far in 2019.
          Al of which I would enact in February.

          Free public transport.
          The closure of the left lanes on all city motorways and dual carriageways.
          Taxing meat heavily.
          Incentivising the eating of vegetables.

          Bigger picture.

          Ending capitalism.
          Building up localism.
          Changing our whole food system.
          Ending the money system as we know it. Ending debt.

          • mauī 1.3.1.1.1

            What an amazing vision Ed, thank you.

          • Robert Guyton 1.3.1.1.2

            Have you a vista to offer, Ed? What do you “see” in your mind’s-eye? A Jetson’s-like, hover-car, floating city world? Back to brachiating? The Shire? The Thunderdome?
            What is your vision?

            • Ed 1.3.1.1.2.1

              A world where we cooperate, show empathy, are altruistic.
              A world in which the good side of our nature is promoted, not our bad side.
              A world in which we are more conscious, more inclusive.
              A sustainable world in which we fulfil our obligations to those who come after and to the planet.

            • Andre 1.3.1.1.2.2

              Y’know, that question might be a good free-form Open Mike style forum sometime. ‘What is your vision for the future?’. A bit different to ‘How to get there’, more of a ‘What is your there?’.

              So often we get hung up on arguing or defending a point we’ve just made, even exaggerating a position for the sake of argument, that big picture goals and ideals get lost and we end up with distorted or outright mistaken ideas about each other’s goals and values.

              Maybe on a weekend so more people have a chance to participate.

              • Robert Guyton

                I agree entirely, Andre and will lead off (if I’m quick enough!) Sunday’s “How to get there” with your “What is your “there”, thanks for the phrasing. I hope you won’t mind if I cut and paste your comment (@8:45 am). I have been thinking how important it is to “see” what it is we hope for and what it is others are hoping for, not just in terms of concepts, but “actuals” if that’s a word. I wonder if people have in fact, distilled a vision sufficiently to share it, our whether we all have nothing more than a hazy mist of perhaps-ness regarding future scenarios. There is also a reticence to describe a yearned-for world, as such projections are easily criticised and if they are delicate creatures (the imaginings, not the imaginers) they can get battered and spoiled quite quickly, at the hands of the righteous and the critical 🙂 I hope it would be possible to fly some pretty creative kites in such a discussion and to buy-up the kite-flyers, rather than seek to puncture their craft.
                My reason for raising the issue here was because I was already considering the topic for this coming weekend, but couldn’t wait 🙂
                I hope you’ll contribute by putting something up amongst the others – perhaps the sky will get crowded with them all; a light breeze of congeniality beneath their wings and sails…

              • patricia bremner

                Excellent idea.

          • Tamati Tautuhi 1.3.1.1.3

            Like +100%

          • DJ Ward 1.3.1.1.4

            Free public transport.
            Rubbish nothing’s free. Who pays for it? The people who would never use it like rural people.

            Closure of left lanes.
            So you advocate increasing congestion and greenhouse gas emmisions. It’s the moterist in taxes that paid for the road. So nobody can use a road and it sits unused 99.9% of the time. A stupid idea ED.

            Taxing meat heavily.
            So let’s exterminate animals then. Not all animals are high greenhouse gas emitters. Plus you have no protein or fat solutions. Let’s make everybody sick. What will you make formula with once mammals are extinct. Should traditional bush people pay taxes as well. Why not tax water sold in bottles heavily. I guess you need the heavy taxes for your Free public transport.

            Incentivising eating vegetables.
            So subsidies for farmers then? Palm oil? What about fruit. Humans are omnivores, not vegetarians. Can I have a lentil burger please, yum.

            • KJT 1.3.1.1.4.1

              “The people who would never use it like rural people”.

              May help make up for all the miles of free roads, research and farming subsidies, we gave them.

      • Robert Guyton 1.3.2

        Perhaps this will help?

        • Ed 1.3.2.1

          Naomi Klein is brilliant. I have read all her books.
          A pity our own Green Party lacks the fortitude and courage to call for system change like she does.

          • Robert Guyton 1.3.2.1.1

            I don’t know why you expect any governance to speak the way Naomi Klein does. She’s speaking of grassroots action. Naomi characterisation of Richard Branson was sharp, wasn’t it! And the re-characterizing of the “Blue Marble” – so needed; God’s Eye view indeed!

            • Ed 1.3.2.1.1.1

              Here is Naomi Klein’s genius …

              “When we marvel at that blue marble in all its delicacy and frailty, and resolve to save the planet, we cast ourselves in a very specific role. That role is of a parent, the parent of the earth. But the opposite is the case. It is we humans who are fragile and vulnerable and the earth that is hearty and powerful, and holds us in its hands. In pragmatic terms, our challenge is less to save the earth from ourselves and more to save ourselves from an earth that, if pushed too far, has ample power to rock, burn, and shake us off completely. That knowledge should inform all we do—especially”

              • Robert Guyton

                That’s right, the planet’s our Mother, rather than our dependant, mewling child.

    • patricia bremner 1.4

      That is how we viewed that information Jenny.
      In 1941 and 1942, my husband and I were born and that was the last year all the dots were blue after our decade came a growing sea of red for increasing temperatures.

      That chart shows graphically the changes in the 40 years between the 40s and the 80’s, and the horror of change between the 80s and now.

      I am shocked by Simon Doull’s cavalier attitude towards climate change science in his remarks when commentating on the cricket.

      Here is a man given a sports forum which gives him a large audience, which he then used to lambast the climate change believers as muddling climate change with weather changes.

      It is to be hoped that formal complaints are laid, and that Cricket New Zealand Player’s Association make plain they do not support his views or his right to use their forum.

      Does he realise 60 NZ businesses have written climate change into their business corporate plans because they perceive future losses caused by unmitigated climate change?

      Further, who in NZ wants to be represented to the listening world by such ignorance?

      So this impression must be corrected at once to mitigate harm to the progress of climate change efforts.

      • dv 1.4.1

        Doull need to stick to commenting on rugby.

        • Ed 1.4.1.1

          No – he should be educated.

          • Tamati Tautuhi 1.4.1.1.1

            Stick to his knitting ?

            • Ed 1.4.1.1.1.1

              Unfortunately he and Richardson have reach.
              If they continue to wilfully lie about climate change after a brief education course, then they should be sent to Bangladesh to build sea walls.

              • solkta

                Do you actually read the crap you write? You want people to be sent for compulsory re-education and then if that doesn’t work to labour camps in far away places – Yet you complain that our current state of affairs is too “Stasi”.

                I would take this as a joke if i thought you had a sense of humour.

                • joe90

                  I would take this as a joke if i thought you had a sense of humour.

                  Vile prick has a boner for war criminals and corrupt authoritarian thugs.

                  Draw your own conclusions.

                • mauī

                  The idea has merit, at least Ed has offered one. What is your answer then apart from attacking other commenters. Actually it is pointless asking you, so don’t bother.

                  • solkta

                    The idea has merit

                    Fuck no it doesn’t. Have you even thought about it? Thought about the nature of the countries that have done this kind of shit?

                    No, what Ed says is what you think.

                  • Ed

                    Joe and Soltka don’t come here to offer solutions.
                    They merely fill up this site with abuse.

                    Meanwhile, I stand by what I have said.
                    Climate catastrophe denial is on a par with holocaust denial.
                    Both climate catastrophe and the holocaust have killed millions of people and denying it only makes the outcome of the former worse.

                    Re-education is necessary to save millions more lives.

                    • solkta

                      I think sending Holocaust deniers to re-education and labour camps would be equally as fucked up. Can’t see that you have a point here.

                    • Ed

                      So how do you propose we deal with climate change deniers, given the fact that their actions are delaying the world’s radical response to the oncoming catastrophe and ongoing mass extinction.

                    • solkta

                      Mostly just ignore them. Their credibility is dropping all the time as the Stuff ban on them indicates. What we need to do is convince the majority of voting people so that we have governments able to act.

                      Most people are at the point now that they can see that action on CC needs to be taken. Only a tiny minority of people would find the kind of violent authoritarian State that you advocate acceptable. Talking of a totalitarian State as the only way forward is not helpful.

                    • fender

                      Joe provides more interesting links in a week than you will in several lifetimes. And his aren’t the same ones regurgitated day in day out either. Get a grip (or loosen it perhaps) Ed, your approach is off putting and counterproductive IMO.

                      And Solkta is another voice worth listening to, so get off your high-horse, please.

              • Tamati Tautuhi

                Doull and Richardson have little between the ears apart from chirpping crickets.

          • dv 1.4.1.1.2

            Do you reckon he can be? (Educated)

        • rod 1.4.1.2

          Jeez, now we have two Simple Simons.

  2. Ed 2

    To the liberalati who have been defending the Guardian on this site recently, you might wish to read what Glenn Greenwald has to write about the recent Manafort scoop it had…..

    ‘Five Weeks After the Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster Assange/Manafort Scoop, No Evidence Has Emerged – Just Stonewalling

    …….From the start, the massive holes in the Guardian’s blockbuster were glaring. As I noted on the day the story published, analysts from across the political spectrum – including those quite hostile to Assange – expressed serious doubts about the article’s sourcing, internal logic, self-evidently dubious assertions and overall veracity, even as many media figures uncritically trumpeted it.

    In particular:

    How could it be that Paul Manafort, of all people, snuck into one of the most monitored, survilled, videoed and photographed buildings on the planet on three separate occasions without any of that ostensibly “smoking gun” visual evidence having emerged, including in the Guardian’s own story?
    Why would the Guardian publish a story of this magnitude without first requiring that its Ecuadoran intelligence sources provide them with such photographic or video evidence to publish it or at least review prior to publication?
    How could it be that Manafort’s name never appeared in any of the embassy entrance logs even though, as the Guardian itself admitted, “visitors normally register with embassy security guards and show their passports”?
    What was the bizarre, sensationalistic reference to “Russians” that the Guardian included in its article but never bothered to explain (“separate internal document written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency and seen by the Guardian lists ‘Paul Manaford [sic]’ as one of several well-known guests. It also mentions ‘Russians’”).“

    https://theintercept.com/2019/01/02/five-weeks-after-the-guardians-viral-blockbuster-assangemanafort-scoop-no-evidence-has-emerged-just-stonewalling/

    • Macro 2.1

      You might also like to read the latest evidence accidentally released in a court filing by Mueller where he claims that Manafort gave polling data to the Russians. You Greenwell and I know little of just what these people were up to. But the more that is released the more it becomes apparent that trump’s team were far from above board in there dealings. There is 66 million supposedly from Trumps pocket that is still unaccounted for.

      • DJ Ward 2.1.1

        He gave them polling Data. Bastard how dare he give the Russians, not national secrets. Heh Russia, all the Democrat funded Russian election interfering bots are working well. We are going to blame Trump, knowing the Russians were not involved and the only people proven to be involved were Democrates.

  3. A 3

    Perhaps MBIE would be better served spending money on budgeting advice for their own ministry?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12187230

    “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has hired a security firm to increase staff skills in using fake social media profiles to gather intelligence.

    Among the modules offered are harvesting information from social networks, creating back-stories for false online personae and creating dossiers on people and groups.”

    • A 3.1

      “Participants are taught how to search and gather information from key social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

      Perhaps worryingly for government employees subject to the Official Information Act, the training includes how to send and receive anonymous SMS and email messages.MBIE staff can also learn how to extract metadata from images, including GPS co-ordinates and device information such as mobile phone and camera models, and create detailed dossiers on groups or individuals.

      The ministry has responsibility for government portfolios including immigration, building and housing, energy, tourism, financial markets and competition regulation and economic development.”

      • Tamati Tautuhi 3.1.1

        Stazi Network ?

      • OnceWasTim 3.1.2

        @A: I just made a comment on TDB re Bradbury’s post

        https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/01/09/hey-jacinda-a-mother-of-4-living-in-a-tent-wasnt-your-government-gonna-kinda-do-something-about-that/

        “Yea/Nah ……. Never mind @ Martyn. WINZ will soon be able to ask MBIE to get a profile on this dirty filthy bennie
        (/sarc)

        ( https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/379727/mbie-seeks-training-on-managing-fake-online-personas )

        When you think of today’s Public Service, you have to wonder why it is that increasing numbers of these fiefdoms seem to want to set up their own little Police forces and how that fits with kinder government.

        Thompson and Clark (that was unacceptable), – then demographic profiling (that was unacceptable), and now this (yea/nah …. not really as bad eh?).”

        [Just bring Thompson and Clark in-house and be done with it]

        “I suppose they’ll be able to get a caring and sharing public servant to go around to the tent wearing a stab-proof vest to sort it all out and wrap around some services going forward in this space. “

      • alwyn 3.1.3

        When questioned on this today the Prime Minister responded.
        “Isn’t this a lovely dress Neve got for Christmas?
        Now I have to take her to the beach for the day”
        She then hung up.

      • Anne 3.1.4

        As a former target of interference in both my personal and professional life, this subject never fails to rouse my ire. As I’ve mentioned before, the fallout can be huge and last a long time. Back in the 1980s when I was being targeted – a result of false stories by a jealous and insane associate – phones were tapped and targets physically followed. Now they don’t have to leave their desks.

        I have no quarrel with agencies such as the SIS, police and customs services whose work details require secrecy and surreptitious activity, but for the rest of the government such behaviour is outrageous beyond belief.

        I hope this government has the nous to drag it all out into the open and prosecute the individuals and the ministries involved. I suspect they won’t which is not good enough.

        • OnceWasTim 3.1.4.1

          /agreed totally
          There is now this culture in the Public Service senior and middle management that they should set up their own little Police, SIS and Customs forces.
          Wrong ! wrong! wrong on so many levels

          I’m surprised (so far) that politicians don’t appear to be more worried. They’ll wake up one day when they realise this sort of shit has the potential to be used against them (as it has already in my experience – as in the case of leaking ministerials and the like – let alone what someone else has pointed out re implications with OIA)

          • Anne 3.1.4.1.1

            I’m surprised (so far) that politicians don’t appear to be more worried.

            They have power and status and are afforded protection from such activity. It’s the powerless and, for whatever reason, the vulnerable who are targeted.

            They’ll wake up one day when they realise this sort of shit has the potential to be used against them.

            Best thing that could happen.

      • Gabby 3.1.5

        Ah, no doubt they’re interested in stamping out fraud, dodgy employment practices, shady applicants for government business and the like. I’m sure that’s it.

    • WeTheBleeple 3.2

      Always a source of humor to me when govt agents start ‘gathering intelligence’.

      It implies they’re lacking a certain something…

      • Tamati Tautuhi 3.2.1

        Our Intelligence Agencies here in NZ have a very poor track record and actual Intelligence is a meaningless word. It depends on what Intelligence they are gathering for Whom.

        The “Urewera Terrorist Raids” are a Classic Example, “Kim Dotcom” another Classic Example of Political Interference in Intelligence IMHO ?

      • OnceWasTim 3.2.2

        “Always a source of humor to me when govt agents start ‘gathering intelligence’”
        on its citizens you mean?

        Ethics maybe?
        It’s one thing for the NZ Police to gather intelligence (PROVIDED there is enough oversight – which is debatable), quite another for other agencies to start using private security firms to carry out their duties.
        Perhaps that money might also be spent in training staff what it is they’re there to do, and if they do encounter what they suspect is criminal or fraudulent, then call in the appropriate authority.

        One of the problems in this case is that it is Joyce’s The Ministry for Everything

  4. Tamati Tautuhi 4

    Good article in the NZ Herald this morning on the State of the Building Industry.

    Amazing how expensive timber & building materials are here in New Zealand when we have so many pine trees ie “the wall of wood” ?

    The oligopolies of Fletchers & Carters have been screwing New Zealanders since Adam was a Cowboy IMHO ? Commerce Commission ever looked into anti competitive behaviour I wonder ?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12180288

    • Ed 4.1

      “We built more homes per year in the 1970s.”

      Before Roger Douglas sold the country to wealthy corporations.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 4.1.1

        …. and our forests, evidently mature trees were sold for $0.50 per tree in Northland according to a forestry contractor I spoke to. He may have been feeding me B/S ?

        Neoliberal Economics, sold the Banks and everything else for a pittance IMHO ?

      • WeTheBleeple 4.1.2

        Yep. And they all hide behind their corporate logos and accept zero responsibility for being pieces of shit.

        • Tamati Tautuhi 4.1.2.1

          Unfortunately most major companies here in NZ are majority foreign owned including Fletchers.

          So there are minimal benefits to NZ Shareholders most of the dividends are going offshore.

          Not a lot of foresight by our previous Labour & National Governments & our so called Business Leaders ?

          What happened to the NZ Business Round Table, once they had sold off all our NZ Assets their job was completed.

          • Ed 4.1.2.1.1

            We must simply take these companies back.
            They were stolen from us.
            So we will have them back.

            And the thieves need to be tried.
            And sentenced.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 4.1.3

        We can’t even build enough homes to house new immigrants in 2018, 65,000 new immigrants in 2018, divided by 4 people per household equals 16,250 new homes.

        I don’t think our building industry built 16,250 houses last year 2018 ?

  5. Morrissey 5

    Assange the ultimate James Bond villain
    by scrabb, The Lifeboat News, Jan. 8, 2019
    http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/msg/1546970003.html

    Last night I watched a programme on BBC4 about all the James Bond actors from Connery to Craig, a two-hander with Mark Gatiss (ex League of Gentlemen) and Mathew Sweet, who presents popular cultural/entertainment shows.

    Reasonably entertaining (if you’re interested in James Bond that is) until the end when they speculated on who would make a good modern-day Bond villain, and one of them (I think it was Gatiss) suggested Julian Assange “with his strange hair”. There was some “humorous” chat about what he was “up to in the Uruguayan embassy” with the remark that Assange wasn’t planning world domination or digging a pit into hell because he was in there “on his treadmill.” Both smirked at this, as obviously being a clever quip. Yes I know, hilarious banter isn’t it?

    One could dismiss this as mere froth and laugh it away, but to me it was appalling that someone could use Assange’s predicament in such a lighthearted fashion as the basis for a joke, also using his appearance (“strange hair”) as a subject of levity. And then showing how ignorant this couple of smirking pundits are by even getting the name of the embassy wrong. That’s how bleeding knowledgeable they are.

    What this shows to me is how hermetically sealed and self-protected and smug the metro-showbiz-TV world actually is — they actually have little or no conception of what these political events mean, or how significant they are, except to be used as a basis for a smart quip. They know just enough to be clever about it, but the depth of their understanding is pitiful.

    • francesca 5.1

      And all these self proclaimed media/entertainment celebrities buy in to the values of the industry that keeps them in clover. They have to or they’re out .
      And they’re probably scared shitless of being cast out of the pack for having unpopular views, social media campaigns can scuttle a career quick as winking
      Group think in those circles say Assange is out and the mob rules, go along with it or the pack turns on you

      Yes I agree with you , the unbearable lightness of Assange’s being …or hair.. he’s a cipher to them, material for jokes , the common understanding that he’s now fodder , open season on Assange, the mob rules
      I’ve been thinking of Cohen’s prescient lines from 1992

      Get ready for the future: It is murder

      Things are going to slide (slide) in all directions
      Won’t be nothing (won’t be), nothing you can measure anymore
      The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
      Has crossed the threshold
      And it has overturned
      The order of the soul

      And from 1988
      Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
      Everybody knows that the captain lied
      Everybody got this broken feeling
      Like their father or their dog just died
      Everybody talking to their pockets
      Everybody wants a box of chocolates
      And a long-stem rose
      Everybody knows

    • Chris T 5.2

      It’s not really a predicament though, is it?…He’s more an embarrassing joke…He has kind of turned into a parody

  6. Andre 6

    Here’s a deep dive into the economics of shutting down coal-fired electricity generation as quickly as possible in Colorado.

    An aspect of shifting from fossil to renewable that doesn’t get enough attention is employment. The costs of wind and solar are driven by how much good skilled high-paying employment is needed to build, install and operate and maintain renewable generation. So even though renewables are significantly lower cost overall, a much higher proportion of their cost is worker pay. Economically that has to be a good thing, more of the money cycling into local families and businesses, rather than going to bloated rentiers far away as happens with fossil fuels.

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/1/8/18170454/colorado-coal-power-plants-shut-down-close-renewables

  7. Ed 7

    John Wight is the best left wing writer in the UK. His most recent article looks at austerity. The concepts and context are applicable to New Zealand.

    “In Britain today we have to confront the salient and uncomfortable truth that the ravages of austerity — the systematic, planned and wilful forcing of millions of people into poverty, destitution and immiseration — would not be possible without the active collusion of those people who are charged with administering and implementing it. I speak here of those who work at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), those who conduct the medical examinations on the disabled and the sick to determine their fitness to work, along with those who staff the various other government agencies involved.
    Such people are products of dominant cultural values which emphasise obedience to authority over personal conscience as the primary determinant of human behaviour. It is why so many are willing to acquiesce in the conscious cruelty and brutality of Tory austerity, impervious to the brutal consequences.
    Ken Loach’s 2016 film about the administration and human impact of benefit sanctions in jobcentres up and down the country, I Daniel Blake, was dismissed as fiction by the likes of Tory MP James Cleverly after being broadcast on the BBC recently. Cleverly was justifiably and roundly attacked in response. However as I wrote in an article around the time of the film’s cinematic release, unless we are all ‘I Daniel Blake’ nothing will change.
    In the last analysis, if we don’t hang together we will hang separately. Those whose ‘duty’ involves delivering people whose only crime is to be poor and vulnerable into the hell of destitution in Tory Britain in the second half of the 21st century, such people are currently part of the problem.
    Only when they decide to become part of the solution will they beging to rediscover their own humanity, making the shift from machine men and machine women with machine hearts to people with the red blood of human compassion and solidarity running through their veins.”

    https://t.co/r5fzOenZBY?amp=1

  8. Morrissey 8

    It’s not even eight,
    And they’re spewing out hate.

    Even in a discussion about the SPCA’s anti-1080 stance, Jacinda Derangement Syndrome has reared its sad and pathetic head on Kiwiblog. This classic contribution to the genre comes from one “igm”….

    You must be one of the very few that listened to Huckery Harridan’s waffle at the sickly UN!

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2019/01/spca_jumps_the_shark.html/comment-page-1#comment-2398109

    • Ed 8.1

      You are a brave person to visit that place every day.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 8.1.1

        Definitely entertaining and not for the faint hearted especially if you have contrary viewpoints, you will get absolutely hammered.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 8.2

      1080 the New Environmental Health Food promoted by Labour and the Greens FFS ?

      • Robert Guyton 8.2.1

        Is it correct to say that the S.P.C.A oppose human-induced suffering in animals?
        Is it also true that they are saying that because 1080 (applied by humans) causes animals to suffer cruelly, they cannot support its use?

        • WeTheBleeple 8.2.1.1

          Speaking of cruelty.

          How’s your tea coming along Robert? I’m having serious misgivings about buying the stuff anymore. I started to grow it here but the contractors buried it. Should get more it’s so spendy for the plants though.

          • Robert Guyton 8.2.1.1.1

            I have young camellia being grown for me and posted soon, in order that I can establish a small plantation. I’ve Sri Lankan friends, but daren’t ask if they’ll be my pickers, as they occupy a higher social strata than me 🙂 I’ll pick ’em myself!

          • OnceWasTim 8.2.1.1.2

            Quite a fair representation of the problem.
            Early last year I witnessed a similar situation much further to the west.
            Lands and Survey were reclaiming jungle and corridors and trying to make farmers aware of the consequences of encroachments.
            It’s not enough as yet but at least things are being taken seriously. In parts of UP and Uttarakhand people are being locked up for cutting down trees and being made to replant. Kind of a drop in the bucket though

            • WeTheBleeple 8.2.1.1.2.1

              Yes they’re finally moving to restore the migration corridors but they are not clear on the boundaries for now. It is hoped gathering historic and scientific data will give a clearer picture. I reckon GPS on a few elephants of differing herds might yield some good data except for the runaround humans give them.

    • Andre 8.3

      Wow mozzie, I gotta tip my hat to you. I didn’t think it was possible. You’ve made some of the regulars there look reasonable and rational!!

  9. Ed 9

    Neo-liberal New Zealand 2019.

    A mother and her four children have been roughing it for the summer, but not out of choice.

    They’re living in tents and a car near Palmerston North and the novelty is starting to wear off.
    Sharon Baker and her four children, aged from 9 to 17, spent seven years living with Baker’s uncle, Robert White, at a property in the city.
    The landlord decided to sell and Baker and her family had to leave by October 28. After a brief stint camping at Tangimoana Beach, the family have been living at the Ashhurst Domain campground for 28 days in a group of tents, and White sleeps in a car.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/109730036/mother-raising-four-children-in-tents-after-being-unable-to-find-home

    Socialist New Zealand 1937.

    The Skinner family – mother, father and small boy – became the first tenants of the state housing scheme at Orakei when they moved in on Christmas Eve, attended by a crowd of 300 people including Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

    With a fine sense of political timing Savage addressed the crowd, reeling off the impressive statistics of the state housing scheme started by his government: 6000 jobs created since March that year, tenders called for 2300 houses in 56 towns and 1.5 million spent.

    “We are trying to cater for everyone,” said Savage.

    “We do not claim perfection, but we do claim a considerable advance on what has been done in the past.”

    When the speeches were over, Savage and the other dignitaries took off their coats and helped to move the Skinners’ furniture into their new home.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/new-zealand-herald-150-years/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503278&objectid=11140829

    https://teara.govt.nz/en/video/26082/labour-mps-move-family-into-state-house

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    “New Zealand could develop a niche market of export-quality, organic, sun-grown marijuana if we “crack on” with law changes, says the leader of The Opportunities Party (TOP).” https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/109783250/support-for-cannabis-high-with-kiwi-voters-opening-the-door-to-massive-tax-benefits

    Entrepreneural thinking. National’s most likely coalition partner goes radical progressive! Leading Nats will be choking on their coffee all around the country this morning!

    “The survey found 60 per cent of New Zealanders said they would vote to support legalising cannabis for personal use, and 68 per cent believed any tax revenue from legal cannabis research should be spent on health services.”

    “Over two-thirds of survey respondents believed that legalised cannabis would result in lower levels of crime or have no effect. The independent Horizon Research canvassed the opinions of 995 adults between October 10 and 26, 2018. “

    • Robert Guyton 10.1

      “export-quality, organic, sun-grown GE-free ” – there’s your market advantage right there!!

      • Cinny 10.1.1

        Absolutely Robert.

      • Andre 10.1.2

        I claim precisely zero expertise in cannabis markets so anyone with greater knowledge go ahead and correct me, but as far as I know the genetic modification done to existing cannabis strains has been done by selective breeding to massively boost the THC content. Oddly this doesn’t attract the pejorative label of GE. All cannabis for sale worldwide can therefore claim to be GE-free, so it’s not a differentiating claim.

        • WeTheBleeple 10.1.2.1

          FFS selective breeding is not GE. This is industry PR smoke and mirrors bullshit.

          • Dennis Frank 10.1.2.1.1

            I’d like to agree, but my past attempts to clarify the difference between the two haven’t produced the desired result. In fact they usually get no response. So Andre seems to have a similar view to me. I wonder if it really is a black & white situation, or if various shades of grey are involved. Could explain why a couple of decades of public debate have failed to resolve the polarity…

              • Dennis Frank

                Google’s definition: “the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material.” Exactly what Luther Burbank was doing long ago!

                Britannica’s definition: “Genetic engineering, the artificial manipulation, modification, and recombination of DNA or other nucleic acid molecules in order to modify an organism or population of organisms.”

                Totally different. Competing definitions therefore emerges as the likeliest explanation of public and media confusion.

                • solkta

                  I think the google definition requires the addition of “directly” [manipulating its genetic material].

                  But if you read through a few definitions it becomes more than obvious the difference.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Fair enough. But politics is driven by most voters. Anyone game to claim that most voters read several definitions? I doubt it. So confusion in the public & media will persist. It would help if professional journalists start to form consensus around a single definition.

        • Cinny 10.1.2.2

          Hey Andre, it’s just like any other plant there are ‘heirloom’ strains. As well indoor grown has a different effect from cannabis grown outdoor.

          But if one doesn’t know where their clones or seeds are coming from due to it being illegal. A bit like dodgy pills at festivals, for a pie in the sky comparison.

          Have never come across GE cannabis, not ever, am guessing it’s rare as hen’s teeth if that’s the case.

        • francesca 10.1.2.3

          Splicing genes is different from selective breeding

          • Cinny 10.1.2.3.1

            Thanks for the clarity Francesca, was wondering that.

          • Andre 10.1.2.3.2

            So a cannabis plant that gets an extra gene for producing THC because of a stray cosmic ray or a breeder exposing its parents to mutagenic chemicals is OK, but someone choosing to splice in an extra copy of that gene creates an abomination that must be immediately ripped out of the ground? Why is that?

            I’m especially confused about why there’s a distinction if the splicing is done in a way such that there is no possible way of examining the genome to determine whether that extra THC gene got there via mutation or via deliberate splicing by a technique such as CRISPR.

            • francesca 10.1.2.3.2.1

              I guess the plant has the right of consent Andre to put it in human terms
              And generally selective breeding involves recombination of chromosomes after cross pollination and fertilisation
              It either “takes” or not
              Splicing genes is somewhat more forceful and relies on human desire and judgement rather than plant “wisdom”
              I’d rather work within the confines of nature than impose technologies that are purely geared towards human wants and commercial gain
              I even disagree with the sort of selective breeding thats for supermarket benefit(shelf life, standard harvesting times) at the expense of taste and nutrition.
              I would hate to see our heritage varieties dwindle
              Yeah, and I dont like the use of colchicum to “force” changes either

              • francesca

                And of course the advantage of recombination of chromosomes is that we get a myriad of possibilities and opportunities for the organism to adapt to whatever life throws up.Some of the individuals will be able to adapt, others will succumb
                Clones have identical characteristics and in the advent of unforeseen and adverse circumstances a cloned organism is vulnerable to wipeout.
                As clever as human beings are , there’s a tendency to over reach in matters of nature

            • Dennis Frank 10.1.2.3.2.2

              And that perspective is probably only available to those of us with a scientific education. I’ve never heard of any method for determining if genetic mutation is natural or artificial!!

              • Andre

                Well, if the genetic modification is carried on a plasmid, and there’s no plausible explanation for how that gene on a plasmid got from it’s original organism to the new organism, then I think it’s reasonable to infer it was engineered. Such as say you find an octopus gene for black ink on a plasmid in black japanese strawberries that have suddenly appeared and become popular.

                To be slightly less facetious, if the genes to express Bt toxin in corn and cotton is on a plasmid, then I’d be opposed to those plants being released on a wide scale. Because plasmids can easily move to new organisms, and there’s obvious downsides to pest plants that are currently controlled by insects suddenly starting to express Bt.

                But if the genetic engineering is say using CRISPR to turn on a pre-existing gene in the nuclear DNA of a plant so more of its energy goes to storing lipids in its seeds rather than cellulose for taller woodier stems, then I fail to see there’s any ecosystem or consumer risk.

                To me the risk assessment comes down to considering the characteristics of the modified organism. Then if any of the characteristics might carry risks, consideration of how those characteristics were achieved and consequent risk of them transferring to other organisms becomes a valid consideration and possibly reasonable point of objection.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Makes sense to me. You have a relevant academic degree? Seems like you know more of the technical side that anyone else here. You’d be a good policy advisor for our govt, the Greens, or both.

                  • Andre

                    Both parents and a brother were/are genetics/microbiology/biochemistry academics. Along with a bunch of friends and more distant family. But my actual expertise is advanced composites engineering – how to design, analyse and manufacture products using carbon and other fibre reinforced materials.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Thanks for the info. Looks like you’ve had many family conversations about this stuff in the past, and have become an extremely clued-up outsider to the field as a result! Wisdom does trickle down somewhat, and gnosis a little more. Such re-interpretations of the views of insiders are how technical knowledge informs outsiders in the community. Very important.

                      Interesting relevant digression: Mercury was the messenger of the gods for a very good reason. Clue: hermeneutics. Another: hermetic philosopy. Hermes, the social archetype of information conduits. As McLuhan famously told the world in his book title in the late sixties The Medium is the Message. All things of medial function drive civilisation forward.

                      Electricity. Internet as the latest manifestation. Statues of Hermes were put at crossroads in ancient times to signify the connection between travel and trade (with the archetype as a common basis for both). And shamanic function in hunter/gatherer tribes also mediated essential info from the cosmic realm in which mundane reality is embedded…

                • There’s no consumer risk, but that doesn’t matter if the organic food industry successfully creates a perception of consumer risk in the general population. It’s looking pretty successful so far.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  This seems to make sense. But one must be cautious. If you are making lipids you are taking the resources from something else. If it is the structural woody materials great, but is it a nutritional aspect? Wood and lipids are not composed of the same materials.

                  Knowing the resource pathways would go a long way in describing the actual chain of events that occur after alterations, not just what’s on the label.

                  A gene that produces one thing often has several roles. Typically the product regulates another process, and so on. I posit these monkeys don’t have a clue what’s happening except what’s on the label.

                  But they sure believe their own press.

            • WeTheBleeple 10.1.2.3.2.3

              Are you talking about the practise of using colchisine to induce polyploidy?

              This is (blunt force random) genetic manipulation for sure. But you’ll find weed plants are not triploid at all. Yes some dickheads have done this. It is a by-product of illegal industry though today’s industry makes yesterdays criminals look like saints.

              There is no fabled ‘extra THC gene’. You are talking about a whole new chromosome from diploid (two) to triploid (three). This seems more the stuff of urban myth and triploid lines would have to be clonal as they cannot breed. I’m sure they exist, but you’ve got it all awry – considering the sources of such myths were typically opportunistic criminals… there’s an awful lot of bullshit came out of weed circles. Conspiracies R Us.

              You could tell a triploid plant with a microscope, the chromosomes aren’t so hard to find.

              Deliberate manipulation of an organisms DNA, as opposed to (selective) breeding – is hugely different. Why is that so hard to see?

              It’s a fucking tedious conversation as they’re not hard to differentiate at all. The ‘confusion’ is industry driven. PR driven. Assholes with agendas who will not stop lying and fudging the debate driven.

              They rely on the fact the majority of people have little to no science. Then push this blithering shit.

              • I don’t believe anyone (on this blog at least) is arguing there’s no difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering. However, given that both are ways of manipulating a plant’s genes, it’s up to the people opposed to GE to make a case for how the difference between selective breeding and GE makes selective breeding OK but GE not OK. That view is not “industry” or “PR”-driven, it’s “I know how a debate works”-driven.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  “it’s up to the people opposed to GE to make a case for how the difference between selective breeding and GE makes selective breeding OK but GE not OK”

                  That’s fucking ridiculous. You POS trolling lowlife no life fucktard deliberate obfuscating worm.

                  You are dead to me.

                  • If you think about it, you might figure out that your opinions of me don’t alter the validity of either your arguments or mine in the slightest. But I won’t hold my breath (or I’d be dead to everyone else too.)

                • Robert Guyton

                  Psycho Milt said:
                  “it’s up to the people opposed to GE to make a case for how the difference between selective breeding and GE makes selective breeding OK but GE not OK”
                  That seems counter to usual practice where practitioners of new technologies/processes have to prove their safety. Why do you believe that in this case, the practitioners of traditional methods have to prove anything at all with regard a new practice?

                  • The practitioners of this particular new technology have done that – it’s probably the most tested and studied new technology in history, and the evidence of those tests and studies is that GE is safe. The question now is: given that this particular method of manipulating plant genes has been demonstrated to be safe to use, it’s now up to its opponents to explain why it’s OK to use other safe methods but not this safe method.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      I suppose then, the issue isn’t the safety of the technology (guns are safe) but the potential abuses of that technology that have to be shown not to be a concern. Tobacco is safe when it’s not being burned and inhaled into human lungs but you’d be hard-pressed to prove that while a cigarette is safe, making them available to the public is without it serious problems. If governments using our taxes are funding this research, they’ll have to assure us that that research doesn’t imperil us all down the track.
                      Conventional plant breeding methods too, have a lag-time; they grind slowly, whereas this proposed technology is all but immediate. That slow development in itself is a protection against unexpected problems.

                    • One Two

                      Self immolation…again…

                      Testing/Studies say…safe…

                      100% impossible…too many variables for testing to ever complete…let alone claim safety…

                      I explained that to you, days ago…you’re still not grasping what are, simple concepts….

                      ‘More Doctors recommend Camel cigarettes’….

                    • The government can’t guarantee us that selective breeding won’t imperil us all further down the track, let alone GE. You can’t prove a negative.

                      This technology’s been thoroughly tested and no evidence of harm has been found, which is as good an assurance as we’re going to get for any technology, ever. So it’s now up to the people who remain fearful that harm will somehow occur anyway to make a case for governments disregarding the available evidence of no harm and operating an evidence-free assumption of harm instead. At the very least they need to propose a mechanism by which that harm might occur.

                    • I explained that to you, days ago…

                      You asserted it days ago, yes. However, that’s not the same thing.

                      Those studies are bullshit, the scientists are wrong, it’s all about who’s paying them – if it sounds familiar, that’s because there’s another current dispute between scientists and people who favour their gut instinct over science, that’s been getting a lot of publicity. Funny how much crossover there is at the fringes, isn’t it?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “…
                      9 January 2019 at 3:05 pm
                      The government can’t guarantee us that selective breeding won’t imperil us all further down the track, let alone GE. You can’t prove a negative.”

                      I wondered if you might take the line that breeding processes to date aren’t guaranteed safe…I wonder if you would like to give examples of where selective breeding in the plant world has resulted in irreversible peril to humans, irreversibility being the fear mostly expressed by those who oppose GE – you can’t put the genii back in the bottle, as you said recently. I’d have thought selective breeding has proved itself to be not a peril, over the very long time it’s been practiced. GMOs have not had the same test of time.

                    • My point was that nothing is guaranteed safe. No-one and nothing can guarantee your or anyone else’s future safety. It’s an impossible standard to meet.

                      Re selective breeding: that’s a fine Catch-22. We know methods are safe if we’ve been using them for thousands of years without harm; so we’ll know this new method is safe if we use it for thousands of years without harm; but we’re not allowed to use it, because we don’t know it’s safe.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      ” but we’re not allowed to use it, because we don’t know it’s safe.”
                      but you’ve declared that it is safe!
                      “the evidence of those tests and studies is that GE is safe”
                      What gives?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      How can climate change and GMO be analogous?
                      Climate change is happening despite our best efforts to curb it.
                      GMO is requiring concerted efforts by the proponents to spread it across the globe.
                      I’m not opposing GMOs because of unscientific thinking, nor am I relying on my gut instinct. I’m drawing my information from a wide base of considerations of which science and instinct are but two aspects. Nor am I a vested interest, nor am I running a propaganda programme.

                    • but you’ve declared that it is safe!

                      I was referring to your claim that we can trust that selective breeding is safe because we’ve been doing it for thousands of years, but can’t trust that GE is safe because we’ve only been doing it a few decades. If we accept that to be the case (as I did hypothetically in my reply), it’s a Catch-22.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      Safe. Like fertilisers that make deserts. Like insecticides that cause soil collapse, erosion, and ultimately deserts. Like monocultures that are deserts.

                      So as the planet undergoes rapid change requiring all of our genetic potential to get through this – some ninny in a lab is planning more monoculture to ‘save the day.’

                      Maybe people are too stupid to be saved. Leaping on board with the latest pipe dream, ignoring historical precedent, ignoring good science in preference to the popular view. Afraid of being wrong, afraid of backing down. Afraid of losing a dollar.

                      People who’d let the planet die rather than give up their Audi’s. Not worth sticking up for, not worth fighting for.

                      Agriculture wants GE grass. So fucking naive. One – ONE pest overcomes the plants defenses the entire farming community will go bust. Personally, I will laugh my ass off.

                      See how the entire kiwifruit industry nearly went tits up from one microbe – you aint seen nothin yet.

                      These pithy non scientists read science blogs and jam up people’s thinking with half truths and horseshit all engineered to push the community to acceptance of corporate solutions to environmental problems. In other words, the new method in which corporations have figured out how to gouge your money and control you while pretending to save the day.

                      Why is GE bad?

                      Lack of biodiversity
                      Lack of genetic diversity
                      Centralised control of food supply
                      Lack of understanding of soil biology
                      Lack of understanding of genetics
                      Susceptibility to disease
                      Patents and legal bullying of smallholders
                      Lies and obfuscation
                      Farmer suicides
                      Ecocide
                      Plant matter not breaking down
                      Genetic escape

                      We’ve only got one planet. These pricks need to back off. Watch how they get answers, then ignore them and demand more.

                      This has been the pattern of corporate encroachment my entire life. the right wing are experts at it. Appear reasonable, label the protestors all manner of thing, push the agenda. When public outcry reaches a crescendo, back off, regroup, go again. Relentless.

                      They do not want to save the world. They want to control it.

                    • One Two []

                      Perfectly worded!

                    • Robert Guyton

                      WTB – what agency can you envisage would oversee such proposals as GE plants and make decisions about technologies like that (and pesticides and ploughing and so on…) with the Bigger Picture in mind? Is such a “governor” even a possibility or do we have to rely on factions within society to moderate the developers? It seems hit and miss and hasn’t prevented disastrous developments to date (deserts etc.)?
                      How do you propose such a process be done – allow the developers to decide (scientists, advising the introduction of their “product” seems … dicey 🙂 If it isn’t the scientists promoting the release of GMOs into the wider world, who is it and why do they want this to happen. Is it the nutritionalists? Do they know about soil? Is it the supermarketers of the world who will profit from selling black strawberries? Gotta trust those guys! Who decides – governments? Nick Smith types will be in again eventually – would we give Paula Bennett the opportunity to okay the release of some new technology in NZ?
                      This is a raggy sort of comment.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    “…
                    9 January 2019 at 2:17 pm
                    The practitioners of this particular new technology have done that – it’s probably the most tested and studied new technology in history, and the evidence of those tests and studies is that GE is safe. ”

                    But have they convinced their potential market? If not, investors won’t want to invest.

                    • Yep, same problem as with climate change – many people prefer what their gut instincts tell them to what scientists tell them, and it’s especially difficult for the scientists if vested interests are running an anti-science propaganda campaign for the status quo.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      I know nothing about governance except government shouldn’t be in control of it. 😀

                      GE belongs in the laboratory. There we learn of which gene does what, and how that might apply – we can test that theory, and using a combination of genomics and metabolomics start seeing more of the big picture. What is actually expressed, what declines, what totally unexpected things occur..?

                      Identifying genes of interest and how altering them affects cellular processes we can screen animals/plants for the hosts of unique genes or high/low copy numbers of desirable/undesirable genes and breed them. We only need a zygote to then see how the crossing went for potential products. This is practised today we could spend more getting much better at it by incorporating metabolomic data.

                      Thus we’ve avoided GE altogether for organisms destined for the wider environment while taking advantage of the amazing tech.

                      Within the laboratory setting we might also contain industry of all manner of things via GE microbes. Foods, medicines, materials, enzymes and more… We keep the microbes controlled by engineering them to die in the natural environment so should disaster strike a factory potential ecological disaster need not follow.

                      We use biodiversity out here in the real world where the current inhabitants face unprecedented change and peril. We use the broad palette of biodiversity within and across species to build insurance into our ecosystems and agricultural lands – which should always now be treated as ecosystems themselves.

                    • greywarshark

                      Scientists perfect; thoughtful people; wary, psychological pattern-recognising drawing on semantic memory, bad.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You were saying that selective breeding was safe?

                    Downside

                    Selective breeding programs that concentrate on a small subset of genes determining a limited group of desired characteristics often use a small number of individuals as the “founder population” for all the descendents. While considerable care is taken to produce individuals homozygous for the desired characteristics, there are many other genes that also end up being homozygous within the small group of inbred founders. Some of these genes have deleterious effects, and their adverse conditions tend to be disproportionately common in the members of populations derived from a small founder group. In larger populations, cross-breeding and natural hybridization result in heterozygotes in which a mutant, deleterious recessive allele is masked by a normal dominant allele.

                    Examples among dog breeds include canine cancer, heart disease, hip dysplasia, vision, and hearing anomalies. Ashkenazi Jews show a larger proportion of the incidence of Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis, among other conditions, than the general population. High rates of inbreeding or consanguineous marriage in certain Arab groups are thought to contribute to congenital malformations that are the second leading cause of infant mortality in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar and are the leading cause of infant mortality (40.3%) in the United Arab Emirates. The tracing of genealogies back to the groups of early humans that came out of Africa and then spread across the world also depends on the presence of particular mutations among all the members of the group and their descendents.

                    Tui

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Yes but…I specified plants (having thought of dogs but eating selectively-bred dogs isn’t harmful to human health, save at the capture stage 🙂

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’m pretty sure that similar dangers apply to plants as well.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Well, I’m ready to view your example.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, there’s the indirect equivalent of breeding dogs and cats so we wish to live more closely with them even thought they now provide no tangible benefit, while they are still carriers of disease like hydatids and the cat one (toxoplasmosis?).

                      The plant equivalent would be plantations as habitats for people-killing snakes and suchlike. I’d also be interested in whether there’s any relationship between exposure to bred monocultures and things like nut and berry allergies.

                      A direct example is the hybridisation of “killer” bees and their escape into the wild. I’m not sure there’s a plant equivalent of that.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      I see you are correct, Draco; selectively bred plants can be harmful to humans, as the article you provided outlines. I’m therefore surprised at claims that GE plants won’t be (if there are such claims) and when this does happen, can those plants be “recalled”? Probably not, I’m guessing, any more than selectively bred plants can or can’t be. I suppose my anxiousness about this stems from the speed at which new plants can be created and the distance from the parent, the progeny can be. Selective breeding is slow and proximal; the new things are not so very different from the parent, and negative effects can be ring-fenced well enough (I suppose), whereas if GE of plants became commonplace, weird stuff could be popping out all over the place and we’ll be playing “whack-a-mole” and losing 🙂

                    • Andre

                      @Robert, if you’re in the mood to examine long-held ideas, seriously look into mutation breeding as well. As Draco’s link notes, mutation breeding via radiation mutagenesis and mutagenic chemicals is accepted for organic agriculture.

                      A key point is mutation breeding induces random changes across the entire genome, not just the traits of interest. Yet the subsequent screening only looks at a few characteristics. So if you’re concerned about playing whack-a-mole with new organisms popping up new problems in strange places, mutation breeding should be of much greater concern than the individual targeted changes done by techniques such as CRISPR.

                      Oh, and Draco, thanks a bunch for putting up that link. I run out of steam pretty quickly for tracking down that kind of thing.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’m therefore surprised at claims that GE plants won’t be (if there are such claims) and when this does happen, can those plants be “recalled”?

                      An interesting point made is that GE plants and organisms are tested far more than those that are the result of selective breeding. So, any problems with GE plants and organisms are more likely to be picked up than those from selective breeding and thus just not released.

                      There’s going to be a harder time getting the selective breeding ones back as they actually go out without that thorough testing.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Yes, those are good points. The mutagenesis factor was at the bottom of the HT Swede debacle here in Southland recently. I’m surprised to hear the “organics industry” allows plants developed thus to be utilised by its growers.
                      As someone who believes that originals are best and close-to-original a close-ish a second, highly modified the last cab off the rank when it comes to food plants; that is, weeds hold the greatest value, selected “sports” the next, consciously cross-bred, then kept-alive-only-by-chemical intervention the poorest, thinking about GE presents some issues. I’d prefer research on and cultivation of originals to be the focus rather than what we can manipulate. Pinpointing my exact objection though, is an interesting process.
                      Looking at the issue more bigly, I’m concerned about restraints that other organisms experience and how humans have circumvented them; we are pumping up one end of the system, through accelerated food production but not dealing at all well with the other end, population growth, resource and space depletion, etc. Will we ever “wise-up” and develop instead, industry/practices that “settle the farm” and establish a system that allows for a human presence here that isn’t toxic, as we appear to have now.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      The thing is – there’s selective breeding, then there’s inbreeding. Dog breeders have known but largely ignored the issues they created.

                      With all the genetic data today have we managed to determine the line?

                      How cute does a puppy have to be before the rules get ignored? 😀

                • One Two

                  it’s up to the people opposed to GE to make a case for how the difference between selective breeding and GE makes selective breeding OK but GE not OK.

                  That is illogical, milt…

                  Can you walk through the process taken to arrive at a point, where such a statement makes enough sense to you to write it down…multiple times…

                  Go right ahead…

                  • The rational never makes sense to the irrational, but since you asked:

                    We have two different methods for manipulating the genes of plants: A and B.

                    Opponents of method B claim the differences between method A and method B mean that method B must be opposed.

                    People who understand what an argument is ask what it is about the dfferences between A and B that lead to the conclusion B must be opposed.

                    Opponents of method B reply “That’s fucking ridiculous” and “That is illogical.” Rational answer came there none, other than from Robert.

                    • One Two

                      It is illogical for A and B to keep attemping to make the case at all…

                      It is also hypocritical to expect A to ‘make a case’ against a technology which can’t be proven to be safe…

                      can’t prove a negative…thoroughly tested…no evidence of harm…

                      Language used by fundamentally dangerous and unethical industries who claim …’science’…

                      Standard practice

                    • If you’d read the comment, you’d have noticed that A and B refer to methods, not people. Or, you did read the comment but the rational never makes sense to the irrational. Either way, I’ve ceased caring.

                    • One Two []

                      Yes they are methods…but you’re talking about ‘opponents’ to methods, human ‘opponents’…

                      Clearly it is you who did not comprehend the comment…mine or your own…

                      The basics are lacking for you , milt…which is why you’re ‘impressed’ with ‘the science’…

                • Brigid

                  “both are ways of manipulating a plant’s genes”
                  No
                  Selective breeding does not manipulate a plant’s genes.

                  • The plant ends up genetically different from before, due to deliberate activity by humans. If you want to spin that as “not manipulating a plant’s genes,” best of luck and I think you’ll need it.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      My point was that nothing is guaranteed safe. No-one and nothing can guarantee your or anyone else’s future safety. It’s an impossible standard to meet. – PM @7:01 pm

                      This century humanity faces many self-imposed bottlenecks – only fair, as we’ve recently been imposing bottlenecks on many other species. I agreed that it is unreasonable to expect a 100% safety guarantee for genetic manipulations (artificial or natural), and for that reason it would be wise to exercise caution. Despite the enormous quantity of high-quality data flooding into the three main public molecular databases (GenBank, EMBL and DDBJ), there remains a gulf between data and understanding.

                      I can think of at least half-a-dozen small, precise mutations made in our research lab that gave rise to characteristics/phenotypes that remain inexplicable, at least to us.

                      Inexplicable research results are really not that uncommon – sometimes something doesn’t work (no-one else needs to know that), sometimes it does. And when it does, you usually say “well done”, think ‘thank God’, and move on, none the wiser. The mantra of the cloning lab is “You only need one!”

                      A truely remarkable result (well over a decade old now) was the unexpected finding that synonymous mutations (i.e. changes to protein-encoding DNA sequences that that do not alter the amino acid sequences of proteins) resulted in proteins with different properties, despite those proteins consisting of identical amino acid residues linked together in identical order. There is a plausible explanation for this.

                      A programming analogy might be that there are different (redundant) commands/codes that perform identical functions (in the same way that each amino acids is encoded by at least two (DNA) codons), but using one command (or codon) rather than another alters the overall output of the algorithm (or protein). Or course it shouldn’t matter which of the redundant commands you use, but…

                      Not asking for a moratorium on GE research, just reassurance that the balance between ‘gun-ho’ and ‘caution’ is about right.

                    • Brigid

                      Selective breeding is not gene manipulation. It is selection by trait.
                      The clue is the word ‘breeding’.
                      See if you can work that out.

                      You may need help.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      A programming analogy might be that there are different (redundant) commands/codes that perform identical functions (in the same way that each amino acids is encoded by at least two (DNA) codons), but using one command (or codon) rather than another alters the overall output of the algorithm (or protein). Or course it shouldn’t matter which of the redundant commands you use, but…

                      Yeah, that’s not how coding works and, by the sounds of things, not genetics works either.

                      if [condition] then [do]

                      That’s the most basic of if statements. It’s not what happens in a modern app most of the time. It’s still useful but not used often. A little beyond that and you’re introducing basic AI.

                      if [condition] then [do]
                      elseif [different condition] then [do something else]
                      elseif [different condition] and [condition] then [do something else entirely]
                      elseif [condition] or [some other condition] [do something else beyond that]
                      else [draw a pretty picture]

                      The permutations are infinite.

                      Really, I asked my tutor about a problem I was having and his response was:
                      More ‘if’ statements.

                      And genetics is far beyond what programmers dream of – for now.

                      By what you wrote the scientists only expected to change one thing and either didn’t understand, didn’t realise or, even worse, assumed that that one thing wasn’t connected to everything else.

                      When a programmer changes one thing they need to understand what else changes because of that one thing.

                      Where are the skittles located and what angle did the bowling ball come in at in 4D?

                      I’m a fairly competent programmer but the possible permutations of genetics leaves me swooning.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Selective breeding is not gene manipulation.

                      Yes it is. The result is to change the genes.

                      It is selection by trait.

                      And the traits are genitic. What selective breeding does is hope like hell that the genes combine as the geneticist (otherwise known as an ignorant farmer) hopes it will.

                      The clue is the word ‘breeding’.

                      Yeah, it is. Breeding that introduces a change in the DNA to a more preferred DNA. Or not. Maybe, possibly or maybe it will actually produce poisonous.

                      Selective breeding is almost random.

                      See if you can work that out.

                      You’re the one who seems to be having trouble working it out.

                      Breed two dogs. One is a Siberian Husky and the other is a Kelpie. the result is a genetic mix of the two which has a genetic structure different from both breeds.

                      In other words, the genes have changed in what we call gene manipulation.

                    • Not asking for a moratorium on GE research, just reassurance that the balance between ‘gun-ho’ and ‘caution’ is about right.

                      No argument from me about that one. However, the current balance, in which no GE product gets released ever, is way too far over on the “caution” side.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      So…the parents of a newborn baby have partaken in gene manipulation? How droll your definition.

                    • Andre

                      @Robert, if they exercised any kind of selectivity about choosing each other for procreation, then yes. If it was a random coupling resulting from both parties being intoxicated beyond the point of cognition and physical actions being entirely driven by nerve activity below the waistline, then no. There’s other words for that scenario.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Yeah, it really does.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      “Breed two dogs. One is a Siberian Husky and the other is a Kelpie. the result is a genetic mix of the two which has a genetic structure different from both breeds.

                      In other words, the genes have changed in what we call gene manipulation.”

                      Unless you’re cupping the dogs balls I’d say you took a relatively minor role in the manipulation of anything.

                      Keep throwing new breeds in the mix. You might eventually get a ‘dog’.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Unless you’re cupping the dogs balls I’d say you took a relatively minor role in the manipulation of anything.

                      Have you noticed that pure breed dogs, like the ones I mentioned, are only ever brought together to breed by humans?

                      Hell, with artificial insemination I’d be surprised if they actually brought the dogs together.

                      And the intent is what makes it gene manipulation any way. It’s the human who is most definitely trying to produce the cross breed.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 10.1.4

        East Coast Growers already on to it.

    • Cinny 10.2

      Where there’s money to be made, the nat’s won’t be far away lolz, greed comes before values every time for the blue team.

      Any who are interested in how the black market changed to the green market for growers in the USA, there is a fantastic doco series called “Murder Mountain: Welcome to Humboldt County” on the Netflix It focuses on the murder of a young man, but it’s really interesting re illegal changing to legal pot growing.

      “Murder Mountain is the story of Garret Rodriguez, who left home in San Diego to seek his fortune in the marijuana fields of Humboldt County, California. Within a year he vanished, touching off a series of bloody events that still haunt local residents to this day. Set against the backdrop of marijuana legalization, Humboldt’s outlaws are now speaking out for the first time about Garret’s fate and the group of vigilantes who brought him home.”

      Highly recommended viewing six episodes, found this link for the trailer.

    • Andre 10.3

      That belief that “legalised cannabis would result in lower levels of crime or have no effect” might not be evidence-based. Particularly if “crime” is amended to “crime other than cannabis use, possession, and supply related crime”.

      https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/01/new-york-times-journalist-alex-berenson-tell-your-children-marijuana-crime-mental-illness-1/

      Nevertheless, even if the worst case outlined in the article above is accurate, it doesn’t overcome the biggest argument for legalising cannabis and all other drugs; the harm we do to individuals and society by criminalisation is much greater than the harm individuals do to themselves and society by using the drugs, particularly if sensible evidence-based rules are put around recreational substance use.

      • Dennis Frank 10.3.1

        And, if you take a look at that graph of party support Stuff has published, you can see that National alone is fighting a rearguard war against progress. Even the conservative NZF voters are now with the majority: only 20% of them oppose legalisation, same proportion as ACT.

        Those of us who spent much of our lives getting high have always encountered others in the user community who put themselves in harm’s way. Their choice. All we can do about folks with vulnerable mental health is to give them suitable advice and help when necessary, and policy development must provide for that.

        • Cinny 10.3.1.1

          Education is key and when the law changes, and it will, educating the people needs to be part of it.

        • Tamati Tautuhi 10.3.1.2

          …. better option than synthetics, when you don’t know whether you are getting rat poison or fly spray ?

      • KJT 10.3.2

        There are many sets of evidence, from countries that have decriminalized drugs, that decriminalization, and treating drug use as a health issue, that ALL crime decreases.

    • veutoviper 10.4

      ROFL!

      BUT, but, but – what about, what about, what about (drumroll) David Moffett, Leighton Baker and the New Conservative Party as a partner for National?

      https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/01/08/one-day-soon-we-are-going-to-have-to-have-a-serious-discussion-about-immigration-in-nz/

      • Dennis Frank 10.4.1

        Yeah, another source of amusement. I don’t rate them since Winston is ahead of them in the queue for conservative votes. Splitting conservatives three ways means the rightists are pushing shit up-hill. The conservatives in Labour are also a considerable force.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 10.4.2

        Winston has been trying to have a meaningful discussion on immigration since Adam was a Cowboy but even National have labelled him racist ?

  11. Tricledrown 11

    Ed times have changed considerably since 1935.
    State House suburbs were a long term disaster putting people from one socioeconomic background in one suburb. Good Idea in the beginning. The whole world has changed. We need different solutions. Land for housing is harder and more expensive to find. Planning and infrastructure is more complicated and expensive. Micro homes are a way to give homeless a roof over their heads in the short term it would reduce demand for rentals making it cheaper for those who can afford to rent. New solutions are needed as the cost of housing is beyond 40% of the population’s ability to have a functional life.

  12. JohnSelway 12

    A sobering (and well written) read on Trumps behaviour as president:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/opinion/sunday/trump-impeachment.html?

    • Dennis Frank 12.1

      Dunno about sobering, but it is well-written. A comprehensive analysis too, making a persuasive case for impeachment. Yet no smoking gun, and serious action requires such a trigger, so to what effect? Seems no more than a filler for the NYT.

      The problem for the liberal media is that Democrats have been copying Republicans for as long as anyone can remember, and most aware Americans know that. So they have to fake it. Best way to fake it is to publish persuasive propaganda. So they do.

    • Dennis Frank 13.1

      I couldn’t detect any racism, however I do agree one can interpret his tacit belief system as such, if one chooses to.

      If Hobson did say that the treaty unified both races into one, then you could say he was delusional. But you could also argue it was the kind of rhetoric deployed on such occasions, to manipulate the feelings of listeners, to reframe their beliefs and expectations of the future.

      Inasmuch as the directions Hobson was given by the British govt were to obtain approval of the Maori chiefs, the latter interpretation reflects the benign intent of the christian socialists in power at the time. Colonialism with a friendly face.

      For Brash to use that as a pledge, as a basis for spinning the delusion into ideology, is flawed political strategy that fails to integrate identity politics. Out of touch.

    • I thought Don Brash was supposed to be smart? “One people” don’t have a treaty between them, for fairly obvious reasons.

  13. Ed 14

    The most common sense I’ve heard on Brexit.

    • joe90 14.1

      Red-brown alliance cites mad monk’s former chief of staff.

      /

    • FFS, Ed.

      A right wing reporter on right wing TV station endorsing the fantasy aspects of the Rees Mogg/Farage hard Brexit option, recorded on a youtube channel run by a US rightwing nutter who calls himself 50 Patriots*.

      And you reckon it’s the most common sense thing you’ve heard on Brexit.

      You’ve been repeatedly counselled, warned and banned for spamming the site. Cease doing it, please.

      *here’s the arsehat’s fake news site. Hold your nose, anyone tempted to visit.

      https://50patriots.com/

      • Ed 14.2.1

        As you know I regularly link to George Galloway.
        Like him and John Wight, I support Lexit – a left wing exit from Europe.

      • mauī 14.2.2

        This is Ed’s first video post on Open Mike today. How is that spamming?

        • fender 14.2.2.1

          Oh please be quiet, it could be another trap, it would be disastrous to lose any of you Putin lovers, some of us would cry forever..

          • Ed 14.2.2.1.1

            Opposing the US’s propaganda in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine does not make anyone a supporter of Russia or China.
            It simply shows some critical thinking.
            Silencing the dissenting voices and creating witch hunts reminds me of McCartyism and Salem.

            • joe90 14.2.2.1.1.1

              McCartyism and Salem.

              McCarthyism was campaign to root out alleged communists and destroy their lives. Salem was part of a long, Christian campaign of terror to suppress female sexuality and demonise women who rejected male authority.

              Neither event has any relevance to the daily derision of your habitual spamming and puritopian wrongheadedness.

              • francesca

                Of the 20 witches who were tried and executed 6 were men
                Several other men escaped from prison , died in prison , or escaped arrest
                Their accusers were men and women , and female sexuality wasn’t really part of it
                https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-brief-history-of-the-salem-witch-trials-175162489/
                Most people’s knowledge of the Salem witch trials derives from Miller’s play
                The Crucible, which was intended as an allegory of McCarthyism

                • joe90

                  In arch AF italics …part of a long, Christian campaign of terror….

                  /

                  • francesca

                    I don’t think you can blame Christianity alone, when we’re talking about Salem , whose witch trials came about when the European with hunts had all but ended
                    A peculiar mix of circumstances came together, Christianity was part of it but not the fundamental cause.
                    Refugees from the war with France flooded in to Salem There was pressure on resources, people were under social and physical distress
                    Existing family rivalries were exacerbated, and a particularly severe minister stirred the trouble further, and mass hysteria was the result
                    Mass hysteria can occur in even the most agnostic times.
                    I think Ed’s parallels are apt

          • mauī 14.2.2.1.2

            Another one who wants to silence commentary. How odious. Have you holidayed in a Soviet republic before? I heard they silence people there too, you would love it.

            • Ed 14.2.2.1.2.1

              Many want to would silence you, Morrissey and I and turn this place into a Tony Blair fanboi message board.

              • Andre

                How about running that little experiment? The three of you could take a holiday for maybe a month or two and we’ll all see how TS changes.

                • Ed

                  The McCarthyite bully boys would love that.

                  Then everyone could hear MI5, Svoboda , al Nusra and White Helmet propaganda unquestioningly.

            • solkta 14.2.2.1.2.2

              That is too ironic after just supporting Ed’s suggestion for re-education and labour camps for Climate Change and Holocaust deniers.

              • Ed

                Not Labour camps.
                Places where you could see the impacts of climate catastrophe.

                • solkta

                  You said:

                  they should be sent to Bangladesh to build sea walls

                  • mauī

                    That is not a labour camp. There are many volunteer organizations that do good work for others overseas. Maybe that was what Ed was talking about, but we will never know now after the continual stream of abuse that heads Eds way.

                    • solkta

                      If they are forced to go there and labour then it is a labour camp. Ed could have not meant anything else:

                      Unfortunately he and Richardson have reach.
                      If they continue to wilfully lie about climate change after a brief education course, then they should be sent to Bangladesh to build sea walls.

                      But i am starting to think as others that you are Ed. You are just too feeble to be real.

                  • Ed

                    Working alongside locals, they can also see the solution.
                    They learn altruism as well as the impacts of climate catastrophe.
                    Our system programmes people to be selfish.
                    This will help them feel part of community.

                    Climate justice.

                • solkta

                  and also most deniers these days are the “it’s just a natural cycle” type rather than the “it’s not happening” type so no point in showing them the impacts.

        • te reo putake 14.2.2.2

          There’s no daily quota on spam.

      • Stunned Mullet 14.2.3

        ‘*here’s the arsehat’s fake news site. Hold your nose, anyone tempted to visit.’

        If you want a really twilight zone read and need some light relief TRP have a visit to the Blacks for Trump website.

        Gods2.com

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/23/the-strange-story-of-that-blacks-for-trump-guy-standing-behind-potus-at-his-phoenix-rally/?utm_term=.7fddd81710ce

      • Draco T Bastard 14.2.4

        And even those on the right-wing fringe can get things right. Maybe not often but occasionally.

        • Ed 14.2.4.1

          On this occasion I agree with the anchor’s opinion.

        • te reo putake 14.2.4.2

          The problem is it’s right, all right, but not correct. The silliest bit is the ‘don’t pay a penny’ line, which is the rallying call of people even further to the right than Farage. The deal when you enter the EU is that there is a cost if you want to leave. Same as pulling out of your broadband contract early. You want out, you pay for the privilege.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.2.4.2.1

            I didn’t say that I was agreeing with it.

            I was addressing what appears to be an ad hominem attack by you on the author of the video.

            • te reo putake 14.2.4.2.1.1

              And I didn’t say I thought you were agreeing with it.

              There’s no ad hom. Check the link I provided. Scroll through the ‘news’ stories. Look for the one about the Queen berating Theresa May. I think nutter is a mild and almost diplomatic term in that context.

              • Draco T Bastard

                But how does that apply to their opinion on Brexit?
                What’s your thoughts upon their opinion on Brexit?

                You seem to be focussing on the person and not their argument.

                • Well, it is a one man fake news site, Draco! The political position in the vid’s editorial is the Farage/Rees Mogg hard Brexit line, something I’ve already noted.

                  • Macro

                    I see some sanity has occurred in the British House of Commons. Labour and some tories have just voted against a Hard Brexit. Ed will be pleased.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      “On the eve of Wednesday’s debate, the government suffered an embarrassing defeat when 20 Tory MPs joined forces with Labour to signal their opposition to a no-deal Brexit.”

                      “There will be five days of discussion on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and future relations with the EU ahead of an expected vote next Tuesday.” https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46805269

  14. Ed 15

    A crash is coming.
    I have warned about this before and now the World Bank is waving flags as well.
    It seems that rising levels of debt are about to tip the world economy over.
    Brace yourselves.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12187606

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      The economy cannot sustain debt that carries interest especially when the creation of that debt also created the money as happens in our private banking system.

      • Ed 15.1.1

        And debt levels are above 2007/8.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1

          Of course they are – it was only through creating lots of money most of which was created through debt that ‘saved’ the economy. The inevitable result being that it must crash again.

          There is only one way where creating money actually works and that is the government creating it and then spending it into the economy: A UBI, extraction of the nations resources, funding hospitals and power generation etcetera.

          But if we did that then the capitalists would lose power and all their profit pretty much over night.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 15.2

      Just hit the reset button and start off fresh. The sky isn’t going to cave in.

      Let the Banks fall over, start of fresh with new rules. Simple ?

  15. Exkiwiforces 16

    Not sure if anyone has seen this?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/109788227/toxic-wasteland-takes-over-healthy-southland-estuary

    Would Robert G and Dave Kennedy or both care to comment on what has or isn’t happening IRT Southland Regional Council in sorting this mess out.

    Cheers, EXF

    • Robert Guyton 16.1

      Hi, EXF
      Sobering stuff. I’m a councillor on the Southland Regional Council (Environment Southland) but my comments here are my own opinions 🙂
      That estuary is in a very bad state indeed. I’ve been involved in the council workshops, presentations, public meetings and informal discussions with the “players” for some time now and the situation is parlorous and complex. The call is, there’s no point in blaming anyone for this, but that seems naive to me, at least, identifying the contributors to the problem is necessary, I believe, so that a realistic picture can be formed. That said, there are few who haven’t contributed over a long time; from farmers up stream in the catchment, to city folk who have contributed to the “dump” that sits on the estuary’s edge. Industry too, with the blessings of the city council, have used the estuary as estuaries have been used in New Zealand, very carelessly indeed. The council responsible for changing the physical form of the estuary too, must bear responsibility, and that’s likely us, responding to the demands of the farming and city communities, seeking protection from floods. The complexities of all that would take an age to explore and it’s the same old story told world-wide; humans exerting their power over the land for their own (perceived) gain. Estuaries have the unfortunate but not unknown habit of flocculating suspended materials; silt, dirt, muck of all sorts, when that material hits salty water. It falls to the bed and lies there. If flows are reduced, the muck builds up. That’s happened here in spades. And there’s more to it, much more; nitrates from farming and city sewerage, heavy metals from industry and sewerage, duck hunting even, wash-off from city streets, nickel from the rooves of houses…the list is a sickening one, literally. You wouldn’t swim in there, though they did in the past (Pleasure Bay, don’tchaknow!)
      Approaches to solving the problem are being made, but I’m not holding my breath. Some cases are lost This one has the whiff of disaster about it, but others are more optimistic (dredge it out, some say; with what, to where??? – there are so many twists and turns to this particular problem and many others like it throughout the country. I support those anguishing over it and trying to mobilise all parties to …do something, including our own councillors and staff, but it’s a biggie and already pretty dire. I’m ordinarily quite optomistic, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, but I can’t see a way out of this one…others are more upbeat about the New River estuary though, big ups to Liz Craig and the members of the community who are supporting her efforts to at least bring all this out into the light of day for investigation. If you have some specific questions or suggestions, I’d be happy to have a go at a sensible response to them.
      Robert

      • Pat 16.1.1

        the cost of the clean up always exceeds any perceived cost saving from the original acts….more externalities…f** k we are a stupid animal

        • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.1

          Yep and our continuation to put business and profit on a pedestal isn’t helping.

      • WeTheBleeple 16.1.2

        You have to get all stakeholders to the table. That includes reticent Farmers, industry, council…

        If we can clean up the inputs recovery may be possible in time. Without dealing with the sources we are just wasting money on band aids.

        Road drainage might be diverted to a wetland with metal recovering plants. These can be harvested regularly and used by industry.

        Farms need to cut down the nitrates and phosphates and might be helped through a conversion to a mixed cropping model that utilises farm wastes for hungry crops instead of going to waste in the estuary. No till crop and stock rotation.

        Tilling needs to be banned.

        Each Industries outlets need to be tested and monitored. Trace the point sources and charge them, and all the non-point sources are the responsibility of the farmers and everyone else in the catchment who contributes fertilisers and cides to the equation.

        Everyone is to blame. Get them on board together to fix it.

        • Robert Guyton 16.1.2.1

          That’s pretty much what’s happening, WTB – all parties at the table (a talking table) sharing the history of the estuary and trying not to dump on any sector in particular, so that’s a good start. But solutions, even of the sort you describe – will they save the estuary, turn it from it’s descent into toxicity? That’s the question. I liken the focus on the estuary to a focus on the refuse site that borders it – can that be cleaned up? I doubt it, at least as far as effort-in, result-out is concerned. Some stuff-ups are unfixable, at least at this point in time, I reckon. Some streams are buggered, being underground, in pipes now, and so on. We’ve damaged the place and in some/many instances, trying to fix those places is a vain pursuit, Imo. We’ve suffered and are continuing to suffer, loss. That’s a fact. Now, what can we do about what we have left, or rather, what’s left. It ain’t ours, but it is, in a large part, our responsibility, having wrecked the havoc in the first place. Let’s get busy.

          • WeTheBleeple 16.1.2.1.1

            Well, the first thing to do is to get those hands understandably thrown into the air back on the table. The practices that led us here must be curtailed. That is the point source and non point source contributors need to amend to sustainable practice.

            The Dump… I’d take it out of commission to start with. Then bring in a hydrogeomorphologist to see if we might stop the leaching at some point in the landscape. Then I’d be inclined to throw a massive clay / mulch cap on the dump, and use metal hyperaccumulating plants and saprobic fungi to begin the cleanup job as well as methane towers to collect and use the gases. Eventually it can be a public green space. Somewhere to visit but not reside.

            I live on an old dump site. Fortunately it is pre-industrial. Old bottles, bits of glass and pottery come up from time to time. I covered the place in Brassica junceaea and sunflowers, with mulch and selected fungi. To be sure. These got composted and the compost put under non-edibles.

            Big jobs have to be broken into chunks, like the planet, or it gets overwhelming fast. We’ve all had a bit of overwhelm lately…

            I’m very happy you have everyone at the table. Look to nature to do most of the work for you. Hyperaccumulators, fungi, mangroves. How can you humans assist the system rather than continue to disrupt?

            Ease off the inputs. Extract poisons. Restore life.

            The dredging plan I have no idea. Do tides move the stuff round? Could you drop some rocks to force tidal action to disperse it?

            • Robert Guyton 16.1.2.1.1.1

              The tides are neutered in this case – some but not enough to move much. The dump has been decommissioned for some time and procedures put in place, as well as barriers, but it leaks as they all do – mostly. The range of poisonous inputs is vast, as with most estuaries near or beside cities. Everything ends up in there. Only when the realisation comes, that estuaries are our kidneys, do we get shocked enough to attend to the problems, but people die of stuffed kidneys and there’s no fixing a terminal one. Whether this one’s terminal is not known but there are glum faces amongst the scientific community and I’m normally pretty cheerful but…mangroves don’t grow here (perhaps we could GE a bunch to thrive in the cold!) and most fungi don’t like salt. There will be solutions to each of the issues, but whether they can realistically be employed in this case is another matter altogether. I watched Stamets again last night – what a wild-card!

              • WeTheBleeple

                Stamets – Yeah I was going to name a new species after him but the fungi perished before we could get the DNA, a Psilocybe that acted like a Coprinus self destructing in sunlight. Too ephemeral for science…

                Nature will assist in the cleanup harnessing the sun is a valid economic strategy. Takes some thinking about though.

                No mangroves! What is in the ecological niche?

                • WeTheBleeple

                  Dead turkey tail (Tramatese versicolor) and oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius) mycelia removed mercury from a water column. External structures on the mycelia bond the metals without requiring the organisms alive. Similarly, some species of seaweed can be used in this manner for various metals.

                  Some local seaweeds might be remediating at some level. Test what they’re accumulating, and what background levels of metals they’re tolerating. If some load up on metals, can these be periodically/sustainably harvested to bring down overall environmental metals? Provided you deal with the source, these type of efforts will contribute to environmental restoration over time.

                  A screening of mycelial types might also yield useful results/products fast. With a raft of problematic substances you will likely need a suite of organisms to deal with it.

                  If you want to grow out bulk Tramatese – they grow on tree privet prolifically.

                  You could email Paul directly. He’s open to communicating.

      • Exkiwiforces 16.1.3

        Thanks for your reply Robert,

        I wasn’t quite sure if you were still involved with Southland Regional Council. It at least there are a number of options on the table.

        I’m wondering if growing/ re-establishing the Flax plantations along the various rivers/ creeks would work as in the past when Flax grown in the area and was also harvested for making rope, seat cushions etc before the introduction of man made fibres in the 60’s – 70’s which killed of the industry by the early 80’s. Therefore reducing NZ’s dependence POL base products and therefore helping the environment and creating jobs in the Southland Regional.

        I’ve notice that one of the other major Southland Rivers has been in the news of late and now Gore is now looking at have water restrictions being put in place.

        Talk about rolling with the punches atm Robert.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.2

      Yeah, not surprised.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 16.3

      What a mess ?

  16. Dennis Frank 17

    Just saw a cool story on 3News, but couldn’t find it on Newshub’s website – hope they post it later. It’s about this place setting up in Chch: https://www.cannabis.kiwi.nz/

    The story featured their cafe which currently features non-thc cannabis foods, and a couple of supportive interviews with dudes of colourful character. I found a story from last year about the opening of the Dunedin original. “It is the only dedicated cannabis museum in the country, and one of five around the world.” https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/103089740/420-coffees-at-dunedins-newlyopened-cannabis-museum

  17. cleangreen 18

    ‘Road transport is our biggest emitter of climate change emissions now ‘

    So we need to go back to rail.

    One truck produces 100 times more greenhouse gases than one car.

    We need at least a ‘targeted plan to move freight back to rail’ – as road freight is the largest transport emitter of greenhouse gases.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/01/vehicles-climate-change-emissions-trump-administration

    • Draco T Bastard 18.1

      One truck produces 100 times more greenhouse gases than one car.

      And a type 44 truck, the most common for long distance deliveries, cause 138000 times the damage as a car.

  18. Dennis Frank 19

    Wanna know why slow learners always vote National/Labour? Leftist political thought always held to the tenet that people will rebel against oppression and exploitation. Ever wondered why so many don’t? Now there’s a theory to explain it:

    “In a series of provocative studies, a team led by political psychologist John Jost explored how people responded to undesirable default conditions. Compared to European Americans, African Americans were less-satisfied with their economic circumstances but perceived economic inequality as more legitimate and just.”

    Huh??! “Compared to people in the highest income bracket, people in the lowest income bracket were 17% more likely to view economic inequality as necessary.” Huh??!

    “And when asked whether they would support laws that limit the rights of citizens and the press to criticize the government if enacting such legislation was necessary to solve our nation’s problems, twice as many people in the lowest income bracket were willing to give up the right to free speech as those in the highest income bracket.”

    You’ll be wanting, at this point, to recycle the old saying `stupid is as stupid does’. In the hope that nobody asks you to explain it, no doubt! Not so fast! Idiocy may not be the common factor in these three situations.

    “After finding that disadvantaged groups consistently support the status quo more than advantaged groups, Jost and his colleagues concluded: “People who suffer the most from a given state of affairs are paradoxically the least likely to question, challenge, reject, or change it.” To explain this peculiar phenomenon, Jost’s team developed a theory of system justification.”

    Right, so this must explain why the masses keep voting for business as usual despite the evidence that it keeps making everything worse. “Justifying the default system serves a soothing function. It’s an emotional pain-killer: if the world is supposed to be this way, we don’t need to be dissatisfied with it. But acquiescence also robs us of the moral outrage to stand against injustice and the creative will to consider alternative ways that the world could work.”

    [Quotes from Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World, Adam Grant 2016. Foreword by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She writes “Adam is one of the most important influences in my life.”]

    Emotional intelligence has been influential since Goleman’s book on it appeared, but I haven’t seen the obvious link to politics that has been revealed by the above social science research before. If there’s a hormonal bias against change-makers, and collective survival depends on mass change, then we need convergence of political science and political psychology asap!

  19. joe90 20

    Distressed not a Muslim anymore syndrome is a thing.

    The Saudi teenager who barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel and begged for asylum from Australia could have her wish granted.

    Australia confirmed on Tuesday night that it was deeply concerned about the plight of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, 18, and confirmed it would likely grant her a humanitarian visa – if the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) determined her claims are genuine.

    However, her case has also raised questions over why Australia has moved so swiftly to open the door for refugee protection for the social media-savvy teenager as thousands of other asylum seekers languish without resettlement.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/01/08/rahaf-alqunun-visa-saudi/

    A Saudi Arabian woman, 18, has been deemed a refugee and is being considered for asylum in Australia, after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room to avoid being deported to her family.

    Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun’s asylum claim was deemed to be genuine on Wednesday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which referred her to Australia to be considered for resettlement.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/01/09/rahaf-saudi-teen-refugee-australia/

  20. Hmmmmm….

    Sasquatch footage enhancement & New Zealand’s bigfoot – the …

  21. Ed 22

    Chomsky on the nonsense about Corbyn and anti-semitism.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DwdFiJiXQAA1nOZ?format=jpg&name=medium

  22. Eco Maori 23

    Collector have been part of the effect that has caused George and his whano to die out become extinked. You see money big money paid for rear species is what is causing a lot of tanemahuta creatures to go extink we need to put a value on saving these creatures

    This Land is Your Land Hawaii
    ‘Voice of the forest’: George the snail, last of his kind, dies at age 14
    Climate change and invasive predators have taken a heavy toll on native animals and insects in the Hawaiian Islands
    As New Year’s Day broke in the Hawaiian Islands, one rare creature was not there to emerge from his shell and greet it: George, the last snail of his kind and a local celebrity, was dead at age 14.

    World’s oldest known wild bird to become a mother for the 37th time
    Read more

    The passing of George, a member of the Achatinella apexfulva species and a tree snail who fed on tree fungus, algae and bacteria, epitomizes the decline of biodiversity on the Hawaiian islands, where climate change and invasive predators have taken a heavy toll on native animals and insects. Snails like George also played a part in the songs and stories of native Hawaiian culture, which holds that snails make sounds and are “the voice of the forest”.
    George, who never lived in an actual forest, was still a mascot for endangered Hawaiian snails. After a pathogen outbreak in the lab where he lived, he became the only surviving member of his species and was visited by hundreds, if not thousands, of schoolchildren. Despite his celebrity status, George wasn’t the prettiest snail to look at. David Sischo, the snail extinction prevention program coordinator for the Hawaii Invertebrate Program, described him as “old and grizzled” and said that George was also “bit of a hermit”, who would stay in his shell at times when most other nocturnal snails emerge. Although scientists had hoped that George, a hermaphrodite, would have offspring, his solitary life ruled out that possibilit
    Snails like George used to be ubiquitous throughout the Hawaiian islands. In fact, the Achatinella apexfulva was the very first snail species to be written about by non-native scientists, said Sischo. In the 1780s, when British captain George Dickson arrived in Hawaii, he was given a lei made with the shells of George’s ancestors. Back then, the snails hung from trees in giant clusters, easy pickings for scientists and collectors. “In a few minutes I collected several hundred specimens, picking them from trees and low bushes as rapidly as one would gather huckleberries from a prolific field,” a collector named DD Baldwin wrote in 1887.

    ‘The entire habitat is gone’: Hawaii’s natural wonders claimed by lava
    Read more

    At that time, Hawaiian land snails existed in a mind-boggling 752 varieties – about as many as exist in the mainland US and Canada combined. The snails likely arrived by hitchhiking on sea birds that came to the islands millions of years ago, where they thrived and developed into different species – many of which are only found in a single area of one forest on one island. They had no natural predators, and even after the Polynesians brought rats to the island, still lived in abundance. But when Europeans began arriving, that all changed. Ka kite ano links below .

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/08/george-the-snail-tree-snail-hawaiian-islands-biodiversity

  23. Eco Maori 24

    Some Eco Maori Music dedcated to you know who.

  24. Eco Maori 25

    Some Eco Maori Music for the minute P.S busy with the mokopunas .

  25. Eco Maori 26

    Kia ora Newshub It’s sad that some young people don’t respect our elderly people like they deserve that robbery of the 92 year old Wahine. That’s a big scare that Winton Ruffe the NZ soccer play haveing a sudden heart attack condolences. Some fools have nothing better to do than send false massage that causes stress for others a bomb scare sent to Air New Zealand he got a free flight home. I say E scooter are cool just need laws to keep them civil. trump is spraying Wai all over America. Milisa I seen that story on the Guardian site the government over allocated water for iragation to cotton growers in Australia what a shame all the native fish dieing off because of low water left in the lake. Walking cars or cars that can climb up Rock pile is awesome the next 20 years is going to be advanceing real. fast Simon. Ka kite ano P.S just about to post last night and it got deleted

  26. Eco Maori 27

    You know all know who Eco Maori is dedicated this to

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