Open mike 10/08/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 10th, 2023 - 96 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 …

96 comments on “Open mike 10/08/2023 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Further to the situation I posted to DR last night, there's more obfuscation on the energy resilience front from the govt:

    Cabinet said on Wednesday investigations will continue into both the Lake Onslow pumped-hydro project and a “portfolio” approach to electricity generation including geothermal and biomass for meeting New Zealand’s future energy needs.

    Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods says Cabinet has agreed the strategic and economic details of both should be scrutinised before a decision is made mid-next year on which option to pursue.

    A North Island pumped-hydro project and investment in green hydrogen as “dry year” solutions have been dropped.

    The further work could soak up $69 million of the project’s total $100 million feasibility budget. Over $20 million has been spent investigating the Onslow option already, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says. Construction of the scheme or the alternative projects could begin in 2027 or 2028.

    Kicking the can down the road into the next electoral cycle has become Labour's favourite political tactic. For a positive take on this you could say they're being honest in admitting inability to cope – you'd be kidding yourself, though, since they haven't admitted any such inadequacy!

    Spending millions investigating schemes is sensible to discern details, feasibility, implications, etc. Too bad the process always takes forever to complete.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Kiwis unimpressed by our mainstream left/right political leaders now poll at 73%:

    According to The Guardian Essential poll, released on Wednesday, only about 27 percent of New Zealanders believe Labour leader Chris Hipkins and National's Christopher Luxon were appealing options to lead the country.

    This measure of popular opinion translates into voter collective opinion. Unfair to Chris & Chris, who have worked so hard to be as bland as possible? Doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. Our leadership vacuum will persist regardless. Democracy rules.

  3. Stephen D 3

    We all love a good foreign policy scrap. Pablo not mincing words regarding Helen Clark’s latest comments.

    “If I were to be charitable, I would simply say that Clark and her fellow travellers need to understand that the PRC of 2008, when the FTA was negotiated, no longer exists. Gone is the relative openness and transparency of the CCP regime led by Hu Jintao and in its wake has risen the repressive and expansionist regime led by Xi Jinping. Clark and others may wax nostalgic for a past where the PRC would adopt liberal internationalist principles when it comes to foreign affairs and join the community of nations as a democratising Great Power, but that sadly has not happened. Instead, Xi has consolidated his grip on power, increased authoritarian powers against civil society, moved to culturally extinguish restive minorities like the Uyghurs, and de facto annexed Hong Kong while sabre-rattling against Taiwan and usurping the maritime territory of its littoral neighbours around the South China Sea. All while expanding its military capabilities (including its nuclear arsenal) and conducting global political influence (United Front) and espionage campaigns that include large-scale as well as focused cyber intrusions, intimidation of diaspora populations and industrial-size patent and copyright theft. That in turn has reconfigured the threat environment in which NZ is situated. The recently released package of NZ security documents pointedly make reference to these facts, among other things.”

  4. The Chairman 4

    In 2021 the Government announced its commitment to The International Just Transition Declaration.

    Acknowledging the transition to a low carbon future needs to be a fair and equitable leaving no community, family or person behind.

    Do you believe the Government is living up to its commitment made in this international declaration?

    For example, the cost of carbon is built into the price of goods. Therefore, are people's incomes taken into account when they are billed for their power use? When purchasing petrol or food, are low income earners given a discount?

    How is the Government meeting its obligation to a just transition, ensuring no one is left behind?

    • Phillip ure 4.1

      Low income power consumers who are forced into using pre-paid electricity….they pay the highest rates of all..

      As they have no other options…they can be royally screwed..and they are .

      Isn't the market a wonderful thing..?

      And funny story…I actually thought this would be one of the first gross inequities/exploitations of the powerless..that a transforming labour majority govt would rush to fix..

      Silly me..!…eh..?

      • The Chairman 4.1.1

        Going off their reported stance re the BlackRock deal, the Greens also don't seem to care about the increasing cost of power.

        The Green Party says the government's collaboration with BlackRock is an important step along the country's journey towards 100 percent renewable electricity generation.

        • arkie

          “Climate action and support for energy poor households should be a core design feature of our electricity market,” says Green Party’s energy and resources spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter.

          “Access to clean, affordable energy is an essential component of dignified life, yet successive governments have designed an electricity market that puts shareholder profit ahead of public interest.

          “As today’s report shows, these design flaws have led to massive under investment in generating capacity and low carbon technologies.

          “National’s partial privatisation of the electricity market in 2014, in particular, has held back climate action, promoted fossil fuels, and left households much worse off.

          “Burning fossil fuels and keeping bills higher than necessary has become a strategy for profiteering that Mr. Luxon seems eager to promote.

          “The fundamental failures of past governments cannot be addressed through incremental improvements while leaving the underlying design of the system intact.

          “The Green Party is clear that the imperative to invest in a climate-friendly future is too important to outsource.

          “Massive electricity profits should be reinvested into renewables, action to reduce household bills, and local clean energy projects, such as shared or community energy.

          “An excess profit tax can help address the immediate challenges we face, while work is done to redesign the electricity market to build the better, cleaner and more equal future our children deserve.

          “In a strong position to shape the direction of the next government, the Green Party will accelerate a just transition to a clean energy future where people and communities are better off than they are today,” says Julie Anne Genter.

          • weka

            go easy on the long copypasta please.

          • The Chairman

            That statement from Genter is all good. But their support for the BlackRock deal goes against that stance.

            For example, she says successive governments have designed an electricity market that puts shareholder profit ahead of public interest. Which is largely what the BlackRock deal is going to further do.

            • arkie

              Their support of BlackRock deal is conditional on the yet-to-be-announced details and stresses that any action that moves us towards 100% renewables is a good thing:

              Its co-leader James Shaw said that the country had a massive challenge ahead in electrifying transport and heavy industry.

              In terms of New Zealand, BlackRock has announced "a country specific fund designed to enable a whole country to decarbonise in a very short period of time", he said.

              That did not address the whole challenge, but it was a step along the journey, Shaw said.

              "As long as we're providing alternatives for people to put their money into I think what you'll see is less investment in the fossil fuel industry and more investment in renewables."

              Shaw said while BlackRock had a few questions to answer regarding where it was investing, he believed the fund would lead to less investment in fossil fuel and more in renewables.


              A party vote for the Greens would increase their ability to pressure Labour to do better.

              • weka

                Their support of BlackRock deal is conditional on the yet-to-be-announced details

                Is it? I was under the impression that Labour had basically take a position of trusting BR to do the right thing. I was disappointed in Shaw's statement tbh, even allowing for the constraints of the L/G government agreement.

                • arkie

                  No one has seen the specifics of the deal so we are all responding to the announcement conditionally. I am certain that if there are significant concerns when more is known, the criticism will be forthright. The important part is the belief in the announcements purpose of 100% renewables, objectively a good thing given the urgency of the climate crisis, but the proof will be in the pudding.

                  • weka

                    Woods on RNZ the day of the accouncement (sorry, don't remember which show) was asked about issues like ethical investment, and it really did come across like Labour haven't built those safeguards in.

              • The Chairman

                Stressing that any action that moves us towards 100% renewables is a good thing is the problem with this current Green lot.

                Too focused on the Green issue while not really caring about the cost to low income earners and the other negatives that come with taking a market approach.

                The market approach is something largely expected from National, ACT, or Labour. But seeing the Greens being happy about a market approach is very disappointing.

                • arkie

                  The Greens really do cop it from every angle don't they. Criticised for not being an environmental party and too focused of social equity while also being criticised for being too focused on green issues and not caring about low income earners.

                  'Being happy about a market approach' is a misrepresentation of Shaw's statement. Just remind me which parties are advocating for fairer taxation and an income guarantee?

                  • weka

                    a wilful misrepresentation. I'm mindful that TC has a long history of using TS to slag off the government without much substance.

                    Whatever my disappointment about Shaw's response, it's an idiocy to frame his or the GP position as 'happy with a market approach'.

        • Roy Cartland

          Or have you got it arse-backwards?

          Of course they care about rising costs; the higher costs that will come if we DON'T change now.

    • weka 4.2

      For example, the cost of carbon is built into the price of goods. Therefore, are people's incomes taken into account when they are billed for their power use? When purchasing petrol or food, are low income earners given a discount?

      Odd framing. The government doesn't own the power companies, nor petrol stations, nor food outlets.

      Here's the Just Transition Declaration

      It has six points, might be good to use the actual framework in the Declaration,

      1. Support for workers in the transition to new jobs
      2. Support and promote social dialogue and stakeholder engagement
      3. Economic Strategies
      4. Local, inclusive, and decent work
      5. Supply chains
      6. Paris Agreement reporting and Just Transition
      • The Chairman 4.2.1

        Odd framing. The government doesn't own the power companies, nor petrol stations, nor food outlets.

        The Government imposes the carbon cost on them, which they then pass on to us. Making no allowance to ensure it is passed on in a just, fair or equitable way.

        • weka

          There is nothing in Just Transition that says everyone should be subsidised by the government as society forces businesses to pay for their pollution. If you think there is, you have failed fundamentally to understand what JT is.

          Maybe put up an actual example of what you are talking about.

          • The Chairman

            How is the Government going to ensure a just transition without subsidising low income earners, ensuring no one is left behind?

            • arkie

              A party that rules out a fairer taxation system is unlikely to be overly concerned about people being left behind is it?

              • Shanreagh

                A party that rules out a fairer taxation system is unlikely to be overly concerned about people being left behind is it?

                You have not linked to which party this is but I'm picking Labour….to which I reply

                Really? There is more than one way of skinning a cat as that horrible expression goes. The Greens wealth tax was just an election policy, a policy like the dental policy, populist, possibly with suspect costings ( I felt this about the wealth tax and the release of the Treasury work confirmed it……the figures from the Greens did not need to include the family home nor start at $2m to make a difference – Treasury was recommending $5m.

                Labour had been working on its own wealth tax, which in my view would have been much fairer and realistic. However the fallout from wealth tax discussions, I'm guessing in the groups that Labour was tapping into, has meant that wealth tax has been put aside.

                I have yet to see any of those who lauded the Greens tax look at and comment on the work that Labour was doing. It seemed to be much fairer, tackle the wealthy, leave out the family home from the calcs…. etc

                Treasury estimates reckoned the wealth tax would have hit about 25,000 people – the top 0.5 per cent of New Zealanders. Their total wealth reckoned to be $300b, or 26 per cent of the total wealth held by New Zealanders.




                ……Economic costs and other risks The wealth tax will incentivise taxpayers to change their behaviour in order to minimise their wealth tax liability. Some of these behavioural changes (which include migrating away from New Zealand and changes to saving and investment decisions) will impose costs on the wider economy.

                The wealth tax will also impose a significant compliance cost burden on taxpayers (relative to the compliance burden of most other taxes) and will come with some significant integrity risks.


                While the wealth tax is likely to meet your revenue and distributional objectives, this will come with economic and integrity costs. While there is uncertainty over the costs of the tax, these could be large. Some of these economic costs are inherent to any tax increase, but some are due to the nature of the wealth tax…….

                So there are other ways of increasing the tax take that do not involve a wealth tax eg stamp duty, death duty, financial transactions tax, higher tax take on higher incomes.

                It is noteworthy that the The Guardian Essential poll, does mention tax but in the context of take home pay ie bracket creep and adjustment of brackets.

                'Here is a list of things the Labour-led New Zealand government could try to deal with the rising cost of living.'

                one was 'cut income taxes'

                62% felt it was something that the Govt should do and that it would make difference.

                This seems to be a report well worth reading and dispels some myths and confirms others ie there is concern about energy prices and perhaps it is something a Govt could look at. I have been advocating this since the year dot.

                • arkie

                  'Here is a list of things the Labour-led New Zealand government could try to deal with the rising cost of living.'

                  one was 'cut income taxes'

                  62% felt it was something that the Govt should do and that it would make difference.

                  Strangely enough:

                  “The Green Party’s plan to ask the wealthiest 0.7 to pay their fair share through a wealth tax would pay for an Income Guarantee that would benefit over 3.7 million people. Under our plan, 95 percent of New Zealanders would receive a tax cut and have more money in their back pockets to cover life’s essentials.


                  • Shanreagh


                    The respondents talked about tax brackets etc not a wealth tax. That was my point.

                    Not all roads lead to The Greens wealth tax.

                    • arkie

                      Where are you whizzing off to?

                      The 'work' Labour were doing has being put aside though. All roads seem to lead to Labour ruling out tax changes doesn't it? It's all well and good to prefer a change that isn't coming, especially if you're not currently struggling financially. The Greens are offering 95% of people an income tax cut, something you point out 62% of people would favour.

                • weka

                  Really? There is more than one way of skinning a cat as that horrible expression goes. The Greens wealth tax was just an election policy, a policy like the dental policy, populist, possibly with suspect costings ( I felt this about the wealth tax and the release of the Treasury work confirmed it……the figures from the Greens did not need to include the family home nor start at $2m to make a difference – Treasury was recommending $5m.

                  Link to where Treasury have commented on the GP policy package, or retract please.

                  • Shanreagh

                    I have linked to the Treasury papers on the wealth tax several times.I think you have misread what i was saying.

                    I had doubts about the Greens wealth tax particularly about the level of $2m and the fact that it caught the family home. I felt instinctively that the level was too low, for city dwellers and those who had opted to save for thier retirement and that the policy to include the family home was also unfair.

                    When the Treasury papers came out they illustrated that a level of $5m in assets and not including the family home would generate significant amounts. To me this reinforced what i was saying. I have not said the Treasury analysed the Greens policy.

                    [please link to the Treasury report now so that people can see what you are talking about – weka]

                    • weka

                      mod note.

                    • weka

                      I think you need to be more careful in how you say things. You have stated that the Greens tax policy has suspect costings, "the release of the Treasury work confirmed it".

                      If that's not what you meant, you appear to be conflating two separate pieces of work (GP policy, Treasury work on tax), and somehow saying that the Treasury work has bearing on the GP policy, despite them being separate work.

                      From reading your comments in the past, the Treasury work wasn't about funding a GMI, free dental etc, so it's really a nonsense to be comparing the two things in this way. All you are saying is that you like the Treasury work better, which is fine, but it's not about eliminating poverty.

                    • weka

                      thanks. A cursory look tells me this was prepared by Treasury for the government (Labour), for the purposes of,

                      This report provides officials’ policy advice on the effectiveness of a net wealth tax (a “wealth tax”) in achieving your revenue and distributional objectives, as well as the likely economic costs and other risks associated with the tax.

                      In other words, this is about Labour objectives, it's nothing to do with the Greens' objectives.

                    • Shanreagh

                      Granted I see that see that I should punctuated more clearly and will do this more carefully in future.

                      I am not conflating.

                      I am on record, like a cracked record actually, not liking the Greens wealth tax.

                      I am also on record at disagreeing with the need to set the level at $2m and at including the family home.

                      I am also on record disagreeing with including retirement savings.

                      I am also of the view and stated this more than once, that funding itnitiatives to eliminate poverty should be up front and centre of work on the Vote: budget of those departments that are responsble for this and not hidden away in this wealth tax.

                      The dental policy suffers the same flaws in my view plus others that Belladonna has mentioned.

                      The extension of the free allowance for dental work 'should be up from and centre of work on the Vote: budget of those departments that are responsble for this and not hidden away in this wealth tax.'

                      Because I have mentioned that the Treasury in its work on a wealth tax did not see the need to include the family home not set the level at $2m does not mean I am conflating anything.

                      I think you need to be more careful in how you say things. You have stated that the Greens tax policy has suspect costings, "the release of the Treasury work confirmed it". (from Weka)

                      I have not stated this at all, all along I have stated my view about the costings.

                      If that's not what you meant, you appear to be conflating two separate pieces of work (GP policy, Treasury work on tax), and somehow saying that the Treasury work has bearing on the GP policy, despite them being separate work. (from Weka)

                      Treasury work has bearing on the GP policy, despite them being separate work.

                      I have not said this at all. I have said my view is I trust the costings from Treasury more than the Greens costings…

                      I have disagreed with the wealth tax and, by extension, the using of of it as a funding mechanism for specific initiatives. Election policies followed by Departmental budgets through the yearly budget rounds are the places for initiatives like eliminating poverty and extending dental care.

                      I have also mentioned several times the fact that from my experience in the PS The Treasury does not like the concept of tied taxes. The wealth tax and its pre-ordained use is what they call a tied tax. It diminishes the amount of money that a govt has to allocate to pursue its policies.

                    • Shanreagh

                      In other words, this is about Labour objectives, it's nothing to do with the Greens' objectives.

                      I am so totally bewildered now.

                      I have never ever said The Treasury report was a report by Treasury on the Greens policy.

                      The Treasury paper was a summary of the work that the Treasury had been doing that Hipkins cancelled. He did this after widespread chatter (huge chatter I mentioned it myself) about wealth taxes, and the Greens one was the only one that was about so where did this chatter come from?

                      I was sad he did away with the work as, in my view, the Treasury figures seemed to have a robustness that I liked. I liked how they excluded the family home and they also seemed to signal that they were working on how to extract the family home on a money making farm business so it did not attract the wealth tax. They were also doing work on a retirement policy issue and that is the defined benefit plan and how it would be covered.

                      It has always been my views……

                    • weka []

                      You said,

                      the figures from the Greens did not need to include the family home nor start at $2m to make a difference – Treasury was recommending $5m.


                      This is where you are conflating two different things,

                      1. the GP policy, that included the family home, and had a $2m threshold for individuals
                      2. the treasury report that was for an entirely different purpose, that had a $5m threshold

                      If you did not mean to say that the GP policy didn’t need to have a threshold of $2m because Treasury recommended $5m, then please clarify now.

                    • Shanreagh

                      I repeat it was not my intention to conflate the Greens policy with the Treasury report.

                      I don't believe I did.

                      The Greens wealth tax came out before the wealth tax details that The Treasury was working on came out.

                      The Treasury papers came out after Hipkins had said he was not going ahead. It is my understanding the specific papers were released at that time either by OIA or because there was now no longer any need to keep the policy work in the orbit of 'free & frank' between Ministers/Treasury. There were some write-ups about high net worth individuals that had come out in the last year but these were by IRD.

                      My only intention was to compare the inputs/outputs both used. Comparing does not mean conflating.

                      At varsity we had endless 'compare and contrast' requirements, this kind of methodology flows through into any policy work looking at two or more alternatives. Forced comparisons are the stuff of strategic business planning exercises as well. The alternatives do not have to be like for like.

                      I did compare the two and I noted that Treasury in its work on a wealth tax had a $5m start and did not include the family home whereas The Greens policy did.

                      I have never said that the Greens should have been aware of the Govt's work on the wealth tax so how would anyone be beholden to the other. This is not part of my argument at all? The timings alone would have prevented that let alone the fact that The Greens not being able to access advice from The Treasury. Thye are two different papers discussing a possible wealth tax.

                      No forget the conflating it was just a straighforward comparison. Had both taxes been election policy I am sure there would be more people than just me saying 'Huh. They both want a tax but why does the Greens one come down so low in assets?'

                      Actually it would be a good question to get an answer to, as well as why the family home was included?

                      My opinion is that the work The Treasury was doing for the Govt on a wealth tax had a far better chance of being enacted, before the ‘horses were scared’. It seems fairer in that the family home was excluded and some forms of retirement planning as well…..both had been part of moves/encouragement by Govts in power and it seemed churlish to me to include them as wealth.

                      Treasury may have recognised this or it may have come about in discussions. You can see that there was further work on family homes on farms and some forms of retirement planning.

                      The end result of the Wealth tax is/was unimportant. Labour's was to fund the $10,000 tax free zone. I have always said that this is my opinion. So it was the set-up of the tax and not its end result that was my concern.


                      The wealth tax – which has since been ruled out by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins – would have meant about 46,000 individuals with net worth of more than $5 million had to pay 1.5% tax on that wealth.

            • weka

              You didn't specify low income people. Like I said, give us some specific examples so we know what you are talking about.

      • Blazer 4.2.2

        'In New Zealand electricity is generated by 4 major electricity generating companies. Genesis Energy, Mercury and Meridian Energy operate under a mixed ownership model in which the government holds a majority stake, while Contact is a private sector company.'

        Electricity industry | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (

        • weka

          so? I'm all for nationalising electricity in NZ. Or even more government intervention into the market. Anyone that wants a Just Transition should vote Green or TPM.

          • Dennis Frank

            It's an interesting philosophical position, which hinges on fundamentals like efficiency, equity, competence, systems design, incentive-structures.

            The historical reason the left abandoned socialism back in the 1970s is highly relevant – the more so due to never having been explained by leftists!!

            I recall the gist from the Rogernomes around statist constipation, stultifying bureaucracy, employing endless losers off the street, etc. So they wheeled in market forces and we got all sorts of other types of shit instead.

            The moral of the history is that centralised control systems only work well when they are well-designed, with effective incentives to motivate performance and work ethos, and competently managed. Do we trust either National or Labour to get this into their heads and produce the thing satisfactorily? Not a snowball's chance in hell. Most critical issue is accountability.

            So whereas I agree that nationalising electricity makes sense in principle, folks would need to see that it gives them equity of outcome & is designed well enough to make Aotearoa resilient nationwide. Regional/local governance would have to be catered for seamlessly in that design, transparent enough to give most folks confidence in the system.

          • Blazer

            So….' The government doesn't own the power companies'-you're wrong.

            • weka

              snort. Remind me how that particular business model enables the government to keep electricity prices low?

              • Descendant Of Smith

                Well the model allows the government to get one power company to go into debt to transfer assets to another power company to then pay that value into the government coffers.

                It clearly isn't a hands off model. It is just a right wing rort.

                The Government will receive a $521 million special dividend from Meridian Energy thanks to Genesis Energy borrowing money from its bankers to help pay for Meridian's Tekapo assets.

                State-owned Genesis borrowed $546 million from its senior bankers and is in the process of raising $275 million from investors to pay state-owned Meridian $821 million for the Tekapo A and B hydro stations.

                Meridian will pay the Government a special dividend of $521 million at the completion of the sale on June 1.

                That suggests the real value of the Tekapo stations is $300 million but the Government clicked the ticket along the way for $521 million by setting the price for the Tekapo assets and forcing Genesis to pay that price.


          • Ad

            Indeed if we can promise to spend $40+billion on tunnels for cars, and another $20+billion on Auckland isthmus light rail, with that kind of money they could buy out all the Mercury+Meridian+Genesis+Contact Energy and have enough left over to buy most of us an electric car as well.

            But good news they launched an Energy Transition plan yesterday. Great.

  5. adam 5

    Jim Cramer is a low life, and a suck up to corporate leaders. So many scum like this in NZ.

  6. arkie 6

    Excellent project to deal with the slash problem while also using ancient methods to improve that land:

    According to Mashaba, the project involved taking some of the abundance of slash scattered across the region, and burning it in a sealed environment, which turned it into bio-char.

    "It's controlled burning that's done in an enclosed container, and this keeps all the gases that could be going up, going back into the drum and burning, and then eventually they become part of the carbon, and form the charcoal that remains in the drum."

    The charcoal could then be activated with something like animal urine, which made it a nutrient-rich fertiliser for soil.

    "With the heavy flooding there's been a loss of nutrients [from] the soil, with that clear felling [of forestry plots] there's also been a lot of erosion of the soil itself, so what you then apply back as activated biochar will allow the land to heal."

    • Visubversa 6.1

      Back to Victorian era times for fertiliser! In those days the main waste products from households were wood ash from domestic fires and human waste. Everything else was recycled or sold.

      The contents of the pit toilets in your back yard, or the waste gunnels in streets were raked out, mixed with the household ash and carted off to be spread on fields.

      • arkie 6.1.1

        Biochar is a fantastic use of the slash clogging waterways and a great way to reduce fossil fuel sourced fertiliser use. It's an example of the more circular systems we need to return to, like nitrogen-fixing cover crops.

        • Dennis Frank

          Quite right. Seems to have special properties that scale up fertility for growers. I discovered it when I interviewed a local who'd been into it for a few years, about a decade back on GreenPlanetFM – he told the audience about how it had been used since ancient times in the Amazon.

          • gsays

            The properties that helps in soil is it's massive surface area in relation to its volume.

            It allows a strong mycorrhizal network to form thereby increasing the potency of the wood wide web.

            I could go on and on but don't wanna risk being a charcoal bore..

            Too late according to some that are close to me.

            • Dennis Frank

              Interesting point about the fine structure. I wonder if it scales down to the molecular level. If so, would explain fungal symbiosis (as catalyst).

              Is it a commercial product yet or do users still need to diy? You're clearly expert & may even be the guy I interviewed.

              • gsays

                I recall a stat along the lines of 1 teaspoon of charcoal has the same surface are as a rugby field.

                Biochar (crushed charcoal soaked in a liquid fert eg comfrey, chook pooh or seaweed 'tea') isn't a miracle nutrient more a potentiator of what already exists in the soil. Easiest made in a steel container (think conical skip bin, no lid) filled with wood burning on the top. The fire acts as a 'flame cap' preventing oxygen from getting to the wood below, allowing pyrolisis to occur.

                I like the Iwasaki kiln for a non moveable machine and there is the bonus of harvesting wood vinegar (pyroligneous acid), Here is a good once over of biochar, making charcoal and wood vinegar and other products. 15 minutes
                It is commercially available but my arms are too short and my pockets are too deep for that. Simple DIY is to get a clean coffee, Milo, or paint tin, punch several holes inthe lid. Fill the tin with dry sticks (willow twigs makes a great artist medium). and put the lid on. Put it on a fire/in a log burner and wait and watch. The wood gases will start leaving the tin and ignite. When this has abated, remove tin, open container and quench the charcoal with water. Then crush charcoal and put in bucket and pee on it. Leave for a week.

            • Shanreagh

              I wondered when you would comment. I am fascinated by your work and expositions on charcoal biomass and don't think you are a 'charcoal bore'.

              I would say that on TS you are our charcoal expert. smiley And we cannot be wrong!

              • gsays

                How very kind. blush

                Far from expert, but enthusiastic amateur. TBH the biochar was a branch (boom boom) I experimented with as a byproduct of making charcoal for my drum smoker and to make fireworks black powder with. 75/15/10.

        • francesca

          I'd prefer it if our forestry model didn't produce slash in the first place.

          Short rotation monoculture ends up in ruinous bulk slash

          I'd like to see high end mixed species forests with a permanent canopy and longer rotations,as exemplified by Tanes Tree trust

          • arkie

            Absolutely but this project is about dealing with the aftermath of the cyclones on the East Coast:

            When Thabiso Mashaba arrived in the northern Tai Rāwhiti town of Uawa in early March, cyclones Hale and Gabrielle had blown through in quick succession, leaving the region strewn with slash and silt.

            As an Edmund Hillary Fellow, he was interested in helping the Tolaga Bay residents find their own solutions to local problems – as well as making sure they could be compensated for their work.

            • Francesca

              Very true

              I was responding to someone's comment that it could become part of the circular economy.

              Its a very good short term solution to the damage from reckless forestry, wouldnt want to see it built in

      • gsays 6.1.2

        On my charcoal journey I've learnt that a Collier was originally one who made charcoal.

        The rise of coal mining saw that title move to those that worked in the pits.

        Now with the decline of the mines and the resurgence of charcoal they have claimed the name back.

    • weka 6.2

      Nice to see that getting some MSM coverage.

  7. weka 7


    This is astonishing, well done everyone involved. #rewilding #regeneration

    For those us that don’t know Wellington, can someone please explain the landscape? I assume by suburb they don’t mean kiwi running through people’s backyards.

    • William 7.1

      Not yet in backyards I think.

      Karori is separated from Makara by highish hills, that have the Skyline walkway running along near the ridge. Hopefully that link will show you Google maps, switch to satellite view to get a good idea of the lay of the land. Karori on the east side is suburban down mainly in the valley, Makara is on the west side & is rural.

      The kiwi were released well to the southwest & several have moved through Makara village to near the walkway, hence the present concern about dogs being off leash.

      • weka 7.1.1

        So the kiwi were released in the Mākara Mountain Bike Park area (on that map)? Is that native bush?

        • William

          No, They were released well southwest of there. The Capital Kiwi facebook page had a post on 12 May saying

          "The first 25 (of 50) kiwi were welcomed with an emotional pōwhiri at Pipitea Marae at dawn on Tuesday. The kiwi were then ferried west and released on to Terawhiti hills behind Mākara – they will have put their in-built raincoats to good use this week."

          Terawhiti Station is on the southwest tip of the North Island. It's still farmed but certainly marginal, parts are regenerating. There's manuka, gorse, tauhinu, certainly not bush such as mature forest. The project's website has photos that will give an idea of what's there. The project includes the land extending north to Porirua but the release so far has only been in the area near Makara.

    • Shanreagh 7.2

      We are so fortunate in Wellington having Zealandia. It has made such a difference to the spread of birds across Wellington and has given groups like the ones who relased the Kiwi confidence. Wellington also has readymade bird 'islands' with the Town belt. (Dunedin has similar) Up the Kapiti coast the presence of Kapiti Island (a protected area) and the Nga Manu bird Sanctuary has meant we see lots of birds there too. smiley

  8. joe90 8


    I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead

    I just need some place where I can lay my head

    "Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"

    He just grinned and shook my hand, "no" was all he said

    The Weight – Robbie Robertson

  9. weka 9

    Man who punched elderly woman in the head three times at the Let Women Speak event in Auckland earlier in the year was in court yesterday.

    Report from someone who attended,

    Defendant pleaded guilty. Judge did not convict, referred him instead to restorative justice. Sentencing date to be determined.

    Name suppression still in place.

    Reality Check Radio and NZ Herald journalists in attendance.

    Defendant’s barrister is Emma Priest. She doesn’t come cheap.

    No footage from me today, I suspect police smuggled him in and out a side door.

    The defendant's demeanor today was calm and relaxed, unlike last time. If I was to guess, I'd say he's been told that the court process is just something he has to go through and that eventually he'll be discharged without conviction.

    It seemed to me the judge merely rubbed-stamped whatever the defendant's barrister Emma Priest suggested. The police prosecutor did not speak AT ALL throughout the hearing.

    Video of defendent punching her,

    • Visubversa 9.1

      Those "most marginalised and oppressed people on the planet" sure have a lot of rich and powerful friends.

    • bwaghorn 9.2

      That's fucking disgusting

    • Anne 9.3

      The elderly lady started that fracas by trying to push over a counter protestor. Then she began to lay in to who [I presume]was the defendant. He responded in kind and knocked her off balance. Didn't leave her prostrate on the ground as the exaggerated versions at the time would have us believe.

      Moral of the story. don’t be foolish and lay in to ta much younger and fitter person. They are going to win. Leave it to their peers to do the pushing and shoving.

      Personally I don’t condone either side.

      • bwaghorn 9.3.1

        You might want another look , the assailant came in from the side, the old lady pushed another person first but just coming in swinging is not on,

      • weka 9.3.2

        The woman protestor started pulling up the line that was separating the protestors from LWS. When the elderly woman realised this she went over and pushed the protestor to the side to stop her. So far, so normal in a situation like that.

        By then the protest crowd had started to invade the LWS area. The defendant sees what the elderly woman has done and tackles. When they're both standing upright again, she approaches him and he starts punching her.

        But thanks for minimising MVAW and victim blaming. He didn't respond 'in kind'. She pushed the woman protestor aside with no harm, he criminally assaulted her. There is no excuse for what he did. None.

        Commentary from Lynn Williams in March,

        This is the result of being hyped up on adrenaline, testosterone disinhibition & moral certitude. It's also abject cowardice. What do you suppose the likes of this brave SJW would've done to PP if he'd got his hands on her. Had a nice chat?

        No doubt there will be some who'll try to excuse this by saying "but she supports PP so she's a Nazi & it's okay to punch Nazis". Is it okay to cause broken bones, brain damage or death, because when a young man punches an elderly person in the head, it's likely outcome.

        Men punch far harder than women, even an angry toddler-man like this one. Older brains are more susceptible to concussion. Women's posterior cervical spinal musculature is less powerful than men's & we suffer whip lash injury more as a result – I know this from experience.

        An older woman is likely to be osteoporotic which greatly increases risk of fracture of facial bones or more dangerously, cervical vertebrae.

        • Anne

          What's MVAW when the cows come home?

          I'm minimising nothing! Just adding a little balance to an overhyped reaction coming from one side in particular. While not a nice scene by any means, the level of violence involved has been hyped up out of proportion to the actual facts of the case.

          The judge, who is in possession of all those facts and who has no doubt studied the video in minute detail, would appear to agree. The assailant is to be punished for what he did and rightly so. But he is not going to be hung, drawn and quartered which would appear to be the desire of some in this case.

          • Molly

            Read again weka's response to your justification.

            BTW, the woman was not a protestor. She was attending an event, where women were going to speak.

            The police advised event organisers to ensure that all attendees faced the band rotunda:


            So, it was obviously a surprise to the woman to turn and find people pulling up some of the barriers that they were also advised to stay within.

            The protestors were violent, intimidatory and abusive. The video evidence not only shows the incident, but the confidence and arrogance of those who were determined to stop the event.

            You really should investigate why you are so determined to make apologies for this type of violent behaviour. I find it unfathomable.

            Along with hyperbole such as this:
            “But he is not going to be hung, drawn and quartered which would appear to be the desire of some in this case.”

            Can you post to the comments where this has been stated?

            • Molly

              Newstalk have published an update in the last hour or so:


              "A young LGBTQ rights activist who was filmed punching a 71-year-old woman in the head during the heated Posie Parker counter-protest in Auckland this year has pleaded guilty to assault.

              The 21-year-old Gisborne resident, who continues to have interim name suppression, appeared in Auckland District Court today.

              Judge Debra Bell granted defence lawyer Emma Priest’s request to not yet enter a conviction until sentencing. A date for that hearing has not yet been scheduled.

              The victim, who did not attend today’s hearing, told the Herald she was pleased to hear about the guilty plea.

              “I am feeling very good today,” said the grandmother of six, who suffered a concussion and facial bruising as a result of the attack. “I’m glad he has pleaded guilty. That made me feel a lot better.”"

              "…The charge against the then-20-year-old LGBTQ rights activist came after footage circulated widely on Twitter showing a heated meeting of the two groups that day. In the video, he can be seen striking the woman in the face.

              Court documents obtained by the Herald today note that the defendant and the victim did not know each other before the raucous gathering.

              “About 11am an unknown person began pulling out pegs placed in the ground to separate the two groups,” police noted in the summary of facts for the case. “The group protesting against the speaker Posie Parker pushed over a metal fence and began approaching the group supporting her.

              “The victim put her hands out to stop the group and made contact with a female from the opposing group, the same one that had been removing the pegs.”

              The defendant approached the victim after noticing the physical contact, court documents state.

              “The victim turned towards the defendant who responded by punching the victim three times in the head area,” police noted.

              “In explanation, the defendant stated he believed the victim had assaulted a fellow protester and that the victim was going to assault him next.”"

          • Shanreagh

            I don't think the judge is weighing up whether the offence occurred and its gravity. The judge is clearly weighing up the sentencing as the young person, rumour has it, is at Auckland Uni and a punishment that might trigger passport or visa concerns or job prospects has to be seen and assessed as to whether it will be disproportionate.

            That, if you like it or not, is how it works here.

            Unfair as these concerns only seem to lay heavily when the offenders are white. middle class etc. Put it this way I'm not sure I have noticed as many pleas using this type of excuse from offenders from the likes of South Auckland.

            Personally I think this type of 'excuse' should not be allowed. I think the full weight of the law should be felt for all offenders. Perhaps there could be a sentence quashing or review after 5 or 8 years, available to all, that sets out the work that has been done to ensure they don't offend again has been done and to wipe the offence from the need to mention it for travel etc.

            • Anne

              "I don't think the judge is weighing up whether the offence occurred and its gravity."

              He's not weighing up whether the offence occurred because it did occur. Its all there in the video. But of course he's weighing up the gravity of the offence. What would be the point of a justice system without differing levels of crime and violence being the primary consideration.

              If there is circumstantial evidence to be considered as well… I'm happy to accept the judge's decision. Judges are in a far better position than you or I – or anyone else – to pass judgement on such matters.

            • Peter

              As you say, that, if you like it or not, is how it works here. There is a system. Evolved over time.

              It could change of course, evolve over time to something else. How about a system that looks only at the activity itself, the quite specific behaviour, nothing behind it or about the people involved? The, "you stole a loaf of bread off your hand" approach.

              Judges' judgement only being used in outlining what wrongdoing happened.

              I see cases where understanding, compassion and regard for the future of a guilty person are called for. And others where a 'gallows only' approach are demanded.

              I am certain there are those who favour the former approach who at other times want the latter and think nil tolerance at all should be available. Ever.

              • Visubversa

                There is lots of context here.

                "In Trafalgar Square, a man called for violence against women. Specifically, it seems, intellectually curious women, those unruly harridans who refuse to bow down to certain beliefs. Punch them ‘in the fucking face’, he bellowed into a mic. The heaving mob around him cheered. An electric current of hate seemed to flow through their ranks. Some punched the air, others laughed, taking delight in their leader’s invitation to hit ‘bad’ women.

                The speaker was Sarah Jane Baker. He is a man who identifies as a woman. He is an ex-con too – he spent 30 years in jail for kidnap, torture and attempted murder. And yet here he was taking to the stage at Trans Pride – a gathering passionately backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan – where he made the case for slapping women who don’t support trans rights. He said he had intended to be ‘really fluffy’ at this event, but he changed his mind."

                Fortunately, after a lot of protest against inaction on the part of the authorities, the speaker was arrested and recalled to the prison from where he was out on license.


  10. arkie 10

    Shades of Putiki; a mature mangrove forest has been cut down for another marina:

    1. Mangroves act as carbon sinks.
    2. Mangrove forests are biodiversity hotspots.
    3. Mangroves improve and maintain local water quality.
    4. Mangrove forests double as coastal protection.
    5. Mangroves provide essential resources for people.

    • Shanreagh 10.1

      I agree Arkie, reprehensible.

      I have long thought that because mangrove areas do not fit any trite definition of beauty of some people they do not deserve to be protected no matter how important mangroves are to ecosystems and no matter the work they do.

  11. Winston back at 5.8% in the Tax Payers Union Curia Poll. Making progress come Election Day.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      The poll took responses from 1000 eligible New Zealand voters, 800 by phone and 200 by online panel, with results weighted for gender, age and location, with a 3.1% margin of error…

      • National: 34.9%, up 1.6 (44 seats)
      • Labour: 27.1%, down 4 (34 seats)
      • ACT: 13%, down 0.2 (17 seats)
      • Green: 12%, up 3.1 (15 seats)
      • NZ First: 5.8%, up 2.5 (seven seats)
      • Te Pāti Māori: 2.5%, down 2.5 (three seats)
      • Vision NZ: 1.1%, up 1.1
      • TOP: 1.0%, up 0.7
      • New Conservatives 0.6%, up 0.2
      • Outdoors and Freedom 0.5%, up 0.5
      • Democracy NZ 0.1%, down 1.8

      So their public has done a noteworthy 3% shift from Labour to Greens. Margin of Nats over Labour up to nearly 8% now. TMP same as the Guardian poll.

  12. So long as Winston and Shane Jones keep their marbles in check and don't start saying stupid shit they could well get their 5% on Election Day, actually some good policy and people within the NZF Organisation. A lot of policy put through by the 2017 Labour/NZF Coalition was actually NZF Policies.

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