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Open mike 18/05/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 18th, 2016 - 188 comments
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188 comments on “Open mike 18/05/2016 ”

  1. Paul 1

    Another day in John Key’s neo-liberal nightmare.
    We have become a cruel, ugly and selfish nation under his wretched leadership.

    ‘Homeless people are finding themselves thousands of dollars in debt to Work and Income (Winz) for money loaned to them to stay in motels.
    Winz will loan people money to rent out a motel room as emergency housing, when there is nowhere else to put them.
    People then have to repay the debt, and many say that is just not possible.
    Earlier this week, when asked what people living in cars or garages should do, Prime Minister John Key had a simple reply.
    “My really strong advice is to go and see Work and Income,” he said, “and we’ll see what we can do, because I think people very often don’t understand what’s available to them.
    “My experience with Work and Income is they do their very best to support people in those situations, especially when children are involved.”
    He was talking to people like Nicole.


  2. Paul 2

    But look over here……
    There isn’t a housing crisis. Labour are just making it up.

    And look over here…….
    Selling our land to foreigners is good for our schools.

    And look over here…….
    The dairy industry is doing fine.
    Milk prices have gone up.

    War is Peace,
    There is no housing crisis
    Freedom is Slavery
    Selling land to overseas buyers is good
    Ignorance is Strength
    The dairy industry is strong

    “Believe us……… John Key has everything under control

    Go back to sleep New Zealand
    John Key has everything under control
    Go back to sleep New Zealand
    John Key has everything under control
    Go back to sleep New Zealand
    John Key has everything under control
    Go back to sleep New Zealand
    John Key has everything under control

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 2.1

      Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5

      “That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

      • Jenny Kirk 2.1.1

        oh Yes ! quite definitely ……. a villain.

        • seeker

          Yes Jenny K.@ 8.39am

          As shown here on a clip I hadn’t seen. Perhaps it should be called a lullaby for the corrupt, featuring john key telling us in all sincerity that “I don’t recall.”

  3. Descendant Of Sssmith 3

    We had lots of success in the 80’s in our advocacy work getting these types of payments made non-recoverable.

    Basic principles were immediate hardship, unaffordability to repay and exceptional circumstances to justify exceeding the usual limit.

    Just had a look at WINZ’s policies which still seem to be similar to back then:


    Other income assistance

    You must check to see if the client qualifies for other assistance before granting an Advance Payment of Benefit. Consider:

    Special Needs Grants where urgent assistance is needed to relieve immediate hardship


    Immediate and essential needs

    In order for a client to be considered for an Advance Payment of Benefit they must be able to identify a particular immediate need for an essential item or service.

    In determining if a particular immediate need exists, consider:

    the effect on the client and partner or dependent children (if any) if the need is not met
    when that effect might be expected to impact on that or those persons
    the client’s ability to meet the need from his or her own resources
    the assistance that is or might be available to the client from other sources or other Extra Help from Work and Income that may be available to the client to meet the particular immediate need
    the client’s existing level of debt, and whether the rate of repayment of the proposed Advance of Benefit would be manageable considering:
    whether the reduction of the amount of benefit payable will leave enough for the client’s living expenses and any other debt repayments and
    the likelihood it would cause the client to seek further advances or other Extra Help
    whether the client is likely to continue to be in receipt of the benefit for the period over which the Advance would be repayable and
    any other matters put forward by the client to justify the advance


    If the client meets all qualifications, they may be able to receive a Special Needs Grant for an item or service that is not specified if:

    special circumstances exist and
    they and/or their family would suffer serious hardship without the item or service

    If you need help deciding whether to pay an emergency Special Needs Grant in these cases contact Helpline.


    Unless exceptional circumstances exist, the maximum amount payable towards another emergency grant is $500.

    A Special Needs Grant for other emergency grants may be recoverable or non-recoverable. To help you decide whether the Special Needs Grant should be repaid, consider:

    the purpose of the grant
    the nature of the needs
    whether it would be fair in regards to other clients to require payment and
    the effect on the client if they were required to repay the Special Needs Grant

    • Paul 4.1

      Neo-liberal thinking has made many people mean since the 1980s.
      Look at our treatment of the poor….

      • Halfcrown 4.1.1

        “Neo-liberal thinking has made many people mean since the 1980s.
        Look at our treatment of the poor….”

        But that is the Ayn Rand paradise these Neo fuckwits have wet dreams over.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      You mean the SPLC report on its own survey containing clear (and no doubt significant) self selection bias, and their attempt to put it forward as an indicative (eg typical) sample of american schools?

    • left for dead 4.3

      Yes Mandy that’s sad, not sure if one could thank you for that link, but you’re a good sole. 😉

    • vto 4.4

      It is also an awful insight into how societies fall under the spell of leaders like h1tler …

      the similarities between 2016 America and 1930’s Germany are uncanny

      and very very scary

  4. Whateva next? 5

    As my daughter commented…….I wonder where John Key would be if his government policies re housing were in place when his mother applied for state housing……………he has certainly distanced himself from his beginnings, but ONLY thanks to other people giving him a hand up in hard times, he is despicable.

    • JanM 5.1

      Paula Bennett is another outstanding example of having benefited from support now not available

      • Gangnam Style 5.1.1

        “Once, I was one of them. I will never turn my back on that.” – John Key 2006


        • whateva next?


        • whateva next?

          Key’s schmoozing the people (when getting the Leader of National Party) stage….. So good GS I had to post a bit more of the article….

          “I think all New Zealanders would agree that the security, happiness and welfare of their family, which is also dependent on the security and welfare of their community and country, is the most precious thing to them.

          “There will always be a social welfare system in New Zealand because you can measure a society by how it looks after its most vulnerable. Once I was one of them. I will never turn my back on that.”

          Wow, whataguy

          • seeker

            @whatevanext 6.58pm

            re. whataguy. please watch clip at but comes with x rated cert. for hideousness, so be warned (melody and singer’s voice are quite lovely in contrast to the subject matter though.)
            And yes I can become totally deranged by this sorry specimen of a human being in the video.

      • whateva next? 5.1.2

        I could almost understand if they had never known hard times, but, but….what kind of person can think like this?

        • Gangnam Style

          Where would the likes of Key & Bennett be without the ‘help’ the state afforded them. $1300 a week to stay at an ’emergency home’ that has to be paid back by beneficiaries receiving less than half that a week, how does that work? Reminds me of the U.S. practise of prisoners having to pay for their incarceration then jail them & charge them again when they cannot pay…How are people expected to get out of these traps!

          • whateva next?

            It’s the biggest load of bollocks I have heard so far from these leeches, how do they sleep at night?

  5. Ad 6

    “Locked Out: How Can We Knock Down the Barriers to Afforadable Housing”

    AMI Netball Centre, tonight 6.45, 44 Northcote Road

    – Shamubeel Eeaqub
    – Yvette Taylor
    – Alex Johnston
    – Phil Twyford

    I hope this meeting is full to the brim.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Ask Phil Twyford if Labour is going to ban foreign based Chinese from owning NZ houses.

      • left for dead 6.1.1

        How about ” foreign based ” think that will cover it CV

        • Colonial Viper

          I would have thought so as well.

          But when Twyford helped design Labour’s “Chinese sounding last names” campaign last year, he distinctly failed to widen the media framing to include buyers from Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia, UK and Ireland, instead preferring to underline the Chinese part of the problem.

          • left for dead

            Twyford helped design.

            Yes that was wrong, but at that moment in time they were right, disregarding those jacked up stat’s ,and of coarse labour did it too, New migrants overwhelmingly vote for the gov’t that let them in, so to speak.

            The fifth Labour administration glowed for awhile with their intake. I do agree however their are a lot of white faces steering back at a more multi cultured mob of capitalists running the show now. 👿

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yeah, there’s a reason for that which basically comes down to Smith is the most common name in the English speaking world. Because of the lack of data on who’s buying houses it was only through focussing on uncommon names that anyone could have got an idea of the discrepancy between onshore buyers and offshore buyers.

            It really wasn’t racist and it doesn’t take away from the fact that other nationalities are buying up our housing as well. It was simply the only way to show that offshore buyers are a large part of the problem. Unfortunately they didn’t then say that they’re going to outright ban offshore ownership.

            • Colonial Viper

              so how come Twyford never once said: our data covers Chinese last names only, but to be clear, any foreign buyer regardless of nationality contributes to the problem.

              • Draco T Bastard

                He did.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Where did he make the explicit point that he wasn’t singling out Chinese?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Right in the fucken bolded part. I believe that there was other occasions as well where he was even more explicit.

                      I know you don’t want to believe it but it was done the way it was done because of the lack of data. That’s it, nothing less and nothing more. You and many others jumped on the RWNJ bandwagon and read more into it than was there.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      LOL mate, and I guess the fact that the Labour caucus has not got a single Chinese, East Asian or South Asian/Indian MP (that’s a super region with about 3.5B people) is pure happenstance as well.

                      Whatever, Labour fucked themselves with “Chinese sounding last names” – it made the party of racial tolerance and ethnic diversity look and sound like the shallow political opportunists that they have become.

                      The icing on the cake for me was that this occurred just as Little and Labour were starting to poll over 30%. But after the Chinese sounding last names saga, they sank hard and never recovered, as the electorate saw through their hypocrisy, and decided to sit them on the 26% to 28% mark.

                      After all, Auckland housing became internationally ranked as “severely unaffordable” under Helen Clark’s reign.

                      You and many others jumped on the RWNJ bandwagon and read more into it than was there.

                      Why don’t you go away and find some entitled middle class white people to explain to me what racism from the political elite looks and sounds like, cause clearly I have no idea.

                    • Bill

                      Plenty on ‘the left’ have a huge blind spot when it comes to their xenophobia and/or racism. And, to be fair, plenty on ‘the left’ have other, huge blind spots too.

                      Twyford and those who defend that shit…you’re wasting your breath CV. Them’s is of the left and ipso facto, can’t be racist or xenophobic.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      To be honest, it’s not the racism overt or discrete which worries me; especially given that the history of Chinese in NZ is replete with examples of official and unofficial racism. (Let alone what has happened in countries like Fiji, Australia, Malaysia, etc.)

                      It’s how low the Labour Party – the supposedly liberal broad church which values ethnic diversity and racial harmony – has collapsed in its search for a brief poll bump.

                      And the stupidity of some supposedly politically astute people in thinking that NZ Chinese like myself, Raybon Kan, Keith Ng, Tze Ming Mok and others, shouldn’t exercise our agency and push right back.

                    • Pat

                      “It’s how low the Labour Party – the supposedly liberal broad church which values ethnic diversity and racial harmony – has collapsed in its search for a brief poll bump.”

                      You are surprised? how many examples of poor decision making have we seen from Labour since Clark was ousted?….they have been rudderless since.

                • Pat

                  don’t know the numbers (suspect no one does) but think its pretty safe bet to say that Queenstown’s (and central in general) property inflation has been driven by foreign investment, and little of that would be Chinese in origin….unrestricted access for the worlds money looking for a home was always going to be problematic in a low wage economy like NZ.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Yep. I’d expect that that area would be dominated by the US/UK rich listers.

                    • Pat

                      that would be my guess, with the odd euro, aussie or asian ….had been priced out of most Kiwis price range well before the Chinese entered the market.

    • Anne 6.2

      I will be attending. Perhaps you could knock up a post afterwards Ad so we can have an all round discussion on what the guests had to say.

    • Molly 6.3

      I have very little time for Shamubeel Eeaqub, after hearing him in person at a council meeting in Auckland (while he was living in Wellington) make excuse after excuse for why we should not care about rising housing costs.

      “If people can’t buy – they can rent” was his theme.

      There were several pertinent questions from the audience that he replied to by avoiding the question.

      His current mode is more concerned, but that is because he is now an Aucklander. But he is still very restrained in what housing solutions are available, and I have not seen him show meaningful effective solutions for those whose housing has hit crisis mode.

      I really don’t understand why he is trotted out so often as an economic spokesperson.

      • Rosie 6.3.1

        I’ve had trouble warming to Shamubeel Eeqaub, despite his apparent popularity. I recall during the GFC years he failed to criticise the government over it’s inaction on economic resilience and assistance to those struggling – they carried on with a BAU approach.

        Rather Shamubeel Eequab referred to the individual being responsible for their problems and suggested people make cut backs in their luxury spending without realising people weren’t spending on luxuries, as they were losing jobs, couldn’t find adequate affordable housing, and the places that once supplied those luxuries, like a meal out, where closing down anyway.

        I remember him saying something, “do allow your self the occasional treat. Mrs Eeqaub splashes out on a new nail polish now and then”. It was so very patronising and an out of touch statement.

        Maybe’s he’s more on to it now days. I don’t know.

        PS: re the “if you can’t afford to buy you can rent” theme. That’s fairly redundant. Looking at the rental increases lately, some of them are the up at the same price as paying off a hefty mortgage. The average weekly rental of a not very spectacular 3 bdr in Wellington is now nearly the same as we pay on our massive mortgage.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I had an argument with him on Twitter a few months back when he came up with the idea that all of Auckland’s golf courses be turned into housing. It was a purely ‘economic’ argument that he made along the lines of: Golf courses are large and expensive to maintain and only the rich use them but if we turned them into housing we’d both decrease council spending on them and increase ratepayers and so be able to reduce rates.

          He obviously did not understand that a city actually needs the large green spaces in them. Sure, turn them into parks that everyone can enjoy rather than just a bunch of people swinging clubs but keep the bloody things.

          To me his recent ‘transformation’ into a caring economist is almost subconscious. Subconsciously he’s realised that the economics he was taught at university and which has made him quite well off doesn’t work but he’s still clinging on to it. He’s got a few more years to go to full conscious realisation and he may never get there.

          PS: re the “if you can’t afford to buy you can rent” theme. That’s fairly redundant.

          Actually, it’s pretty close to being fraudulent. As a renter you’re paying off someone’s mortgage and their profit.

          • Rosie

            It’s lazy thinking when people see green space and equate it with “housing problem solved”. They don’t consider the consequences of loss of green space, environmentally and socially or see housing accessibility being tied to other factors such as market regulation, taxation regulation or stagnant wages, social issues around proximity to work, transport and business hubs and the high cost of living.

            Interesting observation of S.E’s apparent evolution into a more compassionate approach towards economics.

          • framu

            “He obviously did not understand that a city actually needs the large green spaces in them.”

            much like his “zombie towns” thing – where he utterly failed to note that many of them are a shorter drive to a big center than the average AK commute, and that people who live there either create their own employment or… commute

      • Stuart Munro 6.3.2

        He’s being groomed as a judas goat – as Bennett was.

    • Sacha 6.4

      Be interested to hear if anyone challenges Twyford for backing sprawl today, and asks him who will pay for the increased infrastructure it demands compared with density.

  6. adam 7

    In all the discussions around the environment, we hardly or if at all talk about animal farming. In all the discussions around water, animal farming is tagged on, but not really challenged.

    To all the farmers who produce fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains. Just remember you are the righteous ones, and I thank you for everything you do.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      This trailer for the film Cowspiracy says it all:

      Animal agriculture responsible for 91% of Amazon rainforest clearance; produces a higher GHG effect than all fossil fueled vehicles added together.

      • weka 7.1.1

        Cowspiracy is a vegan propaganda film with poor references. There are serious issues with how we farm animals, including animal welfare, resource use and pollution issues. Cowspiracy isn’t a good source of information in that debate.

        • adam

          It’s essentially a documentary about making a documentary on corporate farming.

          The promo video is defiantly propaganda, but all such trailers are. Good on them about being honest about their vegan view point.

          The movie itself, is more of a interesting ride, with the NGO and state sector being exposed to corporate compliance. Also the difficulty in filming and asking hard questions about the industry. So if that propaganda, so be it.

          Greenplease are not happy for sure. They come across as looking weak, money grubbing, and dithers. I’ve been saying for years them and their friends at the World Wide Fund for Nature are corporate lackeys. Look at the T-TIP grand expose from greenplease, decidedly a non-event. They played right into corporate hands.

          So what exactly is the problem about talking about the fact animal farming, at least in this country, has virtually destroyed our water quality? Too soon?

          • weka

            Nothing. That’s a daft question tbh adam. It’s not like the vegans are the only people seriously concerned, or taking action.

            The problem with the film Cowspiracy is that it’s core thesis is that being vegan is better than eating meat and dairy. That’s patently ideological and it skews everything else they present. People need to eat what is local, and if that is small amounts of meat then that’s actuall fine. Most vegans eat highly processed, industrial foods are also hugely problematic for the planet including in terms of CC. I have absolutlely no problem with the industrialised world being told to eat less meat and dairy. But when the ideology is stop eating those foods no matter what, you end up getting a worse than useless message. If addressing CC and other urgent environmental issues was about finding substitutes so we can carry on with our excessive lifestyles, then going vegan might make some kind of sense in terms of possibly mitigating damage. But it’s a nonesense in terms of shifting societies to actual sustainability. There is nothing sustainable about most vegan diets.

            I thought the stuff with Greenpeace as obviously a set up, but they’re big people they can handle it. Much more interesting to me was the reviews I read from the regenerative agriculture people, the people who are actually practicing what they preach. This is where it came out that the references Cowspiracy were using were poor and/or skewed.

            I’ve critiqued it before. There are far better ways to be addressing Western consumption,

            There’s nothing wrong with dairy farming, it’s how we’re doing it. Cowspiracy is a fundamentalist vegan film that doesn’t support its assertions very well. It also seems to be comparing industrial stock farming with industrial agriculture and deciding that industrial agriculture is best. Both are highly polluting and destroy ecologies. Swapping one for the other out of ideological concerns just creates different problems, what we need to do instead is make all farming sustainable and regenerative. (that should probably read horticulture)

            Open mike 02/05/2015

            • Bill

              Heard this observation being made the other day in a podcast interview of a vegan turned hunter. He pointed out that although there are definitely cultures that have thrived on an intergenerational vegetarian diet, he wasn’t aware of a single one that had based its diet on veganism.

              And there’s also the fact that veganism can and often does cause more environmental degradation that other options.

            • Colonial Viper

              The problem with the film Cowspiracy is that it’s core thesis is that being vegan is better than eating meat

              I love eating meat but even I have to admit that the land required to raise a just a handful of cows would sustainably provide all the vegetable based nutrition needed for 50 or 100 families.

              • weka

                That depends entirely on what you are growing and where. If you look at protein alone, the amount of plant protein needed to sustain a population intergenerationally is the first big challenge. It’s all very well for 20 something men to go vegan, but it’s much harder through pregnancy, birth and breast feeding, which is why there are not cultures that do it. You might get a few women able to do that, but all women over subsequent generations, it’s just really hard. And much much harder in the power down when you don’t have beans and nuts being shipped to you from all over the world.

                The most productive agriculture with the least impact I know utilises animals into polyculture (some traditional Chinese systems are probably some of the most sustainable on the planet for dense populations and were done for thousands of years). Monocropping wheat, soy, sheep or dairy cows is always going to be wrong. More sustainable cultures eat less meat, but they still eat some and they eat the whole animal (not just the meat). We are so far from being efficient it’s not funny.

              • the land required to raise a just a handful of cows would sustainably provide all the vegetable based nutrition needed for 50 or 100 families.

                If you grow grain to feed cows with like some kind of idiot, then sure. If you grow cows by feeding them grass, like we did up until recently, then no, that’s not true at all. The fact that the world has an over-supply of idiots feeding grain to cows is a problem with idiots, not animal farming per se.

            • adam

              I agree, Especially on the way we are farming. What the point of farming on a industrial level, when industrial farming is the problem.

              I’m not a vegan, nor do I support it. As it stands, it will just mean swapping one corporate master for another. So at some point, we collectively need to ask what is best practice? I think you ask that.

              But my initial point was not cowspiracy by the way, even though they are the people being talked to, in the “Days of Revolt” video. It’s about the fact the corporate dominance is everywhere. And in food, it has been very insidious problem. It is just at the point of animal farming, we can see how much of a problem it has become. And how one aspect of industrial farming, is feeding another part of industrial farming and the population has no input to this debate.

              Even farmers themselves are being deprived of participating in that debate.

              • weka

                Fair enough adam.

                To me it looks like the same old shit as all the other fucked up things we are doing. Greed and selfishness and disconnection.

                One of the biggest challenges in NZ is how farmers who want to change can do so and still have a viable business. It looks to me like most are tied into systems that are very hard to get out of, esp if they have big debt.

          • Bill

            Good on them about being honest about their vegan view point.

            I’ve no problem with someone following a vegan diet – hell, I was vegan for some years. Do you watch ‘Game of Thrones’ and know the character ‘Sparrow’? That’s how far too many vegans approach the world – as holier than thou, judgmental arseholes.

            (Apologies for making a reference to a piece of pop culture that not everyone will be able to pick up on)

            • weka

              I also have no problem with someone choosing a vegan diet, unless they start making inaccurate claims about their impact on the planet.

              • Effectively you do have a problem with vegans then, because the ones that don’t peddle bullshit about their impact on the planet are few and far between.

                • weka

                  lol. I think the prosletysing ones are just more visible (like fundamentalists of all kinds). I’ve definitely known vegans who don’t push it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The big problem with Cowspiracy is that it’s a load of bollocks and lies.

      • Bill 7.1.2

        Know how there was a system in balance that included (I don’t know) hundreds of millions upon hundreds of millions of ruminants? The problem is CO2 from fossil fuel has knocked that equilibrium to hell in a handbasket.

        That’s not to suggest that land use isn’t a contributory factor now that we’ve shafted everything, but really…

        • Colonial Viper

          Worth remembering that the “system in balance” you refer to included no more than ~0.5B population for all of human history except the last 500-600 years.

          Way back in 2006 the UN had this to say about the issue:

          9 November 2006 – Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation…

          “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said…

          When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

          And it accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants…

          • Bill

            How much CO2e do you think the huge herds of wilderbeast, buffalo and what not produced? I don’t know if there are more cows now than there ever was wild herds, but the point remains that it’s fossil related CO2 that has destroyed the equilibrium.

            And again. I’m not suggesting that land use, with all the accompanying destruction of eco-systems that probably dealt with shit and what not n a natural environment, isn’t a problem.

            • Colonial Viper

              Estimates are 30M to 60M bison killed by the North American settlers.

              In comparison, NZ with a tiny fraction of the land area is home to 6M cows and 30M sheep.

              • Xanthe

                Interestingly the great plains (now the dustbowl) were built and sustained by bison. Annually they consumed a small portion of growth and trampled the rest into the ground, causing an increase in water retention and fertility the next years crop was corrospondingly bigger and the cycle continued untill the topsoil (mostly made of carbon) was metres deep representing many gazillion of tons of carbon retained.
                the most important fact from this story is that it is far more effective and quicker to capture carbon by allowing “weeds” and incorporating them into the soil than any other scheme so far devised. And so doing actually increases the productive capacity of land for food. (Once we let go of plow, poison , spray, fertilise, monoculture as “the only way to make enought food”)
                Properly organised humans have the ability to sequester shitloads of carbon quite quickly and live better lives for it.

                • Xanthe

                  There is nothing (except interest payments) to stop a dairy farmer from managing their cows in a manner analagous to the bison of the great plains, doing the science, claiming the carbon credits, improving land and water quality, and… producing milk and meat.
                  It would be “uneconomic” but that would seem to be the only downside!

                  • weka

                    Am completely on board re that kind of farming. A few caveats though. I’ve seen some big claims re amounts of carbon sequestered but not much actual evidence yet. The evidence is there for building soil, but not so much for quantities of carbon captured.

                    I really hope it doesn’t get tied into carbon credits. We need sustainable economics too.

                    Do you think that big plains system would work for dairying? I’ve seen it for cattle, but not animals that need to be brought in and milked every day or twice a day. There is something problematic about all that foot traffic anyway, and it doesn’t mimic the natural systems which were cyclical over the year and perennial grass/weed growth rates.

                    • Xanthe

                      thats why i claimed “gazillions” of tons 🙂 but notwithstanding that I am quietly confident in claiming 1 that the topsoil of the great plains was meters deep and 2 that it was predominatly made of carbon. I dont actually know of studies of “soil sequesture of carbon” any links appreciated.
                      An important side issue that should not be overlooked is water retention and silt retention , if you have a highly structured soil composed of organic material “meters deep” you can dump a significant part of a meter of water and retain most of it and almost all of any silt and nutrients in that water, water being the number one limiter/enabler of plant growth, the potential for increased production in areas of seasonally uneaven precipitation (most places!) is huge! obviously this is important in terms of resiliancy to climate change events.
                      As for dairying consider that 1 trampling (up to a point) is essential to the process and 2 maby milking dosnt have to be centralised to the extent that it is now.

                    • weka

                      We’ve had quite a few conversations in the past about this. I’ve looked for the numbers on sequestration, there is some research being done but nothing definitive yet. My own view is that it doesn’t matter what the research says because we should be transitioning to these kinds of agriculture anyway. And we still need to reduce emissions.

                      Here’s a few links,

                      Peak soil

                      One of the best explanations (from an expert) on soil carbon sequestration and what works and what doesn’t at the soil level,

                      The Green’s climate change policy

                      http://thestandard.org.nz/act-thinks-the-ipcc-is-scaremongering/#comment-793032 (and a bit down the thread Lynn talks about why he thinks it won’t work. I don’t agree with him, but it’s good to see the arguments from a geological perspective).

                      I’ve seen something recently on reforesation, esp regenerating forest and how much carbon it sequesters. Thinking now seems to be changing on this and it’s being seen as meaningful in terms of quantity. I’ll see if I can find a link.

                      Totally with you on soil and water too (been banging away at the one here too, esp everytime the media starts talking about drought).

                      Re dairying, yes trampling is part of the process but not in a confined area in a confined space of time. You may be right and that it would work with smaller, localised farms. A house cow or 3 in every neighbourhood too 😉 Can’t do industrial, export dairy though.

            • adam

              From my perspective, the corporate industrial farming model is a major contributor to CO2 emissions. Everything in the chain from production to delivery. As Rosie said below, the fact they think it economic to ship oats half way around the world is just madness, and a waste of resources.

              • Bill

                So, prioritise making our energy system fossil free. We have to do that right now anyway regardless of any land use issue. That knocks a lump out of the emissions you’re attaching to ag.

                Do that and it doesn’t matter a toss if somebody wants to transport oats half way around the world. Also, do that and market economics may no longer be viable – no big deal to my mind and probably a very good side effect of doing the right thing 😉

                Meanwhile and in concert…

                Radically reconfigure agriculture – replace the industrial models with more sane methods and systems.

                Cows in NZ? Do we even need 10% of the numbers we have? Whatever, time to get our shit together. I think everyone commenting on this is on the same page, yes?

                • weka

                  “Do that and it doesn’t matter a toss if somebody wants to transport oats half way around the world.”

                  I think it does matter. From a CC perspective, we have to reduce everything we can, and given there will be some who won’t and that we’re already very late to the party, then adopting eat local is one of the easiest ways we can of shifting to a low carbon economy. Even if we transition shipping to sail instead of diesel, there are still all the other miles to and from port (in NZ food miles within the country are worse than the ones to get food to NZ from overseas).

                  It’s also a fundamental of sustainability. I think the case can be made for shipping some things (coffee, spices, medicines, rare materials), but in general the whole shipping economy is inherently unsustainable. What is the carbon and other environmental cost of manufacturing a freight liner? And all the other industry that has to exist around that? I’m also wondering if the economics don’t stack up in the same way as with airlines (the more we use them the more airports they keep building and thus the necessity to sell more tickets etc).

                  • Chooky

                    imo the whole issue is primarily one of overpopulation of the human race…this is where we should start

                    …meat eating did not used to be a problem

                    1.) …countries, cultures and religions( which call for over- population eg male dominated Catholic Church) …which overpopulate must be called to account ( we all know which countries are overpopulated )

                    ( Western countries have not increased their populations for some time and in fact many are decreasing in population…well- educated women with equal opportunities for education and jobs do not over-breed…overpopulation is a feminist issue)

                    2.) …world economics and capitalist values must have a different idea of what constitutes quality of life and morality …it isnt consumerist wealth and it isnt growth at all costs

                    3.) the values of the planet and sustainability of the planet Earth /Gaia/ Papatuanuku must be paramount

                    ( we must eat and live frugally…rampant consumerism should be frowned upon…animal rights like human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights , and women’s rights to control their lives and reproduction must be paramount)

                    • weka

                      NZ has specialised in selling animal products to people who don’t need them. We have our own set of culpabilities.

                      And we probably have more people that we can sustain too. Population is an issue for industrialised countries. NZ is currently using something lke 2.5 x the resources available.

                  • Bill

                    In terms of fossil related CO2, if our energy system is fossil free – that includes all transport – it really doesn’t matter. You wanna sail or float whatever where-ever? Fine. Seriously.

                    As the rest of my comment above suggests, given the other changes that we have to make at the same time, and given the likely effect on the global market economy of all the changes, the chances are no-one will want to.

                • weka

                  “Cows in NZ? Do we even need 10% of the numbers we have?”

                  Inspired by b waghorn’s figures, here’s my back of the enveloppe calculation,

                  7,000,000 dairy cows in NZ, producing 15L/day (should be less than that and not all year round if done without fossil fuels) = 105,000,000L/day

                  NZ population 4.5M, using 1L milk/day (milk, cheese, yog etc) = 4,500,000 L/day.

                  That’s 4.2%

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Your calculations are in the right ballpark I reckon.

                    Fonterra ships 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes of milk powder overseas.

                    PER MONTH

    • To all the farmers who produce fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains. Just remember you are the righteous ones…

      Oh great, farming as a question of religious purity – that’ll really help.

    • nadis 7.3

      What about the righteous farmers who produce fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains and then sell these as animal feed to other farmers. Are they still righteous?

      • adam 7.3.1

        Shows you did not watch the video, that comment there nadis.

      • weka 7.3.2


        Or the ones using GE and roundup ready mono crops. I’ll eat local, organic meat over imported monsanto soy any day.

        It’s not what you grow, it’s how you grow it that matters.

        • adam

          If all else fails go for the scear debate? And you said earlier that the video was nothing more than propaganda – Then weka I’m calling you for doing the same. Sheesh, talk about spin. Who said, not to grow local, it’s not corporate support going on here.

          This is anti-corporate, but sure spin it away to some sort of what ever it is you are doing.

          Who, in the video was defending one aspect of the corporate sector verse another? Please any point in the video? It was having go at this one aspect of farming, which people rush to defend, by any means necessary it seems…

          • Bill

            Adam – go through a typical, thoughtful vegan diet. Strip out everything that was grown overseas using industrial monoculture practices, or processed using highly industrial processes and son on. What’s left? A viable diet? I don’t think so.

            And balance up various alternatives, with regards environmental impact, both within and beyond the limits of veganism.

            Y’know, things like potatoes versus rice or soy versus wild meat…

            • adam

              My argument was around the original video, and the corporate take over of the food chain. As I said above, swapping one corporate overlord for another based on diet, is in my eyes – stupidity of the highest order.

              And no I don’t support a vegan diet. A vegan meal or two a week be a nice change. Or vegetarian meals two or three times a week. Affordable fruit and veggies, rather than them being inflated by corporate industrial farming of animals – would be nice as well.

              And wild meat, personally, the only way to go.

              • Bill

                On corporate take-over of the food chain – you been aware of the apparently successful lobbying by Fonterra these past few years to kill off farmgate sales? The legislation clamping down on small, possibly quite ‘on to it’, possibly organic producers of dairy, is getting ridiculously restrictive.

                Last I heard (a few weeks back) was that, whereas some delivery to pick-up point had been allowed if the milk was placed in some cooler or fridge arrangement, new legislation was knocking that on the head. Think about this. It’s only a few years back that ‘industrial’ milk was dropped on peoples’ doorsteps in the middle of the afternoon.

                Go back over the last few years and you’ll find a smattering of stories about the supposed health dangers of consuming dairy from those same small producers.

                • adam

                  Ah monopoly, the fundamental flaw no capitalist is willing to admit.

                  Just another example of corporate madness. Yes I’m aware.

                  Here an odd story which may make you mad. A person I know makes cheese at home, they would get on their motorcycle and go down country to get farm fresh organic milk from the gate.

                  They last time they did this, they were told, they could not buy the milk as they were on a motorcycle. Something about a local by-law, or some such.

                • weka

                  Hmmm, is that the raw milk issue? Or are you saying that the laws have changed around pasteurised milk sales too?

                  The previous law said you could sell 5 (or 8?) litres of raw milk per person per day from the gate. You couldn’t transport it, and you couldn’t make products from it and sell them. Lots of buying and selling was being done under the radar as people found ways around that.

                  The new laws are better and worse, after a long consulation process (by MAF I think). It’s now easier to sell raw milk (and buy it). But producers have to prove they have safe practices, and that costs them (they have to have a plan and do testing I think). Hard on really small producers, but if we want to be shipping raw milk it’s essential. Raw milk can contain pathogens that can make humans very sick. That’s why we have pastuerisation.

                  And yeah, there is some hooha about where and when raw milk can be sold and buyers having to be registered. What they’re worried about is if they get an outbreak of ecoli etc that they can trace it back to the farm and that they can trace from the farm to other buyers. It’s not an unreasonable public health perspective, but they’re not being very smart in how they manage it.

                  • Bill

                    I can’t categorically state whether it was pasteurised milk or not. But I doubt if it was raw if it was already illegal to transport raw milk to a point of sale.

                    edit: see comment below macro below

                    • weka

                      The laws on raw milk sales changed last year. Before you couldn’t transport, how you can. But there are rules on how you can transport. You can still sell from the gate. The law is an improvement in that all the people buying raw milk before can now do so illegally. Most were doing so illegally up until recently.

                • Macro

                  It is still available – Just. Pretty much what weka is saying.
                  We get ours from http://www.livemilk.co.nz/
                  It’s delivered on a weekly basis and stored in fridges at the local Bin Inn here.
                  An excellent product. Won’t drink the Fonterra crap. Especially the way the conventional dairy herd of today is treated and fed.

                  • Bill

                    Massey University zoology student Ruby Mammone got her raw milk from Gorge Fresh Organics, which used a system of chilled collection depots to distribute its milk. That distribution method will soon be illegal.



                    Only farmgate sales and home deliveries of raw milk would be allowed from November. Some farmers said the new regulations could drive as many as half those selling raw milk out of the business.


                    • weka

                      yeah, MAF or the MPI or whoever fucked it up. But the law change last year (or the year before) was an improvement. Prior to then the only legal way to sell/buy raw milk was 8L/day per person at the gate. Nothing else was legal.

                      I’m guessing that what happened was they changed the law and a whole bunch of producers went legit and now the MPI are tightening up again abit in response to what those bigger commercial companies are doing (if it was the smaller companies, it would probably be less of an issue). It’s still an improvement (long time raw milk buyer here). The big problem IMO is the cost of putting in food safety plans for very small producers.

                      I’m opposed to big companies selling raw milk commercially via conventional supply chains. It’s just more capitalism, trying to make money instead of producing safe, local, low emissions food. If we want unindustrialised food, then we need to have non-industrial supply, not big industrial and polluting supply chains that for this product at least are unsafe.

                      Unfortunately some of the smaller producers are going to get hit but not all, there is still scope to sell raw milk using other models. Eg you could have a dairy farm of 20 cows, bottle the milk, and then sell it at the gate if you are on a main road, or deliver to your customers if not. That’s probably still better than the big supply chain system that moves food huge distances.

                    • Macro

                      That crisis seems to have been avoided bill – as weka explained above. We are still receiving our milk on a regular basis. In fact have some in the fridge right now.

                    • Macro

                      Actually home delivery is not an improvement as the need to keep the milk at below 4 Degrees cannot be assured when delivering. Better to have a collection point. This point was made by many to the committee considering the matter last year.

                    • weka

                      It’s also about time of year and climate. I’ll leave raw milk out at room temperature and let it naturally sour, so the refrigeration is a moot point for me personally (and I’ll only buy from people I know and trust because of that). But we’re now talking about industrial systems and I don’t have too much of a problem with public safety being prioritised.

                      Prior to the first law change I’ve bought milk that was delivered to a suburb and kept in someone’s fridge and you picked it up from there. Was the MPI’s original idea that it could be left at each person’s gate?

                  • weka

                    “It’s delivered on a weekly basis and stored in fridges at the local Bin Inn here.”

                    That’s going to change this year though right? Farm sales or home deliveries only? Although later they are talking about registered Depots. FFS, if they can’t even get their message straight on their website…


                    I do feel sorry for the small producers who put money into infrastructure and systems to have the law changed on them again so soon.

                    • weka

                      same link,

                      Previously, the law restricted sales of raw milk to the farm, with a limit of five litres per person. The previous raw milk policy did not adequately regulate the production, supply, and sale of raw milk and led to a number of issues that the law never anticipated, such as collection points.

                      MPI conducted extensive public consultation on raw milk policy in 2011 and 2014. A summary and analysis of the submissions MPI received during the consultation period and a report on a 2014 survey of buying, selling and consuming raw milk can be found here:

                      Proposed options for the sale of raw milk to consumers

                      After announcing the raw milk policy and during the drafting of the regulations, MPI engaged with sellers of raw milk on the technical details of these requirements in a series of workshops to ensure they can be practically implemented.

                      The Government has undertaken to review this raw milk policy two years after full implementation (November 2018) to ensure that it works effectively in practice.

          • weka

            If all else fails go for the scear debate? And you said earlier that the video was nothing more than propaganda – Then weka I’m calling you for doing the same. Sheesh, talk about spin. Who said, not to grow local, it’s not corporate support going on here.

            It’s not spin though adam. I’m glad we got to talk about what you perceive as the problem (industrial farming). It’s just that for me Cowspiracy is worse than useless (for reasons explained).

            This is anti-corporate, but sure spin it away to some sort of what ever it is you are doing.

            I think the problem is how you framed it at the start,

            In all the discussions around the environment, we hardly or if at all talk about animal farming. In all the discussions around water, animal farming is tagged on, but not really challenged.
            To all the farmers who produce fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains. Just remember you are the righteous ones, and I thank you for everything you do.

            I often talking about animal farming and the environment and have said plainly that I think it’s a huge part of the water issues in NZ. And there are plenty of farmers doing bad shit growing plants too. So it was hard not to respond to your apparent statement that plant farming good, animal farming bad. I really don’t see it that way.

            Who, in the video was defending one aspect of the corporate sector verse another? Please any point in the video? It was having go at this one aspect of farming, which people rush to defend, by any means necessary it seems…

            I haven’t watched the video. Seriously, if they’re interviewing the Cowspiracy guys I’m probably not going to. That’s how bad I think they are.

      • Rosie 7.3.3

        Another thing to consider is all the palm production in south east Asia. Huge amount of forest have been burnt off in Indonesia to make way for palm plantations. Orang-utans, who are tree dwelling primates who can’t live on the ground, die and their babies are orphaned. The forest fires contribute to green house gases and to top it all off NZ dairy farmers, despite our small size, are the biggest consumers of palm kernel on the planet. We are part of the problem.

        This is not a righteous cropping industry.

        Given the destructive nature of cropping around the world to do with irrigation, water rights, (and territorial issues like Israel taking Palestinian land and water to grow vege) land clearance, loss of natural habitat, introduction of GE cropping and the monopoly big agri business like mansanto have over both the developed and economically developing world, there isn’t alot of cropping that is righteous.

        Not that I would use the word righteous. Sounds religious and it’s too black and white.

        Locally produced GE free fruit vege and grain cropping however can be sustainable and productive. Hard in a global market though. Eg, we once use to grow organic oats in Canterbury. They were marketed by Harroways. Over the years they dropped off production as cheap organic oats imported from Canada came into the country at almost half the price.

        Industrial food production can’t be seen as righteous in any sense.

        • adam

          I agree Rosie, the corporate model is so flawed, and interconnected we need to raise our voices in protest to it.

        • Colonial Viper

          The forest fires contribute to green house gases and to top it all off NZ dairy farmers, despite our small size, are the biggest consumers of palm kernel on the planet. We are part of the problem.

          And the reason that we are the biggest consumers of palm kernel is that our dairy farmers have vastly overstocked NZ land, in an effort to repay the hugely uneconomic mortgages the banks allowed them to ask for and take out.

        • weka

          Locally produced GE free fruit vege and grain cropping however can be sustainable and productive. Hard in a global market though. Eg, we once use to grow organic oats in Canterbury. They were marketed by Harroways. Over the years they dropped off production as cheap organic oats imported from Canada came into the country at almost half the price.

          Southland and Otago too. I think farmers in NZ could get better prices for other crops which they are of course exporting (organic farmer anyway). It’s a high level of disconnect from the reality of the physical world.

          • Rosie

            Yep, if we’d chosen to be genuinely green as opposed to pretend green we’d have a bigger export market, especially into Europe. Our geographical isolation has upsides in terms of GE free borders and reduced disease threat as well as the benefit of using organic agricultural techniques. We’ve lost opportunities on so many levels, more than trade, but I don’t think it’s too late, yet.

    • Rosie 7.4

      Hi adam. Are you talking about authors and commenters on TS when you talk and “we”? Or in a broader sense?

      If you’re talking about TS, farmed animal welfare has been fairly well aired over the years, both by authors, such as John Darroch of Farmwatch, and TS commenters in general.

      The discussions have mostly been valuable and thoughtful.

      • adam 7.4.1

        Broad “we”.

        Agree Rosie, the discussions have been great.

        As water quality is going down the gurgler, and climate change upon us. The debate need to be kept rolling.

        I’d like to point out that with the “we in NZ can do nothing about climate change” brigade banging on and on. NZ can actually do something quite significant. We could end animal farming.

        • Rosie

          Thanks adam. I’m a pescetarian, formerly a vego for 30 years so am on your side.

          Agree whole heartedly we need to keep talking about animal welfare and the impact animal farming has on our environment directly, and it’s contribution to GHG emissions. The three big issues.

          I’d be happy to see a massive reduction in dairying and meat production from an ethical viewpoint but I’m in a minority. I think those that choose to purchase free range or wild meat and organically produced dairy are also in the minority. So those who are big consumers of these products need to be the ones who demand change – a mass movement.

          • adam

            I don’t think we will get a mass movement. Not going to happen in this country, to much baggage.

            It will take a group like the abolitionists, small, popularly despised, but on the right side of history. Working to end animal farming, for the good of humankind.

            • Rosie

              Sadly, thats true. There will never be a mass call for humane and environmentally sound farming practices in THIS country.

              And despite my own beliefs I wouldn’t call for an outright end to animal farming. I think that’s too idealistic. Judge not?
              I get the feeling from animal rights activists, and I’m happy to be corrected, that the priority is to end inhumane farming practices, full stop, not farming itself. I think they accept people will always consume meat and dairy.

              From the climate change perspective, farming comes under the umbrella of all harmful human behaviours and practices.

              • b waghorn

                “There will never be a mass call for humane and environmentally sound farming practices in THIS country.”

                On the farm I look after there is an old cowshed , the channel for the washdown water goes directly to the river, if you did that now you would be getting fined out of the game.
                There is still improvements to be made yes but to say there is no pressure to improve things is bs

                • Rosie

                  I’m not saying there’s no pressure, I’m well aware of the work various NGO’s have been doing behind the scenes to put political pressure on governments.

                  But any improvements have been hard won, there’s a long way to go and these NGO’s are still only a minority. If it weren’t for groups like these you’d still be letting the wash down water into the river, (or should I say there would be no law against it, not your personal compulsion specifically) but it’s no thanks to consumer pressure.

                  Consumer pressure is mass pressure.

        • Bill

          We could end animal farming.

          Yes. We could end animal farming and…many people would get sick and some would die while the overall population would become less and less healthy and resilient.

          End industrial farming by all means. But as I commented above, it seems no-one can point to any culture at any point in history that has survived or thrived on a vegan diet.

          You met vegans with huge B12 deficiency? I have. They are very, very unwell people who are killing themselves, with serious brain damage thrown in along the way.

          B12, if it’s going to be taken up by the body, has to come from some place other that fruit, grain and veg.

          • Colonial Viper

            I’d never become vegan; as you point out its an easy way to screw your body at a fundamental level.

            But if we are talking about good health, cutting back your weekly intake of red meat to roughly a quarter kilogram a week is a beautiful and easy thing to do.

            Whoops that’s just one steak dinner for some people.

          • adam

            Nope I think ending animal farming is the go. Then turn all that land back to commons.

            Let the sheep, deer, cows, pigs, goats, and other animals do as they will in these spaces. So then we can hunt them. They taste better, wild venison is lovely, as is wild pork.

            We clear – I’m no vegan.

            • Bill

              Dairy from a roaming animal? I mean sure, it can be done and some cultures still do it, though they do keep herds, so the animals aren’t quite wild or free.

              As for letting sheep and goats run riot…I’m from Scotland and Scotland was covered in forest right up until….(drum roll) sheep. And it’s not just that tree cover was cut down, nothing has a chance to regenerate if sheep and goats are around. And much the same with red deer.

              Wild cows, like pigs, are incredibly dangerous wee beasties.

              And none of those animals fit with NZs ecology.

              Maybe it could be done in Europe and elsewhere…alongside reintroducing the relevant predator species, but in NZ? Thinking it’s a bad idea. There is already enough wild meat out there causing damage that is hunted without deliberately adding to the numbers.

              How about, apart from animals being farmed for dairy, we eat rabbits and chickens that many of us can have in our own back yards? Isn’t that a better option than letting a whole pile of sheep, goats etc free reign?

              • adam

                You forgot possum. We use to eat that, till it got infected with TB. TB from farmed cows wasn’t it?

                The semi wild semi farmed herds of cattle sound like a good idea.

                Plus I was being a bit glib, as I was thinking we already have a whole lot of goat, deer, pigs and sheep wandering free – I just wanted more commons.

                But sure why not with more chickens and rabbits in the back yard, and more community gardens where we can do it too.

                • weka

                  Wool and leather are very good products to have, esp in this climate.

                  Animals also bring multiple benefits to plant growing systems, from being able to clear invasive plants to providing manure.


                • joe90

                  The semi wild semi farmed herds of cattle sound like a good idea.

                  Have you any idea about how fucking dangerous feral cattle, or indeed any feral animal, are, because you know, testosterone-driven bachelor males, what could possible go wrong?.

                  • weka

                    Any reason you can’t cull the males?

                  • Pat

                    or how much damage a tenfold (or more) increase in the number of idiots armed with high powered rifles in the bush would cause…..dosn’t bear thinking about.

                    • weka

                      It doesn’t have to be a free for all. I’m treating the suggestion as a thought experiment. If we were eating less meat and didn’t need to do industrial export farming for profit what would our relationship with meat animals look like. Adam is talking about animals in a less controlled situation as a way of improving the land. The roaming herd thing appears to be a key factor in both regenerating soil and sequestering carbon (reference Alan Savory). This could be done on land with controlled access.

                      The other aspect is reducing animal suffering by avoiding the freezing works (and the whole economic rort that exists in that system and seriously limits what farmers can do). The omega oils ratio in wild animals is better for humans health wise than farmer animals.

                      I tend to think that domesticated farming is easier but more damaging. I suspect that adam’s idea of letting land revert and animals free range could be done without the herd going feral.



              • Rosie

                lols. “Letting sheep run riot”. They can be “incredibly dangerous wee beasties” too 🙂

                I did some impromptu sheep herding the other day as a few sheep from the neighbouring farm got free on to the development. The poor terrified thing got trapped in a house under construction, got freaked out and headed towards me at a million miles. Had to jump out of the way as she would have knocked me down and winded me.

                The cows get out too sometimes and I gently herd the girls back to the farm, call the council blah blah blah, a familiar process, but I leave the bulls alone. I wait till the farmer comes out and hope the bull doesn’t make it to the main streets. Been chased enough by bulls and the odd mad ram in my life to know when to leave well alone.

                • weka

                  I have some admiration for sheep. Any time I’ve tried to get them to do anything they’ve usually out-stubborned me.

                  • Rosie

                    And they can also make good companions for humans. They are full of personality when we let them be themselves. Who couldn’t love such an adorable face?

                    I’m a big fan of their wool and the products we can make from their milk. In fact, our treat meal of the week was a falafel and sheep milk houloumi burger tonight. $5.20 for 150gm of NZ produced sheep houloumi at New World and a meal for two. More expensive than other proteins but cheaper than fish.

                    Cows were once the new sheep but hopefully in the future sheep will reclaim their place as most loved farmed animal in Nu Zuland.

                    And goats. We need to take them more seriously. They are a very good dairy animal with less environmental impact than cows.

            • weka

              Nope I think ending animal farming is the go. Then turn all that land back to commons.

              Let the sheep, deer, cows, pigs, goats, and other animals do as they will in these spaces. So then we can hunt them. They taste better, wild venison is lovely, as is wild pork.

              I haven’t caught up on the whole thread yet, but that’s an interesting idea. I don’t think all animal farming. Dairy, wool and leather are the obvious examples. But I do think some part of NZ could be regenerated into productive poly cultures using wild herd animals and forestry. It would be interesting to look at the human population, how much animal protein it needs (and fat), and what you could get from different land bases. I would guess that with the present population we need a degree of farming even with reducing meat and dairy consumption. There was maybe 100,000 Māori in NZ pre-Europeans, so that gives us a sense of the relationship between wild protein and land base size. We could sustain more than that via agriculture, but I doubt we could feed 4,000,000+ with completely wild protein.

              • b waghorn

                To give our population roughly 1 kg of meat a week you would need to catch roughly 7,000,000 animals per year with a carcase weight of 30 KGS,
                That’s one hell of a lot of hunters working and very slick operation to destribute it.
                It might be better for some here to focus their energies on improving animal welfare and keep the pressure on improving the environmental management.

                • weka

                  That’s per year right? I think that we could get the required nutrients from less animals if we ate the whole animal (organ meats, bones, etc). Plus what the other are talking about, eating small animals from close to home, with bigger animals on occassion.

                  If an adult needs 50g protein/day, and you can get 23gm protein from 85gm beef, then that’s just over 1kg. But if you were also eating nuts, seeds and legumes, you could probably half that at least. Lots of cultures eat small amounts of animal protein often.

                  But you are right, it’s a lot of work. Hunting takes energy. This is why I think that population is such a crucial issue. Once you start looking at a land base, say the Taeri Plains or the Waitaki catchment for those of us in the South, and how many people could be supported from that land, and doing so without fossil fuels, the whole picture changes. There is a reason that humans had much lower populations before the industrial revolution (as CV keeps pointing out).

                  • Colonial Viper

                    1kg of meat per week is a lot of meat.

                    400g to 500g max I would have thought. Steak twice a week is not a bad set up.

                    • weka

                      It’s a lot more than I eat, but I think it also depends on one’s metabolism and what kind of activity one does. NZ does tend to eat a lot more than it needs nutritionally.

                    • 400g to 500g max I would have thought.

                      I get through that much just in bacon…

                    • weka

                      There you go Milt, you are balanced out by all those vegans 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I get through that much just in bacon…

                      If it’s stuff from the supermarket its up to half water in weight…

    • weka 7.5

      Seriously good conversation you initiated today adam, thanks. Like Bill said, I think we’re all on a similar page, and how heartening to have so many thoughtful people able to discuss the issues without it degenerating into a ts bunfight. Well done everyone.

  7. Colonial Viper 8

    Roy Morgan this Friday. Will the NATs sink even lower, to say 40% or 41%?

    Or will they bounce back from their lows of last month, despite all that has happened since then.

    I am expecting as strong a showing from Winston this time around.

  8. Chooky 9

    Very interesting discussion between Kathryn Ryan and David Parker on water….watch out Greens!…David Parker has well thought-out views and is impressive!


    “Labour’s environment spokesperson, David Parker, discusses his party’s approach to water: who owns it, should there be a price put on it, and what are Maori rights and interests in it?”

    • Anne 9.1

      It was impressive Chooky. David really works hard on his portfolio subjects. It’s hard to trip him up as Kathryn Ryan discovered – no disrespect to Kathryn because she was doing her job.

    • Enough is Enough 9.2

      Why should the Greens watch out?

      If there is to be a change of government next year, Labour and the Greens need to be working together, not in competition?

  9. Chooky 10

    @ Enough is Enough…agreed they will be working together and David Parker is probably repeating their views…but if they are chasing the same vote on water quality David Parker is a very impressive spokesperson on this particular issue

  10. Xanthe 11

    Interesting facts
    Amount of carbon sequestered in the earths soil 2500 billion tons
    Amount of carbon in atmosphere 800 billion tons

    Contribution of the burning of fossle fuels to increase of atmospheric CO2 two thirds
    Contribution from loss of soil carbon due to human activity one third !

    Soil carbon content is significant and should not be ignored either as a cause of global warming or an avenue for a very real and plausible mitigation strategy

    • Xanthe 11.1

      The major carbon terrestrial carbon sinks are not the forest but the grasslands,
      Counterintuitively it is the large herbervoirs (bison , cows) that make this possible by
      1 trampling most of the years crop back into the soil
      2 eating any trees that try to grow and turn it into forest

      So just possibly cows are actually the good guys

      • weka 11.1.1

        If it were about what we need to eat alongside reducing transport and energy emissions quickly, yep. If it’s about global economy, BAU, profit driven agribusiness, I can’t see it making much difference. Some, but not enough.

      • Robert Guyton 11.1.2

        The Biodynamic people would agree…

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      Good thinking, except our “civilisation” has (so far) been depleting top soil, not enhancing it.

    • Xanthe is correct. Soil carbon content (read, “humus”) is …
      “significant…and an avenue for a very real and plausible mitigation strategy.”
      Go, Xanthe!

  11. xanthe 12

    sadly true

    there will have to be some sort of mass epipheny to get out of this with dignity
    which i admit is unlikely.

    but not quite impossible 🙂

    • Mass epipheny…dignity…
      that’s a lot to ask but getting out of this… yes, that’s on the cards.
      “The answer’s in the soil, son”
      Sure is!
      Personal ephiany is all it takes. Then, get busy!!!

      • xanthe 12.1.1


      • greywarshark 12.1.2

        Soil. Better. Plus the Permaculture movement. Is that your interest Robert Guyton?
        They seem to be a dynamic bunch.

        • Robert Guyton

          greyshark – permaculture is one platform I employ but I’ve slipped into forest gardening for its expression. Here’s the link to my blog post that has a further link into our recently-published “Forest garden – Autumn” on Youtube, in case you are interested.
          I see the temperate forest garden, such as my 25 year old version, as a very good template for an individual, family/whanau or small community to achieve a lot of the aims expressed in this thread – food production of all sorts, community-strengthening, preparation for the effects of a rambunctious climate and so on. A multi-layered forest garden is also a template for thinking and problem-solving, and from that I see the need for a multitude of responses to the issues described above and would not discard any approach lightly – horses for courses. I do have, however, a passion for the soil, it being the basis for much of what we do (I don’t mean to overlook the ocean, though I look out over an estuary here in Riverton, and recognise it’s primary importance to life on earth, it’s just that I’m a plant guy, not a fish guy).
          I apologise for not responding to your comment yesterday – I was sequestered in the chambers of Environment Southland, where I spent the day locking horns, Cernunnos-like, with the farmer-councillors, intent on BAU.

          • greywarshark

            Thanx Robert Guyton. It does my heart good just to read about what you are doing, showing us the way to achieve something concrete after our thinking and animated discussion. Thanks for your reply and interest.

            also bwaghorn Sound practical thinking going on there I think.

            Just a note – did you know Richard Barbe St Baker, Robert? I know he lived in NZ in his later years. Men of the Trees and I Planted Trees was, I think his book.

            and I read Wendy Campbell Purdies book about planting in the desert in north Africa. she managed to get trees to grow that were tough, and then they planted vegs underneath their canopy. Women of the Desert was her book I think..

            They were inspired to do something life encouraging after WW2 I think. Filled with noble ideals that they brought to bear. Needed again.

            • Robert Guyton

              Hi greywarshark and thanks. I didn’t meet the Men of the Trees man but did meet men who did 🙂 I had an association with the Southern branch of the MotT (and yes, there were women in that group) and they helped fund some of the tree-based projects I’ve run over the years. The movement in NZ is defunct now, I believe, as there were few young people joining. Our own ‘movement’ here in Riverton (Southland) is going in the other direction, that is, it’s blossoming, with young people joining us in significant numbers, moving to the village even, to be part of the action. We’ve a community forest garden, a neighbourhood heritage apple orchard, a wetland, a superb environment centre with organic food cooperative, seed savers network, displays on permaculture etc – very active, open 7 days and staffed by volunteers, young and old. As well we run a popular Harvest Festival every autumn and an Earth Craft festival in midwinter. We support and encourage growers through the coop and initiate all sorts of community planting projects, overt and covert. We host workshops on all things good, from fermenting to beekeeping, and teach a regular high-level organic growing course every Thursday night. Our Open Orchard project is very well known now and seeks to multiply the heritage apple varieties we’ve rescued from Southland orchards. My own forest garden has 80 different apple varieties sourced from those settler orchards and several other orchards we have planted around the region total about 600 trees. We are volunteer-based for most of our activities and that gives me much cause for hope, seeing what can be done outside of the funding paradigm. Presently, I’m encouraging Southlanders to plant their/our roadsides with hebes and our cycle trails with apple trees of the sort our grandparents established along the roadsides by chucking cores out of the widows of their cars (or charabangs 🙂 Busy times, but hey, we’ve a species to save.

              • greywarshark

                Robert Guyton
                Wow With all that going on and you found time to reply to me. I’m chuffed. Am involved with a new cooperative in Nelson centred round organic food, selling vegs fruit and veg cafe food. We will get that running nicely then are going to add community wellbeing fun things, learning workshops etc = want to be a hub of busy bees and positive environmental things. So will be looking at your web site and keep an eye out for good ideas that we can advance up here. We’ll be trying for some cross-fertilisation of ideas!

                • greywarshark – that’s marvelous and my ol’ hometown to boot! If ever you want to swap notes, feel free to get in touch through the South Coast Environment Society website; http://www.sces.org.nz – an email to them will get to me. We can begin to close the circuits between the deep south and the top of the south. Then, the world! Have you met Nick Kiddey yet, I wonder?

                  • greywarshark

                    Robert Guyton
                    I have met Nick, some time ago but haven’t been working in environment for a while, been in op shop mode. Now looking to environment, healthy food, and co=operating together in helpful, positive groups.

                    I am very hopeful of the keen and practical doers in the environment group being able to carry many of us in NZ aside from its present dire path. I feel Jung’s dark shadow predominating at present and kindness and practicality must link to set the values to hold to and the
                    environmental groups seem to be the only ones working to change our approach, many just note the error of our ways and enjoy complaining how bad things are.

    • b waghorn 12.2

      Google “Lucerne carbon sequestration” there is a lot of work here and over seas being done on it.

      • xanthe 12.2.1

        thanks for that , I appears to me that the work that is being done is within the framework of monoculture maximise short term farming.
        what would happen if the sequestration of carbon was the primary focus and take only the produce that arises from that management (in the long term there might be more produce than now)
        what is the carbon fixed / acre provided water and nutrients is not limiting (which would be approached under such management) ?

      • Robert Guyton 12.2.2

        b waghorn – the next iteration of carbon sequestration comes from Graeme Sait’s work with the “magic 5” green crop plants for the extra-effective production of soil-carbon/humus. The volumes of carbon that can be sequestered this way are considerably higher than with just the single crop. The combination is’ brassica, beet, legume, cereal and one other 🙂
        I grow these year-round as the understorey in my forest garden. The soil here is extraordinarily good.

  12. We, the people, should pay farmers (they are us also) through the Government-collected taxes to sequester carbon in their soils. All the Governments of the world should provide this incentive to capture atmospheric carbon and tuck it safely away in the agricultural soils of the planet. Quickly now, the clock’s ticking!

    • Bill 13.1

      You speaking of bio-char and other such like?

      Given that effectiveness is highly dependent on soil type and other (variable) environmental factors, meaning that the prospects for such techniques providing long term sequestration are limited, wouldn’t public money be better spent on known, more effective strategies – like emission reductions?

      edit: my bad for not reading the preceding comments first. Changing land use regimes or habits is necessary, but again, why pay for a ‘second tier’ solution that everyone should be adhering to anyway? I mean sure, change. Do it. But we all know the principle cause of AGW is burning fossil and that the only solution to that is simply not to burn fossil.

      • Robert Guyton 13.1.2

        I’m not speaking of biochar at all, though I don’t discount it. I’m talking about the conversion of organic matter (stuff that was alive) into stable carboniferous “material” through the actions of soil organisms. Carbon from the air, into the soil, where it plays various roles, staying put for a very long time and along the way, enhancing soil life and plant growth (for example, it clasps nutrients to its black bosom and releases them on an as-needed basis to hungry plants, nutrients that would otherwise have been flushed through and away by the rain, or bound too tightly to other components of the soil – stand up, clay!)

        • weka

          This is one of my favourite explanations Bill. Basically you use plants to store carbon, deeply, and then you don’t dig it up again,

          You have to understand the different kinds of carbon and the states of carbon soils….

          Bioneers: Are you saying compost and cover crops are not effective ways to sequester carbon?

          Darren: You might increase your net soil carbon quite heavily in the first few years by the application of compost, and all of the aforementioned methods, but will that last over the longer term? The answer is quite clearly no. Great techniques, great to do, but what we need more of is long-chain carbon. It’s largely delivered in the form of polysaccharide exudate or nutrients released from plant root systems, particularly grasses.

          Where we want the carbon and where farmers can look to increasing their carbon levels overall is in the depth of soil. You can have 10% carbon in the top six inches and 2% in the next 10 inches, and 11⁄2% in the next 10 inches. That’s not going to sustain agriculture over the long term, and the top 6 inches is not where carbon is going to be kept and stored and sequestered. It’s pretty well impossible to get that short-chain carbon down into the depths without a lot of intervention, which requires a lot of fossil fuels. The best way to do that is to get plant roots to penetrate these depths and to put their exudates down in those depths. There are carbohydrates created out of the interaction between water, sunlight and carbon dioxide, and then manufactured by the plants as a residue, and their primary objective is to feed the soil microlife.

          Bioneers: So deep-rooted plants are key to this process.

          Darren: What drives the sustenance and the regeneration of the soil life is the plants. The plants are the conduit between the atmosphere and the lithosphere [the Earth’s deep outer layer, which includes soil]. They keep the lithosphere, the soil, and the rhizosphere, the root zone, alive, because they transfer the energy of the sun, manufacture the sugars as carbohydrates, as long chain carbons, and that’s what feeds the economy of the soil.


          I’m more familiar with the grazing techniques used to do this, but I’ve been seeing some work on regenerating forest too (yes, they’re starting to realise now that forests sequester more carbon than previously thought).

          • Robert Guyton

            Did we mention water? Soil carbon/humus holds water molecules like nobody’s business , creating ‘in-land’ lakes that don’t evaporate, being underground, and require no reticulation to get to the plant roots – they’re already there! We here in New Zealand are experts at water-mismanagement. The black ‘carbon-agents’ being described here will solve all our water issues, be they too much or too little water.

            • weka

              Yes! Next time I’m banging on about farmer-induced droughts in NZ I hope you and Xanthe are around. Would be great to have the broader perspectives.

              • Haikai Tane would add great value to the discussion, though he’s not seen on blogs. Taoist farmers have got it going on! Kama Burwell has a blog and she and Nandor have an interesting interview online.

      • Robert Guyton 13.1.3

        Why pay? Because that’s the lever that ensures success in that sector. Do we want to succeed? Pay them to do it. They are the ‘big fellas’, they have the land and the capability. Permaculturalists/organic farmers etc. own a minuscule percentage of the world’s farmland. It’s the conventional farmland that will receive the carbon that has to be retrieved. Pay or fail, even if it irks you sorely 🙂

        • weka

          Another reason is that many conventional farms carry a high level of debt and aren’t allowed to stray too far from the BAU plan. If we want them to start doing the right thing we have to make that financially viable. Should definitely come with conditions though.

  13. Xanthe 14

    Well the figure i have found for the global sequestration of carbon in grasslands is
    .5 pg /y 10-1 which i think means one half a petagram per year times ten to the minus 1
    ie 50000000000 kg or .5 billion tons (metric)
    Or .06% of the total atmospheric carbon

    Of course that will be the total cycle, more or less of that will remain sequestered depending on management, but
    Thats actually a rather hopeful number
    Assuming my starting numbers and sums arnt complete bullshit !

    • Bullshit’s good stuff, Xanthe, provided you have the sequestering organisms in place for when it hits the ground 🙂
      But lignin, have we mentioned lignin? Throw some of that stuff at soil laced with mycellium of mycorrhizal fungi and we’re really starting to talk carbon sequestration!

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