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Open mike 18/07/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 18th, 2010 - 10 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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10 comments on “Open mike 18/07/2010 ”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Whose bright idea was it to put Phil Goff in a GST debate with Rahui Katene when the Prime Minister had a full interview with Guyon Espiner?

    I’m not saying the debate about removing GST from healthy foods isn’t important. It just strikes me as odd that Labour would put Goff in such a position. It just makes Goff look like a non-leader. And is that really what you want the Opposition leader to be doing anyway. Because it will never become law under National and I’m not quite convinced its something Labour really wants to do themselves either.

    And personally I don’t think removal of GST on healthy foods will make such foods more affordable. It’d just allow even more mark-ups on such foods.

  2. NickS 2

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/ge-trees-could-cause-ecological-disaster-3650490

    Dear GE Free NZ, while pine pollen can indeed travel +60km with the right wind conditions, one suspects that what you are doing is “quote mining” Scion’s application. We also feel that you are completely ignoring the already present threat from wilding pines, of which the worst species is not the humble weedy radiata pine, but actually Lodgepole and Scots pines, although the lack of control by land owners and the State sector has lead to wilding radiata infestations primarily in coastal areas. However, with the right planting schemes (i.e. a hedge around the plantation, preferably native plantings) and constant wilding control, radiata isn’t that difficult to control the spread of, unlike the other pines previously mentioned. And under the RMA Scion will be required to mop-up any spread, and given the size of pines, this is a relatively easy task, especially as forestry rarely uses wilding pines for quality control reasons.

    Also, an increase in growth rate is unlikely to make it that much more of a pest, since the increased rate of growth will likely come at a cost of decreased energy put towards reproduction. Since altering the photosynthetic pathways to be more efficient is somewhat an impossible task to pull off at present, and thus the energy already harvested from the sun by the modified pines will likely be the same, and so there will likely be a trade off. Not to mention I doubt the geneticists behind this project would view a increase in reproduction to be a useful trait, although I really should have a glance at the literature cited in the application, which is inconveniently not linked to by TVNZ.

    As for it being an “ecological disaster”, we cannot but help go “lolwut?” as you seem to have not provided any reason for it. other than “just because it’s GE!!!!”. And given the prior reasoning above, we are somewhat puzzled at how this will create and ecological disaster, even more so given radiata can’t cross with the much more invasive lodgepole pine or macrocarpa, and thus the genetic modifications that confer increased rates of growth aren’t going to escape to more troublesome species. Thus we feel that your claim of “ecological disaster” is totally bullshit, and shows an understanding of ecology that is completely absent, if not utterly delusional.

    We also feel that your group are a bunch of complete nonces who couldn’t pass a 2 year genetics paper and have fuck all in the way of capacity to understand the science involved, let alone the means for managing risk. As has been shown previously by the hysteria over GE genes detected in the cells lining the intestine of lab animals, in which many anti-GE activists showed a complete failure to even consider that similar things happen with other fragments of DNA and this is one of the reasons why gut cells are constantly replaced. Not to forget either the innate immune system reactions that generally chop-up and DNA and double stranded RNA found naked outside the nucleus.

    Thus we ask that you actually employ a molecular biology graduate to edumacate you on genetic modification, although likely, like creationists and climate change deniers, we doubt you’ll bother employing anyone critical, and will continue to spew bullshit about genetic engineering and quote mine the rather brilliant Prof. Jack Heinemann and others (awesome lecturer) as to the risks of GE without bothering with any of the science, nor ethical reasoning they make use of.

    or tl:dr, lawl, GE is totes cools and is happening right in every university and any place that does genetic testing and analysis, and shall never be stamped out you massive luddite douche-noozles, so get back to your hugboxs or learn teh fucking science instead of making utterly ‘tarded arguments about GE and GMO’s.

    And ironically enough, Labour’s ETS forgot to make an exception for wilding pines, which National also conveniently failed to deal with, thus meaning that wilding control though much of the high country is a bit borked as the primary seed sources (i.e. mature trees) can’t be yanked out at present.

    • prism 2.1

      Nick S – I hope this is ‘tongue in cheek’. I haven’t the time to study it all now but anyone who believes that anything will be done perfectly and on time (such as stopping pollen spread by complete control of the pines and cutting them down at just the right time) must be very young or very naive. I am no longer either as I have observed that is unrealistic.

      • NickS 2.1.1

        Did I say perfectly? No I didn’t.

        However, I did say that there’s no chance of it spreading outside radiata pines, as radiata doesn’t cross in cultivation with any other of the pine species in NZ, nor is it one of the main wilding pine species. But also, given there’s a trade off between growth vs reproduction likely involved, even escape of this modification into wilding populations is not going to likely represent a significant worsening of wilding radiata problems. Let alone the “ecological catastrophe” GE Free NZ claims.

        Now, herbicide resistance would be somewhat different story, but all the same, wildings are easy to control if companies and land owners bothers to spend the resources to reduce the spread of seeds outside plantations and remove any wildings present. For unlike short lived weedy species, all but Mountain Pine tend to be easy to see, and relatively easy to remove, unless they aren’t controlled in the first place. In which case you end up with the thickets seen in the MacKenzie Basin, the Canterbury High Country (west of Castle Hill along SH73) and other sites such as the Desert Highway.

        As for the current wilding problem, a lack of resources and the legislation to encourage the application of those resources has in part created the current wilding problem. Which originally was caused by the Ministry of Forestry not putting controls on it’s experimental pine plantings and concern over the entirely naturally high rate of erosion in the NZ high country.

  3. burt 3

    I see that National have declared a large donation from Tony Astle who owns a restaurant. How in hell will National announce a special tax cut for the hospitality industry saying it will benefit the entire economy now that we know they have a vested interest in offering special favours to that sector.

    http://www.elections.org.nz/rules/donations/returns-donations-exceeding-20k.html

    Crikey, the good old days when corrupt politicians denied such donations and offered special tax treatment to the people who made them were so much more fun.

  4. jcuknz 4

    Down here in Dunedin the “Star’, the free offshoot of Allied Press, has a front page story “$2m from city state houses heads north”. Seems like they sold a bit over a dozen state houses they didn’t seem to want and it of course it went into the State Housing fund. Meanwhile there are no state houses being planned to built in Dunedin in the coming year despite having 123 on the waiting list. Seems there are 5780 on the waiting list in Auckland where they expect to buy or build 275 houses in the current financial year.
    Of course local Labour and Green MPs are screaming about this as an outrage and appalling.
    It seems pretty reasonable to me except for the story on the other side of the front page where we hear about a man and his sick wife requiring his care and their draughty and mould growing state house in Mosgiel. But even worse are the reported comments from the regional manageress “If HNZ is no longer [their] landlord of choice, [they are ] under no obligation to stay with us”. With their limited resources they cannot find the bond required for a private rental, charming to say the least.
    Despite a decade of building up government reserves the State houses are still largely in disrepair and un healthy condition and with a slumping building industry governments have done very little to maintain and grow this national asset. Ministers I have read about crowing over the few houses that have been upgraded or replaced and their comments are frankly pathetic in view of the task involved and the small proportion dealth with.
    Much has been talked about emphasising primary care to ease the burden on our hospitals but healthy homes for the less fortunate of our population surely is also a good long term investment.

    • just saying 4.1

      Did you see the previous Star story about selling the state houses last week?
      I tried unsuccessfully to find it online to put up the link.

      The official line was that the houses were being sold because no-one wanted to live in them. Full sun five minutes from the CBD, and the wally was trying to say that they were being sold because no-one on the waiting list wanted to live there.
      Fortunately the reporter went out and found some people on the waiting list and asked them. Naturally the respondants said they’d be delighted to have the opportunity to live there. These are, after all, some of the best state homes in Dunedin – that’s the real reason they are up for sale.

      Isn’t it ironic that it takes a free weekly newspaper to make the effort to follow stories like this, and actually ask questions rather than just print press-releases and celebrity crap.

  5. Descendant Of Smith 5

    It’s all right because someone cares about our youth potential enough to find them a way of getting an income.

    time to recruit

    Keep making things worse for our young people – there’s a bunch of willing recipients who will pick up the slack. More misery heaped on misery.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      More misery heaped on misery.

      That’s capitalism in a nutshell but the present government will continue to do it because they and their rich mates will be better off.

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