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Open mike 25/08/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, August 25th, 2019 - 137 comments
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137 comments on “Open mike 25/08/2019 ”

  1. an interesting quiz – ranking the most effective ways to tackle climate-change..

    (using the numbers of cars taken off the road as the marker..)

    example being: if everyone composts = 16 million cars taken off road..

    everyone on plant-based diet = over 400 million cars taken off road..

    https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/04/specials/climate-change-solutions-quiz/

    • bwaghorn 1.1

      Gee we could cut out the middle man and just take the cars off the the road!!!

      • Sacha 1.1.1

        But think of all the manure.

        • Dukeofurl 1.1.1.1

          Think of all the fertiliser needed(increasingly made from natural gas) for the frankenfoods -'plant based' is just a euphemism for GE plants and industrial level manufacture.

          We already have plant based foods – they are called grains, vegetables and fruits

    • Robert Guyton 1.2

      I'm betting that if each and every human to committed to tackling climate change, we'd do it.

    • are there any radio new zealand listeners on here..?

      did you hear the insight doco on the dairy industry..?

      yr thoughts..?

      i found the comparisons with the once omnipotent wool industry (also killed by the rise of synthetics..)….particularly telling..

      • solkta 1.3.2

        Ummm, the wool industry was never "killed". Bashed badly maybe.

        • phillip ure 1.3.2.1

          i thought it was still doing thru its' death-rattle/paroxysms..

          a very pale shadow of its' former self..?

        • Peter Christchurch NZ 1.3.2.2

          And displaced by dairy. In NZ (a dominant player in sheep until the mid 80s), it was the SMP (supplementary minimum price) scheme that ultimately flooded the market with a colossal oversupply of sheep, and once the SMP was removed, the supply crashed. and all about the same time as good quality synthetic wool substitutes arrived on the scene.

          • Dukeofurl 1.3.2.2.1

            Synthetics in clothing have replaced wool and Cotton for some time.

            A major market for the type of crossbreed wool grown in NZ was carpets.

            A major shift in tastes in home decoration moved away from all carpets to a wood or laminates /carpet mix.

        • Pat 1.3.2.3

          Very badly bashed

          "Wool has been a less important export earner for New Zealand since the 1990s. As a percentage of total exports, wool fell from 26 percent in 1920 to 1.6 percent in 2011. Sheep farmers have switched their focus from wool to sheepmeat as meat prices have risen, relative to total export prices, and wool prices have fallen."

          http://archive.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/prices_indexes/historical-wool-export-prices-volumes-2011.aspx

          Dairy may well survive just like wool has….but as a substantially reduced importance (and with a shedload of stranded assets) and whats going to purchase all this new high tech thats going to save us all?

          • weka 1.3.2.3.1

            As people get on board with plastic and microfibre pollution, wool may become a core material again. Hemp too, lots of NZ farms could be growing that.

            • Pat 1.3.2.3.1.1

              Id suggest that with the deflationary pressures occurring around the world NZ is struggling with price competitiveness for commodity exports a it is.

              • weka

                Are companies like Icebreaker still going strong? i.e. is it a commodity vs useful product issue?

                • bwaghorn

                  Marine wool is booming . $20 plus a kg . It's a shame they only suit the harsh high country farms

            • Andre 1.3.2.3.1.2

              Or perhaps people will get serious about learning the GHG footprint of the products they buy, learn that producing 1 kg of wool means emitting about 1kg of sheep-burp methane, and decide that plastic microfibre pollution is the lesser evil.

              As with almost everything to do with human activity, there are no good answers, just more or less crap answers. And when it comes to textiles, the least crap answer is to consume less, use what you have until it's genuinely worn out, and dispose of the remains responsibly.

              • bwaghorn

                The difference is a sheep burp is part of a cycle. Where as your plastic is dragged up from the deep and released as totally new atmospheric gases and pollutants that will last for ever.

                You went on a week or two ago about how the little bit of micro plastic you release isnt a big deal . And It wouldn't be if there wasn't 7 billion others doing it to.

                • Andre

                  The fact that we hoomans have caused massive amounts of forest land to be changed to grassland grazed by burping ruminants has overwhelmed the cycle that used to exist.

                  The increased methane in the atmosphere right now (1866 ppb) over pre-industrial times (722 ppb) is all on us, and the vast numbers of burping sheep and cows we have added to our planet is a big part of it. And somewhere around a quarter to a third of the warming we are experiencing is due to increased methane.

                  • bwaghorn

                    I'll agree to a point but making it worse by adding carbon that was and is truly locked away safely is just plane dumb.

                    Btw nzs sheep flock has halved since 91 . Some but not all has been replaced by farting cows . But alot have been replaced by trees.

                    • Andre

                      Manufacturing plastics releases very little greenhouse gases. The numbers I've seen are of the order of 0.009kg CO2eq to produce 1 kg of plastic fibre for textiles, compared to 25kg CO2 (100yr) or 86kg CO2eq (20yr) for producing 1kg of wool. There's no real way to avoid or mitigate the methane release problem from growing wool.

                      The problem with plastic is that it's very very slow to properly break down, and that it's harmful to critters that mistake bits of plastic for food. It's possible to minimise this pollution problem by responsible disposal, or even recycling.

                      That the plastic is made from the same raw material (crude oil) that we use for fossil fuels (that get burned and the hazardous waste dumped in the atmosphere) could easily lead to the mistaken idea that plastics are also a major greenhouse gas problem. But they're not, the carbon that came out of the ground to make the plastic is still locked away out of the atmosphere in the solid plastic.

                      Chances are eventually some microbes will evolve the ability to metabolise plastics. Indeed, some have already been shown to exist for a few different kinds of plastic. If we're lucky, those microbes will aerobically digest the plastic and emit the carbon as CO2, and each kg of plastic will become roughly 3kg of CO2. If we're unlucky, it'll be anaerobic microbes, and we'll get that plastic back as methane.

                    • weka

                      "There's no real way to avoid or mitigate the methane release problem from growing wool."

                      Why not? Natural cycles have methane sinks, we can breed sheep to produce less methane, and we can sequester carbon to reduce GHG effects.

                      All of that depends on a rapid transition to near zero carbon, but that's necessary anyway (and doesn't include using carbon offsets for non-essential things).

                      It's true there is a lot of potential from microbes in dealing with all sorts of pollution, (and fungi), but that still happens within the limits of nature. There are still upper limits that nature can manage and given we are in overshoot in so many ways, relying on nature to suck up our excesses is daft.

                      (I'd like to see a cradle to grave analysis of synthetics fibres, GHG and eco).

                      All that aside, we waste enormous amounts of all sorts of fibres, looking at that is probably prudent.

                  • weka

                    a sustainability response to that (rather than a reductionist one).

                    Limit the amount of wool produced to essentials, and stop being profligate with the resource.

                    Make full use of each sheep over its lifetime (they're the epitome of sustainability if you do this, including zero waste if managed well)

                    Use regenerative farming and landcare to mitigate the methane issues. Regenag also makes sheep into contributors to the system beyond the wool and meat produced.

                    Synthetic fibres create multiple pollutions not just microfibre ones, there's no way we can keep doing this and maintain healthy ecosystems.

                    The problem isn't that farm animals exist, it's the humans are stupid and greedy and have too many of them and have them in grossly polluting systems. My back of the envelope calculations suggest that NZ could be using 15% of land we currently use for dairy farming, with lower stocking rates, to produce enough dairy for NZers.

                    The greed/stupid systems issues are solvable, we don't have to choose the lesser of evils.

                    • Andre

                      There's also the ancient history circumstance that the animals we happened to domesticate and genetically modify by selective breeding happened to be ruminants which necessarily produce massive amounts of methane as a part of their digestion.

                      For instance, if our ancient ancestors had happened to modify equines or camelids into becoming our meat-and-milk animals, we'd now be facing much less of a methane emissions problem now.

                      Given the the situation we have now, though, what could still change is meat-eaters shifting more towards pork and chicken (or horse) away from beef and lamb.

                      I don't recall seeing numbers on what would be needed in terms of land, water use etc to stop plastic fibre production and replace that with various plant or animal grown alternatives. Have you? Given the horrible eco-footprint of cotton, I suspect the answer is probably quite unpleasant.

                      Maybe that will become another synthetic biology application, producing biodegradable synthetic fibres similar to wool. Synthetic spider silk has had a lot of research for quite a long time, it's got quite remarkable properties that would be extremely useful if it could be produced in commercial quantities.

                    • weka []

                      sidetracked reading about camelids now. Was thinking alpacas etc for fibre, but haven’t found any comparison figures yet for methane (only that it’s lower).

                      Pork and chicken, rabbits too. Feral deer, goats, pigs. Possum when we get desperate 😉

                      Do you know if NZ’s ag animal emissions are based on burping or do they include manure as well?

                      “Given the horrible eco-footprint of cotton, I suspect the answer is probably quite unpleasant.”

                      From a systems view, I’d look first a reducing waste across all fibre uses. Then look at what NZ can grow for itself (hemp, harakeke flax, linen flax, nettle, cotton, wool (sheep, alpaca etc), leather, as well as what we can harvest (possum fur). All of those done regeneratively changes the picture immensely. R and D on new natural fibres. Then we can look at import/export, and synthetics.

                      In regenag, animals are an integral part of the system. They’re not just end products that use resources. Animals can be used to build soil, which lowers the need for water (also, don’t grow anything in a climate it’s not adapted for). They provide on site manure for free, so no need for expensive artificial fertilisers. They have multiple outputs and benefits so we need to start measuring this rather than linearly.

                    • Andre

                      If you're reading up about camelids, definitely check out info about vicuna. It's a fascinating intersection of culture, conservation etc.

      • Peter Christchurch NZ 1.3.3

        Can't see that happening. With Sheep, synthetics offered an often far superior product (harder wearing, easier to clean etc). With dairy, synthetics just will not replace the natural food in peoples food preference. In most developed countries, there is a swing away from processed foods in general, so whilst synthetics may well have a place, it wont be a replacement.

        Just take a look at any supermarket near where Chinese tourists gather. Their supermarket trolleys are piled high with milk powder, animal based cosmetics, health products, and so on. All to take back to China as a far more healthy alternative than what is on offer at home. The increasingly affluent in the newly growing economies of China and parts of Africa are tired of processed and synthetics. They want natural and healthy. One in twenty people in the world live in mainland China. Huge populations in countries like Angola and other African countries. No shortage of ready consumers to keep the dairy industry alive.

        • phillip ure 1.3.3.1

          did you listen to the doco peter..?

          'cos much of what you raise is addressed/answered in it..

          • Peter Christchurch NZ 1.3.3.1.1

            No, did read RNZ article though. Disagree with there views. But will listen to doco!

        • Sacha 1.3.3.2

          People in China are mainly seeking food that is reliable. Once synthetic diary can offer that, then other factors like climate impact, price, and provenance come into play.

          If we're talking about industrial milk powder that is merely an ingredient of some processed food or other product, 'naturalness' is even less significant. As soon as climate impact is priced in, NZ's current focus on exporting powder is a losing bet.

      • Pat 1.3.4

        yep…the wool industry analogy a good one. Couple of things to consider…around 50% of our FX is derived from dairy exports and international tourism….IF, and thats a big if the world begins to address CC, what then?

        • phillip ure 1.3.4.1

          @ pat..

          short-answer – we're fucked..

          long-answer – we will have to become more inward looking – we have to transition to a self-sustaining (in food) economy..(that much is a given..)

          currently much of our fruit/veg is imported – this will change..as transport/climate- costs will become too high/will be unable to be still relied upon..

          and of course this is all do-able..

          i have no answers to the economic storms from the inevitable shrinking of those two pillars of the nz economy..

          • Pat 1.3.4.1.1

            "i have no answers to the economic storms from the inevitable shrinking of those two pillars of the nz economy.."

            And in that you are not alone, including those charged with such things. Concerningly the dairy industry precariousness remains even without CC mitigation…it took around 15 years of grief to begin to recover from the halving of rural property values last time…and that was in a world still able to 'grow' (whether it was wise to do so is another argument)

        • weka 1.3.4.2

          Knowledge economy for exporting?

          Beyond that, is there a compelling reason we need to be exporting so much?

          • KJT 1.3.4.2.1

            I strongly suspect that if you take all the costs into account, including pollution, interest and profit going offshore, job loses in industries we have killed to help "free trade" and all the other costs of agriculture commodity exports, most of our farming is a net cost to New Zealand's real balance of payments.

            • weka 1.3.4.2.1.1

              That's probably true of other industries too. Maybe our economy is a pyramid scheme waiting to fall over.

          • Pat 1.3.4.2.2

            Whether you think its compelling will likely depend on your life expectations…Id suggest that what I would prioritise (at my stage of life) would be totally unacceptable to wide segments of society and that would apply to everyone….so how are priorities to be determined, and by who?

            There is a multitude of items we cannot provide or provide at a cost that can be paid by all the most wealthy among us….the recent outcry about cancer treatments is a case in point….we could survive without exports or with greatly reduced exports but we may need to close the borders to emigration (not to mention capital flight)

            • weka 1.3.4.2.2.1

              I'm sure that is true about expectations, but climate change will change that sooner or later. Having the conversations now may make transition easier for some.

              I wasn't think it was about imposing priorities but rather that we convince ourselves to change. It's not like we can't change.

              Is the basic idea here that we need exports to great a certain degree of wealth so that we can afford to import things we can't make ourselves? My question was more about what if we produced much of what we need ourselves, is there a reason that this is insufficient to provide the country with a certain standard of living?

              Looking at Icebreaker, is there a reason that they *had to go global? Why could they not have stayed as a company selling locally?

              (NZ selling merino clothing is probably a good thing, shipping wool to china then the clothes back to NZ is an idiocy).

              • Pat

                Yes we could produce far more here (especially if we are prepared to accept the likely increased cost….are we?) and I agree we will be forced to at some point in any case but my concern is to attempt to avoid the grief another hard transition would produce and to achieve that we need more than conversations…we need a detailed plan and that plan needs to be accepted by a broad section of society…and thats the hard part.

                Without such we will continue BAU until we cannot

                • weka

                  Plan + 'conversations' = broad social acceptance. Conversations aren't an only, they're a prerequisite for change.

                  I think there are plenty of plans, or people wiling and able to step up and create them relatively quickly. I just listened to Marilyn Waring's Chch TED talk, I'm betting she knows exactly what we need to do. Professional people and academics have been talking and writing about steady state economies or powering down or the limits of growth for 50 years. There's issues there (thinking about the problems with Kiwibuild, or fixing the messes that National has made), but I'm not so worried about the planning and implementation even knowing that mistakes will get made.

                  More of an issue for me are the powermongers at large (eg people like Shane Jones in charge of tree planting, who just don't get it). That's a tough one to solve.

                  And the public. Who I think will hit a tipping point at some point and we need to be ready with ways of having the conversation fast and probably under difficult circumstances.

                  My question here, to the people with a better understanding of economics than me, is whether there is a compelling reason to believe that only growth economics can give us a decent standard of living.

                  Matt suggested to me the other day that moving to a steady state economy would mean the end to investments so I guess the middle classes might experience that as a decline, but the sustainability and resiliency leaders have been saying for a while now to put investment money into land and resiliency, not for a financial return but to provide other kinds of as the world changes. For that to be taken seriously we need to talk about it, a lot. Debate it until the fearful living in a mud hut isn't the only future that people can conceive of without civ.

                  I agree about the huge value in avoiding a hard transition. Maybe there are lessons to be learned from the 80s about the necessity of kindness and valuing people.

                  • Pat

                    Yes 'conversations' are required to achieve a plan that has wide social acceptance, how much time can we spend now on that?…Id suggest sadly weve wasted the time for that so where to from here? Do we waste more time negotiating wider acceptance or do we outline whats needed and enforce?…time is of the essence but without acceptance it will unwind any plan before it starts……and all of that assumes there is indeed a solution which isnt certain.

                    And it isnt only the 'middle classes' that will kick back if we are honest

                    • weka

                      I agree, lots of people will resist, but the value in getting the middle classes on board is immeasurable (assuming they're on board ethically and aren't just going to shit on other people). They also hold a lot of power in various parts of society (management, politics, academia, industry, MSM).

                      Also agree that so much time has been wasted. I can't see a way yet that NZ could use force. I think once enough people are on board, then restrictions like we've had in wartime would be doable. Ditto legislative changes eg solar on every new build, no more building in low lying areas. I don't think we are too far off law changes like that tbh. Attitudes are changing fast.

                      More broadly, there's an issue of using force at a time when fascism is on the rise. Force under National would be a terrible thing.

                      Given what's happening in Brazil, I have been wondering about political and economic sanctions and at what point that becomes a global survival necessity even where it harms local populations. I think we have other choices but are going to be hard up against international agreements and conventions that were designed for a different age.

                  • Pat

                    I suspect we are talking of different things…NZ is a currently a developed economy and all that provides (IMO hanging on by the skin of its teeth) and maintaining that requires a plan to that end..we can do or not do any number of things but most of them will not maintain the benefits of being a developed economy …especially force.

                    • weka

                      we might be talking about different things. I'm asking if we need t base our economy primarily on exports. Not sure there's been a clear answer yet. Do you think that maintaining a developed economy depends on that?

                  • Pat

                    "'m asking if we need t base our economy primarily on exports. Not sure there's been a clear answer yet. Do you think that maintaining a developed economy depends on that?"

                    Quite simply yes…the only question is at what level that import/export ratio needs to be and how we determine what those imports/exports are.

                    Full on autarky wouldnt mean we will all perish but it certainly would provide massive problems, especially as time passed and would IMO require 'force' and be incompatible with democracy…all doable but is that a society we would desire for our children?

                    • weka

                      I'm not suggesting autarky though. I'm suggesting that for environmental, sustainability, resiliency, and climate mitigation and prep, we look at not being dependent on exporting to maintain a decent standard of living. This doesn't mean we never import or export anything, it means our economy is relatively stable within NZ irrespective of what happens in the rest of the world.

                      And yes, after that, what do we need to import, and what do we need to export?

                      I haven't seen a compelling argument for why we have to have an export driven economy (as opposed to having exports/imports for our needs).

                  • Pat

                    If you desire the latter you must have the former…so it becomes a question of requirements and as I find myself repeating ad nauseam that requires a plan…and our plan since the eighties has been to (largely) leave that to market forces…or BAU. That needs to change and fast.

                    Where is the alternative plan?

          • McFlock 1.3.4.2.3

            To pay off what we import.

            Personally, I'd limit air freight to perishable items, and figure out a way to make cruise ships more attractive to be run as liners (while cracking down on working conditions and waste). But trade in itself isn't the issue, so much as plastic shit and our own shit internal transport systems.

            Another thing – why aren't cigarette butts biodegradable? They're literally attached to a single-use something that is useless if it comes into contact with water, and yet these bloody things are indestructible?

            • weka 1.3.4.2.3.1

              "To pay off what we import."

              So theoretically at least, if we manufactured more here, we could import less and still have a decent standard of living?

              I can't see any reason to stop all exporting/importing, I just think the reliance on it, and the excess nature of it, is creating huge problems. Loss of fossil fuels will reduce that eventually anyway. Books by sea rather than flown in. I'm old enough to remember when that was true so it doesn't seem a hardship to me, but we were still hugely reliant on exports then and I still don't understand why exactly. I get what happened in the 80s, where we swapped jobs for cheap goods manufactured off shore, so I guess if that were reversed we wouldn't exactly collapse from deprivation.

              • McFlock

                A high level of international trade enables economies and efficiencies of mega-scale production. From a global perspective, transport included, that might actually be better for the environment than lots of merely large scale facilities each with their own tooling, buildings, and emissions.

                I think the toxic bit is the encouraged demand for essentially disposable items or items with designed obsolescence, and the outsourcing of worker exploitation and abuse..

                • weka

                  so a high level of international trade brings some benefits (globally and to NZ), but how it's done causes serious problems. Is there a way to prevent the drive for designed obsolescence and worker exploitation and still maintain high level international trade?

                  My original question is still whether there is any inherent reason that the NZ economy needs to be based on high exporting (as opposed to lower level, more targeted export/import).

                  • McFlock

                    Well, there's no inherent reason why trade needs to be at any particular level, from one point of view. But if we're looking at overall efficiency of the supply system, then I suspect with our mid-range population and comparative resource wealth, we'd have a better standard of living and lower environmental impact with wider trade relationships than if we were primarily self sufficient in most things we need.

                    As for a way to deal with the capitalist mechanisms of encouraging demand and exploitation, maybe regulating advertising in some way? There's not much point in putting up trade barriers to be largely self sufficient if we still purchase massive amounts of crap, regardless of where it's made.

                    • weka

                      right, but isn't the point that global free market prevents nations from making those kinds of laws.

                      I'd see a process of encouragement and education for a number of years, eventually backed by legislation that mandates repairable electronics for instance. I can't see how that can be done when we import so much. I guess if enough nation states had domestic laws then pressure could be applied collectively.

                      I'm not convinced there is any way to make the global economy in any way sustainable from a CC or eco point of view. Less damaging isn't enough in both instances. It's not that importing is bad, it's that sustainable systems design just wouldn't start there, it would start local and then work outwards. So we grow our meat, veg and beans close to where they are eaten, and we get to import coffee and chocolate if that's where we prioritise our carbon budget (I suspect it will be more like we get to import meds and precious metals because we left things too late).

                    • McFlock

                      From what I gather, most FTAs prohibit preferential regulation, but allow universal regulation. So maybe something about supply chain pay equity, regardless of source? But even if that were allowed, those nations that currently profit from exploitation would push back.

                      As for starting locally, how far do you want to go? Local meat, processed at a local abattoir, distributed to local butcheries? Fine for Timaru or Dannevirke I guess, but Counties Manakau or central Auckland? Much of the bread in Dunedin is made (or travels through) ChCh, because of efficiencies of scale. We almost ran out after the quakes. But I don't see many wheatfields around Mosgiel, and I'm not sure there's a good reason for that to change.

                    • weka []

                      working from the local means you design for the local. Solutions for Dndn will be different than for Auckland or Westport.

                      Lots of meat could be killed on farm and sold locally. Needs good management practice, but can be done. (multiple benefits here, eco, jobs, local economy, low food miles, and better consumer engagement with al of that). Cities can grow a lot of food within the city (probably wouldn’t hurt city folk to see city farms and animals that will be killed for their table), but Auckland really should be preserving its fertile food growing land. What probably shouldn’t be happening is Southland lamb being sold in Auckland suburbs. There’s a kind of craziness in NZ supply lines (lots of back and forth) for all sorts of things, and electric vehicles, while necessary aren’t the main solution to that.

                      Wheat, sure, grow it in Canterbury and train it along the main trunk like. But better to quake proof that supply line by growing locally too. Plenty of grain growing done in Otago, not sure what the issues with wheat are (probably dairy conversions). CC makes relying on monocropping dodgy, so we should probably look at how to eat other things as staples (variety, including but not so dependent on wheat).

                    • weka []

                      Re the FTAs, is there anything there stopping NZ from not exporting/importing so much?

                    • McFlock

                      Dunno about the advantages of local killing vs abattoirs, sure there will be more jobs but again jobs aren't a problem if capitalism isn't given free rein. Every onsite facility would require oversight, water, power, waste disposal, etc etc etc. Concentrating all of that in one larger facility might be better from most if not all aspects.

                      As for FTAs, nothing is forcing people to buy imported stuff. But legislating a restriction in imports in favour of local producers is the antithesis of an FTA.

                    • weka []

                      There are legal, mobile home-kill operations already in NZ. We don’t need a massive freezing works in every area, small scale abbatoirs will work too. There’s a problem in NZ with how abbatoirs tie up and dictate meat supply chains. Talk to organic growers about how hard it is to get their products back to sell, or to keep all the parts of the animal. Efficiencies from size might support aspects of a growth economy, but they’re often failing with regards to local economies and the environment.

                      There are also issues around miles. A farmer in a rural area wanting to sell her sheep locally, has to live truck the sheep to a freezing works, often many miles, and then freight the meat back. That’s just daft. Trucks on roads, carbon, time, lots of inefficiencies. There’s an animal welfare issue there too.

                    • McFlock

                      We're almost three quarters urban. If some niche farmer wants small-scale slaughtering for whatever reason, they can do that. But the objective is to feed cities, and trucking meat to the urban centres after centralised processing has got to be less environmentally damaging and resource-consuming than people from the cities driving out to visit your farmer's gate.

              • Pat

                saying we swapped jobs for cheap goods is a little misleading…we swapped loss of control over our currency (and therefore standard of living) for the 'support 'of international traders..we could have done it better but we still had to play the game according to the rules

                • McFlock

                  Nah. Two different subjects entirely. Currency value is like the OCR – adds a certain elasticity to the effects of change within some boundaries, but there's no real "control".

                  Removing tarriffs and other barriers is fine for peer-relationships. Maybe german companies make better widgets than we ever could, and for cheaper (either tech or established process efficiencies, or they have a better supply of widget ore). But if the comparative advantage is because they pay their children 50c a day to make widgets, then we're outsourcing worker exploitation.

                  • Pat

                    excuse me?….may pay to think a little further. Start thinking capital fight and dearth of investment and then tell me how we have no influence over our currency…..you may also wish to consider what the end result of that looks like and a pathway back and then advise places like zimbabwe or venezuela or even argentina

                    • McFlock

                      control vs influence.

                      One is a steering wheel, the other is the person in the passenger seat suggesting "next left".

                      Sure, a quick scream or blatant misdirection might lead to a wrong turn or a crash, but if the driver expects it there's little effect because the driver has already planned a response.

                      How are Zimbabwe and Venezuela doing at controlling the value of their currencies? Avoiding inflation on imported goods okay? Stable enough that street traders won't prefer USD?

                  • Pat

                    good grief..quite obviously zimbabwe and venezuela (and argentina, and there are others) lost control ( not influence) of their currencies, unless you wish to suggest they desired the result?….you might now want to consider how that occurred

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                      So when things are going well countries control their currency values, but when the currencies tank they've lost control.

                      Or maybe the "control" was largely an illusion all along…

                  • Pat

                    too binary…when operating within parameters they have influence….outside those parameters they lose control…..as NZ was approaching in the early eighties.

                    Currency (money)is a confidence trick…remove all confidence and you have no currency.

                  • Pat

                    I didnt make the rules…calling it a confidence trick is my disparaging opinion and it dosnt change the reality

                    • McFlock

                      It's an accurate enough portrayal of reality.

                      A government can't control the currency if it can't control the confidence people have in it. And it can't. It can reassure, try to avoid surprises, gently adjust regulations and conditions, but speculative markets are like murmurations of starlings – if they take wing, who knows where they'll end up. And "what can I buy with this intrinsically-valueless piece of paper or this chip card or this app" is pretty much the most speculative market there can be.

                • greywarshark

                  WE also fairly easily dropped our border tariffs that prevented cheap things from getting in undercutting our markets, and when the local prices were too high, NZ micro businesses fell.

                  • Pat

                    yep we did all that and tossed the best part of a generation on the scrap heap, the consequences of we are increasingly struggling with and we sold or abandoned a history of institutional knowledge (capacity) which plagues us to this day….all this is known and still we appear incapable of constructing a remedy, or even the attempt.

                    And then theres CC.

      • gsays 1.3.5

        Hi Phil, perhaps the analogy of 'synthetic wool' is not so flash an example for the demise of traditional vs new food industries.

        We are now hearing about these plastic micro fibres ending up in the stomachs of small fish. Fossil fuel based gunk that removes plenty of humans from its manufacture.

        Wool products have lots of different skill sets involved in their production.

        I sincerely hope to see the demise of theses textiles in my lifetime.

        Wool is warm. It's water, rot and fire resistant. Many uses including insulation.

        • phillip ure 1.3.5.1

          hi gsays…

          i think the comparison was more with something else that was once huge here..

          (and equally unthinkable as being able to be so disrupted..)

          and my comparison was in no way an endorsement of synthetic carpets..

          i'm a minimalist – me…see carpet as too busy/fussy…wool or synthetic..

          a pox on all of them..(it may even tip over into carpet-claustrophobia – i dislike it so much..heh..!..)

          bare floors with rugs'll do just fine…

          and yes – wool has those qualities..maybe it will come back into fashion – as a reaction against plastic pollution..

          (that could be a good angle for the wool-peddlers to take..)

          • gsays 1.3.5.1.1

            Chur phil.

            I get ya point now.

            I am in contrast to you in respect floor coverings. We have lived in a 1906 villa without carpet for 20 years. There is now wool carpet and thick underlay in the lounge and a bedroom.

            I think carpet should refer only to a wool product and synthetic stuff should have to be named something else. I feel this as strongly as you seem to shun them. (he said on the floor doing snow angels)

            I’m curious, do you have any vegany opposition to sheep (wool) farming?

            • phillip ure 1.3.5.1.1.1

              '(he said on the floor doing snow angels)' – heh..!

              re 'vegany opposition' –

              a pet sheep – living its' natural life-span – and the wool used for whatever – fine..

              but as wool is almost worthless – sheep-farming is done now for the meat..

              so..yeah…then there are the lambs – with the same slaughterhouse destination..

              and the chopping off of those lambs' tails – that's pretty gruesome…

    • The Al1en 1.4

      Fanciful thinking. There's no chance everyone will be on a plant based diet to combat climate change, and there's no real reason to try and enforce that.

      Supplying only local markets will cut down on emissions in many ways – Smaller herds, less intensive farming methods, freight and shipping costs off shore. That alone negates the need for your constant attempts at shaming of meat eaters into an unnatural human diet.

      If, under the current export structure it's seen to been a help to reduce consumption, then so be it, I'm sure people do that already, but using climate change fear mongering as the latest meme to promote veganism is as see through as crisp mountain air. Clearly the meat is murder angle has failed, so let's try your burger and steak are killing the planet. 🙄

      Plenty of big atmospheric polluters that can be mitigated or eradicated before we have to tackle with forced veganism.

      • phillip ure 1.4.1

        'forced veganism' – heh..!..that's funny..!

        • The Al1en 1.4.1.1

          So you don't want to force meat eaters to switch to a total 100% plant based diet?

          That's alright then.

          • phillip ure 1.4.1.1.1

            changes like that will be of their own accord..

            people will make up their own minds…

            i don't see 'forced veganism' as being good for anyone…

            and those thinking change like this is impossible – could cast their minds back to when everyone smoked cigarettes..

            and think how much that has changed – in such a short time..

            and really – nobody is being asked to give up anything – you will still have bacon that tastes/smells/chews the same..
            the only difference will be that no animal has suffered in the making of etc etc

            • The Al1en 1.4.1.1.1.1

              Killing and eating the animal doesn't bother me, so not really relevant to the discussion from my perspective. And ciggies, that’s a silly analogy, especially when there are still a hard core number of partakers.

              As there will be no need to stop all animal husbandry to combat climate change if the biggest contributors are addressed first, it doesn't matter if frankenfoods and fake meat are also on the shelves as alternatives because, as you say, we won't actually have to give up anything.

  2. Sacha 2

    Andrea Vance previews the likely nastiness of Judith Collins' forthcoming book: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/115236521/jucos-revenge-book-why-some-big-names-should-be-worried

    • Peter Christchurch NZ 2.1

      Just loved the comments from Bill English in the article, way back in 2005. 'Pushed beyond her ability', believed her own bs and media hype and so on. He was bang on the money long before most Kiwis even knew who she was!

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        She really did not like having her ex-boss Chauvel in parliament with her some years back either. Someone who already knew her bullshittery.

      • Puckish Rogue 2.2.1

        I will not be swayed by weak men afraid of strong women so I'm already getting a supply of hand cream in, to keep my hands and fingers nice and supple whilst I turn the pages, and tissues to wipe away the joys of joy I expect to be shedding while reading this tome that will, without doubt, became required reading for anyone wanting to do politics the right way smiley

        • Robert Guyton 2.2.1.1

          Hand cream and tissues – ewww!

        • Sacha 2.2.1.2

          Genuinely strong women don't need to be nasty. Way more attractive than fragile bullies.

          • Puckish Rogue 2.2.1.2.1

            Genuinely strong women always seem to have the most venom directed towards them, Helen Clark, Margret Thatcher, Judith Collins etc etc

            Its sad how many insecure men are out there

            • phillip ure 2.2.1.2.1.1

              my attitudes to collins are nothing to do with gender..

              it is more for lying tory-ratbag reasons..

              and my qualifications around clark are more from my raising a child on a dpb at the time she was having her 'deserving'(read 'working') and 'undeserving families' war-on-the-poor..

              as a sole-parent on a dpb – i was in the latter camp..and thus one of her targets..and winz was fucken brutal..bare-knuckled animosity..the hideous fucken freaks i had to deal with there..)

              hard to forget all that – and from a(n ostensibly) labour leader/p.m…(!) .(gender irrelevant..)

              and i view clark as having just prepared the ground for key – and his works..

              and i am a long way from the worship so many left-thinking people have for her..

              (and as a reality check – how much did the minimum wage go up under clark..?

              to my mind she was a caretaker to/for our high-cost/low-wage economy..and that is not what i see a labour leader being tasked with..)

              thatcher..?…need i go on..?..she was reagan in drag…

              • Puckish Rogue

                So what you're saying is if a female politicians makes the hard decisions then she deserves to be vilified

                • if by 'hard decisions' you mean fucking over the poorest/weakest – as collins is jonesing to do – and clark/thatcher did….

                  well..yes…they do deserve having that pointed out..(once again – gender irrelevant..)

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    So basically you don't like strong women unless they conform to your out-dated notions of what a strong woman should be

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Come on, Pucky; tell us what your up-to-date notion of a strong woman is and we'll see if that matches what we know of Judith Collins.

                    • @ p.r..

                      whew..!..that's a groin-stretcher..!

                      you ok..?

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Robert I wouldn't dream of telling women what a strong women should be, its that kind of unthinking, patriarchal point of view that keep women from reaching their full potential which in turn hurts all of us angel

                    • Robert Guyton

                      You wouldn't be telling "women", Pucky, you'd be telling me and Phillip are; come on, put up! Us "insecure" men need your help here; don't let us down.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      So you won't up-date Phil's "outdated notions" of strong women for us, despite alluding to having that knowledge, Pucky?

                      Are you afraid there'll be a mismatch between your definition…and Jude?

                      Or that your version of a "strong woman" will be revealed as something quite different altogether from what the rest of the world thinks?

                    • You really are a holier-than-thou foreskin of the double standard eh Mr Puck. If you work your way through the above, surely even you can see that it is ye that's pulled the gender card.

                      Besides which your idol is perfectly capable of sticking up for herself – as if being a current member of the gNat party isn't evidence enough of that. But I guess it's kind of sweet (as well as pathetic) seeing someone (apparently an adult) desperately in lerv with an idol. I'll give you that she's truly iconic – in a desperate sort of way

                      The good thing is that her rivals a even more ‘desperater’ than She

      • Anne 2.2.2

        Excerpt from Frank Macskasy post:

        Ms Collins, along with every other National MP and Party apparatchik are presently engaged in a Trumpesque campaign to win next year’s election. Whether this involves half-truths or shonky data, or outright spread of lies – National will do whatever it takes to win.

        QFT. Every day a misrepresentation or blatant lie is fed to the MSM and is rarely challenged by them even though they know the claim(s) to be false and potentially damaging. Rarely too, does the PM or any of her ministers do much to counter these lies and half truths as if by ignoring them they think they will go away.

        This is a mistake as we have seen time and again in the past. People will subconsciously assimilate the falsehoods and eventually come to perceive them as the truth.

        Judith Collins will thrive in such a political climate. She comes across to me as an updated, female version of Rob Muldoon. Anyone who lived at least part of their adult life through the Muldoon years would know what I mean.

        It might make politics interesting but… be scared!

        Edit: Oh and btw, Muldoon also wrote a book in the lead up to the 1975 election (I think it was).

    • marty mars 2.3

      more grist for the mill for the left – although crasher has a record of doing nothing, bluster, and hollow words and actions – I suppose on her way out of parliament she may tell some truths – but not about herself I bet.

      • Sacha 2.3.1

        That's what has surprised me – does publishing this mean she is resigning?

        • marty mars 2.3.1.1

          hard to say – she's not the brightest brain that's for sure. edited

        • Graeme 2.3.1.2

          does publishing this mean she is resigning?

          Well, it's certainly the long awaited declaration of civil war within the National Party.

          Or a managed departure to set up a sock puppet party. We'll see how that goes, she's not Winston Peters

  3. joe90 3

    There certainly is a baby involved.

    HENRICO, Va. (CN) – Congressman Devin Nunes resisted an attempt to throw out his defamation case against Twitter, arguing through his lawyer Friday that pervasive parody accounts about Nunes are like a fire next door that is seeping smoke into your house and choking a newborn baby.

    Nunes, who did not attend the hearing in Henrico County Circuit Court in person, brought the lawsuit against Twitter this past March. Taking aim at the accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow,” as well as political strategist Liz Mair, the California Republican said the insults against him, in 280 characters or less, caused broad damage to his character and also led him to win re-election by a smaller percentage than usual.

    https://www.courthousenews.com/twitter-defends-nunes-parody-accounts-from-defamation-suit/

  4. joe90 4

    Ms Bitecofer has form.

    age in terms of electoral behavior and what the American electorate can and will tolerate, esp the middle of it, (it tolerated Trump in '16, but won't be doing that twice no matter what).

    But honestly, I think a lot of opinion elites sit outside of the normal income lines of

    America, which even at 100K a year, leave people struggling to fix their cars or AC, pay for a dentist, and send their kids to college. At 50K & below, where 80% of the country lives, its a day to day battle trying to keep the lights on, food on the table, and housing.

    This economic insecurity certainly lays conditions for racism/cultural resentment, and sexism to flourish, and the GOP will be able to capitalize on that with their crafty messaging that will redirect some people's insecurity to their neighbors, but for 50% of the country,

    conditions are actually pretty good for a populist campaign against the ultra-rich to flourish, ESP if the country goes into recession. And @ewarren has always been shrewd about positioning herself as a capitalist that supports more democratic socialism. That's an imp distinction

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1165211906275254273.html?

    https://www.salon.com/2019/08/17/this-political-scientist-completely-nailed-the-2018-blue-wave-heres-her-2020-forecast/

    • Andre 4.1

      The eventual Dem nominee, whoever she may be, will need to deal with the same kinds of false equivalences painted and sniping that Clinton got from the same bunch of hard-core convergence moonbats, second-option-bias fantasists, purity progressives, Jimmy Dore cultists, Bernie bros and other perpetual malcontents.

      If it's Warren, it'll be about her genetic heritage and embrace of capitalism, if it's Harris it'll be about her past as a prosecutor and her waffling on healthcare plans.

      The question will be, will those smears get the same traction and turnout disengagement this time around that they did against Hillary?

  5. gsays 6

    Yesty I treated myself to a coupla tickets to the Film Festival.

    Films about two of my heroes: Helen Kelly doco and a film made while PJ Harvey recorded her album Hope six demolition project.

  6. Sacha 7

    Govt should build moar highways says ex-Minister of them (while misrepresenting the amount still budgeted for roads, naturally): https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/115253220/steven-joyce-heres-why-the-government-needs-to-spend-more-now

    The chump is still ignorant about climate change.

    • KJT 7.1

      As well as a failure in primary school arithmetic.

    • Dukeofurl 7.2

      Why is he even entering the political debate on 'anything'. Key and English and others have moved on and dont seem to want to revisit these issues.

      Why is Joyce , who was Minister of Transport up to 2011 , even being listened too.

      The 'raods' he talks about are very expensive 4 lane state highways, both in Auckland and elsewhere, new builds.

      The money has been moved to state highway improvements which improve safety, alignment and pavements but in smaller chunks , so that unsafe surfaces, bottle necks and blackspots can see fairly quick changes.

      That budget has seen the money taken away for the RONS. We could see the result where the 2010 Manawatu Gorge deviation was shelved after repeated closures and instead expensive and eventually futile remediation was done in the gorge road itself. Joyce was the Minister responsible for that flip flop.

    • Barfly 7.3

      Second article I've read demanding more road construction projects that I have seen recently .We should remember well that road construction companies are/were MAJOR DONORS to the NATIONAL PARTY.

      • Sacha 7.3.1

        Almost expecting news that Joyce has been appointed to one of their boards or something. He has certainly done the yards for them, as it were.

  7. marty mars 8

    Nice – not enough, but a nice gesture. onya

    Glasgow University is to pay £20m in reparations to atone for its historical links to the transatlantic slave trade in what the University of West Indies has described as a “bold, historic” move.

    It signed an agreement with the University of the West Indies to fund a joint centre for development research, at a ceremony in Glasgow on Friday morning.

    Glasgow University discovered last year it had benefited financially from Scottish slave traders in the 18th and 19th centuries by between £16.7m and £198m in today’s money.

    In what is thought to be the first attempt by a British university to set up a programme of restorative justice, it has pledged to raise £20m for the centre, chiefly in research grants and gifts.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/23/glasgow-university-slave-trade-reparations

  8. Fireblade 9

    National MP Matt King denies man-made climate change in a Facebook article he plagiarised from a US right-wing group.

    "King defended his point of view in the comments, saying his views and beliefs are being falsely labelled as alt-right, racist and facist".

    "A common techniques of the loopy left. I'm very comfortable with where I sit," he wrote.
    "It's a common left wing tactic to link things like the Christchurch massacre, Nazis, racism and terms such as alt-right with people that question the leftie doctrine."

    He’s a fine example of a paranoid and deluded National Party nutter.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/08/national-mp-argues-climate-change-is-natural-in-facebook-rant-taken-from-us-right-wing-source.html

  9. marty mars 10

    Funny article and prescience abundant

    Very deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless?” So begins the prelude of Thomas Mann’s “Joseph and his Brothers”, a set of four novels that details the life of Jacob and his son Joseph described in the Book of Genesis. The prelude is pointedly titled “Descent into Hell”.

    I have recently started reading the 1,400-page work and the first lines remind me how over the past four years since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States we have noted each passing depth in the plunge of ignorance, bigotry and megalomania and wondered if surely we have reached the bottom.

    And yet if we are honest we can truly only say that so very deep is the well of his ignorance and bigotry that should we not say it is bottomless?

    …This of course came after his obligatory suggestion that “I am the least racist person ever to serve in office, OK? I am the least racist person” – a statement so dully idiotic that it now just breezes past the listener with barely a recognition that were any human being to say such a thing they would have lost all credibility.

    …The realpolitik of dealing with Trump is to hold your nose and flatter him and get as good a deal that he can be suckered into giving because somewhat unusual for a con artist he is unable to distinguish false flattery from true deference.

    But surely at some point we need to take a stand and say no more.

    We won’t of course. Scott Morrison will angle for a dinner at the White House, and given their shared lack of care about climate change Morrison is likely to use chances of Trump’s re-election as an excuse to do as little as possible to reduce emissions.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2019/aug/25/with-trump-there-is-no-bottom-and-it-looks-like-australia-will-follow-him-all-the-way-down

  10. marty mars 12

    Some uncomfortable truths – and a simplistic answer – or maybe the start of an answer.

    While the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest may constitute an "international crisis," they are hardly an accident.

    The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's populist pro-business president, who is backed by the country's so-called "beef caucus."

    While this may be business as usual for Brazil's beef farmers, the rest of the world is looking on in horror.

    So, for those wondering how they could help save the rainforest, known as "the planet's lungs" for producing about 20% of the world's oxygen, the answer may be simple. Eat less meat.

    It's an idea that Finland has already floated. On Friday, the Nordic country's finance minister called for the European Union to "urgently review the possibility of banning Brazilian beef imports" over the Amazon fires.

    Brazil is the world's largest exporter of beef, providing close to 20% of the total global exports, according the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — a figure that could rise in the coming years.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/23/americas/brazil-beef-amazon-rainforest-fire-intl/index.html

  11. marty mars 13

    seems to be mainly going to Asia but 20% of world exports is pretty big bikkies

    • weka 13.1

      apparently the US banned beef from Brazil in 2017, due to food safety issues. And Trump tried to reinstate it but failed.

    • weka 13.2

      Illegal logging is an issue too, but I haven't dug deep enough yet to see how much of an issue and where the logs are going.

  12. SHG 14

    Can’t wait to see who isn’t held responsible for this latest government IT fiasco

    • Probably the National Party again. Simon Bridges said this kind of thing is "entirely appropriate."

      • Rapunzel 14.1.1

        Sounds like the "middleman" needs to be cut out of supplying services if they are not sound, the news this morning said it had been conducted by "an external provider" that did not have the normal protections that are provided(?) The fine is a maximum of $10k the news report also said so it is a crime.

  13. cleangreen 15

    Reality is kicking in now that all these electronic digital cmmunication systems are so prone to hackinng now.

    What does this mean for the next election?

    If we go fully digital will our election results and false voting change in those counting results then also will be hacked?

    • SHG 15.1

      Once again, betcha there was no "hacking" involved – someone will have just published the private info to the world by mistake. That someone will remain forever anonymous and the person with responsibility will not suffer any consequences.

      Jacinda will do a frowny face though, which is Labour for "transparency and accountability".

  14. weka 16

    People leaving Gloriavale should probably be treated like refugees and similar supports put in place. These are often people that have been born and raised there and have never lived outside of the cult.

    Imagine having to learn how to use a phone or make decisions about what clothes to wear because you've always been told by someone in authority. One escapee said it took him 7 years to adjust to life outside.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/397474/family-who-fled-gloriavale-desperate-for-work-and-place-to-live

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