Powerdown

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, January 17th, 2017 - 115 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, peak oil, sustainability - Tags: , , , ,

Recently we had a conversation in Open Mike about the Powerdown. There seemed to be a bit of misunderstanding about what that is, so here is an introduction.

The Powerdown is a process where societies, in the face of climate change and resource depletion, choose to transition to a post-carbon world sustainably. Sustainably, because we cannot have perpetual growth in a physically finite world. Nor can we ecologically afford for the whole world to have Western middle class lifestyles, but instead we must live within the natural limits of the world in a way that allows that natural world to continually restore itself. Counting carbon and reducing it to zero is not enough.

The Powerdown is not based on high tech solutions (although we can continue to use various levels of tech as appropriate), because reliance on high tech as our major approach fails the resilience test and takes too many resources. Instead it looks at providing for human needs by using fewer resources and energy, and designing within whole systems frameworks in order to maintain the least disruption to human life while still giving us a chance at surviving. It isn’t a process where we all end up living in caves or reverting back to some imagined pre-industrial agrarian, nasty, brutish and short existence. Instead we take the best of our knowledge and design systems that enhance life rather than strip-mine it. In other words, we can powerdown and live good, meaningful lives. But yes, it means that we in the West will need to give some things up.

Journalist and educator Richard Heinberg wrote the book Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World in 2004,

Resource depletion and population pressures are about to catch up with us, and no one is prepared. The political elites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation and have in mind a punishing game of “Last One Standing.”

He offers a different strategy that seeks to

  • reduce per-capita resource usage in wealthy countries
  • develop alternative energy sources
  • distribute resources more equitably
  • reduce the human population humanely but systematically over time.

While civil society organizations push for a mild version of this, the vast majority of the world’s people are in the dark, not understanding the challenges ahead, nor the options realistically available.

Powerdown speaks frankly to these dilemmas. Avoiding cynicism and despair, it begins with an overview of the likely impacts of oil and natural gas depletion and then outlines four options for industrial societies during the next decades.

Heinberg’s four options,

  • Last One Standing: the path of competition for remaining resources
  • Powerdown: the path of cooperation, conservation and sharing
  • Waiting for a Magic Elixir: wishful thinking, false hopes, and denial
  • Building Lifeboats: the path of community solidarity and preservation.

and then how three important groups within global society are likely to respond to these four options:

  • the power elites
  • the opposition to the elites (the antiwar and antiglobalization movements aka the “Other Superpower”)
  • and ordinary people.

Ten years ago, David Holmgren, co-founder of the sustainability design science Permaculture, also published a resource of Future Scenarios based on the confluence of Peak Oil and Climate Change. A lot has changed in that decade, including Holmgren’s updated perspective that Peak Oil would not arrive in time to prevent the worst of Climate Change. But his model of possible responses to the approaching crisis is still pertinent. He proposes four energy future scenarios:

 

Techno Explosion is Business As Usual, perpetual growth, with humans inventing/discovering new sources of energy and higher and higher tech. Eventually we would have to colonise other planets.

Techno Stability is the vision of renewable energy. It involves substantial change but if we build enough wind farms and solar panels we can maintain the standard of living we have now without too much disruption. Some ideas about steady state economies often sit here, the appeal being that we can change society but we don’t have to give things up.

Energy Descent is the downsizing of the economic activity, gradual reduction of population, and a transition to living within the natural limits of the world. It uses pre-industrial and modern sustainability design to meet human needs without destroying the world we are dependent upon.

Collapse is a fast, emergency transition off fossil fuels, brought about by runaway climate change and/or the disintegration of the global economy due to oil shortages.

Many people believe that the first two options are no longer possible. Techno Explosion is by definition destructive to the environment, hence the need to eventually move off planet, and we are fast approaching resource depletion, long before we are capable of space colonisation (assuming that that is even desirable). Techno Stability is what many mainstream green and sustainability thinkers want us to focus on. Peak oil theory suggests that this is no longer possible because of the relationship between declining cheap oil supplies, economics, EROEI, and time. If we had started the transition 40 years ago we might have had shot, now that’s behind us.

This isn’t to say that we can’t and aren’t transitioning many systems to renewables. We demonstrably are. But those systems are being transitioned using fossil fuel and I’ve yet to see a credible analysis that suggests we have the time and capacity to fully transition, let alone the political and social will. In theory we might, in practice we don’t.

Which leaves us with the Powderdown or Collapse. The concept of the Powerdown is challenging to many people, but it’s still preferable on almost every level to Collapse. Often the conversations about the Powerdown get stuck on either “we don’t like that idea” or, “it’s not possible”. The first premise is immaterial in the face of climate change, because it’s eventually going to happen whether we like it or not, but it’s helpful to envision societies that are sustainable and likeable. The second is at odds with the notion that humans are exceptionally creative. Time we started taking our situation seriously and applying that creativity to the crisis at hand. Let’s start by understanding what the Powerdown option is really about.

 

115 comments on “Powerdown ”

  1. Gosman 1

    Good luck with pushing the concept of a powerdown to the electorate. Me thinks you will not be having much luck anytime soon.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Probably. Even the Marshal plan for Europe had lauers of self serving interests. Its not so much the leaders, or the leadership, they will appear as required, its the self interest. English has many children, lots of grandkids no doubt, its an easy sell to. Key less so, being a neolib and all, has he taken up his Hawaiian bolthole yet? I mean ttpa fails, US drops out, Key resigns. In any other country would we be asking if he was a US patsy?

      Our closest ally is politically disfunctional, incapable of functioning as a capitalist economy by embracing solar and electric cars, aka Oz. Thats the biggest threat to Nz.
      We’re held back in introducing electric cars coz Oz is so ripe for such technology.

      Trump may shakeup their complacency. There is no tyranny of distance in a common climate.

    • weka 1.2

      You missed the point Gosman. It’s not about politicians pushing anything to the electorate (and that’s certainly not why I wrote the post). It’s about what we want to happen. I’ll take from your response though that you are happy with collapse.

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        No, I reject your doom laden scenario. I’m confident human society and innovation will find a way to muddle through. You’re just spouting another in a long list of ‘the end is nigh’ nonsense.

        • Robert Guyton 1.2.1.1

          “Muddle through”?
          Is that your aspiration? Muddle through?
          Sheesh!
          You Righties are so average in your expectations.
          I expect so much more!

          • weka 1.2.1.1.1

            I’m guessing somewhere between Techno-stability and Techno-explosion we have Gosman’s Techno-she’ll-be-right (Heinberg’s Waiting for a Magic Elixir: wishful thinking, false hopes, and denial)

        • weka 1.2.1.2

          That’s what I thought Gosman, don’t know why you didn’t just say that the first time.

        • Rae 1.2.1.3

          Muddle through? After what, Gosman? After we have wrecked the whole place completely, after we have bred ourselves to a point that all out war is inevitable as our usual way for a bit of a cull.
          Is it possible for right wingers to actually think this through sensibly, actually take the blinkers off long enough for a bit of glimpse into what the future holds, and maybe even throw off enough selfishness to want to do something for future generations, some of whom will be their own? I doubt it, they will prefer to keep their heads firmly in the sand, trying to accumulate as much as they can in the deluded belief that riches will somehow insulate them from the world around them.
          There are times I actually stray into feeling sorry for people with such views.

    • “Methinks”?
      Antique language, antique thinking.

    • Anno1701 1.4

      “Me thinks ‘

      forsooth !

  2. Carolyn_nth 2

    A lot of the moves to more sustainability seem to be easier or more do-able for people with reasonable incomes. eg solar panels, windmills, vege gardens, water run-offs into covered containers, etc.

    What are alternatives for urban renters? Not everyone can live on quarter acre sections.

    Community gardens, I know. But the members of the ones in my area meet on a day and time that I’m working.

    And composting? How to do it in an urban area without attracting rats?

    • weka 2.1

      Many people on all kinds of incomes are too time poor to do things like gardening too (it takes little income to garden but it does take time and a degree of physical ability). One of the best suggestions I’ve heard of for people with reasonable to high incomes is to pay someone else to grow food for them (either on their land or on land close by). This is cuts their ecological foot print hugely (due to the lowering of food miles), and creates some of the best resiliency (local food will survive agribusiness CC food shortages).

      For renters, I think permaculture has some good solutions for growing in small spaces (including vertical gardening) and for growing where one either cannot dig the ground or needs to be able to take their garden with them when they move (container gardening).

      Composting, do you have any land at all, or are you in an apartment?

      • Carolyn_nth 2.1.1

        I’m in an apartment. No land. I do have a small garden on my balcony in a container – grow some greens. I have a gnat problem at the moment.

        • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.1

          Don’t we all, Carolyn!
          If you believe…the clap your hands! No more gnats.

        • weka 2.1.1.2

          People do do worm farms in apartments. If it were me, I’d find some land locally, store the food scraps during the week in close buckets and feed the worms on the weekend.

          • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.2.1

            The answer to your problem is…Bokashi!

            • weka 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Can’t say I’m a fan of Bokashi, the whole buying in system although I can see it’s good for people that want that kind of system. Is anyone doing DIY inoculants?

              I was thinking for Carolyn, she could even empty into the local community gardens compost. Or have someone raising chooks or worms pick her buckets up (can’t remember if she has a car or not).

              • Our first spat! Wtf (what the Fukuoka!) – Bokashi is perfect for Carolyn’s situation !!!.
                Discuss 🙂

                • weka

                  KtK! (Kei te kata).

                  Could she do DIY Bokashi, no buying in?

                  • No. It’s pretty straight forward; you buy the product and it deals with your food waste. Good deal: no mess, no smell, no rats. The resulting “product” can goes into the soil (local comm-garden, window box) and boosts growth significantly. It’s a city thing! I’ve no reservations.

              • Anno1701

                “Is anyone doing DIY inoculants?”

                Trichoderma harzianum

                available from your local “hydroponic” shop

        • Anno1701 2.1.1.3

          ” I have a gnat problem at the moment.”

          neem coir sprinkled on top of your soil and watered in

    • aerobubble 2.2

      A war on CO2, means bamboo lawns.

    • Ovid 2.3

      If you’re in an urban area with a high walkscore, you’ve probably reduced your footprint quite a lot already. Perhaps think about your consumption behaviours – would secondhand items suffice? Do you shop with reusable bags? That sort of thing.

      • Carolyn_nth 2.3.1

        I do walk a bit. Also urban living means more options for mass transit.

        But I also think there needs to be community, and local and central government options – eg truly public transport at affordable prices.

        • Ovid 2.3.1.1

          Community is vital. Sharing resources is a big way of achieving energy descent. There’s no reason why, for example, public libraries couldn’t loan out tools in addition to everything else they offer.

          I’d love to see adult education classes restored too – I’d like a bit of training in DIY so I’m more ready to repair things or make things myself than ordering replacements.

          • weka 2.3.1.1.1

            Tool libraries, great idea.

            Imagine if we taught gardening in schools.

          • Carolyn_nth 2.3.1.1.2

            Interesting – I work in (council) libraries – need to be careful what I say in that regard, and issue a disclaimer on social media when I comment on them.

            I work at Auckland Libraries – the views expressed here are my own and not those of Auckland Council. [done}

    • Rats! They used to be our friends. Close your compost heaps. Rat’s are dismayed by closure; lids etc…

    • Again, Bokashi, Bokashi, Bokashi.
      That’s all.

    • Ric 2.6

      worm farm

  3. Ovid 3

    Transition towns is an application of similar thinking.

    NZ is fortunate that over 80% of our electricity comes from renewable sources. If we can boost that further (home solar installations are gaining ground – there’s an international glut of panels) and if our fleet of electric vehicles and hybrids continue to grow, we can meet the challenge of peak oil head on.

    • weka 3.1

      One of NZ’s big challenges is the footprint from our food miles (domestic as much as international). We’re not very good at eating locally.

      I’d feel more optimistic about electric vehicles if it was focussed on public transport and rail freight.

      • Constructed-from-Tiwai-Aluminium, aluminium, rolling stock, individually powered by electricity, moving produce from A to B: imagine it!

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Steady state mate. How long does a train last?

          • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.1.1

            He aha?
            It’s better to power each unit, rather than powering the engine. In the South, we have ample electricity. A single engine pulling weight is far less efficient than individually-powered rolling stock. Plus, aluminium is very light and very available (tiwai).

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Aluminium doesn’t grow in Tiwai 😉 But I take your point. I was suggesting that a train or whatever was built could be built to last a long time and by that stage the next generations will have solved the next set of problems, for which they are eminently more suited than us. But it won’t last forever, keeping our eye on the long game.

  4. Bill 4

    Two observations. One positive and one not so.

    Counting carbon and reducing it to zero is not enough.

    I think it is.

    Reducing carbon to zero in the timescale available naturally encompasses much of what is being touted as some kind of ‘extra’ consideration for a ‘powerdown’. Cutting energy consumption – an absolute necessity if we are to achieve zero carbon in time – entails cutting a whole plethora of consumption associated with or dependent upon energy use.

    In other words, there is no way to cut carbon without being mindful of how we use energy and what we use it for. So, no more “Kinder Surprises” (ie – wasteful energy use for the sake of producing trash). And no more energy being guzzled, courtesy of inbuilt obsolescence.

    We need to be making, building and producing stuff that lasts a proverbial lifetime instead of the profit yielding six months or two years life expectancy that fashion dictates. Christ! Phones are ‘old’ almost before they hit the shelves! Just a straight forward need to reduce carbon to zero dictates that must end…it has far too much carbon embedded (associated carbon emissions).

    The not so positive observation is that chart from 2004.

    If I’m reading the x axis correctly, Holmgren is suggesting time scales to act that are in line with the birth of my great grand children (assuming myself to be in the ‘baby boomer’ age range) and sees an energy descent occurring over whatever time it takes for old growth forests to become established (some few hundred years?) But see that incredibly steep line he has for ‘collapse’? Given the compressed x axis, of all the lines he maps, it’s that one that most definitely corresponds most closely to what we need to be actively doing with carbon emissions.

    • weka 4.1

      Plenty of baby-boomers already have great grandchildren, so I’d take that part of the axis as being close to now.

      Have a look at the techno-stability one. That’s the one that reduces carbon emissions quickly (over a couple of decades). But the Energy Descent line drops faster and sooner. Where it plateaus out isn’t zero carbon (that’s much further up the line). It’s the descent of all human resource use. That’s partly why I’m saying zero emissions isn’t enough.

      The other reason is that zero emissions for many people means electric cars. Which means that the interconnectedness of everything is missed, as is the need to actually powerdown as opposed to transition to renewables. I get what you are saying, but that’s not the way most people are thinking which is why we have Generation Zero etc.

      I’d also say that we need to shift from thinking reductively and start seeing the systems approach. This is what permaculture excels at. And it also doesn’t take the approach of cutting per se (although that is an intrinsic consequence), so much as finding a better way of designing for human needs that don’t require reliance on FF energy in the first place. It’s hard for people to see where we go if we’re being told it’s all about cutting back (hence the living in caves reaction). People need to see how it would work to still have a good life. Holmgren has been writing theory and demonstrating this for 4 decades.

      Zero carbon doesn’t solve Peak Soil, Peak Everything, deforestation, mass pollution etc. It might if you were in charge 😉 but focussing on the carbon as the central point obscures that it’s not Fossil Fuels that are the problems but how we manage our resources.

      btw Holmgren is arguing for downsizing the economy. If you want to understand his position in more recent years, he advocates for the middle classes to collapse the global economy intentionally. Crash on Demand is the 2014 update to Future Scenarios,

      https://holmgren.com.au/crash-demand/?v=3a1ed7090bfa

      • Bill 4.1.1

        I’ll put it another way. Assuming we get serious about energy related emissions, then in taking that step we will be twisting our own arms with regards other resource use.

        *All* resource (mis)use flows off the back of accessing energy, and if energy consumption is dropping (and it has to in any realistic 2 degrees scenario), then the consequence can’t be anything other than a concomitant reduction in our use of other resources.

        Granted, if we do the zero carbon thing and build up non-fossil energy grids/networks and what not over the next several decades, then resource depletion might become an issue – if we go back to approximating or trying to approximate our current aggregated global life style (consumption wise).

        On the other hand, if we don’t get serious on zero carbon from energy, then whatever potential peak resource you might care to mention will be among the least of our worries.

        There is a fish. And there are red herrings.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          We are in agreement on the need for zero carbon. Let’s take that as a given.

          I’m saying zero carbon related to energy is a subset of the powerdown. So sure, we can focus on zero carbon without the other aspects and I think it’s a much harder sell for the reasons mentioned. I also know from my own experience and from studying permaculture design that it’s easier to design sustainable systems within a framework that both takes whole systems into account and seeks to create something not just remove something.

          To clarify, are you saying that if we solve the carbon issue we don’t have other resources depletion issues? We’re already at Peak Everything, it’s not a future scenario. This is the point of the powerdown. We are already in overshoot, not just from energy, but across many spheres. For instance, if we reduce NZ’s energy emissions to zero, but haven’t looked at population vs land base and food growing capacity, what then? I think it’s entirely possible for NZ to spend the next 20 years focussing on zero energy emissions and then ending up in the shit because we didn’t apply sustainability and resiliency design to food systems.

          We were misusing the world well before fossil fuels, it was just that we had a lot of leeway and it was happening over very long time scales. Fossil fuels was rocket fuel to our pre-existing propensity for overshoot. Overshoot doesn’t originate in excess energy use, it originates in how we think about and relate with the world. Which is why sustainability designers like Holmgren use that as the starting point for solutions.

          In other words, it *is possible to reduce energy and still have resource depletion issues. Famine is one obvious example. Population being the most obvious sticking point. We know from vast human experience that once you drop energy you have to limit population. Water is likely to be another one in many places. We can have carbon zero energy and still not have enough water for people.

          Not to mention the Last One Standing approach. If we focus on zero carbon without doing sustainability at the same time, there will be a big grab of resources as they dwindle. We’re already seeing that.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            I’ll leave it be. (and my replies are dropping in odd places)

            All I’m saying is that *all* you mention (sustainability) is an integral part of carbon reduction due to the relationship between energy, resource use and the 2 degree time scale. Zero carbon demands big picture thinking. And that, as an aside, is what I’d pick to explain why we’re doing nothing (reductionist thought habits).

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry, but I see a lot of discussion of carbon reduction that is not based in sustainability thinking. Maybe we have different meanings for that word. Yes, zero carbon does indeed demand big picture thinking but in and of itself it doesn’t require sustainability design. I get the connections you are making between energy, resource use, and the timescale, and I agree with much of that. I’m suggesting there is another thing in addition that is critical.

              I’d also add that you know how I go on about the ‘how’? Design sciences like permaculture apply that stuff as routine. It’s not primarily a theory of powerdown, as it is developing practice in doing it. Maybe that’s part of what is missing from the zero carbon focus.

              • Bill

                Never seen a feasible 2 degree scenario that doesn’t by necessity have sustainability deeply embedded in it. And it goes without saying that ‘new ways’ of doing things as we move through towards zero carbon (if we ever venture down that track) will be proposed, practiced and developed.

                Seen plenty of senseless talk around carbon reduction that I just tend to just dismiss these days. Maybe that’s the stuff you’re referring to when you mention discussion that doesn’t incorporate sustainability? I dunno.

                • weka

                  “Never seen a feasible 2 degree scenario that doesn’t by necessity have sustainability deeply embedded in it.”

                  Can you please link to couple?

                  • Bill

                    Go to any Anderson presentation or the papers done by himself and Bowes that underpin a number of his presentations. You’ll get a plethora of their stuff by going to almost any of the numerous posts I’ve done using their material.

                    • weka

                      The stuff I’ve seen from Anderson isn’t talking about sustainability design at all. Can you be more specific? I’m not really wanting to go on a fishing trip.

                    • Bill

                      This is going to be kinda long in a short space.

                      Today I have a computer and if it gives up the ghost, I’ll possibly just throw it away and buy a new one. I don’t know the carbon footprint of computer manufacturing, but will assume it’s substantial.

                      Any 2 degrees scenario that is feasible (in terms of physics) is looking at zero carbon from energy in a couple of decades from now.

                      So now it’s 2035 (allowing for some zero carbon electricity supply) and my computer gives up the ghost and we’re at zero carbon. I won’t be just throwing it away and buying another. Unless all of the processes that go into getting a computer on the shelves – the extraction and refining of raw materials, the various shipping and transportations ,the factories and buildings where assembly and design might take place – unless all of these things and a whole lot besides that I’m probably missing are undertaken with zero use of carbon emitting energy, then there will be no computer on any shelf.

                      And if there’s no computer on the shelf, then obviously, all of the materials that go into a computer are wherever they were in the first place – in the ground.

                      But we’re not just talking computers and other high end consumable goods (cars or whatever), we’re talking food (both its growing and distribution) and heating and building materials…it’s all going to have to be radically different in a zero carbon world…where it comes from, how it’s produced, what it comprises of.

                      So this isn’t really any different to anything in your post. All I’m arguing is that as a consequence of zero carbon, all the stuff in your post ‘comes to be’. If it doesn’t, we won’t have zero carbon, or we will have zero carbon, but bugger all else bar chaos due to collapse.

                      Just a simple logical step progression through what Anderson and some others lay out unveils the outlines of radical changes they call for. It cannot be anything different to the kinds of stuff that Heinberg and Holmgren sign-post – no-one is arguing against the general thrust of any of that.

                      Specifically back to Anderson and what he overtly states. He cannot see a way to zero carbon that doesn’t involve an ‘ordered’ crashing of the economy and radical systemic shifts. (Heinberg’s powerdown and Holmgren’s ‘energy descent’).

                      Sure, Anderson doesn’t attempt to spell out the detail. There is no need – the detail as well as the over-arching scenario is determined by the withdrawal of carbon emitting energy sources.

                      Conversely, much of what is in the post (eg – population and other resource use) could be prioritised and tackled (population really is a red herring in relation to 2 degrees) and it’s easy enough to envisage carbon emitting energy use being left too high for too long. And then everything that was built up developed gets slammed by events associated with an average surface temperature in excess of 2 degrees.

                      In essence, zero carbon is both necessary and sufficient, whereas much of Holgrem and Heinberg’s stuff is necessary, though not sufficient.

                    • weka

                      So that all makes sense, and I agree with the general take there. That’s a different thing than what I was saying though. I’m saying that focussing on zero carbon itself will not elicit sustainability. Sustainability isn’t something that occurs naturally as a consequence of low energy. I’ll try another analogy.

                      Approaching zero carbon, in a world where we’ve set zero carbon as the great goal instead of sustainability. Gas and coal are gone as heating sources. Hydroelectric and wind farm power is limited and increasingly being prioritised for supporting critical aspects that weren’t designed sustainably e.g. growing food is now happening in tunnel houses or using irrigation (because of extreme weather events) both of which need a lot of electricity. So what do people do to heat their houses? They cut down trees, and faster than we can grow them.

                      We reach zero carbon that decade and then society falls over because we can no longer grow food as we find that the water table has gone and tunnel houses are increasingly prone to problems with pests and fungal issues.

                      Taking us to zero carbon is an imperative, but it’s not sustainability design. In addition to that, we also need to create new systems. If we try for zero carbon using the systems we have now (esp our systems of thinking) then it’s likely we will just end up with another set of problems (still better for the planet of course). Sustainability design is an actual thing, and it creates different kinds of outcomes than say simply powering down energy supply.

                    • Bill

                      Why would tunnel houses or irrigation schemes be prioritised when they require large amounts of energy in a situation where it’s imperative that energy use is cut? (We simply can’t swap out current energy demand fast enough.)

                      Plan A – that envisages tunnel houses and irrigation schemes, or whatever else that guzzles energy, is not an option.

                      So Plan B…

                      Also, zero carbon means zero. So no trees or other bio-fuels. The need is to limit the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere in order that the carbon cycle slowly gets back to a state where it pulls more carbon out than is going in. The cycle is currently over-loaded and no matter how sustainably any bio-fuel source is managed, any burning of bio-fuel perpetuates that ‘over load’.

                      And yes, there’s an absolute need for a paradigm shift.

                      And if we commit to zero carbon in line with the 2 degree time scale we have, then that commitment will in and of itself, necessitate us dispensing with our current one – because what we have (how we think and the various systemic limitations we’ve placed around ourselves) does not and will not allow us to take the actions required to deliver success on 2 degrees.

                      In other words, being serious and realistic about a 2 degree target (ie – zero carbon from energy within a decade or so) will absolutely drive the adoption, or the unfolding, of a new paradigm/new paradigms.

                    • weka

                      Ok, I think I get what you are saying. Is it that if we adopted the plan, then that plan would inherently mean we wouldn’t do those things? I still don’t think that necessarily includes sustainably design, but my main response is that I just don’t think that that plan will be adopted because it requires either a kind of collective agreement on what is needed or totalitarian control, and I can’t see either of those happening until we are deep in the shit. The Powerdown isn’t dependent on that, although obviously it would be infinitely better if we did adopt that plan.

                      So short of that collective agreement or dictatorship happening now, the tunnel houses and irrigators will continue to be built for a while and over time the climate/weather pressures will increase so now it’s 2037 and we’re getting mass crop failures because of the systems we are using. At that point the farmers who’ve been doing regenag are obviously doing much better and the transition can start, but we’ve already lost that 20 years of growing food forests. If we start with sustainable design, then it will grow outwards.

                      Even if we did convert to the plan overnight, most of the mainstream doesn’t understand sustainable design and attempting zero carbon without that knowledge base, I’m not sure how that would even be possible. I’ll see if I can think of a way to explain this but at the moment all I can say is that taking something away doesn’t induce sustainable thinking. In fact, thinking about it, it’s because we don’t have sustainable thinking in the culture yet that so many people are resistant to change because they can’t see how zero carbon would work (hence the cave scenario).

                      Re the trees, I simply mean that when people get cold enough they will cut down the trees and burn them, and that’s not sustainable.

                      But Holmgren believes that firewood has a net negative carbon footprint (assuming we plant more trees than we burn, firewood forests sequester more carbon then is emitted from the wood being burned), and is a far better fuel source for heating than electricity (I think I linked to that recently if you want to see the rationales, it was in response to one of your posts where you said you would have to give up your woodburner).

                      This is the critical difference between our approaches I think. Sustainable design would choose a natural process that sits within normal carbon cycles over high tech solutions like wind farms (assuming they’re even possible in the Powerdown, bearing in mind the Powerdown isn’t just about carbon zero), because those processes bring multiple, compounding benefits, build resiliency and are themselves sustainable in the true sense of the word (the system they operate within restores the system itself in perpetuity). Windfarms just aren’t no matter how green we try to make them.

                    • Bill

                      So without a fundamental shift or change in how we approach our activities (cultural, economic etc) – ie, a paradigm shift, then you’re reckoning that only totalitarianism could ‘steer’ the necessary ~ 15% annual reductions in energy related carbon.

                      Okay. Let’s take that as read and further agree for the sake of argument it ain’t going to happen.

                      (I’m leaving out the stuff about trees as fuel because it’s convoluted and deserves a discrete exchange)

                      So, let’s assume that a growing number of farmers adopt regenerational agricultural practices in the absence of any fundamental shift in our basic psychological approach to the world.

                      And by 2035 ish, we have shot past 2 degrees, millions upon millions of people in equatorial and tropical regions are dead or on the move, and bar for those farmers who adopted regenag, (and who are probably only surviving as examples in more temperate regions) food production (besides whatever else) is falling over.

                      And there’s some sort of ‘mass awakening’, or at least a shift in food production techniques off the back of regenag techniques being seen to be more resilient/successful or whatever.

                      That’s all fine and good, except…we’re past 2 degrees, we haven’t yet cut CO2 emissions to anywhere near close to zero (meaning further temp increases are on the way) and the weather associated with that background signal of +2 is not going to be like anything we’ve experienced as a species and unlike anything most organisms currently evolved or adapted to (often geographically specific) holocene conditions have experienced.

                      And I’m not really seeing anything beyond that point besides many fucked shades of fucked.

                      I could have the perfect regenag system up and running and it works beautifully in this location and under this current climatic scenario. But then the deluges and/or the ‘never seen before’ winds and/or the unprecedented droughts…

                      Hell. The topography’s going to be changing (slips etc) and the bush (never mind whatever I’ve developed) is fairly likely to be (variously) dying due to drought or blown over by winds or washed away by slips…

                      Mind if I go back a bit?

                      You said “but at the moment all I can say is that taking something away doesn’t induce sustainable thinking.”

                      That’s true. But committing to a specific goal or target (a positive thing), isn’t about ‘taking something away’. And when or if we do that, we’ll be forced into considering the type of things we can do that would be in line with that target and the type of things that would work against that goal. We know (for instance) that to get to zero in time requires ~ 15% annual reductions in CO2 emissions from energy. And we can tell easily enough what activities or ideas would have a positive or negative impact on that.

                      Building energy intensive systems, whether for food or anything else, is on the “Things We Cannot Do” list. Developing low energy, and by default in light of energy requirements, sustainable systems for food and whatever else is about all that fits on the “Things We Can Do” list.

                      And if some people are engaged in low energy regenag, then under a “zero by” scenario, where that commitment has been made, and unlike the situation if that commitment hasn’t been made, the incentive for the general farming community to learn about, develop and/or adopt regenag approaches exists.

                      The alternative (to adopt a greyhound analogy) is to spring the trap doors after the wee fella has taken the hare home, the lights have been switched out and the bulldozers are moving in to start on that redevelopment project.

                      Reiterating. Powerdown is necessary, but powerdown isn’t sufficient.

                      edit – maybe we should shift stuff off to the bottom of the thread if we’re going to continue, aye?

            • Pat 4.1.1.1.1.2

              big picture thinking is right…..and to develop that thinking a destination is required….unfortunately I suspect the last one standing approach has already been chosen by some of our leaders, it is the only rational explanation for UK fracking for example.

          • Gosman 4.1.1.1.2

            Why do you think we are at peak everything? NZ has only got a little over 4.5 million people in a nation larger than the UK which has 65 million. I’m pretty sure we don’t have a shortage of land.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.2.1

              “I’m pretty sure we don’t have a shortage of land.”

              All food is currently grown using fossil fuels. If you don’t have fossil fuels you need to use the land differently. AFAIK no-one in NZ has done the audit on arable land and what population it would support if we were to grow our own food (as well as timber, wool etc).

  5. Siobhan 5

    “reduce the human population humanely but systematically over time”

    This seems to be seen as a Birth Control and Womens Rights issue.
    But it perhaps ignores the economic reality of poorer people. Children are seen as the only insurance against destitution in old age.
    To be honest even I, as a non home owner in a ‘middle class’ economy, have the thought floating around in my head that hopefully one of my children will be able to help house me in my dotage. I can see how that easily translates into wanting more children when you live in a brutal and impoverished economy.

    So, my thoughts are, to reduce birth rates the poorest populations need to be assured of an income and some sort of housing in retirement.

    This means increased Government expenditure. In turn, this means increased taxation.

    ….and there you go, back to the Elephant in each and every room, TAXATION OF MULTI NATIONALS, the end of loopholes, tax hideaways etc etc.

    • weka 5.1

      Good solution thinking there. Solving housing would certainly go a long way towards making it easier to solve the other problems in powering down.

      Holmgren did some work a decade ago on retrofitting the quarter acre suburbs. He started from the position of Australian and NZ suburbs built in the decades after the war were now dormitory suburbs. People slept in them but spent their days at work, and their evenings and weekends recreating somewhere else. Often you have a large house with just a couple in it. His idea was to take those suburbs and retrofit them so they were energy efficient, so the people could work from home, and so that more people could live on each section. In a block you might have half the houses growing food for the whole block, plus cottage industries (think modern ones), plus a trade or two etc. He did all that planning in the context of the powerdown, or if you like, reducing carbon emissions.

      The big stumbling block I see is we are used to having more space now, it will be hard to go back to sharing houses through multiple generations or with people we are not related to.

      One huge benefit of Holmgren’s plan is that the per person cost of housing drops considerable.

      • Siobhan 5.1.1

        The sharing issue is not so great now.
        For those of us with children under the age of 30 house sharing has become the norm. ‘The Kids’ can’t afford to leave, at least not for long. And for the renting parent it’s possibly the only way to afford the rent of a whole house, without reverting to ‘flatting’. Though even there, overseas atleast, shared housing in your adult life is becoming more of ‘a thing’.

        There are also more and more couples willing to make room for ‘the olds’ to help with child care, maintaining the house and what not. Once upon a time I would have been horrified at the thought, but now, it seems the only answer, and infact, a good thing for many., once the mindset is changed.

    • BM 5.2

      Can’t really have a UBI without population control.

    • Bill 5.3

      If the poorest people of this world are to have a half way decent life, then one of the inputs necessary will be energy. That’s why all Climate Accords that governments have signed up to mention equity.

      Swathes of the world need and deserve more energy in order that their populations can expect something substantially better than ‘scrabbling in the dirt’. Meaning that we have to take up the slack that produces in global terms of getting off of carbon.

      Meanwhile, population is not a factor in any 2 degrees scenario. Even China with its reasonably high economic growth cannot produce enough consumers to make an impact in the time available.

      And again. If we don’t do the 2 degrees (zero carbon) then total population (as opposed to the likelihood of huge migrating populations) simply won’t be a problem.

    • Sabine 5.4

      we need some sensible living arraingments.

      i think it is doubtful that we all can own/rent a three bedder plus double garage.

      What is down in Europe every now and then is to pare of old people lving on their own but in need of a bit of assistance with daily tasks such as shopping and carrying groceries, bring a crate of beer/lemonade up the staircase etc, with students who have some spare time but can’t afford market rent.
      This usually is an arraignment that works well for both sides.

      Then there is the “Rentner WG” which loosely translates into the “senior flatters”. Some groups form, buy a house, hire a in house concierge/nurse and essentially create and finance their own oldfolk house.

      I have no children and i guess i will later in my life hopefully find a decent young flat mate that is happy to live with us, do the groceries, mow the lawn and pay no rent in exchange.

      Once thing that must happen, urban and rural is how we ‘live’, and how much space we really need.

      • weka 5.4.1

        I like the senior flatters idea. I’ve only ever heard of 1 set of people consider that here in NZ. We need better ways of buying land together so it’s easy to do with people we aren’t married to.

        • Sabine 5.4.1.1

          ahhh, the Kiwi mindset of ‘must own it’.

          Nah, often the ‘Rentner WG” is rented. Granted, in Germany people live for several decades in rented properties.
          But i can see why that mindset of ‘must own it’ comes from.

          I am not married, my partner and I have a house that is in a trust. We are both beneficiaries. We can add beneficiaries if we wanted too.

          IF five people want to buy a property at equal parts, establish a trust, make it a non profit and essentially if one elderly person passes away a place for a new elderly person is opened.

          As for ‘inheritance’ the children can be ‘beneficiaries’ but without access to selling the house.

          sometimes we only do something to benefit us, and when we die that it is. I think above all we must come around to think in terms of our human ‘shelf life’.

          • weka 5.4.1.1.1

            “But i can see why that mindset of ‘must own it’ comes from.”

            It comes directly from having very poor protection for tenants.

            Trusts as you suggest aren’t that simple because we don’t have good social arrangements for owning (or renting) land together. Most stumble when they think about the commitment or what would happen if someone needs to leave. It’s actually quite different than a family or marriage situation.

            • Sabine 5.4.1.1.1.1

              i understand what you are saying, and i do understand where that mindset comes from – in my opinion nz does not have poor protection for tenants, NZ has a predatory housing market with only lip service pretending to be protection for tenants.

              but,
              look at it from the do-able side.
              the Rentner WG is not compromised of people that don’t know each other, they can be friends, business partners of even family members.
              they can organise it as Trust, on a 99 year lease etc etc.
              they can organise it as a co-operative where people can apply to be granted a spot once and elderly dies away that is wholly maintained by ‘subscriptions’ and such
              etc etc.

              one thing in that ‘powerdown’ scenario we need to look at is the fact that we – humans- are finitive. We will get old, we will get slow, blind, lame, incontinent and what not and at the end of our life we will die.

              Knowing that, we can together with families, friends and communities take elderly care back into our hands instead of deciding that having Nana go into ‘for profit’ elderly care is the best option. It is not and more often then not it is to costly for the individual and often the families. In a world were care for an eldery has to bring profit to share holders we can’t expect these businesses to behave in the interest of the elderly. It would go against the principle of the free market and growth and profit.

              So in all the scenarios discussed we need to look away from the burden of changing the system, i .e. walking instead of driving, growing food instead of buying it, looking after our own elders instead of paying someone else a misery to do so, but look at the benefits of change.
              By keeping our elders today – and us in the future – within the community we can as old people still provide services. Help with the small ones, the sharing of our knowledge, help in training young ones etc etc. And at the least we would alleviate loneliness and resulting depression among our elders.

              We often talk about how we need to bring the youth to go to vote and participate, but we also should talk about how we need to bring our old ones back into the community, lest they and their stories, their knowledge, their skills just disappear one night to be forever gone.

              • weka

                So in all the scenarios discussed we need to look away from the burden of changing the system, i .e. walking instead of driving, growing food instead of buying it, looking after our own elders instead of paying someone else a misery to do so, but look at the benefits of change.
                By keeping our elders today – and us in the future – within the community we can as old people still provide services. Help with the small ones, the sharing of our knowledge, help in training young ones etc etc. And at the least we would alleviate loneliness and resulting depression among our elders.

                I like this. In the circles I move in, eating local is totally seen as a benefit. That it also serves the world in terms of the powerdown is part of that, but primarily people do it because it makes them feel good. I think this is a crucial part of our activism, promoting things that work. Too often we are focussed on critiquing what doesn’t.

                Having said that 😉 I’ve been around many many people trying to own or rent land collectively for my whole adult life (let’s say 3 decades) and I know that while there are many ways to do that structurally and legally, it is still hard for most people to manage when it’s not close family or marriage (Pākehā at least, I think other ethnicities are better at this). The most successful ones I know of are people who buy land together and subdivide it and all live separately. There are some successful cohousing communities in NZ, and some successful intentional communities, but beyond that we’re still fairly clueless about how to do it socially. The biggest thing I see is Pākehā wanting to protect their assets (those that have any) and not knowing how to share fairly around that. There are also commitment issues (this is for younger people, but I bet this will happen with older people too).

                So, sure, we can talk about Trusts and such, but that’s not where the block is.

                Yes, I’m not suggesting that people who don’t know each other do this. I’m talking about people who do know each other. And I can totally see how people in Europe are better at this, I think it’s a very NZ thing tbh.

                I think that when constraints get tighter, people will be more willing to overcome those obstacles.

                • Sabine

                  we need to copy the Marae System in my books, the land belongs to the people, the people live on the land, the people get buried on the land.

                  Rinse repeat rinse repeat.

                  We need to talk about the benefits, not the effort. The effort will keep people away, the benefits however will/could get those exited that don’t want to end up alone, mistreaded, drugged to the hilt in a profit driven system that will keep them ‘alive’ cause profit.

                  • weka

                    Yep and yep.

                    I hope to be putting up more post on the powerdown etc, and would appreciate your comments then on looking at the benefits rather than the loss or effort. Thanks for highlighting this because it should change how I write too.

                • Molly

                  Cohousing, with it’s many forms and variations (including elderly communities) provides a framework for all the above.

                  Interestingly enough, with co-housing it is the more disparate and disconnected original groups that are operating at a more sustained level in later years.

                  Can’t find the article now, – may be in one of my books – but it seemed to do with the fact that many of the groups with close familial and friendly ties has more disillusionment and emotional reactions when the expected conflict and disagreements arose. Those who banded together to create a co-housing community without previous relationships or assumptive beliefs (ie. all were environmentally aware in the same way) took time to create founding documents, structures and systems that were aligned, and were able to deal better with conflict.

    • Rae 5.5

      You are absolutely right and this is the reason that a universal pension in old age is so important as part of the means of reducing birth rates.

  6. corokia 6

    There is so much “low hanging fruit” when considering ways to reduce energy/carbon/resource use, but it needs a change in mindset for the general population to take it on board. That will only happen when the media/advertising messages change.

    We could live comfortable lives using far fewer resources, but instead we ( the middle class) are being encouraged to buy disposable stuff, buy imported food, to fly away for short holidays, to support sports teams that fly hundreds of players and support staff all over the place every week, it seems so over the top.

    It’s promoted as “freedom”. Buy a Jeep, drive up riverbeds. Fly to Raratonga to escape the winter weather . Drive to the big box store and buy stuff at amazing prices. This is considered normal. Anyone telling the general population that they should cut back on such things comes across as a sack cloth and ashes greenie trying to spoil the party.

    Nothing will change until the mainstream advertising messages change. How can we help make that happen when the system is controlled by the 1%?

    • weka 6.1

      The people who work in the media are those people too.

      • Corokia 6.1.1

        Sorry weka, but I’m not sure what you mean?

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          I think what you say is true. I think it’s also true that the people in the MSM, journalists, editors, producers etc, are all people who are capable to the same processes as us here, and who will have concerns about their kids and grandkids. So in there there will be people really worried about CC and looking for solutions. Yes, looking at the 1% ownership issues needs to happen, but in a small place like NZ where any of us can tweet John Campbell or Mahingarangi Forbes, I think there are also other avenues for change.

          Focus on the people wanting to change, not the ones with a big investment in being able to consume (or ones like Gosman above). It’s the people who want to change and are looking for the way to do that that are our best hope. Some of those people will be journalists.

          • Corokia 6.1.1.1.1

            Yes, it helps to have journalists understand the approaching crisis, but journalists don’t control advertising. If the news reports talk about climate change but are then followed by ads for cheap flights and big box stores, then people are not going to change their behaviour.
            So somehow we need public information announcements (like anti drink driving ones) and to stop advertising CO2 intensive consumption. Sadly I don’t think that’s going to happen and we are heading for the crash scenario.

            • weka 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Public information announcements, great idea. I can’t see why the Ministry for the Environment couldn’t do those (left wing govt).

  7. Red Hand 7

    What will we need to give up to powerdown and live good and meaningful lives ?

    Emphasis on what will I need to reduce (rather than give up) is a more acceptable message to me personally and I suspect to other comfortable middle class people.

    1. Delay childbearing and have fewer kids, make abortion freely and easily available.
    2. Eat less, reduce dairy and avoid meat (spell out the cost savings and health benefits)
    3. Fewer cars per household (again the health benefits and social benefits of walking and good public transport)
    4. Living closer to workplaces while being fair to those workers who have less choice by appropriate town planning.
    5. Reduce the presence of advertising.
    6. Make overseas travel for holiday purposes alone more expensive.

    I realize these might be hard to sell. Personal experience has shown me that they are all doable without sacrificing a good standard of living (I have trained myself to shut out most advertisements and I would only travel overseas for education or employment).

    • Corokia 7.1

      As you say ” a hard sell”. How are things / messages sold to us? Advertising. Until that changes I don’t think most people will change their behavior.

    • weka 7.2

      I like this list Red Hand, and the point about reducing rather than giving up.

      I’d probably adjust the list slightly,

      1. Delay childbearing and have fewer kids, make abortion freely and easily available. – first figure out what population NZ can sustain geographically if it were to produce most of its own food sustainably. Then look at increasing our refugee quota, and consider climate refugees in the future. Then look at immigration vs increasing resident population. Big conversation all that, and I’d say make abortion and contraception fee and accessible.

      2. Eat less, reduce dairy and avoid meat (spell out the cost savings and health benefits) – eat local, eat sustainable, eat organic, then reduce dairy and meat. Promote local cuisine.

      3. Fewer cars per household (again the health benefits and social benefits of walking and good public transport). Yep.

      4. Living closer to workplaces while being fair to those workers who have less choice by appropriate town planning. – See my comment above about Holmgren’s retro-fitting the suburbs. I think we could see migration back to rural areas too if the benefits were obvious.

      5. Reduce the presence of advertising. – Not sure how that could be done in a democratic society tbh.

      6. Make overseas travel for holiday purposes alone more expensive.

      • Red Hand 7.2.1

        About point 5, I meant reducing ads by tighter regulations on where ads can be placed, ad-free media supported by donations and subscriptions, ad-blocking software and so on.

        Also reduce the presence ads have in our minds by deliberately reducing our exposure to them, ignoring them and being aware of an intention to influence our behavior, as defined by the Advertising Standards Authority

        http://www.asa.co.nz/2016/12/07/updated-definition-advertising-advertisement/

        I was surprised to see that the ASA is self regulating. That’s huge power to influence people’s thinking.

  8. Ovid 8

    In respect of population, this video is illuminating.

    • joe90 8.1

      200,000 years to hit 1 billion humans, 200 years to reach 7 billion….another 80 years to peak and plateau at 11 billion souls. It’s all a bit grim.

    • GregJ 8.2

      Thanks Ovid – most interesting.

      Et res non semper, spes mihi semper adest

    • adam 8.3

      I get sick of the over population arguments.

      You want to shrink populations, simple, have a world were women have equal rights. Not just token equal rights, but full rights to their own bodies and the development of society.

      So stop the population distraction, and work on civil rights.

      • Rae 8.3.1

        That is the only humane method of reducing population, the other is pretty grim, war. I think the two go hand in hand, to be frank. We have to address our overpopulation of the planet and I firmly believe that we will have massive conflict before we reach 11 billion as there is simply not enough resources for that many of us.
        Sadly, we have some incredible barriers to women’s rights in some societies, but that is no reason not to put effort into it.

  9. HDCAFriendlyTroll 9

    ” But yes, it means that we in the West will need to give some things up.”

    I hereby nominate that sentence as the understatement of the century.

    Anyway as oil for example becomes more scarce the price goes up. This in turn encourages new technologies which results in not only more efficient use but more exploration. Which results in more oil and so the cycle goes. It’s the way the world works.

    As for population control, yeah about that. You will find that countries that have high mortality rates have a lot kids per family, for obvious reasons. As the mortality rate drops the number of kids per family drops dramatically because there’s no longer any incentive to have a lot of kids. In fact having fewer kids becomes far more attractive as there’s less mouths to feed.

    • weka 9.1

      “I hereby nominate that sentence as the understatement of the century.”

      Well you know us Kiwis, never want to overstate things 🙂

      That population thing doesn’t really work in NZ, because while the rate of increase is dropping, we’re still not at a steady state. And we’re importing a lot of people.

  10. Henry Filth 10

    “But yes, it means that we in the West will need to give some things up.”

    Which makes it a major problem. We in The West have a political system which is currently based on the political establishment promising to give people things in exchange for power (votes).

    I rather think that “selling” the changes to this deeply-etched cultural pattern is likely to be more difficult than making the actual changes necessary for a transition to sustainability.

    A fascinating post nonetheless.

    • weka 10.1

      “I rather think that “selling” the changes to this deeply-etched cultural pattern is likely to be more difficult than making the actual changes necessary for a transition to sustainability.”

      That’s the one. But I also think it’s where our hope is too. We can look at other times we have changed and know it is possible. What I don’t think it is is coming up with a new system and imposing it on everyone (never going to work until we are in the first stages of collapse). I think it’s more about looking at where NZ already wants to change and is changing and working with heading that in the right direction. It’s my theory about Labour (support the changes they are doing), and I know there are a lot of people out there really concerned about climate change and not doing anything because they feel powerless. Learning how to feel empowered is a teachable skill.

    • Rae 10.2

      I think much of it is learning (or re-learning) that less is actually more, to stop and smell the roses, as it were.

  11. gsays 11

    Hey cheers weka for the conservation.

    Well done on the firm moderation, too.

    Fwiw for me the process is baby steps:
    Give up the tv, newspaper etc.
    Pass on the Facebook, twitter etc.
    Get involved in community and volunteer groups.

    I would echo the transition towns recomendment.

    Time banking schemes are great at building community, childcare is valued the same as mechanic for example.

  12. Liberal Realist 12

    Thanks for the great post Weka, ’tis appreciated.

    I largely agree with most of your sentiment – the thing that weighs most on my mind is how do we bring forth sustainable change in NZ? My foremost thought is that we ought to start with sustainability as mandatory part of state education from day dot. At the very least the next generation might have a shot at transitioning where we’ve failed.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Gordon Campbell On The Biden Withdrawal

    History is not on the side of the centre-left, when Democratic presidents fall behind in the polls and choose not to run for re-election. On both previous occasions in the past 75 years (Harry Truman in 1952, Lyndon Johnson in 1968) the Democrats proceeded to then lose the White House ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 hours ago
  • Joe Biden's withdrawal puts the spotlight back on Kamala and the USA's complicated relatio...

    This is a free articleCoverageThis morning, US President Joe Biden announced his withdrawal from the Presidential race. And that is genuinely newsworthy. Thanks for your service, President Biden, and all the best to you and yours.However, the media in New Zealand, particularly the 1News nightly bulletin, has been breathlessly covering ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 hours ago
  • Why we have to challenge our national fiscal assumptions

    A homeless person’s camp beside a blocked-off slipped damage walkway in Freeman’s Bay: we are chasing our tail on our worsening and inter-related housing, poverty and climate crises. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 hours ago
  • Existential Crisis and Damaged Brains

    What has happened to it all?Crazy, some'd sayWhere is the life that I recognise?(Gone away)But I won't cry for yesterdayThere's an ordinary worldSomehow I have to findAnd as I try to make my wayTo the ordinary worldYesterday morning began as many others - what to write about today? I began ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 hours ago
  • A speed limit is not a target, and yet…

    This is a guest post from longtime supporter Mr Plod, whose previous contributions include a proposal that Hamilton become New Zealand’s capital city, and that we should switch which side of the road we drive on. A recent Newsroom article, “Back to school for the Govt’s new speed limit policy“, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 hours ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 22

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am on Monday, July 22 are:Today’s Must Read: Father and son live in a tent, and have done for four years, in a million ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 hours ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 22

    TL;DR: As of 7:00 am on Monday, July 22, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:US President Joe Biden announced via X this morning he would not stand for a second term.Multinational professional services firm ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 hours ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 14, 2024 thru Sat, July 20, 2024. Story of the week As reflected by preponderance of coverage, our Story of the Week is Project 2025. Until now traveling ...
    17 hours ago
  • I'd like to share what I did this weekend

    This weekend, a friend pointed out someone who said they’d like to read my posts, but didn’t want to pay. And my first reaction was sympathy.I’ve already told folks that if they can’t comfortably subscribe, and would like to read, I’d be happy to offer free subscriptions. I don’t want ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 day ago
  • For the children – Why mere sentiment can be a misleading force in our lives, and lead to unex...

    National: The Party of ‘Law and Order’ IntroductionThis weekend, the Government formally kicked off one of their flagship policy programs: a military style boot camp that New Zealand has experimented with over the past 50 years. Cartoon credit: Guy BodyIt’s very popular with the National Party’s Law and Order image, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 day ago
  • A friend in uncertain times

    Day one of the solo leg of my long journey home begins with my favourite sound: footfalls in an empty street. 5.00 am and it’s already light and already too warm, almost.If I can make the train that leaves Budapest later this hour I could be in Belgrade by nightfall; ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 day ago
  • The Chaotic World of Male Diet Influencers

    Hi,We’ll get to the horrific world of male diet influencers (AKA Beefy Boys) shortly, but first you will be glad to know that since I sent out the Webworm explaining why the assassination attempt on Donald Trump was not a false flag operation, I’ve heard from a load of people ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 day ago
  • It's Starting To Look A Lot Like… Y2K

    Do you remember Y2K, the threat that hung over humanity in the closing days of the twentieth century? Horror scenarios of planes falling from the sky, electronic payments failing and ATMs refusing to dispense cash. As for your VCR following instructions and recording your favourite show - forget about it.All ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 20

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts being questioned by The Kākā’s Bernard Hickey.TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 20 were:1. A strategy that fails Zero Carbon Act & Paris targetsThe National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government finally unveiled ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Pharmac Director, Climate Change Commissioner, Health NZ Directors – The latest to quit this m...

    Summary:As New Zealand loses at least 12 leaders in the public service space of health, climate, and pharmaceuticals, this month alone, directly in response to the Government’s policies and budget choices, what lies ahead may be darker than it appears. Tui examines some of those departures and draws a long ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Flooding Housing Policy

    The Minister of Housing’s ambition is to reduce markedly the ratio of house prices to household incomes. If his strategy works it would transform the housing market, dramatically changing the prospects of housing as an investment.Leaving aside the Minister’s metaphor of ‘flooding the market’ I do not see how the ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted (Again!)

    As previously noted, my historical fantasy piece, set in the fifth-century Mediterranean, was accepted for a Pirate Horror anthology, only for the anthology to later fall through. But in a good bit of news, it turned out that the story could indeed be re-marketed as sword and sorcery. As of ...
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Friday, July 19

    An employee of tobacco company Philip Morris International demonstrates a heated tobacco device. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Friday, July 19 are:At a time when the Coalition Government is cutting spending on health, infrastructure, education, housing ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 8:30 am on Friday, July 19 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products. The minister has ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-July-2024

    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    3 days ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure

    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    4 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    4 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    4 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    4 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    4 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    6 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    6 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    7 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    7 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 week ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago

  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones

    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress

    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims

    The coalition Government is establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group for the victims of retail crime, as part of its plan to restore law and order, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.  “New Zealand has seen an exponential growth in retail crime over the past five ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban

    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-07-22T01:32:28+00:00