Predatory delay on climate action by Fonterra, Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, September 13th, 2023 - 2 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, farming, farming, russel norman - Tags: ,

I agree with Norman’s conclusion that change needs to be led from outside of parliament by the climate movements. But we also need the right people in government to implement change in legislation, policy and funding, so please vote accordingly. The Green Party and Te Pāti Māori with more MPs in a Labour-led government will be able to do that. They would be just as essential in Opposition. – weka

First published at Greenpeace by Russel Norman 11 May 2023.


The ETS, emissions pricing, agribusiness, and the politicians who taught an industry that it is far cheaper to invest in lobbying than emissions reductions

A few months out from the election, the New Zealand Government still has not introduced any kind of emissions pricing of agricultural climate pollution. This is in spite of promising to do so when they entered government five and half years ago, in spite of agribusiness being by far the biggest climate polluter, and in spite of government ministers repeatedly claiming that pricing emissions is a key policy to cut emissions. It is also in spite of a climate movement that has pushed this government hard to do the right thing on climate.

So what went wrong? How did Labour Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins and Green Climate Minister James Shaw kick the climate can down the road for five and a half years and do nothing substantive on New Zealand’s biggest polluting industry?

The story of the failure of this government to price agricultural emissions is part of a bigger story – it is the latest chapter in the story of how New Zealand’s biggest polluting industry successfully stopped a price on their pollution for twenty years.

Industry climate strategy

Climate-polluting industries face two basic investment choices when it comes to responding to the climate crisis. One option is to invest in methods to actually cut their pollution, which may involve significant disruption to their business model. The other option is to invest in lobbying to prevent regulatory measures that will require them to cut pollution.

Which of these two kinds of investments dominates their strategy will be heavily influenced by the response of regulators and the political system. If polluting industries believe that regulators can be pressured not to introduce regulations to cut pollution, then they are very likely to continue to invest in lobbying ahead of actual emissions cuts. However, if a polluting industry becomes convinced that regulators are determined to press ahead with meaningful rules, then at a certain point, it makes sense to move to actually cut emissions.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, over the last 20 years, this strategic choice has played out in the interplay between agribusiness and government over pricing emissions. About 50% of New Zealand’s emissions are from the agricultural sector – and it is the surge in dairy cows and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser that have been the number one cause of New Zealand’s 19% increase in emissions from 1990 to 2021.

Gross greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 by sector, sub-category and gas type

Gross greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 by sector, sub-category and gas type. Breakdown of emissions by sector (Agriculture, Energy, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), and Waste) and sub-category, and greenhouse gas by type. The emissions contribution from Tokelau is too small to be shown in the figure.
Breakdown of emissions by sector (Agriculture, Energy, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), and Waste) and sub-category, and greenhouse gas by type. The emissions contribution from Tokelau is too small to be shown in the figure.

For decades, pricing of emissions has been identified as a critical tool to cut pollution, yet still, the sector does not face a price. There have been three separate attempts by two different governments to introduce agribusiness emissions pricing, and each time the leadership of Fonterra, Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers have fought off the proposals – putting their profits ahead of a stable climate.

This is a story about how the leadership of a highly polluting industry invested in lobbying to block policy that would have required them to face a price on their emissions. It is the story of how a series of governments rewarded that behaviour and locked in an agribusiness leadership that is not only determined to block action on climate but can show to their constituency that investing in political lobbying works. Anyone in the sector who has argued for meaningful attempts to cut emissions has been sidelined by those who can legitimately show that predatory delay and lobbying has been a successful strategy.

Climate denial and predatory delay: 2003 – 2017

The first attempt to place a price on agricultural emissions was back in 2003 when the Government tried to introduce a levy to fund research to cut emissions. The agribusiness sector and right-wing parties mobilised against what they called the ‘Fart Tax’, and ultimately the Labour Government backed down. The sector was led by climate deniers who were rewarded for their efforts to block climate pricing.

The second attempt came in September 2008 when the New Zealand Parliament passed the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act, which set up the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The stated aim of the ETS was to put a price on carbon pollution to encourage businesses and consumers to cut their pollution. After considerable lobbying from agribusiness, agriculture’s entry into the ETS was delayed until 2013 under this legislation. This five year delay provided ample opportunity to potentially stop it, especially as there were two elections between the passing of the law and when agriculture would come into the ETS.

The ETS legislation was a compromise between Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party. It required all three parties to vote for the legislation for it to pass.

I was the Co-Leader of the Green Party at the time, and we were very uncertain as to whether we should provide the necessary votes given that we supported a policy of a straightforward carbon tax, rather than a trading scheme. We also believed that while pricing was one part of the climate policy mix, it wasn’t the only part or even the most important part. The ETS was a very weak policy, but in the end, we voted for it so as to have something rather than nothing. The problem was that as the ETS was even further weakened over the years, it remained in place and gave the appearance that the government had some kind of climate policy when in reality, they didn’t.

As it came to pass, agribusiness didn’t need to wait for two elections before they could dispose of the attempt to make them pay. In December 2009, only a few months after the legislation was passed, there was a change of government, and the new John Key National Party-led Government quickly moved to weaken the ETS. In November 2009 with the support of the Māori Party, the National Government passed the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Act which further delayed the entry of agriculture into the ETS until 2015.

A further amendment was made to the ETS in November 2012 when the National Government passed the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Act which delayed the entry of agriculture into the ETS indefinitely.

A decade after the defeat of the ‘Fart Tax’, the industry strategy of investing in lobbying, combined with a strategy of predatory delay, produced the desired result – there was no pricing of agricultural emissions and no serious policy to cut emissions out of the sector. The leadership of the sector was vindicated.

A window opens for action: 2017-19

This situation of predatory delay remained the status quo until the 2017 election, which elected a Labour, NZ First, Green Party Government. The Labour leadership campaigned on a platform of taking action on climate change and had a policy of bringing agriculture into the ETS.

As part of the October 2017 Coalition Agreement between Labour and NZ First, agriculture was to enter the ETS, if the new Climate Change Commission recommended it, but it would only have to pay for 5% of its emissions. NZ First was always opposed to putting agribusiness into the ETS so it took serious negotiations and concessions in other areas to get this policy into the Agreement. In April 2019 the interim Climate Commission did recommend that agriculture enter the ETS, at least as an interim step.

It seemed that after 16 years of effective lobbying to stop a price on their emissions, 16 years of predatory delay by agribusiness, agriculture was about to finally enter the ETS and face a small price to encourage them to cut their climate pollution.

It seemed that the reward structure established by successive governments was about to change and those in the sector who had fought all efforts to seriously cut emissions would face a defeat. This could open the door to a new set of leaders who wanted to lead a low emissions food producing sector.

But… just when it seemed that agribusiness would finally have to invest in cutting emissions rather than invest in lobbying to stop policy that would make them cut emissions, they came up with a masterstroke of predatory delay – a new strategy called He Waka Eke Noa, which roughly translates as ‘we paddle the canoe together’.

In the He Waka Eke Noa proposal, agribusiness switched tactics away from climate denial. They said they now believed that we needed action on climate, and they were willing to accept some kind of climate pricing. However, they argued, it was just not the kind of pricing that the government proposed, not the ETS. They were no longer overtly adopting the narrative of climate denial, rather they switched to the need to seek consensus between government and agribusiness as a reason for not introducing prices – at least not right now and not via the ETS.

The new strategy was a kind of greenwashing predatory delay and it was to prove effective beyond their wildest dreams.

Greenwashing predatory delay

In October 2019 agribusiness and the government announced a joint proposal called He Waka Eke Noa. It was a five-year scheme to once again delay emissions pricing to 2025 while they developed an industry-led emissions pricing system.

The industry-led plan would have the point of obligation for emissions pricing at the farm rather than the processor. The ETS had a processor-level point of obligation that created a concentrated financial incentive for processing companies like Fonterra to drive carbon efficiency from their farm suppliers in order to cut the cost of carbon. The farm-level point of obligation would mean that tens of thousands of farm managers would need to manage their emission liabilities with the government rather than a dozen large-scale processing companies doing the work. It was a recipe for complexity in the system, with much higher compliance costs for individual farm managers who had fewer resources for the scheme’s required administration. In short, it was a proposal that would take years to develop, was likely to be highly complex, and guaranteed to generate loads of farm-level opposition. It was, in summary, a proposal made in heaven for those intent on predatory delay.

In announcing this decision to cave in to industry lobbying pressure and move away from the ETS, the Government said that if industry did not develop a satisfactory plan to price agricultural emissions, then they would be put into the ETS by 2025 or even as early as 2022. This was the stick that was supposedly hanging over He Waka Eke Noa to ensure that the industry took it seriously. But 2025 was a long way away, and once again, the industry was presented with a two-election delay before any potential pricing might come into play.

The first draft HWEN proposal for emission pricing outside the ETS didn’t come out for two years. In November 2021,the agribusiness representatives released two options for pricing, both of which cut emissions by less than one percent. This was plainly not a serious effort to cut emissions and there was quite a bit of criticism.

The final HWEN proposal for emission pricing came out in June 2022. The methane emissions reductions from the price proposal were once again less than 1%. But this time they took greater care to hide this miserly reduction by adding imagined emissions reductions of 3% to 4% that came from as yet unknown technological developments. To these ‘silver bullets’ they added the emissions reductions from the freshwater regulations (which Federated Farmers were actively challenging) and the methane emissions reductions from the waste sector, to claim a ten percent emissions reduction. The ten percent headline number was the PR handle the government needed.

The government responded to the HWEN proposal in October 2022 and released its draft proposed approach to pricing agriculture emissions. By this time, it was five years since the coalition agreement to put agriculture into the ETS, three years since the start of HWEN, and, vitally, only about a year out from the election. The delay tactic was delivering.

The Government’s October 2022 proposal was a version of the farm-level HWEN proposal. In addition, it provided $485m in government subsidies to help the industry reduce its emissions- paid for in part from ETS revenues paid by other businesses and consumers, an ETS that agribusiness insisted it must not be part of. This was on top of a further $517m in subsidies to the sector via the Sustainable Fibre and Food Fund. But still, the proposal was attacked by agribusiness because agribusiness didn’t have full control of the pricing mechanism, amongst other complaints.

The only leverage that the government had over the sector was the threat of putting them into the ETS as a backstop if HWEN did not deliver. However, Climate Minister James Shaw said he didn’t support putting agriculture into the ETS, leaving a version of the complicated HWEN scheme as the only option, and hence the government with no power over the sector.

Federated Farmers, realising their strong position, walked out of He Waka Eke Noa, and the government backed down further and made new concessions to the sector. Dairy NZ demanded changes, Fonterra was not happy, and the sector was united in opposition. This was in spite of the reality that the government’s draft scheme was almost identical to that proposed by HWEN.

On December 21 2022, four days before Christmas in the middle of the silly season, the government released its final proposal on pricing agricultural emissions outside the ETS. The government promised the lowest price possible, fixed for five years, with all revenue recycled back to industry. It was a weakened version of their earlier proposal though it still included the added sweeteners of millions of dollars in taxpayers subsidies to agribusiness, paid for through taxes and ETS revenues. The scheme was essentially a version of HWEN, which Treasury had concluded would cost taxpayers dearly and not cut emissions.

Yet still, Beef and Lamb was unhappy with the whole thing and sought further indefinite delay. Federated Farmers opposed the Government’s plan and Dairy NZ opposed key elements of it. After four years of delay, after the government adopted the industry’s own plan, industry now didn’t support it, in spite of all the promises made at the start of the process.

As if to make clear just how superficial was agribusiness commitment to climate action, the President of Federated Farmers went on radio to say that maybe climate change was real but we would only know in 50 years and he didn’t accept the methane reduction targets anyway. A few months later he announced that he was standing as a Parliamentary candidate for the climate-denying Act Party, following in the footsteps of other leading members of Federated Farmers.

Government said that they would make final decisions in early 2023. Indeed, you would think the climate-charged wreckage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023 would seem to have added pressure to take action on cutting emissions.

But as of May 10 2023, the Labour Government has not announced any decision. We are now only five months away from the general election, and agribusiness representatives are calling for all decisions to be delayed until after the election in the hope that a bit more predatory delay will once again remove the need for them to face a price on their emissions.

It has been twenty years since the first attempt to price agricultural emissions, it is fifteen years since the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme, ten years after agribusiness was first scheduled to enter the ETS, nearly six years after the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement to bring agriculture into the ETS and four years after the launch of He Waka Eke Noa to supposedly develop a consensus between industry and government on pricing agricultural emissions. At every step of the way, agribusiness lobby groups opposed these attempts.

He Waka Eke Noa was simply the latest in a long string of delay tactics drawn from the long list of industry delay strategies. Agribusiness never had any intention of agreeing to the pricing of their emissions.

A failure of industry and political leadership

The leadership of New Zealand’s agribusiness sector has been consistently appalling on environmental issues and has fought every attempt to protect the environment, whether in freshwater or climate. They have denied the basic science, focussed on short-term profits, simply not told the truth about their true intentions, and lacked the imagination to see that the world is changing.

We have agribusiness leaders whose strategy of climate denial, greenwashing and predatory delay has been successful in blocking pricing efforts to change their industry for decades. The success of the leadership in Fonterra, Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers in blocking these measures has left the New Zealand food production sector woefully inadequately placed to deal with climate change, one of the biggest threats to the planet and their industry. For those at Fonterra who do understand climate science, they are taking an approach of being a free rider – yes they understand the need to cut emissions, they just don’t want to have to do it at Fonterra, they want other companies to cut emissions. And if everyone is a free-rider then nothing will change.

I am very familiar with all this as I have engaged with their leadership and membership on many occasions over many years. Their position is not amenable to change through consensus for Upton Sinclair’s simple reason: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” I remember giving an address to the Federated Farmers annual conference in 2011 where I presented the wealth of evidence on the science showing that agricultural intensification was causing water pollution, scientific study after study. The questions from the floor that followed were simply a litany of denial. I have given similar speeches to Fonterra and met with the leadership of Fonterra, the Feds and Dairy NZ on countless occasions. They are not all bad people, they simply have a profound financial incentive to protect their position and will not change unless the government (or potentially their markets) forces them to change.

But while the sector as a whole bears the responsibility for that, it is also true that the Government has helped make them what they are by not standing up to them. By caving in to industry pressure time and time again, the Labour, National and Green parties have taught the agribusiness sector that it makes more sense to invest in lobbying and pressuring the Government to block regulation and pricing than it does to actually embrace low emissions food production.

Change or Consensus

In that sense, it is also a story about a Labour and Green Party leadership that exercised a deliberate blindness in order to avoid a confrontation with the most powerful sector in the country. The idea that the government should back down on bringing agribusiness into the ETS in order to find consensus with the current agribusiness leadership on pricing agriculture emissions was plainly not credible. The sector obviously never intended to sign up to a real pricing plan. One can only assume that Labour and the Greens signed up to this charade because it meant they didn’t have to confront the political power of agribusiness in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In parallel with this political lack of courage, the leaders in Labour and the Greens espoused a theory of change through consensus. We were told that consensus with the polluting industries was essential to making progress on climate. James Shaw, at the announcement of He Waka Eke Noa, said ‘nothing about us without us’ in reference to the need to get the consent of the polluting industries before introducing agricultural emissions pricing. But this just isn’t true. No serious change happens without opposition. Whether it is votes for women, nuclear-free NZ, eliminating CFCs and saving the ozone layer – these campaigns were won by overcoming the opposition of existing power-holders and polluters, who benefitted from the status quo. Making climate policy hostage to the agreement of climate polluters is simply saying you don’t intend to do anything serious about climate.

At the time of the announcement of He Waka Eke Noa in 2019, I called it a ‘sellout’ by Labour and Greens on climate change. I knew that once the leaders of Fonterra, Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ got Ardern and Shaw to back down on this core issue, they would know they had the upper hand. And then they would simply drag the whole show out until it was too late. And so it has come to pass. The reality is that serious change never happens through consensus – the old order always resists change.

The climate movement is the only way to fix this thing now. Real change always comes out of civil society – government and business follow kicking and screaming. We fought hard to win the fight over new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa New Zealand and eventually, the political process caught up. Now we need to win the fight over the transformation of the global food system for both climate and biodiversity reasons.

 

 

2 comments on “Predatory delay on climate action by Fonterra, Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers ”

  1. Ad 1

    Norman would make more sense if he explained why our dairy industry has the power it does.

    • AB 1.1

      The history as Norman lays it out is grim reading – and I would guess mostly accurate. The question is why. I don't think putting it down to Labour (principally) and Greens being "gutless" is adequate – nobody is gutless if they do not face dangers. The answer must be that our economies are houses of cards: disrupt something somewhere and there is a disastrous cascade of consequences. (Ask Liz Truss). Houses of cards seem to be the inevitable outcome of systems build on competition, operating efficiency and profit. But this answer is too high-level to be useful.

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    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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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, ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims

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