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The Essential Forest-Gardener – reproducing the forest

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 am, December 18th, 2016 - 22 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, food, sustainability - Tags: , , , , ,

The following is a Guest Post from Robert Guyton and is part of a series appearing over 12 Sundays. Other parts can be seen here.

Robert is a sustainability pioneer who along with his family grows the oldest food forest in NZ. A long time organic gardener, permaculturist and heritage orchardist, he’s a columnist, a regional councillor for Environment Southland, and an early climate change adaptor. 

My garden is forever spilling over its borders; onto the roadside, into the orchard next door and across the neighbourhood. I’m responsible for some of that spillage, being a proponent of “surreptitious gardening” and the sowing out of the bare spaces found in towns like my own, but I’m not the only agent of dispersal. Birds carry seed in volumes that can only be guessed at and spread those far and wide as part of their every day activities. There must be offspring from all of my seeding plants somewhere in the local environment, deposited in a splash of guano by a bird recently feeding here. I see examples as I walk about and while I can’t be sure they came from my forest garden, I’m certain enough to smile a little when I see them. The wind will be assisting also, lifting feathered and plumed seed and whisking it away to open ground somewhere.

Visitors to the garden often leave with pockets swollen with seeds, so I’m assumingly that those will be planted in gardens that are sometimes well beyond the borders of our region. We’ve scions also, of our garden that are being purposefully grafted into ordinary properties in towns throughout the country. Forest gardening is popular already and keen growers are always on the lookout for the tools of their trade; leguminous trees, shrubs and vines that will keep the rest of the garden supplied with nitrogen, members of the Apiaceae family such as fennel and giant parsley for attracting aphid-eating hoverflies, and deep rooting ‘nutrient miners’ like comfrey and burdock that serve to capture leached nutrients and return them to the surface of the soil. Carrying home roots and off-shoots of useful plants is something I like to see my visitors do, knowing they’ll use them to establish colonies of their own, wherever they have their own gardens.

I’ve made conscious efforts also, to provide plants for anyone who visits my garden and likes what they see growing there, by creating several nurseries amongst the trees that provide the semi-shade prefered by the young plants as they get growing. They’re difficult to find though, those nursey beds, and many visitors walk past without seeing them at all, to my delight. I’m not an especially methodical person and have to create systems that care naturally for vulnerable seedlings, shading them from the summer sun, watering them with freely applied rainwater at regular enough intervals to keep them alive and providing the same level of natural pest control that’s available to the established plants in the forest garden.

I cultivate free-form propagation beds where ever a space is available and exhibits the conditions needed. Poking cuttings into soil that has been made healthy through its connection to the wider garden means fungal diseases aren’t an issue. Chewing and sucking insects are at such low levels that they don’t need to be considered, thanks to the network of insect predators that are always present here. The only task I have to attend to in and around the propagation beds is lifting the newly rooted plants at the end of the season and planting them out in my own forest garden or in one or other of the satelite gardens I lay unoffical claim to.

Those that I give away or sell, I transplant into recycled plastic pots or wrap in wet newspaper once they’ve been selected. It’s a simple and effective way of contributing to a larger ‘garden’ that, while thin at this time, will grow and grow until it becomes the dominant feature of the landscape hereabouts; or at least, that’s my dream and I’m pursuing it vigorously. Given the number of young parents who visit and take home armloads of plants for their own budding forest garden, I believe I’ll see the manifestation of my  vision before too long.

There is also a growing interest in planting the common ground of villages and townships like ours, with useful, fruit-bearing plants that can be harvested by anyone interested in ‘wild’ foods or needing to forage in order to keep themselves and their families fed. There are people who love to wander and gather from the largely neglected parts of city, town and countryside, coming home with pockets and bags full of blackberries, hazelnuts, mushrooms; all manner of edible treats, and I am one of those people. I believe the “outdoor-pantry” that is the unused, unplanted space that is found wherever there are councils, can be planted with a far wider range of edible plants than presently grow in such places, and that they can be managed in a way that won’t make council employees fretfully pull out their hair by worrying about how to manage the growth. The forest garden model is the ideal one, I believe, for a new form of commons and one that will offer people of these communities opportunities to augement their diets with good food.

There’s potential also, for the planting out of the whole roadside network that criss-crosses ever region of New Zealand. I’d begin with our lovely native hebe, just to show the unconvinced how attractive  and trouble-free roadside plantings can be, then add edible shrubs and perennial plants once the sight of something other than mown or sprayed grass along the road edges becomes the norm. It’s not unreasonable to expect the roading agencies or the district councils to make those long, thin spaces available for people to harvest from, in fact, I believe it’s an opportunity they would be delighted to take, were they approached the right way. The cycle trails that are becoming widespread throughout the country are also perfect for the role of providing access to fruit trees and their lesser fruiting cousins, and I know cyclists would revel in the chance to eat as they pedal; there are few things so reviving to a dry-mouthed cyclist than a juicy 5-star pippin apple or a Purple King plum!

22 comments on “The Essential Forest-Gardener – reproducing the forest ”

  1. And for anyone who’s interested, I’m speaking on RadioLive now (7:45)

  2. Red Hand 2

    The fact that what you are up to down there in Riverton is published here and not mocked and derided is empowering. I would add that there is more to plants than as a food source for us and other animals and the fungi. They have aesthetic and spiritual value to us and they help protect our land, waterways and seas.

  3. That’s an interesting comment, Red Hand and I agree with what you’ve said. It’s a bit risky, I suppose, laying out your world view for parsing and poking, but I’m relaxed about that 🙂
    I also very much agree with what you say about the other appeals and values of non-human organisms. Rating living things according to their usefulness to humans is a system that has to be unraveled and replaced before we make much further progress with our relationship with them. Aesthetic, spiritual, and the rest of it. It’s difficult not to describe the world from an anthropocentric pov but vital that we learn to do it.

  4. Jenny Kirk 4

    Robert Guyon – down south you probably don’t have to compete with rampant weeds and grasses such as kikuyu and cooch grass.
    \
    These grow in huge abundance in the warm humid north. Starting a food forest and trying to get rid of these massive pests is a major task. Any ideas on how to go about it?

    At the moment all I’m doing is killing off the grasses near the trees and around the boundaries before getting onto the paper/mulch/bark and grass clippings bit. Otherwise I’d have to kill off the entire 1/4 acre lawn area …..and I’m only doing a small portion at a time. Hoping this will be sufficient when all the trees and their underplanting take over, and I can then just pull out the kikuyu as it sprouts its head up above the mulch.

    Does this seem to be a reasonable approach to it? Or – have you other ideas on how to deal with this invasively rampant pest.

  5. Hi, Jenny. Kikuyu looks challenging, but only in relative terms; we’ve had it easy in the past, but others have worked with kikuyu and don’t seem to have been beaten by it. Couch grows here but I don’t regard it (or anything else for that matter) as an “invasively rampant pest”, more a successful plant that has had its competition removed and given too much space to grow into. Cow parsley fixed that problem, growing more quickly than couch, and taller so that it shaded out the grass. I’ve recovered whole properties filled with couch, with cow parsley in very short periods of time, then used cow parsley’s biennial nature to infill with a whole range of other species. I don’t think that will work for kikuyu, as cow parsley doesn’t grow with the same vigour in the north as it does here. Forest gardeners I know living in the north do draw their gardens up through kikuyu and shading is the process they use. I’ve visited beautiful forest gardens in kikuyu country, but they’ve been mature so I don’t know exactly how they managed stage one – I suspect they mowed and mulched until the canopy was established then it was easy from that point on. My suggestion though, is to regard kikuyu as something other than a pest, or aggressive or any other pejorative way, as forest gardening is not a war against plants, more a mutually beneficial agreement 🙂

    • Jenny Kirk 5.1

      Thanks Robert ….. that sounds the best way to go about it ….. and hopefully once the shading happens – along with the mulching, I’ll be able to keep it in reasonable control.

      ps I’ve just realised, I have a lot of calendula in a roadside rockery and have been de-heading them to keep them flowering – and have just realised I could be scattering the deadheads over my potential forest garden. Just been out there and picked them all up and scattered them. They might also help keep the kikuyu and couch at bay.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      You’re are sooo laid back Robert. A war against plants is necessary – sometimes. How would you regard bindweed? I haven’t been managing it and am ripping the top growth down at present and am going to get some orange pegs and start plotting the course of the long pipes going underground, they are more than runners, and tender as so, they break easily and their course needs to be plotted so as not to leave bits that start a whole new pestilential? route.

      • How we regard and describe the wild world is paramount, I reckon, greywarshark. If we declare war, we reveal our failure to understand our true relationships and without the understanding of who we are, we will always fail in our mission. For example; a lepidopterist might resent the stinging nettles that grow between him and the flowering bush visited by his favourite butterflies, and scythe, chop, spray and burn them into extinction until he discovers that they were the sole food for the caterpillars that became the butterflies he loved.
        A wild gardener would make the lightest changes possible to a system they were yet to fully understand, applying the precautionary principle, knowing that unintended consequences can be significant and irreversible, in the way that our whole NZ landscape is displaying presently; dirty rivers etc. I believe there is a way for humans to be part of the world without mucking it up; we did it for millions of years before some of us chose to follow the dead-end “civilization” path and that way involves, wait for it…gardening 🙂 It sound trite, perhaps, but there’s a way-through that exhibits itself in some forms of gardening where humans subtly shape the wild world into a de minimis form that allows us to take our place and give flower to our human culture without destroying all around us, as we are presently doing. So, bindweed 🙂 It’s soft, easily pulled down from whatever plant it’s co-growing with, has no thorns, needles or burning sap and has gorgeous flowers, beloved by bees – what’s not to like 🙂
        If you must pull it down so be it, but with the right mind-set, you could do that as a seasonal activity that’s enjoyable and gives you the opportunity to take a close look at all of your other plants te mea, te mea.

        • greywarshark 5.2.1.1

          Robert G
          You create different pathways in my synapses just reading your wise green thoughts But bindweed is not benign It must be the vine that grew over the castle where the princess lay in a coma waiting for the prandsome hince to come and give her the magic kiss that would break the spell. Bloody hell I can’t wait that long and think of what it would do to property values in my street! Already,
          I admit.

          This reality : am going to get some orange pegs and start plotting the course of the long pipes going underground, they are more than runners,

          I will have to use Roundup at the ends where it is putting up leaves and work back to an entry point. (If it gets away in a field it can be an interlacing mass of white pipelike roots under the surface to about 20cm down.) I will have to do this on my hands and knees, have knee pad, will need to persevere by time. So many minutes per day – not finish a line and then stop. So if you have any offers of wisdom apart from live and let live I would be interested.

          • Robert Guyton 5.2.1.1.1

            I gazed into my crystal ball, greywarshark, looking into the future of the bindweed that has chosen to share your place with you and guess what?
            Despite your efforts to round it up, it was still there 🙂
            Chemical warfare is a harsh and ultimately unsuccessful path for you to take, greywarshark (delivered in a booming Gandalfian voice, brows knitted, knobbly hands grasping the Staff of Green Wisdom).

          • weka 5.2.1.1.2

            https://archive.org/details/WheatonPermaculture163Bindweed

            Somewhat different situation I’m guessing (his was a lawn), but the gist of the control is there.

  6. Good idea, Jenny. You might like to try seeding with any carrot or celery family biennials you can find – they grow quickly, spread satisfyingly, look beautiful and help to overwhelm your unwanted kikuyu. If you can find the seeds for free, all the better! Where there’s a monoculture (kikuyu) the trick is to introduce competition and the best way to ensure that what you add doesn’t become a problem itself is to add a wise variety of new organisms; plants in your case. Plus, calendula looks great.

  7. Cinny 7

    Another awesome post full of info from Mr Guyton, thanks Robert 🙂

    My front garden is a place I hardly touch, except to mulch (lawn clippings, seaweed, horse shit and some dry matter like sticks run over by the mower or bark). It’s a mostly native garden, and so many wonderful birds. And the best thing which i believe is in part from the canopy shade of the pungas and silver ferns as well as all the birds, are the seedlings that I find like treasure in the soil. Sure i get a few undesirables in there, if I’m lazy I’ll just cover them with lawn clippings, or ask the kids to pull them out. Irrigation is supplied via the down pipe on the roof, such an easy easy productive garden.

    I’ve lawn, but that’s for the kids, lawn sprinklers installed by the previous owner supply us with much fun in the summer. Ended up digging up paspalum, I don’t like it, easy to dig up during the autumn and spring rains. Mostly bare feet around here so a soft prickle free lawn is a must for us.
    Onehunga prickles continue to be a problem, which one day i hope to have under control. Am anti chemical sprays, so any suggestions to control the onehunga would be awesome thanks,

    Vege garden is thriving, while many appear to be struggling financially at this time of year, we are enjoying so much fresh food and potting up natives, dividing herbs etc for christmas presents. Super satisfying for the soul as well, loves it.

    Bring on more community gardens and food producing plantings in parks etc. It’s easy to find free fruit on bike rides here and a wonderful treat, thanks to people like you letting their gardens spill out a bit, there are rogue pear, apple and plum tree’s up the valley and on the way to the beach, we are so lucky here.

    • Rosemary McDonald 7.1

      “Onehunga prickles continue to be a problem, which one day i hope to have under control. Am anti chemical sprays, so any suggestions to control the onehunga would be awesome thanks,”

      The best way of controlling Onehunga weed, which has worked for us, is not to mow the lawn too low.

      We too avoid chemical sprays…but have recently used an ‘organic’ pine oil based spray for couch….slayed it!

  8. Thanks, Cinny and great to hear about your place – Onehunga weed I know all about, having been brought up in Nelson (Tahunanui, Richmond then Stoke) and most of that time barefoot, so the prickly-lawn experience is a very familiar one. I can only suggest; lose the lawn or move south, where it doesn’t grow 🙂 Great to hear about the rogue fruit trees of Motueka – fruit grows exceptionally well there, but spraying by commercial orchardists there and in Tasman is a big worry for those who’s childhoods involved raiding. 🙂 (wry smile)

    • Cinny 8.1

      Robert you make me smile, when I was two it snowed on christmas day in invercargill, after that our family moved up here lolololz 😀 Love the beach too much to move.

      Hey interesting what you say about sprays and rogue fruit trees. Massey Uni has been intouch with the school asking all the parents if they agree to having their children included in a study on orchard sprays and their effects on those whom live in a horticultural area. Yup I signed up my youngest, will be interested to read the results of the study when it is completed.

      We don’t live next door to any orchards, but by crikey some of the orchardists here are cowboy sprayers. A friend whom works for a company selling natural based horticultural products, huge huge worldwide company, he comes up here to do the orchard rounds for his work, and the orchardists here are so hooked on chemical sprays, that they don’t want to try anything else, and it’s disappointing how closed their minds are.

  9. weka 9

    Hi Robert, next Sunday appears to be a day largely of distraction, would you still like your post to go up then? Or leave it for a week until the following Sunday, which will be New Years day? Or it could go up this Saturday? Or Boxing Day? Any is probably fine.

    It will be #12!!

  10. Christmas day suits me perfectly, thanks, weka. If no one reads the final chapter or comments on what I’ve said to finish up with, it won’t matter at all and no one will mind, it being a wonderful day for other things. Thanks very much for providing a portal for me to explain myself to those who were interested; I’ve really enjoyed the discussions and the people who have commented have been delightful. I found it a very rewarding experience talking with such kindly folk 🙂

    • weka 10.1

      Christmas it is then 🙂 I’ve enjoyed this too. Thanks to you too for your wilingness to share your wisdom and experience in the posts and in the comments. I agree, good vibe in the comments, and great to hear other people’s stories too.

      • Cinny 10.1.1

        Hear Hear 😀 been loving this series, loads of good vibes and valuable info from our genius gardener Mr Guyton, and all those whom comment. Big up’s to Rob and everyone else thank you so much.

        Summer Solstice starts tomorrow woooo hooooooo

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    Qantas Airlines’ 7-hour “flight to nowhere”, that sold out in 10 minutes with prices from A$787 to A$3787, seemed like a sick joke to climate advocates. Apart from the waste of fuel and the pointless emissions, passengers would be able to see first-hand, from a plane just like those that ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: The cannabis referendum – a doctor’s perspective
    Cannabis is part of our culture: 80% of adults have tried it sometime. Intuition tells us that legalising cannabis will increase use – science suggests that is not likely. Our Dunedin and Christchurch studies show that cannabis use peaks in our 20s. Older people are less frequent users whether it ...
    6 days ago
  • First steps: Jerry DeSilva on the evolution of bipedalism
    Yesterday morning I got up (at the rather early and unaccustomed hour of 3.30am) to listen to a webinar by paleoanthropologist Dr Jeremy DeSilva¹. Titled “First Steps”, his presentation was about the origins of bipedalism in the human lineage. It was a fascinating session & I thought I’d turn my ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    6 days ago
  • True Believers In A False God.
    Down The Rabbit Hole: "Social psychologists have found that when fearful people contemplate potential misfortunes, they tend to feel helpless and pessimistic, but when angry people contemplate the same, they feel a sense of optimism and control. And one simple way to transmute fear into anger is to perceive an evil ...
    6 days ago
  • Majority Rule Requires Majorities That Are Real.
    Fifty Percent Plus One: New Zealand’s genuine-majority-delivering two-party system endured for five elections only (1938, 1943, 1946, 1949, 1951) a period of just 16 years. Very few New Zealanders alive today can boast of participating in an election which delivered a true majority to either Labour or National. Someone who ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour super exploitation
    This is the second in the lecture series by Andy Higginbottom on superexploitation. Here he looks at Marini’s theory of labour super-exploitation and Capital ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Small asteroid to make near-miss of Earth in NZ skies tonight
    Sorry for the late notice on this one, but I only just heard myself, in common with most of the human race. A small asteroid, somewhere between the size of a truck and the size of a house in dimensions, will hurtle past the Earth tonight, dipping closer to ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    7 days ago
  • This is not what accountability looks like
    When someone commits trespass, assault with a weapon, and kidnapping, you'd expect them to be prosecuted, right? But apparently the rules are different if you wear a blue uniform: A police investigation has found officers in Northland trespassed on a man's property, then unlawfully pepper sprayed him and arrested ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Cycling: head injuries ignored because of entrenched macho culture
    Howard Hurst, University of Central Lancashire and Jack Hardwicke, University of Winchester Competitive road cycling is a demanding and unique sport. One where crashing is inevitable – especially at the professional level. While the risk of head injury is relatively low in cycling – approximately 5-13% – compared to contact ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • The coming US shitshow
    Today President Trump once again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the US election. Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a long article on exactly what that means, from voter suppression by armed thugs in the name of "ballot security", to refusing to allow the vote ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A moral void
    That's the only way to describe the SIS, who - like their British counterparts - decided to look the other way on child abuse: The SIS knew a young woman was being sexually abused by her father but failed to lodge a complaint with the police, effectively allowing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When will Goldsmith resign?
    The National Party’s campaign has gone from bad to worse with a further two large miscalculations being uncovered in their alternative fiscal plan. Firstly, National’s economic spokesperson and list MP, Paul Goldsmith, used May's Budget figures instead of last week's PREFU numbers, and came up with a whopping $4.3 billion ...
    7 days ago
  • The Adventures of Annalax: Part IX
    The initial session was a struggle. Annalax and Magni tried sorting out the details with the Isaac twins (the people pursuing the mountain trip). Annalax happened to mention his devotion to Lolth… whom the Isaacs, being ...
    1 week ago
  • This is bullshit
    On March 13, three plainclothes police officers kicked in Breonna Taylor's door under a no-knock warrant targeting another person. When a person inside reasonably assumed they were home invaders and (this being America) started shooting, they shot up the place and everyone around them - killing Taylor. Today, one of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The case for tax (more of it, much more)
    Laura O’Connell Rapira | Contributing writer, the spinoff, 21 Sept, 2020. Let’s put tax at the core of this election. Sharing wealth is how we share care and responsibility for this land and all of the people in it, writes Laura O’Connell Rapira It’s election season in the middle of ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Arctic sea ice is being increasingly melted from below by warming Atlantic water
    Tom Rippeth, Bangor University Arctic sea ice today (white) is covering a much smaller area than in 1980-2010 (orange line). National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CC BY-SA Each September, scientists like me look out for the point when the Arctic’s meagre summer fizzles out and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy
    Prof John D. Potter* This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Going High, Going Low: An Assessment Of The First Leaders’ Debate.
    Uncrushed: Jacinda Ardern knew exactly what was expected of her in the first Leaders' Debate. Labour’s dominant position, three weeks out from the general election, is constructed out of the admiration and gratitude of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who, more often than not, vote National.  Nothing she said ...
    1 week ago
  • The smokefree policies of political parties: Do they care about people who smoke?
    George Thomson*, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards In this time of Covid-19, helping people who smoke to quit their addiction has an even greater importance. Smokers are more vulnerable to many harmful health effects, including severe effects from the virus. Policies that support people who smoke to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • The Fog Of Economic Policy Is Starting To Clear…
    Bryan Bruce, https://www.facebook.com/www.redsky.tv, 19 September 2020 National’s economic policy of temporary tax cuts yesterday proved, if proof be needed, that they are unapologetic neoliberals. While their claim that with more money in their pockets people will spend more might sound attractive, the reality is that tax cuts always benefit the ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #38, 2020
    Highlighted article: Carbon pricing and planetary boundaries  Engström et al take what might be called a systems approach to evaluating carbon pricing, taking into a account various economic sectors affected by and affecting paying for emissions. The conclusions are overall a rare pleasant surprise— a feature predicated on cooperation.  Abstract: ...
    1 week ago
  • Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes
    Nathan Mietkiewicz, National Ecological Observatory Network and Jennifer Balch, University of Colorado Boulder CC BY-ND Summer and fall are wildfire season across the western U.S. In recent years, wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and exposed tens of millions to harmful ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: China steps up
    China has increased its climate change ambition, and set a target to be carbon-neutral by 2060: China will reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak in the next decade, Xi Jinping has told the UN general assembly. “China will scale up its intended nationally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Humans have dealt with plenty of climate variability
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much climate variability have humans dealt with since we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous perspectives on unrestricted access to genomic data
    By Genomics Aotearoa researcher Maui Hudson, University of Waikato It is vital that genomics research respects genomic data and genetic heritage from indigenous communities. Genomics research is a rapidly growing field of study, and there is a strong push to make the huge amount of data being produced open ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects
    What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important meeting. When the person in front of you gets the last seat on the bus, that’s bad luck. Bad luck is when it’s sunny outside, so you leave the house without a coat, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Ian Powell: Does private healthcare threaten public healthcare in New Zealand?
    Is the private health system impacting negatively on the public health system? Health commentator Ian Powell evaluates a recent NZ Herald article by Natalie Akoorie (“Public v private healthcare: Moonlighting, skimming, duplication – should NZ do better”), and looks at how the dual system works, and concludes that the answer ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • A rabbit-hole election debate: So do you want more avocado orchards?
    We live in strange and unusual times. It’s been a century since we’ve endured a global pandemic like this, more than half a century since we’ve had economic woes like this. So maybe we got an opening election debate for the times - because that was a strange and unusual ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • LIVE: Jacinda Ardern vs. Judith Collins, First Debate
    Tonight, The Civilian will be live-blogging the first of too many debates between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins, and also the last fifteen minutes of the news. Be sure to tune in from 6:45pm for regular updates, which can be accessed by refreshing this page ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Hundreds of Aucklanders arrested after illegal mass gathering on Harbour Bridge
    An enormous drive-in party, shown here, was held this morning on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, where police were forced to intervene. Hundreds of Aucklanders were arrested this morning on public health grounds, after an apparent illegal mass gathering on the city’s Harbour Bridge. Police say hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in their ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The Looming Fight.
    Social Distancing Be Damned - It's Jacinda! Shortly after ascending to Labour’s leadership, Jacinda described herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. It was an inspired oxymoron – packing into just two words the essence of the social-democrat’s dilemma. It was good to know that she knew what lay ahead of her. ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
    Back in 2017, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Its a basic climate change measure, aimed at reducing emissions by shifting the vehicle fleet to cleaner technologies. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, they're planning to bring it forward ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
    For the past decade, Australia has had a racist, anti-refugee policy. Those claiming refugee status are imprisoned without trial and left to rot in the hope they would "voluntarily" return to be tortured and murdered. When the courts have granted them visas, the government has immediately revoked them on racial ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
    Yesterday afternoon I had to call on my car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For reasons best known to its driver, a car pulled out of a side road right in front of me while I was driving home after work, and I needed to stop in a hurry. I rather ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
    There are a fair few misconceptions about conditions within New Zealand’s Quarantine Hotels. Madeline Grant’s misplaced accusations being one prominent example, though she is not alone. Today, I thought I’d share the inside word, so to speak. A friend of mine has recently returned to New Zealand from overseas, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: ASA: Let’s not talk about this
    Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes its name from a controversial American anti-cannabis group and includes ...
    1 week ago
  • This is not kind
    New Zealand has a serious homelessness problem, due to skyrocketing rents and a lack of state houses. One of the ways we stick a band-aid on it is to put people up in motels. Previously, they were charged full commercial rates, saddled with odious debt due to the government's failure ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
    by Ani O’Brien In the absence of a better word with which to refer to the rabid activists who claim progressivism while demanding adherence to an increasingly prescriptive set of political beliefs, I call them “woke”. With its roots in Black American slang, the term originally denoted a person or ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules
    Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported a case of Covid-19 in Auckland that is not related to the current Auckland cluster. Before we start to panic, here’s how I think the case happened and how we can strengthen our current border controls. The new Covid-19 case is someone ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago

  • Modern hospitals, quality care: Labour’s record on health
    We believe that when New Zealanders need healthcare, they deserve to have it delivered in a safe and healthy environment. Patients and staff shouldn’t have to worry about mould or rot in hospital walls – but that was the reality when Labour came into Government in 2017. We inherited a ...
    19 hours ago
  • Why we support increasing the minimum wage
    Labour has a proud history of standing for fairness at work, supporting the development of high-quality, high wage jobs and for improving the quality of life for New Zealand workers. ...
    19 hours ago
  • Working with farmers for a better future
    Farmers play a key role in our economy and in our communities, and will be at the forefront of our COVID recovery. Labour has worked in partnership with Kiwi farmers over the past three years and together we’ve tackled Mycoplasma bovis, worked through droughts and flooding, started cleaning up our ...
    19 hours ago
  • Is National really better than Labour with the economy? Yeah, nah.
    National tells New Zealanders to trust them with the economy, but recent data shows they’re not the strong economic managers they like to claim. Labour has a strong track record of keeping debt under control. We’ve worked hard over the past three years to pay down the debt we inherited ...
    20 hours ago
  • Minimum wage increases vs. tax cuts – what really boosts the economy?
    This election, Labour and National have set out very different proposals for growing our economy and supporting New Zealanders through our COVID recovery. But when it comes to real results, the experts are clear – only our plan will keep New Zealand moving. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Do Kiwis trust Labour more than National on the economy? Three polls say yes.
    As our economic rebuild gets underway, New Zealand needs a strong, responsible government to lead our recovery. National bills itself as the Party with economic credibility, but that’s not what the numbers show or what voters believe. In the past five months, three polls have consistently shown that more New ...
    22 hours ago
  • Better healthcare for Kiwis
    From mental health support in every primary and intermediate school to more publicly-funded medicines, Labour’s plan for health will ensure New Zealanders can get quality care. ...
    2 days ago
  • Green Party responds to NZ First Foundation SFO charges
    Green Party spokesperson on Electoral Issues Golriz Ghahraman said: “We’re glad to see the SFO has laid charges before the election, so voters have more clarity on what is going on before they cast a vote. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold transport plan for Auckland to tackle climate change and congestion
    The Green Party has today outlined a major transport plan for Auckland including new investments in light rail, busways, an expansion of regional rail services, and quick improvements to buses. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold transport plan for Wellington to tackle climate change and congestion
    The Green Party has today outlined a major transport plan for Wellington including investments in light rail, an expansion of regional passenger rail, and fast-tracking improvements to buses. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold transport plan for Christchurch to tackle climate change and congestion
    The Green Party has today outlined a major transport plan for Christchurch including new investments in commuter rail, a high frequency bus service to the airport, and cycleways. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold plan to ensure NZ transport tackles climate change
    The Green Party will transform how New Zealanders get around to address the climate crisis, with a comprehensive climate-focused transport package.  ...
    2 days ago
  • Reports of great whites finned alive cement case for cameras on boats
    Claims of illegal fishing and live finning of great whites in New Zealand waters show once again that cameras on fishing boats are long overdue, and must be urgently rolled out. ...
    3 days ago
  • We must investigate COVID-19 retraining support that skews towards men: Greens
    The Green Party is calling for a review into the gender split of training programmes offered by government to help New Zealanders retrain following COVID-19 job losses. ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour’s plan for plastic and waste
    As part of our plan to build back better, we’re taking action on waste and improving recycling to protect our environment, create jobs and future proof our economy. ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour’s plan for plastic and waste
    As part of our plan to build back better, we’re taking action on waste and improving recycling to protect our environment, create jobs and future proof our economy. ...
    4 days ago
  • Week that was: Three weeks to go!
    Today marks three weeks until the election, and the campaign is ramping up. This week, we’ve continued to focus on our economic recovery, announcing our plan to reduce costs for farmers and growers. We also set out our commitment to continuing our partnership with Māori as we rebuild together. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Māori Manifesto: Working together in partnership
    Together, Māori and Labour have walked a new path in our first term of Government. Based on the articles of the Treaty and the promise of equality, this path has been one of partnership and collaboration. Our Māori Manifesto builds on the work we’ve undertaken with Māori during our first ...
    5 days ago
  • Healthy, affordable homes a Green Party priority for Wellington
    The Green Party would push to ensure everyone in Wellington has a warm, safe and affordable place to live as part of the next Government. ...
    6 days ago
  • Environment and climate will be decimated by National’s dangerous agriculture policy
    The Green Party is slamming National’s agriculture policy as a huge step backwards which puts future generations at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reducing costs for Kiwi farmers
    New Zealand’s farmers and growers play a key role in our economy and in our communities. Labour has set out a clear vision to transition to a carbon-neutral economy and today we committed to supporting our farmers and growers to achieve this goal. ...
    1 week ago
  • Jacinda Ardern sets out Labour’s plan in first TV debate
    Tonight was the first Leaders’ Debate, broadcast live on TVNZ 1. It was the first time New Zealanders have seen Jacinda Ardern side-by-side Opposition Leader Judith Collins this campaign. ...
    1 week ago
  • Helping Kiwis into homes
    Everyone deserves a warm, dry place to live. As part of our plan for housing, Labour’s making sure more New Zealanders have a healthy place to live, while tackling long-term issues like homelessness and housing affordability. Here’s how we’re helping Kiwis into homes. ...
    1 week ago
  • Our plan to keep New Zealand moving
    Last updated 30 July 2020. The whole world is battling with COVID-19, and no country is immune. In New Zealand, our focus is getting the latest resurgence under control and making sure we put in place immediate financial supports to cushion the economic blow. As before, the best economic response is ...
    1 week ago
  • Our Achievements
    Led by Jacinda Ardern, our strong, stable government has delivered results and put people first every step of the way. In health, housing, education and more, we've got a strong track record of delivering for New Zealanders. Now, we’re continuing to put people first with our decisive response to COVID-19. ...
    1 week ago
  • Why should I vote for Labour?
    Labour has a strong track record of making progress on the big issues facing our country. Now, as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19, we’re rolling out our plan to grow our economy, support businesses and communities, and keep New Zealand moving. If you’re still undecided ahead of this year’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan to create jobs
    Creating jobs is a key part of our plan to grow the economy, support communities and seize the opportunities created by our world-leading COVID response. We’ve already started rolling out initiatives that are creating thousands of jobs right around the country, and we’ll keep up this momentum as we continue ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan to tackle unemployment
    New Zealand is not immune to the global economic impacts of COVID-19, but our strong health response means we’re now in a better position than many other countries. We’re taking advantage of this headstart by rolling out our plan to protect jobs, create new ones and grow our economy – ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for reducing child poverty
    Child poverty is a complex issue that won’t be fixed overnight, but so far under Labour’s leadership seven out of nine child poverty indicators have already started to improve. Under National’s nine years of neglect, seven out of nine indicators got worse. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s health response to COVID-19
    We went hard and early in our health response to COVID-19 – and it worked. After a short period of lockdown, we were able to safely ease restrictions and open up our economy much quicker than many other countries. We had a plan in place to combat a resurgence, which ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for managing our borders
    As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, robust border controls are essential to protect New Zealanders and keep our economy moving. Labour will continue to carefully manage our borders to keep New Zealanders safe, while ensuring businesses can access the skilled workers they need for our recovery. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s infrastructure investment
    One of the key ways we’re keeping New Zealand moving through our COVID-19 response is by investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects. No country is immune to the economic impact of COVID-19, but with targeted infrastructure projects throughout New Zealand, we are creating new jobs and ensuring our communities have the ...
    1 week ago
  • Who should I vote for?
    It’s now less than one month until election day. If you still haven’t decided who you’re voting for, check out our handy guide below to help you make up your mind! ...
    1 week ago
  • A vote for National is a vote for putting on the brakes
    Thinking about voting National in this year’s election? Here are five reasons you might like to reconsider ahead of 17 October. ...
    1 week ago
  • How Labour’s team is leading New Zealand
    During our time in Government, the Labour team has worked hard to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders while making progress on the long-term challenges facing our country. There’s still more to do, but our track record shows that our team is leading New Zealand in the right direction. Read ...
    1 week ago
  • What’s the difference between National and Labour?
    Still weighing up who to vote for in this year’s election? Here are five key differences between National and Labour to help you make your decision. ...
    1 week ago
  • Greens call for a bus lane to bypass congestion on Harbour Bridge
    The Green Party is calling for Waka Kotahi the NZ Transport Agency to convert a lane over the Auckland Harbour Bridge to bus-only and make buses free to use across the bridge until all lanes are back in operation. ...
    1 week ago
  • Greens to protect Aotearoa’s oceans with marine sanctuaries, bottom trawling and set-netting restr...
    The Green Party has released its Thriving Oceans Plan, which would dramatically increase marine protected areas and ban bottom trawling on seamounts.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week that was: Jobs, trades training and supporting Kiwi workers
    It was another busy week out on the campaign trail, with Labour focused on jobs, training, and supporting Kiwi workers. As we continue to roll out our five-point plan for recovery, we’re investing in our people, businesses, communities and vital services, so we can keep our economy moving as we ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour is backing our regions for recovery
    Our regions are a vital part of our economic recovery plan. They’re home to innovative and creative businesses, and the backbone of our export economy - which is why Labour will continue to support our regions to grow as together, we rebuild better. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Residential building sector growing stronger
    Figures released by Statistics New Zealand today show healthy growth in residential building consents in an environment of Government support for the sector during COVID-19, says Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods. Statistics New Zealand reported today that a record 10,063 townhouses, flats, and units were consented in the August 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • PGF helps Bay of Plenty youth find jobs
    Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support for a pathways to work hub in Tauranga will help address high youth unemployment in the Bay of Plenty by connecting young people with training and meaningful employment opportunities, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau has announced. “Priority One Western Bay of Plenty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government confirms new acute mental health facility for Lakes DHB
    A new acute inpatient mental health facility at Rotorua Hospital will provide more patient-centred and culturally appropriate care to better support recovery, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says. “Improving mental health and addiction services remains one of the biggest long-term challenges facing New Zealand,” says Chris Hipkins. “Lakes DHB’s existing Whare ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Community Languages Fund to increase support for Pacific community language projects
    Round two of the Community Languages Fund (CLF) will provide even more support for Pacific grassroots community and family language projects with the introduction of a second funding tier of $10,000, in addition to the $2,500 tier, says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  During the first round of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government puts teacher wellbeing at the centre
    The Government is committing nearly $9 million to ensure educators in early learning services and schools get the wellbeing support they need. Education Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement, which includes providing frontline counselling and advice services for educators, during his address at the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) annual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Pasifika churches gain from PGF funding
    Pasifika churches around the country will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements which will improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio have announced. The funding will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Job numbers up in August
    New data from Stats NZ today shows a rise of more than 9,000 filled jobs from July – driven mostly by the education and training sector, Grant Robertson says. Filled jobs were up 9,147 to 2.2 million in August 2020 compared with July – with 7,409 of those in education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Māori development receives funding
    Māori development projects across the country will receive a total of $18.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund that will create infrastructure and permanent jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “These projects will support economic development in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Manawatū-Whanganui, Waikato and Southland to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Hand-up for owners of earthquake-prone units
    From today, owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings can apply for financial support to fix their homes, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing financial hardship over earthquake strengthening costs. “We understand how complicated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PGF backing successful Māori enterprise
    Whanganui will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment in a local food-processing company which will help the company increase production and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. Kii Tahi Ltd, which is owned by South Taranaki iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, will receive a Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration
    Seddon House in Hokitika, once a hub for government on the West Coast, has been earmarked for government use once again. “Today we’re announcing a $22 million investment from the Government’s $3 billion infrastructure fund for shovel ready projects for the purchase and restoration of Seddon House in the heart of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Town halls and war memorials in PGF renovation programme
    Town halls, war memorials and other community landmarks across the country will be renovated thanks to grants totalling just under $12.4 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says more than 1000 jobs are expected to be created during the renovation programme. “Town halls, other ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes two diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced two new diplomatic appointments: •         Michael Appleton as New Zealand’s first resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. •        Tredene Dobson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Viet Nam.  Sri Lanka “New Zealand is opening a post in Colombo in 2021 because we are ready ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ’s most prestigious conservation award – Loder Cup presented to Graeme Atkins
    The Minister of Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, today presented Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award, the Loder Cup, to the 2020 winner Graeme Atkins while in Gisborne/Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa. “Graeme Atkins of Ngāti Porou is a Department of Conservation ranger whose contribution to conservation goes well above and beyond his employment,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Early help for whānau who need extra support
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