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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    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.

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  • 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

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    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
    3 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. ...
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    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. ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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.    ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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. ...
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    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.  ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims

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

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
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