The Essential Forest-Gardener – what grows in the forest?

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, November 13th, 2016 - 49 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, 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. 

There’s a subtle difference between a forest garden and a food forest and that’s a matter of intent; it depends on what it is you are aiming to achieve with your forest. People who love food, and they are legion, will title their fruitful garden a food forest and fill it with plants that produce leaves, stems, fruits, roots and everything else that can be served up on a plate, tastefully arranged, garnished and decorated with edible flowers or grated this or that. The epicure’s version of the sort of garden I’ve grown would be different, not only in purpose but also in looks.

The food forests I’ve visited have all been more intensely managed than my rambunctious forest garden and their plate-ready produce a wonder to behold. I’ve watched the children of one food forester browse their way through their backyard, nibbling constantly on parsley, lettuce, carrots and kale in the same way less fortunate children might like to sample sugary treats at a chocolate factory. They even stripped a Brussels sprout plant of its small green globes and ate those there and then, raw and crunchy. That’s not something you see every day.

My garden is shaped more by my love of plants for their own sake, than for what they can provide to feed me, and in this I differ a little from others in the forest gardening movement. So long as I can find something to eat beneath the canopy that stretches across my garden, I’m satisfied. That said, my garden is very productive and more fruitful than I can manage. In autumn, ripe fruit falls from the pear, apple and plum trees in such volumes that I’m unable to harvest it all and have to abandon a percentage of my crops to the birds and the creatures of the soil that welcome the sugars of those fruits. And that fruitfulness is increasing quickly. As each of the fruit trees matures, its crop grows in volume. That applies to the varieties that are common to our region, along with those that are both slightly unusual and very rare in Southland; Chilean wineberry, Chinese hawthorn, Himalayan Strawberry and so on.

With the increasing heaviness of crop and the need not to be too wasteful, we’ve learned novel ways to preserve what food our forest provides, the most popular of those methods being the brewing of ciders from the apples and pears, from which sparkling perry can be made. Our few demijohns with their airlocks bubbling sit over autumn on the kitchen table, and produce as much cider, or apple cider vinegar, as we can possibly use. More exotic fruits, such as the orange Chinese Dogwood berries and Guelder Rose fruits are combined in jams and jellies to capture their unusual tastes and fragrances.

There are others, such as the huge haws that decorate the Chinese Hawthorn that are best dried and chewed-upon through the winter. Odd-bod fruits such as those that hang from the branches of the medlar, require bletting; rotting for the un-initiated, and eating with a spoon and a hearty dollop of cream. Their over-ripe figgy taste is an acquired one, but familiar to fruit lovers from past centuries.  Quinces have to be cooked before they can be processed into butter, crab-apples have to be boiled and drip drained through cloth into a bowl then reboiled until they set to jelly. Many of the fruits we grow are out of the ordinary and have to be eased into our traditional Kiwi diets gently, but that’s part of the allure of finding and growing something different from the usual; a new discovery that pleases our eye might also please our taste buds.

We are not frutarians, of course, and gather and eat the edible parts of almost everything that grows in our forest garden; the pearly-white roots of the daikon radish, knobbly Jerusalem artichoke tubers and the finer Chinese artichoke,  juicy stems from the umbelliferous alexander and cardoon, the seeds of sweet cicely, fennel, peas, beans and corn, flowers of evening primrose and daylily. There are even plant-parts that we eat that defy description. The tasty bits of the Japanese raisin tree are not in the slightest like the dried fruits you might imagine, but more a swollen, forked stem. All up, despite my not planting with the kitchen in mind, there’s no question that we eat well from our forest.

guyton-6

 

49 comments on “The Essential Forest-Gardener – what grows in the forest?”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Hello Robert
    Just had an idea. Thinking about bees and their united and collective behaviour for the good of the hive. Ants too are very busy in that way but are not as positive, more users and thieves of food, not so much an aid to the food of the world as bees are. I think that bees have a lifestyle that we need to adopt so that we get away from ant-like behaviour.

    I suggest that we adopt a new greeting that people will use to establish their standing for a caring society. Instead of saying Hello or Hi we will say Buzz, and it will also be used for goodbye. It will be like Kia Ora in Maori, saying goodbye in Italian Ciao. But this will be a greeting for the aware and future oriented people who want to know the standing of who they are talking to, what group they commit to, like a transparent Mason’s handshake. People who want to make changes in themselves and society to help the good, practical, humane society we need to grow to the vast majority of people instead of a large minority have to coalesce.

    So buzz Robert. Have a good day. Thanks for this instalment of Food for the Mind.
    And try it out on people. They will laugh, and be intrigued. Tell them to do the same to others and have a little explanation in mind of why they say it.

    I haven’t thought of a short sentence that does that and it will be needed. So if you could come up with one I would appreciate it. This thing will spread, become a topic for discussion, and every time it is said will remind the people concerned about the important topics of the day. It will be the in thing!

  2. Ha!
    The Mongolians say, Баримт, the Turks, vızıltı. In Denmark, you’ll hear summen and in Estonia, põrin. Buzz in Galician is zumbido and in Icelandic, suð. The Italians say, ronzio and the Swedes say, surr. Every where you go, greywarshark, people are talking your language 🙂
    I did feel for the ants though. Their role in the wild world is as pivotal as the bees’, I’m betting but I take your meaning. There’s a famous work by a revered writer/philosopher whose name escapes me presently, on bees and the model they offer to mankind. He urges us to shape our communities around that of the bees, though is sounds pretty prescriptive at first hearing; freedom of thought and action and all that. It does seem that we humans have adopted a parasitic model for our recent development; one that isn’t especially symbiotic and looks to be exhausting its/our host. That model is a closed one and needs to be quickly shed if we are to continue as a species in any significant number; poisoning the host with unnecessary waste is not the action of a successful organism, imho.

  3. Manuka AOR 3

    I just want to say a massive “Thank you!” for this series of posts. I haven’t found time to comment but I draw strength and calmness from reading these. I am very lucky to live in a quiet rural area where I wake to the sound of tuis arguing, and call out “‘Morning!” when the kereru flies past; when my arguments at night are with the lone possum that has so far eluded the trappers and slips in through the window if given half a chance. Across the valley, wekas call at night, as do peafowl in the evenings. Occasionally when I wake, deer have come down to the stream.

    It is all that that keeps me sane in a world that seems to be wobbling on its axis, and at times threatens to spin out of orbit. Anyway, “Thanks”.

    • You are most welcome, Manuka AOR. You are fortunate indeed, to live in such a place as you describe. I’d be having to change my ways a bit if I lived in a similar situation to you; possums can create anguish where fruit trees are valued highly, as can kereru, especially during the fruit-set and bud-burst periods. I have some resident kereru but my resource can absorb their actions without showing signs of harm, so I am able to enjoy their presence. Weka would be a challenge, I’m thinking, as I have many ground or low fruiting shrubs, as well as perennial vegetables that they’d doubtless enjoy. My hens approximate weka but are gentle by comparison, I guess. Guinea fowl, even from a distance, get on my nerves; it’s that squeaky door sound the make ad nauseum 🙂 As to that wobbly orbit, it pays to be nimble to stay up-right; adroit of body and mind and so I thank you for your supportive comments, manuka.

      • Manuka AOR 3.1.1

        possums can create anguish where fruit trees are valued highly

        I know – they stripped my ancient apple tree, annually, at the last place I lived, and were very raucous and unfriendly – I hated them. Then I moved here to wake in the night and find this lone escapee reaching up to the fruit bowl, and when I told him or her to leave, she looked pointedly at the dog and then at the cat, who were both curled up and sleeping peacefully, and looked back at me as though to say, “Why them and not me?” I think previous tenants must have half-tamed it. But it already has a bounty on its head – I told the one neighbour and she’s threatening to trap it. (She has a small orchard.) Ah well…

    • greywarshark 4.1

      Apart from any other moon induced response, it would seem a good idea – planting by full moon. The light would be sufficient to locate area, with a lantern highlighting your immediate site, and then the plants would be influenced by the low light and start drawing through their roots and have 8 hours or so to recover.

      • That’s an interesting comment, greywarshark. I’ve read that cultivating and planting during the night means fewer weed seeds strike. I’m not sure about the idea, but just sayin’, someone’s claimed it.

    • I do plant by the moon, on occasion. I have to really, being the author of the moon calendar published monthly in the NZ Gardener magazine 🙂 I have mixed feelings about the practice and like to remain open to discussions about planting by the moon. Most especially, I’m interested to hear from people who are applying the calendar, be that a simple one or more complex, like that of the biodynamicists. I’m looking forward to the Super Moon – I hope the skies are clear and that there is a discernible difference to the eye.

      • Manuka AOR 4.2.1

        I have to really, being the author of the moon calendar published monthly in the NZ Gardener magazine

        Ahhh… my ignorance, sorry.

        I hope the skies are clear and that there is a discernible difference to the eye.

        There is a difference already where I am – With still couple of days to go, it already seems as bright at night as during some other completely full moons.

  4. Manuka AOR 5

    Also, and I apologise if you have already covered this, but I’m wondering about growing Kawakawa. Is it easy to get going? I’ve just got some to use as a tea.
    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/14593/kawakawa

    • I’m growing it here, Manuka AOR, but it’s a challenge in my southern climes. Cold weather in wintertime knocks it back, though it recovers every spring. I rate it highly as a tonic tea, to be taken daily. I don’t know where you are but if you’re north of me, you should be able to grow it with ease, unless you are frost-prone. It grows easily from seed, which you can buy online, but collecting it is simple and it’s easy to post in an envelope. Down here, it doesn’t get holey, the way it does further north; the caterpillar doesn’t live here (yet).

      • Manuka AOR 5.1.1

        I’m in the Bay of Plenty, at highish altitude. Heavy frosts in winter, though brief – looks like snow (breathtakingly beautiful). Rest of the year it is mild to warm to quite hot in summer. I might try it next year and cover if necessary during the frosts, if possible.

        • Robert Guyton 5.1.1.1

          Hmmm…nice. You will need to cover though 🙂

        • mauī 5.1.1.2

          Its an understorey plant in the wild so you could plant it underneath a large tree to give it some shelter. Or keep it in a pot for a couple of years to make sure you have the right location first.

          • Robert Guyton 5.1.1.2.1

            Mine are under the skirts of my native riparian “grove”, mauī and look great there but they’re not quite sheltered enough when there are more than a couple of frosty days in a row. The flowers are charming. Tasty too, I’m told.

          • Manuka AOR 5.1.1.2.2

            Thanks Maui, might try that.

  5. Chuck 6

    A few years ago I had to relocate from a nice bush block to suburbia. Your posts bring back wonderful memories! while I was not at your level, it was getting back close to nature that helped after a hard day.

    I have brought a few plants with my move to suburbia, some of my favourites are Guava and Cape Gooseberry’s the kids (and birds) love them.

  6. I’m glad, Chuck. Cape gooseberries are also a favourite of mine; such a curious taste and they’re part of the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes etc.) that suit some and not others. There’s a beauty about their flowers, even the those of the potatoes, which are surprisingly various. We grow about 30 different, old-style varieties, my favourite being kowiniwini, with le ratte coming in a close second.

  7. weka 8

    This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body….

    Walt Whitman “Leaves of Grass” 1855

  8. adam 9

    Oh OH so many questions from your post Robert Guyton.

    1. Do you have a wart growing for the apple cider vinegar? Or are you grabbing a new one each year from the sediment of the previous year?

    2.Have you ever had Jerusalem artichoke chips? Pan fried in a mix of butter and olive oil, just heaven. Add a touch of salt, it goes so well with a fresh salad.

    3. Cider, as in non-alcoholic?

    4. Do preserve some of the fruits whole?

    5. Do you make relishes and pickles?

    And thanks again for a great post

  9. Hi, Adam. I’m not the best cider maker around but mine’s good enough for me and I’ve gallons of the stuff – far from non-alcoholic it is too. I don’t know how you’d do one that didn’t have alcohol, as the process involves the conversion of fruit sugars into alcohol by the yeasts that arrive in the mixture on the skins of the apples. My cider vinegar, and that is very good, I would say; clear and pleasant to taste (when mixed with rainwater – too strong to drink straight and tough on tooth enamel), results from the random arrival, from the air, of the particular yeasts that turn cider into vinegar. Washing the bottles from the previous year only casually would transfer the vinegar yeasts, I expect. I employ the same practice as I do with plant pots – a quick rinse and she’ll be right. I like to keep the microbe populations alive, rather than sterilize the life out of my world. I do clean the cider gear well though, but only with water. When I see what I’ve written there, I think it’s amazing I can produce anything other than vinegar, but I do! Preserving fruits “whole” – we store apples, wrapped in tissue and separated by pressed paper-pulp dividers, in boxes, in a space that cool. Plums we bottle. Pears we slice and bottle. Freshly picked apricots don’t get past the mouth. Quinces I freeze. Medlar I eat straight away. Our excess berry fruits (red, black, white currants, gooseberries of all stripes, worsterberries, blueberries, cranberries, Chilean wineberries, etc. become jam or get frozen. Chinese hawthorn and some apples I dehydrate and store in jars. I don’t do relishes and pickles but I trade with those who do. I’ve not yet eaten jerusalem artichoke chips but will do now, thanks, adam. Have you tried raw Chinese artichokes? Crunchy and tasty.

  10. Molly 11

    Following on from one of your earlier posts, have randomly stuck the apple tree prunings around the property and have been rewarded with small leaves. Will mulch and watch.

    I really enjoy reading your Sunday posts, Robert. A calming end to the week.

    • Molly – I’ve tried the same here this year – 300 of them in fact and each from a different “heritage” tree growing in the region. It was a big task; keeping track of what came from where, but the labeling’s on and they are in the soil. I’ve no idea whether it will work, but your results encourage me, thanks. I’m really pleased that you enjoy these posts, Molly. If I’d not got any positive feedback, I’d be a little anxious about the value of my efforts; I think we are all like that, aren’t we; needing encouragement from our peers? As to them being calming, I like that and wonder if you’ve ever read a children’s story called “Valerian Hare”? It’s gorgeously subtle and features a peaced-out hare , tormented in his town by the coarser animals for his calmness and composure, who saves the good burghers from a rampaging stag, by calming it with a gesture of non-aggression, seated cross-legged on the main street as the wild thing careened about, creating chaos. Valerian Hare became the toast of the town, though he showed no signs of change in his demeanor. Eventually the townsfolk went back to tormenting him, once the excitement of the event wore off or was forgotten. Valerian remained clam throughout. Beautiful story, that. I wish I could find it again. It was written by a European man, possibly Polish. Quirky as.

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        You mentioning the story of Valerian Hare with good attitudes, and an unshakeable calm is interesting. It may be a poor psycholigical ploy in real life, as well as the story, as the hare might have had a tipping point to make a change in attitudes of the towns animals. People who don’t get passionate in any way lack something. Finding a position just off balance, but not too far, is I think the meaning of life and a life’s work.

        I’ll just tell you about one of my great finds in children’s books that tell about ways that things can happen and change. Saw about it on goodreads.com
        The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
        by Eugene Trivizas, Helen Oxenbury, Ευγένιος Τριβιζάς
        4.16 · Rating Details · 9,448 Ratings · 516 Reviews

        When it comes time for the three little wolves to go out into the world and build themselves a house, their mother warns them to beware the big bad pig. But the little wolves’ increasingly sturdy dwellings are no match for the persistent porker, who has more up his sleeve than huffing and puffing. It takes a chance encounter with a flamingo pushing a wheelbarrow full of flowers to provide a surprising and satisfying solution to the little wolves’ housing crisis.
        Eugene Trivizas’s hilarious text and Helen Oxenbury’s enchanting watercolors have made this delightfully skewed version of the traditional tale a contemporary classic.

        • Robert Guyton 11.1.1.1

          I’m going to search that one out, greywarshark, thanks. Further to my reference to Valerian Hare, I recall a poem in another book by the same author (Janesh?) where he writes a short poem titled, “April showers” and illustrates it with a little pig, peeing on the flowers, but subtly, so you (or the child reading) would not notice. Very cute.

          • greywarshark 11.1.1.1.1

            Robert
            You’re a wag. You bring fun to the blog along with the serious and practical stuff.

      • Molly 11.1.2

        Firstly, hope all is well with you and yours after the quakes last night.

        Just read your reply Robert, and will have a look for the story, but it an interesting premise.

        Talking with an old friend last night and today, whose job is to act as a change facilitator for Health providers in Australia. We are having a lot of conversations about how to approach the fear based views of others with an intent to enter into genuine dialogue. She stated the need for a non-partisan (preferably two) facilitator to work with every group, and that the concerns of some manifest in aggressive ways when you endeavour to give equal voice to all members.

        Interesting parallel with your story.

        • greywarshark 11.1.2.1

          Molly
          I thought this on Radionz sounded klike a promising discourse on relationships communication gaining understanding, persuasion to open minds etc.

          10 Nov 2016
          Stopping smart people from doing dumb things
          From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:25 pm on 10 November 2016
          http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201823286

          How do you stop smart people from doing dumb things? Our guest says ‘workplaces encourage smart people to not use their brains’… and so he’s created what he calls ‘pop-up philosophy’.

          And all it takes is a deck chair. Andre Spicer is professor of organisational behaviour and the founding director of ETHOS: The Centre for Responsible Enterprise at Cass Business School, City University of London.

          He is an expert in the areas of organisational behaviour, leadership and corporate social responsibility.

        • Robert Guyton 11.1.2.2

          That’s interesting to think about, Molly. A people-whisperer is what you’d need to be. Those spooked colts respond amazingly to the subtle movements of the horse-whisperer and humans are creatures too.

  11. Red Hand 12

    “I’m unable to harvest it all and have to abandon a percentage of my crop to the birds and creatures of the soil” How about cooperating with other human beings to gather that percentage of your crop and give, trade or sell it ?

    • greywarshark 12.1

      @Red Hand
      Don’t take that tone with us you superior twit. You mention co-operation and actions that actually are the basis of approach of people who regularly write on TS, and certainly underlies what Robert and his wife do. If you had any idea of true community spirit you would know that. But you sound as if you fall into the role of being the prating outsider jumping to criticise and condemn, judgmental and negative.

      Go on prove me wrong, tell me about your warm and generous side where you do lots of things for others who are struggling, helping them with things they need, going out of your way to be kind in a regular fashion, advocating for more humane treatment of all citizens bottom up. Living with others in as friendly and helpful a fashion as is possible, not making cutting comments based on your own skewed life outlook.

      • Robert Guyton 12.1.1

        Tone, eh! Hard to discern sometimes and easy to mistake. I enjoy the sort of approach taken by Red Hand; it’s sassy and I’m mindful of the fact that he/she read the post and took the time to respond. I’d engage with Red Hand any day around his/her question and anything else he/she might want to say or know. His/her idea of “cooperating with other human beings” is spot on, imo.

    • Deva 12.2

      I too have a Guava garden. Some part of the yield is left to parrots and squirrels. Even more, birds and animals are more thankful than humans.

      • greywarshark 12.2.1

        What location is your garden in Deva? I guess not in NZ as we don’t have squirrels here – they haven’t found their way through our biosecurity borders yet I think.

  12. Quite right, Red Hand and in fact, I do. All manner of friend and visitor harvest while they are here and my parents-in-law come at the same time every year to pick currants and gooseberries which are transformed by them into perhaps the world’s best jams. A percentage of our apple crop goes to the organic cooperative in the town and another sizable load goes on display at the Harvest Festival and is given away to people who attend. Last year, an elderly woman found an apple whose name she remembered from her childhood and when we pressed her to taste it, despite her not wanting to impose, she burst into tears at the rush of memories that flavour brought. I have two other ‘wild’ orchards in this village, both of which are open to visitors who are welcome to take all they can carry in their hands whenever they visit. Humans do much better from my orchards than birds or worms do, but still I’m happy that some cycles back through the wild creatures.

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    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    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 There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    2 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    3 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    3 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    3 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    3 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
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    7 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
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