Water and cultural values

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, October 8th, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: capitalism, Conservation, disaster, Economy, Environment, farming, maori party, national, sustainability, water - Tags: , , ,

 October 8 – 10th is four International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock on stepping up as Protectors of Water. Background and ways to take part are outlined here. This post is in support of that. 

Choose Clean Water and Action Station are currently running a campaign on clean water in the run up to presenting a petition and speaking to the Select Committee next week. There’s some good work being done here (follow the links, they’re all ways to take part), and it’s part of a larger movement in NZ to regain meaningful water standards. The main message from this movement is that instead of the National Government’s ‘wadeable’ standard, we want our rivers and lakes to be swimmable. On the face of it a laudable proposition.

Let’s start making some connections here. ‘Swimmable’ means you don’t expect to drink the water, otherwise the standard and the message would be ‘drinkable’. When I was growing up in the 70s, we swam in the local rivers, but we also drank from them. No-one even thought about this, it was a given. These were rivers bounded for the most part by sheep and beef farmland. When we went to the river it wasn’t just to swim, it was to relax and enjoy, be in nature, connect with places we loved, hang out, and all of that usually involved eating and drinking. We took food but we didn’t take water with us, we drank from the rivers.

A culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers, has to carry water with it. For us at this time, that usually means plastic bottles. For many people, that is commercially bottled water.

On the other side of this is the intensification of farming and horticulture, particularly but not only industrial dairying. We’ve watched for more than a decade as our waterways become so polluted that we can no longer safely interact with many of them. Thus in 2016 we have the situation in Havelock North where two people have died, at least two people have ended up with serious, long term chronic illness and disability (that count is likely to be higher), and thousands of people have been made ill during a Campylobacter outbreak stemming from the town water supply. Good old clean green New Zealand’s rock star economy reaches dizzying new heights.

Meanwhile Havelock North local authorities sell access to the best water from the region at a minimal price to commercial, foreign-owned interests who bottle it and send it overseas. They also give them a hefty employer subsidy. The council doesn’t know how much water is there or what the impact will be, but it does know the aquifer has been slowly dropping over the last 20 years.

But it’s all just a mistake right? We can have industry and a rock star economy and clean water, if we just apply ourselves better. Let’s blame the government (local and national), and just reset the standards to something better and all will be well. We can always sell our water for a better price, and find the sweet spot between extraction and ecosystem collapse, that’s management.

There is something very wrong with this picture. It’s the cultural values that see water primarily as a resource to be managed, whether that’s for commerce or recreation. Waterways have no intrinsic value. Water is there for our use and if we manage it right then all will be well, as if we have ever been smart enough to know how to manage it right. But a culture that doesn’t expect to drink from the rivers will also not look after them to a standard that supports the ecosystem that the water itself is dependent on. Water is life not just because we need to drink it, but because everything we have depends on the environment we live in being healthy and sustaining itself over time. The Standard commentor Roy Cartland,

Wade-able, swimmable, drinkable: these are all standards lower than what most fish can survive at. Just because an adult human can drink it, does not mean an ecosystem can survive in it. We need higher standards than any party is promoting.

(I got all that and more from Mike Joy’s lecture.)

Let’s look at a different set of values. The Māori Party alone say fresh water should be safe to drink, swim in, and gather kai from. In their policy on water they frame it as a taonga.

Water – Te Mana o Te Wai

The Māori Party established Te Mana o Te Wai – the health and well-being of our water – as a driving policy for freshwater management. The three elements of Te Mana o Te Wai are:

te hauora o te wai – the health and mauri (quality and vitality) of water

te hauora o taiao – the health and mauri of the environment and

te hauora o te tangata – the health and mauri of the people.

The Māori Party want to “ensure that Te Mana o Te Wai remains as the overarching objective for freshwater management”.

Leaving aside issues of the Māori Party’s dilemma in supporting National (please, not in this conversation), what would it look like if NZ decided that the mana of the water was the guiding principle not just for all decisions but for the very relationship we have with water itself?

60 comments on “Water and cultural values”

  1. Sacha 1

    What would it look like? We would have spent the last half-century investing in smart, high-value, sustainable industries instead of trashing our environment and locking our low-wage economy into a reliance on extractive exports like milk powder, logs and coal.

    How we wind back that model and make up for the decades of wasted opportunities for change is a huge challenge. Removing the current govt is only a start.

  2. There’d be no disposal of sewerage to water for starters. Soil and the microscopic life that sails in her is the most suitable vehicle for receiving humanure. Rivers are not, nor are oceans, lakes lagoons or estuaries.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      I’ve always considered the best option for sewage is to treat and then dump it on our forests and let nature take care of it. Keep it up in the high country and the natural fertiliser will flow down on to the farms removing the need for artificial fertilisers.

      Of course, we would probably need more extensive forests than we have and a fairly massive decrease in farms.

      • …”dump it on our forests…”
        Er, yes. Native forests have an efficient nutrient cycle going on that might not respond well to the addition of humanure en masse, but production forests could benefit. Mind you, the amount of bird poo that isn’t falling on the present-day native forest floor, compared to earlier times when kakapo, moa, kiwi and takahe wandered at will, is significant, so perhaps…
        Really though, humanure should go back into the food cycle – energy out, energy in; market gardens, orchards, grain fields – wherever we get our food from 🙂

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Native forests have an efficient nutrient cycle going on that might not respond well to the addition of humanure en masse, but production forests could benefit.

          I’m sure that even the native forests would simply take care of it. It’s just food for them after all.

          We’d have to be careful as to how much we dropped where. Simply dumping it on one hill top wouldn’t work but across all them would.

          Really though, humanure should go back into the food cycle – energy out, energy in; market gardens, orchards, grain fields – wherever we get our food from

          Putting it on the forests does put it back in the food cycle.

          • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.1.1

            It’s not just dealing with the decay cycle we should consider – phoshates are more limited than petroleum – we shouldn’t be pissing them away.

        • marty mars 2.1.1.2

          there are cultural aspects to consider regarding humanure – the restrictions were developed over time for very good reasons. Personally when I did our house for 4 or so years the stuff goes into a drum and sits there for a year of so and then gets put around non-food trees and plants.

          • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.2.1

            Marty – yes, a stand-off period is necessary and overhead application to vegetables not recommended. Digging in the matured manure is the best way. And as with most things, organic/unadulterated is best 🙂

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Thanks for this post Weka.

    What Sacha said. I reckon the Greens should steal the Māori Party’s policy.

  4. Foreign waka 4

    Clean Water – you can live without food for about 3 weeks, without water maybe 1 week depending on age, health condition.
    This is not an issue of who lays claim, this is an issue of survival. Not just for the individual but for the country in every conceivable way.
    So lets stop these talk fests, academically sectioning of opinions and demand the basic human right to be able to survive in the true sense of the word. This ought to be the standard, full stop, no discussions about wadeable or whatever.
    I have been recently to the south island and the waterways are being deliberately and by neglect (yes, and I repeat deliberately) contaminated. Rivers coming from the snow capped mountains and what do I see? Beer cans, rubbish, car batteries (!) which we took out of the water, nappies etc. – and further down the slope, cattle galore. Surrounding forests – I looked around and low and behold, rubbish everywhere. I mean, in the most unsuspected places.
    I really belief the average NZlander is not really interested – NIMBY, if there is no buck to be had, just let it go to rot.
    Meanwhile on planet political correct, we have now legislation that we wont have any pests by year x. Well, maybe they should add some humans to those.

  5. weka – how can people who don’t understand what “mauri” means or is, subscribe to a management system that uses that as a pivot around which behaviour is expected? In other words, can modern athiests with no knowledge of that particular tikanga Maori be expected to “get it”? I’ve sat at council tables where “Te Mana o te Wai” has been presented and heard the Gongs of Incomprehension ringing loudly.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      In other words, can modern athiests with no knowledge of that particular tikanga Maori be expected to “get it”?

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that the average atheist is more than willing to go on the facts.

      The problem seems to be those who worship at the altar of Mammon: National, ACT, The Peter Dunne Party and even Labour to a large degree. These types ignore the facts so as to protect profit and privilege.

      • You’re right, Draco; I chose my word carelessly. Monothiests too, are perhaps unlikely to be able to conceive of the meaning of a polythiestic concept such as “mauri”. I wonder if it’s only the animists who can grasp what is meant and therein lies the conumdrum. I think “we” glibly nod with understanding when terms like “mana”, “tapu” and “mauri” are used, but do we modern New Zealanders really grasp the ideas?
        In any case, spending some time lying beside a pristine mountain stream, watching the fishes rise to catch tiny flies should be enough to reveal to any observer what is at risk here. In the lowlands though, a day spent beside the river would be a very sobering experience to anyone moved by a mountain stream contemplation.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          how can people who don’t understand what “mauri” means or is, subscribe to a management system that uses that as a pivot around which behaviour is expected?

          That’s certainly the question I was left with after writing the post 🙂

          I think some of the answer to that is in your last paragraph. I’ve had interesting conversations with avowed atheists who spend a lot of time in the wilderness and when I listen to them talking about their experiences I hear descriptions of ‘spiritual’ experiences. They just think about them in different terms and because they have a belief system that rejects the spiritual, the experience gets defines in ways that take us away from being able to talk about it.

          And not just atheists, I think it happens across the board, where people either don’t think about it in that way, or don’t talk about it out loud or in public very much because they don’t want to sound weird.

          I put the word spiritual in commas because that’s also part of the problem, Roy has raised it elsewhere – mainstream Pākehā don’t have the language or daily concepts to talk about this easily. The deeper discussions get pushed to the margins. But I do believe that many, many Pākehā also experience the mauri of things and places but just don’t think about it in that way and lack avenues of shared expression.

          Many Pākehā also feel deeply about what is happening to water in NZ, and again lack avenues for taking action, although I tend to think there is more choice involved in that and it’s time we got over it. Culture is a strong inhibiting force at times.

  6. save nz 6

    Great post. Wish the political parties would concentrate a bit more on the destruction and/or sale of our water and our waterways. It’s shocking how Kiwis have to pay for drinking water through water rates, or bottled water while the council and government sells off the rights and allows wide spread pollution of it.

    Even worse people now are not able to interact with water and nature in the same way which destroys the next and current generations relationship and human and environmental rights with water. The waterways sustain life and without it, the ecosystem will die, destroying life with it.

  7. Two days ago, Frenchman Theo Rohfritsch arrived at Bluff, completing his 20 country cycling campaign for global clean water access. I met him there, shook his hand and listened to his stories from his journey. Lovely bloke. Here’s the report by our local journalists.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/85044536/french-cyclist-finishes-25000km-aroundtheworld-journey-in-bluff

  8. Nice post. imo the concept of kaitiakitanga encompasses protection, guardianship and maintenance of mauri and mana. Those are manifested by the vitality, variety and abundance of nourishment (of all kinds) derived from, say the waterway. Those aspects reflect the mana of the people who are kaitiaki. It is a loop – the people maintain the waterway, the waterway provides, the mana of the people is increased, the mana of the waterway is increased, the ability to provide manaakitanga is increased and so on. The mana and mauri of the waterway is indistinguishabe from the mana and mauri of the people though they are seperate and distinct. This is the interaction, the connection, the interrelationship between the two (in this case ) entities. The same conception works with leaders and people.

    The state of our waterways reflects the state of the people – fix one of those in a tika way and the other will be sorted too.

    • weka 8.1

      Thanks marty, that’s such a powerful description. I especially like the last sentence.

  9. roy cartland 9

    Excellent post. I guess I should eat some of my words, having been quoted, and thank you for steering toward the Maori Party policy.

    As many seem to have commented, what this would look like is a change in cultural attitudes. Language has a lot to do with this – recognising a water body’s ‘life’ or ‘spirit’ will instantly be derided by the likes of big mouths like Bob Jones, Brash et al because they are unable to understand that anything can have a value outside economics.

    An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

    Incomprehension maybe – but re-learning about water’s intrinsic, non-financial, value is what needs to happen. It should start with language.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

      QFT

    • RedLogix 9.2

      Mostly +1 roy.

      Still the fault does not lie with words like “spirit” or “life force”. It lies with the neo-liberal madness which insisted we were all ‘economic rational actors’ with no such thing as a soul.

    • Foreign waka 9.3

      Every culture on this planet has held water in special regard – because every human being with normal functioning senses will know that it means life – in any language and over thousands of years. To imply that this can only be conveyed in Maori is an insult to all other cultures who might use terms that seem to you “airy fairy”. By extension, if I may add, using indigenous language might increase the marketability and hence achieve the opposite: making a taonga a commodity (i.e Waiwera)

      • All cultures haven’t held water in equally high regard, Foreign waka, hence the problems we now face. Our present modern culture here in NZ is failing to hold water in special regard, as the quality of our water attests.

        • Foreign waka 9.3.1.1

          Well, all cultures have in their past held special regard for water, i.e the Ganges for Indians, the Nile for Egyptians, the Tigris for the Persians, the Po for the Etruscan’s etc… water is seen as life giving, cleansing and even used in meditation. Over the millennia it has and does hold the same appreciation by most people.
          Unfortunately, commerce has now taken over all facets of life and in the same way as we ignore gen modification and the ramification of the supply of food, the same is now underway with water. The way we treat water on the farms, in the environment etc (see my previous post) could make one cry – honestly. When a pristine river will carry 1080 because it is strewn out nily willy over days (fact) without a second thought of the consequences down stream, I feel despair. The constant depletion of water tables lead to salination on contamination of the very drinking water as we have seen in Hawkes Bay.

      • Incognito 9.3.2

        The etymology of “water” is most interesting.

    • weka 9.4

      “I guess I should eat some of my words, having been quoted, and thank you for steering toward the Maori Party policy.”

      I think your quote and the Mp policy sit side by side (and demonstrate values from different cultures).

      An advantage we have is that we have the Maori language to take some of the ‘airy-fairy’-ness out of words like ‘spirit’, ‘life-force’, etc: kaitiakitanga, mauri, mana, taonga should all become a central part of the political discourse without English translation. The onus is then for those who don’t understand to learn about it before they can engage.

      Incomprehension maybe – but re-learning about water’s intrinsic, non-financial, value is what needs to happen. It should start with language.

      Nice. That’s what I’m thinking too. The dominant (Pākehā) culture doesn’t have the language or concepts via language to get beyond swimmable. I think many Pākehā do in fact have a deeper relationship with nature but we lack the ways to talk about it in the mainstream. Probably a result of the cultural suppression in our own past.

      • RedLogix 9.4.1

        The dominant (Pākehā) culture doesn’t have the language or concepts via language to get beyond swimmable.

        I agree that in the past few decades it has been suppressed, but certainly the trampers, hunters and anglers I meet in the outdoors understand exactly what we are talking about here. They typically may not be very eloquent about it .. but they do know.

        • weka 9.4.1.1

          Quite. It’s there in the culture, but we don’t have the expression of it because of the lack of language and concepts (see my comment elsewhere in the thread about that).

          I think the reason we don’t have that expression is because of the European past of it’s own colonisation that suppressed indigenous understanding. It’s still there because it’s innate inhumane, and we have the remnants of it in Pākehā culture, but I’m guessing the reason why we’ve stood by for 2 decades and watched the situation get so bad is because we aren’t supposed to talk about it.

  10. Brendon Harre 10

    I like this article because it goes from looking at ‘what’ to do -announce a target on water quality to ‘why’ we should do it -it is part of our cultural values (or should be). I think if the ‘what’ and ‘why’ are more carefully explained then it creates a bigger movement for change and then the ‘how’ becomes more effective.

    National have been very good at periodically producing nice sounding ‘whats’ -predator free by such and such date, exports as a % of the economy up by such and such date, house prices should be 4 times median incomes by another date etc. But quite light on the ‘why(s)’ and useless on the ‘how’ -the implementation. It seems for the right failing to deliver on the ‘how’ is not important.

    So in my view, we on the left should be debating these sort of ‘why’ articles but also considering the next step the ‘hows’.

    Something I have played around with in my head is a young adult ‘Conservation Core’-something that would be loosely modeled off some combination of the Territorials, Civil Defence and Outward Bound but with the task of achieving conservation goals. I would imagine a reasonably modest sum from central government -say $100m, would go along way in activating and resourcing young people in an organised way to work on the ‘how’.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      National have been very good at periodically producing nice sounding ‘whats’ -predator free by such and such date, exports as a % of the economy up by such and such date, house prices should be 4 times median incomes by another date etc. But quite light on the ‘why(s)’ and useless on the ‘how’ -the implementation. It seems for the right failing to deliver on the ‘how’ is not important.

      That’s because they’re not interested. It’s just a sound bite that will help them get re-elected and not something to be actually enacted or fulfilled.

  11. Siobhan 11

    To imply that National and its friends regard Water as something as valuable as a ‘Resource’ is an unwarranted compliment.
    For them Water is another Commodity, to be traded away as quickly and cheaply as possible.
    Ultimately self defeating and arguably criminally insane, but that’s how they roll.

  12. Jenny 12

    The other issue at Standing Rock, is of course, climate change.

    [deleted]

    Jill Stein of the American Green Party takes a more direct and principled approach.

    “Ajamu and I will continue to mobilize support for immediate action on climate change and to respect Native American treaties and the rights of indigenous people…”

    “……among the first steps I would take would be instruct all federal agencies to respect the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples and seek the full and informed consent of indigenous communities. “
    Jill Stein US Green Party leader and US presidential candidate

    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/296055-standing-rock-sioux-on-the-front-lines-of-the-climate

    [As you know full well telling lies about authors is a bannable offence. I am writing a series of posts over 4 days. Read the post, follow the links, and you will see that I have already talked about climate change as a central part of what is happening at Standing Rock. You also appeared to miss the ironical tag in the current post. Banned site wide for a week for knowingly telling lies when you have been warned about this multiple times by multiple moderators over multiple conversations in the past. If you ever pull this shit again under one of my posts I will give you a lengthy ban without warning. – weka]

  13. RedLogix 13

    Love reading your posts weka. They bring a wonderful balance to The Standard.

    I’ve long maintained that NZ’s ‘clean and green’ meme was merely an artifact of our low population. That in fact we were such poor managers of our land that long before we hit a fraction of the population densities common in Europe, we would be in deep shit. Literally.

    But sitting about ‘railing how shit it all is’ isn’t going to help.

    How often, sweating and toiling along some rough track, or tussocky spur, have I come across a flow of the purest, sweetest water. Crouching down awkwardly under a pack, or slinging it off, scooping with cupped hands, or a metal mug. Sucking it down greedily, fearlessly with both and adult gratitude and a childish delight. Then standing up over stiffened knees to let the cool damp hollow seep over and through the senses, the soul.

    And at that instant the primal connection is laid bare, that here is the root of all things, all life that mostly we cover over with technology and tat. In those crystal moments is a glimpse of life’s energy, it’s mystery, if you want to look.

    The taonga is still there. It’s just retreated back up into the high country, waiting for us to welcome it back down into the cool braided rivers, the gentle shaded swimming holes and shingle banks where children can splash freely again.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      I’ve long maintained that NZ’s ‘clean and green’ meme was merely an artifact of our low population.

      Yep, learned that one in the 1990s from my nephew. I’ve extended it a bit since then as I’ve come to the conclusion thatfarmland is traditionally seen as ‘good’ and so being mostly farmland that to as been added into the clean and green image when it should be indicative that we’re destroying our land.

      There’s no way that you’d want to drink from a stream on a farm.

      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        There’s no way that you’d want to drink from a stream on a farm.

        Generally a wise idea, though the runoff from ruminants on hill country land isn’t too bad. Many times you’d get away with it with drinking it.

        It’s human shit that’s really dangerous.

    • weka 13.2

      Apparently you do have the language and concepts 😀

      The only thing I would add is that we also need to be with the rivers in our backyards so to speak. The Leith in Dunedin, the Avon in Chch, the Waihopai in Invercargill are three good examples of city rivers that are still beautiful and that we can connect with. They’ve been treated badly but they are still there.

      “Love reading your posts weka. They bring a wonderful balance to The Standard.”

      Thanks for that Red, the encouragement is welcome.

  14. Takere 14

    It is interesting when an important issue like fresh water and the environment pop up. The word “Maori” is thrown into the conversation. Some believe this can add some weight to the argument?

    “Iwi entities run by the same rules as any capitalistic business venture, however, I think some iwi do make the environment & environmental issues a “Business Prerogative – Tenet”, but many people (maori & non maori) use this broad sweeping assumption and think that we all do. This is wrong to assume this as many of us already know that as a private entity,on the balance sheet, the first objective is profitability.

    The Maori Party’s position on this issue and any other is purely lip service. If they were the big – swinging – dicks in the room after the Cabinet meeting. Why is Poverty, Health & Education, homelessness are still major issues?

    We hear from them about the $452m/yr (including compounding sums of what wasn’t spent the previous year) of gains been won for the “Brown Ministry, Te Puni Kokiri.” But where does that go and what are the results, bang for bucks?
    Oh that’s right, there aren’t measures for the difficult “tasks.”

    With 30m Sheep & 7m Cows. That’s a lot of shit!
    What happened in 2010 when IRD had failed to collect the “Herd Tax” since 1987 of $8.8bn from all of these farmers, they cancelled it! Left them off the hoof! (Hook!)
    $8.8bn would of been a fund & a great way to address this issues!

    Get rid of these clowns and their crony’s coalition partners!

    • weka 14.1

      I agree with a lot of that Takere. The tricky thing about writing this post is that the only party in parliament who had an actual written policy that matched what I was talking about was the Mp, and there are IMO pretty clear cultural reasons for that.

      So yes, great irony, but I tend to think that that irony reflects much about the situation we are in. If we look at how Māori have had to struggle to regain so many things, and still have to struggle, and especially politically if we look at how the Mp came into being (via Labour and the Foreshore and Seabed Act), then there are hard truths there too about the consequences of Pākehā culture and the decisions that Māori will make. This doesn’t excuse the Mp for their sins, nor corporate Iwi, but as a Pākehā I find it hard to condemn them given that the Pākehā system still basically says be like us or you’re fucked (happy to condemn the actions though where appropriate).

      I don’t know if the Mp are paying lip service to their water policy. I still think there is a possibility that they will be part of the left forming the next government, and I would welcome that in part because of that policy.

  15. Incognito 15

    Good post, thank you.

    Water is life

    Indeed it is, literally, when you consider that the first part of our life cycle we develop whilst floating in water and our bodies are composed of mainly water. We have specialised organs and tissues (cells) to maintain the high quality of our bodily fluids (water) and preserve the equilibrium that not only sustains life but also allows us to optimally function and perform.

    I cannot understand why some people are so blasé about water and the environment.

  16. In case anyone is interested, I was re-elected to the Southland Regional Council today – our focus for the next triennium?
    Water.

  17. Ad 17

    I like this post as a political sympathy. But that’s it.

    I just find it too hard to imagine such an alternative world occurring in our local, regional, or central political orders, ever.

    I was listening to Minister Smith getting ready to roll over out aquaculture regulations, and I thought, yup: doubling down.

    We’re so far gone re fresh water it’s too hard to re-imagine with a fresh set of positive ideas. The RMA reforms will go through with Maori Party support. Too damn hard.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      I just find it too hard to imagine such an alternative world occurring in our local, regional, or central political orders, ever.

      The thing is Ad … I don’t. I can well imagine it. I’m not just saying this to naysay you.

      At one stage of my life I was shown that human nature is not a fixed thing, forever brute and greedy. It is instead a palette of light and dark, and we … collectively … choose the pictures we create. Sorry if that seems hopelessly naive, but I assure you it is not.

      • Robert Guyton 17.1.1

        I strongly support what you have said there, RedLogix.
        Where I’m sitting, Ad’s “alternative world” is becoming more and more apparent and as this post is (in part) about words, language and the power they hold, I say, speak it and it will become real (what are wordsworth?). And yes, they are doubling down, but that was always on the cards. We just have to treble up 🙂

        • weka 17.1.1.1

          🙂

          For me, I can’t not imagine it.

          • Ad 17.1.1.1.1

            And life without utopians like you would suck.
            But currently, leftie life sucks.

            • weka 17.1.1.1.1.1

              Interesting. I wouldn’t think of myself as a utopian (especially as at the political level I’m a pragmatist). I suppose belief systems have a lot to do with it, and those are informed by our experiences and what we perceive happening.

              I get the sense you’ve been quite disillusioned in the past year or so. I can’t function effectively if I focus too much on how bad things are (which is not the same as being in denial, I still know what’s going on). So always looking for where things are working as well. And where the potential is.

              I’m a leftie in terms of political life in places like ts, but I more identify with deep green politics and indigenous politics, and I’m more and more interested in post-left progressive politics and what that means. All those take a different approach so that it’s not as bleak as one might think if looking through a left-wing lens. Indigenous peoples in particular take the long view.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.2

        At one stage of my life I was shown that human nature is not a fixed thing, forever brute and greedy.

        QFT

        Same applies to culture. It shifts and changes and we can affect those changes.

      • Ad 17.1.3

        It’s good to have people like you around.

        • RedLogix 17.1.3.1

          Likewise mate. It’s a terrible cliche, but it really does take all sorts to make it work.

          My vision for The Standard is for it to be a place where a healthy diversity of pro-left, life-affirming ideas could find expression.

          Coming to Australia it was immediately noticeable how much more diverse the media is here. Not just a still strong public broadcaster, but across the commercial media there is decent range. Much, much healthier.

          The Standard will always see shades of opinion jostling for position. Open scrutiny and challenge is essential, and the robust debate can take some getting accustomed to.

          But ultimately I see everyone who contributes here in good faith as part of my family.

    • Incognito 17.2

      If you believe it won’t be possible, it won’t be.

      If you believe it will be hard, it will be.

      You’ll see it when you believe it.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Hamilton: City of the Future
    This post is about: How spillovers from the Auckland boom are driving growth in nearby regions. The opportunities for these communities to benefit more from this economic change. The central role of inter-regional transport infrastructure for reviving small towns and ...
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    19 mins ago
  • Trump and Truman
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    10 hours ago
  • You’re Wrong Keith: We Have To Do This NOW.
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    11 hours ago
  • Lies, damn lies and the National Party 
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    14 hours ago
  • Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring
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  • BSA and ASA to political parties: “sure, lie all you like”
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    15 hours ago
  • WINZ steals from the poorest
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • Suspicious
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • Māori Party confirms opposition to tertiary education Bill
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  • National announces tertiary education policy
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  • TEU celebrates Suffrage Day
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  • What Do the Chinese Pay For?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • Media Link: Chinese influence operations, Hillary’s blame game, Trump’s incoherence and NZ’s 3...
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  • This is how civil wars start
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National censors NZTA
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Follow the Leader: Winston Peters – NZ First
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    2 days ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters 3: Education and Justice
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    2 days ago
  • Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)
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    2 days ago
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    2 days ago
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    2 days ago
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    2 days ago
  • Trust women to decide: Greens
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    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day is now about equal pay for many women
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    3 days ago
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
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    3 days ago
  • Climate change: This is going to cost us
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National has failed our health system
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    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
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    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
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    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
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    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
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    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
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    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
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    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
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  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
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  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
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  • Prediction
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    4 days ago
  • The evidence says TOP have no hope
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  • If you support Labour, Green, TOP, Māori, or Mana: Party vote Green
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    4 days ago
  • An Alternative to Neoliberalism?
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  • 1969: The “Nearly-But-Not-Quite” Election.
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    4 days ago
  • Why is Matthew Hooton SO UPSET at efforts to increase voter turnout? (AUDIO)
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    4 days ago
  • Its going to be a short election night
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • We need more post-publication peer review
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    4 days ago
  • No choice
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    4 days ago
  • Too many cows
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Upgrading Takapuna’s heart
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    4 days ago
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  • Housing report earns Nats the red card
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    16 hours ago
  • Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National
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    19 hours ago
  • National’s campaign of deception an affront to democracy
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    2 days ago
  • National’s economy scorecard: D for drift
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    2 days ago
  • Another day – another health crisis
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    2 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
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    2 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
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    3 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
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    3 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
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    3 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    3 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
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    3 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    4 days ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
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    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • National unravels on transport
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    6 days ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
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    7 days ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
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    7 days ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
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    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
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    1 week ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
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    1 week ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
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    1 week ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
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    1 week ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
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    1 week ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
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    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
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    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
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    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Steven Joyce must apologise to New Zealand
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and apologise for his patently false and cynical attack on Labour’s Fiscal Plan, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Every respected economic commentator has come out and said that Labour’s Fiscal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English didn’t answer because the Oreti is badly polluted
    Last night Bill English was asked by Paddy Gower in the Leader’s Debate: “Which river did he swim in as a kid, and is it now polluted?” Bill English named the Oreti River, but did not answer whether it is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats put out dodgy numbers – again
    National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s Award to encourage young people into trades training
    Labour will introduce a $2,000 award for the best pupil in vocational courses in each public secondary school, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We know there’s huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase
    Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government supresses Climate Change report
    The Government has deliberately sat on a critical Climate Change report for 5 months which they must now release, election or no election, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “I want the report released immediately, so that New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce gets it wrong on Labour’s Fiscal Plan
    Labour’s Fiscal Plan is robust, the numbers are correct and we stand by them despite the desperate and disingenuous digging from an out-the-door Finance Minister, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has embarrassed himself. This is a desperate, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Making renting secure and healthy
    Labour will move to make renting a more stable and healthy experience for families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago