Why we save rivers

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, August 29th, 2019 - 47 comments
Categories: Conservation, sustainability - Tags: , , , , ,

The Minister for the Environment, David Parker, announced yesterday that an application from Westpower to divert the Waitaha River for hydo-electric power generation had been declined. Forest and Bird were delighted with the decision.

It’s a very good decision for a number of reasons.

One is that the conservation estate should be off limits for development unless there are compelling conservation reasons. We’re still struggling to maintain and restore native ecosystems and species, and every new road brings in more problems. 



There are cultural and spiritual values here too. We should keep some places in nature for their own sake, not our uses. The shift in mindset from nature being a resource, to nature having rights is challenging for many New Zealanders, but it’s the one that will avert climate catastrophe.

Mainstream responses to climate change are now pushing us hard towards green tech BAU, but this is still an extractive, exploitation-based paradigm, a lesser evil that makes us feel better and enables us to ignore the deeper changes needed. It’s useful as a transition but it’s not sustainable in the sense of the primary criteria being that the system regenerates itself.

Nature can absorb a certain degree of non-regenerative components in a system, but these shouldn’t be the base of the system nor excessive in use. If the Waitaha were dammed and the West Coast economy grown, which is the next river that would be damned to continue that growth?

This is the essential problem with exponential growth that New Zealand, and the whole world, is grappling with as we hit the limits of nature. We still tend to see the environment as lots of unused or under-utilised resources, and this view leads to extractive, depleting approaches.

When looking at how to meet human needs, instead of ‘how much can we get away with taking?’ we can start with ‘how do the natural systems of this place already work?’ (nature is resilient and regenerative by default). We can then ask ‘how can we fit into those systems so they continue to regenerate?’

Chopping a river in half, and reducing its flow by up to 85%, is a big fail in those terms. It stems from the world view that leads inevitably to mass extinctions and runaway climate change, because ignoring the limits of nature produces bad design.

Photo – LawrieM

Ad pointed out the economic implications for the West Coast communities: that Westpower are big employers, that Coasters need better paid jobs than tourism is offering, that monolithic power generating companies are sucking the lifeblood from us. We’ve been hearing these arguments from the traditional left for a long time, and this is the new greenwashed version of jobs before environment. There is no good reason that we can’t meet human needs and protect nature. 



Coasters being paid low wages is a social justice issue and exploiting nature won’t solve that, it just keeps a game of musical chairs going. Wasn’t tourism supposed to solve this problem? Never mind that moving to near zero carbon is going to require massive change to that industry, a conversation we’ve barely begun. Time we started creating sustainable economies and the beauty here is that if we start with a conservation and regenerative ethic, then the jobs created will be more resilient and less impactful. Inherent in that is a fair wage because social and environmental justice go hand in hand.



Monolithic power companies come from neoliberal, money-grabbing, trickle-down theories. As others have pointed out, there is plenty of scope for wind power on the Coast. Best case scenario is to create generation systems that are quake and climate resilient and that feed into the local economy.

While I think there is probably potential for small scale, local hydro generation in specific places in NZ, I think we are past being able to enslave rivers simply in the pursuit of more growth. The problem is the growth itself coupled with the idea that somehow life will end if humans don’t keep expanding, when the truth is exactly the opposite.

 

Postscript: Speaking of conservation, now that we have a somewhat less neoliberal government perhaps we can take a long hard look at the Department of Conservation and why it is aligned with and actively supports development within the conservation estate.

In return for the concession, Westpower would have paid DoC a market fee set at 6 per cent of gross revenue annually.

Photo – Andrew Buglass

47 comments on “Why we save rivers ”

  1. tc 1

    We have sufficient sustainable generation already. What we don't have is a robust well maintained network thanks to the Bradford 'reforms'.

    Its a distribution and political issue involving an aluminum smelter.

    Auckland cbd got a second feed some 15 years after the 97 blackout…..if that’s market efficiency something is clearly not working.

    • Andre 1.1

      Well, no, looking at how much electricity is coming from Huntly and other fossil-fired power stations, no we don't have sufficient sustainable generation. We have a huge number of sustainable generation schemes (that don't affect the conservation estate) that have been consented, but aren't getting built in this time of flat demand because the economics don't stack up.

      So what we have is a lack of will to make whatever combination of regulatory, structural, taxation, and whatever other changes needed to build the new sustainable generation facilities enabling the closure of fossil generators.

      One of those possible changes is indeed taking a cold clear look at how Tiwai Point really fits into the national interest, and how to help Southland through the transition following its closure. But the coming wave of electric transport will still require new generation beyond freeing up Manapouri's output.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Hence my point about growth.

      • fustercluck 1.1.2

        If you want electric cars AND want to stop burning coal, the only practical solution is nuclear. Pebble bed reactors and thorium salt reactors do not have the same potential for disaster as water-cooled reactors.

        Even lefty icons are beginning to see the light. Michale Moore's new movie "Planet of the Humans" sheds light on the fallacies of wind generation, battery & solar panel production, etc.

        If NZ got rid of the smelter and invested in safer, low residue nuclear technology, we would have the energy economy solved for generations.

        If we continue to defile the environment with wind farms (that consume huge amounts of fossil fuel and mining resources to develop and have very short service lives) and insist on current EV technology similarly burdened with Earth-destroying battery technology, we will contribute far more to environmental degradation worldwide.

        I personally think that continuing to upgrade NZ's vehicle fleet with highly efficient internal combustion vehicles is a far better and more practical step to be taken as opposed to subsidising EV technology dependant upon vast mining of rare earth minerals for batteries with short service lives, etc.

        And I agree that ditching the smelter is the only sane way forward for Manapouri's power resource.

        • Andre 1.1.2.1

          New Zealand has such an abundance of renewable capacity I'd be astonished if we ever got to the point of having nukes feeding electricity into our grid. Even if small modular reactors start getting produced in huge quantities elsewhere in the world. I just can't see them being cost competitive with wind and solar, where costs for new schemes are going under USD0.03/kWhr. But I'm picking if the world ever gets serious about going zer-carbon, then shipping will go to small modular nukes, which are ideal for providing steady power in the range of 10MW to 100MW, exactly what a ship requires.

          As far as rare-earths goes, there's a ton of R&D going into ways to eliminate their use in motors and generators. See here, or here.

          There's also a lot of effort going into eliminating cobalt from batteries. Tesla has been pretty successful, getting theirs down to around 3% cobalt, where competitors are above 10% (as were Tesla's early efforts). There's also others looking at alternative chemistries that are completely free of stuff like cobalt, such as lithium-sulfur batteries, or further down the track, room temp sodium sulfur batteries.

        • JohnP 1.1.2.2

          It's not just the cost of building a nuclear power plant or two, which would easily power the whole country – there's the additional cost of the surrounding industry required to maintain, supply and keep them safe – which given our location would need to be in the country.

          It's cheap, if you look in terms of power produced – but expensive when you consider everything else that's needed to produce the power.

          And that's before we get to where you put a nuclear power station in a country that's geologically active and the most inland point is about 120km away from the sea in Otago.

          • fustercluck 1.1.2.2.1

            Pebble bed reactors do not require the same kind of infrastructure as breeder reactors (used to produce power plus material for bombs).

        • Craig H 1.1.2.3

          Agreed in world terms, although I think NZ could just dump the aluminium smelter and that would go far enough with solar, wind and existing hydroelectric.

    • Dukeofurl 1.2

      "Auckland cbd got a second feed some 15 years after the 97 blackout"

      Thats not true , Auckland always had 3, they put an extra one in from Mt Roskill soon after and the tunnel from Penrose you mention came was finished in 2000 . Not 15 yrs as you claim

  2. vto 2

    If you want to limit the incentives for DOC to turn the conservation estate into a gigantic business resource then the income that activity generates for DOC needs to be wiped.

    I see it is pointed out that DOC would have taken 6% of gross revenue. My own business interests with DOC involve them taking 7% of gross revenue.

    Anyone in business will know that taking a 6-7% slice off the top like that is massive. It is in fact more than most businesses operating in the DOC estate would make in profit… Just let that sink in for a bit.

    DOC may as well own all the businesses in the DOC estate, such is the massive return it gets.

    This needs urgent cancellation. Otherwise the incentives will remain running against what you are trying to achieve.

    • Dukeofurl 2.1

      So you want free acess – no way. Just pay up.

      • weka 2.1.1

        Tying concession fees to profit is clearly about revenue generation for DOC rather than simply about fairness of commercial access. Looks like a clear conflict of interest given DOC are going involved in consent processes for development with National Parks.

        This is why people have been so dismayed at DOC giving the go ahead to industrial projects. It doesn't make sense for an org whose primary objective is conservation. Unless you are neoliberal and believe that conservation should be paid for by conservation generating its own funding (which is daft).

      • vto 2.1.2

        No that is not what I said, try reading better, egg

        • Dukeofurl 2.1.2.1

          "6% of gross revenue. "

          Do you know how franchises work ? You are getting off lightly. If you are paying yourself , thats before profit. Do you know what UBER charges.

          The concession is based on total revenue , as it should be . It baffles me why 6% is such a burden , if its not a great business , it is what it is.

          No reason the taxpayers support smaller less popular business who USE conservation land to make money

          • vto 2.1.2.1.1

            yeah yeah I know all that…. but it wasn't the point. The point was that DOC is incentivised to industrialise the estate by this structure.

            And this structure is about money-making. It is not about cost recovery, or any such thing like that. If it was about cost recovery fees would be a flat rate covering time by staff and some small overhead only.

            It is solely about money-making from the estate. = problem

            • Dukeofurl 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Industrialising it , that would fees of 12-18%

              Its only 5c in every dollar. How much do you pay for places that book your service for tourists ? 15 or 20%?

            • weka 2.1.2.1.1.2

              Vto, are all concessions now charged at a % rather than flat fees? Do you know when that happened?

      • KJT 2.1.3

        Individuals should have free access to the conservation estate and facilities. After all, we pay for it.

        Businesses being allowed to restrict access or having sole rights to any part, is simply, wrong.

  3. vto 3

    weka, a stat on the amount of revenue generated by commercial activity would be useful. Other useful associated stats would also include the number of concessions related to that revenue, by region, and the profit made by those concession holders.

    I would wager that the businesses make less than DOC out of commercial activity in the DOC estate…. and that is the front page headline… the headline that may make the politicians take notice ….

    • weka 3.1

      The DOC revenue should be available somewhere? Or OIA request? Might be worth someone looking on Newsroom, they do good coverage of issues like this. Or Charlie Mitchell.

  4. vto 4

    How much does a chopper cost per hour?

    How many of them are operating right now in the DOC estate? There are about 50 in Franz alone.

    Take that number and multiply it by 7%.

    It will surprise.

    • KJT 4.1

      Once upon a time, choppers were not allowed on most conservation land.

      A clear example of commercial interests being allowed to override conservation values.

      • Dukeofurl 4.1.1

        How many tourists came to NZ back then and now they are all headed to the South Island.

        Once I remember a small turbo prop landing at MT Cook airfield, and no one could imagine what Queenstown has become.

    • Dukeofurl 4.2

      Ahh that your real gripe

      Too much competition , you want numbers reduced so prices rise.

      • weka 4.2.1

        Vto has clearly stated his position and concerns and clarified them. If you start making shit up about people's points you'll be out. Don't start flame wars under my posts.

      • bwaghorn 4.2.2

        It would be a great way to ut the carbon emmisions caused be tourism. Make it so dare on the wealthy come here. Not very socialist if me but fuck it if tourism was cut to 2 million visits a year it would be much better for all except maybe the low paid staff servicing the masses.

        • weka 4.2.2.1

          Cutting mass tourism seems inevitable to me. Even the tourism industry knows this although they don't like to talk about it.

          I'd want NZer access to conservation land to be protected somehow.

  5. Ad 5

    Here's the full Assessment of Effects if anyone's interested, with maps and facts and actual qualified analysis and stuff:

    http://www.westpower.co.nz/news/article/application-concessions-and-assessment-effects

    Support from Conservation Board, support from iwi, support from DoC, support from regulators.

    It's Minister Parker alone who killed this job.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    At only 12000 homes worth of power it's a no brainer to not do it .

    • Matiri 6.1

      There's also Trustpower's Arnold scheme which is already consented, at Dobson which is just 30 minutes drive away. At 46MW more than twice the size of this Waitaha scheme. Trustpower haven't done anything with it because the economics don't stack up at the moment.

      • mac1 6.1.1

        In Parliament today, Minister Wood replied to Maureen Pugh that the Waitaha scheme was rated at 20 Mw, but in NZ there was another 3 Gw which had been consented but not yet built, and Waitaha was therefore not needed.

    • Ad 6.2

      That's Greymouth and surrounding townships covered forever, no more coal fires to stay warm.

  7. Stuart Munro. 7

    Waitaha had some merit, from a generation perspective, being on the wet side of the main divide, unlike the other perennially depleted lakes. It's lovely country though, mildly goated and dotted with ultramafics here and there – I carried rocks for a geologist there back in the day.

    The argument was rather optimistic though – DoC should have got 60% of the earnings, not 6%. And, although I'm sure there are plenty of construction jobs, assuming irresponsible government didn't hand out work permits like sweeties to all and sundry, the long term jobs would be no more than the Waitaki power dams provide – a mere handful.

    • Ad 7.1

      A handful of $100k jobs is all you heed on the West Coast to flow a lot of service jobs beyond.

      • Stuart Munro. 7.1.1

        Not sure I agree with that – but it has all the hallmarks of a modest scheme appropriate to local needs. Near Dunedin we have the similar sized Waipori scheme, which proved a very sensible piece of work for the DCC – until it had to be protected from scavenging privateers. How those thieving motherfuckers escape imprisonment is a mystery to me.

  8. Graeme 8

    The Coast is sitting on what may be a major geothermal resource. In a geological borehole at Whataroa,

    "At 630m deep they discovered water hot enough to boil. Such temperatures would typically be found at depths greater than 3km"

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11858291

    GNS is currently doing work to quantify the resource

    https://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/News-and-Events/Media-Releases/geothermal-potential

    There's a bit of geothermal use on the Coast already, Westland Produce have quite large heated glasshouse producing eggplant and chilies year round, bit in the link above, and Gloriavale are evidently looking into geothermal energy (they are right on the fault)

  9. gsays 9

    Great post Weka, thanks for the thought provoking opinion.

    I am intrigued by the tensions that arise around the hydro electric schemes vs conservation.

    I am aware of Derrick Jensen and his endgame thesis. Seeing it as his duty to allow fish to return to their spawning grounds, by destroying dams if need be.

    Contrasting this is our proud boast as a country with a high % of renewable electricity generation.

    Energy conservation has to be part of the answer along with the sea change away from biggering and biggering.

    Making it easier and more equitable for dwellings to generate power and feed to the grid.

    This probably means nationalizing the power companies and undoing Bradfords perverse 'reforms'.

    • weka 9.1

      thanks gsays. I'm with Jensen on this, although I don't have a good sense of our equivalent of the salmon run and its critical role in the ecologies of those watersheds. Eels are affected here, but their roles are more subtle. I'd love to know if anyone is writing about NZ in that way.

      Decentralising seems a no brainer to me when looking at the Coast. I was disappointed to see even Forest and Bird talking about the national grid as if it was resilient and future proofed. The first thing to go when the Alpine Fault shifts will be the SI power supply. If that happens in the middle of winter, then the Coast will be well served by decentralised systems backed up by the grid for when it gets restored. We learned this from Chch. It's even more important when we consider that the Coast will infrastructure damage that we've never had to deal with in NZ before.

      And in that conservation.

      Bradford has a lot to answer for.

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    The top six news links I’ve seen elsewhere in the last 24 hours, as of 9:16 am on Thursday, April 18 are:Housing: Tauranga residents living in boats, vans RNZ Checkpoint Louise TernouthHousing: Waikato councillor says wastewater plant issues could hold up Sleepyhead building a massive company town Waikato Times Stephen ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the public sector carnage, and misogyny as terrorism
    It’s a simple deal. We pay taxes in order to finance the social services we want and need. The carnage now occurring across the public sector though, is breaking that contract. Over 3,000 jobs have been lost so far. Many are in crucial areas like Education where the impact of ...
    1 day ago
  • Meeting the Master Baiters
    Hi,A friend had their 40th over the weekend and decided to theme it after Curb Your Enthusiasm fashion icon Susie Greene. Captured in my tiny kitchen before I left the house, I ending up evoking a mix of old lesbian and Hillary Clinton — both unintentional.Me vs Hillary ClintonIf you’re ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 day ago
  • How extreme was the Earth's temperature in 2023
    This is a re-post from Andrew Dessler at the Climate Brink blog In 2023, the Earth reached temperature levels unprecedented in modern times. Given that, it’s reasonable to ask: What’s going on? There’s been lots of discussions by scientists about whether this is just the normal progression of global warming or if something ...
    1 day ago
  • Backbone, revisited
    The schools are on holiday and the sun is shining in the seaside village and all day long I have been seeing bunches of bikes; Mums, Dads, teens and toddlers chattering, laughing, happy, having a bloody great time together. Cheers, AT, for the bits of lane you’ve added lately around the ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • Ministers are not above the law
    Today in our National-led authoritarian nightmare: Shane Jones thinks Ministers should be above the law: New Zealand First MP Shane Jones is accusing the Waitangi Tribunal of over-stepping its mandate by subpoenaing a minister for its urgent hearing on the Oranga Tamariki claim. The tribunal is looking into the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What’s the outfit you can hear going down the gurgler? Probably it’s David Parker’s Oceans Sec...
    Buzz from the Beehive Point  of Order first heard of the Oceans Secretariat in June 2021, when David Parker (remember him?) announced a multi-agency approach to protecting New Zealand’s marine ecosystems and fisheries. Parker (holding the Environment, and Oceans and Fisheries portfolios) broke the news at the annual Forest & ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • Will politicians let democracy die in the darkness?
    Bryce Edwards writes  – Politicians across the political spectrum are implicated in the New Zealand media’s failing health. Either through neglect or incompetent interventions, successive governments have failed to regulate, foster, and allow a healthy Fourth Estate that can adequately hold politicians and the powerful to account. ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    2 days ago
  • Matt Doocey doubles down on trans “healthcare”
    Citizen Science writes –  Last week saw two significant developments in the debate over the treatment of trans-identifying children and young people – the release in Britain of the final report of Dr Hilary Cass’s review into gender healthcare, and here in New Zealand, the news that the ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    2 days ago
  • A TikTok Prime Minister.
    One night while sleeping in my bed I had a beautiful dreamThat all the people of the world got together on the same wavelengthAnd began helping one anotherNow in this dream, universal love was the theme of the dayPeace and understanding and it happened this wayAfter such an eventful day ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Texas Lessons
    This is a guest post by Oscar Simms who is a housing activist, volunteer for the Coalition for More Homes, and was the Labour Party candidate for Auckland Central at the last election. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's pick 'n' mix of the news links at 6:06 am
    The top six news links I’ve seen elsewhere in the last 24 hours as of 6:06 am on Wednesday, April 17 are:Must read: Secrecy shrouds which projects might be fast-tracked RNZ Farah HancockScoop: Revealed: Luxon has seven staffers working on social media content - partly paid for by taxpayer Newshub ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Fighting poverty on the holiday highway
    Turning what Labour called the “holiday highway” into a four-lane expressway from Auckland to Whangarei could bring at least an economic benefit of nearly two billion a year for Northland each year. And it could help bring an end to poverty in one of New Zealand’s most deprived regions. The ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's six-stack of substacks at 6:26 pm
    Tonight’s six-stack includes: launching his substack with a bunch of his previous documentaries, including this 1992 interview with Dame Whina Cooper. and here crew give climate activists plenty to do, including this call to submit against the Fast Track Approvals bill. writes brilliantly here on his substack ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • At a glance – Is the science settled?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    3 days ago
  • Apposite Quotations.
    How Long Is Long Enough? Gaza under Israeli bombardment, July 2014. This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    3 days ago
  • What’s a life worth now?
    You're in the mall when you hear it: some kind of popping sound in the distance, kids with fireworks, maybe. But then a moment of eerie stillness is followed by more of the fireworks sound and there’s also screaming and shrieking and now here come people running for their lives.Does ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Howling at the Moon
    Karl du Fresne writes –  There’s a crisis in the news media and the media are blaming it on everyone except themselves. Culpability is being deflected elsewhere – mainly to the hapless Minister of Communications, Melissa Lee, and the big social media platforms that are accused of hoovering ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Newshub is Dead.
    I don’t normally send out two newsletters in a day but I figured I’d say something about… the news. If two newsletters is a bit much then maybe just skip one, I don’t want to overload people. Alternatively if you’d be interested in sometimes receiving multiple, smaller updates from me, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Seymour is chuffed about cutting early-learning red tape – but we hear, too, that Jones has loose...
    Buzz from the Beehive David Seymour and Winston Peters today signalled that at least two ministers of the Crown might be in Wellington today. Seymour (as Associate Minister of Education) announced the removal of more red tape, this time to make it easier for new early learning services to be ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Will politicians let democracy die in the darkness?
    Politicians across the political spectrum are implicated in the New Zealand media’s failing health. Either through neglect or incompetent interventions, successive governments have failed to regulate, foster, and allow a healthy Fourth Estate that can adequately hold politicians and the powerful to account. Our political system is suffering from the ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • Was Hawkesby entirely wrong?
    David Farrar  writes –  The Broadcasting Standards Authority ruled: Comments by radio host Kate Hawkesby suggesting Māori and Pacific patients were being prioritised for surgery due to their ethnicity were misleading and discriminatory, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has found. It is a fact such patients are prioritised. ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • PRC shadow looms as the Solomons head for election
    PRC and its proxies in Solomons have been preparing for these elections for a long time. A lot of money, effort and intelligence have gone into ensuring an outcome that won’t compromise Beijing’s plans. Cleo Paskall writes – On April 17th the Solomon Islands, a country of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Criminal ecocide
    We are in the middle of a climate crisis. Last year was (again) the hottest year on record. NOAA has just announced another global coral bleaching event. Floods are threatening UK food security. So naturally, Shane Jones wants to make it easier to mine coal: Resources Minister Shane Jones ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Is saving one minute of a politician's time worth nearly $1 billion?
    Is speeding up the trip to and from Wellington airport by 12 minutes worth spending up more than $10 billion? Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The six news items that stood out to me in the last day to 8:26 am today are:The Lead: Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Long Tunnel or Long Con?
    Yesterday it was revealed that Transport Minister had asked Waka Kotahi to look at the options for a long tunnel through Wellington. State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the ...
    3 days ago
  • Smoke And Mirrors.
    You're a fraud, and you know itBut it's too good to throw it all awayAnyone would do the sameYou've got 'em goingAnd you're careful not to show itSometimes you even fool yourself a bitIt's like magicBut it's always been a smoke and mirrors gameAnyone would do the sameForty six billion ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • What is Mexico doing about climate change?
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections The June general election in Mexico could mark a turning point in ensuring that the country’s climate policies better reflect the desire of its citizens to address the climate crisis, with both leading presidential candidates expressing support for renewable energy. Mexico is the ...
    3 days ago
  • State of humanity, 2024
    2024, it feels, keeps presenting us with ever more challenges, ever more dismay.Do you give up yet? It seems to ask.No? How about this? Or this?How about this?When I say 2024 I really mean the state of humanity in 2024.Saturday night, we watched Civil War because that is one terrifying cliff we've ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s Wellington tunnel vision aims to ease the way to the airport (but zealous promoters of cycl...
    Buzz from the Beehive A pet project and governmental tunnel vision jump out from the latest batch of ministerial announcements. The government is keen to assure us of its concern for the wellbeing of our pets. It will be introducing pet bonds in a change to the Residential Tenancies Act ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • The case for cultural connectedness
    A recent report generated from a Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) survey of 1,224 rangatahi Māori aged 11-12 found: Cultural connectedness was associated with fewer depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms and better quality of life. That sounds cut and dry. But further into the report the following appears: Cultural connectedness is ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Useful context on public sector job cuts
    David Farrar writes –    The Herald reports: From the gory details of job-cuts news, you’d think the public service was being eviscerated.   While the media’s view of the cuts is incomplete, it’s also true that departments have been leaking the particulars faster than a Wellington ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell On When Racism Comes Disguised As Anti-racism
    Remember the good old days, back when New Zealand had a PM who could think and speak calmly and intelligently in whole sentences without blustering? Even while Iran’s drones and missiles were still being launched, Helen Clark was live on TVNZ expertly summing up the latest crisis in the Middle ...
    4 days ago
  • Govt ignored economic analysis of smokefree reversal
    Costello did not pass on analysis of the benefits of the smokefree reforms to Cabinet, emphasising instead the extra tax revenues of repealing them. Photo: Hagen Hopkins, Getty Images TL;DR: The six news items that stood out to me at 7:26 am today are:The Lead: Casey Costello never passed on ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • True Blue.
    True loveYou're the one I'm dreaming ofYour heart fits me like a gloveAnd I'm gonna be true blueBaby, I love youI’ve written about the job cuts in our news media last week. The impact on individuals, and the loss to Aotearoa of voices covering our news from different angles.That by ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Who is running New Zealand’s foreign policy?
    While commentators, including former Prime Minister Helen Clark, are noting a subtle shift in New Zealand’s foreign policy, which now places more emphasis on the United States, many have missed a key element of the shift. What National said before the election is not what the government is doing now. ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, April 7, 2024 thru Sat, April 13, 2024. Story of the week Our story of the week is about adults in the room setting terms and conditions of ...
    5 days ago
  • Feline Friends and Fragile Fauna The Complexities of Cats in New Zealand’s Conservation Efforts

    Cats, with their independent spirit and beguiling purrs, have captured the hearts of humans for millennia. In New Zealand, felines are no exception, boasting the highest national cat ownership rate globally [definition cat nz cat foundation]. An estimated 1.134 million pet cats grace Kiwi households, compared to 683,000 dogs ...

    5 days ago
  • Or is that just they want us to think?
    Nice guy, that Peter Williams. Amiable, a calm air of no-nonsense capability, a winning smile. Everything you look for in a TV presenter and newsreader.I used to see him sometimes when I went to TVNZ to be a talking head or a panellist and we would yarn. Nice guy, that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Did global warming stop in 1998?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from our Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Did global warming stop in ...
    6 days ago
  • Arguing over a moot point.
    I have been following recent debates in the corporate and social media about whether it is a good idea for NZ to join what is known as “AUKUS Pillar Two.” AUKUS is the Australian-UK-US nuclear submarine building agreement in which … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • No Longer Trusted: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    Turning Point: What has turned me away from the mainstream news media is the very strong message that its been sending out for the last few years.” “And what message might that be?” “That the people who own it, the people who run it, and the people who provide its content, really don’t ...
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage rates at 10% anyone?
    No – nothing about that in PM Luxon’s nine-point plan to improve the lives of New Zealanders. But beyond our shores Jamie Dimon, the long-serving head of global bank J.P. Morgan Chase, reckons that the chances of a goldilocks soft landing for the economy are “a lot lower” than the ...
    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    6 days ago
  • Sad tales from the left
    Michael Bassett writes –  Have you noticed the odd way in which the media are handling the government’s crackdown on surplus employees in the Public Service? Very few reporters mention the crazy way in which State Service numbers rocketed ahead by more than 16,000 during Labour’s six years, ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • In Whose Best Interests?
    On The Spot: The question Q+A host, Jack Tame, put to the Workplace & Safety Minister, Act’s Brooke van Velden, was disarmingly simple: “Are income tax cuts right now in the best interests of lowering inflation?”JACK TAME has tested another MP on his Sunday morning current affairs show, Q+A. Minister for Workplace ...
    6 days ago
  • Don’t Question, Don’t Complain.
    It has to start somewhereIt has to start sometimeWhat better place than here?What better time than now?So it turns out that I owe you all an apology.It seems that all of the terrible things this government is doing, impacting the lives of many, aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ per se. Those things ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago

  • Minister to Europe for OECD meeting, Anzac Day
    Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium. “Science, innovation and technology have a major role to play in rebuilding our economy and achieving better health, environmental and social outcomes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    47 mins ago
  • Comprehensive Partnership the goal for NZ and the Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines. During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon and President Marcos Jr discussed opportunities to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government commits $20m to Westport flood protection
    The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town. This measure will significantly improve the resilience of the community, says Local Government Minister Simeon Brown. “The Westport community has already been allocated almost $3 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Taupō takes pole position
    The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. “Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon acknowledges legacy of Singapore Prime Minister Lee
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today paid tribute to Singapore’s outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.   Meeting in Singapore today immediately before Prime Minister Lee announced he was stepping down, Prime Minister Luxon warmly acknowledged his counterpart’s almost twenty years as leader, and the enduring legacy he has left for Singapore and South East ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PMs Luxon and Lee deepen Singapore-NZ ties
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While in Singapore as part of his visit to South East Asia this week, Prime Minister Luxon also met with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.  During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Antarctica New Zealand Board appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made further appointments to the Board of Antarctica New Zealand as part of a continued effort to ensure the Scott Base Redevelopment project is delivered in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  The Minister has appointed Neville Harris as a new member of the Board. Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Finance Minister travels to Washington DC
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to the United States on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Five Finance Ministers group, with counterparts from Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  “I am looking forward to meeting with our Five Finance partners on how we can work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pet bonds a win/win for renters and landlords
    The coalition Government has today announced purrfect and pawsitive changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64 per cent of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Long Tunnel for SH1 Wellington being considered
    State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the Government has also asked NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to consider and provide advice on a Long Tunnel option, Transport Minister Simeon Brown ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns Iranian strikes
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have condemned Iran’s shocking and illegal strikes against Israel.    “These attacks are a major challenge to peace and stability in a region already under enormous pressure," Mr Luxon says.    "We are deeply concerned that miscalculation on any side could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint US and NZ declaration
    April 11, 2024 Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and US to undertake further practical Pacific cooperation
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.   “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
    The Government is continuing the bipartisan effort to restore its relationship with iwi as the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith. “Historical grievances of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua relate to 19th century warfare, land purchased or taken ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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