17,500km Fencing Job


Taranaki farmers  are about halfway through a 17,500km fencing job along streams on their properties – the equivalent of NZ’s coast line.

The mass fencing and planting is part of a regional riparian management project to protect waterways on dairy farms.

A typical farm might have nearly 5km of stream, and the fencing and planting would cost about $10,000 a kilometre. The council helped by providing riparian management plans, and plants at cost price of $2.50 each.

It might be expensive but environmental protection and enhancement are a necessary part of modern farming.

IRD Doesn’t Trust Labour with EFA


Oh dear – even the IRD is wary  of Labour contravening the EFA.

Inland Revenue canned a KiwiSaver brochure because of fears it would be used for electioneering, despite at the time saying it was pulled for commercial reasons.

 National Party deputy leader Bill English tabled in Parliament today IRD emails that showed the brochures were pulled because they were deemed to be to political.

“I remain concerned that in the current environment it (the KiwiSaver brochure) leans too far towards the promotional,” one IRD adviser said in an email.

The emails show that officials were concerned about the possibility of politicians using IRD material for electioneering.

In response to questions from the media, IRD decided to say it was producing material as usual and to not reveal the reasons it had canned the brochure.

To add to Labour’s woes, the Electoral Commission is being asked whether press releases on the Beehive website contravene the EFA.

As No Minister  says: But what fun that such a dogs breakfast of an act is biting most the very people responsible for it!

Exporting Industry Saves Power


The Listener  asks why manufacturers have had to cut production in four of the last seven years.

If there is a silver lining in New Zealand manufacturers packing up and shifting offshore, it must be that some other country has to provide their electricity. Right now, it seems certain that if we manufactured rather than imported many of the products we depend on, the current electricity generation capacity would fall far short.

The Bluff aluminium smelter reports it cut production by nearly 300 tonnes last month in response to the record highs reached on the electricity spot market. Similarly, Pan Pac pulp and paper mill in Napier reported it had shut down three of its five pulping machines.

This indicates the spot market is working properly – it is deterring consumers when prices reveal a risk to supply. But what sort of economy do we claim to have when in four years out of the past seven some of our biggest industrial companies have had to cut production for fear the electricity will run out?

We’re supposed to have a first world economy. But exporting industry and the jobs which go with it should be a long way down the list of strategies for saving power in a first world country.

This can hardly inspire overseas investment. But it is not only the economic picture that looks tarnished when the electricity situation is closely examined. The clean, green brand takes a hit too. For example, the start of this year has seen the most electricity ever produced by gas-fired stations in a March quarter.

The March quarter covers summer for at least part of which hydro lakes should be at their peak because of the snow melt, so why didn’t we have enough generation to meet demand then?

Demand has increased – more poeple, more electrical appliances and a lot more irrigators – our summer power bill is tens of thousands of dollar because of irrigation.

But in a first world country capcity should expand to meet demand. The expensive and torturous RMA process is one reason it hasn’t – a farmer I know has spent more than two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars getting consent for a private hydro scheme, on his own property, which will provide enough power for more than 1000 homes.


Good Question


Spotted on the back of a Wicked rental van:

What was the best thing before  sliced bread?

Badges Say What?


Oh dear.

Whose not so bright idea was it to give every teacher in the country a badge to promote Maori education?

The buttons cost 81 cents each and were designed to prompt discussions between pupils and teachers using language that appealed to young people.

Choice, eh? Except for all the other really pressing needs in education which require funding, and the fact that young people aren’t usually impressed when older people try to use their language.

Hat Tip: No Minister

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