Environment not preserve of left

The Green Party continues to isolate itself on the left of the political spectrum:

. . . Since the election, several high profile commentators – including the businessman, Gareth Morgan – have suggested the Greens ditch some of their left-leaning policies. . .

Radio New Zealand invited Mr Morgan to take part in a discussion panel along with the Greens’ co-leader Metiria Turei and her predecessor Jeanette Fitzsimons.

Mr Morgan argued that the Green Party’s stance means they could only ever go into Government with Labour.

“I want to see the environment represented inside the tent. I don’t want the environment to have about a 50 percent chance of being in power.”

The environment is represented in the current government. The BlueGreens are a strong group within the National Party and caucus.

He said many middle-of-the-road voters cared about the environment but won’t vote for the Green Party because of its more left-wing policies.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says that approach would cost them a significant amount of support.

The failure to moderate the party’s radical left social and economic agenda is costing it support.

The Green Party was one of the losers in last year’s election.

With Labour doing so badly it ought to have picked up support but it didn’t. If it can’t increase it’s vote when Labour is at its nadir then it will have a great deal of difficulty doing it as Labour’s support improves.

“You cannot just isolate one aspect as a silo and expect that that will have an influence across the whole of the programme.”

She said the party’s economic, social, and environmental policies are all interconnected.

“We simply will not and cannot … give up on our value set that recognises ecological wisdom, social justice, and the economy as an opportunity and a tool for improving on both.” . .

The environment, economy and social issues are inter-related but none of them are the preserve of the left.

National has followed a moderate path which has helped foster economic growth and improved social outcomes as well as introducing policies to protect and enhance the environment.

The hard left-wing environmental, economic and social policies the Greens favour are expensive and impractical.

By hampering growth and entrenching dependence they would create more problems than they solve and reduce the ability to afford better environmental protection and enhancement.

169 Responses to Environment not preserve of left

  1. On 22 October (1 day post-election) Russel Norman was interviewed on ZB and his comment regarding how they will improve their % of the vote when they had everything going for them in the campaign was that “the Green Party is a movement, and that they would not be deviating from their cause or principles.”

    On that basis, with their current leadership they will never be an influential force in governing in NZ, and the basic confirmation of his comments by Ms Turei in your post means they will never be likely to even gain a constituent seat.

    The taxpayer now faces 3 more years and about $20 million in cost to have a bunch of ineffectual do-gooders and zealots with no expectation of getting anything done to improve our country sitting in Parliament. In fact, all they seem to bring is constant negativity.

    Another of the unsavory costs of MMP I’m afraid.


  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    Remember that The Greens had a memorandum of understanding with National and it was National that decided it wanted to stop the relationship. It is National that has continued to borrow heavily ($50 billion) while limiting Government income by cutting taxation from those who should be paying more. Most of our richest New Zealanders pay minimal tax and our biggest banks have to be taken to court to get them pay their theirs. We even subsidise oil exploration when the companies doing it are amongst the wealthiest in the world.

    So the Government can pay for it’s corporate welfare it must cut its spending in essential services and we now have a $440 million shortfall in our hospital funding. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/261973/health-funding-shortfall-may-not-be-disaster
    And going by what is happening in Dunedin and Invercargill, it will be a disaster.

    Under National the Environment is continuing to suffer, our GHG emissions are climbing our waterways and estuaries are degrading and the independent assessments of our environmental situation have been stopped.

    The Greens policies would have brought about a cleaner environment and a balanced budget before National. Our policies weren’t expensive and impractical, they were necessary and achievable. Continually shifting our country’s wealth to a privileged few and encouraging unsustainable practices is not the way to go. Naomi Klein’s latest is worth a read: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/books/review/naomi-klein-this-changes-everything-review.html?_r=0


  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    Oh, by the way, Happy New Year 🙂


  4. Mr E says:

    ” our waterways and estuaries are degrading”

    Evidence suggests our waterways are improving Dave. Have you still not read the MFE link I put up?

    Your calls for environmental monitoring seem silly to me when you tend to ignore the monitoring system currently in place, and the improved environmental monitoring system the government has invested in.

    Regarding our estuaries, can you show me some good long term science that proves their decline?

    Much of your comment appears to be political opinion, lacking facts, repeating the Green Party propoganda which is disproved over and over again on this blog.


  5. Gravedodger says:

    On what basis Kennedy “should the rich pay more”.
    Oh that’s right it is just because you say they can be forced to!
    (a) supposedly afford it.
    (b) wont necessarily include you.
    (c) they can be forced to by the gummint.
    (d) it sounds great as a political sound bite.
    (e) it matters little who will actually be deprived of their hard earned money anyway.
    (f) the money so diverted to the waste pipe will never be exposed as such arrant nonsense and should anyone wakeup to the pertinent truth it will be subsumed by the next great suffocating economic socialist claptrap blanket.

    GP hugger Morgan, beneficiary of his sons success, says the same. Absolutely no reason he cant donate his entire windfall riches to the state, sort of money where mouth is if you like instead of endless motorcycle journeys part paid by other rich pricks, ie BMW.

    If your insane support of such arbitrary and capricious reallocation of money by taking it under duress and handing it to the idle and indulgent thereby depriving the entrepreneurial spirit of resources that can make more wealth for all, is such a great idea why don’t you and all your deluded mates just hand everything you have to Mr English and head off to North Korea where they could sure do with the help.

    You see Mr deluded and opportunist Kennedy, your taxing the rich in reality only penalises the tryhard nearly comfortable on the ladder to success while the truly rich pay bugger all more.

    Sure the uber rich are getting richer and that matters little unless one is afflicted by tall poppies or sheer envy but the bit that endlessly escapes your understanding is how much better off those at the bottom actually are, in real terms.
    That does not preclude them having wants, needs, desires, dreams beyond their means or actually being in deficit as to any norm you should choose to create but I guess we will endure many more inane comments as you continue your ideological crusade against the successful of the Nation in the vain hope of a little more political gain for your self.

    Perhaps I could just have said hypocrite at the beginning as it is a constant source of wonderment to me, that so many supporters of the current socialist mantra on having a “living wage” do not in the interests of a meaningful commitment to such economic nonsense just hand over all earnings above that arbitrary figure made up by the padre from the Hutt, from their so often paid from Taxes already imposed on the wealthier of the citizenry, salary, to The Red Cross, The Sallies, the Food bank or Christmas lunch for tourists and bludgers.
    So many advocates for such economic inanity enjoy remuneration well above the arbitrary nonsense the Padre created in a moment of whimsey.

    Happy AND PROSPEROUS new year to you Mr Kennedy and any others who read this, considerably more souls than read your little echo chamber at Local Bodies I warrant, hence your continual preaching here at this wonderful forum that exists for so many of us.
    My grateful thanks to you Ele for your continuing daily forum of things rural with a blue tint and the rare [sic] but insightful foray into politics.


  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E

    We are the only country in the OECD that doesn’t have an act requiring environment health checks and the government has removed the requirement for independent analysis of the reporting we do currently.


  7. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, at 5% unemployment New Zealand should have minimal numbers needing support and since the our economy has been doing better than most over the last three years the government should be flush with revenue. They have also hit beneficiaries hard and successfully cut overall numbers and made the ability access funding much greater. http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/beneficiary-numbers-lowest-since-2008-2014071812#axzz3NnlT5dIr

    Our richest New Zealanders have never had it better with their wealth increasing around 20% over the last few years:

    However few pay tax: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10887756


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger continued, The government has tightened the belt of government departments, sacked tens of thousands of government servants, sold state assets but our government borrowing continues ($60 billion) and government income declines:

    We have become a low wage, low tax economy and corporate subsides continue at the expense of core government services.

    Hard working New Zealanders are not being paid what they are worth (most of your so called bludgers are actually in work) and meanwhile the rich are actually the largest welfare beneficiaries and luxury goods are being bought here like never before.


  9. You people here still belly-aching about the Greens?
    Good grief! I leave you alone for a minute and your brains turn to mush.
    “The rivers are pristine. the estuaries clean enough to eat off” – deluded nonsense from craven reality-deniers.
    Little wonder I went elsewhere.


  10. Gravedodger says:

    Precisely Kennedy why does it matter if a billionaire doubles his net worth for whatever reason and dont give me the usual socialist envy response that he took it from the poor, he just might have created it.

    Whatever you and your green with envy melons ever learn or more likely ignore the opportunity to learn, that wealth will always be a target for removal by government fiat just because it resonates with the entitled mentality.

    What part of the “it really does not matter” passes your understanding.
    Even the poorest among us has the resources to save and buy any basic need it only requires an enhanced attitude to need vs want and going without some wants to obtain needs.

    There are many houses that come as a part of the remuneration package from employers in the Dairy industry being lived in by Ukranians, Philippinos, Irish, Romanians and many other immigrants while our indiginous poor sit on a sofa, watch Sky and moan to all who will listen.

    There may not be sufficient opportunities for all but until the need ends for immigrants to do what the unemployed, make that seeking work clients of Winz, decline to do it is hard to genuinely find empathy or sympathy for such people.
    Cripes man they could ride their thumb to a horticultural region and try fruit picking, vege harvesting, or packhouse work, often again with tied accommodation but they may need to alter their lifestyle just as so many did in years past.

    Now for the second part you tell us all why you think so many cant compete with foreigners for work here in this most favored country and leave the gummint out of it, they only create the broad infrastructure, personal responsibility might need to be initiated.


  11. Gravedodger says:

    Sheesh Kennedy while I had a nap and wrote the above NZ debt went up by $10 Billion, golly gosh.


  12. Gravedodger says:

    @ Kennedy???http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/8946000/NZs-luxury-car-sales-leave-rest-behind.

    No melons were damaged in the printing of that link

    Says it all really, then again the makers of such baubles and status symbols can have the bonus eh.


  13. TraceyS says:

    “The government has…sacked tens of thousands of government servants…”

    And yet unemployment continues to decline.

    I am wondering how, unless you are one of the individuals concerned, this can be seen as a negative?


  14. Dave Kennedy says:

    “And yet unemployment continues to decline.”
    You are right Tracey about the shift in jobs, many to the private sector that employs more part time workers on lower incomes, the Kidicorp link is a good example. The only ones whose incomes have considerably increased are those at the very top of the Government service http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/64050791/jump-in-public-servants-on-100kplus

    and then there’s heavy spending on consultants: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7649135/Consultants-cost-govt-agencies-hundreds-of-millions

    and redundancies: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/node/9795

    And I was wrong to say tens of thousands of govt servants sacked it is actually around 4,000 since 2008. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5598198/Timebomb-set-as-public-service-jobs-are-slashed


  15. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, I have no wealth envy personally, I am probably in one of the top 10% of households in terms of income. However there has been no sharing of our increased prosperity over the last three years and some of the lowest paid workers are in some of the most profitable industries. Almost 50% of workers got to pay rise last year.

    I would be interested in your thoughts regarding the income distribution in Invercargill, it appears there is no trickle down, just an income flow upwards to a privileged few: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2014/11/government-responsible-for-invercargill.html


  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    “personal responsibility might need to be initiated.”

    Again 95% are in work but Working for Families is needed to subsidise low wages (corporate welfare) so that people can buy food and pay for the power. It is interesting that the number of people who supposedly lack the ability to show individual responsibility and live within their means suddenly increased by about 20% after economic the reforms in the 80s and 90s.


  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    Should read: “Almost 50% of workers got no pay rise last year.” at 2:47


  18. Gravedodger says:

    Pray tell us Kennedy, why you do not reduce your top ten percent income to 40 hrs at the Padre’s insane ‘Living Wage’ rate and hand the balance to the invergiggle food banks, now that would be in the interests of fairness of course and an example to us all.
    Then again are the benefits of your alleged top ten percent income far too attractive to actually put that money where you wish us to accept your oft stated beliefs indicate as a way for all of us.

    Maybe you are just another over rewarded person enjoying largess from tax payers and have no real desire for your gains to be taxed at a higher rate, but it could generate advantages as a political slogan in the meantime.


  19. TraceyS says:

    “Pray tell us Kennedy, why you do not reduce your top ten percent income to 40 hrs at the Padre’s insane ‘Living Wage’ rate and hand the balance to the invergiggle food banks, now that would be in the interests of fairness of course and an example to us all.

    Perhaps this is because Dave realises that advertising your success in our society, via such acts of generosity, is frequently viewed with envy, suspicion, and downright disregard such is the strength of our tall-poppy syndrome. Yet it is curious that Dave adds to this culture in the way he expresses himself – particularly when addressing the matter of wealth.


  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, you forgot my line of argument, my wife and I have always paid tax according to our income, with no attempt at tax evasion and we do devote a good amount of our money and time to charities. Remember the examples I provided of the super wealthy paying minimal tax and few farmers would pay much tax either as they build their capital assets.

    I also don’t exploit workers for my own personal profit and that of shareholders. The rest home and early childhood industries are seen as very profitable investments and this is only because they pay such miserable wages. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11369720

    Thomas Piketty has it right when he explains in his recent book how the worlds capital is becoming concentrated in the hands of a few. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_in_the_Twenty-First_Century
    Already in New Zealand our inequality (fastest growing in the OECD) has meant 50% of our population has to survive on 5% of our countries collective wealth. http://www.3news.co.nz/business/inequality-growing-fastest-in-nz–oecd-2011120621#axzz3NnlT5dIr


  21. TraceyS says:

    “And I was wrong to say tens of thousands of govt servants sacked it is actually around 4,000 since 2008.”

    Thanks, Dave. This will be why there was no noticeable impact on unemployment (as there would be with “tens of thousands” of redundancies).

    Now, is it possible that you are wrong about one or two other things?


  22. TraceyS says:

    Recently, in turning down the Legion d’Honneur, isn’t Piketty reported to have said:

    “I don’t think it’s up to a government to say who is honorable…”


    That seems honourable. It is not a government’s job to pick winners. So I might read his book.

    Even if I am myself, in Dave’s opinion, an “exploiter of workers” simply because I voted for National. A statement which I found deeply dishonouring but that he would not retract despite being given ample opportunity.

    With any luck, Dave and the party he stands for will never be in a position to pick winners (or losers), because he clearly thinks it’s OK to do so. So too it is likely that his colleagues do also.

    Falsely calling anyone an “exploiter” when they are not is marking them as a loser not a winner.

    In my opinion anyway, for what it’s worth.


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Even if I am myself, in Dave’s opinion, an “exploiter of workers” simply because I voted for National. A statement which I found deeply dishonouring but that he would not retract despite being given ample opportunity.”

    Oh dear, Tracey, this just reveals the political divide. Every time a National Government comes to power there is an erosion of workers rights and minimal increases in pay. Coming legislation will remove the right for tea breaks and give employers the opportunity to opt out of collective bargaining. The majority of workers from the 50% who didn’t receive a pay rise last year were non unionised and National normally oversees a reduction of union involvement in negotiations of pay and conditions. Voting for National generally means that workers will be exploited more than under other Governments, hence my lack of retraction. This is just fact.


  24. Mr E says:

    I’ll do you a little favor Dave, read the wriggle reports and ask the question “are the techniques they use for assessment robust”. If you are lucid enough you will pick up, that the scientists only cite their own research, and use methods created by themselves. I’ve gone looking for proof that their methods are robust, sadly it has eluded me. And to say that I have concerns around the methods would be an understatement. Read the methods. I think they are concerning.
    I’d also point out the obvious. That a newspaper article on the state of Southlands rivers, is hardly evidence of the national picture.
    So I would say you failed there.


  25. TraceyS says:

    It is incorrect to say that changes to the Employment Relations Act will “remove the right for tea breaks”. The changes will not override legally enforceable provisions in employment agreements which provide entitlements for tea breaks. It is careless language that you have used and very misleading.

    It is also wrong to say that only those at the top have benefited from income improvements. The New Zealand Income Survey June 2013 to June 2014 Quarter shows that Pacific peoples median income increased more than 22% from all sources except government transfers which decreased by 20%. Would you suppose that only already rich Pacific people improved their earnings?

    Maybe the only thing that you and I will agree on, Dave, is that WFF is detrimental. This just goes to show the harm that can be done when the government of the day steps in and effectively does the “collective bargaining” to deliver a pay increase to many, nationwide, on account of an ineffective union movement. Has that helped unionism in New Zealand? I doubt it very much. People, through the encouragement of persons like yourself, now look more to the government to solve their income problems.

    You can’t just blame National. But it suits you to do that for political purposes so I don’t imagine that you will stop.


  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, the article was about the state of Southland’s estuaries and it came from solid longitudinal research.

    “The changes will not override legally enforceable provisions in employment agreements which provide entitlements for tea breaks. It is careless language that you have used and very misleading.”

    Not at all, Tracey, 73% of workers are not unionised and now employers can walk away from bargaining a collective agreement (only 23% of workers have collective agreements). http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/SurveyofWorkingLife_HOTPDec12qtr/Commentary.aspx#union

    While there are many good employers who pay living wages and provide good working conditions there are many who don’t and it is the Government’s role to protect them.




  27. TraceyS says:

    Not only the unionised or parties to collective agreements can, and do, have meal break clauses in their employment agreements. Many individual employment agreements have them, and even when they don’t, most employers still provide them. Prior to 1 April 2009 there was no legislation covering breaks (nor to my knowledge had there ever been) yet most employers still provided them.

    From 2010:
    Eleven percent of employers said they changed breaks as a result of the amendment. A large majority of employers (89%) reported not changing breaks because existing breaks complied with the law, including offering better than minimum conditions.
    (The 2008 Rest & Meal Breaks Amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000: A snapshot of the impact in the first year – August 2010.)

    Click to access rest-meal-breaks.pdf

    What comes into force on 6 March 2015 is still better for employees than what we had before 2009.

    Regarding your links – there will always be a range of quality when it comes to employers just like there is with anything. There will always be some who are too tough or who get it wrong. I agree it is the government’s job to put in place basic protections. But it is also the government’s job to avoid needlessly inconveniencing good employers or putting them in a situation which is difficult to comply with in order to protect against the minority of employers who should treat their staff much better.


  28. TraceyS says:

    “National normally oversees a reduction of union involvement in negotiations of pay and conditions.”

    I cannot see why when people are as free to choose their bargaining representatives as they are to vote for whomever they please in general elections – and should be able to do both without disadvantage.

    Your statement doesn’t sound very factual to me. In fact, I think it is based more on perception than reality.


  29. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Your statement doesn’t sound very factual to me. In fact, I think it is based more on perception than reality.”

    Fact, the 1991 Employment Contracts Act saw a huge reduction in union membership and this has directly led to the present level of around three quarters of workers no longer being in a union.

    Fact, numerous National acts reduced the involvement of unions in various employment matters, especially health and safety. This partly contributed to the Pike River disaster when unions no longer had a role in the management of mine safety.

    Fact, National has made it more difficult for union organisers to visit members on worksites.

    Fact, recent legislation will make it much easier for employers to walk away from collective bargaining.


    Fact, the 90 day clause has allowed unscrupulous employers to sack employees easily to maintain a cheaper workforce. This is common in many industries such as hairdressing. Few workers feel able to complain for fear they will make themselves unemployable.

    Weakening employment law only opens the door to poor employers and this can directly effect thousands of workers. One of the worst erosions of workers rights has been through the casualisation of labour, where many contracts have no commitment to specified hours (zero hours) and the rights of fulltime workers to holidays and sick days etc no longer apply. Worker are expected to be available for work but with no expectation of getting it, making them extremely vulnerable. I know of a local cook who recently discovered that his hours of work dried up to almost nothing as soon as he was eligible to a higher pay rate. Around 17% of workers are underemployed.

    “The courts have noted that this system is open to abuse as an employer could be tempted to classify employment as casual to minimise any obligations they have to employees, while at the same time seeking to maximise the obligations on employees to work regularly. For example, for employees to be available when required and to seek leave to be absent from work.”



  30. Mr E says:

    As a reminder here is the methodology described in the Waimatuku estuary research.

    “Ten previously established transect sampling sites, plus two new
    sites K and L, in Waimatuku Estuary (Figure 4 , Robertson and
    Stevens 2009), representing the range of different conditions
    present throughout the estuary, were visited by two scientists on
    22 January 2012 when the lagoon was open to the sea. At each
    site, sampling was undertaken for key indicators of estuary condition
    as described below. The purpose was to collect information which, through repeat sampling, can be used as a rapid and robust
    method to indicate change within the estuary.
    At each site, a 5-6cm deep layer of the surface sediments was collected with a garden hoe (area 15 x 15cm) and carefully brought to the surface (a canoe was used for sampling at the deeper sites). At the surface, the sample was photographed and records taken of;
    • The taxa, height, percentage cover, and life stage of aquatic
    vegetation (Figure 3 gives examples of percentage cover estimates
    for macrophytes).
    • The sediment type and depth to the blackened sulphide rich
    layer (Redox Potential Discontinuity layer – RPD).
    Composite samples of the top 20mm of sediment (each approx.
    250gms) were collected from 5 places across transects D, E and
    G. These transects, located near the middle estuary, capture the
    transition from the deeper more riverine upper estuary to the shallow
    intertidal lower estuary. Chilled sediment samples were sent
    to R.J. Hill Laboratories for analysis of:
    * Grain size/Particle size distribution (% mud, sand, gravel).
    * Nutrients – total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), and
    * Total Organic Carbon (TOC).”

    I have bolded an area of attention that I want you to consider.

    I ask how accurate is this sampling regime?
    How about we compare it to another substrate test – say farm soil sampling. The comparison might be interesting.

    The first point about soil sampling- the methodology is based on peer reviewed scientific research that provide an analysis of variability to determine how many cores were needed to provide accurate results. What the research found was to achieve a 95% confidence interval in a soil test, 16 soil cores were needed using the described soil testing method. 16!!!
    It is worth noting that these 16 cores are not subsampled in the field like the estuary samples are. It is also worth noting that these cores are taken with a device designed to ensure sample integrity. Not a garden hoe. It is also worth noting that soil cores are taken under condition where anomalies can be avoid. Sample site can be visually assessed. You can’t do that in an estuary.

    For some reason people like to blindly accept science that is delivered without peer review, and without a shred of statistical verification. I am not one of those people. I don’t like ‘bucket chemistry’ that is not backed up with sound statistics. At best, I call research like that, ‘interesting’. But I don’t think strong conclusions can be drawn. Is it science? I am not so sure.

    I expect some people will blindly accept conclusions from such research. But I don’t respect that approach.


  31. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, the Waimatuku Estuary is tiny, and the five places where samples were taken were completely appropriate because of this. http://www.es.govt.nz/media/25513/waimatuku-2012.pdf

    For the New River Estuary 20 plots were subjected to physical and chemical analyses.

    Click to access new_river_estuary_-_fine_scale_monitoring_of_highly_eutrophic_arms_-_2012_2013.pdf

    The science seems pretty solid to me 😉


  32. Mr E says:

    You obviously don’t understand basic sampling 101. Scale is not an issue when it comes to sampling. Variability is. There is no evidence to indicate 5 samples is enough. The report is completely devoid of any statistical analysis.

    What I have done is consider another substrate sampling regime that has been properly researched. Paddock soil sampling. Despite the obvious advantages in a paddock using purpose designed tools and visually assessing sample sites, 16 samples are required to determine a result. I think that makes the 5 site example look ‘concerning’.

    I’m pleased you put up the links, people can go read and laugh like I did and have in the past.

    Didn’t you laugh at the method. 1 plot = 1 sample (for colour, texture, epifauna and infauna)…… 20 plots indeed!!!! 20 samples.

    Don’t you think it is generous to call them plots when they are defined by 1 sample. They are sample sites Dave.

    For chemical analysis “At each site, three samples (two a composite from four plots and one a composite from two plots) of the
    top 20mm of sediment (each approx. 250gms) were collected adjacent to each core.”

    Three samples from 2 sites = 6 samples represented by a total of 20 sample locations)

    That is 10 samples points per site. Still – with no evidence to prove any accuracy. The confidence interval could be 30%? Who knows?

    What worries me the most is how these sites were selected. You see this research was only done in 2 very small sites in the estuary (each 60m*30m). And that is supposed to represent the entire estuary??? Or all of NZs estuaries as you propose.

    Then consider how they selected these sites:
    “For New River Estuary, two eutrophic fine scale sampling sites (Figure 1, Appendix 2) were selected in mid-low
    water habitat of the dominant substrate type (areas of abundant macroalgal growth, and muddy anoxic, sulphide-
    rich sediment).”

    Oh NO!!! They selected sites that were ‘eutrophic’, ‘abundant in macroalgal growth’, were ‘muddy anoxic’ and ‘suphide rich’.

    Then they concluded that these sites were “highly eutrophic and dominated by soft muds”

    UH DUHHH!!!! They bias the result from the moment they began the research. Then you think it is evidence that NZ estuaries are polluted!!!

    Great scientific analysis Dave. Good on you for being a ‘free thinker’

    Hoorah for the Green Party. Hoorah.


  33. Paranormal says:

    DK, have you considered why freethinking employees have rejected unions? Could it be attitudes like yours?

    Most employees and employers just want to get on with it without outside interference because they are capable of negotiating a fair days pay for a fair days work. They don’t need leeches like unions and their representatives fighting the century before last’s class war.

    There is no longer any need or desire for Unions, they are as out of date as horse drawn transport. Don’t take my word for it – the majority of New Zealand workers agree – having voted with their feet. On the other hand if Unions were able to offer employees value for money, then they would have a place in a modern workforce. We just know with one-eyed political hacks like yourself involved there’s no chance of that happening.

    BTW as TraceyS and Mr E have pointed out before, your one eyed view is wrong, particularly when it comes to commercial matters. It is interesting how quickly you forget that rest homes are not underpaying their staff and that the big numbers you think you are seeing, aren’t.


  34. TraceyS says:

    Dave Kennedy at 9:22 am:

    Unfortunately your link doesn’t provide evidence of your so-called “facts”.

    The first one is the only one which I think actually is a known fact (I could probably find a reference). The drop in union membership coming as a result of a key freedom introduced by the Employment Contracts Act 1991; the freedom to associate (or disassociate). The end to compulsory union membership.

    When people have been forced for years into something they don’t necessarily want, or need, then it should come as no surprise that, when given the freedom to choose, they choose freedom.


  35. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you are right people can read the reports and make their own judgments, especially when the title of the New River research makes it perfectly clear that it was a study focused on “Fine Scale Monitoring of Highly Eutrophic Arms” and in no way attempted to do what you claimed.

    Your increasingly strident opposition to any science that reveals negative impacts on our environment is becoming quite ludicrous, especially when you resort to total misrepresentation. What the scientists are doing are monitoring two sites with marked eutrophication to detect any changes over time.

    “Eutrophication and sedimentation have been identified as issues in New River Estuary since at least 1973 (Blakely
    1973), with worsening conditions reported since 2007-2008 (Robertson and Stevens 2007, Stevens and Robertson
    2008). In response to these issues, ES is currently undertaking a comprehensive estuary sediment and trophic status
    assessment, including identification of appropriate management measures (e.g. nutrient and sediment load
    guidelines) for the estuary, as well as source tracking of catchment sediments and nutrients.”

    “In order to assess ongoing trends in the fine scale condition of the estuary, it is recommended that the established
    eutrophic sites be monitored in Feb. 2014 and again in 2015 when the 5 yearly fine scale trend monitoring
    at the existing central basin sites falls due. Sedimentation rates, targeted seagrass monitoring, and estuary-wide
    macroalgal monitoring should continue annually, with broad scale mapping repeated every 5 years (next due in 2017).”

    This broad assessment of the impacts of high nutrient loads on our southern estuaries and lagoons is based on numerous studies and I don’t see why the scientists concerned should be motivated to mislead:

    Click to access nutrient_criteria_nz_shallow_estuaries_leigh_copy.pdf


  36. Dave Kennedy says:

    “When people have been forced for years into something they don’t necessarily want, or need, then it should come as no surprise that, when given the freedom to choose, they choose freedom.”

    Tracey, are you trying to tell me that many employers and this government don’t actively discourage union membership?

    We probably both agree that there should be a balance in the relationship between employers and employees when negotiating terms and conditions. That balance has heavily shifted in the employers favour since 1991. The derogatory manner with which this government refers to unions clearly states where they want that balance to be.

    As I have stated earlier the fact that almost 50% of workers didn’t get a pay rise last year despite an increase in productivity (wages have fallen behind rises in productivity for some time) and mainly those with union membership had increases is telling.


  37. Mr E says:

    Lets recap:

    You said our “estuaries are degrading”

    I asked “Regarding our estuaries, can you show me some good long term science that proves their decline?”

    You put up a link to the Southland times that makes claims about the New River Estuary.

    I state “What worries me the most is how these sites were selected. You see this research was only done in 2 very small sites in the estuary (each 60m*30m). And that is supposed to represent the entire estuary??? Or all of NZs estuaries as you propose.”

    Then you say “it perfectly clear that it was a study focused on “Fine Scale Monitoring of Highly Eutrophic Arms” and in no way attempted to do what you claimed.”

    Ummm Dave…. Let me repeat, “That a newspaper article on the state of Southlands rivers, is hardly evidence of the national picture.
    So I would say you failed there”

    I’d also call you out on the following “resort to total misrepresentation”

    This is the opening conclusion from the scientists:
    “The results of the 2011-2013 fine scale monitoring of New River Estuary, confirm that the Waihopai Arm and Daffodil Bay intertidal flats are highly eutrophic and dominated by soft muds.”

    They conclude that after selecting sites that are eutrophic an muddy. That is not misrepresentation. That is the truth.

    Then after the these conclusion and conclusions on trends, devoid of statistical analysis, they recommend more monitoring which coincidentally they provide.

    Did you notice Dave, that they made no attempt to quantify the effects to climate on the macro algae.

    Their trend conclusion was “The cause of these extreme conditions is almost certainly attributable to excessive catchment nutrient input loads, exacerbated by the sheltered nature of these arms and their propensity to act as natural settling areas for fine, organic and nutrient enriched sediment.”

    Weather is not a factor? Curios don’t you think?

    And I’d call you out on this statement:
    ‘Your increasingly strident opposition to any science that reveals negative impacts on our environment is becoming quite ludicrous’

    Have you not heard me talk about Nitrates Dave, my concerns? My suggestions? No? Selective hearing?


  38. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, issues of increased eutrophication in our estuaries had already been noted in 1973. In regard to the New River Estuary key areas of eutrophication had been identified and two areas were chosen for ongoing monitoring. Eutrophication is a creeping phenomenon and it makes sense that any increase on any one site is an indication of the general effects on the wider estuary. You will note that the there was one site that could evaluate the effects of the Waihopai River and another that could take into account the contamination from Invercargill itself.

    In terms of river quality as a whole it depends on where your starting point comes from and there is clear evidence that the intensification of dairying has had a significant impact on our water systems. Weather does have an influence but it also leads to increased runoff from farms which is why Environment Southland generally issues a warning to keep out of rivers immediately after rain.

    The Ministry for the Environment overview of our rivers shows a deterioration in nitrate levels and aquatic insects and Mike Joy shows a marked deterioration since the 1970s based on collective research:


    As with with climate change there is considerable fight back from those who will be most effected by limits to nitrogen levels and it would be interesting to see your science link regarding this.



  39. Mr E says:

    You said
    “issues of increased eutrophication in our estuaries had already been noted in 1973”

    I noted you said plural “estuaries”. Can you back this up? I’d love to see a link on this. Again I like to dig into the science, and check that it all stacks up. Rather than just read the tag line and celebrate it, like you tend to do.

    Also question for you Dave,

    With Nitrate concentrations, 21% of rivers are improving 53% are stable, 26% are declining. Is that a significant “deterioration in national nitrate levels”? Or it is insignificant?

    You forgot to mention phosphate when you mentioned the MFE data. Inarguably improving, and inarguably one of the most important nutrients when considering estuaries contamination. Actually, is this data more important when considering NZ estuaries than two 60m*30m plots in the New River estuary? I think it could be. Perhaps you have just provided an important piece in the puzzle of estuaries. Suggesting of course that they could be improving!
    Have you ever noticed that Mike often ignores the improvements made in phosphate levels? I wonder why a scientist would do this?

    Regarding the aquatic insects, you seem to be wrong. The LAWA website says this about the data (same data as MFE website). “Overall, no significant trend was detected for any land use class at the majority of monitoring sites shown by the grey colour in the graph below.”

    Anyway back to the New River stuff.
    You said “Eutrophication is a creeping phenomenon and it makes sense that any increase on any one site is an indication of the general effects on the wider estuary.” The report contradicts your assumption, in saying “The macro-invertebrate communities at the Daffodil Bay and Waihopai Arm gross eutrophic sites differed considerably from sites in the main basin of the estuary. In particular, they were dominated by surface feeding, enrichment tolerant taxa that live primarily within the surface nuisance macroalgal layer, rather than in the underlying anoxic muddy sediments.”
    There is certainly no evidence in the report that it is creeping, as you suggest. In fact it appears to say the issue is largely localised in the following statement “The cause of these extreme conditions is almost certainly attributable to excessive catchment nutrient input loads, exacerbated by the sheltered nature of these arms and their propensity to act as natural settling areas for fine, organic and nutrient enriched sediment.”

    Have you ever thought Dave, that you might look for the worst in many situations? Particularly those that promote doom?


  40. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, it would be difficult to provide a link to the 70’s research but it was identified in the current report.

    I would think that considering that our waterways have deteriorated considerably since dairying began expanding so the current situation is not good. We have 53% showing no improvement and over a quarter degrading.

    It is good that phosphate is less of an issue but we still have 60% remaining the same or degrading.

    Mike has a particular focus on river fauna and how the overall conditions continue to destroy habitat of indigenous species. In 1992 20% of native fish were under threat and it has dramatically increased to over 60%.

    According to the Ministry for the Environment 14% of insects have shown a decline while less than half that have experienced improvement. The LAWA website seems to present the same:

    The general overview of the state of our estuaries shows the extent of eutrophication is growing at a steady rate since the current research started in 2000:


  41. TraceyS says:

    Dave, in your blogpost where you basically blame Invercargill’s woes (as you see them) on the Government, you wrote:

    One would expect that the income distribution in an highly productive community, with such low unemployment, would fit the familiar bell curve. Most households should be earning good incomes, a very small group struggling financially and a similarly small group that are very affluent. This isn’t the case.

    You base this conclusion on the recently released school deciles.

    What I would like to point out is that you would not expect to find a normal distribution of school decile ratings. Schools, themselves, are not a natural population. However, their classroom inhabitants are. So what happens when you plot decile rating by number of students rather than decile rating by number of schools?

    Here is what you get – a pretty nice looking bell curve, slightly skewed away from the lower deciles, which should be pleasing indeed for a socialist like yourself.

    We have debated before about the role of bias in perception and interpretation. You could not have given me a better example of searching for what you wanted to find in the data and failing to recognise that number of schools in each decile subset are not the important data. Number of children are.

    Do you still blame the government for this wretched situation?

    Let’s see if you have any symmetry about you.


  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, it is interesting that your criticisms of the science are based on your personal conclusions, while you are obviously a clever chap I do doubt that you are qualified in this area. Support for your claims would be useful so that your sources can be identified.


  43. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey, are you trying to tell me that many employers and this government don’t actively discourage union membership?”

    I think that they actively dislike forced associations such as union membership compulsion. I certainly dislike it very much, in fact, I find it repulsive. But then the Labour Party obviously also disliked it because in their nine years in power they did not bring it back. My feeling is that those days are gone now for good, but memories remain, and probably also some fear in the minds of employers and their representatives.

    The Employment Contracts Act was personally liberating for me as it gave me control of my career progress. No longer bound by tenure, I was free as a bird, and maybe surprisingly to you, I went on to have quite constructive relationships with unions who were attempting to adjust to the new industrial relations environment in creative ways, or just continuing to do the good work of advocacy – which I do believe is an indispensable and very important role. But whomever is doing the advocacy doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t have to be unions.

    “We probably both agree that there should be a balance in the relationship between employers and employees when negotiating terms and conditions.”

    Oh absolutely I agree with that! There is an unquantifiable joy in achieving balance. If an employer has never experienced this then they won’t recognise what it feels like and won’t know what they are missing. This can be a problem. It is one of the reasons why getting (and keeping) unemployment down is so important. A buyer’s market for labour is not good for workers. In fact it is probably the most negative force on a personal level. People at the bottom always hurt first, and having been there myself, I don’t like to see this.

    “That balance has heavily shifted in the employers favour since 1991.”

    It had to be done in my opinion. I was a student at the time (and also working fulltime in an industrial environment). The ECA struck resonance with me. There have been some ill effects to be sure, but the lasting legacy – freedom of association – was in my view, worth it. This is a basic human right. There are always sacrifices for progress. I’ve done my bit to be a good employer and to give sound and fair employment advice to managers. But I accept being one person and thus only able to influence those nearest at the time.


  44. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey I would have to question your graph (or the source) and I would need to see your numbers because I briefly looked at doing the same and decided that the school communities would give a reasonable indication. I struggle to see how you get the graph you do when 15 out of the 28 Invercargill schools are decile 4 or less and half of our ten largest primary schools are decile 3 or less (Fernworth school is our third largest primary school and it is a decile 2). Given that there are 3 decile 10 schools and it appears that your line doesn’t even recognize them is also concerning.

    A bar graph would again be a better indication. It would also be a more accurate indicator if only primary schools were used (I should have done this too) as there are a lot of children traveling in from outside the Invercargill boundary to attend the secondary schools. If Primary schools are used then there are 23 of them and more than half are decile 4 or less.

    Please note the graph based on the earlier decile ratings (that have actually had a slight downward shift in the recent ones) and explain why there is a large population of children in the decile 6 to 7 region when so few schools have that decile.

    I would love to be proved wrong as I would hate to think that we have such a high level of struggling families as I initially concluded.


  45. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, actually I missed the comment where you showed the source and I have revisited the same data and looked at primary schools only and this is the result:
    Decile 10: 491 pupils
    Decile 9: 408
    Decile 8: 884
    Decile 7: 273
    Decile 6: 371
    Decile 5: 47
    Decile 4: 454
    Decile 3: 1,153
    Decile 2: 346
    Decile 1: 200

    This basically replicates my original theory and you can see the highest number of pupils are in decile 3 schools and the second highest in decile 8. There are fewer students in the middle and the greatest concentration of pupils in the decile 2-4 range. Your line graph would show peaks at either end and a trough in the middle.


  46. Dave Kennedy says:

    Note, since the last census we have a decile 1 school for the first time and 200 fewer pupils in the top three deciles. There appears to be a slight decline in affluence.


  47. TraceyS says:

    OK. I’ll put up the filtered data later. I selected by territorial authority “Invercargill City”. It was a mix of primary and secondary, and yes, I count 14 schools at decile 4 and under.

    You can’t just narrow the data set to only include primary in the hope that it supports your supposition. This is being selective. But just looking at the data it won’t help your argument anyway.

    If I’m in the mood to later I might also plot Dunedin school students by decile. This should show whether Invercargill should indeed be a special focus for the government or whether there may be more needy areas. I’m open-minded about that.


  48. Paranormal says:

    “I would love to be proved wrong” – you missed the key part DK – “yet again”.

    Tracey has yet again pointed out your inability to understand the numbers/science thingy. As for your comment regarding a bar graph. That in itself deserves a double face palm, but I guess you’ll never understand why…

    As for your comment to Mr E ” strident opposition to any science that reveals negative impacts on our environment is becoming quite ludicrous” sums up nicely your own levels of ignorance and arrogance that only a sanctimonious Green could reach.

    And you want like minded unionists to negotiate my terms and conditions of employment? – no thanks.

    Like Tracey the ECA was a breath of fresh air for me. Bet you can’t explain why in 1991 at the introduction of the ECA, when on an hourly wage (I think it was $7ph plus allowances), I was paid better than my unionised co-workers? It was because the union concerned was too stupid to read the legislation and understand the employer could not unilaterally change current employment arrangements. The union folded like a weak and simple folding thing, doing their members a huge disservice. Thankfully I wasn’t as member.

    The fact remains the majority of New Zealand workers don’t see any benefit of belonging to a union. It has nothing to do with any official discouragement and all to do with failure of the unions to provide a valued service to their members at a reasonable price without any political strings attached. As the last few elections have shown you are way out of touch with what the majority of New Zealand workers want.

    As an example we have an ex Southdown man in the office who recently tried to get the union into our workplace. The business opened up the office to the union, provided time off for people to attend meetings as well as the office boardroom to do it in. The union rep clearly didn’t understand our business and couldn’t offer any reasonable benefits for the amount of money expected every fortnight. He was clearly another slacker that had found a sinecure. Even our ex-Southdown man, (affectionately known as “Comrade” in the office) was disgusted with just how slack the union was.

    BTW the union rep also tried to run the ‘taking our teabreaks away’ line and was shot down with the truth. At least he was better than you and admitted it was incorrect. A shame you on the left wish to continue with the party line without any substance. It lends a lack of credibility to anything else you might want to say.


  49. TraceyS says:

    In about 1993ish I was employed in the public service in a department undergoing significant change. My role was one of the new ones – tricky. Even post the Employment Contracts Act I was pressured to join the union because “life might be difficult” otherwise. I did not. At 22 years old joining a union was anathema to me personally (although each to their own – I will not judge others, not then, and not now).

    They went on strike and I must have been the only one in the building who didn’t go out on the street to picket. It sure was quiet!

    Funnily enough life was not that difficult…because there is respect for someone who stands up – whatever their cause.

    That is why I respect Dave even when he is wrong. Will you be good enough to grant me the same Dave?


  50. TraceyS says:

    “the greatest concentration of [primary] pupils [are] in the decile 2-4 range.”

    Good Mums and Dads are concentrating on parenting rather than income in these years.

    I was. Mostly.


  51. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I can understand that unions can be ineffective now, there isn’t the membership or funding to support the level of capability needed. You are also right to point out the lack of understanding of your sector as the remaining unions are have to cover a broad range of industries.

    To attract workers away from unions there were a lot of good incentives initially and our Tiwai smelter is a good example. However once the unions are sidelined it is interesting how pay and conditions quickly decline.

    The fact is that wages have not kept up with increases productivity and it now costs the Government (and the taxpayer) around $3 billion a year to subsidise wages with Working for Families.

    Employer unions, professional unions and the farmers union have continued to be effective in advocating for their members but the blue collar unions have largely ceased to exist.


  52. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Good Mums and Dads are concentrating on parenting rather than income in these years.”

    Only it now takes two incomes to support a household and it is no good for families and the children if they cannot spend quality time together. More and more children spend time in early childhood centres and after school care and when parents try to save childcare costs by working alternate shifts, many families have become fractured.

    It was also hard for my wife and I when we decided we wanted to be the significant carers for our own child and we both dropped to part time. It was a struggle despite us being professional people and it must be especially hard for those surviving on the minimum wage. The days of a parent always being home for their children in their early years is much less common and I’m sure that contributes to the wide difference in school achievement.


  53. Paranormal says:

    What do you mean “now”. In my years of employment both pre and post ECA, unions have always been ineffective. That’s both blue and white collar unions. They’ve always been more interested in politics than actually looking after workers. You are a prime example of this.


  54. Mr E says:

    “Mr E, it would be difficult to provide a link to the 70’s research but it was identified in the current report.”

    Have you read the 1970s work?

    And you didn’t answer the Nitrate question properly.
    53% of rivers are stable – not changing, lets put them aside
    21% are improving verses 26% declining.
    Is that significant deterioration?

    You continue to propose that NZs water quality is declining. I am simply trying to ascertain if you are confident in that assessment.
    We’ve established phosphate is improving – that’s a huge tick, as phosphate is widely considered a worse contaminant then Nitrogen.

    Phosphate is a key nutrient when considering estuaries and also native fish populations. I too am concerned about native fish populations, and I am pleased to see phosphate improving.

    Another key issue for both estuaries is sediment. And although LAWA are not presenting data on it from the NRWQN improvements were reported the last time the data was presenting in a scientific journal. Infact, of all the classes monitored, including native, and urban, the farming classes was the only class that made significant improvements in sediment. The improvement was so strong that it resulted in an overall significant improvement for NZ.

    Good on you farmers. Scientific data is showing your helping NZ’s estuaries and Native fish with your hard work. Not only that – you make our economy tick, I’m quite sure Homepaddock visitors won’t mind me thanking you on behalf of them. After all the science is there. Big slap on the back from us here.

    Regarding aquatic insects Dave, you seem to indicate they are declining. That is not what the LAWA website says.
    “Overall, no significant trend was detected for any land use class at the majority of monitoring sites shown by the grey colour in the graph below. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there were no trends, but instead, because the sites are only sampled annually, there are not enough data points available to identify significant trends. ”
    There is no significant trend. You are not right to suggest a decline.

    Over time I have watched the trend for environmentalist types to shift their focus from river water quality to estuaries.
    If I was cynical I would explain that simply with the statement, it is easy to target estuaries, they have been filling up and overflowing for millions of years, and as environmentalists loss things to complain about they can easily shift their focus to estuaries. They are filling up with sediment, and nutrients, it is pollution of an important ecosystem. Then again it has been getting polluted since well before the humans got here or even existed.

    If I was cynical, I would simply say – Look greens, you are not smarter then mother nature, and trying to subvert a natural process is stupid.

    Drive in any direction from Invercargill – to places like Taramoa, Makarewa, Kapuka, take a spade and start digging. In many areas you will find rich peaty top soil, under pinned by dense heavy clay, often meters of the stuff. What is that clay, where did it come from? The answer is quite simple, much of these areas was once estuaries. They filled up, water moved, and they are now useful productive farm land.

    This is not a process you should stop Dave, you won’t beat God, Mother nature, Gaia, Aliens, some burning stick statue, or whatever it is you worship. The only way you will ever stop estuary pollution is to harvest sediment. And that is very un natural.


  55. Mr E says:

    Regarding my qualifications.
    I popped a copy of my CV in my mail box. Grab if you like.

    Regarding supporting views. I’m not a hive mind Dave, I don’t need 5 other back slappers to provide me with my opinions. I think for myself. You should try it some time. 😉


  56. Dave Kennedy says:

    “They’ve always been more interested in politics than actually looking after workers. You are a prime example of this.”

    Such a strong accusation, Paranormal. I was awarded an Associate Award last year by my union for service to our members and have spent 20 years in a voluntary role providing membership support for those in difficulty, both personal and industrial. You weren’t the one who accused me of child abuse in an earlier thread? Good grief!

    As for the effectiveness of unions this is probably fairly variable as I have said earlier but those who do have union membership tend to do better regarding pay and conditions than those who don’t. Also BusinessNZ and Federated Farmers tend to be more effective unions because the Government provides greater access for their lobbying.


  57. Paranormal says:

    [edited, potentially defamatory – Ele]. Just look at your ongoing support for your primary school teachers union boycott of charter schools, albeit in the face of quality institutional evidence to the contrary. Your one size fits all modality has been failing 20- 25% of school children for decades and yet you still fight tooth and nail to retain your unions power base. That constitutes nothing less than serial child abuse.

    You are a prime example in that the NZEI has focused on politics rather than membership advocacy for years. The fact you finally resigned from the union when you came out of the closet as a Green candidate does little to hide the fact you were donkey deep involved in politics with the union.

    On top of that you now campaign on green policies that will further trap the poor in poverty. When shown how wrong, lacking in knowledge and inexperienced you are, you just bluster or ignore it. This thread is a good example of that.

    Whilst I am thankful you are no longer indoctrinating young minds, it seems you have gone on to attempt a wider indoctrination.


  58. Mr E says:

    I don’t support you in your labelling of Dave. I think that is grossly unfair. I’d ask you to apologise (as I have done so in the past on this issue).

    For me to do any less would mean an expectation that it would be fair for Dave to call me a polluter because we differ in our belief about where environmental efforts should be targeted.

    I’m not a polluter, quite the opposite. We simply differ in opinions.

    Focus on the issue Paranormal. Not the person.

    Dave, you have my sympathy for such treatment.


  59. Mr E says:

    Thanks. You are quicker than me.


  60. homepaddock says:

    Paranoraml – I’ve deleted your first sentence. I understand what you’re saying and why but the sense in which most people would read it would make it defamatory.

    Dave – Employers aren’t necessarily anti-union. The owner of a large manufacturing business told me he prefers workers to be in unions because it makes wage negotiations much easier.

    But what’s good for unions isn’t necessarily good for workers. If workers thought belonging to a union was better than not they are free to choose to join. That they don’t suggests they don’t think the benefits are greater than the costs.

    One reason Labour lacks support is because of the strong influence unions have in and on it. Much of last year’s education and employment policy looked very much as if it was written by unions.

    No organisations have that sort of power in or influence on National.


  61. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ele and Mr E, I appreciate the fair minded support. Paranormal does appear to rely on personal attacks in his arguments, with little factual basis.

    Ele, I quite agree that many employers are not anti-union, my daughter works part time for the Warehouse and compared to many large employers they have impressed me with the care they provide to their employees as well as being pro union. I am personally aware of many businesses that encourage union membership and have good working relationships with them.

    The most poorly paid workers are employed by the likes of supermarkets, the fast food industry and rest homes. There are countless examples of reliance on casual labour, minimum wages and poor treatment. Most of these workers are not unionised.

    I would be interested to know what particular policy points you think are union influenced in education? If you think the lack of support for private education providers is the main one then that is easily answered. Publicly funded education systems tend to be the best performers (Finland/Hong Kong/Singapore) as the focus tends to be professional rather than for profit. the Charter system in the UK and US has had very inconsistent results, some have been appalling and put children at risk.

    The New Zealand Charter schools have also produced very mixed results and the costs of funding them have been much higher than public schools. Kidicorp has been favoured and subsidised by the Government for low decile communities but they have been caught making fraudulent staffing claims to the Ministry and they make good profits by staffing their centres with inexperienced and less qualified teachers.

    Ele it is also clear that business and corporate interests have a huge influence on National Governments and has resulted in huge subsidies and special treatment for the likes of Warner Bros, Kidicorp, SkyCity and the hugely profitable oil companies. While you may say that this is just providing jobs and incomes here, this is very debatable. The procurement practices of this government have seen the depletion of our skilled workforce and the demise of many local manufacturers.


  62. Paranormal says:

    Ele I understand.

    Mr E i won’t apologise for my views, just as DK doesn’t for his. Clearly the unionised education sector has failed a significant proportion of our children, and their continued adherence to a system that fails our children for political purposes (i.e. the retention of the union powerbase) is nothing short of evil.

    DK – I have always provided evidence. The fact you don’t agree with it, or more relevantly, the evidence doesn’t match with your worldview is your problem. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/20154471/charter-schools-say-ero-reports-vindicate-their-role And if State radio says it, it must be true, according to your linking to credible institutions.


  63. Mr E says:

    I am not sure name calling is a ‘view’. But I am not one to inflame the situation, so wont.


  64. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I wrote a heap about estuaries and through a stupid mistake wiped it all before I could press publish. I will reply to your last comment on water later as i need to continue in the garden while the weather’s fine.

    Paranormal, I spent a good amount of my time on our NZEI National Executive working on professional matters. I was on the writing team for our Technology Curriculum and helped review and write the latest IEP document for the Ministry. NZEI has always strived to work in partnership with the Minister and Ministry and the most successful systems have strong working relationships between government and professional institutions and unions. This is not the case in New Zealand now where we have had two Ministers who actually refuse to consult or collaborate.

    The system that you seem to claim fails our children largely a beat up and a created crisis to enable forced change. Our education system was regularly in the top 4 in world assessments until recently and our current public system is actually a form of charter schooling and was listed as such on Wikipedia for many years. The struggling children in low decile schools cannot be blamed on teaching (only 10% of an influence on children’s attainment) it is because of funding and social economic influences on families.


  65. “…of all the classes monitored, including native, and urban, the farming classes was the only class that made significant improvements in sediment. The improvement was so strong that it resulted in an overall significant improvement for NZ.”

    Dear oh dear!
    The “farming class” improved its performance in the field of “loss of field to water” and the urban and native remained static?
    What a surprise.
    Could it be that the “farming class” has been, for years and years, losing vast amounts of sediment (read “soil” or “farm”) to the rivers and estuaries but has, at this late (too late) stage, slowed its rate of loss marginally?
    How much sediment does “native” bleed to the waterways?
    How much sediment do urban areas leak to the rivers and estuaries?
    Farming practices have been eroding valuable topsoil to the rivers and estuaries and eventually the ocean, for millennia.
    A recent improvement, eh!
    Break out the champagne!


  66. Paranormal says:

    Mr E – you may consider identifying behaviour as name calling, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

    DK – “Our education system was regularly in the top 4 in world assessments until recently” – and why would that be DK? What was brought in just over ten years ago that changed the results of our school leavers?

    But that’s not the real issue. It’s always been the tail of underperformers that is our problem. In the early 2000’s the OECD reported that up to 40% of school leavers did not have the three r’s to a sufficient standard to thrive in a modern economy.

    You also continue to fall into the trap of harping on about low decile schools (they’re the ones that receive the largest resources). Underachievement happens across the board in all deciles and is proven to be an issue with teaching and leadership. Have a look at Selwyn College as an example and how after years (if not decades) of under performance is turned around in very short order.

    If Charters Schools aren’t a problem, according to Wikipedia, why are you and your union mates so agin them?

    BTW it’s great to see my five year old is now being taught phonics in school. Especially after all my other children were not allowed to be given that tool. That’s another one the unionised establishment should hang their heads in shame over.


  67. Mike says:

    “Mr E, I wrote a heap about estuaries and through a stupid mistake wiped it all before I could press publish. ”

    Let us all be very thankful for small mercies then.


  68. TraceyS says:

    Dave, I checked my numbers and we are at least using the same data.

    I reproduced the graph with bars with the smoothed line overlaid.

    This is Invercargill City schools:


    And this one is Dunedin City (South) schools:


    In Invercargill City 73% of students are in decile five schools and above. In Dunedin City 91% of students are in decile five schools and above. This doesn’t mean that things are necessarily better income-wise in Dunedin. It could just mean that the schools happen to be located in more affluent suburbs (St Clair for example). Likewise, Invercargill may have a higher number of lower-decile schools because of where they happen to be situated.

    It is not an adequate measure of child poverty (or affluence) in my view.

    However, I am not sure why you’d be concerned anyway, given that smaller and more numerous schools in low decile areas will naturally attract more government funding per student. I have compared decile three Ascot Community School (roll 193) with decile ten Myross Bush School (roll 190). While the finance details are a little old (2012) it appears that the per student difference in funding (excluding property funding) is a little over $1,000 per student. The smaller and more numerous are the low decile schools, the more Ministry funding they attract on a per student basis. I would not have thought this was something to complain about.


  69. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mike, it’s still coming 😉

    Paranormal, you are right about good teaching and leadership, it is always important but there are actually many high performing schools and principals already and the poorest performing ones are probably better than one new struggling Charter Schools that had to call on local public schools for support. There is no way of knowing how well all the Charter Schools are doing overall because they are exempt from the OIA and the Government refuses to release their performance reviews. Here is another Radio NZ link with a wider view of the Charter school issue: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/254186/charter-schools-planning-expansion

    The following post has now had almost 50,000 views, and you read the numerous links rather than my comments. This Government is destroying some of the best elements of our system and despite its claims of needing to support priority learners, funding to the agencies that support them have been cut and new money is going to elite private schools instead. I would be interested to know which of the 25 areas that I covered are factually incorrect.

    Also I don’t think you realise the level of competency needed to succeed at NCEA Level two English, or even year 8 English:

    The texts that Year 8 students use to meet the reading demands of the curriculum at this level will often include:

    -elements that require interpretation, such as complex plots, sophisticated themes,and abstract ideas
    -complex layers of meaning, and/or information that is irrelevant to the identified purpose for reading (that is, competing information), requiring students to infer meanings or make judgments
    -non-continuous text structures and mixed text types
    -sentences that vary in length, including long, complex sentences that contain a lot of information
    -adverbial clauses or connectives that require students to make links across the whole text
    -academic and content-specific vocabulary
    -words and phrases with multiple meanings that require students to know and use effective word-solving strategies to retain their focus on meaning
    -metaphor, analogy, and connotative language that is open to interpretation
    -illustrations, photographs, text boxes, diagrams, maps, charts, and graphs, containing main ideas that relate to the text’s content.



  70. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, again I would have to question your findings, especially regarding Invercargill. The most accurate way of recording city deciles is by using only the primary schools (high schools have too many students from outside the city boundary and overseas students too) and the figures I posted earlier could never get the result you published. You have a peak in the middle with combined decile 5&6 schools that have a total over 3,000 when i make it 1145. The largest number of students in any one decile is 3, where there are 1153 (more than the combined 5&6).


  71. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, it is well Known that low decile schools still have less money per student than high decile schools (about $1,000 less):


  72. Paranormal says:

    You do spout such garbage for political spin at times DK. Charter schools are private institutions, so of course they are not subject to OIA, Justr like other private schools. They are subject to ERO reports though and rather than listen to political spin, lets see what ERO says: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11364595

    But more importantly, and this is the bit you really hate, what do the parents think. Without their support there is no charter school, and therin lies the nub. To retain union power you hate the fact that parents actually have a choice where to send their children. No matter how badly you and your union mates try to denigrate the charter schools, parents are pleased with the success and they are supporting charter schools. I understand there are waiting lists to get in. looks like we should open a whole lot more…

    In fact you Greens are so rabidly against charter schools, what little common sense you may have been credited with has flown the coop. So much so your spokesperson is happy to make shit up: http://www.radiolive.co.nz/When-is-a-school-visit-not-a-visit/tabid/506/articleID/64291/Default.aspx


  73. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I have always said that some Charter schools could very well be successful, because as you say it is down to the leadership and the quality of the teaching, just the same as public schools. However some of the reasons that I object to Charter Schools are that they use public money yet are not open to scrutiny in the same way as public schools, they can siphon off the public money for private profit if they wish, they are being funded at a higher rate than public schools and don’t have to use registered teachers.

    In the US and UK they have found that while there are successes with these schools there is also a high level of failure. Three of the five Charter Schools in New Zealand have not reached the roll they are funded at (so much for parent support) and one has been such a disaster it has needed a high level of support throughout its existence. A 60% failure rate doesn’t sound good to me.

    The Civilian summed up Charter Schools well with this satirical piece showing what would happen if the same approach was used for hospitals. http://www.thecivilian.co.nz/government-to-introduce-charter-hospitals/

    I do note that you didn’t respond to my challenge regarding my list of education failures caused by this Government.


  74. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey, again I would have to question your findings…”

    Question all you like Dave! Go to http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/SchoolOperations/Resourcing/OperationalFunding/Deciles/ReviewOfDecilesGeneralInformation.aspx download the spreadsheet and select Territorial Authority “Invercargill City”. The rest is a bit of simple adding and no problem for an average level of spread-sheeting skill.

    I cannot comment on the influence of international and out-of-area students on school decile ratings. Mainly because I have no idea what overseas students and boarders would record as their addresses. I’m guessing, but I doubt that international addresses would be used in calculating decile ratings.

    But I am really curious about your theory, and desire, to exclude secondary schools children from the data. What happens to all the kids from low decile primary schools when they hit secondary age? Do they all go off to low decile secondary schools in other areas outside Invercargill City? If so, where are all the low-decile secondary schools that they go to? Not in Dunedin apparently.

    A more logical explanation is that when people have primary-aged children they are not at their highest earning capacity because they’re taking time for, and giving focus to, parenting responsibilities and family matters. They’ve just bought their first home and compromised on their ideal suburb in order to have a good sized back yard to accommodate swing, slide and sandpit. As the kids get older, it is more possible to focus on work and career again, and they start to earn more. As they earn more they tend to move to higher socio-demographic areas as they can afford to. So the kids go to a secondary school which, in its decile rating, reflects this very natural progression of the family circumstances and the associated demographic changes that go with it.

    I understand this is how conservative people do it because I am one. I hear that Invercargill is full of such types. Maybe you should listen to them before bagging their city and blaming made-up problems on the Government?


  75. TraceyS says:

    “I object to Charter Schools are that they use public money yet are not open to scrutiny in the same way as public schools, they can siphon off the public money for private profit if they wish…”

    Oh hogwash Dave! So you presumably object to the existence of profit-making ECE businesses too do you? They are looking after wee babes. Our most vulnerable citizens. And these businesses have one less level of scrutiny than partnership schools.

    Has the world ended because of this? No it has not.

    You object to partnership schools because of the political parties that liberated their existence.


  76. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I have taught in most of the schools in Invercargill and the surrounding area and the Secondary schools have a far wider catchment. Students come from Winton, Riverton, Wyndham, Edendale, Woodlands and more to attend Invercargill secondary schools. Also because rural schools and communities tend to have greater wealth it is more difficult to assess the decile of a secondary school. You will note James Hargest has the highest decile rating of all the secondary schools and it is also the largest, many students travel from lower socio-economic communities to attend it. Also secondary schools have a percentage of overseas students from wealthy families and I’m not sure if this is factored in too.If you want to get an accurate assessment of Invercargill itself it is best just to focus on the primary schools. Families don’t suddenly become more affluent when their children move through the system.

    Regarding ECE, kindergartens would easily out perform most private centres. You are suggesting that I object to Charter Schools because of political reasons, forgive me for chuckling because the timeline for the establishments of Charter Schools reveal it was all about politics:

    1) Lesley Longstone appointed to head the Ministry of Education and her main expertise was leading the establishment of the equivalent of Charter Schools in the UK. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcgAh2gS57g
    2) Act did not campaign on Charter Schools and yet it suddenly appeared in their coalition agreement, John Banks struggled to explain why it was included. This wasn’t something demanded by the voters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9XNG-S7uFQ
    3) Five Charter schools were given the go ahead after 36 applications, it was well known the the quality of applicants were poor and there were still doubts regarding the chosen five. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/charter-schools-all-go-despite-setbacks.html
    4) The funding provided to set up the five Charter Schools was greater than that of public schools as the schools were set up based on projected rolls that only two have achieved and this funding hasn’t changed despite their their rolls.
    5) After a year, three of the Charter Schools struggle to get parent support and one is only functioning because of heavy intervention. The five schools only average 68 students each but employ 36 teachers, four of whom are not registered.
    6) Hekia Parata announces more Charter Schools will allowed while there are serious misgivings about 3 of the 5 existing schools. She continues to support Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru despite: “ongoing problems at the school include the quality of teaching, learning, management, leadership and student engagement.”
    Parata claims it is because they are dealing with troubled students and yet she tried to close down Salisbury School (reversed by the courts) that had a long record of success with students with high needs.


  77. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, The shift of attention to estuaries was the result of increasing science and knowledge about what was happening to them. River quality varies greatly with the seasons and weather, as you know, but much of the sediment and nutrients don’t always get washed out to sea, they are often trapped in lagoons and estuaries. Robert is right, a poor earlier history of fertiliser management and fencing off streams and poor waste management in towns and cities have created a growing problem in one of the richest and most diverse environments we know of. Degrading estuaries will have a much greater environmental impact than polluted stream and could even effect our fishing industry as well.



  78. TraceyS says:

    “…most of the schools in Invercargill and the surrounding area and the Secondary schools have a far wider catchment.”

    OK. So the proper approach would be to include primary schools from the wider catchment (and not exclude the secondary schools).

    I note that the combined Invercargill City secondary school roll total is only about 300 students more than the primary school roll total. While I am not doubting that many students attend secondary schools from outside the area, bumping up the number of higher-socio households and affecting decile ratings, why is it that there is not a much bigger difference in student numbers between primary and secondary? Are many students leaving secondary school prematurely? If they are, then maybe that’s where you should focus.

    This whole discussion was sparked by your self-reference to an expectation of seeing a normal distribution in the decile ratings for schools. I pointed out that you would not expect to see this using a count of schools in each decile. In fact if you looked, on this basis, at the whole population (of schools) in NZ, instead of just one geographic area, then graphically you would see a flat line with 10% of schools falling into each decile. No bell-curve. So what you are looking for cannot be found in the way you are looking. It doesn’t even make sense to expect it let alone get upset about it.

    The proper way is to look at the natural population of students. As you have pointed out there are some difficulties in doing this. But the approach should not be to narrow the population in order to make the data suit your purposes. If you do that and then complain that the results are not normally distributed then you are sort of getting what you asked for! That’s not very objective. Maybe being objective isn’t your goal – but it should be. If you were the Minister of Education it would have to be. Unfortunately objectivity doesn’t always win you the popularity contest.

    I’m not saying that families in Invercargill don’t exist on low incomes. They are obviously there. But this analysis is only the starting point to raise the questions about why. It is not the hard evidence you seek to pin blame on the government and demand action. As I have tried to point out, the reasons why there are more low-decile primary schools in Dunedin than in Invercargill could be positive on purely social terms, eg. potentially a higher tendency for one parent to give up full-time work (perhaps facilitated by lower cost of living) rather than both working while children are very young, willingness to forgo material things in favour of work/life balance, less intensive rat-race culture, and so on. All these things are good, but not if at the other end students drop out of high school early and go into low-paying jobs (although still better than no jobs).

    You might at least try to have a balanced outlook. But then again, you could just continue crying “no fair”.


  79. TraceyS says:

    Edit: “…the reasons why there are more low-decile primary schools in *Invercargill* than in *Dunedin*…”


  80. TraceyS says:

    “Families don’t suddenly become more affluent when their children move through the system.”

    Of course. Most families become more affluent gradually over time by exercising patience, good work, and sensible choices.


  81. Mr E says:

    “The shift of attention to estuaries was the result of increasing science and knowledge”

    Oh that science that lacks statistics, and quantification of methods. That science that represents locations selected for their obvious visual pollution. That science that concludes ‘pay us to do more of our science’. Oh that science.

    ‘a poor earlier history of fertiliser management and fencing off streams and poor waste management in towns and cities’

    Oh the past is to blame. That’s ok we’re in the future. The issues you have lists have been largely solved – all accept waste management it seems.




    The ES compliance report for Winton and Edendale sewage treatement 13/14

    “Compliance with both the consented average daily flow and
    maximum flow limits was achieved for the 2013/14 reporting
    period. Consented limits on the discharge were exceeded for
    mean cBOD5 on three out of four monitoring occasions. The
    consented mean dissolved reactive phosphorous limits were
    exceeded on two out of four monitoring occasions. The
    consented mean E.coli limit was exceeded on three out of four
    monitoring occasions.”

    “Consented ammoniacal nitrogen limits were breached
    continuously during the reporting period.”

    Yet when it comes to elections it seems all about what farmers are doing to water ways. More specifically dairy farmers. Yet you acknowledge those issues were in the “past”. Curious.


  82. “Oooo – I don’t like that science!”

    Mr E.

    *Meanwhile, farms travel to the sea, taking with them a goodly dose of animal manure, hydrocarbon-based fertiliser and cocktail of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, anthilmentics and whatever else is regarded as de rigueur by the modern farmer, much of which hits the salty water of the estuary and promptly flocculates, sinking to the bed, smothering the benthic flora and fauna and creating an anaerobic wonderland of sulphides, which stinks, eh.
    I’ve even met a farmer who applies molluscicides to his farm. You know, to kill molluscs. The river he farms beside flows out into a bay where people collect, you guessed it, molluscs
    That would be chemical trespass onto the public domain, wouldn’t it?
    Guess we could ask a scientist, only not the ones who study estuaries – apparently they’re to be dismissed out of hand.
    Tracey’s challenge on Dave over the schools of his stamping ground is nothing short of ludicrous hilarious! Go Trace!


  83. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I was noting the cumulative effects over time, which has contributed to the current problem. I have always acknowledged the effects of poorly managed sewage (and sormwater drains) but this only contributes less than 10% of contaminants at the most and many rivers do not have a major urban population effecting them. I agree that the management of sewerage in small communities should be a higher priority than it is but farming contributes by far the largest amount of pollutants in our waterways.

    You are very scathing about scientists, your implication that they deliberately make things worse than they actually are and are motivated by personal greed sounds a little desperate. If anything farmers have the most to gain by questioning the science and many have had their own honesty questioned when their claims under the clean streams accord were found to be grossly inaccurate.


  84. TraceyS says:

    Go Robert. Keep up the good work encouraging Dave to be overly negative and to inappropriately use data to justify all the negativity. People just love that sort of doom and gloom don’t they?

    Well, we know that you do at least.


  85. Mr E says:


    Have you any evidence that molluscides are leaching from this farm? I bet you don’t. Bit like I betted on the Green Party losing the election. Where you swore black an blue they would win. How’d that go for you? How has the hiatus been? I presume any embarrassment has subsided with time?

    Did you miss the recent report on where sediment is coming from.
    Here is a modified summary for your neighbouring estuary.

    Jacobs River Estuary
    75% Marine from incoming tide
    12.5% Bank Erosion
    7.5% Sheep farm
    1% Dairy (approx.)
    1% Deer (approx.)
    1% Drain clearance (approx.)

    I’m thinking you will be looking to turn the tide, so to speak, as it appears farmers are not the main contributors. Over generations of farming, the research indicates they have contributed around 12%. Other research shows that NZ farming sediment loss has been reduced. So lets focus our efforts where value can be added. The tide.

    Perhaps we could tie you to the Riverton bridge with a really good set of flippers and get you to paddle against the tide? Would that be a solution? If you are worried about someone cutting you loose, don’t worry I am sure we can put contingency measures in place. 🙂


  86. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, you were welcome to check my data and the accuracy of my claims regarding the wealth of Invercargill and looking at the student numbers was a better method than my original one. I actually find it very useful to have have that scrutiny applied, but I do think that you have taken it to an extreme where you are so desperate to prove me wrong.

    It is perfectly reasonable to just concentrate on primary school communities to get the most accurate data because the schools are smaller and the communities better defined than the high school ones. You are now trying to extend the Invercargill boundary to include the wealthier communities surrounding it to change the data to suit your argument. Why not then do a Southland wide study if you want to prove your point, as it is the province as a whole that contributes to our wealth? But then you would have to include the very poor communities of Ohai, Nightcaps and Otautau etc.

    “Of course. Most families become more affluent gradually over time by exercising patience, good work, and sensible choices.”

    You are making a broad generalisation that has an element of truth except for the fact that as families get wealthier over time their expenses increase at a similar rate as teenagers drain their resources. Paying for secondary uniforms and fees and feeding a teenager is hugely expensive 😉


  87. TraceyS says:

    “Why not then do a Southland wide study if you want to prove your point, as it is the province as a whole that contributes to our wealth? But then you would have to include the very poor communities of Ohai, Nightcaps and Otautau etc.

    Sure, Dave I am happy to do that. And by the way, I’m not trying to prove you wrong. I am trying to get you to take a more critical and objective look at things. Take it personally if you will. It’s not meant to be though.

    I have no idea what the graph will look like just as I didn’t before generating one for Dunedin South schools. The result was actually a surprise. I was aware that there are few really low-decile schools in Dunedin but I expected them to have more children than they do.


  88. Mr E says:

    I am not scathing about the scientists at all. You accused the National Party for allow estuary degradation. I asked for evidence of degradation, you provided New river Estuary research. I think I have done a very good job of pointing out how poor that evidence in relation to my question.

    Regarding your statement “your implication that they deliberately make things worse than they actually are and are motivated by personal greed”. I made no such implication. That is your assessment, and personally I think that is a rude thing to say about those ‘Scientists’.

    Regarding sewage – I like to think NZ is a country built on principle. What’s fair for you should be fair for me, in the eyes of the law.
    Yet we tolerate and consent raw human sewage into waterways, and prosecute farmers for potential pollution. I think it is a shocking double standard. Some might say urbanites are hypocritical when complaining about the impacts of dairy. We should have a level playing field. I think it would certainly improve the qualification of complaints.


  89. TraceyS says:

    Southland-wide 80% of students (including Nightcaps in the data) are in decile five schools and above. Nearly half are in decile seven to ten versus only 20% in decile one to four.

    Including Nightcaps doesn’t change things much as it is such a small number of students. There would actually be many more kids from low-socio families in some of the bigger schools with decile six or seven rating. This is why it makes no sense to simply count up the number of low-decile schools in an area and say “ooh that’s really bad!” Very misleading in fact. I think it’s only bad if the schools have disproportionately large numbers of students (ie. a bell-curve swaying to the left) particularly if the pattern continues into secondary schools. That would suggest families/whole communities being ‘stuck’ socio-economically even as their children become more independent. This might indicate entrenched/generational socio-economic problems.

    I am sure there are some communities like this in New Zealand and they’re probably the ones to be most worried about. Is Invercargill one of them? You haven’t convinced me. But it is good that you are keeping an eye on things. It would be interesting to compare the curve on the graph to one prepared from the decile rating data which come out after the next census. Looking at a trend over time would be useful. It is not a perfect method, but it certainly raises some interesting questions.


  90. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, by including secondary schools in Dunedin you are just doing the same thing as Invercargill. Wealthy families in Southland often send their kids to board in Dunedin. A good example of the shift of the affluent in poorer communities can be seen in Wyndham where those who can afford to send their children elsewhere for their secondary education do. The Wyndham primary school is a decile 5 and yet Menzies College, the secondary school, drops to decile 4.

    The fact is that just including Primary Schools ensures that you have a more accurate assessment of the communities within a set area because high school boundaries are more fluid. Your resistance to this seems a little odd and I can only surmise that it is because it doesn’t support your argument.

    One thing that I just realised that would support your argument about families of young children is that there would be more parents on benefits for children of primary school age because of the challenges of looking after under fives.

    Sadly getting employment later doesn’t necessarily mean greater wealth as the costs of childcare and low wages then have an impact. Many single parents tell me that they are worse off working but it helps their mental state to be engaged in the wider world and keeps their work skills intact. That 37% of Invercargill people of working age have an income of less than $20,000 is a revealing statistic and the $27,400 median income would also support my findings.


  91. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Oh that science that lacks statistics, and quantification of methods. That science that represents locations selected for their obvious visual pollution. That science that concludes ‘pay us to do more of our science’. Oh that science.”

    This statement of yours certainly supports my concerns, Mr E.

    I don’t blame only National for the lack of action regarding the state of our estuaries but they have actively limited the independent assessment of the state of our water systems and the amount of money put aside for research has dropped under its watch. The Greens managed to get around $8 million under a Labour Government for researching the state of our major wetlands, this money has been used up and I can’t imagine National agreeing to support more research. The budget cuts to DoC has meant we have lost a number of local people who were doing useful research on water quality.

    I agree with you that there should be greater attention to dealing with human waste, no argument there. However we do need to keep perspective here. Our national dairy herd produces 32 times as much urine as our human population and 36 times as much feces. While most human waste receives some sort of treatment, what is deposited on paddocks, leached into our aquifers and washed into our rivers and streams untreated is a much bigger problem.


  92. “Dave,
    I am not scathing about the scientists at all.”

    “That science that concludes ‘pay us to do more of our science’. Oh that science.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    The “John Key School of Reality Denial” – First Class Honours, Mr E!


  93. Ele, keeping me in “moderation” seems petty, in this new year, doesn’t it.


  94. Mr E won’t accept that the broad-scale application of molluscicides to land is a concern. He demands proof that that particular poison enters the waterways, just as tobacco companies continued to trade flat-out, demanding that proof that their product was causing lung cancer. “Damn the torpedoes, team! They can’t stop us til they have proof!, so it’s full steam ahead with the poisoning! They’ll take years to catch us out!


  95. Tracey – Dave’s whipping your ass. Give it up. He’s got the inside running on education, especially that of Invercargill. You’re looking ditzy.


  96. Mr E says:

    As much as Dave wants to play a violin and sing ‘woe is me’, on a whole Southlanders are pretty happy with our lot.
    Infact the 2014 Regional economic Survey had Southlanders ranked number 1 out of 16 regions for “Proportion of population very satisfied/satisfied with their lives”.

    So Tracey I hope you and other NZers don’t think we are all a bunch of whiners. We’re actually the most satisfied.


  97. It’s incumbent upon the user of a molluscicide to prove that he is not endangering the molluscs living downstream, yes????
    Has he?
    No, no, no (thrice no!)


  98. TraceyS says:

    Thanks Mr E. That’s certainly the feeling I get when visiting Invercargill.


  99. Mr E says:

    “This statement of yours certainly supports my concerns, Mr E.”

    Those concerns of “they actually are and are motivated by personal greed”? No it doesn’t. You are making false assumptions and insinuations. It appears you can’t see past your own negativity.

    “I don’t blame only National for the lack of action regarding the state of our estuaries”

    Where did I say you blamed them?

    You said
    ‘The Greens managed to get around $8 million under a Labour Government for researching the state of our major wetlands’

    Are you sure about your facts Dave. I believe it was $8.8M and it was used:
    “A big part of the projects at each site will be to work with the communities in each region, such as iwi, land owners, regional councils, recreational users, landcare and conservation groups, because issues like water quality need to be managed at source, and much of this is on surrounding private land,” Mrs Turei says.

    Part of the projects would be to improve public access and recreational opportunities at Whangamarino and at the Southland wetlands, and to better manage recreation such as off-road vehicle use at the Ashburton Lakes to reduce damage to fragile habitats.

    Are you sure it was “research”? Are we talking about the same thing Dave?

    Then you say this “I can’t imagine National agreeing to support more research”

    It may be not research but have you forgotten the:


    That’s $100 million with around $10 million a year going to Wetlands.

    Did you conveniently forget about that? Of just brush it off as phooey?

    Dairy cow urine is applied to land – much of it captured, growing grass, making more milk, paying tax, growing the wealth of the economy. A small proportion is leached to the frustration of farmers who would like to capture and utilise this valuable resource.

    Human urine – piped at the cost of the rate payer. Mixed with other excrement, settled, and partly pumped out into our oceans. The rest of the nutrient is trucked with heavy metal containing excrement to land dumps where does nothing – The vegetation it grows cannot be eaten because of the heavy metals, and low and behold it (don’t tell anyone) leaches. Not a small proportion – Much of it.
    There is no economic benefit from human urine, no adding to the economy. Only economic and environmental cost. Just cost.

    Go looking for our “Regional Effluent Land Application Plan”. Once you have found it go looking for our ‘sludge landfills’. Assess the soils that they are dump onto. Tell me you think they are good at capturing nutrients. Tell me the nutrient is not lost.


  100. Mr E says:

    It may be of ‘little wonder why you went elsewhere’, given your outrageous predictions that turned out to be blatantly wrong. I’m talking about the failing of the Green Party to make any traction in the election. You disappeared about the same time as the election so I am sure most of us have ‘little wonder’

    I do however wonder why you have reappeared. You’re moaning about pesticides, fungicides and any old cide and ignoring that nature makes these things anyway without human intervention. And now you are seemingly accusing some farmer of pollution with scant evidence. For me to comment properly I really need to know the details of the case. What product is being used, under what conditions, soil type, slope, spray rate weather etc. How about you just name the farmer? I speak to him/her and come back with a comment.

    Then again if you genuinely think the farmer is polluting, how about you just dob him into the council. Wait a minute. You can’t do that can you? Councillors can do that can they? Im guessing that makes you feel a little ineffective? An environmentalist (if you don’t mind me calling you that) with his hands tied? There’s probably only one solution for that.


  101. Dave Kennedy says:

    Invercargill people are a resilient lot and we do have a good sense of community. However another look at what I presume is the same research reveals a 19 % drop in satisfaction from those whose household income is more than $123,000 and those whose household income is less than $55,000. Given that the median income in Invercargill is $27,000, the majority of household incomes will be much less than $55,000 and when you consider the number of sole parent families, many will be considerably less.

    We may very well be the happiest city but that doesn’t diminish the fact that there are a large number of struggling families. A chat with Captain Perry Bray of the local Salvation Army would be very revealing.

    Very few people who know me would call me a winger and it does seem to be common way of managing those who reveal unfortunate truths about our growing inequality and degrading environment. It is less expensive and challenging to ignore the problems and make personal attacks on the messengers 😉

    By ignoring the problems and creating distractions like a new flag threat of IS is only delaying real action to deal with our major environmental issues, housing and child poverty.


  102. Mr E says:

    *Councillors can’t*


  103. Mr E says:

    Whose making personal attacks this time Dave? Point it out and I’ll no doubt stick up for you.

    People know me as a defender of the lesser, and if you can’t hack it, let me know and I will sort them out.

    My late Nanna’s technique for addressing woes, was to say “Poor wee Fell Fell”. I presume Fell meant Fella. If you are feeling down, I might even drag up that time tested treat.


  104. Dave Kennedy says:

    You’re right to check me for my accuracy, Mr E, and well done for your research I have written about it in more detail here: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2011/03/wetlands-are-not-wastelands.html

    I still believe that National is unlikely to continue the funding for the same projects and of all government departments DoC has suffered the largest cuts.

    When you are talking about 32 and 36 times the amount of urine and shit that humans produce and through good practice contain and manage even half of it, it still leaves huge quantities that still escape into the wider environment in a damaging way. It is even worse in areas not suited to dairying where the constant addition of fertiliser and water is necessary to maintain production.

    We have talked about this before but even if 90% of farmers perfectly manage their waste (not possible) the damage done by the poor performing 10% (Dairy NZ and Fonterra’s estimates not mine) can do great harm, and each probably worse than a small town.


  105. Mr E says:

    Speaking of surveys, in 2013 the councils did a Quality of life survey.
    The education information was pretty limited but they did ask “one thing to make things better”

    Here is the results in order. (most mentioned to least)
    Im fine good happy
    Don’t know
    A vibrant CBD or area centre
    Community spirit
    General Maintenance
    Things for Young People
    Activities and Events
    Council Leadership
    Crime and Safety
    Building Maintenance
    Environmental care
    Recreation Facilities
    Dairy concerns
    Water Quality
    Town Planning
    Air Quality

    Interestingly enough – Education nowhere to be seen.
    Interestingly enough – Council leadership is more important than Dairy, water quality of air quality.

    Who do I know that I can drag over the coals for this one?

    Robert! Have you lot ‘improved’ yet. It is important to Southlanders. More important than water quality. I hope you are taking improvement seriously?


  106. Nature makes glyphosate and applies it repeatedly to paddocks in order to eliminate almost everything that grows, then follows up with several doses of Telar to slam home Her authority – oh, Mr E, you are a dill! Your grasp of science and reality is tenuous at best.


  107. “Council Leadership”?
    People are still concerned about our chairwoman?
    I thought those “unfortunate” events had faded from the public memory. Perhaps not.


  108. “Dairy cow urine is applied to land – much of it captured…”

    Much of it passes quickly beyond the root zone, you mean.
    Have you ever seen a dairy cow release its nitrogen-saturated liquid load, Mr E?
    Poor grass clump tasked with capturing that deluge.
    Fantasy-land stuff, that “grass sucks it up” theory.


  109. Mr E says:

    What are you on about Robert?
    Glyphosate and Telar and made by humans. Not plants.
    You greens make me laugh.

    Here is the rough math.
    Typical dairy farm leaches around 30kgN/ha. Only a proportion of that comes from urine, some from fertiliser some from the sky, some from clover some from soil mineralisation.
    A cow urine patch contains around 1000kgN/ha. And on average urinate on about 20% of the area in a year (Prof Keith Cameron pers com).
    1000*20%= 200kg/ha.
    Even if all the leachate came from urine 85% is used to make more product.

    Your hiatus seems to have been bad for you Robert. I feel like we are back at primary school and you are slouching in your chair with a possum stuck to your face.


  110. Mr E says:

    Are you saying council leadership excludes councillors?

    What do you do all day man??!!! Sip wheet grass drinks and make jokes at the rate payers expense???!!!


  111. Paranormal says:

    Dk – something you’ll struggle to come to terms with in today’s herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11382655

    BTW not my job to justify the Nats record in education. But at least they’re on the right track, particularly with paying good teachers more. But don’t just take my word for it, also consider the majority of voters who thought the Nats are on the right track.


  112. Personal insults, Mr E. You do yourself and your team proud. Nothing has changed here, I see. Why you had to bring Timms into the discussion, I just don’t know. She’s the furtherest thing from my mind. Leave the poor woman alone.
    Your claim that nature does what farmers do, destroy vast acreages of vegetation with poison, is as disturbing as it is disappointing, given that you like to assume the position of someone with an understanding of science. It’s clear that your learning has been corrupted, or was never sound to begin with. Nature does what Telar does, indeed – goodness gracious me! Your nanna would be directing her, “Poor we Fell Fell” at you right now, had she seen the muddle you have gotten yourself into by trying to talk science!
    Your cow-wee figures are a nonsense when the issue is concentration on one spot and the inability of the modern, shallow-rooted grasses used here in Southland, to take up that too-concentrated mix. Now that the soils in Canterbury and North Otago are beginning to crack and grass growth slowed, what will that cow-wee broth do? Course straight down below the root-zone, that’s what it will do. And in winter, when the soil is saturated with rain, what will your precious wee do then? Grass is not growing actively in the wet and cold – do your cows hold it in til spring-time? Perhaps in Mr E’s Wonderfull World of Science, they do!


  113. TraceyS says:

    Robert, you have not followed my discussion with Dave from the beginning. He wrote “…looking at the student numbers was a better method than my original one. I actually find it very useful to have that scrutiny applied…”

    Looking at the student numbers (rather than school numbers) was my suggestion. I am pleased that he was able to see this as a better approach. It’s encouraging and I appreciate the engagement and opportunity to add something of value.

    Engagement with you, however, is next to pointless. Your rigid mind won’t budge a bit, on anything, it appears. You’ve got people placed in boxes and it doesn’t matter how convincing their argument, good the point they are putting across, or interesting the idea they express, your mind is already made up.


  114. Yes, TraceyS, my mind is a steel trap.
    I’ve been thinking about Mr E’s pronouncements, you know, the ones he claims are “science”. I think I’ll refer to those claims of his from now on as “Nanna science”, given that they’re so folksy and home-spun. I’m sure that you, TraceyS, agree with me that his odd-ball opinions, his “Nanna science” around pesticides for example, while amusing, are hardly valuable contributions to any serious discussion.
    I am, btw, waiting for a convincing argument from you – one that I can engage with and enjoy for its logic and sound basis – bring it on, TraceyS – I’ll oil the hinges and pad the teeth of “Ol’ Steely”, just for you.



  115. “BTW not my job to justify the Nats record in education – but is is my job, illogically given the above, to attack anything the Greens say about education.”
    Go figure.


  116. Mr E says:

    What a wonderful imagination you have Robert.
    Warbling on about Timms and natures pesticides killing off acreages, then suggesting I said it.

    Oh what fun it is to have you back in the homepaddock.


  117. Oh, you said it alright, Mr E. Your use of “Nanna science” and the deceptions you learned at the John Key School of Reality Denial give your contributions to Homepaddock a surreal air, but I’m here to drag you whining and blustering, back to reality and I’m pleased you feel as I do, that it is fun.


  118. jabba says:

    gee .. I go away for a week and our bOb returns .. hey bOb, Ele said “The Green Party was one of the losers in last year’s election”. Now, since you packed a sad and went into hiding after the spanking your lot got, can you share your opinion on why YOU got the result sooooo wrong?


  119. And it’s “nature’s”. I’d hoped we were beyond such carelessness.
    Let’s keep it professional, shall we?


  120. Jabba – sentences begin, by convention and tradition, with a capital letter. Shape up, buddy. You make the place look shabby.


  121. The BlueGreens, dear Ele, are nothing more than a joke, as I’m sure you are well aware.


  122. Mr E says:

    I said it?

    And you are onto grammar issues. Again. What a masterful debater you are, to point them out.


  123. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, just because National was re-elected wasn’t justification for its education policy, the majority of voters wanted Parata sacked as Minister, especially Canterbury http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/8325672/71pc-want-Parata-gone-survey

    There is widespread sympathy for teachers and the Novopay mess and Charter schools haven’t had overwhelming support.

    As for Jamie Whyte, 0.6% of the vote isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for his views.

    Teachers are the 12th most trusted profession in NZ and yet you are apparently claiming politicians know what’s best for education and yet they are ranked 46th out of fifty, just above sex workers.

    So hear is what else I have gleaned from your comments:

    1) Most teachers or guilty of child abuse because 95% of teachers are members of the union and any major action must be voted on by members.
    2) Jamie Whyte makes a lot of sense to you regarding education and yet the same man condones incest and his party received less than 1% support under his leadership.
    3) Charter schools are the way to go despite a 60% failure rate in NZ and major failures overseas.


  124. Dave Kennedy says:

    Oops, should read: “So HERE is what else I have gleaned from your comments:”


  125. Mr E says:

    Don’t show Robert your mistake, please.

    Also, your Green wetland fund was $2M per year to maintain wetlands, much of which was spent on the communities involved with the wetland.

    National are spending $10m per year to create new wetlands.
    You don’t think that is as good as your old policy?


  126. Let’s set a standard, E, and keep to it. We don’t want to go all flabba-jabba on the English language, do we. And let’s not kid ourselves, we all know where National’s ‘water’ funding is going, don’t we – irrigation schemes for farmers.


  127. Mr E says:

    National have been very clear about what the money is for.


    I’m not sure where your weird ideas come from.


  128. Willdwan says:

    Good Lord, I turn my back and the place is infested with Green freaks. I’m curious about the Jamie Whyte remark. Why do people who champion sodomites have such a problem with incest? Surely Whyte’s opinion is just standard libertarian – how consenting adults arrange their private lives is no business of the State.

    Unless it’s just a cheap shot which is understandable when you’re desperate.


  129. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, wetlands can be created in many areas that have little use for anything else, however I applaud any initiative like that, it’s just a pity that our existing Ramsar wetlands may not be saved first. I find it a little frustrating that National does direct some funding towards useful environment actions but the funding is a fraction to that being spent on increasing dairy intensification and reducing environmental protections and research.


  130. Dave Kennedy says:

    Wildwan, you are serious, aren’t you? 😛


  131. TraceyS says:

    “I’m not sure where your weird ideas come from.”

    From the steel trap of course; “Ol’ Steely”.

    Got to worry about someone who has a pet name for their own mind.


  132. Paranormal says:

    Wildwan – cheap shots seem to be stock in trade for DK rather than the substance of the issue. Of course when you are always sanctimoniously right in your own world then of course you must be Green.

    DK – as you regularly display – logic and critical thinking aren’t your strong suits.
    1) I called you that in particular, not teachers in general, [edited at Paranormal’s request] because of your board position on the NZEI. That august group of leftist anti’s that are all about retaining power, protecting dud teachers, and not about whats best for children. We all know just how undemocratic union politics are. Your treatment of anyone who dares disagree with your pronouncements is a fine exemplar.
    2) Please provide evidence JW condones incest. This is yet another of your political lies. But then again in your mind the end justifies the means doesn’t it. It just comes across as simple jealousy on your part that the greens will never be a functioning part of government and will never get to implement their policy, but Act have, three elections in a row now.
    3) More political lies. Charter schools overseas and in New Zealand are benefiting students who you and your vaunted one size fits all system have failed for decades. Overseas proof is overwhelming that Charters do better for students, particularly those failed by state provided schools.
    But then I prefer to read the ERO evidence rather than take your myopic, biased and politically unreliable word for it. They seem very happy with Charter Schools in New Zealand:

    You should accept more of Tracey’s assistance when it comes to those pesky statistics and maths thingys. There is not a 60% failure rate in New Zealand, thats just your dodgy highly politicised poor mathematics. Thankfully you’re not passing that on to students anymore.

    You should read the Stuff article in particular. The writer has bothered to do what you and your union buddies prefer not to do. Actually gone and read the overseas evidence.

    BTW RG @6.55, your logic is sadly astray as well. I will pull up both you and DK for your poorly thought out comments lacking in substance, evidence, and reality. The fact your comments are also aligned with green policy may just be a coincidence.


  133. Mr E says:

    What is the Government spending on “increasing dairy intensification”?
    Regarding your Ramsar comment. The question is – where is the best bang for your buck. New wetlands or exisiting ones. I suspect the answer is creating new ones.

    You seem to have a better grasp of Roberts weird remarks than me.
    I was thinking “Ol’ Steely” was a reference to his mouth. A bit like how some people refer to having a sharp tongue. I now guess I was wrong.

    When I was a kid O’l Steely was a neighbours possum trap that twice caught our pet dog (without significant harm). It is possibly the reason why I have made the connections I have?


  134. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, The $400 million set aside for new irrigation schemes tops any environmental spending: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/cropping/9923491/CPW-irrigation-funding-complete

    If what is killing our current wetlands continues, the new ones will go the same way. But I am impressed with how new wetlands are already being established through private initiatives and even being included in motorway developments.

    The Waituna is New Zealand’s largest wetland and the first to get a Ramsar classification, sadly it is only being kept alive through destroying it’s unique freshwater character.


  135. Mr E says:

    The irrigation is for dairy only? Or has specific dairy quotas for it’s use? Can you point to a direct link between future irrigation opportunities and dairy intensification?

    “killing our current wetlands continues”

    Dave, we have talked about this. Your evidence to suggest estuaries are declining is based on two 60*30m plots in one Southland estuary. Of much great importance is the fact that sediment and phosphate has been declining, and the obvious impacts on the estuaries will be positive.

    Even the Waituna – the bank erosion that was contributing up to 95% of the sediment in the lagoon has been improved. The government forked out to have it buttressed. Combining that with a couple of hours on a digger meant enormous benefits to the lagoon.

    In fact, we should be celebrating shouldn’t we. Point to a time in the past when such large improvements have been made to wetlands. I cant think of one – Good on you National Government. You’ve helped ensure improvements occur to our wetlands.


  136. TraceyS says:

    Mr E, I think he means his “steel trap mind” is going to devour my logic or maybe just tear it apart with its menacing, albeit dull, ‘teeth’. But I have no intention of getting caught up in the copious steel wool that surrounds the trap door. Metaphorically speaking of course. I have better things to do.


  137. Mr E says:

    A “steel trap mind”? Once an idea gets in there it won’t budge?

    A “steel trap mind”? That needs oiling and maintenance?

    A “steel trap mind”? Everything inside it is mushed?

    Oh my! Should I tremble in fear or snigger in despair?


  138. Trace – yours? “Bubbles”?

    “Snigger”, E?
    Your signature word.

    Mr sniggEr.



  139. Increased irrigation = increased dairying and increased intensification of stock farming = increased pressure on the already degraded environment.

    Simple logic.

    Denying such logic is Level One Achievement at the “JK School of Reality Denial”. Got that one on your wall, E?


  140. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, As I have already stated the Waituna wetland was accorded Ramsar status because of its size and the unique, largely freshwater nature of its lagoon. Artificially opening to the sea destroys the freshwater ecosystem that has developed over time.

    The only things to celebrate under this Government are the low hanging fruit it occasionally picks to support their greenwash.

    The concerns of our Environment Commissioner are largely ignored and our significant fresh water scientists are accused of being economic traitors if they speak out.

    We have actually dropped to 50th out of 132 countries for the progress we have made in protecting our freshwater systems over the last 10 years. This Government is trying to convince the public that being just alright in the management of the environment is acceptable. This is defeatist language and we wouldn’t accept this approach for the Allblacks and our environment is much more important.

    This Government is eroding environmental protections by deliberately limiting independent analysis, cutting the funding and staffing of DoC and reducing the protections contained in the RMA.

    The money spent on irrigation is most definitely largely to support the intensification of farming according to Nathan Guy, who wants it to support a 100% growth in agriculture exports over ten years. This is massive and environmentally unsustainable. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/invest-in-dairy/10089963/Dairy-farming-in-NZ-the-politicians-views

    Also there is more to be concerned about with the degradation of our ground water:

    The influence of human (land use) activities on groundwater quality is evident in the elevated nitrate concentrations observed across many of the more intensively farmed parts of the Southland Region.
    Analysis of temporal variability also shows significantly more sites exhibit statistically significant increases in major ion concentrations than show decreasing concentrations. This observation is
    interpreted to reflect the cumulative effect of ongoing land use intensification across much of the Southland Region which has accelerated in many areas over the last two decades.

    Click to access soe-groundwater-technical-report.pdf


  141. For decades, environmentalists pleaded with the farming community and its political representatives to recognise the value of wetlands and act accordingly. Finally, just as the wetland system is nearing total extinction in New Zealand, there is some movement from the people who for so long ignored the science and ruined most of the natural capital that is the wetland system. And we are supposed to applaud.
    Some might.


  142. Mr E says:

    “Artificially opening to the sea destroys the freshwater ecosystem that has developed over time”

    Temporarily opening the lagoon is considered by DOC (2003) as having the following advantages:

    “Probable benefits of allowing opening to reduce nutrient loadings”
    “Opening of the Lagoon is likely to be important to the recruitment of native species present in the Lagoon and wetland, all of whom undergo a marine migration as part of their life history”

    Low and behold it was opened last year and voila – what a nice relief it was. Long term openings like 1997-2000 are generally considered as bad, but short term openings are good.

    “fresh water scientists are accused of being economic traitors if they speak out.”

    Yep a consultant and the media called Mike Joy that, not the Government. And if you google it – Your blog is at the top of the list for repeating the label of economic traitor. That is hardly fault of the Government. Just the public, and you.

    I also noted you said ‘scientists’, plural. Who else? I bet you are just exaggerating now.

    “We have actually dropped to 50th out of 132 countries for the progress we have made in protecting our freshwater systems over the last 10 years”

    That index measures improvements – Ever heard of law of diminishing returns. It is easy to make dirty clean. It is hard to make clean cleaner. Staying number one for improvements gets harder and harder.

    “cutting the funding and staffing of DoC ”

    The Government cut funding for many government departments. Sensible management during a Global Financial Crisis don’t you think?. Your singling out of DOC simply appears to be a desperate attempt to create some issue that doesn’t exist.

    You’ve still not made a correlation between future irrigation and future dairy intensification. Recently RBG tried to suggest that the Dairy industry was in ruination and should be taxed. Now you are saying they will be growing and willing to fork out millions for irrigation infrastructure. You greens don’t seem to know if you are coming or going.

    But to clarify. The irrigation water is not specific as to how it can be used. If people can establish eel farms and afford the water, there is no reason why they couldn’t use it.

    I do find it highly ironic that you are moaning about wetlands and the government – and when the government wants to create lakes, aka sediment traps, aka wetland fringes – you moan again.

    Then again you are a fringe opposition politician. Perhaps I should learn to expect it.

    And I agree with you about Nitrate in Southland. I’m not to happy about it. And very disappointed at the councils ability to do anything about it. Recently they headed of into the hills to tackle a new rule on hill country development because of ‘hold the line’ concerns on phosphate. Bizarrely, as your report shows, phosphate has been improving for a decade. It was not too surprising to me when they came wandering back down with their tails between their legs. All in all it was a huge waste of time.

    Then there is the ‘big as a bus full of cows loophole’ dairy conversion rule, which hasn’t stopped a single dairy conversion to date, when that was the key objective. Again, not too surprising.

    ES has made a hash of managing N in my view. They seemed to listen to the public about the hill country rule. I wonder if they will about N too? Then again with Ol Steely at the helm, chances of that seem dim to me.

    What is happening in Southland is not typical of NZ, and hardly the responsibility of the NZ Government. They have already warned ES to get it together.
    You still are yet to answer my question around Nitrate in rivers from a National point of view:
    “53% of rivers are stable – not changing, lets put them aside
    21% are improving verses 26% declining.
    Is that significant deterioration?”


  143. TraceyS says:

    “Mind like a steel trap:
    Be very quick to understand something, as in Aunt Ida may be old, but she still has a mind like a steel trap. This simile likens the snapping shut of an animal trap to a quick mental grasp.”



    “Ol’ Steely” may indeed have some worn parts, Mr E, snapping shut too quick to catch everything being offered.


  144. Irrigation isn’t just for dairying, some farmers will take up eel farming

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    “But to clarify…”



  145. Mr E says:


  146. Ha! Foghorn Leghorn – favourite rooster, right there!

    E, you declare that we should support National because they are the democratically elected government, yet you disparage the regional council and her councillors – democratically elected all.


  147. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I also noted you said ‘scientists’, plural. Who else? I bet you are just exaggerating now.”

    Mr E, you obviously don’t check some of my links including the one from a science website that said:

    “It is not as if Mike Joy is a renegade among scientists, a lone voice in the freshwater science community. He shares the same concerns as many other freshwater scientists…you don’t have to look far to see that many of Dr Joy’s concerns are mirrored by his colleagues.”

    John Key claimed in BBC interview that he didn’t agree with mike Joy and that, like lawyers, he would find another with an opposite view. When challenged later on this he couldn’t name one.

    In terms of the traitor comment, you obviously didn’t read the Whale Oil post about him (National’s way of dealing with difficult people) and the heavy abuse he received, including suggestions that he should be shot. It is also interesting that none of Mike’s facts have been challenged.


    “But to clarify. The irrigation water is not specific as to how it can be used. If people can establish eel farms and afford the water, there is no reason why they couldn’t use it.”

    Of course you could say that, but that is largely spin, Nathan Guy was quite clear what the intentions were, 100% increase of agricultural production over 10 years and the majority will be dairying no doubt (although progress may be slowed because of the current prices).

    “The Government cut funding for many government departments. Sensible management during a Global Financial Crisis don’t you think?. Your singling out of DOC simply appears to be a desperate attempt to create some issue that doesn’t exist.”

    Mr E the global financial crisis ended well and truly in NZ by 2011 and spending in most Government departments has actually increased (the Prime Minister’s office by over 100%) especially the use of consultants. DoCs cuts have been done to limit their environmental advocacy and conservation work. There has been a deliberate strategy to remove DoCs knowledge base and research and hand conservation work to volunteers. DoCs science team working on the Waituna have been mostly wiped.

    When DoC was originally set up in 1987 the intent was very clear: “To protect natural and historic heritage and provide recreational opportunities. Nature was to be protected for its own sake and protected for New Zealanders and future generations to enjoy.”

    This admirable purpose no longer exists and has been replaced by “conservation leadership for a prosperous New Zealand”.

    No longer are our wild places to be protected in perpetuity for future generations but will be viewed for their potential to generate a short term economic return.

    When looking at the list of DoC’s new roles it is obviously no coincidence that “working with tourism operators and others running businesses on public conservation areas” precedes “Advocating for the conservation of natural and historic heritage.”
    “You still are yet to answer my question around Nitrate in rivers from a National point of view”

    Yes I have. The nitrate levels in our freshwater systems are mostly unacceptable and yet almost 80% are not improving or getting worse. The fact that over 25% are getting worse is a major cause for concern. Your take would be that 74% are remaining the same or improving, but that is only acceptable if the 53% that are stable are of an acceptable standard.


  148. Dave – the scientists you describe didn’t include E’s Nanna!
    E employs “Nanna science” when making his “everything’s coming up roses” view of the environment. You know, irrigation is for eel farmers, estuaries are clean enough to eat your dinner off – Nanna science.


  149. Mr E says:

    You are right – I don’t follow your self promoting links.

    So to clarify – Nobody else was called an economic traitor – Just Mike Joy. Your exaggeration is not true. No other scientists were called “economic traitors” and the Government was not involved.

    I’m not sure why it is so hard to dig a fair assessment out of you Dave. Perhaps this is why the Greens get a tough wrap on some blogs?

    “Of course you could say that, but that is largely spin”

    Largely spin? But it is true Dave, the water is not ear marked for Dairy. It’s called free markets Dave – National creates opportunities. Rather that moan about it, why don’t you Greens come up with a clever way of making money out of the water that benefits the environment. Why not employ BERL they might advise Swedes in Canterbury knowing their track record. Greens will only progress if they stop moaning and start coming up with clever ideas.

    It is up to Regional Councils and their Steely traps to ensure the water is used without environmental impact. Or don’t you trust O’l Steely. Think the leadership will get it all wrong? Like a significant number of Southlanders in the Quality of Life survey. Why such a distrust in Local Government?

    “There has been a deliberate strategy to remove DOCs knowledge base and research and hand conservation work to volunteers”

    Evidence please. Or are you trying to create fact less rumors?

    DOCs response to less money (in a speech titled “How the global financial crisis has impacted on conservation”ironically):

    “First, because we know the cost of our core work – savings all the species and restoring the health of the places we have a stewardship role over – is well beyond the resource we could ever realistically expect from the public purse. So that has drawn us to partner with others – iwi, private landowners, local government, community groups and most contentiously, business – to achieve more for conservation than we can achieve on our own. ”

    Oh well – Sounds like they should have had less money long ago, to encourage them to partner with others. They must have been too flushed with cash to consider it?

    “nitrate levels in our freshwater systems are mostly unacceptable”
    Unacceptable? What does that mean? Unacceptable to who and what?

    I will remind you your original statement “waterways and estuaries are degrading”. You were talking about trends, now you want to talk about state. I am happy enough to do that, but I tend to think you are deflecting. We should focus on trend which is the origin of your statement.

    So you think that 21% improving verses 26% declining is a significant deterioration? Is that true? Stop deflecting. You really only have 3 options – Yes, No or I’m not sure. Something tells me you will try and deflect again.


  150. Mr E says:

    “declare that we should support National because they are the democratically elected government”

    Where? Is that a lie Robert? Without evidence I will consider it so.

    “Increased irrigation = increased dairying and increased intensification of stock farming = increased pressure on the already degraded environment.”

    Look out – Robert is crystal balling again. Last time he did it – Greens got Gazumped! This time? Who is willing to place bets?

    Also I love it when a Councillor undermines local Government, who are supposed to stop “increased pressure on the already degraded environment.”
    What’s wrong with you Robert? Hands tied? Lacking leadership? Or is O’l Steely rusted shut?

    Councillors that see their jobs as pointless really make me wonder.


  151. “Lacking leadership”?
    Attacking Mz Timmz again, E?
    Leave her be, she’s suffered enough already.
    You must be rubbing your hands with glee, hee hee hee!, E, when you attack me for being a councillor, knowing that you are safe from any return-criticism, hidden as you are under the skirts of sneaky, yellow-striped anonymity, your slippery little fake-name, “Mr E, Mr sniggEr, Mr Enonymous, whatEver. It’s rare for me to interact with spineless hide-behinds and I find it a little yucky but I know from past experience that you lack the cojones to stand behind your claims and own your opinions in the way that I do.
    As for my criticising my own council, of course I do, E, that’s my role, supported strongly by my constituents to the extent of being comfortably re-elected after three years of challenging every undemocratic action taken by those councillors who serve their industry and themselves rather than the people of Southland and the environment we are charged with protecting.

    “I love it when a Councillor undermines local Government…”
    Really, Mr sniggEr?
    You love it?
    How confused your messages are.


  152. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you are spinning so hard I’m sure you must have fallen on the floor with dizziness by now. You refuse to read my evidence and links and stick rigidly to your flawed arguments. I will let others read our exchanges and the evidence I have put forward and let them judge. I think I have gone as far as I can without repeating myself 😉

    By the way you need to have a chat with Lou Sanson the recently appointed Director General of DoC about the department’s situation.


  153. Mike says:

    “I will let others read our exchanges and the evidence I have put forward and let them judge.”
    You perhaps flatter yourself as to your readership numbers. Your ponderous prose would be attractive to your adoring family only,
    and offer limited appeal to rational people.
    “I think I have gone as far as I can without repeating myself”
    Again let us pause and give thanks for small mercies.


  154. Mr E says:


    “Attacking Mz Timmz again, E?”

    Nope. In cased you didn’t notice, I asked a question, infact several. The question mark is an obvious subtle statement of that. In case you didn’t notice.
    And for the record, I wasn’t referring to Timms. Again, it is you who seems to want to introduce Timms to the fray.

    “attack me for being a councillor”

    What? Where? I’m quite happy you are a councillor. It is a great reminder of democracy in action. It is your comments as a councillor that concern me. Where you have suggested more irrigation = more environmental degradation. Such a suggestion seems to ignore the fact that it is Local Governments role to ensure activities don’t unnecessarily impact the environment. And such suggestions make me wonder how effective councils can be.
    Has the Governments support of irrigation got your gazumped Robert? Are you about to pack it in and give up? Or do you have an important role in making sure the opportunity is utilised to the benefit of the community?

    If the later is the answer, you might want to give Dave a nudge and remind him not to worry.

    As for your constant moaning about non de plumes, after you asked me to adopt one, that is, well, trite.


  155. Mr E says:

    As expected, like so many other politicians straight questions get ignored. Deflected.

    “By the way you need to have a chat with Lou Sanson the recently appointed Director General of DoC about the department’s situation”

    Why? Deflection again? Have nothing? You’ll note that the quote I provided was from Director General Al Morrison. And he seems to indicate, if they partner, it is all in hand. Sounds like a great outcome to me. NZ partnering in environmental concerns/opportunities. What a relief!


  156. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I’m sure others will see through your tactic of ignoring my responses or refusing to read my links and then claim I haven’t responded. You are also very good at ignoring a good part of my argument and latching on to a minor element as though it is the most important.

    At the same time you provide little support or evidence for your own views. Even the quote from Al Morrison only proves that DoC will always be short of the funds needed to do the work they are entrusted with and partnerships are necessary. But this is not an excuse to wipe a huge amount of the Department’s funding and capacity and shift existing roles to volunteers, this is disingenuous in the extreme.

    With the Waituna Lagoon, you insist that the main problem is bank erosion and that this has been largely managed. You also claim the the flushing out of the lagoon is saving it. This is just simplistic nonsense as there is much more to the Waituna’s problems than bank erosion and every time you open the lagoon to the sea it loses its unique fresh water values.

    You imply that Mike Joy is a lone voice and are silent when I produce evidence otherwise.

    At least you appear share my concern about increasing nitrate levels.


  157. E – your comments are so off-topic that I’m surprised Ele hasn’t deleted them.
    Stick to the topic, old chum, and you’ll be better received. Stick to real science too, and those of us who always use it will be able to communicate better with you. Your “Nanna science” is nice, but not very substantial. I do agree about bank erosion though, and much of the responsibility for that must rest with the council or catchment people. Still, if you are blaming them for decisions made decades ago, you’ll be wanting to blame equally the farmers for decisions they made back then.


  158. Mr E says:

    “refusing to read my links”

    Only links to your own blog Dave. Which I think is a cheap trick to promote visitation numbers to your own site. If you have an opinion there, you can restate it here. Nobody is stopping you. And I have told you before, I wont follow those links.

    Examples of “latching on to a minor element” please.

    “you provide little support or evidence for your own views”
    That is your opinion Dave. My opinion is that I have done a pretty good job of providing solid evidence. Others here appear to have supported that view. I think it is you that is provided weak evidence. You two 60m*30m plots representing NZs estuaries is classic example.

    “With the Waituna Lagoon, you insist that the main problem is bank erosion”

    Bank Erosion and creek cleaning is what the science says:

    Prior to that research a Scientist suggested bank erosion was a significant problem. ES jumped on a bus and saw it for their own eyes. Ask Robert. I think he saw it. The result was bank buttressing – Government and ES funded.

    This is what MPI say about the project:

    “Project cost: $1.6 million
    Crown funding: $785,000
    Location: Waituna Lagoon, Southland
    Parties: Southland Regional Council, Dairy NZ, Department of Conservation, Federated Farmers, Fert Research, Southland District Council.
    Iwi: Te Ao Marama Inc.
    Project purpose: To restore the water quality of the Waituna Lagoon to a level sufficient to maintain a healthy seagrass dominated ecosystem.”

    “The project continues largely as planned with substantial bank reconstruction and rock armouring (which protects the bank from being eroded) being undertaken in late 2013 and early 2014. As at May 2014 over 5.6 kilometres of bank has been reconstructed. While the overall health of the lagoon remains of concern, the current project interventions of managed openings of the lagoon and sediment reduction appear to be preventing the lagoon from ‘flipping’.

    Key results:
    In late January 2014 work began on constructing a wetland pond below an existing duck pond. This pond has been designed by NIWA in conjunction with Dairy NZ and Environment Southland. It demonstrates a cost effective solution to managing and reducing nutrient leaching in an area showing relatively high levels of nutrients.”

    “You also claim the the flushing out of the lagoon is saving it.”

    Editorial Southland times.
    “At last, some good news about Waituna Lagoon. One swallow doesn’t make a spring but the finding by Environment Southland scientists that two plants that are key indicators of the health of the lagoon are on the rise is definitely cause for hope. ”

    “One way to flush the nutrients out of the lagoon is to open it to the sea, and this method has been used repeatedly over the years, both officially and unofficially. But it brings its own problems – leaving the opening in place for too long means the lagoon gets excessively salty, which knocks the ruppia. The sea grass stocks are also adversely affected by the increased salinity, sediment entering the lagoon and suffocating the plants, and low water clarity.

    This is exactly what happened in 2010-11, when the lagoon was open to the sea for the whole summer. Environment Southland trialled a shorter opening time this summer and a different location for the breach, and both the ruppia and the sea grass have responded well to the change. ”

    Did you get that Dave – the opening risk to the lagoon has occurred with long term openings affecting rupia and sea grass. The latest opening was short term and the plants responded well.
    Sediment has been dealt to with 5.6km of bank stability and a sediment capture pond.

    “You imply that Mike Joy is a lone voice”
    No I didn’t. Evidence or I will consider that a lie.

    “At least you appear share my concern about increasing nitrate levels”

    Keep thinking N Dave. One day we might get you onto a topic you can make a difference too. Although I doubt Mike will agree.


  159. E – to hide-bound to flick to a post from a man you are debating with?
    If Dave was to paste an entire post from his blog here, so that His Majesty “E” could read it, Ele would be chastising him left, right and centre.
    Don’t be such a lemon-sucking pucker-up. You expect anyone (anyone?) reading your comments to accept that an editorial from The Southland Times is valid evidence, but you’re to knicker-twisted to visit Local Bodies to read a relevant post written by a man who treats you with far, far to much respect, imho.


  160. jabba says:

    “but you’re to knicker-twisted”
    “far to much respect, imho”
    ummm, I mean Ummm .. o dear


  161. Mr E says:

    O’l Steely has come out to play. Clanging away with all sorts of machinations.

    You’re saying that the Editor doesn’t have a valid opinion? Or is it that Ruppia and Sea grass didn’t tolerated the brief opening. Or is it that the opening didn’t help? Which is it Robert?

    You seem to have simply discounted the opinion, because of who it is. Is that fair?


  162. I do understand, E, why it is you are too timid to read Dave’s blog – you’d be out of your depth, way over your head. Best you paddle about in these safe, wees-warm shallows where your other fake-named swim-buddies can lift your chin out of the water if you wander in too deep. Watch out though! Climate change and warming oceans means jellyfish will soon be everywhere, spoiling your diddling-about. And don’t forget to pull on your knotted handkerchief! The sun’s awfully hot right now and a pink pate like yours will soon sizzle!


  163. jabba says:

    tHat’s better bOb ..you got the correct number of o’s this time .. well done but can you try harder in future?


  164. Mr E says:

    I think you are probably right when it comes to Dave’s opinion, he is the expert. Nobody else knows his opinion like him. Such is the power of his opinionatedness, that relatively few people ever comment over there (or so I’m told).
    But of course that is not the reason I don’t comment there. I’m censored out of your’s and Dave’s blog. Restricted from commenting in the form I chose. Of course Ele in her kindness welcomes me here.

    Do you Robert? Comment at Dave’s enthusiastically? Or is it below the powers of O’l Steely? Or perhaps you are censored out of there too?

    Today is a scorcher. I have adorned an oil skin hat to keep my skin burn free, so fear not for me. The rest of me is melanin rich and relativity immune to the potential damage. Although precautions are taken on occasions.
    My fruit and vege is stretching out the top of my tunnel house, zucchini ever expanding and potatoes finally coming due in my large potatoe patches.
    My capsicum is still slow and I am confident I have let it down, despite the slow season.


  165. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E,

    What about the nitrogen and phosphorus loads in the lagoon, sediment isn’t the only issue?

    Click to access potential-nitrogen-and-phosphorus-losses-from-example-farms-in-the-waituna-catchment.pdf

    The opening of the lagoon is only a short term solution.

    I take the Mike Joy comment back because, although he has the support of other scientists, he has a higher media profile and cops most of the attacks.

    Your arrogance regarding my own posts is a little concerning, I don’t care if you ignore my own comments, it is the links I provide to support them that I value. If I provide more than three links in a comment here, it goes into moderation.


  166. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, are you saying that you are less opinionated than me?

    I never claim to be an expert, it is only yourself who has made such claims in the past 😉


  167. How I wish Mr E was more like Eric Roy. Eric’s a man who fronts-up, doesn’t hide behind a silly name and owns his views. Eric’s the kind of Nat I admire. I think Eric deserved to be Speaker of the House. He’d have been infinitely better than the present clown. The National Party screwed Eric. I empathise with that.


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