Drought reinforces need for storage

We woke to mizzle – a misty drizzle – on Tuesday morning.

Holiday-makers wouldn’t have been pleased but we were delighted.

However, by mid-morning the sky had cleared and temperatures were rising.

We haven’t had a decent rain since July and it’s got all the signs of the droughts which in North Otago every few years.

Irrigation schemes using water from the Waitaki River have 99% reliability but takes from the Kakanui River are restricted and will stop altogether if the weather doesn’t break soon.

Further north in South Canterbury it’s drier still.

Less snow melt put less water in the Opuha Dam in spring and those irrigating from it are now on restrictions.

Friends near Waimate ran out of stock water weeks ago and the tanker which comes to collect their milk brings water for them.

There is nothing new about drought but the recurrence reinforces the need for more water storage:

Water restrictions for irrigating farmers look set to follow a similar pattern to the 2012-13 summer, says IrrigationNZ, when drought conditions in the North and South Island wiped more than $1billion dollars from the NZ economy.

“This summer once again highlights the need to fast track alpine-fed* water storage infrastructure in both the South and North Islands. Despite the focus upon irrigation development over the past five years, New Zealand has made very limited progress in this space,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis. “We have modernised and improved our irrigation distribution systems but have failed to invest in alpine water storage to our detriment.”

(*Alpine-fed water storage refers to dams and water storage lakes that are replenished by rainfall and snowmelt within our alpine environments in contrast to streams and rivers that are fed by foothills rainfall. Alpine rainfall is more consistent and plentiful than foothills and plains rainfall, hence its suitability to provide reliable water supply).

‘We’re losing sight of the prize that reliable alpine-fed irrigation water storage could bring to both the environment and economy. Certainty of water supply allows investment in SMART irrigation technologies that greatly improve nutrient management and production. There are also direct benefits from storage including the augmentation of summer river flows or being able to release flushing flows that cleanse rivers of summer algal growth,” says Mr Curtis.

Irrigation restrictions are now widespread in Canterbury and Otago, with Hawke’s Bay dry but maintaining flows.

One of the worst hit areas is South Canterbury with the Opuha Dam, a foothill-fed river catchment, facing unprecedented water shortages. Opuha’s lake level is of major concern, says Opuha Water Supply Ltd CEO Tony McCormick. “Our situation and outlook have not improved and the lake level continues to drop steadily. Today the lake is at 31% full. We are currently on 25% irrigation restrictions and expect to move to 50% restrictions next week when the lake hits another ‘trigger’ level of 25% full. Our current predictions suggest that the lake could be fully depleted by the end of February.”

Mr McCormick says while the initial problem was a lack of stored water, the situation is now being compounded by very dry conditions being experienced across the South Canterbury region.

The Ashburton River is on full restriction which has forced the Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Company to place shareholders on 85% allocation. However the Rangitata River is currently flowing at a healthy level due to good rainfall in the alps over the New Year, says Jess Dargue, ALIC scheme manager.

While some North Canterbury rivers are on restriction, Amuri Irrigation Limited CEO Andrew Barton says both the Waiau and Hurunui, both alpine rivers, are maintaining flows so scheme restrictions look unlikely in the near future.

While there are no restrictions on major irrigation schemes in the Lower Waitaki at the moment, all fed by the Waitaki River, an alpine river with storages built for hydropower, Elizabeth Soal, Policy Manager of the Waitaki Irrigators Collective says partial restrictions affecting independent irrigators are in effect on hill-fed tributary rivers including the Hakataramea, the Maerewhenua and the Awakino. There are also restrictions (some full restrictions) on some of the South Canterbury Coastal streams and waterways, including parts of the Waihao River, Buchanans Creek and the Sir Charles Creek.

In Otago, supplementary permits off the Kakanui River have ceased with the first minimum flow alert being active, and the river is approaching its absolute minimum flow, which would mean full restrictions kick-in.

Parts of North Otago are extremely dry, with the area receiving a third of the historical average rainfall since August.

“For us down here, it’s much, much drier than in 2012-13. Some are saying it’s the driest it’s been in ten years, so the restrictions will bite even harder,” says Elizabeth Soal.

While the Hawke’s Bay is dry, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Group Manager Resource Management Iain Maxwell, says that’s not unexpected for the region at this time of the year and irrigation water availability is being maintained.

“River flows are holding well and there are no irrigation bans on the main rivers so farmers are still able to irrigate,” he says.

Drought is costly in financial and human terms. It also degrades water quality, threatens water life and can lead to soil erosion.

Drought is a fact of life for farming on the east coast but the consequences of it would be minimised with more storage to capture the excess at times of high flow for use for farming and maintaining minimum flows in water ways during droughts.

201 Responses to Drought reinforces need for storage

  1. Gary Kircher says:

    Yes, after 3 – 4 years of reasonable rainfall, the drought is a real reminder to us all in the Waitaki District of just how bad it can get without irrigation! Thankfully we now have a reasonable amount of irrigated farmland, with more on its way, to keep the economy in better condition!


  2. Drought reinforces the need to act on climate change.


  3. “There is no better use for alpine rainfall, than for irrigating farms.”

    Stage Two paper, JKSRD.


  4. Paranormal says:

    Drought reinforces the realisation that agricultural plains to the east of the great divide in a normal year with prevailing westerlies will be in a rain shadow.


  5. Spoke on RadioLive this morning about the dry conditions and how climate change is responsible and how we humans have driven that. I could hear the listeners whole-heartedly agreeing. Getting very, very dry in places. Big heat-wave expected right across the country on the weekend. You’ll be able to damp-down your lignite burner, Paranormal, and take your 4WD out for a long run with the air conditioner turned right up to the “Destroy Planet” setting. Hydrocarbon fuel is cheap at the moment, proving that Peak Oil was a nonsense (it’ll never rocket up in price again, eh. These are the Golden Years for Growth and Progress) So, enjoy, Paranormal! Debilitating and catastrophic droughts across the globe? Nah! Warmist’s Dream, eh!


  6. TraceyS says:

    The maps here seem to be suggesting that the North Otago climate and surrounding areas are predicted to get wetter in coming decades.

    And climate models, as we know from Dave Kennedy’s advice, are thought to be often very conservative. A 2.5% increase could actually pan out to be 25%. This is because scientists are cautious sorts of people and don’t like scaring others unnecessarily.

    Climate change reinforces the need to act on positive information as well as negative.


  7. Bored and looking for something to do?
    Enter the “Bubblesphere” @ bubbles.org
    Hours and hours of mindless fun and frivolity for all.


  8. TraceyS says:

    The declining price of oil is clearly affecting “ol’ steely”…or is it just the heat and dry of summer?

    The above post is about North Otago; an area which is expected to get wetter on average but also experience two to four times as many droughts.

    Every region which is able to should be expected to shore up the sustainability of itself before trying to help the rest of the world. Regions like North Otago can do this by investing in irrigation to make the most of the extra precipitation and sunshine and to ease, wherever possible, the effect of the very dry periods. Other areas might have their natural opportunities in the capture of wind or solar resources.

    This is human nature, common sense. North Otago can do little on the world scene but can do much to help its own wellbeing. Any large-scale sustainability developments will require fossil fuels, therefore, I hope that oil drops even more to facilitate this.


  9. TraceyS says:

    So you are expecting a dry year “…year-in-year-out, now, from here on in…”, Robert. Do you mean every year…forever? That’s what I heard.

    But this is not what the climate predictions say for your region. Looks like a 5-7.5% increase in precipitation and you know that’s probably conservative.

    If not your region, which one(s) were you speaking to on the radio? North Otago? Were they the ones nodding in agreement?

    Lawn clippings are fine mulch for the home-gardener but a bit of an undertaking on anything over quarter of an acre. And do you really see farmers growing cereal crops to slash down as mulch to withhold soil moisture? What are your suggestions applicable for the poor farmers affect by drought?

    How about accepting that irrigation is a good plan for some areas.


  10. TraceyS says:



  11. Tracey – thoughts bubbling up, eh! This is as exciting as when I had my first drink of fizzy – Queen’s Toast, from memory and what an effervescent experience that was!
    I’m fizzing too, that you listened to my brief chat with Tony this morning. You’ll have caught my expressions of sympathy for the farmers, of course, and my plug for the AGW accepters. Yes, my area will have more rain, according to predictions. Other areas are not to be so lucky, it seems. When asked about lawn-clippings, I had to chuckle (off air) given I have no lawn to clip. I did my best with the on-the-spot questions and the tiny time-slot before the news. My suggestion were for the home-gardener, as requested by the programme manager, John, lovely man, who rings pre-broadcast. I have sound advice on that front, I believe; plant perennials, water to tempt their roots deep, etc. I have advice for farmers too. If you’d like to hear what I reckon, I’d be happy to oblige. My suggestions are for long-term, sustainable farming, not band-aids for farmers caught out by predictable drought. Irrigation is a desperation-move, in my view, and one that has historically ended badly for societies and environments. Mechanical solutions go that way, generally. Think of Mr E’s eroding banks and the carving-out and straightening of rivers and streams done in the name of farming, then think of irrigation. Same mistakes, made over and over.
    I have more, much more. You wanna hear it?


  12. TraceyS says:

    “Mechanical solutions go that way, generally…”

    Are most sustainable technologies (wind, solar etc) not also mechanical?

    “Same mistakes, made over and over…”

    Your words, not mine.


  13. Paranormal says:

    Keep that global warming coming.

    This from NIWA: “NIWA’s Annual Climate Summary, released today, shows 2014 was generally a mild year with near normal rainfall and near average temperatures for most of the country.”

    “An unusually cold January and warmer June in 2014 did little to skew what was otherwise an unremarkable year for the country’s weather.

    The annual climate summary by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research – NIWA – says the average temperature nationally was 12.8 degrees, down from 13.4 in 2013.”


  14. No, Tracey, most “sustainable technologies” are not mechanical. A willow tree is sustainable, and a technology, if you accept that a stick used by a bird to poke and collect ants from their nest is technology (as I do). Thought can be technology too, and when willows and thoughts are combined to create feed for stock during drought, then you have non-mechanical technology that is sustainable. There are legions of other examples I could give, where plants and ideas combine to provide humans with clever, sustainable ways to manage their/our world and manage it much better than mechanical technologies can and have. Compacted soil? Sow daikon seeds and watch the huge roots break up and aerate that soil – no diesel required, no back-breaking shovelling either. In my view, plants are the most powerful technology we humans have available to us, when used thoughtfully/intelligently.
    Tracey, for a laugh, might I suggest you read Dave’s post at The Standard, or rather, read the comments below. I don’t post or comment there, but somehow got woven into the comments section. It’s about localising food. You might find it entertaining, as I did.
    Once you have taken a peek (no need to admit to it here), I’d like to hear your thoughts about my plants-are-technology ideas, and I promise I’ll not mention bubbles.


  15. “Keep that global warming coming”

    The cry of the Unashamed Loon.


  16. Paranormal says:

    Let me expand for you RG. We were told, by you and others of DK’s favoured institutions that by this stage in the 21st century the world would be in climate created chaos.

    Rising sea levels, well they haven’t. Ice free arctic, isn’t. We’ve had one of our best growing seasons and 2014 NIWA said NZ’s weather was “mild” and “unremarkable”. Sorry Henny Penny, if this is Gorebull Warmening, ie. normality, then lets have some more of it.

    And here we’re told (by you of course) that you were above tawdry name calling RG. Do you have a middle name, and does it start with a capital H?


  17. JC says:

    Actually Paranormal you are acting like a denier..

    If you extend a lineal graph of the temp anomaly between 2013 to 2014 NZ will experience a 6C drop in temp by 2025!

    Better add an ice axe to you equipment real soon.



  18. Glaciers in NZ, JC, glaciers. I’d love to read your comments about those. Yours too, Paranormal.
    Second thoughts, nah. You’d both deny the reality of our shrinking glaciers, fire off some hackneyed insult or other then resume your head in the sand position, as if nothing out of the ordinary had been mentioned. NZ glaciers, shrinking, out of the ordinary.


  19. JC says:

    Ah RG,

    The glaciers and humans of Dunedin are doomed. Your temps are rising at 0.62C per century.. in 100 years your average temp will rise to 11.2C and your grandchildren will cook.. move North now before its too late!

    Click to access Dunedin_CompositeTemperatureSeries_13Dec2010_FINAL.pdf



  20. So, JC, you’ve determined that the glaciers of New Zealand are not shrinking at a rate that has the glaciologists worried?
    You too, it seems, are able to deny reality with ease. Seems to be a right-wing characteristic, an infection that comes from the head.


  21. Paranormal says:

    Glaciers RG? Sorry but no amount of taxation will save them.

    But in the real world there is no problem with Glaciers, if you understand how they work that is, Have a read of: http://www.foxguides.co.nz/our-location/fox-and-franz-josef-glaciers

    The current retreat is purely due to a lower level of snowfall some years ago, which is all part of the normal seasonal variation. We will see them start to advance as a result of the recent heavier snowfalls when the compacted snow from those heavier snowfall years reaches the foot of the glacier.


  22. I didn’t mention tax. You brought that up, like a fur-ball sticking in your throat.
    So, you’ve cleverly determined that the NZ glaciologists, despite being expert in their field of science, are wrong to be deeply concerned about the glaciers. They should be reassured by Paranormal, commenter on Homepaddock, who says, Nothing to see here. Move along.”

    I see.


  23. JC says:


    You *know* that NZ had a Medieval Warm period when temps were as much as 0.75C above the present warm period, thats confirmed in stalagmites and tree rings


    I’ll add another “A Descriptive Atlas of New Zealand (1960) Page 23 put out by the NZ Govt.

    You *know* that NZ glaciers have been in general retreat for thousands of years albeit they were even further back 6000 years ago when it was warmer than today and that they have occasionally advanced eg the Little Ice Age and in the 1990s.

    These periods of greater warmth and cold and glacier advance and retreat precede Man’s intervention and are entirely natural. Why then should we be concerned with a continuation of this natural interglacial cycle?

    You seem to be trying to base an argument on an infinitesimal slice of time that has produced a small amount of warming that we know has happened before in the last 1000 years and isn’t even as much as then.
    Further we know that such warming periods preceded the Medieval Warm Period as well.. about every 1000 years to give us the Roman Warm Period and the Minoan Warm Period and Man and CO2 were certainly not responsible for those.

    Its likely modern Man has had some influence on CO2 and climate but no one is too sure how much but probably pretty minor compared to the great natural forces of volcanos etc. In fact NASA has just produced a map for our region showing CO2/methane hotspots and either heavy industry in E Timor, Fiji and some blob in the Pacific is bigger than we thought or volcanoes are pretty dominant compared to Aussies and NZers.


    Those are some of the reasons why the ongoing UN Global Survey of 7 million people still rate climate change bottom of their 16 concerns.




  24. robertguyton says:

    Firing a mass of words at the issue of our rapidly dwindling glaciers shows you cannot accept the simple and compelling fact that our glaciologists are concerned. You are not, it seems, but they are. Their level of expertise vastly outweighs yours and so, sensible man that I am, I back them over you. In any case, your claim that “Its likely modern Man has had some influence on CO2 and climate but no one is too sure how much but probably pretty minor compared to the great natural forces of volcanos etc.” is patently nonsense and provably so. Have you not compared the figures that show the annual man-made green house gas contribution compared to that of volcanoes?
    For goodness sakes man, get real!
    “Pretty minor”?
    Give me strength.


  25. robertguyton says:

    Unusual number of UK flowers bloom

    “Botanists have been stunned by the results of their annual hunt for plants in flower on New Year’s Day.

    They say according to textbooks there should be between 20 and 30 species in flower. This year there were 368 in bloom.

    It raises further questions about the effects of climate change during the UK’s warmest year on record.

    “This is extraordinary,” said Tim Rich, who started the New Year’s plant hunt for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland.

    “Fifty years ago people looking for plants in flower at the start of the year found 20 species. This year the total has amazed us – we are stunned. “


  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Those are some of the reasons why the ongoing UN Global Survey of 7 million people still rate climate change bottom of their 16 concerns.”

    JC, our poor diet is leading to an expensive diabetes crisis and yet when health officials tried to block the establishment of another McDonalds outlet in Invercargill it met with opposition from the local residents who wanted it. As Gareth Morgan has identified, more people are eating fast and processed food as their main diet and it is slowly killing us. The same happened with tobacco, it took years to convince people of the harmful effects of smoking despite widespread suffering and similar is happening with alcohol. The industry employ Cameron Slater to discredit those who want tighter regulations on the advertising and sale of alcohol.

    Now we have climate change where the fossil fuel industry has successfully sucked ordinary people like yourself into doubting the bulk of the science. I just went to see one of the Tesla cars that is traveling the length of New Zealand and is now in Invercargill. Despite its success and reliability it has apparently been banned (according to the driver) from sale in some states because of the threat it poses to the oil industry.

    All the myths you present have been effectively countered and yet they keep being repeated: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php


  27. Paranormal says:

    DK, have you ever considered the increasing rate of diabetes might be the result of nutritionists getting the food pyramid all wrong?

    “our poor diet” – here I assume you are talking about yourself again and extrapolating that for all of NZ.


  28. Ray says:

    Despite its success and reliability it has apparently been banned (according to the driver) from sale in some states because of the threat it poses to the oil industry.
    Once again you prove what a shallow and naive alarmist you really are Mr Kennedy. Trying to get the gullible to swallow total bull***t to advance you lost causes.
    The ban on sale of Tesla in some states merely clarifies existing law not to allow direct manufacturer-to-consumer retail sales.
    Nothing to do with that “evil’ oil industry.


  29. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ray, you are right. I read more into what the driver told me than I should have. In this case the oil industry isn’t directly implicated so I will retract that statement:


  30. Mr E says:

    Did you Internet check at rumor before spreading it, noting that you checked other Teslar details?
    The citing of the rumours source makes me wonder if you did but chose to ignore the facts? Or is it simply a case of being gullible to anything anti oil?


  31. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, according to the Parliamentary inquiry into the growing problem of obesity and type two diabetes the cause is:
    “The fundamental cause of the rapid rise in obesity is an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Excessive food intake is the major cause, but there are multiple risk factors for obesity which interact to create an environment where unhealthy food is more visible, more readily available, and far more heavily promoted than healthy food. As a result less healthy choices have become the easy choices.”

    You are probably referring to the Atkins diet that encourages the consumption of protein and fat over carbohydrate, but I don’t think that you can just lay the blame on the food pyramid, many people would be better off eating a balanced diet according to that anyway.

    Eating more fruit and vegetables and less carbs would make a huge difference, the answer isn’t eating more animal fats and protein.



  32. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E you are quite right, I should have checked before I posted, I generally do. However there is a history here that you may not be aware of:



  33. Mr E says:

    Tell me again Dave why you drive a relatively old Toyota?
    Sensible thinking has been the electric cars nemesis.
    Unless of course you are gullible for anything anti oil.


  34. TraceyS says:

    Electric cars probably are a minor risk to the oil industry if they really take off. This could lead to petrol consumption falling relative to supply, and the price of oil dropping, as it is presently.

    However, this is seen as an opportunity by some. Cheaper oil will drive increased consumption elsewhere – generally by users who do not have a viable alternative to oil-based fuel. This could lead to increased consumption by air travel, trucking of goods, construction and development, farming, electricity production, recreation use, plastic junk manufacture and so on.

    Avoiding this scenario is very likely the reason behind the green opposition to any further exploration for oil reserves. Cut the consumption and supply together and there is not such a problem.

    Negative effects of cheaper oil can be evidenced here, where “Earnscleugh Station owner Alistair Campbell said the price drop had a different impact on his farm than on other fuel consumers.

    ”Probably, as a merino wool-producing property, while cheaper to run our vehicles, it’s also cheaper for our competitors to make synthetic materials.”


    So electric cars might just end up giving us more synthetic fibres in our clothes, more plastic carpet in our homes, more junk in our tips, more people driving cars fueled by electricity to airports to fly around in planes (and Dave will probably be one). It may also move us faster towards viable technologies to replace oil such as this microbe which “…can efficiently convert waste gases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into bio ethanol, and also produces a chemical building block known as 2,3-butanediol.”

    So electric cars are probably not all bad. But I’d say be careful what you wish for though.


  35. TraceyS says:

    Mr E, electric cars are not anti-oil. I’d say they’re pro-oil because their mass uptake would make oil cheaper for the 60% of other uses. That will fuel growth (unless supply is artificially or naturally limited).

    That’s why greens are anti-growth. They need to curb the other uses to make it all work.

    Cheap plane rides to Europe will be irresistible for some. Very hard to curb.


  36. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you do like shifting discussions to a personal level and as I have been open about my transport it would be interesting to know how you manage your own. What do you drive and do you ever ride a bicycle?

    The first time that I have driven my Toyota for two weeks was today when I took my 85 year old dad to see the Tesla. i generally use my bikes around town.

    When I went on my OE in the 80s I did fly initially but then never owned or drove a car for two years. I cycled the length of the European Alps, the High Tatras and across Scandinavia. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/confessions-of-green-speed-addict.html


  37. Mr E says:

    I was giving you points for your common sense. Keeping an old inefficient car is likely a better use of resources that buying new electric. I’m sure you have figured this out.
    Are you offended by my support of your action? Why? Because it makes the point electric cars fail the sensible test? A test you apply to every day living?

    I have various modes of transport. The oldest 1956 which is used daily at the moment. The newest 2014 deisel (one of the most efficient in its class).
    I do tend to rebuild rather than replace. But that is more hobby driven that morally driven.
    I have a push bike. It has off road and road tyres that I swap depending on location of ride. I think it is more sensible than owning multiple bikes.
    I’d ride my bike more, but injury and surgery, pretty much put a halt to that. I can still ride but there are consequences.


  38. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ah, Mr E, there will be a point when my sentimental attachment to my trusty old Toyota will reach a natural conclusion and I will be looking to replace it with something within my price range. I would hope that the next generation of car that I can choose from will be similar to the Tesla.

    You appear to have multiple motor vehicles but only one bicycle. You remind me of a character in Spike Milligan’s ‘Puckgoon’ who owned one pair of shoes and painted them black for funerals, brown for everyday and white for playing cricket. My road bike was for when I competed in the Coast to Coast and it would hardly do just to swap the tires on my mountain bike (which is a Bauer I bought second hand over 20 years ago) to compete. I have an ordinary commuter bike for around town, and to tow my bike trailer, and my folding bike to use instead of a taxi when I have to travel to meetings around the country.


  39. Dave Kennedy says:

    As for your injury, my commiserations, I too have an injury that put paid to my running career and limits my cycling to shorter journeys that I once did.


  40. Dave Kennedy says:

    …’than’ I once did. You may be interested in this post no political intent, so quite safe to read without fear of corruption: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2011/05/value-of-stuff.html
    And this does have a political element, so read it if your dare 😉 http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/new-zealand-becoming-banana-republic.html


  41. Dave Kennedy says:

    oops..’you dare’…long day.


  42. Mr E says:


    Go to your bike shop. Ask for specialised, fat boy tires for your Bauer. $60 for a set? 10minute swap job.

    As for the injury, nah. My scars are evidence of a life well lived. I’m pleased they are there, even with the tendency for old broken bones to become arthritic.
    It is fair to say, I’ve lived well.


  43. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’ve seen the fatboy tyres and I’m sure they would be great in mud, snow and sand but the forks in my ancient Bauer would struggle to accommodate them.

    My first attempt and long distance touring in 1980 was on an early World Rider that was built like a road bike but had wider tyres that were more compatible with the gravel road and 4WD tracks I tended to stray onto before the availability of Mountain Bikes.

    My son is a unicyclist and he has ridden through to Macetown and back on one similar to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmPri-5gqys


  44. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ah, I’ve learned something, Mr E. I’ll certainly file that away for future reference if I decide to down size my bike collection.


  45. Mr E says:

    I knew sooner or later, something would get through.


  46. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m sure if we removed politics from the discussions there would be heaps we could agree on 😉


  47. Mr E says:

    My brother inlaw is a union rep and politically interested. We get on like a house on fire, even though our political views are vastly different.

    I’m quite sure, we’d agree on a lot if we were not discussing politics, Dave. Even though I disagree with much of your political view, I generally admire your mellow debating style. You rarely get ruffled and usually appear to have a welcoming approach.


  48. Paranormal says:

    Soooo RG, let me see if I’ve got this right:

    – To save New Zealands Glaciers,
    – we need to tax workers more,
    – to write a big cheque to a third world country (probably Russia),
    – to make sure the snow keeps falling on the Southern Alps, to feed the Glaciers.


    You remind me of King Julien in Madagascar 2:
    * (to the animals of Africa, when the water hole is dry) Listen up! I will help you. There is only one way to get your precious water. I, your beloved King Julien, must simply make a small sacrifice to my good friends, the water gods, in… the volcano!
    * My sacrifice goes in the volcano. Then, the friendly gods eat up my sacrifice. (acting out as 2 gods) “Mmmm, very nice. Thank you for the sacrifice.” “Please, have another sacrifice.” “No, I’ve had enough for today.” “Listen, I’m gonna be very insulted unless you have another.” “I don’t want another sacrifice okaaay?” “Look at you, you look skinny!” “No, I think I’ve had enough, is that clear?!” (telling the animals how to help get water.)
    * The gods eat the sacrifice, they are grateful, they give me some of their water, and then I give it to you.
    * (the animals of Africa run to the volcano carrying Melman who volunteered to be the sacrifice) Hurry up, before we all come to our senses!
    * (Gloria begs Julien to stop the sacrifice, saying it’s crazy) Oh, suddenly throwing a giraffe into a volcano to make water is crazy!

    And here’s the kicker:
    * I don’t know why the sacrifice didn’t work. The science seemed so solid. I’d jump right in that volcano, if I wasn’t so good at whistling. (tries whistling again but does a raspbery)

    And look, there’s even a link for DK so it must be true: http://madagascar.wikia.com/wiki/King_Julien/Quotes


  49. Paranormal – you are debating with some shadowy figure of your imagination. I’ve said none of those things. I’ve said the galciologists are deeply concerned about the shrinking glaciers of New Zealand. You’ve provided your own padding, straw in this instance, to hurl yourself at.
    Interesting approach, kinda lonesome though, ain’t it?


  50. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, throughout my teaching career I have taught children with high needs and behaviour problems, including two stints in Tweedsmuir’s special needs class. Teaching mainly boys with extreme anger management issues and horrific backgrounds (in Tweedsmuir) taught me that an aggressive attacking approach rarely works, neither does condescension. It also pays to admit when you are wrong.


  51. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, to save the glaciers we have to stop using fossil fuel, how we achieve that to a certain extent is immaterial, because if we don’t this is all we can look forward to:


  52. TraceyS says:

    “…to [insert a reason] we have to stop using fossil fuel…”


    Is that what you really mean? Do you really think we must stop using fossil fuel…completely?

    If “reduce” is more accurate a word, and I suspect that it is, then who, how, and by how much is not “immaterial”. Not at all immaterial. That you might consider it is shows how insulated you are.


  53. TraceyS says:

    Might I point out, Dave, that you have previously gotten very annoyed with people suggesting that you are a hypocrite because you use fossil fuel (like for plane trips to Europe or bike tyres).

    Yet here you are saying that “we” must “stop using fossil fuel”.

    That’s like saying “you first” … “I can’t stop until you stop”. Exactly the opposite example to the one your party says NZ should be setting internationally.

    When you address these issues to Paranormal, or anyone else for that matter, trying saying “you and I must stop using fossil fuel”.


  54. TraceyS says:

    Are you going to stop using fossil fuel, Dave?

    If so, when?

    I don’t mind if your date is 20 years in the future. You must have a plan though. And that plan will not be “immaterial”. That is certain.

    You are denying reality if you think a move away from fossil fuel will be immaterial. If you had a realistic plan to do this on a personal level then you would already know this.

    But you don’t have any plan to stop using fossil fuel do you?

    I think that Robert has a plan, and it is to subsist without anything mechanical, because mechanical is ultimately unsustainable owing to its reliance on coal and oil. At least he is brave enough to express it whilst knowing how unappealing that plan would be to the masses.


  55. Paranormal says:

    Aha, DK you are the real King Julien.

    Is this like we need to save the polar bears: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2436882/The-poster-boys-climate-change-thrive-icy-Arctic-Polar-bears-defy-concerns-extinction.html

    Because their environment is disappearing and will be all gone by 2012? http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/12/071212-AP-arctic-melt.html
    Oh that’s right it isn’t: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

    The science seemed so solid.


  56. Ray says:

    Paranormal, to save the glaciers we have to stop using fossil fuel, blahblahblahblahblahblah
    Where have I heard that before.
    Oh dear oh dear oh dear.


  57. Dave Kennedy says:

    These two songs from Joni Mitchell seem appropriate, ‘Both Sides Now’ and ‘The Circle Game’:

    We’ve pretty much debated both sides, Paranormal:

    You have 3% of scientists supporting you and Lord Monckton, I have 97% and all the most recognised and respected science institutions (The Royal Society, NASA…) and even if you disagree with that percentage you are still supporting a minority view.

    You endlessly quote the myths from the Heartland Institute (backed by oil companies), I will stick with the likes of James Hansen.

    You say scientists can’t be trusted because they are motivated by greed and the millions to be made by supporting a climate conspiracy, I say it is companies making hundreds of billions through extracting and using fossil fuel who are questioning the science for their own ends.

    -The Arctic ice is melting faster than predicted.
    -Glaciers are generally retreating around the world
    -New Zealand is experiencing more droughts
    -California has had a drought crisis for many years and their water supplies are rapidly disappearing.
    -Europe and the US are experiencing hotter Summers and stormierWinters.
    -Australia has suffered from more forest fires and had to invent a new colour for their temperature map to include 52 degrees celcius.

    -The Philippines experienced the deadliest typhoon to ever hit land.
    -Coral reefs are dying because of the acidification of our oceans.
    -Horrific images and clear proof of a changing climate are hitting your eyeballs most days and you’re still denying…

    And now we are having this ‘circle game’ of evidence and denial.

    Of course we need a transition, Tracey, but the ultimate goal is to stop relying on fossil fuel. The longer the delay, the bigger the shock.


  58. TraceyS says:

    What steps are you taking to stop using fossil fuel, Dave? After all, it was you who said that we must stop using it. Surely when you wrote “we” you were not excluding yourself. You sounded so inclusive!

    I would expect to hear such things as gathering all your family together in one area, living within walking distance of each other, so that you do not have to travel to see them. Even your future electric car, whilst not burning petrol, will still be dependent on oil and coal. Very much so.

    And bikes for your grandchildren.

    Or are you just like the rest of us… enjoying the fruits of fossil fuels for as long as the “transition” takes? Can’t you see that the transition will never happen with that approach?


    We need an alternative not restrictions (such as rationing, taxes). Encourage your party to accept genetic engineering because that’s the technology on the drawing board showing all the promise.


  59. Tracey – your suggestions are ridiculous and destructive. Take a moment to reconsider your foolish comments and withdraw from the discussion. There are people who would like to do their best to ensure the survival of the human race. You seem determined to thwart them.


  60. Ray – don’t be a pill.


  61. farmerbraun says:

    You will never be part of the solution when your chosen lifestyle is part of the problem.
    So ease up on the hypocrisy: if you don’t like the that things are going, then change yourself.


  62. farmerbraun says:

    …the WAY that things are going . . .


  63. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I am hardly living a fossil free life (because the world I live in is dominated by the stuff) but as I have said before regarding the energy efficiency of my house, if my personal emissions were the standard our carbon footprint would drop considerably. I am living the transition already.

    The first part of the solution is accepting that there is a problem in the first place, and i don’t see that with many commenting here.

    farmerbraun, it needs more than myself to make the necessary changes, but i agree that we all need to make a personal commitment. What are you doing?


  64. farmerbraun says:

    You want a confession Dave?
    What sins are you looking for?
    Should I be holier than thou? 🙂

    I farm sustainably, and have done for nearly forty years (of course it is relative).

    Fire away with your questions.


  65. farmerbraun says:

    Actually Dave, I do not believe that it needs more than yourself or myself to make the effort.
    Unsustainable behaviour is self-correcting . Don’t do it if you want a long life.
    The unsustainability of some current lifestyles should be of no concern.
    Things will change.


  66. Mr E says:

    Humans exists
    Humans make agriculture
    Population grows
    Agriculture uses resources
    Resource use effects climate
    Humans create Green Party
    Green Party accept climate science
    Green Party labels skeptics deniers
    Climate science promoted adaption
    Humans suggest irrigation is adaptation
    Green Party undermines irrigation as adaptation- becomes denier.
    Food becomes scarce resource for all
    Global powers seek control of food resource
    War erupts
    Humans desist.


  67. TraceyS says:

    “…if my personal emissions were the standard our carbon footprint would drop considerably. I am living the transition already.”

    Living the dream eh! However, pre September 20th 2014, weren’t you confident of winning yourself a job in Wellington?

    You were willing to regress on your transitional progress. Wouldn’t that have made your transition, well, rather transitory?

    How do you justify this when you say we must stop using fossil fuels? You were obviously keen to delay your transition until after you’d had a career in parliament. My son just wants to delay his until he’s had a chance to follow a career in his father’s footsteps. That OK with you?


  68. TraceyS says:

    Ooops too much bold!


  69. farmerbraun says:

    “Humans desist.”

    But not all of them Mr E.
    How many does it take to get started again?

    But as an aside , I farm a dryland property on light soil. Irrigation has always been an option (large river on three sides of the farm) but the energy cost is still too high , compared to other adaptations.


  70. Farmerbraun says:
    “Unsustainable behaviour is self-correcting”
    Yes, but that “correction” can manifest as catastrophe. Intelligent humans will adjust their behaviour before the inevitable “self-correcting” occurs. That’s what Dave and I are harping on about.

    Mr E makes the classic mistake when he says:
    “Humans make agriculture”
    Farmers make agriculture. Humans do a wide range of things, well beyond the narrow sphere of agriculture. The rest of his “cascade” is tripe, given that his basic tenet is wrong. How long must we suffer that sort of feeble-minded thinking? Here in the paddock, a very long time, is my guess. Outside of this echo-chamber, there is a rich vein of thinking that draws different conclusions from a different basis and it’s there that real inspiration can be found. The “Mr Es” of this world are a drag on human development and will soon find themselves side-lined and scorned for their Jurassic thinking.


  71. Mr E says:

    Only the greens will survive. Living on lentils, mung beans and cardboard.

    They will repopulate the earth, feeding on moon beams and pixie dust.


  72. Mr E says:

    Strangely Robert will rely on alien farmers to harvest his moon beams!


  73. Dave Kennedy says:

    -Humans exist
    -Humans hunt and gather
    -Humans establish farms (mixed farming)
    -Humans discover coal, oil, steam and the internal combustion engine
    -Carbon begins to fill the atmosphere
    -Human population expands exponentially and commerce and trade spreads across the world.
    -Neoliberal economics dominates and free trade supports large multinational companies and discourages competition and smaller local businesses.
    -Manufacturing shifts to where the cheapest labour force exists, which raises unemployment in developed countries and causes extremes of wealth.
    -Peak oil is apparently reached and countries begin to move to wind and solar and sustainable energy sources.
    -Multinationals and financiers manage to reduce regulatory controls and huge wealth capture occurs amongst a few, based on very shaky foundations (creating money from nothing or bad debts).
    -China dominates manufacturing and expands capacity through building huge dams and building coal fired power stations.
    -Australia gets rich digging up its best farmland for coal to feed China.
    -More dirty fuel is accessed, lignite in Germany and the tar sands in Canada.
    -fracking takes off and has spread throughout the world and taking the pressure of recovering traditional oil but the process releases large amounts of methane that adds to GHGs.
    -Shaky financial foundations collapse but dodgy banks and financial institutions are bailed out with taxpayer funds and then cuts are needed in government services and welfare to cover it and government borrowing grows (fifty billion over six years in NZ) as does corporate subsidies.
    -Inequality increases as does the number of billionaires (despite recession) who pay little in tax and stash trillions in tax havens. http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/10/30/oxfams-new-report-number-of-billionaires-has-doubled-since-the-crash/
    -Multi-national companies become stateless to avoid tax.
    -Infrastructure (roads, bridges, services) begin to fail in many developed countries as government revenue drops. http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/bridges/
    -Climate change accepted a reality by almost all governments and scientific institutions.
    -Oil companies (amongst the highest earning in the world and 6 of the top ten) lean on Governments to neuter any agreements to cut fossil fuel consumption and question science. Anyone who suggests tighter regulations or spending more on protecting the environment get labelled communist or watermelons.
    -Monoculture farming spreads (beef, corn, milk) farms grow larger and more industrialised and species diversity shrinks. Natural processes die (bees and other pollinators disappearing).
    -The safe level of carbon in the atmosphere (350 ppm) to retain climate stability is passed and now tops 400ppm.
    -NZ Green Party suggests practical ways of using existing financial systems and introducing successful ones from elsewhere to reduce fossil fuel dependency, pay of our huge Government debt and make our economy more resilient. A large focus on new digital technologies, like 3D printing, to boost local manufacturing.
    -Kim Dotcom, hijacks election and he and dirty politics dominate media and few hear about party policies.
    -Key elected again in another presidential race between two largest parties (Labour leadership struggles again).
    -Greens again get placed amongst parties struggling to get over 1% but manage to strengthen support base but overall % remains similar to 2011 (although 10,000 more votes).
    -National Government have huge challenges as inequality, housing shortage, dropping dairy prices, overloaded hospitals (dealing with alcohol and tobacco related illnesses, obesity related health issues and child poverty), droughts and growing debt continue.
    -National refuses to measure the extent of the messes it has created so that most voters don’t know how bad things are. The measures that do exist, like National Standards, are rigged to give the illusion of improved results.
    -Mr E claims that the Greens will survive by: “Living on lentils, mung beans and cardboard.They will repopulate the earth, feeding on moon beams and pixie dust.” Team Key supporters, Paranormal, Tracey, farmerbraun, Ray, Gravedodger and JC think that this is very witty 😉


  74. farmerbraun says:

    “Team Key supporters, Paranormal, Tracey, farmerbraun, Ray, Gravedodger and JC think that this is very witty”

    Dave try not to polarise things ; you were the one who said everybody needed to be involved.
    If you want to paint me into a corner then more fool you.
    I might be a lot “greener” than you are.
    Or behaving more sustainably, if that is your criterion.
    Either way , it’s silly to create an “us or them” situation.
    I’ve grown mung beans but I prefer to eat roast home-killed lamb or goat.

    So don’t tell me what I think ; you’ll isolate yourself. 🙂


  75. I agree with farmerbraun, Dave. It was ridiculous enough reading Mr E’s low-wattage cliche-riddled rant where here revealed his paucity of imagination and understanding of the issue of agriculture and innovative approaches to it, though I did laugh at his suggestion that we eat John Key’s cat. When he began to bring aliens into the discussion, I wondered if he might be revealing that he has feelings for Colin Craig. Such a silly response to challenges about drought and changes needed to ensure that lack of rain doesn’t become a regular nightmare for farmers, because drought is going to be just that in many, many countries across the globe, unless new approaches are adopted, and soon. I suspect his hot-headed rant resulted from a deep fear that what is happening; climatic changes due to AGW, will be devastating to agriculture unless old practices are jettisoned and new ones quickly implemented.
    Farmer Braun’s “Don’t tell me what I think…” is the best advice I’ve seen here for a long, long time. Certainly, putting words in other people’s mouths is the fastest way to destroy a debate. Good for cheap laughs but useless for gaining any understanding about these issues on a forum like this.


  76. Mr E says:

    “because drought is going to be just that in many, many countries across the globe, unless new approaches are adopted, and soon”

    Sounds like the globe needs more irrigation doesn’t it???!!!! Without it death, destruction!

    ” but useless for gaining any understanding about these issues on a forum like this”

    Yet you are still here. That metal clamp brain of yours, O’l Steely seems to hang on doesn’t it. Still I would imagine that O’l Steely must be highly underwhelmed on a forum like this. Such is it’s vice like power. Clanging down on any fun filled comments. Dinging and Donging – ‘don’t be silly this is serious stuff!!!!’

    My advice to you Robert, release the tension spring on O’l Steely. It seems to have a hair(y) trigger and is snapping at any old thing.


    At least you can recognise that the human race is advancing on the use of mineral resources. Countries like China and Australia advance forward, while little old NZ gets a slap on the hand like some little kid reaching in to that lollie jar.

    It seems Dave that you are anti profits and anti human progress.
    I for one think profits are a great thing. Without profits industries are usually shrinking – reducing efficiencies and often increasing the cost of goods. That is generally bad for the public, and usually the most punishing for the poor.

    Take that Oil industry you seem to think is a great evil. Profits have driven up competition. Exxon, Shell and BP are now pipsqueaks when it comes to ownership of reserves, as their competitive edge has fallen away. When oil price drops their profits “vanish like a pool of petrol into which a lighted match has been carelessly dropped.”


    Must be hard being a huge company and finding such volatility in the income that supports your assets and the labour force your have built up? Don’t you think? Is that the tingling of sympathy I hear from you Dave? Or perhaps it is O’l Steely clanging in the distance?

    Farming is not monoculture Dave. I thought we had been over this. You don’t appear to understand what a monoculture is.

    And I disagree about your suggestion that the Green party makes practical policies. I would say the opposite is true.
    That mentality of Kim is to blame not our policies is likely to see you stuck at 10% or less.


  77. farmerbraun says:

    Right ! The question was – is it a good idea to store water – or anything else for that matter- grain , hay, silage , cow condition , or in human terms – long shelf -life foods , money in the bank etc ?
    In other words, in the supermarket age, when all is available 24/7/365 , is putting something aside for a (not) rainy day still a sustainable behaviour to be encouraged?

    I would like to think that the Green Party would say definitely -yes- subject to the usual conditions around minimising negative impacts . In other words , on balance , being prepared is a good idea because it results in resilience , which further means that desperate , panicked decisions are largely avoided.
    Decisions made under stress will necessarily be restricted to a narrowed view ; the bigger picture will be lost when decisions are made in a state of drive. That’s basic psychology.

    So Dave , tell me that the Green Party is all for sustainable behaviours such as I have outlined.


  78. farmerbraun says:

    I think that across the political spectrum it has been agreed that BETTER agriculture , not MORE agriculture is what Godzone needs.

    Better in the sense of far more stable profitability, less environmental impact off- and on-farm, and far more re- building of the rural social capital that has been squandered over the last 50 years.
    The government has asked for a doubling of agricultural economic value with less environmental impact.
    Less commodity production – more value in export receipts.

    The problems of the cities are not something that we need to be concerned about . . . . they go away , one way or the other.
    It is the non-housing land use that should be the major concern.


  79. Paranormal says:

    DK – as a Green you’re supposed to be in favour of hearing all views and dissenting voices are supposedly important to you. yet when it comes to Climate Change (or whatever its called today) there is only strict adherence to the Green religion.

    As far as circular reference goes, i would agree with you in that it normally goes:
    – DK makes a dubious statement
    – Someone points out it is dubious, generally with evidence
    – DK eventually resorts to emotion & spin to avoid the underlying issue.

    With the evidence you’ve been provided a thinking person would at least be questioning the underlying theory. I even asked you for proof that CO2 was causing warming. You’d think with such an industry based on the assumption with the attendant major changes in lifestyle there’d be unassailable proof of the theory. but no, you just resorted to hyperbole that was also demonstrably incorrect.

    You also resort to denigrating scientists with innuendo whereas there is irrefutable proof in climategate of global collusion and, at best, data tampering. But that’s ok because they’re altruistic believers in Gorebull Warming whereas all those scientists who actually do science and question the emperors new clothes are evil (in your mind) without any evidence of that. You even questioned one scientists scientific work because he was also a christian.

    So lets look at some examples here. I mentioned the gliobal hoax that the arctic would be ice free in five years and provided hard data showing the 2013 and 2014 arctic ice levels were within two standard deviations of the 1981 to 2010 average. You either didn’t read it or ignored the evidence and went on in your 5.08 comment to repeat the spin that arctic ice is melting faster than ever – when that is clearly not the case.

    Then there is the spurious evidence you throw up that you clearly don’t read or think critically about. You put up a link to the Californian drought that is blamed on anthropogenic global warming. Yet in your own link there is talk about the, and I use the articles own descriptor, “16th century megadrought”. So why, when there was a “megadrought” in the 1500’s, is the drought California is now experiencing linkedf to AGW when the previous worse drought, amongst the others, weren’t?

    I am happy to carry on this game. At some stage you may begin to think about what you are being fed and trying to feed others.


  80. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, but if you read our Green Party policy we don’t discourage profit making, we are just concerned where the profit comes from.

    Fossil Fuel is a heavily subsidised industry, despite its huge profits. If the external costs of its use were factored into the price it would make green energy more competitive. Already, without a level playing field, green tech is a trillion dollar industry and profits can be made there too.

    I would say the trend for monoculture farming is growing, by this I refer to one main crop or product being produced compared to mixed farming that was common before. As farms become increasingly bigger it necessitates a more industrial approach to farming too.

    Farmerbraun, it does seem to be a common activitiy to compartmentalise the Green Party into a rather restrictive box. We are an evidence based party and if there is a way to manage a farm sustainably using drought resistant pastures, water storage, lower stocking levels and well managed irrigation then we would support it. It isn’t just our party that has been opposed to some irrigation schemes and dams it is financial advisors, scientists and court judges too.

    It appalled me that there have been so many farmer suicides with the drop in dairy prices. Over capitalisation is something that many banks need to take responsibility for, they are great at encouraging debt but separate themselves from the human consequences.


  81. Mr E says:

    ‘our Green Party policy we don’t discourage profit making, we are just concerned where the profit comes from.’

    So you would be happy with the oil industry if they didn’t make profit?
    I doubt that. You profit rants are anti free markets. That is conflation of issues, and appears like cheap shots.

    ‘Fossil Fuel is a heavily subsidised industry’. Proof please.

    “Already, without a level playing field, green tech is a trillion dollar industry and profits can be made there too.”

    Ummm Dave – Green tech is not heavily subsidised!!!! Honestly, where do you get this stuff? You can’t honestly believe that?

    Please provide just one example of a farm monoculture. If you can’t provide one, I doubt you can say it is growing.


  82. Dave Kennedy says:


    Mr E, the oil industry make massive profits (six of the top ten revenue earning companies are oil companie) and they contribute a tiny fraction to help mitigate the effects of their industry.

    This Government spent a lot of money wooing oil executives and very little on attracting green tech industries. The level of subsidy for fossil fuel, whether in carbon credits, free seismic surveys, low tax and royalties etc far exceeds anything paid to support green energy.


  83. Paranormal says:

    DK – “Over capitalisation is something that many banks need to take responsibility for,” – Is that really the banks fault? Unlike what you think, banks don’t just wander around flinging money about. When a business loan application is made it needs to pass strict criteria including a range of ratios. Capitalisation is one of them.

    “We are an evidence based party” – oh really? Not from the evidence we see here. More emotion, spin, and flawed ideology than anything else.

    Mr E – spot on.


  84. Mr E says:

    Again Dave – you are conflating issues. Profits are not bad, they are a near necessity for enterprise to exist. That is what happens in private enterprise Dave. How long have you been on the tax take for Dave? I wonder too long?

    Oil industry profits might sound big to you but they are often relative to the scale of the enterprise and the risk of the investment. Shell BP and Exxon all trade shares. They are beholden to share holders and their share prices will be largely relative to profits.

    Why don’t you buy some big oil shares Dave? So you can, as a share holder, have your say?

    Lets imagine if we could – only subsidising green technologies that didn’t turn a profit. Would that be sensible investment by the NZ Government? “I can see your business model does not work, here have some money”


  85. Dave Kennedy says:

    In terms of monoculture farming, I was mainly referring to global trends but here in New Zealand the growth of dairying is becoming an industrialised and focused on one type of farming at the exclusion of others. I realise it is a term largely used to describe a single crop but to me the industrialised aspect and fabricating of an environment to suit a one form of food production has similarities in the way that the dairy industry has grown here. We have had dairy farm conversions on land that wasn’t suitable, like the very peaty Waikawa catchment and in parts of Canterbury where it is almost like a form of hydroponics as water and urea are applied to stony soil to maintain grass growth.



  86. Mr E says:

    NZ Dairying is not a monoculture. Not buy any measure or definition. You are wrong and using words to promote negativity against the industry further proving that you are simply anti dairy. Then you use another word. Industrialised. NZ dairy is not industrialised.
    I think you using silly words to promote negativity against the industry.

    You have also failed a basic understanding of nutrient budgets and nutrient loss. Dairy farming on light soils does not necessarily lead to excessive nutrient loss.

    Your promotion of negative rhetoric is transparent. To me you most definitely seem anti dairy. A foundation that seem set on very weak knowledge.


  87. Mr E says:

    Thumbs are too fat for my little phone screen.


  88. TraceyS says:

    If dairy farming is a monoculture then sheep & beef is a duoculture.

    Dave’s farming of flies, worms and grubs would be a trioculture (and highly industrialised to boot!)


  89. Mr E says:

    I’d bank money that a walk over any dairy farm in NZ would find at least 10 species of grasses. Not to mention legumes, herbs and less desirables.
    Monoculture indeed.


  90. Dave Kennedy says:

    Again Mr E, we do have different views on profit. This Government has supported the trickle down theory that hasn’t worked. Increases in productivity aren’t shared with the workers who have helped create it and many workers are now used like a commodity that can be turned off and on like a tap. I don’t have problems with profits as long as they aren’t acquired through exploitation. I have used rest homes as an example in the past.

    An extreme example of exploitation was Pike River, where the expectations of the share holders trumped the health and safety of the miners.

    Another example was the Auckland Watersider dispute where the workers had lifted productivity so that the port became the second most efficient in Australasia but because the City Council (as the shareholder) wanted to double their return on equity, savings had to be made. The dispute was never about higher wages, the core of this dispute was a demand to casualise the work force. The men wanted certainty of income so that they could pay their mortgages and meet their financial commitments with some certainty and this would not happen under the offered agreement.

    Regarding oil, what do you believe is a reasonable level of subsidisation? It is not a big employer of local labour compared to other industries, our royalties and tax requirements are lower than most countries, we have covered the costs of many seismic survey results and we still have to pay the companies commercial rates for any oil and gas that is extracted. Also maritimeNZ (and the taxpayer) will cover the majority of the costs of a major spill.


  91. Dave Kennedy says:

    Industrial farming not being pursued in NZ? Really?


    Herd homes are growing in use because herds can be expanded for less environmental impact but we are moving towards the industrial style of milk production that we once avoided:



  92. Willdwan says:

    There is no such thing as ‘trickle down theory,’ it’s an invention of the lying left.

    The less Greenies say about Pike River, the better.

    Ports of Auckland efficient? Surely you jest!

    I don’t know whether our royalties and taxes are cheap or not but they must still be a cost, hardly a fucking subsidy. How much of the cost at the pump is tax? Must be at least half.


  93. Mr E says:

    Are you anti what Kees is trying to do at Omarama?

    That would seem quite funny, when the green push has been reduce nutrients into waterways. Do you know that Kees has managed to model a nitrate loss down to 7kgN/ha/annum. Less than a typical sheep farm, and around 20% -25% of what an average dairy farm is doing.

    That must be confusing for you – Being anti opportunities to reduce environmental impacts. I am building up a picture that makes me think the biggest hurdle to achieving reduced nutrient contamination in waterways – is the Green Party. They seem anti anything. Even things that are good for the environment. Anti.

    I would hardly call NZ wintering sheds industrialisation. Even Kees proposed system is reliant on feed grown adjacent to the parlour.

    Keith Woodford described an industrial model and that example is vastly different from anything we have here. Vastly.


  94. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E I think that you and Dave are talking at cross purposes , and it’s not difficult to see why that might be so.

    The fact is that there are outliers in both directions , like any bell curve.

    Dave likes to reference the real cowboys who are resisting the direction of environmental case law , as that law is slowly developed (don’t forget that agriculture was initially given a free pass under the RMA, in order to get political acceptance , and to allow time for adjustment).

    But the law will eventually be applied , and the Overseer model will be refined, and may, one day , be useful for compliance purposes.

    At the same time there are dairy farms at the other end of the bell curve which are everything that the public might wish for.

    The issue is all about how to move the great bulk of dairy farmers towards the benign end of the curve.

    Mistakes have been made , and some restrictions on some soils are inevitable ; these may take the form of limits on bought-in feed and nitrogen fertiliser, and as a consequence stocking rates will reduce automatically.

    The elephant in the room is still the low prices that dairy farmers who produce commodities are receiving. That, and the lack of resilience to weather variations. And the indebtedness of the dairy industry will have to be sorted out, one way or another.

    And in the meantime the debt of the nation has to be serviced.

    Fonterra may have been a step in the wrong direction , but Fonterra is a dinosaur , so we should leave environmental law to deal with the effects of that mis-step.
    Current dairy legislation makes added-value start-up dairy companies somewhat risky. So that ball is in the politician’s court. Fonterra would not exist if it were not for the DIRA , so that legislation , or the Milk Price Manual in particular, may have to be revisited.


  95. farmerbraun says:

    I think that it is widely accepted , all around the world , that John Kerry is a professional liar.
    It is fair to assume that whatever Kerry says , the opposite is very likely to be true.


  96. Mr E says:

    Farmerbraun – Outliers.

    I’m of the belief that 90% of issues are created by 10%.

    Being anti wintering sheds, or anti dairy on light soil will get us no where. It is well proven that farmers can use these assets to benefit the NZ economy with out environmental damage.

    “Dave likes to reference the real cowboys ”
    Im not sure what you are referring to there.

    Overseer is being used now to govern farming. Frankly I am not sure it ready or ever will be, but there is a trend for Councils to micromanage farming. Diffuse nutrients are difficult to manage. Identifying the source is not always obvious.

    Councils are tending to say – we are no longer interested in the low fruit. We want to pick all fruit. Sadly with a tool like overseer that is like trying to pick fruit at twilight, with dark glasses on. There is a real risk of filling your basket with productive parts of the plant like leaves and branches.

    Most recently our Council (Southland) said ‘we want to reduce phosphate loss from hill country development, so it will become a consented activity. It is part of our “hold the line” activities’.
    It was a bizarre move because phosphate has been declining in Southland waterways for over a decade. The line was already been well and truly held, and already shifted in a positive direction.

    Thankfully an uproar from farmers saw a back peddle, and the rule quickly go to the bin.

    The line that has not positively shifted in Southland is the nitrate line. And it is my personal view that the Council has done little of recent times to improve this situation. Instead they have spent too much time infighting, and focusing on all the fruit. There are lowing lying fruit that still can be harvested that will make positive gains.

    Daves, anti wintering shed, farmers bashing, wont make environmental gains here in Southland. Diffuse nutrients are so complex to manage that support from the farming industry is needed to help make sensible rules.

    Bullying tactics will not make nitrate progress. A suitable defence for diffuse nutrients is ‘prove it’. And that is nigh on impossible.


  97. Paranormal says:

    DK – “I have used rest homes as an example in the past.” and you’ve been proven to be wrong on that count. the fact you keep referring to them proves you are just a liar for political point scoring.

    As Wildwan points out there is no such thing as trickle down theory. That you continually use it when you show your ignorance on economic matters just proves you are ideologically matched to, and for that matter reinforcing the perception of, the Greens communist tendencies.


  98. Mr E says:

    Bulaman makes a very good point though. I read international websites, some of them environmental ones. I frequently come across NZ attacking brand NZ. And when I say frequently, I mean we seem to be worse at it than any other country.

    I think we have done a really bad job of keeping perspective of environmental issues, and reporting that perspective. Self analysis has made NZ great, we minimise the negative and utilise the positive. That mind set has helped us but with global connectedness we now need to make sure we are not chucking NZ under the bus.

    Perspective is really important, and while it upsets some as an excuse, it needs to be there to ensure that we protect brand NZ. Our image is incredibly valuable and needs to be considered when the anti brigade are in town.


  99. Dave Kennedy says:

    Farmerbraun made some good points about outliers, but in actual fact I have been talking about the 10% as well, that I agree do the bulk of the damage of damage. I have linked to examples of poor effluent and pasture management practices from single farms that would be causing far greater environmental impact than a small town with poor sewage treatment. I have also praised farmers at the other end of the spectrum who have won environmental awards for remaining profitable while having minimal impact on the environment. Successful models are not hard to find.

    However, even the average dairy farm has a negative environmental impact and the difficulty has been that while most farmers are fencing off streams and creeks and improving the management of their irrigation and fertilizer applications, their progress is negated because of ever more conversions and growing herd sizes. The industry has grown faster than the environmental impacts can be managed. In 1990 the average herd size was 160 cows and now the average herd for the Canterbury region is 780.

    The demand for water to support the industry will only grow as droughts become more common (the new normal according to the Government) and as it takes around 1000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk there will be challenges ahead. Already in Southland our sustainable water allocation has been exceeded in the northern part.

    Click to access water-quantity-issues-and-options-paper.pdf

    I have difficulty with the approach to farming that continually attempts to push production beyond what can be naturally managed when there are many examples of profitable farms where sustainable practices work. My reference to industrial farming refer to farms where all shelter is removed to cater for irrigators, herd homes are constructed to save the pasture from increasing herd sizes and imported feed is a necessary component to increase production.

    Mr E you can label me anti if you like but I am also pro sustainability, pro green branding to grow our markets, pro adding value to increase returns in less volatile markets (like Nestle has done successfully), Pro quality over quantity, pro growth of horticulture and greater diversification, pro matching what is farmed to the soil and climate of the area, Pro greater support for R&D that is currently underfunded.

    We are also reliant on our wild areas and National Parks for our clean green brand when 80-90% of our lowland rivers are degraded and unswimmable. John Key’s Hard Talk interview was embarrassing to watch. http://www.3news.co.nz/environmentsci/key-grilled-over-nzs-clean-green-image-2011051015#axzz3OjsctWqk


  100. Mr E says:

    You have a tendancy to put labels against the industries, when it seems you know it is a small number that cause the problems.

    When we have a small number causing the problems, making rules that affect behaviours of all, is a silly thing to do, I am sure you will agree. We should be focusing on the low lying fruit.

    If I was to encourage you Dave, I would say, you know NZ farmers are the best at what they do. Support them, and back it up with, the best can be better. This rhetoric you spout which you seem to agree is ‘anti’ does nobody any good. You must know that with your 10%. A different direction is needed.

    A significant change of this behaviour would see me looking differently at the Green Party. Make NZ want you.

    “My reference to industrial farming refer to farms where all shelter is removed to cater for irrigators, herd homes are constructed to save the pasture from increasing herd sizes and imported feed is a necessary component to increase production.”

    I NZ there are no farms that fit the general definition of industrial farming. You need to rethink your definition. Your use of the phrase industrial farming simply appears as an attack on good farmers and their often environmental improvement practices.

    I think Southlands closest example of an industrial Dairy farmer according to your definition is Abe and Anita De Wolde. They were last years Ballance Farm Environment winners and a previous Lincoln Farmer of the year.


  101. Ray says:

    A different direction is needed.
    Mr Kennedy is a perfect example of the blinkered thinking of the greens.
    They still believe their pursuit of relentless negativity, a trait wholly personified in every Kennedy post, is the path to electoral success.
    Real world results suggest otherwise.


  102. farmerbraun says:

    Dave Kennedy says:
    January 14, 2015 at 10:27 am

    No real beef with any of that Dave , but what is being left unsaid , and what needs to be said for balance , is that all your points can be applied with a little modification to the city of Auckland.
    The people of Auckland need to have the question of sustainability applied to their own situations . City dwellers , after all, have very unsustainable lifestyles, but nobody wants to tell them that.


  103. Mr E says:

    Sorry but I just cant overlook this.

    “In 1990 the average herd size was 160 cows and now the average herd for the Canterbury region is 780. ”

    Apples and pears Dave. Providing statistics like this just exaggerates things don’t you think? You might say – misrepresents the truth.
    The New Zealand cow herd size in 12/13 was just over 400.


  104. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I don’t get your fear of regulation to manage those who don’t respond to reason. In the teaching profession about 0.1% of teachers are disciplined for misconduct and yet we have tight regulations involving vetting, appraisals, registration to protect children from that small percentage. We also need labour laws and regulations to ensure our employers act in good faith and pay fair wages and provide safe workplaces.

    Why good farmers would feel threatened by regulations that are designed to limit the worst consequences isn’t clear to me. The Clean Streams Accord that relied on honesty and good faith was abused by a number of farmers when the reality to their claims was found wanting. The Southland Feds even protested about having to produce a management plan to support any new conversion application when any other industry contemplating a change of land use involving environmental effects would have to provide something similar.

    You concern about me using words like monoculture and industrial (when I was talking about trends) seems a little hypocritical when my party and myself have to endure endless labels: Communists, ‘Anti’ Party, Stalin supporter etc.

    farmerbraun, you make an interesting point about the unsustainable nature of city dwellers. I would suggest that it is a complex issue and I would accept that it is harder for those in rural areas as they have to take individual responsibility of much of their waste whereas cities have their local authorities that do this. In terms of economies of scale, cities can be made more sustainable because waste management, transport, communication and other infrastructure is concentrated in a smaller area. This is also why small rural schools have been closed or amalgamated.

    My 1/4 acre seems to make sense in Invercargill, I can supply around 50% of our food needs from our garden, but in Auckland you could easily make the case a 1/4 acre section for one residence is poor land use when there is a housing shortage.

    In terms of lifestyle and diets in cities, how much is really personal choice and how much is it the creation of a consumer society through corporate influences? The McDonalds being established in South Invercargill is an example of this, despite the health issues and possible reliance on it over healthier food by many, should there be planning restrictions on fast food or should we allow it to go ahead regardless? Many poorer communities are concerned at the number of pokies and liquor outlets concentrated around them yet affluent communities won’t have a bar of them.

    Ray, relentless negativity sums up your debating style, the Greens generally don’t criticise from the sidelines we are always suggesting solutions, often proven ones. You don’t have to agree with them but you could at least acknowledge that is our approach. https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/smarter-economy


  105. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Apples and pears Dave. Providing statistics like this just exaggerates things don’t you think? You might say – misrepresents the truth.
    The New Zealand cow herd size in 12/13 was just over 400.”

    Not at all, my intention was to show how rapid the growth has been outside our historical dairying regions. I could have even referred to the small Waituna catchment where consented dairy cow numbers have more than doubled since 2000 and there are 40 dairy effluent discharge consents up from 28 in 2000.


  106. farmerbraun says:

    Dave says “Why good farmers would feel threatened by regulations that are designed to limit the worst consequences isn’t clear to me.”

    That’s easy . There is not yet any good science to guide the formation of those regulations so very broad-brush /generalised proposals are under discussion.
    Mr E mentioned the Overseer program which is used as guidance , even though the developers insist that it is not suitable for regulatory purposes.
    That situation is likely to penalise many good farmers who are not causing the problem.

    So even though I use no nitrogen fertiliser and have less than 1/2 cow /acre I am threatened by compliance issues (Horizons One Plan)which do not have any relevance to my situation.
    The issue is that I already have had (for 25 years ) a risk management program, at my own expense, which ensures that my operation will have none of the adverse effects that are of concern,yet I will have costs placed on me that are completely unnecessary and irrelevant and will have no positive effect on my operation.
    Naturally I object to this nuisance.


  107. Ray says:

    the Greens generally don’t criticise from the sidelines
    As a small provincial town schoolteacher who demonstrates no practical experience at farming, or anything else you comment on, apart from unicycling, that is ALL you do Mr Kennedy.


  108. Paranormal says:

    DK – where to start?

    Teacher licensing and vetting has been shown to be a farce. Particularly with your closed shop mentality in the past, suppressing names and allowing your 1% to continue their ways in a new school. Hopefully that has been reduced now. Still it was recently found that 5,000 teachers were practicing without a current registration, so really how good is the system? But the real issue is it hasn’t stopped dud teachers from harming children’s futures. And there’s the rub.

    What Mr E is talking about is that regulation has unintended consequences that can sometimes cause greater harm than fixing what the original problem may have been. A good example was the ETS that saw massive deforestation – totally against the intention of the regulation surely?

    Why burden everyone, including the good farmers with regulation, when you should just target the poor farmers. Regulation is not some kind of cost free indulgence. Our businesses already have a heavy regulatory burden that does little to enhance the economy or environment.

    As for your bleat about be called communist etc. If you were to stop displaying the ideology, the names wouldn’t fit.


  109. I think that Dave will be getting a lot out of this discussion.
    I am assuming that the Green Party will be asking themselves why they failed to gain any traction at the last election, and if they are honest, they will admit that they failed to connect with the many people who are concerned for the environment.
    I can see the same thing happening here.
    Basically, very few people trust the Greens to get it right, and simply claiming to be evidence- based will not wash with a rightly sceptical public. We are not so stupid.
    There is always evidence for both sides, so claiming to be evidence- based is disingenuous at best . . . . purely weasel words at worst.
    Now , science- based. . . . that would be something else altogether.


  110. Mr E says:

    “I don’t get your fear of regulation”

    I don’t fear sensible regulation of the worst offenders. I encourage it. I dislike misinformation that leads to bullying of good farmers. Your repetition of words like monoculture and industrialised, lends itself to bullying tactics. I particularly dislike it when it drags in farmers that have done an enormous job to improve the environment. People like the De Woldes.

    “You concern about me using words like monoculture and industrial (when I was talking about trends) seems a little hypocritical when my party and myself have to endure endless labels: Communists, ‘Anti’ Party, Stalin supporter etc.”

    I’ll agree with you, when you can show me where I have called you any of those things. Then yep- I’ll be a hypocrite. But you can’t find those things because I didn’t say them. You’ll also note, I have condemned others when they have called you names. And from that point of view I think you should be embarrassed by that above statement.


  111. TraceyS says:

    Certainly, he should be embarrassed about that comment, Mr E. I have never called Dave by any unpleasant names either and yet he saw fit to use the term “exploiter of workers” against me even when he knows it isn’t true. In fact he insulted 47.31% of people who voted last year with the same derogatory term. He was probably confident to use that term because he knew I would not join him on that level. It was a free shot.

    Maybe he was just playing with words in order to frustrate, or to provoke, or both. A skill perhaps learned from one steely ol’ big-brother-in-law who seems to try keeping young by acting, well, a bit silly. Who knows. But I am surely not interested in engaging with such juvenile antics.

    You reap what you sow Dave. It is not OK to call people by disadvantageous names simply because you don’t like how they voted, their gender, colour of their hair, or whatever. Evidence? Where’s your evidence that such numbers support the exploitation of workers? You don’t have any do you.

    I note, Mr E, that you have not condemned Dave for this. Why not when you have done so to others?


  112. Mr E says:

    “Why not when you have done so to others?”

    Frankly I am not sure how to answer that. Other than I’m not the sort to feel sorry for myself. And I think I have pretty tough skin. It’s leather like texture is close to bullet proof, I reckon!


  113. TraceyS says:

    So you treat Dave rather softly, then, because his skin isn’t as thick as your own? Seems kind, but is it, given a thick hide is what he needs in his given career?


  114. Mr E says:

    The truth is I might have a thick skin but I definitiely have a soft heart.
    Everyone here will know my personality tends toward defender of the silent or unfairly treated.
    But my personality is also one of not complaining. I put it down to a hard work upbringing.


  115. farmerbraun says:

    I think that we all want the same thing for this country . . . at least I hope that is true .
    What we should be focussing on is the best , most inclusive way to get there. That means non-divisive behaviours where possible.
    That does not mean that we should not point out error , in a robust manner.

    If the Green Party is just like the others , and wants political power at any cost, then it will remain an insignificant player in shaping the future of Godzone.
    Having said that , it must be recognised that we are a very small boat tossed in a very big ocean, and everything that we do as a nation should reflect that fact.
    We need a lot of resilience built into all our systems ; sailing close to the wind is not something that will work for us.
    This applies equally to our social , environmental , and economic capital ; we need to conserve , and if possible, to build all of them.
    Sure as hell , there will be some unexpected shocks ahead.


  116. Dave Kennedy says:

    Farmerbraun and Mr E, I laid out what I saw as Green priorities and and my views regarding dairying and agriculture and you were largely in agreement. An issue for some here is when people express a different view and it is perceived as an attack. Surely one can question aspects of an industry without it becoming personal.

    If we started with what we agreed on it may be helpful.

    We appear to agree that there are around 10% of farmers who give the rest a bad name and who can do considerable damage to the reputation of the industry and the environment.

    We seem to agree that greater investment in R&D would be helpful and I hope the Green policy of tax deductions for farmers to do their own research.

    Adding value to primary commodities also seems to have support because we need to establish a more consistent return for farmers by engaging in more stable markets.

    We both probably agree that there isn’t actually a problem with regulations per se, but we need to have smart regulations that don’t unnecessarily inconvenience those who are doing the right thing (although I can see that there may be some disagreement regarding what that may mean).

    I think we have agreement on the need for greater diversification where there is a good commercial return for anything that may be better suited to different soils and climates.

    I think we also have agreement that some banks put unnecessary pressure on many farmers and encourage some to over-capitalise. A number are not resilient enough when prices fall.

    We may have partial agreement on not allowing too many of our farms to be bought by overseas owners (whatever the nationality). I personally don’t want us to lose sovereignty over our land.

    I know we agree that there are some great farmers who do have sustainable practices.

    We all appear to agree that our clean green branding is very important but we also need to be credible about that claim.

    We also seem to agree that we should stick with pasture based farming and not have to rely too much on imported feed or fertilizer (I know that Mr E disagrrees with me about the current extent of this but the general principle he must support).

    Collaboration and proper consultation between Government and the industry is also important to get buy in for any necessary changes and these should have an evidence base. This may get around some of the frustrating regulations that farmerbraun describes.

    We also agree that agriculture and food production has huge importance to our economy.

    We probably agree that more encouragement to promote farming as career is needed from primary through to tertiary level.

    Without assuming what you may think could be hidden agendas behind these which of these could you accept on face value? Farmerbraun seem comfortable with much i had stated earlier.


  117. Mr E says:



  118. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, much that i say about farming is here interpreted by some as offensive and I must say many of your ill-informed statements about myself and the teaching profession I find more offensive.

    Any vetting system could always be improved but your implication that the profession deliberately protects poor teachers or abusers is totally not true. With over 50,000 teachers the % of complaints and discipline is much lower than doctors, lawyers, and especially police.

    As for the number of unregistered teachers, that doesn’t sound too good but I wander how many unregistered farmers there are?

    And you are right, a poor teacher can do damage (I have experienced some myself) but that shouldn’t mean attacking all when 95% or more are doing the best they can and really care about the kids in their classes. However i do think that we have lost our middle tier of advice and support that we used to have when i started teaching. Advisors and inspectorate would be based in one area and build up a strong appreciation of the performance of most schools and would step in with support as it is needed.

    Now most of our advisors have been sacked and ERO teams fly in from all over the country and generally have no long term knowledge of a school or area. Now that the Government has allowed five years between ERO reviews of schools that get good assessments a change of principal and staff can mean a rapid change in performance and it won’t be picked up for a few years. In my supporting role i have known of schools to become quite dysfunctional and it is not picked up before it is almost too late. It would be good to have a return of that kind of earlier oversight because it is not so much the need to sack bad teachers to improve the system (though this may still need to occasionally occur), but provide the right support in a timely fashion.


  119. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, name this elephant


  120. Mr E says:



  121. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ahh, Mr E, I want you to spell out this elephant so that I can see how big it really is and if it really exists. I call your bluff and you wriggle and evade 😉


  122. Mr E says:

    You don’t appreciate a little humor around the arts. You don’t think the tying of Jumbo into the conversation around an elephant in a room is a little funny? Oh well, I can but try.

    But seriously, you can’t see that elephant? It’s invisible to you, as big as it is.

    I’d go on, but I’ve already explained I am no complainer and to reveal more would simply make me into a liar. No?


  123. TraceyS says:

    “…we need to have smart regulations…”

    2017: I can picture it now…

    Green Party hoardings featuring Russel Norman with the slogan “smart regulations”. Should work a treat Dave. People will simply adore it! Much more upbeat than the disastrous 2014 ones. But be sure not to leave any more than a little finger-space…don’t want room for extra words to be slipped in there with black vivid do we?

    However I can’t imagine anyone would do such an awful thing. People just love to think of regulators and their products as “smart”. And we can all see than Norman’s a “smart” sort of guy.

    Thank goodness for smartness! Yay for smart people in offices making rules. Imagine what little lost sheep all ” we” with our feet in gumboots would be without the benefit of this smartness. We are lacking you see. And we come to this blog just to prove it to “we” selves. We have to keep coming back though…


  124. TraceyS says:


    And next election their results will be an iteration of the last.


  125. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, your little bit of humour is just duplicitous nonsense. You now have an opportunity to lay your cards on the table or slap the big one in full view so that we can see what the real sticking point is. However, that is not your game, revealing all will leave you exposed, it’s much safer to looking all knowing and touch your nose with your forefinger as if you’re sitting on a Royal flush, but keep it close to your chest…

    “I’d go on, but I’ve already explained I am no complainer and to reveal more would simply make me into a liar.”

    Good grief, what extraordinary wriggling 😉


  126. farmerbraun says:

    Well I’m lost 🙂
    There is more than one elephant in the room.
    The one that is of most concern to me is the use of nitrogen fertiliser in pastoral situations. I believe that this single issue , if correctly addressed , could set pastoral agriculture back onto the right track , with numerous beneficial side-effects.

    NZ’s competitive advantage was always our ability to grow and harvest clover to obtain free nitrogen.


  127. Mr E says:

    “revealing all will leave you exposed”
    What do you mean by that Dave?


  128. Paranormal says:

    DK, do you actually stop and think about what you write before typing?

    You find what I say about dud teachers offensive, and then you go on to agree with me about the damage dud teachers can do? Whaaat?

    Then you say – “we have lost our middle tier of advice and support that we used to have”, and yet when the government try to reinstate that you and your hide bound union buddies scream and demand it not be implemented. Go figure.

    No wonder Simon Lusk suggests you can never work with the Greens.

    As for the system protecting dud teachers and abusers. Tell me when and why did the registration board start to remove name suppression from those they found guilty of abuse? Do we really need to review some of the grosser cases that have come to light recently of abusers moving from school to school under the anonymous cloak of name suppression?


  129. Mr E says:

    Farmer Braun,
    Need directions I can help. All those elephants you can see must make it hard to find your way. Perhaps Dave can help in his eyes, there seems to be no elephants. Perhaps he is in denial, or perhaps just a little confused?
    Green MPs do make me laugh though. One of the earliest historical references to an elephant in the room included a joke about Jumbo. I reference it and suddenly that’s duplicitous. Oh. I almost sense some anger there?

    You seem to be saying nitrogen fertiliser is THE issue facing farming. I’m listening and I am all ears. Tell me more.
    If it is THE issue and it is an easily managed product, why is it still an issue?
    How do you think N use should change?


  130. Ray says:

    but we need to have smart regulations
    As opposed to what? Stupid regulations? As can be found in any list of green banned items or activities? Or is this just more meaningless sanctimonious posing typical of the buzzwords and phrases so loved by greens?
    Some examples of “smart regulations” would be helpful.
    We may have partial agreement on not allowing too many of our farms to be bought by overseas owners
    This is totally at odds with your green party policy which states…
    “Land ownership for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents only.”
    Are you re-writing their policy or was the herbal tea you use to sustain your all-night posting taking its toll?


  131. farmerbraun says:

    There are two parts to the nitrogen dilemma: how did we get there, and how do we get out of it.

    Taking the second one first, and addressing your question-why is it still an issue when it is easily managed – we cannot get out of this trap without getting higher prices for farm products.
    I think it is universally recognised that we cannot get higher prices for farm products if we insist on selling them as commodities, and not as added-value items.
    And further, we cannot sell them as added-value items if the timing of the output of the farm is dependent on the vagaries of weather.
    The output must be reasonably steady all year round.
    Can one produce evenly all year-round without nitrogen fertiliser?
    Certainly, provided that one is able to grow and manage clover-dominant pastures. There is no technical problem.
    The problem is economic:farmers have responded to inadequate prices by producing more commodity using nitrogen fertiliser to increase the output.


  132. farmerbraun says:

    So to put the horse in front of the cart, we must move into added-value items in order to increase farm gate prices before we can remove the nitrogen fertiliser prop.
    We must do it in that order because farmers are sailing too close to the wind;they have no capital reserves with which to make the change.


  133. Mr E says:

    Farmer Braun,
    I guess you are saying farmers are reliant on nitrogen, as production from the use of it, is factored into the capitalisation of their farms?

    And to factor it out, farmers need higher product prices.

    Isn’t there a risk of higher product prices driving the capitalisation of farms up. I.e people simply pay more for land and/or livestock.

    Also wouldn’t high product prices risk encourage farms to try and squeeze every drop of production juice out of their farms, and with N being a relatively cheap way of achieveing it, simply making things worse?


  134. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ray, I know what our policy is on land ownership but I think some here have expressed the view that overseas ownership is fine and have accused me of xenophobia, especially regarding the Chinese (it is actually Germans who are the dominant foreign owners in Southland). The more moderate suggestion was only to see where we could agree, I still support our policy of no sales to nonresidents.

    Farmerbraun, you make some interesting points. I have had chats with a Southland Company, Soil Health and Minierals, that advices and supports organic pasture management and they have even had success managing clover root weevil.

    I would be interested to know, Farmerbraun whether you think that reducing stock numbers may also make a large difference? I spoke to a dairy farmer recently who said that once he acquired his own farm he worked at reducing his herd size, he claimed that by reducing his cow numbers his inputs were less his production per cow was moderately better (although less overall) and his profit remained much the same. I realize that different soils and climate make a difference but the current push appears to be mainly focussed on the quantity of milk produced and not what is truly sustainable.


  135. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Isn’t there a risk of higher product prices driving the capitalisation of farms up. I.e people simply pay more for land and/or livestock.”

    Mr E doesn’t this happen anyway when prices are strong? Surely if prices remained relatively strong and consistent, through value added products, then it would allow more stable management and long term planning. Currently when prices drop it also leads to corners being cut and forces many to increase production to meet commitments.


  136. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, you need to talk about specifics and not make emotionally charged accusations without evidence.

    The Teachers Council is not managed by the profession it is a crown owned entity and teachers have some elected representatives. The reason for name suppression for an offending teacher is not to protect the teacher but to protect the victims who could be immediately identified if the teacher’s name was widely published. It also depends on circumstances, as you well know often names are published. If a teacher has committed a serious offense and lose their registered status then that information can be found online.

    The occasional teacher does slip through, just like any profession nothing is perfect, but as i have previously stated the % of complaints and disciplinary action is actually lower with teachers than most other occupations.

    Other than what you claim here, teachers are not abusers but some abusers become teachers. Such people are often very clever at hiding their activities. Such individuals appall teachers just as much as the wider community, if not more. It is a gross misuse of power, can destroy children’s lives and damages the profession.

    “Do we really need to review some of the grosser cases that have come to light recently of abusers moving from school to school under the anonymous cloak of name suppression?”

    You mention this as if it is a common occurrence, no known abuser can continue teaching and have their name suppressed. I think you are referring to a case of someone who lied about who they were to continue teaching. This can be really hard to pick up if they are using false documentation. Without you providing the actual cases it is hard to know what you are referring to.

    Given your language and emotive approach it seems that you may have had a bad personal experience yourself within the education system and this would shape your views considerably.


  137. Ray says:

    Paranormal, you need to talk about specifics and not make emotionally charged accusations without evidence.

    Oh please Mr Kennedy. !
    Let me suggest you re-read some of your own emotive bulls**t posted here before accusing others.

    more people are eating fast and processed food as their main diet and it is slowly killing us.
    The industry employ Cameron Slater to discredit those who want tighter regulations on the advertising and sale of alcohol.
    the fossil fuel industry has successfully sucked ordinary people like yourself into doubting the bulk of the science.
    I have 97% and all the most recognised and respected science institutions

    A tiny sample of your “emotionally charged accusations”
    Do you want me to go on?


  138. Mr E says:

    “Mr E doesn’t this happen anyway when prices are strong? Surely if prices remained relatively strong and consistent, through value added products, then it would allow more stable management and long term planning. Currently when prices drop it also leads to corners being cut and forces many to increase production to meet commitments”

    Myth -value add will provide more consistent returns
    Myth -value add will definitely provide higher returns.
    Myth – The dairy industry can afford the capitalisation of value add.

    ‘Doesn’t this happen anyway?’ Yep absolutely. But stronger would likely lead to more capitalisation, negating any opportunity to reduce N.


  139. Mr E says:

    “Do you want me to go on?”

    I do!


  140. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E says:
    January 15, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Yes to both your questions . . . . but only in the absence of regulations to prevent farmers applying nitrogen fertiliser in pastoral situations to the detriment of ground water and ultimately to waterways.

    I make the , I think justifiable, assumption that such regulations are either already in place (Horizons One Plan) or about to be enacted.
    Farmers are not ready , and that is the issue.


  141. farmerbraun says:

    Dave Kennedy says:
    January 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Dave there is good research out of Massey Uni which corroborates the scenario in your third paragraph.

    It is ultimately about margins ; the difference between the selling price and the cost of production / unit of production.
    Most dairy farmers who are able to do so are moving rapidly to that lower cost of production scenario in response to the current price. These are known as Tier 1 &2 systems.

    A large group have cost of production at $6/Kg M.S.
    This group also has most of the industry debt, being largely recent conversions.

    When prices are higher farmers can buy more inputs(containing nitrogen) at a favourable margin and make increased profits , and thus increasing the nitrogen loading on their soils if that is permitted.

    When prices are high and farmers choose not to buy inputs to increase production , then they simply get a higher margin.


  142. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E says:
    January 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Myth -value add will provide more consistent returns
    Myth -value add will definitely provide higher returns.

    My profit from value-added dairy rarely varies by much from year to year because the annual production does not change regardless of the seasonal weather. But it is consistently very profitable.

    My return , year- in year-out is around $20/Kg M.S. That is definitely a higher return , but my retail price is no different from any other brand. I capture the added-value by leaving all the water in the milk ,and achieving shelf stability by other means .

    Myth – The dairy industry can afford the capitalisation of value add.

    That is definitely a myth at present.


  143. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I challenge your so called myths as they appear to be mere opinion than based on evidence. Large companies like Nestle have managed to provide more consistent returns to their farmers because they continually look for new value added markets that give greater returns, especially pharmaceuticals.

    Adding value within New Zealand is a win/win because if the processing and packaging occurs here it increases employment opportunities and supports other local manufacturers.

    “In recent years, speciality cheese products manufactured in New Zealand for the premium end of the market have increased substantially. There are now over 30 boutique cheese makers in New Zealand.” http://www.nzdairycareers.co.nz/?page=Dairy_Industry&subpage=Dairy_Facts

    The growth of boutique cheese makers etc has potential to open similar markets as our wine industry and there is potential of excellent returns. A good example is Retro Organics who started at our farmers market and their business quickly expanded. http://www.retroorganics.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=2

    To claim that we can’t afford the capitalisation of value add is nonsense as there are so many examples of where this has been done successfully. If the markets exist and we can meet an identified demand then investment capital can be found. Although it would be much easier to find such capital if we weren’t so focussed on property and capital gain. The bubble is less likely to burst in dairy markets.

    Establishing Fonterra was hugely useful at the time because it gave our industry international clout and certainty of supply. Now that we are established in large markets, and generally have a good reputation, there is an opportunity for smaller enterprises to establish themselves in high end niche markets. We are already moving to greater value add but it could happen far faster with greater investment in R&D, we are pitifully behind our competitors in this area.


  144. farmerbraun says:

    Dave the obstacle to greater added-value is the DIRA and the Fonterra Milk Price Manual which latter keeps the price of raw milk artificially high (and the dividend from processing artificially low) so as to stifle competition for raw milk.

    Fonterra’s dryers run at only 50% capacity so loss of supply to added-value dairy companies is very costly to Fonterra.
    Hence the obsession with the diminishing % of NZ raw milk going to Fonterra , and the rigging of the Milk Price Manual to try and prevent the same from occurring.

    The Commerce Commission review of DIRA has observed that this is the case but the ComCom is powerless to prevent it.


  145. Mr E says:

    There are unquestionably some enterprises that do well out of value add. There are also some that fail.

    I suspect the example that Farmer Braun is referring to represents a niche market opportunity which is much different than changing the bulk of NZs products into something else.

    Boutique is not mass commodities.

    And Dave your simplistic view of investment fails to make the correct points.
    When investment is considered many many variables are reviewed – it is not simply a case of: market need + ability to supply = investment achieved, as you suggest.


  146. farmerbraun says:

    Right Mr E, and that is the important point: in the global value-added market N.Z. Can only ever be a niche producer.
    And so we should be, having a unique grass-fed label claim.
    After all we only have 5 million cows. Check out the world cow populations by country:we are close to the bottom.
    On a sustainable year-round basis we have a mere drop, say 10billion litres/annum.
    For 2 billion Asians that is only 5 litres/annum, but for the wealthiest 10% of Asians that could be 1, just one, litre per week, made up of cultured foods, ice cream , ghee (butter oil) and perhaps UHT milk.
    That looks like too little, and we need to combine with the West Island to even have a chance of doing this, especially if ice cream is in the mix.
    But on our own we could let the wealthiest 5% of Asians have 2 litres/ week for all of their fresh dairy products.

    Niche indeed: that’s us.


  147. Mr E says:

    I’m actually going to exit from this conversation. I think it is silly for us to be talking about what private enterprise does. Their decisions are up to them and their shareholders, and the information basis of those decisions are far more complex than will be discussed in this thread.


  148. Dave Kennedy says:

    Farmerbraun thanks for that information I was aware of this (but not to your extent) and also aware of Fonterra’s bullying tactics to ensure competitors are squeezed. http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/8471442/Twist-in-Okato-farm-saga

    Fonterra has obviously served a useful purpose in growing the dairy industry but there are potential dangers with any monopoly that innovation can be stifled and you can lose the ability to adapt quickly to market changes. Although it started as a cooperative, and is reliant on farmer commitment, the unbundling of shares must also be creating challenges for the company. http://www.interest.co.nz/rural-news/68827/dairy-farmers-who-are-unbundling-fonterra-shares-are-having-dramatic-effect-many-as

    Also there is an admission from Theo Spierings that we are ten years behind Europe in sustainability and this will ultimately affect our clean green branding credibility.

    Mr E, I am fully aware of the challenges involved but you appear to have a very defeatist approach when you claim starkly that the dairy industry can’t afford the capitalisation of value add. Rather than giving up and putting it in the too hard basket we should be re-evaluating systems that have become dysfunctional and are limiting the ability of the industry to be more nimble and flexible (as Farmerbraun suggests is already happening to a minor degree).


  149. “I’m actually going to exit from this conversation. I think it is silly for us to be talking about what private enterprise does.”

    It’s called, “Fear of Fonterra”. If the Fonterra people realised who Mr “E” is, he’d be in the shit and we’d be laughing our arses of, eh, “E”.
    I wish you were more like Eric Roy. Eric’s a bloke who would talk straight and not hide behind a silly name.


  150. farmerbraun says:

    I agree that Fonterra is a private enterprise, owned largely by the shareholder suppliers, and the decisions as to what to do should rightly be their’s alone . But there is one factor which means that the afore-stated principle does not apply in this case.

    Fonterra is a creature of statute ; it could not exist in this country without the government -mandated exemption from the Commerce Act that is contained in the DIRA.

    Among the several consequences of being allowed to operate as a virtual statutory monopoly is the need to maintain a social licence .

    All of the farming papers have had Nathan Guy hammering this point incessantly ; the dairy industry has gone beyond its social licence and the backlash will come back to hurt the politicians who have granted the exemptions, both commercial and environmental , which have actively encouraged the industry to go beyond its social licence.

    The electoral backlash will hurt the National Party most even though it was Jim Sutton under Labour who was bulldozed into rolling over to allow Fonterra to form.

    That’s the political problem that is keeping Nathan Guy on the road and in the farming headlines.

    The other side of the private business issue is that the dairy industry is unable to contain its environmental effects within the farm boundaries. This is a simple case of failing to observe the tort of nuisance . At least that was the situation until the RMA came along.

    So while I respect your position Mr E , I must observe that the dairy industry , particularly Fonterra , is very much in the public domain for the two reasons that I have outlined.


  151. Mr E says:

    Neither DIRA, or the environmental output of Fonterra, are reason enough for the public to have some say in value add opportunities of Fonterra.

    I presume when you mean environmental consequence, you are referring to the disposal of waste produce from Fonterra?

    I presume you Farmer Braun are a dairy owner who is in competition with Fonterra? No? Any shareholding?


  152. Mr E says:

    Private enterprise is private for a reason. If you think DIRA has wronged the public or Fonterra is breaking the law, please speak up.

    But I wont debate Fonterra’s private business in public. And I quite frankly I don’t think you should either.

    Imagine if Fonterra came out as said – We think Dave Kennedy should cut down that driveway cabbage tree and change his roof colour from blue to Fonterra blue. Imagine if they insisted. I’d imagine you would say, butt out. Surely I would. Which is exactly why I am butting out now.


  153. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I think it is silly for us to be talking about what private enterprise does. Their decisions are up to them and their shareholders, and the information basis of those decisions are far more complex than will be discussed in this thread.”

    Mr E, you do have a very limited view of commerce. As Farmerbraun suggests not all farmers are comfortable with Fonterra’s direction or approach and to claim that they are above scrutiny is worrying. As I have said in a previous thread, all New Zealanders have an interest in Fonterra and its operations as the environment we live in and our economy is now dependent on its leadership.

    There have been numerous times that its management has failed to perform adequately despite enormous salaries. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11148131

    As you suggest many companies make their decisions in the best interests of their shareholders and this doesn’t always mean it is in the best interests of the wider economy or environment.

    Farmerbraun is right about our comparative size in a global sense in terms of milk production, however we are the largest exporter of dairy and many countries cannot meet local demand through their own farms. As the dominant exporter it does give us some leverage.

    Because of our limited R&D we haven’t fully explored the possibilities that exist in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics that produce very high returns and are in high demand.


  154. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Imagine if Fonterra came out as said – We think Dave Kennedy should cut down that driveway cabbage tree and change his roof colour from blue to Fonterra blue. Imagine if they insisted. I’d imagine you would say, butt out. Surely I would. Which is exactly why I am butting out now.”

    Mr E, believe it or not this sort of thing already happens. In some places people are restricted to restrictive building codes and colour palettes because a special character needs to be retained for tourist purposes. Home owners are also told to remove trees that impinge on others.

    Fonterra should never be above the scrutiny of others, especially when it has a local monopoly. We are all dependent on the company for health of the economy, the food we consume and the environment we live in. The expectations that Fonterra places on its farmers for environmental management has much greater clout than any regional council.

    It is easy to see that you are a conservative thinker rather than a progressive one, you really don’t like challenging the status quo.


  155. Mr E says:

    We are dependant on every company for the health of the county Dave. Doesn’t mean you have any say in their private decisions.

    I am starting to realise how far left you Greens are. If only you looked at your own performance rather than everyone elses, you might be able to lift yourself off 10%. As it is, I suspect those busy body behaviours, are probably a significant causal factor of the 10%


  156. “Silly”?
    E believes discussing Fonterra would be “silly”.
    Silly, silly, silly. How silly to talk about Fonterra on a farming blog.
    How silly to talk about Fonterra on a blog that talks about just about any farming topic under the sun.
    What is it about Mr E that drives him to go all silly when it comes to talking about Fonterra???
    Fonterra, Mr E, Mr E, Fonterra.
    Quite silly, I agree.


  157. Don’t poke your nose into Fonterra, Dave!!
    That would be … silly!
    Why, talking about Fonterra would make you a busy body!!!



  158. Mr E says:

    Back from your snob tower and no longer with a sour look on your face. A smile. Or is that a sneeze? Your Emoticon is not so clear.

    That would be the shortest exile in history! I can imagine you stamping your feet all the way to the top. Clanging around in unhappiness and rapidly getting bored. Then tippy toeing back down stairs.

    And it could be true. Fonterra may not be happy with me publically discussing what I think their investments should be. Then again they might not mind. With doubt in my mind the polite thing to do is to not discuss it.

    And I’m not afraid of Fonterra. Just extending the polite respect I extend to all. Same respect I extend to you. Unless of course you want be to discuss your investments in public, and behind your back?

    I’m pleased you like Eric. I like Eric too. Good fella.


  159. Dave Kennedy says:

    “We are dependant on every company for the health of the county Dave. Doesn’t mean you have any say in their private decisions.”

    You have an odd view of the world, Mr E, obviously I have no vote or direct influence on companies where I own no shares but that shouldn’t stop me from expressing views on their performance. What a sad perception you have of how the world should be. Most of my views regarding Fonterra are not just my own, they have been informed and shaped by the likes of Rod Oram who spoke to our Chamber of Commerce recently. Are you saying he has no right to share his views either? I bet all mothers using baby formula had some justified views on Fonterra a while back too, are you saying they shouldn’t speak out? What nonsense!


  160. Dave Kennedy says:

    “So while I respect your position Mr E , I must observe that the dairy industry , particularly Fonterra , is very much in the public domain for the two reasons that I have outlined.”

    Just read, Farmerbraun’s piece and am grateful for his informed contributions and knowledge to balance Mr E’s emotive bullying ones.


  161. farmerbraun says:

    No Mr E I am not in competition with Fonterra: that would be a very silly place to be , given our relative sizes.
    I would say that we have a mutualistic association: we both benefit, and there is no negative effect on either party.

    When I was talking about environmental impacts , I was referring , not to the processing business, but rather to the nitrogen losses caused by the individual farmer-owners of Fonterra who have stocked their land beyond its capacity to hold nutrients. The need to keep those powder factories full has seen the development of the concept of a milking platform . . . .effectively a feed-lot which produces a fraction of the feed consumed on it, but usually receives all of the effluent. Young stock are grazed off to allow more cows, and nitrogen fertiliser, PKE etc, maize silage and other bought in feeds(called dairy support) are all used to overload the milking platform with nitrogen.

    This is the situation that environmental regulation must somehow address.
    Ideally all the effluent would go back to the land from whence came the crops, but that will never happen.
    The application of nitrogen fertiliser will have to become a controlled activity, subject to a resource consent application, which in some catchments will not be granted.


  162. Mr E says:

    It seems to me the critical eye and voice of the Greens know no bound. You have every right to discuss Fonterra’s business accept what I consider to be a moral boundary. Sadly you don’t hold that same boundary. Its seems to me, everyone else’s business is Dave Kennedys business.

    Let me know how that goes for you after the next election.


  163. Mr E says:

    Actually – We have a pollster here today. Pollster Robert Guyton.

    What’s your prediction this time Robert? Don’t worry about the last election prediction, that was just bad luck, or bad timing or Kim Dotcom or fairy dust, or who knows really? Nothing to do with the Greens performance for sure.

    Come on out with it!


  164. Mr E says:

    So Farmer Braun –

    The cheap DIRA milk, I presume that goes to your competitors? I presume you have competitors?

    Fonterra is not responsible for farmers nutrient management from a public point of view. Unless you are a consumer. Are you a consumer Farmer Braun?

    What hat are you wearing during the belly aching so I can consider the appropriate response.


  165. Mr E says:

    Bullying? Where?
    It is you who is attacking Fonterra Dave. Somewhat immorally in my opinion.


  166. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E DIRA milk is not cheap, neither is it sold (under DIRA regs.) at its true value. That is why the ComCom has been critical of the Fonterra Milk Price Manual.

    I really do not have any competitors ; I prefer to do something that nobody else is doing. Even if there were competitors I doubt that I would take my eye off my own business.

    I agree that Fonterra , the company, is not responsible for the nutrient management of the individual farmer -owners of Fonterra . I should perhaps have made that clearer; but Fonterra is still over 80% of the NZ dairy industry.
    Neither was Fonterra responsible for ensuring that the streams of its supplier-owners were all fenced ; that was a diversionary tactic to hold the public, anxious for clean streams , off for a while, and to throw them off the scent of the real problem which was always diffuse pollution.

    I’m not complaining about anything ; I just call the facts as I see them from my perspective of 45 years in the industry (processing side ) and longer on the milk supply side. I have no axe to grind : I’m doing very well thank you. But many are suffering, particularly sharemilkers, and it is not getting better yet.

    I do believe re-design would be an intelligent response , but Fonterra cannot change . The best opportunities will be picked off around the edges , in spite of Fonterra’s attempts to protect “its” patch and prevent competition, but ultimately dinosaurs outlive their times.

    I’m very much a sideline observer. But I do like your attempts latterly to paint me into some corner. I’m of the opinion that none of the possible hats will fit comfortably. 🙂


  167. Dave Kennedy says:

    “It is you who is attacking Fonterra Dave. Somewhat immorally in my opinion.”

    Mr E, You better pass on the same message to journalists, economic commentators like Rod Oram and others who are behaving immorally by daring to question and independent company. Also please quote one of my “attacks”.

    Do you also disagree with Farmerbraun’s comment (1:55 pm) regarding Fonterra’s exemption from the Commerce Act and social contract?

    Based on your logic I could saying that you have no right to question Green Party policy and activities, you are not a member and it is immoral to attack an independent party in the way that you do. Good grief!


  168. Mr E says:

    So just to make it clear – you value add with no competitors and you use that as an example to encourage Fonterra to do so. Sigh…. I can very well imagine Fonterra’s 8% of world supply traded milk going up against no competitors. Your earlier comparisons were moot in my opinion.

    Most people seem to be very thankful for the Clean streams accord. Indeed I consider it a very good move, Ecoli and phosphate appear to have declined NZ wide and I suspect that was in part due to this voluntary step. To hear you criticise it is somewhat frustrating to me. Millions of dollars have been spent by farmers for benefits. Not for detriment as far as I can tell.

    “your attempts latterly to paint me into some corner”

    I think you are painting yourself into a corner. You don’t need me for that. Clearly you are grinding an axe against Fonterra, making multiple complaints in the process.


  169. Nice, Dave – you’ve skewered “E”, hung him by his own petard and exposed his hypocrisy for all to see! (His team will swoop in soon to bolster him up, re-inflate his ego and call you a silly busy body, have no doubt, but as it stands, Mr E has painted himself into a corner and it sure was fun to watch. No ivory tower for me while this entertainment is on offer!


  170. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E you have misrepresented most of what I have said . You are free to do that, just as you are free to ignore any points I have made. I do hope that I made myself clear and that other readers have enjoyed the discussion.

    You are quite entitled to the view that there is no need for change , and certainly not all change is necessarily for the better.

    But the message to the dairy industry , both from the public , and from the government , is that change is required. I happen to agree , and I have tried to set out the reasons why.
    You disagree, it seems. That’s why we talk.


  171. Mr E says:

    Wow Dave,
    You really don’t understand the difference between the public and private sectors do you? That must be strange as a politician. Do you walk in to your street dairy and tell them “pull up your socks!”?
    Infact were you a principle or deputy principle? I think I am slowly understanding your thinking.

    “Do you also disagree with Farmerbraun’s comment (1:55 pm) regarding Fonterra’s exemption from the Commerce Act and social contract?”

    I responded to that comment Dave. If you paid attention in class you might have spotted it.

    Fonterra is governed by an act to ensure its behaviours are not anti competitive, that the presence of a monopoly doesn’t stop competition happening. That law creates DIRA (Diary restructuring act) milk, which is available to other companies at farm gate prices. In fact you might say the law is pro competition because start up companies can get milk without having to fork out the start up costs.

    If I was in the business of processing and selling milk to the consumer, a little like Farmer Braun is, I would really dislike DIRA milk because it would be a significant threat to my business.

    I have no issue with people showing concern about DIRA or monopoly threats, but that doesn’t give people the keys to the front door. Fonterra’s investment business is their own. If you think otherwise front up at their shareholders meeting and try and pass a resolution.

    If you are belly aching as a consumer, why don’t you call the help line on your bottle of milk and tell them you milk tastes like not enough value at.

    All other blog conversations about Fonterra from anti dairy people, tend to result in a moan fest behind Fonterra’s back. And I don’t care too much for that.


  172. farmerbraun says:

    ” farm gate prices.”

    Yes , that is the point of contention. Who should decide how that is calculated i.e. what are the assumptions built into that pricing model?

    The Comcom has a view about that and the underlying assumptions may be subject to further scrutiny , but only if the government is dissatisfied with the rate at which competition for raw milk is arising.
    So far the government appears disinterested .
    So it goes.


  173. Mr E says:

    Funny Farmer Braun,
    You accuse me of misrepresentation then you say this little gem:

    “You are quite entitled to the view that there is no need for change , and certainly not all change is necessarily for the better.”

    What I have been saying is the investment opportunities of Fonterra are it’s own business. For some reason, you and Dave have a problem with that, and seem determined to change my mind.

    I am quite happy to talk about Nitrate which I reckon needs attention. But I think that has nothing to do with Fonterra. Farmers nutrients are their own to manage. Expecting Fonterra to solve those issues is silly in my view.


  174. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E says:
    January 15, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    “I can very well imagine Fonterra’s 8% of world supply traded milk going up against no competitors. ”

    It is all moot Mr E ; that is why we have this moot.
    I just happen to be of the view that NZ has a unique reputation for pastoral production that cannot be matched easily by other countries . Yes I do think that we have a competitive advantage ; I think that we should exploit it.

    You presumably think that we can’t do any better and that our food is just like all the other. Others think that we are top-shelf.


  175. Mr E says:

    I am not sure why you are presuming so much. Does your axe need grinding?


  176. Mr E says:

    Silly busy body.
    Good one Robert.


  177. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Mr E you have misrepresented most of what I have said . You are free to do that, just as you are free to ignore any points I have made. I do hope that I made myself clear and that other readers have enjoyed the discussion.”

    It appears that even, Farmerbraun experiences what I have with your comments, Mr E. It is difficult to have a logical discussion when there is such a high level of misrepresentation in your responses. What I have quoted above almost replicates what I said myself on another thread.

    I have always accepted that i am not a farmer but have a keen interest in supporting a successful and sustainable farming economy, because we will all benefit from that. Farmerbraun comes from a much greater knowledge base than I have and it is supported by personal experience in the industry and yet he has articulated many of the things that I have voiced in the past (only better) and yet you also ignore what he says.

    You also treat Fonterra as if it is some sacrosanct institution, it is not, and your own understanding of the difference between public and private sectors is bizarre. No industry, business or private institution should be above scrutiny when it impacts on private citizens or our environment. You continue try to label me as anti farmer or anti dairy, I am neither. You live in a very black and white world and a false reality.

    “Do you walk in to your street dairy and tell them “pull up your socks!”?”

    What bizarre things you say, I certainly have made suggestions to our local Dairy that I felt would improve its service, because it is in both our interests for me to do so. I would never say “pull up your socks” just like I would never say that to Fonterra. Believe it or not I have sat beside a Fonterra director on a plane journey and said many of the things I have described here and got a positive reception. I have done the same with DairyNZ which culminated in someone making an appointment to interview me. In both cases it was a two way conversation I learned a lot myself that I hadn’t known before. I am not so arrogant as you want to paint me to think that I know enough to dictate to any business, but I can ask questions and make suggestions.

    “I am quite happy to talk about Nitrate which I reckon needs attention. But I think that has nothing to do with Fonterra. Farmers nutrients are their own to manage. Expecting Fonterra to solve those issues is silly in my view.”

    Fonterra can and should be a critical part of solving issues around nitirate levels and sustainability because it is the face of the industry on the global stage and has more influence than any other institution on how the milk it accepts is produced. Fonterra’s own reputation would suffer if it became known that it accepted milk from farmers whose management practices were well below what is acceptable. If milk received a higher premium if it could be shown that it was produced in a very sustainable way, with minimum environmental impact, the industry would change overnight. A facility already exists to turn down milk from substandard farms but is rarely used.


  178. Mr E says:

    You accuse me of misrepresentation then you say this:

    “you also ignore what he says”
    “You also treat Fonterra as if it is some sacrosanct institution”

    Both misrepresentations in my opinion. That is pretty hypocritical don’t you think?

    Then there was this, nearly spat my coffee out, laugh until it hurt, little beauty:
    ” I certainly have made suggestions to our local Dairy that I felt would improve its service”

    I’m thinking I should go out and buy a lotto ticket, then again perhaps that was predictable as night and day?

    Robert has suggested people call you a “silly busy body”. Personally I think that is unfair, but you gotta recognise the “chutzpah” of the man. Particularly after you spewed out that little gem.

    ” I am not so arrogant as you want to paint me to think that I know enough to dictate to any business, but I can ask questions and make suggestions. ”

    Good on you for your face to face interactions Dave, I’m just a little disappointed that after Fonterra and DairyNZ have treated you with such grace that you chose to come here and attack them. Behind their backs.

    “Fonterra can and should be a critical part of solving issues around nitirate levels and sustainability ”

    Rest easy Dave, I am sure they are.

    “Fonterra’s own reputation would suffer if it became known that it accepted milk from farmers whose management practices were well below what is acceptable”

    Again rest easy Dave. Your hallowed Farmer Braun says:

    “I just happen to be of the view that NZ has a unique reputation for pastoral production that cannot be matched easily by other countries”
    “Others think that we are top-shelf”

    Tell me Dave – what Standards, food or otherwise, do your Farmers Market Participants have to meet?


  179. farmerbraun says:

    Well thanks for the laughs everyone ; it’s been very enjoyable.


  180. Mr E says:

    Hold onto your hat and don’t go anywhere – Oh wise one. I would pick it is about to get more fun and more interesting.


  181. Ray says:

    I do hope that I made myself clear and that other readers have enjoyed the discussion.”
    The answers to that are. NO. And NO.

    I certainly have made suggestions to our local Dairy that I felt would improve its service
    You are totally beyond parody, Mr Kennedy. You just couldn’t
    make this stuff up!


  182. TraceyS says:

    Ray “but we need to have smart regulations
    As opposed to what? Stupid regulations?

    When used in that context “smart” is just another word for manipulating.

    If allowed, the public would love to manipulate everything which is to their dislike but also love cheap, quality products and will expect to do/have both, which is not possible. Dunedin has a great example of this at the moment (much in the media). Environment versus desire for cheap commodity (not food). Sorry I cannot comment further.

    Back to Dave. He may not like the lack of organic choices, nor dearth of local food, at his corner dairy. But when they extend the product range they need to invest capital to extend the shop. Like it or not, capital has a cost, and Dave will be paying. He then finds himself complaining, not of the lack of choices, but the impact on his pocket.

    The alternative might be that the shop owner decides to drop fizz and chips to make more room for Dave’s favourite purchases. The market narrows and sales volume drops as a result. Either way Dave pays if there is a cost, because you know, corner-dairy margins…

    If Dave wishes to tell the local dairy how to do its business he will have to buy one himself. Alternatively he can believe in the green dream to save the country and try to regulate the life out of chips and fizz. Sure as anything he won’t buy a corner dairy even though he could make a massive difference to the country’s youth by delivering sound nutritional advice with each sale…


  183. Dave, DON’T DISCUSS FONTERRA! Mr E has warned you.
    This is dangerous, no-go territory for… Mr E! You mustn’t be silly and discuss FONTERRA, mustn’t be a busy body!!!
    Mr E, your slip is showing.


  184. Dave Kennedy says:

    I find it hilarious that Tracey thinks she knows what I requested from our local dairy (and actually writes several paragraphs on what she assumes I said, what arrogance) and Mr E continues to make bizarre statements and then becomes offended when a logical conclusion is drawn from it. If it is morally unacceptable to question Fonterra, what kind of institution is above any such approach?

    I certainly do not continually tell individual businesses how they should run them, but many have suggestion boxes and very occasionally I will make a suggestion that may profit us both. To laugh at that kind of exchange is very odd. It appears many of you go through life accepting whatever service you are given and treat private businesses like hallowed churches where the retailer and customer can have no symbiotic relationship other than the exchange of money for goods or services.

    I have enjoyed Farmerbraun contributions because he obviously has some knowledge of the sector, he supports what he says with some basis in fact and answers questions directly. I may not always agree with him, however much that he has contributed here makes a lot of sense.

    Mr E, you have wiggled and evaded direct questions and then cast unreasonable aspersions on commenters motivations and intentions.
    I challenged you to quote an attack that I have made against Fonterra and despite making this accusation and accusing me of being immoral you don’t respond. None of us are any the wiser regarding your elephant, other than his name is Jumbo. Occasionally I feel we can have a civil exchange of views where I feel I have profited from the exchange, but in this case you have lost all credibility.

    I will also leave Tracey to her own little semantic assumptions and condescending assertions.

    As with Farmerbraun, I will leave others to read this exchange and make their own judgements.


  185. Mr E says:

    ‘but many have suggestion boxes and very occasionally I will make a suggestion that may profit us both’

    You just can’t buy this entertainment….!!!! Honestly!

    ‘If it is morally unacceptable to question Fonterra’

    Is raising criticisms of Fonterra on a blog where they are not present nor formally represented, questioning Fonterra? Ummm no. It is attacking when they don’t have a voice to respond. Some might call that back stabbing. I just call it unfair.

    I wonder if the dairy staff or owner were present when you strolled in aloof and shouted ‘SOCKS UP!’ or whatever it was that you recommended. Or did your just drop a little note?

    “then cast unreasonable aspersions on commenters motivations and intentions”


    “I challenged you to quote an attack that I have made against Fonterra and despite making this accusation and accusing me of being immoral you don’t respond. None of us are any the wiser regarding your elephant, other than his name is Jumbo.”

    Where is this Fonterra Elephant challenge? I could be wrong but I think your imagination is just taking off on you. Jumbo was way before any discussion about Fonterra. No wonder you couldn’t see it. You were either confused or looking in the wrong place. Although I think you make out you know all about the elephant in statement “revealing all will leave you exposed”, so I think you are just playing games.

    “but in this case you have lost all credibility.”

    What an unkind thing for a Green Party member to say. Perhaps if it was said as your opinion it would be a little more easy to absorb. But you have not done that.

    Jeepers I hope you are more thoughtful when your fill out all of those suggestion forms.


  186. TraceyS says:

    Dave, I was being deliberately whimsical. Glad you enjoyed it!

    The elephant in the room is that you can’t appreciate when you’ve hit a raw nerve. Nor can your party. That is your downfall need I point it out.

    “…many [businesses] have suggestion boxes and very occasionally I will make a suggestion that may profit us both.” As a would-be politician that is not the extent of your desires and we all know it – including you. If it was, you’d be content with filling suggestion boxes, and clearly you are not.

    Perhaps what Mr E appreciates, that you don’t, is that the Government has a role to protect against excessive public meddling in private affairs as much as it does to protect against private interests adversely affecting the public.

    Getting that balance right is akin to walking on water.


  187. Dave Kennedy says:

    Actually what I find entertaining is how Tracey and Mr E gleefully fabricate an argument, attribute it to me then attack it. You actually don’t need me at all, you can easily construct a fictitious debate and win every time (in your heads). What fun you must have 😉


  188. TraceyS says:

    I have no doubt that Mr E and I could have an excellent debate without you Dave.


  189. TraceyS says:

    Now does anyone find THIS hilarious…?


  190. Mr E says:

    Ma mumma always said it takes two to tango.

    And I’m quite sure if I had been fabricating a lot more of my questions would have been easily answered. As it stands there are heaps unanswered.

    Frankly I think Dave is just deflecting. I do hope he will think twice before singling out private enterprise again.

    It is fair to say I have had fun, although we lost the owner of Ol Steely which could have elevated the fun factor. Who knows he might be back soon, waiting in limbo moderation land? I have to presume so. Then again maybe he is just back at his blog, apparently also a place for unanswered criticisms of non attendees.

    Funny that.


  191. Mr E says:

    Hilarious Tracey!
    And strangely catchy!


  192. Ray says:

    but many have suggestion boxes and very occasionally I will make a suggestion that may profit us both’
    You really don’t get out much any more Mr Kennedy, do you.?

    As Mr E says, You just can’t buy this entertainment


  193. Ray says:

    However I’m intrigued. If there are “many”, perhaps you can name, lets say, about 5, so us keen shoppers can make some suggestions ourselves. Go on Mr Kennedy.


  194. Wow, Ele – record! You kept my comment in moderation for over 12 hours! Well done – democracy in action.
    Mr E (I’d like to call you “Ol’ Fakey” from now on, given your fake name and fake arguments (Nanna science and Nanna logic etc.) I’m certain you won’t mind. Ol’ Fakey – how is it that it can be “immoral” to discuss Fonterra? I see, Ol’ Fakey, that you played with words there – it’s not Fonterra we are questioning here, Fonterra isn’t a person after all, but Fonterra’s activities we were trying to discuss, until you had your silly moment, and spurted warnings and alarms all over the discussion. Why, Ol’ Fakey, are you so desperately anxious about talking about Fonterra? If they knew you were talking about them, they’d … what, exactly? Come on, you old fake, be up-front for once in your on-line career. What’s behind your terror of ‘Font”?


  195. Willdwan says:

    I expect it took 12 hours to decipher.


  196. Ha! Will, it’s tricky trying to debate anything at all when comments are held for long periods of time, in fact I’d say it’s practically impossible. Thinking back to when I was once-again-cast-into-moderation, I recall that Ele’s main complaint then was that I didn’t provide links for every thing I voiced an opinion on. Seems to me she was looking for any excuse at all to prevent me from commenting freely here, I think, from a fear of losing control, a typical fear in thinkers of her ilk. I do wonder, if Dave and myself, RBG and any other not-in-the-tent commenter left altogether, how would the discussions go here? Mutual back-slapping is my guess. Still, that must feel good, though doesn’t seem to me the way to create and test good ideas. I prefer the ‘creative tension’ format for discussion. For that you need divergent views. Of course, if one of those commenters is too much for the fearful, you can always hobble them with moderation. Democracy – it used to be something we valued and held-to. Not here, is my experience.


  197. Farmerbraun said:
    “Neither was Fonterra responsible for ensuring that the streams of its supplier-owners were all fenced ; that was a diversionary tactic to hold the public, anxious for clean streams , off for a while, and to throw them off the scent of the real problem which was always diffuse pollution.”

    Clear thinking like that won’t win you any brauny-points here, FB. You’ll find yourself in moderation soon, or under scathing personal attack from Ol’ Fakey!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: