Labour still wants to meddle in other people’s business

One criticism of the last Labour government was its propensity for meddling in other people’s business.

Ruminations from party primary industries spokesman Damien O’Connor show it still wants to do that:

The Labour Party has launched into the controversy surrounding Fonterra’s latest restructuring by saying chief executive Theo Spierings should take a voluntary pay cut “to restore credibility with farmers and staff”.

Spierings’ salary has been estimated to be worth about $4 million a year.

“The events of the last week have shaken the farming sector’s confidence in Fonterra, and the chief executive must take responsibility,” Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor said in a statement.

“Theo Spierings should lead by example and voluntarily reduce his pay by half,” he said. . .

Fonterra’s fortunes do impact on the wider economy but it’s not a public company nor is it an SOE.

It’s a co-operative and the chief executive’s salary isn’t any politician’s business.

It’s the business of the board and shareholders and Labour should keep its nose out of it.

165 Responses to Labour still wants to meddle in other people’s business

  1. Mr E says:

    Agree, labour have no right to make such suggestions. I think Damien should apologise for such meddling.

  2. Gravedodger says:

    Because he is seen as a saner person in a sea of idiots as regards commercial and in particular rural based activities that is generated in large part by his position as the MP for Westland, O’Connor’s abilities are inflated way beyond what a pragmatic assessment by others might decide.

    I seriously believe he is convinced that Spierings is overpaid and that is total bollocks, if however it is just opportunistic politically driven tactics then he has a defence even if somewhat flimsy.

    For me it is the corporate realisation that suddenly the bloated giant can see room to dump hundreds of drones when the economic realities of mid 2015 make such action now justifiable, as the big fail notice that shareholders should have placed on the CEO’s desk.
    If it is hundreds in June 2015 how many were just as surplus in say November 2014 when the forecasts were worrying or November 2013 when the forecast payouts were so wonderful.
    That is why I question the true value of Theo Speirings as a big influence in all our lives not just those with better and more associated reasons to question.

    The Fonterra model is farmer dominated but as a rather convoluted in part public shareholder entity it has responsibilities beyond farm gates.

    That is why some see a public accountability for the big player in a small pond

  3. Mr E says:

    Contacting is a risky business. I basic fact that Fonterra as well as farmers are facing. Contracting early or over agressively reduces the potential to access opportunities during recovery.
    Volatility is the new norm, that means all behaviours should be conservative, growth or contraction. That makes leaders easy targets.

  4. dave kennedy says:

    “One criticism of the last Labour government was its propensity for meddling in other people’s business.”

    You are obviously unaware that the Labour Government was instrumental in creating Fonterra in the first place (and against advice) 😉

    “Fonterra effectively has monopsony control of the New Zealand domestic and export dairy industry.The merger was initially turned down by the New Zealand Commerce Commission, but later approved by the New Zealand Government (Labour), with subsequent legislation deregulating the dairy industry.”

    National has done more meddling in other people’s business than Labour ever has.

  5. homepaddock says:

    Dave I’m very aware of how Fonterra came into existence and there lies the seeds of the problem. The need for special legislation for a business should be a very red light.

  6. Gravedodger says:

    Yeah DaveK we know, as it was in his biopic when he had a turn sitting in the Number Onsies seat opposite John Key. The man who took The Grand Old NZLP to a stunning victory over all odds as the biggest loser last September.
    Fonterra! he did it all one Sunday morning on the back of an envelope, before church and the disrespectful voters failed to see the benefits he could have wrought had Laila, John, Wussel n Material, Big Whinney and the Messiah hisself been able to cobble just a few more votes.

    Aah urban legends eh and DaveC was one of the more imposing of them, trouble was he had no surplus capacity in his brain to accommodate marginal things such as what his CGT might be applied to.

    Oh and fyi the post is about the current CEO, his performance and value, Labour’s take on that, not DaveC creating what should be a beacon and not a flickering sputtering lantern in the face of the market downturn.

  7. Gravedodger says:

    “In economics, a monopsony (from Ancient Greek μόνος (mónos) “single” + ὀψωνία (opsōnía) “purchase”) is a market form in which only one buyer interfaces with would-be sellers of a particular product.”

    One pitfall of using obscure words is failing to get the nuance and true meaning correct, DaveK.
    On reading your equivalent to the turd in the tunnel, comment I thought you had fallen into the Tablet trap with fat fingers and difficulty in editing but no, Monopsony is a word except that it could not be applied to the formation of Fonterra when Tatua and Westland stayed out and then there were the anti monopoly clauses that dictated The Giant was obliged to supply raw milk to existing further processors and any new startups, also Fonterra was precluded from preventing new startup raw milk collectors and processors, of which Synlait is one.

  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m just trying to get my head around the thinking expressed here.

    -I was roundly criticised for daring to repeat criticisms of Fonterra because as an independent company in a free market it should be free from outside manipulation.
    -Now that it has obvious failings that will impact on our wider economy the things many have been suggested should have happened well before (but weren’t welcomed at the time) are now being supported as reasonable.
    -Labour is being criticised for unnecessarily meddling in business when suggesting management pay rates are too great.
    -While Fonterra has been strongly defended previously Ele is now saying that it shouldn’t have been formed in the first place if Labour had to change legislation to allow it to exist.

    By this reasoning the change in legislation to increase the profitability of SkyCity should not have occurred and the 35 year compensation clause to support an industry that causes social harm is extraordinary. The $30 million subsidy to Rio Tinto shouldn’t have occurred as well as the changes in legislation and tax breaks etc to Warner Bros and Oil companies. This is direct Government manipulation of markets and favouring particular industries that you guys should be concerned about.

    I just heard from someone within the industry that Fonterra actually doesn’t have a strong brand presence in China because it is generally supplying the raw ingredient for other companies’ products. The Synlait branding in China dropped the New Zealand tag because it actually meant very little to Chinese. Despite the hype, because we don’t sell much value added product under a New Zealand brand our presence in the industry does not have a high profile to the average Chinese.

    I had thought having a clean green reputation would be a useful marketing tool, and was concerned that Fonterra is our third largest user of coal, but apparently this means nothing in China as all they are interested in is our milk powder and little is marketed as being sourced in NZ.

    Smaller NZ Dairy companies are actually growing a stronger brand presence than Fonterra:

    Under stricter Baby formula controls five NZ suppliers have been accredited and Fonterra has only one of their subsidiaries amongst them (Canpac).

  9. Mr E says:

    Dave seems to think that because labour gave Fonterra the ok, they have management rights.

    I bet the council gave your house building consent at some stage Dave. Are you expecting Tim Shadbolt to call up and check your salary, and potentially condemn you for it?

  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, you need to take up your grammatical and semantic concerns with Wikipedia 😉

  11. Mr E says:

    Dave your understanding of primary produce sometimes shocks me.

    Look at your shoes. Tell me who made the rubber on the soles? Look at your pants, who made the fibre contained within? Once you’ve answered those questions you will have a better understanding of branding, brand
    management and marketing. Why Synlait invests so much per unit of product relative to Fonterra.

  12. Gravedodger says:

    @DaveK, WHY?

    There is no “one Buyer” and Fonterra is finding their position as a dominant buyer is seriously under threat.
    Thanks anyway for a new word alas when the time comes to use it there is a high likelihood it will have sunk into the mists.

  13. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, the implication here is that Labour interferes with businesses more than National when it is clearly not the case. There is an element of hypocrisy here when interference in markets and business management occurs under National as well. Remember Solid Energy was encouraged by the Government to borrow and invest in coal and lignite activities to increase their dividends when market trends didn’t support it. The $600 million collapse resulted from this unnecessary pressure. If the Government wasn’t partly responsible then Don Elder should have to face the full consequences of poor management.

    The high salaries for CEOs in New Zealand is actually an indefensible construct. We pay CEOs, especially in the Government sector, much higher salaries than equivalent sized institutions and businesses overseas.

    Our PM earns the equivalent of $280,000 US which makes his salary only $120,000 less than the US President and more than that of Cameron in the UK, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe of Japan.

    The Mayor of Auckland receives $180,000 US while the Mayor of New York (pop. 8 million) receives only $40,000 more.

    The US Secretary of the Treasury earns $191,000 US a year while our NZ Secretary of the Treasury earns $431,000 US.

    Nestle’s Revenue is ten times that of Fonterra’s and the salary of Nestles’ CEO is $9 million. If Theo Spierings’ salary was revenue based, he would only be earning around $1 million, instead he is earning $3.3 US million a year.

    Considering our country only has the population of a reasonable sized city we pay CEO salaries greater than those of most major economies. Something is seriously wrong with our values and we are rapidly looking like a banana republic.

    For Fonterra to pay such extraordinarily high salaries should indeed be questioned (and it has been by many shareholders) as it implies a focus on feathering management nests than the wellbeing of the company.

  14. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Look at your shoes. Tell me who made the rubber on the soles? Look at your pants, who made the fibre contained within?”

    Poor developing economies and communities?

    The money is in the value added products, not the raw commodity, surely? Have I missed your point., Mr E?

  15. Paranormal says:

    Yet again DK you’ve missed the point. Was that on (political) purpose or is it you really don’t understand?, or want to understand for that matter? Why is it any business of yours or Liabour what the Fonterra CEO is paid? That is up to the business owners. As a co-operative they will have the choice.

    I do agree with you the government (and local government for that matter) have the model wrong for calculating State sector CEO salaries. it seems quite often that, unlike private sector CEO’s, they contribute very little to the value of the entity.

    Theo Spierings gave a very good interview last week where he talked of raising the return on investment from 9% to 13%. Why do you think that might be important and do you have any inkling what that might mean? That is why there is a significant difference between private and state ceo’s.

  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I actually think we New Zealanders are suckers. How can you possibly justify increasing government, SOE and private company CEOs salaries at a rate much higher than both inflation and the increases in productivity of the institutions they lead. I just think Fonterra shareholders are weak (or have lost control) if they have allowed management salaries to reach stratospheric levels.

    There is little different between the CEOs of government departments, SOE’s and companies, all management should be answerable to those who have financially invested in them.

    I’m not really impressed that Spierings gave a good interview, considering he is earning around $1,600 an hour ($27 a minute) he should be able to come across well.

  17. Mr E says:

    “There is little different between the CEOs of government departments, SOE’s and companies, all management should be answerable to those who have financially invested in them.”

    In one foul swoop Dave silenced himself and Damien O’Connor. Well done Dave. Theo is not answerable to you or Damien.

    With regard to value add, earlier in the week I made my position clear on value add. You must have missed it. But to put it simple as I can, if value add was without risk, and easy, everyone would be doing it. It isnt and that is why I am very greatful that Fonterra has not ventrued down that extremely difficult pathway given the current fiscal challenges.

    Regarding your comments about CEOs, that seems to me to be a bunch of weirdness. CEO salries are defined by many many vairables, and your oversimplification is just weird. Simplifying it may make fit your political agenda, but i doubt it helps your reputation.

  18. Will says:

    Value add again? Dave, there is no doubt adding value is better for New Zealand, it creates jobs and a greater percentage of the end price stays here. But, in my experience, it rarely delivers anything to the farmer, and we’re usually the mugs who have to pay for it all, through levies of one kind or another. As an example, the most profitable lamb market sheep farmers ever had was the live sheep trade, which was stopped for ‘ethical’ reasons. Everyone in the industry knows it was to save the meat-workers. But, my point is, there is no added value at all, and we never did better.

    Imagine you invent a new product which adds value to milk. Pretty soon someone will have a similar copy, (patents notwithstanding) probably made cheaper in China, and you will be facing all kinds of tariffs, import duties, transport costs, carbon taxes and God knows what else. What you can do, others can usually do cheaper.

    These are not reasons to give up or excuses for failure – I’m just saying, it’s not as easy and straight-forward as you seem to think.

  19. Paranormal says:

    DK, you’re doing it again, or is it you just really don’t understand the commercial world?

    The value individuals add to a business is what they are remunerated on. That’s why there’s a significant difference between a worker and a CEO. That’s also why government CEO’s shouldn’t be remunerated at similar levels to the private sector. And you’re right again, they should be answerable to their shareholders, those are the people who decide what the CEO kpi’s are – not a bunch of misguided zealots with a particular barrow to push.

    My comment regarding the interview was that if you had listened you might actually learn something. It wasn’t about Spierings presenting well, it was that he had something relevant to say. You could learn from that. Do you understand what it means for a company to increase their return on investment from 9% to 13%?

  20. Mr E says:

    “there is no doubt adding value is better for New Zealand”

    If there was “no doubt”, any joe could walk into a bank and walk out with a business. There is doubt, there is risk, and for any company to take on giants like Danone and Nestle carelessly, a perilous future would exist.
    When little companies take on big ones, little impacts occur, but when Giants take on Giants, epic battles occur.

  21. Will says:

    Fair enough. I meant ‘no doubt’ IF you can pull it off! My point is, it is not easy. How often do you hear politicians saying “adding value is a no-brainer?” Usually the same ones busy creating more costs and red tape, like the Greens’ latest pointless policy.

  22. Dave Kennedy says:

    Interestingly, I just got back from an Innov8 Invercargill evening where local entrepreneurs and thinkers share their ideas. I was blown away by the number of small startups have gone on to become successful and profitable in a short time.

    I get the fact that there is flexibility in smaller companies and there is more to lose when you operate on a bigger scale, but the big success stories like Google have a foundation in innovation and pay people to have the space to come up with new ideas. It does appear that Fonterra does not have this model, they were paying huge salaries for people to do similar things in traditional ways. Fonterra has got a research and development centre that is full of PhD scientists, which sounds impressive until you see how little space is devoted to it on the website and what few new products have come out of it.

    With my experience in working on our Technology Curriculum I became aware of the need to work across different domains of learning and by restricting activities to science science only ignores the value added by cultural perspectives, designers, engineers, multi disciplined technologists and even tapping into the ideas of innovative farmers. I see no evidence of this approach. Even innovative packaging can create whole new markets for existing products.

    If I am wrong I am open to the all the exciting innovations that have come out of Fonterra other than the five listed on the website and being a trusted supplier of powder for Nestle and Kraft and Chinese industries. Surely they could list some more?

  23. TraceyS says:

    “Volatility is the new norm, that means all behaviours should be conservative, growth or contraction.”

    Well said Mr E.

    A man after my own heart.

  24. Dave Kennedy says:

    Conservative: “averse to change or innovation”

    I would be interested to know what companies have been successful be promoting conservative thinking. Can you name some 😉

  25. TraceyS says:

    “Our PM earns the equivalent of $280,000 US which makes his salary only $120,000 less than the US President…”

    The US President earns $400,000 pa from a population base of 321,000,000. That’s one tenth of a cent for every person.

    Dave writes of “equivalence” so let’s apply equivalence (of salary:size) to New Zealand’s PM:

    New Zealand has a population of 4,400,000 around about. Multiplied by the benchmark salary rate of $0.001 per person equals an equivalent annual salary for our PM of $4,400.

    I knew you had a low opinion, Dave, but this is ridiculous…

  26. TraceyS says:


    – Favouring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
    – Traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness.
    – Cautiously moderate.
    – Having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative.
    – Tending to conserve; preservative: the conservative use of natural resources.
    – One favoring traditional views and values.
    – A supporter of political conservatism.
    – Favouring the preservation of established customs, values, etc.
    – Conventional in style or type.
    – Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

    How can you be so selective (in your definition) and still expect to be regarded as credible?

    You may be surprised that many ordinary New Zealanders fit the above definition of conservative very, very well; particularly in regard to their personal finances. This is essentially why National is winning the party vote in electorates like Dunedin South – a place where people are incredibly conservative at heart.

    I think that you have a lot to learn from conservatives.

  27. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sadly, Tracey, this Government doesn’t express your values. It is hardly cautious when it throws taxpayer money on dodgy activities like coal mining and deep sea drilling. The conservation of natural resources has taken a downhill dive and will be even worse when changes are made to the RMA. Traditional values means supporting families and at least 50% of young families are struggling. It doesn’t even support traditional institutions when it kills off Relationships Aotearoa after over 60 years of existence.

    The old National Party had its roots in rural New Zealand and believed in compassionate conservatism, but this new iteration is full of lawyers (most common profession in the Government caucus) and openly serves the already wealthy and corporates.

    My companion on the plane trip south this morning worked in the mining and quarrying industry and explained to me how little support this Government provides to New Zealand businesses. Constant overseas procurement practices means high quality local products are being supplanted by cheaper lower quality products and services and the payment goes overseas. The high dollar has caused his business to lose Australian markets too.

    I will also say that New Zealand isn’t actually as conservative as you claim: we embraced women voting, gay marriage, nuclear disarmament before most other countries and the majority of us support euthanasia. New Zealand was also the first country to have a Green Party contest a national election 😉

  28. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, regarding our PM’s pay, your argument is bizarre when you read the rest of the sentence, Key earns more than almost every other OECD leader. Perhaps he could learn from this one:

    Sadly National Ministers seem to reflect this research:

  29. Mr E says:

    Comedy gold,
    “dodgy activities like coal mining and deep sea drilling”

    “My companion on the plane trip south this morning “

  30. Dave Kennedy says:

    And you are obviously also referring to the idea that greenies shouldn’t fly, drive cars use plastics or have anything to do with fossil fuels if we campaign to reduce their use. Good grief.

    I do notice when I have presented some pretty convincing arguments the response tends to revert to personal ones and ridicule. Your methods are so transparent, Mr E 😉

  31. Will says:

    You describe the energy that everyone, including yourself, uses as dodgy. You really are ridiculous.

    Most conservatives see self-reliance as a virtue, not whining to the government for support.

  32. TraceyS says:

    “I will also say that New Zealand isn’t actually as conservative as you claim: we embraced women voting, gay marriage…”

    Dave, how does gay marriage and women voting etc not fit with the definition of conservative I posted at 9:51pm?

    Your view is apparently extremely prejudiced.

  33. Paranormal says:

    DK wants an example of a conservative company that’s made it big by being conservative. I guess he’s never heard of Munich Re, the Sage of Omaha or Berkshire Hathaway to name a few? Or to look locally- Fisher & Paykel, Mainfreight and others.

    As for Relationships Aotearoa, the government didn’t kill them off. Yes they stopped funding, but government funding for relationship advice was only a recent change. Their business model was broken to be so reliant on government funding only. And you also fail to show that RA actually provided outcomes for the money spent. There is sufficient information provided on previous threads here that suggest the money was going into RA admin and not where it was intended. But forget all that, RA clients are still receiving counseling and probably in a more flexible and results oriented manner than provided by RA.

  34. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey, regarding our PM’s pay, your argument is bizarre…”

    Actually, Dave, I was simply extending your line of reasoning regarding a Prime Minister/President’s salary size relative to country population.

    I never said it was a good approach. I’m sure you’d agree that it would be silly for NZ to offer a four-and-a-half thousand dollar annual salary to our Prime Minister. Just imagine what your Green MPs would say if their pay was commensurately reduced to about $2k per annum!

    Maybe you’d argue that Green MPs should be paid more than others because they are doing it ‘for the good of the environment’. Just as you personally manage to cast aside your moral argument against fossil fuel consumption when you fly to a green conference.

    The reality is that your attendance at the conference will have absolutely no direct benefit for the environment to balance against your share of the plane’s fuel consumption. To argue that it does would be purely intellectual in the mind of the average, conservative-living, individual.

  35. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, compassionate conservatives see community and supporting others in need as important. While encouraging and supporting self reliance is an important part of developing resilience, this Government’s practice of knocking out support systems that lead to this shows no compassion. The destruction of Relationships Aotearoa and Rape Crisis support in Christchurch are examples of this. The editorial in the latest Listener expresses concern about removing basic support causes huge social and economic costs later.

    Paranormal, using Tracey’s leading definition of conservative
    (“Favouring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change”), none of you examples fit this because all have had to change and be innovative to succeed 😉

    RA was held up by the government as the leading NGO for introducing model management systems and was operating better than government departments working in similar fields. You are being misinformed by your sources. RA clinicians spent upwards of 60% of their time with clients compared to Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) who achieve less than 30% of face to face time with clients. The Government gave RA more work but cut funding by $4 million and expected it to deliver services more efficiently than its own departments.

    Tracey, when living in a carbon intensive world it is impossible to remove oneself from it completely. As you know it is much more effective to work within our current systems and negotiate and encourage change than attack from the outside. The Green Party is a political party and working in our current political environment and we have little choice but use the transport systems available to us. You will be aware of our attempts to make transport systems less carbon intensive. I would have have thought your conservative philosophy would support this transitional approach 😉

  36. Paranormal says:

    DK said “none of you examples fit this because all have had to change and be innovative to succeed”

    You don’t know Munich Re, Berkshire Hathaway and Fisher & Paykel then. 😉

    My sources on RA were shown previously – MSM and their own (RA) reports. JC also posted previously on them.

  37. Gravedodger says:

    Maybe if the Mayor of Auckland was paid say 40k the job might be in the hands of someone with old fashioned value drivers, say pride, integrity, vision, service, probity and ability instead of the lecherous, conniving, maniacal current incumbent.

    Oh and about the hypocrisy Dave, it is at the very least disingenuous for Garry to fly to Dunedin, stay over and fly back to Welly for the sole purpose of addressing a dozen committed followers when face time could have achieved the exact same outcome down to the personal advantage of very real one on one contact. That is when my Hypocrisy alarm goes off like a smoke alarm. during a fryup.

    All Pollies become adept at wasteful activity because they can to feed their ego, Your mob from the GP lobby group pretending to be statesmen are different in that they preach or make that screech to everyone else they are destroying the Planet, by doing the same.
    Al Gormless being a classic case in point, you must be aware of his profligate consumption of electricity in his accumulated accommodation assets.

    Perceptions, pure perceptions, Comprendi

  38. Tom Hunter says:

    …. this Government doesn’t express your values.

    It probably escaped your notice but a lot of National Party supporters – not to mention other right-wingers – very much objected to bailing out Rio Tinto, especially since it was suspected that they were taking us for a ride, something that has since been confirmed.

    I presume a Green-Labour government would not have done this and taken the risk that they were bluffing – in the face of people screaming about hundreds of well-paid jobs vanishing from the Far South? As Sir Humphrey once noted, that would be “very courageous Minister”.

    As far as Solid Energy is concerned we wanted to sell the bloody thing – against the wishes of Green-Labour – and were foiled by the GFC. Had Labour done so in earlier years the taxpayer would have had a windfall rather than the current liability, but the Left’s desire for the state to own businesses operates under the assumption that they never make mistakes and suffer losses. A sort of real-world Golden Goose. Still, come 2020 or so you’ll be able to proudly claim that you’re the only Green Party in government in the world that operates a set of coal mines. I’m sure you’ll square that circle.

    It is hardly cautious when it throws taxpayer money on dodgy activities like coal mining and deep sea drilling.

    Don’t forget Kiwirail: another $400 million to add to the pile accumulated since Muldoon wrote off $100 million back in the early 1980’s. It doesn’t get dodgier than a business that has never made money – but you’ll throw even more at it.

    My companion on the plane trip south this morning worked in the mining and quarrying industry and explained to me how little support this Government provides to New Zealand businesses.

    You just said they’re throwing money at mining – or is there a special type of mining that the Greens will support big time with government largesse?

  39. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, we obviously have different view on what constitutes conservative thinking in relation to the businesses you highlighted, here are quotes from their own websites:
    “Munich Re expects moderately increasing demand for reinsurance, driven by growth markets and greater need for innovative solutions to new risks.”
    “Leadership Through Innovation” (Berkshire Hathaway)
    “Fisher & Paykel have been leading the world in appliance innovations since the early 1980s. Products like the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher and the CoolDrawer™ multi-temperature refrigerator have not only pioneered new, compact technologies, but have changed appliance design forever”

    You obviously didn’t read these on RA

    I would be interested to know what was factually incorrect because even Anne Tolley accepted that the service they provided and the systems they had put into place were not the issue. The issues were not being able to provide the services they were contracted to do on shrinking funding and not being able to deliver on contracts that were, in many cases, problematic.

  40. Mr E says:

    “I do notice when I have presented some pretty convincing arguments ”

    What I have noticed from recent statments is a self inflated confidence. I would have thought that listening to others views would have controlled this tendancy – but it seems not. People like to see humility, especially from politicians and wannabe politicians. Over inflated egos, overconfience, self infaltion of views, none of those things are attractive.

    I’ve made no personal attacks as you state Dave. I’ve responded directly to your statments in this thread and how you have delivered them. If you take my assessment of your statments personally, I cannot control that. Perhaps think about how your deliver statements, dont involve your personal situtations in debates if you dont want people to debate your personal situations.

    Regarding your concern about my pointing out of humor, I think you either lack humour or you are being over sensitive. It is funny for me to watch a Green Party member label oil mining as “dodgy” then in the next breath talk about travelling using that ‘dodgy’ oil. I suspect many others would also find that funny. If you dont, I worry for you.

    My suggestion for you Dave, if you want to be a successful politician, learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take everything so seriously. Dont be so sensitive.

    I know you like to ‘wink’ at people on this blog – make fun sometimes. Try not just to make fun at others but be willing to laugh at yourself.

  41. Tom Hunter says:

    … and believed in compassionate conservatism, ….

    When G.W.Bush uttered this line in 2000 right-wingers rolled their eyes and left-wingers emitted hideous chuckles. That’s why it’s been consigned to history along with I feel your pain. Under Bush it became just another excuse to endlessly ramp up government spending.

    … this Government’s practice of knocking out support systems that lead to this shows no compassion.

    Cliche after cliche after cliche …….

    And there’s no bigger cliche than the left-wing stance that right-wingers are either evil or stupid, or both.

    Yawn. Your lot rode that argument to power in 1999; after 15 years of Roger and Ruth it had bite. But it’s failed since then. When you start down the “We’re compassionate, you’re not implication road people just roll their eyes and stop listening.

    Which does make me wonder what on earth you’re doing on this blog. It’s not like it’s a rabidly partisan, politically focused place where the likes Lynn Prentice and Sanctuary rant and rave. I would have thought a political activist who turns up here would be trying to get people to listen and to convince them that your arguments are correct. Playing the old evil/stupid schtick would seem to be counterproductive.

    But then, that is one the of the reasons you can’t rise much above 10% in elections – and apparently you can’t help yourself.

  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, in the Southland Times today there is an article about Tiwai unlikely to close and we all know that the Rio Tinto bribe was nothing about saving jobs but ensuring the value of Meridian remained strong as the shares went up for sale 😉

    The reason Solid Energy died so spectacularly was because the Government wanted increased dividends to help pay for the tax cuts that weren’t fiscally neutral and also have projects on the board that would boost SE’s profile in the event of a sale. The drop in coal prices was predicted and documents show the Government trying to capitalise quickly on the old coal prices before the inevitable collapse happened. Unfortunately it happened sooner than later and Don Elder and the Government were caught with their pants down in the middle of the Southland lignite fields. The reason Don Elder was put on gardening leave on his $1.3 million dollar salary after a $600 million collapse and not punished for negligence was because of the Government’s contribution to the debacle.

    Kiwirail is an entirely different kettle of fish. It provides important infrastructure that supports the economy and the external benefits of an efficient rail network are substantial. We now move more freight on our rail network than ever before. I believe the role of Government is to provide the infrastructure and mechanisms to support a resilient economy and that involves a reliable and cheap energy supply and efficient transport networks.

  43. Tom Hunter says:

    Tom, in the Southland Times today there is an article about Tiwai unlikely to close and we all know …

    Yes, we do all know, which I said exactly that. So clearly you don’t even bother reading the comments of those who waste their time replying to you. Yet another symptom of the “You’re evil/stupid stance”. You’ll make a fine MP if you ever make it there.

    BTW, adding to a “wink” emoticon does nothing to improve your image. But as I said, and as others here have noticed, you learn nothing even from failure.

    The reason Solid Energy died so spectacularly was because the Government wanted increased dividends …

    You mean like Labour constantly allowing electricity prices in the 2000’s to run ahead of inflation so it would deliver even more money into its maw from its SOE power companies?

    When you have billions invested in a company you do rather want it to generate a stream of revenue that’s at least equal to what you’d get having it in a savings account – emphasis on “at least” – otherwise what’s the point. And while coal prices were expected to decline as part of the usual business cycle, nobody expected a collapse because nobody (including ye olde Keynesian, Ben Bernacke) expected the GFC. You do realise that dividends only come after the profit is calculated no? The demand for dividends might have effected investment decisions, as it is with Apple right now, but have no bearing on the company.

    And still with the soundbites … Here’s someone talking about those investment decisions:

    I was the Minister in charge of Solid Energy when they bought land with lignite resources. This was done on purpose so that it would come under control of the SOE – so you can work that land in a way which is socially responsible. I understand that that area could be very valuable in the future; that it could provide 400 years’ worth of vehicle fuel power.

    That’s Trevor Mallard. There’s also video of him in 2007 boasting about getting SolidEnergy to focus on renewables – which sounds like exactly what you would have done with the company, only more so, if you’d been in charge. I guess that’s why tens of millions of dollars were wasted on their biofuels project. That does not stop me wanting Don Elder to be kicked in the balls for all of this – lack of regular business plan revisions, lack of worst-case planning scenarios, lack of hedging, obviously inadequate risk planning – but it just shows what government ownership and control does.

    Which brings me to …

    Kiwirail is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    Of course it is. For you it has to be, in order to base your plans for our economy on – even to the extent of ignoring the fact that it’s lost more money over the decades than four or five SolidEnergies. You can’t whine about government demands for cash causing a company to fail when you’ve got a living, breathing dinosaur swallowing tax payer money every bloody day. Well, you can because of the double standards employed.

    Utah just legislated robotic trucks to run on its highways and companies from Daimler to Toyota are jumping in. Twenty years from now it may be that people decide to experiment with running such trucks on a newly paved-over railway lines, at least in pilot programs to see if they’re cost-effective. Given the degree to which trucks and the like are needed to work the current rail system at the start and end points I would not be surprised at all if the system as a whole used less resources, even with a stream of robotic trucks on the old rail lines replacing the 2 engines pulling 1500 tons.

    Planning for that would be truly be the mark of a 21st century political party. But I suspect you’ll never emerge from the 19th century of world of two fixed steel rails.

  44. Tom Hunter says:

    Missed a couple of words….

    The demand for dividends might have effected investment decisions, as it is with Apple right now, but have no direct bearing on the company’s profits. And if you want to delve into what they invested in ….

  45. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom I don’t believe that “right wingers” are evil, just misguided. Many of you fail to see that narrowly focussed and short term fiscal management has unintended costs. Often cutting key health services means even heavier demands on Government services later on. It its drive to balance books in the short term this Government is passing the inevitable costs onto following governments and generations. For instance the annual cost in services etc of child poverty and poor housing etc is around $5 billion a year and yet spending on mitigating the effects of poverty is seen as a cost not an investment that will save money in the long term.

    The Transmission Gully motorway is a good example of this approach. The PPP agreement will allow the road to be built even though the cost/benefit ratio is negative and the immediate costs will be deferred. In the end the cost to taxpayers will be extraordinary high but by the time they hit it will no longer be this Government’s problem.

    I have been quite open about my commenting on this blog, I do so for three reasons:
    1) To provide an alternative view on a fairly widely read conservative blog (I try to do so in a non aggressive and abusive manner and thank Ele for her tolerance of my presence).
    2) To test my arguments and thinking in a robust way (I am unlikely to get such robust discussions in green or left leaning forums).
    3) To try and understand the reasons behind views different to my own.

    I often agree with much that Ele writes on different topics and say so, I am not here to troll but engage as someone with a different perspective. I try as much as possible to link to my sources and am disappointed when rather than address the key arguments or evidence, my own motives and morality are often attacked instead.

    Despite your criticism of my approach I would have to say I endure more cliched abuse here than anything I say myself. I have often been told here that I am a dangerous Marxist who hates farmers and is out to destroy our economy by telling lies that could be overheard by global markets 😉

    I was appreciative of your lengthy response in a previous thread, Tom, and did want to respond but was not able to because of distractions (I was participating in our Asia Pacific congress).

    To argue my case here I often end up having to do more research to support my argument and this often leads to posts on my own blog that are articulated in more detail. Here is a recent one that was developed from this thread:

    I think our new co-leader, James Shaw, has a good point in claiming that even if our philosophical differences can’t allow us to form a government together it doesn’t mean that we can’t work together on areas where we can agree. Our MOU delivered some pretty amazing benefits and this could happen again.

    I welcome comment on my own blog and it is good to see Paranormal and Gravedodger appear occasionally. I actually got on well with Tony from Keeping Stock and many wouldn’t be aware that we shared similar concerns about education and corresponded privately through emails and and Facebook. My family background has two political elements, Greens and ACT (Heather Roy is my cousin) and we are used to engaging in robust but respectful discussions despite holding contrasting views. In my mind this is what makes a healthy political environment and to suggest that I shouldn’t be here is counter to open debate.

  46. Mr E says:

    ” we all know that the Rio Tinto bribe was nothing about saving jobs”

    Dave accuses a local business of accepting a government bribe based on a lie.

    Do you have any firm evidence to back these claims Dave?

  47. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, obviously I don’t have firm evidence other than the timing and the manner in which it was done. Given that I was part of public meeting that was organised to look for solutions to deal with the threatened closure and when all major political parties were invited, National was the only party that could not find anyone to attend. It was very clear initially that the fate of the workers was not a real concern as many other manufacturers had folded with substantial unemployment and the Government had refused to intervene. When the payment was made close to the sale of Meridian shares it seems reasonable to assume that it was the value of those shares that drove the decision, not saving jobs. 😉

  48. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, sorry I missed tour latest response while responding to the previous one. Please remember I am not an apologist for Labour so saying that a previous government is no better is not a valid argument to me.

    There was nothing economically or environmentally viable about the lignite development in Southland. Diesel made from lignite is just about the dirtiest fuel imaginable, there was no market for the briquettes and we didn’t really need more urea. The mining would have resulted in a number of large “recreational lakes” (Solid Energy’s own description), and prime productive land would have been removed for future generations. Mataura would have suffered considerably as no town has survived coal mining well. As part of our local activity to challenge the projects we brought out some Australian farmers to talk to local farmers of their experiences of the coal industry. Believe it or not environmentalists and farmers collaborate in Australia when fighting the coal industry.

    I believe that the claim that the private sector is best suited to managing business is flawed as it really just comes down to good management and examples of good and poor management occurs in both. I would agree that some business is best suited for the private sector and some is best managed by the Government (health, justice and education especially). Remember that the plight of our rail service was largely due to a private company not reinvesting in new engines and rolling stock and generally running the service down. It has been a case of catch up ever since to restore the service to a modern and efficient one.

    If one compared the spending on roads and the costs of maintaining them, rail transport would win every time. The costs of road transport gets externalised. Buying and maintaining trucks and fueling them costs much more than trains, they just add to our current account deficit and consumer costs. Obviously some freight must be moved on trucks but rail is far more efficient for bulk freight as Fonterra has found down here. Your description of the future of road transport sounds great but I think you will find similar advances in rail around the world too, innovation isn’t exclusive to either one.

    By the way, my use of the winking or smiley face is to dispel the idea that I am pounding away on my keyboard like some rabid left wing fanatic. Abuse generally washes over me and I have always enjoyed a good debate ever since I led debating teams in my last years at high school. I admit at times I use it to stir, but you would have to accept it is a much milder form of agitation than written put downs.

  49. Dave Kennedy says:

    Returning to an earlier comment of Mr E’s (it is hard to keep up with all as there is many of you and only one of me):
    “What I have noticed from recent statements is a self inflated confidence. I would have thought that listening to others views would have controlled this tendency – but it seems not. People like to see humility, especially from politicians and wannabe politicians. Over inflated egos, overconfidence, self-inflation of views, none of those things are attractive.”

    What an interesting statement. If an outside observer read all the comments here and made a judgment regarding the ego and confidence that is expressed through each, I wonder how they would compare? I think what would be seen is a collection of strong minded and opinionated people having a robust debate.

    What I am also aware of is the high level of angst caused by me expressing an alternative view in a confident manner. I do think that I liven things up because every time I express one of my overconfident, self-inflated, ego ridden views it attracts a flurry of indignant responses.

    You could always ignore me 😉

  50. Paranormal says:

    Dk it is true you do provide a certain entertainment value in the naivete of some of your positions. The one above for example suggesting gummint is better at running edukashun and health is just too funny.

    You can’t see that gummint are providing soviet style rationing rather than healthcare or education. it’s not so apparent under National but it’s still there. You conveniently forget Liarbour (supported by the Greens) let waiting lists blow out and then solved the problem by removing people from the waiting list. Very efficient for a ‘caring’ lefty government.

    BTW, you’ve never dealt with either insurer I mentioned and yet you’re happy to believe their marketing departments website claims. I suggest the same goes for RA.

    I have worked at F&P, reporting to the board amongst other things, and can assure you they are very conservative.

  51. Mr E says:

    “every time I express one of my overconfident, self-inflated, ego ridden views it attracts a flurry of indignant responses.”

    Over confident and ego ridden views, Dave? One minute you seem to honour yourself, the next condemn.
    I have to say I’m pleased I didn’t say such harsh things about you.

    On the other matter, you appear to accuse a business of accepting government bribes based on deception. And the evidence is at best, circumstantial.

    My view, such public accusations are abhorrent, when based on poor evidence. I am surprised you think it is appropriate to do such things.

    Quite frankly I expect these sorts of behaviours from Winston Peters, but not from Green Party members.

  52. TraceyS says:


    “Maybe if the Mayor of [anywhere] was paid say 40k the job might be in the hands of someone with old fashioned value drivers, say pride, integrity, vision, service, probity and ability…”

    That’s a popular view. However, paying peanuts has always been inclined to attract monkeys. Of course there are exceptions.

    In this day and age decent remuneration for elected persons is a partial defence against corruption. The wrong person aggrieved by their low pay will seek other opportunities for recompense. Some may not be legitimate.

    The real problem is a dearth of quality candidates and the public’s failing ability to recognise and uphold the values of integrity, vision, probity and so on.

  53. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey, when living in a carbon intensive world it is impossible to remove oneself from it completely. As you know it is much more effective to work within our current systems and negotiate and encourage change than attack from the outside. The Green Party is a political party and working in our current political environment and we have little choice but use the transport systems available to us. You will be aware of our attempts to make transport systems less carbon intensive. I would have have thought your conservative philosophy would support this transitional approach.”

    Why would you assume that my “conservative philosophy” doesn’t support this approach? I am not the one who has to cast aside my moral argument against fossil fuel consumption in order to participate in this world. This is because I make no such argument.

    I am all for a transitional approach but I’m also a pragmatist. Therefore, I recognise the critical importance of the continuation of cheap fossil fuels to the transitional process. Policies based on halting further exploration of resources can have only one impact on prices in the interim.

    It is silly to cut your own legs off, or even a couple of toes, before the journey is complete; indeed before it has even really begun. And the journey to a less carbon-dependent world will be carbon intensive in the extreme. Like your political trips to Wellington, there’s just no way around that fact.

  54. TraceyS says:

    “I have worked at F&P, reporting to the board amongst other things, and can assure you they are very conservative.”

    I can back you up there Paranormal.

    The Dishdrawer innovation didn’t require any major organisational change that I was aware of.

    Innovation tends to drive internal organisational change rather than spring from it. As such, there is very little that change-averse individuals can do except to go with the tide. It’s an organic rather than contrived process.

    Part of being conservative is being humble and accepting. F&P had the most humble organisational culture I have ever seen.

  55. Dave Kennedy says:

    “you’re happy to believe their marketing departments website claims”

    Paranormal, they certainly don’t promote themselves as conservative, why would that be? Are they lying?

    I would accept that Fonterra is conservative (based on what little they provide as evidence of innovative thinking) and they are seriously paying the cost of that 😉

    Tracey, you often condemn me for perceived statements and Green policies that are your own constructs. Remember that the Green Party was against the closure of West Coast coal mines when there was no transition into other employment for the workers. It was our belief that the coal mine should continue operating for the good of the community, however we would oppose the establishment of a new coal mine.

    Your definition of a transition from a carbon intensive economy is not a practical one because if you keep discovering new sources of fossil fuel and keep prices low then there would be no transition. A proper transition would provide time for viable alternatives to be established and then use pricing signals to wean people off oil dependency and embrace cleaner alternatives.

    The focus on flying is a cheap shot as our economy is so heavily dependent on fossil fuel that I would have to become a hermit to avoid all contact with it.

    As I said I would rather support a transition from within and plane travel is a necessary component of political engagement and organising. Air New Zealand is also doing more than most to offset its carbon footprint and is an active participant of the transition:

    “Over confident and ego ridden views, Dave? One minute you seem to honour yourself, the next condemn.”

    Mr E….good grief!

  56. Tom Hunter says:


    You’ll have to get used to being an apologist for Labour when you eventually join them in government, but the point is not around partisanship but ideology. Your ideology would have led you to make a different specific investment mistake with SolidEnergy, but the same type of mistake that Mallard did: he just happened to fall back to his 1970’s youth when petrol from lignite was all the rage. You probably would expanded on their already poor decision around biofuel investment.

    I believe that the claim that the private sector is best suited to managing business is flawed as it really just comes down to good management and examples of good and poor management occurs in both.

    No it does not “just come down to” that at all. A key component of left-wing argument in the wake of Rogernomics – and one of the clearest examples of how you just don’t get it. To be fair, neither did the likes of Prebble or Douglas, who mistook the fact that government agencies of the day were shockingly run compared to private sector firms, for the idea that private sector firms cannot be run badly. Anybody who has spent time in the bowels of a corporate bureaucracy – Fletcher Challenge and IBM in the 1980’s, Microsoft in the 2000’s, Fonterra now, Insurance companies forever – would know how wrong that is.

    But that’s not the point!

    When outfits like that stuff up – whether because of a bureaucratic culture, bad tactical or strategic decisions by management or bad luck – they get done over. They either have to change drastically or they vanish – assuming the government does not step in to bail them out, which never gets them back to their halcyon days anyway, General Motors being the current poster boy for this.

    But SOE’s can get away with murder, either because they have no competition or because they have access to an almost bottomless reservoir of money from their sugar daddy, whether in terms of direct taxpayer cash injection or the backing that gives confidence to private sector lending. And there’s always legislative interference, such as the Railways Department enjoyed in the 1970’s and 80’s and which the Greens are just itching to re-introduce in different forms to enable their baby to survive. If IBM had been government owned the PC revolution would have been strangled at birth, both internally (no kitchen table developments on the sly thanks to three hundred approval forms to be filled out) and externally (”thousands of mainframe jobs will be lost!!”

    The private sector works better than the government sector not because of “good management”, but because there are multiple groups competing against each other and because they’re each beholden only to one set of ass-covering, safety-first bureaucrats – the Board of Directors, who don’t have direct control over law-making power, but something they fight to get access to by constantly appealing to folks like you.

    You make a couple of statements that are glaring examples of all this, but that’s for another post.

  57. TraceyS says:

    “Your definition of a transition from a carbon intensive economy is not a practical one because if you keep discovering new sources of fossil fuel and keep prices low then there would be no transition.”

    How will this transition be “fueled” if not by fossil fuel? You admit it is an inescapable reality of our modern lives – one which you cannot escape yourself (and I totally accept that).

    How do you increase ANY activity (even so-called ‘sustainable’ activities) without increasing fossil fuel use?

    If there is a supply ceiling (from restricting exploration for new reserves), coupled with even moderately increasing demand, “pricing signals” will not be within anyone’s control. Look at the Auckland housing market.

    When, or if, low lying areas commence their “managed retreat” all around the world do you really think that will be done with windmills and solar panels? And even if it were possible, can these things be produced without fossil fuel? NO.

    I never said that your approach isn’t practical. But realistic is another matter altogether.

  58. Paranormal says:

    DK – they’re not lying but it is more an issue of perspective. You have to remember Munich Re are a couple of hundred year old German institution fiercely proud of their history. Innovation for them is a relative term. You also have to understand there are only two types of reinsurance – proportional and non-proportional.

    Similarly Warren Buffet is known for his conservative approach to investment.

    Can you see some understanding coming out of the mists?

  59. Tom Hunter says:

    Remember that the plight of our rail service was largely due to a private company not reinvesting in new engines and rolling stock and generally running the service down.

    No, the plight of Kiwirail is that it has not made enough money at any stage in the last 70 years to cover its CAPEX needs, whether new or replacement. In fact they usually don’t make enough money to cover their OPEX. They’re stuffed because NZ in the 20th century (let alone the 21st) increasingly did not work. You’re cherry picking one period, conveniently ignoring the 1970’s buildup to the massive debt write-off by Muldoon. Nobody can make Kiwirail work, whether it’s a government department through the 1950’s-1980’s, an SOE, a private sector company, or the SOE we have now.

    But you will never, ever accept that, no matter how much money is wasted.

    Obviously some freight must be moved on trucks but rail is far more efficient for bulk freight as Fonterra has found down here.

    And here’s another classic example. Some freight? If we’re talking the Mid-West and Western USA, with vast shipments of grains and mining products then I would agree. But bulk freight In NZ?

    The world has changed to just-in-time manufacturing of increasingly customised products and that’s the direction we want to go. The last thing in the world that we want to encourage is bulk anything. Logs going to Tauranga, coal across the Southern Alps and Fonterra – that’s about it, and in the latter case you should note that Fonterra was never willing to put it’s own money into rail infrastructure – because the numbers did not work – and they were;t prepared to pay the railway company the price it needed to cover its costs. No, instead they moaned and bitched to the government about rail freight and now they have a subsidised service for their bulk commodities of milk powder – itself an example of the very thing you complain about with Fonterra. And now you’ve subsidised them in continuing down this path.

    That’s right – the rest of NZ, including the Greens, are subsidising Fonterra dairy farmers. When it comes to the ETS you’re more than happy to scream about how we’re being “subsidised” and how bad that is – but when it’s railways you approve of you’re more than happy to subsidise farmers.

    Two legged ideology bad, four legged ideology good.

    The market – which is to say the minds of millions of people as opposed to central planning geniuses – has been telling us for decades now that rail no longer works in NZ. The topography was always against it, but the last hundred years saw population shifts, changes in business and products, and of course your bet noir, competing modes of transport that all contributed to making rail a boutique solution in this country. Those are the core reasons why they have been losing money for decades now – irrespective of their management or ownership structure or investment or disinvestment.

    You want to fight all that by trying to re-engineer it? You’ll fail, and you’ll take our tax dollars with you, as National are doing right now.

  60. Mr E says:

    “Mr E….good grief!”

    Good grief indeed. You appear to accuse a company of accepting government bribes based on deception then you label you views ego ridden and over confident.

    Good grief!

  61. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, we both agree that a transition to a low carbon economy is important, however the transition you describe is not really a transition at all, it is just business as usual.

    Tom, it has been clear that rail has not been managed well for a number of years but it is a fact that the tonnage of freight being moved on the current network is greater than ever. It is an important part of our transport infrastructure and the passenger aspect is growing in demand in both Auckland and Wellington. It will probably never pay its way if we look at balance sheets but the wider benefits to the economy are grossly underestimated. Try and imagine the consequences if we removed it.

    Industry facts:

    4,128 km of rail track across New Zealand
    21m passenger rail journeys around New Zealand each year
    16m tonnes of freight moved by rail each year
    Over 30% of freight carried by rail
    Over 4,500 Kiwis employed in the industry

    “In recent years the amount of freight moved by rail has increased substantially, and started to gain market share in non-bulk areas as well. Freight on the North Island Main Trunk line between Auckland and Palmerston North saw an increase of 39% in freight volumes between 2006 and 2007. The five daily trains on the 667 km line reduced truck volumes on the route by around 120 per day.[23] In 2008, the government proposed to spend $150m to enlarge tunnels for the bigger ISO containers now operating.[24]”

    “A 2008 study by the Ministry of Transport predicted that by 2031 rail freight volumes would increase to 23 million tonnes per annum, or 70% on the 2006 – 2007 financial year.[19]”

  62. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you do appear to focus on the petty rather than the substantive arguments. You call me arrogant and yet I have lost count of the number of times you make judgments regarding my motives, intelligence and condescendingly inform me of my failings. I suggest you have a mirror positioned near your keyboard 😉

    I enjoy discussions with Tom and Farmerbraun because at least they address the substantive points rather than petty point scoring and personalising the argument.

  63. Mr E says:

    Firstly I have never called you arrogant. It is wrong for you to say so.

    Also you suggest I am not dealing with the substantive argument.
    You are wrong.

    You appear to accuse a business of accepting government bribes. In my attempts to get to the bottom of your accusations, you label some of your views over confident and ego ridden.

    This is petty? Point scoring?

    No Dave, this is a very serious matter in my eyes. If you do think you have over stepped the mark, why don’t you simply withdraw your remarks? That would be the substantive thing to do.

  64. Tom Hunter says:

    … but it is a fact that the tonnage of freight being moved on the current network is greater than ever.

    This is called looking through the wrong end of the telescope. From that NZTA link:

    Rail has increased its proportion of the freight task by 1% to 16%, evidence perhaps that the Government’s investment in KiwiRail’s Turnaround Plan is bearing fruit.

    1% over the last 7 years. Woo hoo!

    But maybe it gets better in the future, with your quoted study predicting 23 million tonnes per annum by 2031?

    Across New Zealand this growth will mean an extra 137 million tonnes (or an extra 13 billion tonnes/kilometres) of freight moved by 2042.

    In other words, according to the NZTA study, the total freight volume for rail in 2031 will only amount to about 16% of the total increase that has occurred – let alone the total freight in that period (unless you think that 11 years will make a big difference). In fact the more detailed executive summary –
    – tells us that 2032 will see 342 million tonnes of freight being moved around.

    It is an important part of our transport infrastructure …

    From table 10 (millions of tonnes0
    2012: Rail – 16.1 vs total of 236 = 6.8%
    2042: Rail – 24.3 vs total of 372.9 = 6.5%

    The “billion tonne-km” figures (table 11) seem to be where the 16% proportion comes from, which makes sense for bulk items carried over significant distances, which is where rail shines. But even there it shows it in the same range in 2042.

    If only our future lay in greater amounts of unprocessed, raw, bulk logs and bulk milk powder and “aggregates” being shipped all over the country.

    Those figures tell us that rail is only a minor part of our transport infrastructure and will remain so for decades into the future.

    And of course these are forecasts. It’s noted that things have changed a lot since the first study in 2008 – the GFC, Canterbury earthquake being just two events that could not be forecast.

    … and the passenger aspect is growing in demand in both Auckland and Wellington.

    Now this is just sad. I’ve done that trip three times in the last twenty years and enjoyed it, but it was only ever as a tourist with no time pressure. Wellington is not a tourist mecca and never will be (much as I like the place), and for business there is increasingly no need to go there. In the heyday of government controls on imports, exports and everything in between, it paid for corporations to have big offices or even headquarters there so they could hob-nob on a daily basis with the government ministers and bureaucrats vital to them.

    Now? Not so much, which is why businesses have been steadily leaving over the last two decades.

    So what passenger traffic would exist between the two cities and why would you travel that way vs a plane? It’s like these sad people who boast about the increase in Amtrack’s passenger numbers and the future forecasts in the USA – without referring to the passenger-miles growth via air in the same period. The former figures are rounding errors of the latter.

  65. Tom Hunter says:

    Oops – I see the passenger growth is referring to “IN” those cities, not between them.

    Will take a look at those figures too. Wellington I have no doubt has passenger rail as a centrepiece. Auckland? Only if the city is re-engineered to fit rail – which apparently is what the central planners are now trying to do. This really is sounding less like “the reality based community” than the Bush mode of creating your own reality and moving forward.


  66. Gravedodger says:

    @ TraceyS 10 11 pm 16th, a valid theory but when applied to Local government elected members, IMEHO Monkeys are the result whatever the remuneration offered.

    Higher remuneration does not deliver performance it merely reveals how high incompetence can rise in governance.

    Good ole DaveK was waxing lyrical on CEOs in private vs public sector and claiming they were no different.
    Well the glaring difference should one have the nous to believe it is, in a private listed company governance and management will be constrained in their spending decisions whereas in say a Local government entity such annoyances are met with higher rates and unjustified borrowing and for one of the worst examples there is Kaipara Dist Council and Mangawhai Heads Sewerage system.

  67. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, Rio Tinto is a hugely profitable company, on what basis did they accept the $30 million?
    1. Money or some other benefit given to a person in power, especially a public official, in an effort to cause the person to take a particular action.
    2. Something offered to induce another to do something.

    Our Government has used bribes to influence the decisions of Warner Bros, a Saudi businessman and Rio Tinto. What would you call providing a sum of money to influence a decision?

    “you label some of your views over confident and ego ridden”

    Oh dear, Mr E, I was only reflecting your own descriptions and was an attempt at self-deprecating humour that obviously passed over your head. Here are your earlier words in reference to me:

    “What I have noticed from recent statements is a self inflated confidence. I would have thought that listening to others views would have controlled this tendancy – but it seems not. People like to see humility, especially from politicians and wannabe politicians. Over inflated egos, overconfidence, self inflation of views, none of those things are attractive.” (fixed your typos)

    Tom, what my evidence provided was proof that rail has a vital role to play and it is growing in importance. It does not have to just deal with raw commodities but refrigerated containers and other methods of transportation can offer useful systems for shifting freight long distances. Removing rail or not investing in it to continue operating efficiently will have a negative impact on our economy.

    I wasn’t referring to rail between Auckland and Wellington, but within them.

    Commuter trains will become even more important as more housing is built in outer suburbs.

    Tourist travel has been underdone, many use buses but trains offer more comfortable and scenic travel and is ideal for cyclists linking between our newly developed cycle trails. Huge opportunities here.

    Interestingly, in most cases, the more rail capacity is increased (passenger and freight), the more demand grows.

  68. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, yep, there are shocking cases of management in both the public and private sector and using some poor examples to infer all operate in this way is not useful or accurate. In many cases the public sector provides services much cheaper and more efficiently than the private sector. Comparing the US health system with others is a good case in point. The US spends more per capita than any other country (due to privatisation) but is only ranked 37th for the quality of service.

  69. Paranormal says:

    DK said “In many cases the public sector provides services much cheaper and more efficiently than the private sector.”

    Another sweeping statement you can’t justify with factual proof.

    The only real comparison is where state functions have been privatised. In all the cases I can think of the privatised operation showed the state how it should be done.

  70. Tom Hunter says:

    I don’t want to derail this conversation about Fonterra further from trains into healthcare but …

    Comparing the US health system with others is a good case in point. The US spends more per capita than any other country (due to privatisation)

    No, it’s another cheap shot in the private vs. public argument. Privatisation? Try “Publisation” instead as that has been the trend now for 50 years. The US healthcare system is now 50:50 in terms of public:private healthcare spending, and the former continues to grow relentlessly, thanks mainly to Medicare/Medicaid. In 1965 they started at $US1.7 billion: they’re now at $600 billion, an annual growth rate far exceeding inflation or (crucially) economic growth in that time.

    But that is not due to bad management in those government run systems – it’s due to the overall crappy design of the whole public-private system:
    – no competition between insurers across states.
    – a corporate tax break that individuals don’t get, with the result that moving from an employee-provided insurance to individual results in a big increase in premiums.
    – The result of both aspects is that insurance follows the job, not the individual. If you quit you can’t take it with you, which give rise to so many of the American problems with denials of insurance.
    – tort law insanity causing doctors and hospitals to go berserk on tests and treatments for fear of being sued.

    Obamacare made all this worse. And if you think a NZ or UK style healthcare system would be better (“single-payer”) I’d advise you to take a look at the US Veterans Administration Healthcare system, which was being toted just a few years ago as the desired end-point for US healthcare by the likes of Jon Stewart and his braying monkey audience. It’s not just paid by government but they own the hospitals, nurses, doctors, clinics and so forth. A socialist dream – right up until the godawful results of rationing delays, coverups of same and denial of treatment and the resulting deaths, caused most people to take a deep breath.

    Pointedly the fixes to the VA system have included allowing the poor bloody Veterans to take their allocated money outside the VA institutions if they need to. Choice and competition. Who’d have thought it.

    As far as that bloody WHO study is concerned, it’s old news. Look at it in detail: they jacked the types of measurements to make socialist systems look good. When it comes to things like cancer treatment your chances of surviving are way better in the US than just about any where else. That and things like waiting times for hip surgery and the like – actual health measurements – was not weighted as much by WHO as inequality statistics and other soft measurement crap.

  71. TraceyS says:

    “…a valid theory but when applied to Local government elected members, IMEHO Monkeys are the result whatever the remuneration offered.”

    Higher remuneration does not deliver performance it merely reveals how high incompetence can rise in governance.”

    True enough Gravedodger. As with all theories there are problems. Local government tries to represent the whole community, within which ‘monkeys’ are unfortunately present! I see it as a problem mainly when they are overrepresented. Where the greater balance are highly competent people then good decisions can still be made. Yes, there is still the argument of overpayment commensurate with abilities and delivery of results. However, show me any organisation in which there are not individuals paid beyond their worth for various reasons.

  72. TraceyS says:


    “Tracey, we both agree that a transition to a low carbon economy is important, however the transition you describe is not really a transition at all, it is just business as usual.”

    I think you known damn well that the real transition which needs to take place is inside the hearts and minds of individuals.

    That would be the definition of a ‘sustainable’ (hate that buzzword) transition.

    Price drivers may help but the risk is that intervention, particularly that which is irreversible, lets market forces get out of control and results in a deleterious effect on transitional efforts.

  73. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, it is you who provides the sweeping statements, it is me who is providing the examples. In the case of Air New Zealand and New Zealand Rail the state had to rescue them from the private sector. All I am saying is that your sweeping statement that the private sector always manages institutions better isn’t actually the case and i have provided examples to support that. I am sure you can find example of state failure, just as I can find examples in the private sector that have turned belly up.

    Tom, I am inclined to agree with you about how we manage services, market forces are very useful to drive innovation and efficiency but they are not so good for areas where short term profit overrides good practice. I accept achieving the right balance of state and private is important. What some don’t get is that in the health and education sectors, the professionals that work within them don’t generally operate on financial incentives (they are generally driven by professional ethics). The idea of the mental health bonds is doomed to fail because it presumes that financial incentives will improve services when most people that work in the sector are actually driven by doing the right thing and many of them work in a voluntary capacity.

    Teachers recently rejected to potential for huge pay rises because they believed that rather than spending millions on teacher salaries it would be better spent on special needs services and professional development. John Hattie was just on the radio this morning saying the same sort of thing, if we want teachers to lift practice than PD and cooperative practices will make the biggest difference. As soon as you have financial rewards teachers keep good ideas to them selves for personal advancement.

    Also you can’t compare the US system with NZ because of economies of scale, we just can’t afford the most advanced treatments that the US can provide. However you will find great inequities of care in the US and the standard of health care in Cuba is much greater.'s–with_the_same_results

  74. Mr E says:

    “on what basis did they accept the $30 million?”

    You say
    “the Rio Tinto bribe was nothing about saving jobs ”

    I say nonsense. Tiwai was threatening closure prior to the payment. There is plenty of evidence to conclude it was about saving jobs. Even government documentation.

    Tiwai accepted the payment on the basis of saving jobs, to say it was not accepted or used for this, accuses them of accepting a bribe under dishonesty even when there is bucket loads of evidence to the contrary.

    I think you should be apologising to Rio Tinto Dave.

  75. TraceyS says:

    I want you to think, for a moment Dave, about the cost of “managed retreat” from South Dunedin.

    What do you reckon the fossil fuel component in this would be?

    Now tell people that controlling their behaviour via the price of oil is good for them!

  76. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I think you known damn well that the real transition which needs to take place is inside the hearts and minds of individuals.”

    And the best way to transition is through market signals like we use to transition people away from tobacco. What is the incentive to change if oil is always available and continues to be subsidised so that it is cheaper than alternatives?

    We globally pay $500 billion a year to subsidise the fossil fuel industry despite the fact that oil companies fill six of the most profitable 10 companies in the world.

  77. Tom Hunter says:

    …and the standard of health care in Cuba is much greater.

    I have not been abusive so far – but that really is the most pig-ignorant piece of crap I’ve seen in a long time. I’m well aware of “alternet’s” far-left take on things in general, but that is just blatant lying via statistical manipulation and an acceptance of a communist government propaganda stats.


  78. TraceyS says:

    “And the best way to transition is through market signals like we use to transition people away from tobacco.”

    Oh really???

    Have you seen how many young people are still taking up smoking?

    Transition is not transformation.

    Only transformation will achieve a low-carbon world and it can not be achieved with some weak “price signals”.

    But then I think you would admit that if being totally honest.

  79. Tom Hunter says:

    But to try and get back on topic … there’s this:

    It will probably never pay its way if we look at balance sheets but the wider benefits to the economy are grossly underestimated. Try and imagine the consequences if we removed it.

    We effectively did start to remove it in the 1990’s, albeit via running it down, which is probably the most rational thing that could be done to the dog. And what dreadful effect did that have on the NZ economy? We grew strongly for the first time in years. Perhaps having got the weight of rail subsidies off our backs even helped a bit?

    But obviously this does not matter to the Greens: what price Balance Sheets and P&L statements when there are “wider benefits to the economy” which, being not quantifiable in any verifiable way can be debated and defined, stretched and shrunk as required to win the debate and pour ever more dollars into rail.

    Those dollars are all too tangible, as are the pockets of the poor bloody taxpayers from whence they come.

  80. Paranormal says:

    DK – you just proved my point as to why private is better when you raise Air NZ and Kiwirail. As pointed out way above, In the private sector failing businesses are allowed to fail which allows for growth innovation and all the good stuff. But not in gummint run systems.

    Air NZ had made a bad decision to enter the hostile Aussie market that was bleeding them. Cullen stepped in and ‘saved’ them by buying a shareholding, but it has continued to operate as a private company. Overall a bad example for you to use as it doesn’t fit your gummint run thing. Any number of shareholders could have stepped in and taken over the profitable bits.

    Tom has pointed out above that the tax payer is burdened with subsidising kiwi rail for those like you who want a great leap backwards. If you are a supporter of death with dignity you would agree Kiwirail should be allowed to die a graceful death.

    You’ve also forgotten why the railways were in your mind ‘asset stripped’. The worst government we’d had since Muldoon was threatening the offshore owners with nationalisation. What you probably fail to understand is why the hell, as an overseas owner, would you bother investing in infrastructure when you are likely to lose your investment through government intervention.

  81. Tom Hunter says:

    Faced with the following claim about rail in NZ from DaveK:

    It is an important part of our transport infrastructure …

    I submitted the following figures from the NZTA source he cited:

    From table 10 (millions of tonnes):
    2012: Rail – 16.1 vs total of 236 = 6.8%
    2042: Rail – 24.3 vs total of 372.9 = 6.5%

    Only to be greeted with this response:

    … what my evidence provided was proof that rail has a vital role to play and it is growing in importance.

    In the face of such obtuse thinking there is no further point in debate on this topic – or perhaps anything else.

  82. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, you probably are misinformed about Cuba’s health system, it really is amazing. This isn’t just propaganda, it is actually widely understood and many in the US travel to Cuba for specialist support. I know someone who travelled there recently from the medical profession and they were blown away by their maternity care. Cuba also use doctors’ services as a form of trade to combat the embargo.

    What sources would you trust? Forbes?


    Oxford medical journal?

  83. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, regarding rail, you need to look at all my other links and the growth in both freight and passenger services. Where rail has an advantage is in long haul freight and if you look at page two of the document you linked to and remove coastal shipping it makes up 20% of land haulage according to tonnes per km. This is growing and the current total tonnage is higher than ever in history. This isn’t insignificant.

    Paranormal, talk to Aucklanders about removing their rail passenger services and you will get an angry response and many industries are reliant on rail to get stuff to ports. Imagine the truck traffic increase if rail was removed. Also remember that rail is often assessed purely by its balance sheet and not the value it adds to the wider economy. Shifting more people by train as one example reduces our dependency on imported oil, removes traffic from roads, shifts large numbers of people relatively quickly at peak times, reduces the need for parking in the central city and reduces our current account deficit.

    Tracey, totally honestly, I think you have no idea about market signals and real transition, it needs much more than a wee chat to people to point out the error of their ways 😉 I would love to know your method of getting into the hearts and minds of people so that they reject cheap, subsidised fossil fuel and move to renewables.

  84. Will says:

    My old school mates are all Aucklanders – their attitude to rail is one of amused contempt.

    I must remember that line about ‘value it adds to the wider community.’ It sounds useful. Could it be that agriculture is more than just a carbon liability? Are there positive externalities, like being the backbone of the economy, or underwriting human civilisation perhaps?

  85. Paranormal says:

    DK you forget I work in CBD Auckland and you’re right. Talk to Aucklanders about the train service and they get angry about just how poor the service is. As for moving freight – see Tom above…

  86. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, did you read my link regarding the growth of urban rail demand? Your mates obviously like being stuck in traffic jams 😉

    Paranormal, they want it to be improved, eh? where is tour evidence regarding why you agree with Tom?

  87. Mr E says:

    “Your mates obviously like being stuck in traffic jams ;-)”

    “at least they address the substantive points rather than petty point scoring ”

    Uh oh.

  88. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, the substantive point being some of Will’s old mates have amused contempt for rail transport, I thought I addressed it substantively. If they are old they probably don’t drive during peak traffic times.

    If you are referring to the farming statement, that is only an attempt to hijack the thread into a climate denying discussion that I have addressed in great detail in the past. Surely you don’t want to go there again? Although dairying may now be an economic “backbreaker” 😉

  89. TraceyS says:

    “…it needs much more than a wee chat to people to point out the error of their ways.”

    Whomever suggested a “wee chat”?

    What will it take to point out the error of your ways Dave? And for you to accept that you hold no moral high ground.

    Your ways are my ways and ‘their’ ways alike. You may as well accept that you are one of “us” who relies pretty heavily on fossil fuels with no alternative for many classes of activity. And if your home was threatened, needed to be abandoned, and another built elsewhere then I am picking that you would consume the copious amounts of fossil fuel required and that you wouldn’t want to pay any more for that component of all the products and services than you absolutely had to.

    Maybe you can afford to pay a little bit more. Perhaps you would even volunteer to pay a premium just because fossil fuel are ‘bad’. But not everyone can. Do you think the residents of Dunedin’s poorest suburbs could afford an artificial premium? Any humane person would hope that fossil fuel remained as cheap as possible for as long needed whether the solution for such areas be the touted “managed retreat” or defensive approaches.

    “I think you have no idea about market signals and real transition…”

    Really! Why do you think that? Where’s the “evidence” you so often demand from others?

  90. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I suggest price signals and a development of clean energy alternatives to move to. You suggest: “the real transition which needs to take place is inside the hearts and minds of individuals.” This is supposedly while searching for new reserves and continuing a supply of cheap fossil fuel.

    Please forgive the sarcasm but I have no idea how a timely transition can be achieved within that scenario. I await your detailed explanation with great interest 😉

  91. TraceyS says:

    I’m not really inclined to give detailed explanations to those who grovel forgiveness for their sarcasm, but then again, I don’t need to either. The evidence is right under your nose Dave. There is plenty of development (as I have posted previously) going into synthetic fuel alternatives and other technologies even now with reasonably low oil prices. It doesn’t all grind to a halt when the oil price drops.

    Do you really think that increasing the cost of a key raw material is going to make anything easier? Will it make getting to Wellington (or wherever) any easier for you?

    If you were a research scientist would it make getting to work, purchasing supplies and equipment, attending conferences where collaboration can take place, and developing/maintaining facilities and associated infrastructure any easier?

  92. Will Dwan says:

    I see this morning, the Saudis are offering $200 per sheep for the live trade. I can’t imagine such returns. It’s a shame.

  93. Name Withheld says:

    “Comedy gold,”
    “dodgy activities like coal mining and deep sea drilling”

    “My companion on the plane trip south this morning “

    As usual Mr Kennedy, facts in short supply, wishful thinking not so much.
    Dodgy coal?

    First, it is claimed that coal is a dying energy source and its use is being phased out. Not so. According to the BP Review, over the decade to the end of 2014, coal use grew by 968 million tonnes of oil equivalent. That is 4 times faster than renewables, 2.8 times faster than oil and 50 per cent faster than gas. That’s hardly justification for a requiem.

    Second, investors are not walking away from coal… One of the anti-coal movement’s own groups, Bankwatch, has complained that global financing for coal mining rose to $US66 billion in 2014, up from $US55bn in 2013 and a 360 per cent increase from 2005.

    The third claim is that renewable energy is capable of replacing fossil fuels, including coal. Not likely. In 2014, if the world had relied on renewable energy like wind, solar and biomass for primary energy, then the world would have had just 9 days of heat, light and artificial horsepower….

    The campaigners also claim that major consuming nations are turning away from coal. But the International Energy Agency predicts that China will add 450 gigawatts of coal fired power over the next 25 years. That’s 40 per cent larger than the entire US coal fleet….

    Energy starved India is also expanding its coal use and is expected to become the world’s largest coal importer in the next decade…

    In forecasting the end of coal, the campaign narrative also skips lightly around the fact that coal is used in the production of 70 per cent of the production of the world’s steel. Given that there is 225 tonnes of coal in every offshore wind turbine, it is hard to see how coal is doomed in a world with strong growth in renewable energy.

  94. TraceyS says:

    “Given that there is 225 tonnes of coal in every offshore wind turbine, it is hard to see how coal is doomed in a world with strong growth in renewable energy.”

    Dave says:
    “…I have no idea how a timely transition can be achieved…”

    This really doesn’t surprise me at all Dave. You only look at half the picture. Take the quote above – you can only see the ‘sustainable’ side and delude yourself that the inputs you don’t like aren’t there.

    The only way a transition will be achieved is by continuing to access the raw materials needed as efficiently as possible. And one category of inputs which is critical is clearly fossil fuels.

    As for “timely”, no realistic person would expect change on a global scale to be timely. Indeed your use of the word and its connotations gives me chills. It suggests deadlines.

  95. Paranormal says:

    Sigh DK – You should really understand a little about a subject before commenting on it. I guess it’s hard to understand Auckland from Invercargill.

    The headline for Auckland is traffic jams – has been for decades. The interesting thing is that with the improvements to the motorway system it is getting better. There are still areas that need improving and the deferred investment that is happening now is long overdue.

    Trains for Auckland are never going to be a solution. There are too many areas without rail access, the population density is too low, and commuters are going from many various places to various places. It’s not a many to one relationship that cities like London and New York enjoy to make a rail solution viable. If commuters paid the true cost of rail it wouldn’t happen. It’s only those that pine for a return to a bygone Victorian era that believe trains are a viable solution.

    As for proof, I’d suggest Tom has well and truly provided that in the stats he’s provided. I know you will refuse to believe as the proof goes against your ideology, but self delusion is your choice.

    The one certainty we have is that things will change dramatically of the next 50 years and Rail just does not have the flexibility required for a modern economy.

  96. Dave Kennedy says:

    “As for “timely”, no realistic person would expect change on a global scale to be timely. Indeed your use of the word and its connotations gives me chills. It suggests deadlines.”

    Yep, it sure does, and for obvious reasons:

    The Pope, practically all Governments shortly meeting in Paris and 97% of scientists agree that we can’t delay and the deadline for substantial action is probably on us now 😦

    Paranormal, the demand for rail in Auckland increases and you think motorways is the answer instead, that is taking conservative thinking too far.

    No Name, here is a more informed commentary about the coal industry:

  97. Tom Hunter says:

    Reading these comments from Dave I see that the old slur on the Greens – Green on the outside, Red on the inside – is still absolutely on target.

    It would be nice if one could strike the occasional Green who was not 100% socialist on every single issue. But when you strike comments like this “…. Cuba’s health system, it really is amazing.”, you realise that all the palaver of “price signals” is just a Botoxed skin stretched over the same old body of hard-core socialist beliefs about controlling people’s lives. Drugs and sex aside, every other human interaction has to be managed and managed closely by the state so that mistakes are not made that would badly effect “the greater good”.

    And Dave – Cuba’s healthcare is far from “amazing”. Horrifying would be a better way to put it. Also, you slipped into the usual condescending mode with the whole “you probably are misinformed about Cuba’s health system,…. It’s as if you thought Sicko was a documentary rather than a piece of agit prop.

    Have you ever considered for one moment that it is you who are misinformed, especially on this topic? Why would the idea of a communist government manipulating stats to present their system in a better light be of any surprise, or giving a Potemkin tour guide view to a foreign visitor? It’s not like that’s a novel critique of communist states, or a false one. Given the history of such states why on earth would you be so lacking in skepticism. I would think a genuine leftist would be the very ones who were most skeptical, like this woman Dr. Hilda Molina. To quote from a different, more concise source

    She was the country’s chief neurosurgeon, the founder of the International Center for Neurological Restoration. She was also a deputy in the National Assembly. In the early 1990s, however, the regime informed her that the neurological center would start concentrating on foreigners, who would bring their hard currency. She objected, resigning her positions and returning the medals that Castro had awarded her. Then came actos de repudio and all the rest of it (but not prison). She has been forbidden to leave the island, and is banned from practicing medicine.

    actos de repudio is the Castro practice in which mobs are unleashed on your home, family, and friends.

    There are many other doctors and nurses with similar stories: Google Oscar Elías Biscet, Dessy Mendoza Rivero, and Dr. Dariel “Darsi” Ferrer as some of the other better known ones. Hundreds of others have defected over the years while on their enforced foreign duties – the ones that earn Castro kudos as being a good global citizen, but which have also earned him about $2.5 billion a year.

    How utterly disgusting. But it’s a good example of why people stop listening to you after a while and apparently have stopped listening to your Green party. If you believe this you’ll believe anything: it’s just another debating club, from the high school to Parliament. The real world and real people like the ones you meet here – pffft – a means to an end.

  98. Name Withheld says:

    Have you ever considered for one moment that it is you who are misinformed, especially on this topic?
    There has never been the slightest sign that he has considered this.
    He is, after all a lefty, an ex-schoolteacher and a green.
    Generally pointless to debate with them.
    Even less so to listen to him

    Well worth a re-post.

    A Dave by any other name is still a D**k.

  99. Tom Hunter says:

    And just on your sources about Cuba ….

    What sources would you trust? Forbes?

    Last year on Kiwiblog one of the Global Financial Conspiracists that infest the place linked to an article predicting the imminent downfall of the NZ economy. He boasted that it was from Forbes. Even the left-wingers there pointed out to him that it was an invited blog-type article: he’d used Forbes good name as a cover for the same crap he’d peddled about other countries in more obscure websites. The general conclusion was that Forbes should stop this practice before it destroys their good name.

    Your link was just like that one. I noticed a lack of quantitive data, and the authors background in “Social Justice” and her being impressed, new awareness of Cuba’s humanitarian missions of doctors and nurses, suggest to me that she suffers from the same naivety that you do in looking at the Cuban healthcare “miracle”.


    That link says at the top:

    This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
    This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia’s quality standards. (March 2014)
    This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (March 2014)
    This article’s tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (March 2014)
    This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2014)

    Yah – real confidence builder that one.

  100. Tom Hunter says:

    Oxford medical journal?

    Finally, a detailed article. Unfortunately it’s less an analytical article about Cuban health care than one long complaint about why global medical professionals have ignored the Cuban lessons in dealing with healthcare in undeveloped countries. Perhaps there’s a reason they do so which the authors blindly ignore? They do make a half-hearted attempt at justifying the stats they’re fed; the following on basic mortality and morbidity:

    Given the extensive vital statistics tables presented for Cuba by age, gender, cause, and region, manipulating the original counts while maintaining consistency across categories would be extremely difficult. ……
    At the present 99% of infant deaths are reported from hospitals on the day of occurrence. The patterns of variation for provincial and national estimates are what would be expected in a complex vital records system (i.e. counts and trends are consistent over time and region, subunits sum to the national rate, no excessive smoothing or discontinuities are observed, etc.)

    Ongoing, careful scrutiny of Cuban public health data is justified and to be welcomed; however, sufficient data now exist in several key areas to demonstrate that skepticism can no longer be the basis for a refusal to engage the question.

    And after that assertion they just blithely go on their way to accept the figures and argue from that basis. Although there is some morbid humour to be had:

    While Cuba adheres to WHO reporting recommendations and attempts to resuscitate all live births, the perinatal mortality rate is higher than is found in industrialized countries,22 suggesting a potential shift in events from infant to fetal deaths.

    A shift to Fetal deaths? Hmmmm …

    Although maternal deaths are rare events, the 2003 rate in Cuba was 39.5 per 100 000 live births; in Canada and the United States maternal mortality is 7–8 per 100 000 overall, and 20 among black women in the US.

    Woah! An increase in fetal deaths and maternal deaths. Perhaps the following quote from another article provides an answer

    The regime is very keen on keeping infant mortality down, knowing that the world looks to this statistic as an indicator of the general health of a country. Cuban doctors are instructed to pay particular attention to prenatal and infant care. A woman’s pregnancy is closely monitored. (The regime manages to make the necessary equipment available.) And if there is any sign of abnormality, any reason for concern — the pregnancy is “interrupted.” That is the going euphemism for abortion. The abortion rate in Cuba is sky-high, perversely keeping the infant-mortality rate down.

    And of course if you have abortions in unsafe medical environments you’re going to get higher rates of “maternal deaths”. The fetal deaths comment I’ll treat as black humour since the whole point of an “interruption” is to cause a fetal death.

    The humour continues in talking about the “humanitarian missions” abroad:

    The special character of health sector development in Cuba can perhaps be best appreciated by considering the challenge any other society would face if it tried to send tens of thousands of physicians to live in slum communities in a foreign country for 2 years. While a range of incentives and motivating factors unique to the Cuban social context are operating, these assignments are accepted as a professional obligation by the vast majority of the Cuban practitioners

    Incentives and motivating factors unique to the Cuban social context? Yes, I think Solzhenitsyn wrote about them.

    Perhaps they (and you) should read this article by one Katherine Hirschfeld, who did her Anthropology PhD by spending nine months in the island living with a Cuban family and interviewing family doctors, medical specialists, social workers, nurses and patients as part of her research. Some key quotes:

    In my own case, the overwhelmingly positive portrayal of Cuba in the medical anthropology and public health literature meant that I arrived on the island with very favorable expectations. I never anticipated my research would evolve into a critique.

    She’d been reading Chomsky too.

    Unfortunately, research exploring negative aspects of the Cuban health care system cannot be undertaken with methodological rigor. Public criticism of the government is a crime in Cuba, and penalties are severe. Formally eliciting critical narratives about health care would be viewed as a criminal act both for me as a researcher, and for people who spoke openly with me.

    The best systems are the ones that enable controlled criticism. Perhaps Cuba should label it as “hate speech”, which is speech control with a better PR label.

    After just a few months of research, however, it became increasingly obvious that many Cubans did not appear to have a very positive view of the health care system themselves. A number of people complained to me informally that their doctors were unhelpful, that the best clinics and hospitals only served political elites and that scarce medical supplies were often stolen from hospitals and sold on the black market. Further criticisms were leveled at the politicization of medical care, the unreliability of health data and the overall atmosphere of secrecy surrounding the prevalence of certain infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. Anecdotes of medical malpractice and bureaucratic mismanagement seemed common.

    All of which is corroborated by many other sources (see earlier). This may have come as a surprise to Hirschfeld, but to anybody who’d actually followed all the non-MSM sources.

    The Cuban health care system, as described by Cubans in informal speech, seemed quite different from the Cuban health care system as described by North American social scientists and public health researchers.

    When social scientists interested in health care have gone to Cuba, their research appears to have been of short duration and most likely mediated through the use of government-provided translators or guides (3). As Paul Hollander has pointed out, short term “hosted” visits to socialist countries have historically resulted in painfully inaccurate assumptions about the nature of life in these societies (Hollander, 1998).

    Greetings Oxford Journal of Epidemiology.

    I’ll leave you with one last quote, because this rather goes to the heart of the whole farce:

    My increased awareness of Cuba’s criminalization of dissent raised a very provocative question: to what extent is the favorable international image of the Cuban health care system maintained by the state’s practice of suppressing dissent and covertly intimidating or imprisoning would-be critics?

    Did that really never occur to you Dave?

  101. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, I won’t argue with the negative evidence that you found regarding the Cuban healthcare system and I totally agree with your concerns about free speech. However you have to look at their achievements in context and they are still able to deliver a lot with a minimum of funding. They do this through investing in medical staff rather than being management heavy and focussing on primary care (Cuba 6.7 doctors per 1000 people, NZ 2.7):

    Remember that all people feel that there are issues with their own healthcare system, especially if it is the only one they know. I’m sure we will get even more revealing evidence about the realities of the Cuban system now that the US embargo is lifted, many may actually be positive too:

    Your energy and determination to prove how bad Cuba is is impressive, but I am no apologist for this country and won’t even attempt to argue against the points you raised. I had hoped things may have improved under Raul Castro, but it appears not. However all nations offer aspects we can learn from despite political and cultural differences and no country is perfect. You are right to express caution around the accuracy of sources, however there are aspects of the Cuban medical system that are positive despite their failings.

    Did you know that Cuba is also world leader in Ballet (I learned this through my wife’s passion for dance)?

  102. Mr E says:

    6.7 doctors per 1000 people.

    That is 150 people per doctor.

    If we work on 40hr weeks and 46 working weeks a year, each patient would be allocated over 12 hours a year.

    Looking at our short doctors visits (15mins) that is over 48 visits a year.
    Nearly one a week.

    Obviously some of that doctor time would be longer with surgeries etc.

    But even so if each NZer was using 12 hours a year, I’d be very concerned.

  103. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, think those statistics are probably misleading as many are not working in Cuba itself. They train extra doctors and offer their services overseas in exchange for money and needed resources. They also trade medical support for oil and estimate that $8.2 billion will be earned from their “Doctors Abroad” scheme.

  104. JC says:

    Interesting stats there DK. The World Extreme Poverty level is US$1.25 per day. Prior to Cuba doubling the wages of doctors serving overseas to $44 per month they were earning $0.73 cents per day.. imagine what the Cuban unskilled were earning!

    “She was contracted under the Brazilian government’s More Doctors program, which pays foreign physicians 10,000 reais ($4,300) a month to work in under-served areas of the country. The doctor received $400 per month in Brazil and $600 per month in a Cuban account from her government, according to a copy of her contract with a Havana-based company representing the Cuban Health Ministry.”

    Goodness.. just a wee problem with inequality in the Socialist Paradise?

    “The salary increase in Cuba was made possible by a reduction of about 109,000 health-care workers from 2010-2013, Granma said, part of a plan by President Raul Castro to reduce government spending by reducing public sector jobs.”

    Ah. So the doctor pay increase is explained by unemployment to tens of thousands of other health workers in a nation where there are few non Govt health care alternatives.

    “Human Rights Watch complains that the government “bars citizens engaged in authorized travel from taking their children with them overseas, essentially holding the children hostage to guarantee the parents’ return. Given the widespread fear of forced family separation, these travel restrictions provide the Cuban government with a powerful tool for punishing defectors and silencing critics.”[72] Doctors are reported to be monitored by “minders” and subject to curfew. The Cuban government uses relatives as hostages to prevent doctors from defecting.”


    “Questions have also been raised by protesters about the level of Cuban medical qualifications, and there have been claims that the Cubans are “political agents” who have come to Venezuela to indoctrinate the workforce.[69] Opposition supporters in Venezuela have called Cuban doctors “Fidel’s ambassadors” and refused to go to their clinics.[71] Two defected doctors have claimed that they were told their job was to keep Chavez in power,[71] by asking patients to vote for Chávez in the 2004 recall referendum”

    In short Cuba uses its grossly superfluous doctors as fodder to “doctor” its statistics, act as agents to its Communist mission and enhance its reputation overseas.

    There is of course much much more on the terrible Cuban situation which mostly we all understand and rarely bother to critique because its all so obvious that Cuba is a long failed repressive socialist state.. but we must because its agents in NZ the Greens keep on harping about its manufactured socialist wonders.


  105. Dave Kennedy says:

    JC, oh dear, I’ve kicked a hornet’s nest by mentioning Cuba. Please read my previous comments and my links. What you describe is appalling and I totally share your concerns on those matters, but you missed my point. No matter what you think about Cuban politics, or even aspects of their management of their medical system, it is still a good example of what can be achieved with a limited budget and a focus on primary health care and not paying extravagant wages to management or cutting necessary clinical and nursing staff to fit arbitrary funding decisions.

    Despite our shared concern about Cuban politics they still have a more equitable health system than the US:

  106. TraceyS says:

    Dave says (18 June,10:14):

    “The Pope, practically all Governments shortly meeting in Paris and 97% of scientists agree that we can’t delay and the deadline for substantial action is probably on us now.

    What scientific basis underpins your wide-eyed fear Dave? There needs to be one in order to distinguish the parameters of “substantial action”. The use of words like “probably” suggest that you don’t have a scientific basis which is reliable.

    How can inherently definite things like deadlines come from indefinite guesswork? Estimates produce fuzzy boundaries rather than specificity. If I was to posit a 50% probability that the statement; “deadline for substantial action is probably on us now” is correct, could you mount an argument based on a higher probability? If so, please do. I would be interested to read it (and please don’t quote opinion as evidence).

    There is a pertinent message here:

    “…members of the general public need to be careful to distinguish between a scientist whose arguments are based in evidence and one whose pronouncements stem from other, less reliable sources of conviction.”

    Now don’t go calling me a “denialist” which I am not. I am an ordinary member of the public who is being careful to distinguish between scientific arguments based on evidence and those which “stem from other, less reliable sources of conviction”. It goes without saying that I consider some (not all) of your sources of conviction to be questionable, Dave. My concern associated with that is for arbritrariness setting definite parameters. The very great risk, which is obvious to me, is that the goalposts will keep changing and that makes life extremely uncertain and difficult for many – as if it is not enough already!

  107. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I’ll stick with the Pope, NASA, the Royal Society, NIWA, the majority of the world’s national science institutions (and even our Government) and leave you with your “less reliable sources of conviction” 😉

  108. TraceyS says:

    Dave, I think you missed my point altogether. I’m not saying that there isn’t reason to be concerned. But I am wanting to see references to the scientific evidence that will define what “substantial action” means and which validifies deadlines.

    The magnitude of changes that could be required means that these should be specific and evidence-based not arbitrary.

    Everyone should want to know this information whether they believe in climate change or think it is all a well-organised conspiracy.

  109. TraceyS says:

    Metiria Turei makes the most ridiculous statement:

    “If you agree with Pope Francis, then join the campaign to stop climate change.”

    A campaign can stop the climate changing?

    Didn’t know she was a religious woman!

  110. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, here was a good start:

    It will take a whole range of initiatives involving economic, social and environmental considerations. As Tim Groser has stated many times in Parliament the ETS is the main mechanism for this Government to reduce carbon emissions but is at the mercy of the fluctuating value of carbon credits. This means that businesses can’t plan ahead or rely on any consistency regarding the management of emissions. A tax similar to that used is BC makes sense:

  111. Mr E says:

    Unitl today I have never paid much attention to the 97% claims made. Given Dave put the link into his comments I thought I should follow and consider it.

    What I found was concerning. And my concern is that 97% is used so blindly.

    The article cited by NASA specifically is
    “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature”

    A link posted here:

    I encourage people to have a read.

    The research has focused on 2 studies. In the first study representatives were asked to rate scientific Journal abstracts on the following basis: Endorse AGW, Reject AGW, No position, Uncertain.
    The second part of the study involved an email to a random selection of the Authors asking them to rate their entire paper on the same basis.

    The first part of the study made a distinction between uncertain and no position, stating ‘uncertain’ was papers that considered AGW but could not decide. ‘no position’ was papers that did not consider AGW.

    In the second part of the study uncertain and no position were lumped together and have not been reported seperately.

    My view is the scinetist survey is probably the more valuable part of the study, as the entire paper is considered. The results from this study where they lump no position – with uncertain, shows 36% of papers are contained in this group.

    Oddly the authors seem to discount this group, in threir dialogue – stating 98% of papers with a position, endorse AGW. (or what they call the concensus – an alarming term that makes me worry about their approach / hypothesis testing)

    The problem is Uncertain is a position. The authors appear to ignore this and that is very very alarming.

    Uncertain could be up to 1/3rd of participants and therefore should not be discounted. Uncertain was a distinct group that considered AGW but could not form a acceptance or rejection.

    Still it is a very important group that the Authors appear to carelessly discount.

    There are times I wonder why AGW sceptics exist. Today is one of those days where I understand why they exist.

    To anyone who hangs all there hopes on the “97%” concensus, I hope you read the research thoroughly and understand the points i have made.

    I think these points diminish the “97%” claims.

    Most importantly it should make readers ask questions about this research.

  112. TraceyS says:

    That isn’t what I was asking for Dave.

    The Green Party’s climate change policy states:

    “The Green Party has a strategy and action plan to transition our economy to a (net) zero-emission economy by 2050.”

    There is a goal and a deadline. I suspect that both are arbitrary. Can you prove otherwise?

    (In the interests of time can you please provide references to direct evidence which supports the case that the goal and deadline are not arbitrary).

    If you can do this effectively, then you will be able to refute me whether I argue that the goal should be 50% net emission reduction by 2100, or net zero emissions by 2030.

    If you can’t do this then you satisfy neither side of the debate. That would be a political problem for the party I’d imagine.

  113. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, given the fact that 350 ppm was considered the safe carbon level to have a stable climate, and we are now almost 410, we probably need to reassess the zero emission economy to even sooner than 2050. I think that figure is based on the IPCC predictions. My personal opinion is that while targets are useful we really should review our plan and targets every year and adjust according to new knowledge and the rate of climate change (and climate forcings). 2050 isn’t a random number but an informed judgement call that should always be reviewed.

    Mr E, if it will keep you happy, let’s say the reality is only 80% of scientists are in agreement (but in reality the degree of agreement has actually been steadily increasing over time). If we use again the scenario I have used before about having a personal diagnosis of serious cancer and 80% of specialists recommend similar treatment for any hope of survival, would you go for that advice or follow the 20% who suggest to do nothing? Even if it is a 50/50 split and the choice is to reduce carbon emissions and become more sustainable or stick to business as usual, which would you choose?

    The second cartoon in this link probably sums it up 😉

  114. Mr E says:

    “Even if it is a 50/50 split and the choice is to reduce carbon emissions and become more sustainable or stick to business as usual, which would you choose?”

    I’m sorry Dave, but your statement contains some obvious omissions. But let’s run with the 50/50 concept and reword it to include the obvious omissions.

    “Even if it is a 50/50 split and the choice is to reduce carbon emissions and murder millions or stick to business as usual, which would you choose?”

    You see Dave, using less carbon means making food, energy, warmth and resources less available. Death and suffering is unavoidable. BUT in the 50/50 example, continuing to use carbon at the current rate there is only a 50% chance of negative outcomes.

    Waddaya choose Dave? Gauranteed death and suffering, or 50% chance at negative outcomes?

  115. TraceyS says:

    “2050 isn’t a random number but an informed judgement call.”

    So it is an arbitrary deadline. Tell me, do 97% of scientists agree with either this deadline or the (also arbitrary) target of 350ppm?

    Do you really expect people to change their whole lives in dramatic, risky, potentially self-defeating, and likely impossible ways based on a political judgement call? And worse, being one that will get reviewed annually.

    That takes meddling in people’s lives to the extreme.

  116. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you will have to show me your source regarding the millions that will die because of reducing carbon emissions. The climate consultation document put out by the Government takes the opposite view. The New Zealand Treasury found that if New Zealand continues on its current trajectory of increasing emissions, the cost to taxpayers of even a modest 5% reduction target will be up to $52 billion.

    There will be untold millions who will perish from rising sea levels and severe weather events (made worse through climate change) in future years.

    If current Government advice and projections support my view, where does your information come from?

    Tracey, I guess there is an element of arbitrary decision making but it is hardly without foundation. You make it seem as if it is a total stab in the dark, but it is informed by science not politics and the science is becoming more certain as time passes. Read the link above.

    You obviously have had little to do with strategic planning, they should be living documents that are continually reviewed and adjusted as work is done, situations change and new knowledge is presented. Sticking to a rigid plan, regardless, is just plain nonsense (and not dissimilar to this Government’s population based health funding).

  117. Will Dwan says:

    There is no reason to think ‘untold millions’ will die because of rising sea levels, unless you are suggesting a flood of Biblical proportions is imminent. Perhaps the Pope would know.

    But Big Government tyrants did kill over 100,000,000 last century and there is no way we’re doing that again. No way! It troubles me that we still have to fight these battles, and let’s face it, that’s all AGW is now.

  118. JC says:

    With the entry of the Pope into the climate change debate the circle is complete and CC is now part of religious dogma and morality and proof is not required because it is an article of faith.

    CC is now firmly and correctly located where it should be, ie as a leading part of Western religion.


  119. Dave Kennedy says:

    JC, just like the dangers of smoking tobacco, the causes of acid rain and the depletion of the ozone layer that the same organisations that are denying the science behind climate change also fought against and ultimately lost. Your climate change conspiracy theory is the conspiracy theory 😉

    You go with the Heartland Institute that is funded by the oil companies, I will go with NASA and the Pope (even though I am an atheist – but this pope does generally seem to be better than previous ones).

  120. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey, I guess there is an element of arbitrary decision making…”

    You guess??

    Do you think that the people who will be asked to make massive sacrifices would want to know the degree of guesswork involved versus the degree to which the targets are based in evidence?

    “You obviously have had little to do with strategic planning…” I’m not sure how that would be “obvious” but my personal experience is not relevant anyway. Anyone can ask these questions and I’m sure they will. Many will be less experienced than me.

    Also you might like to consider that the country is not a corporation. You can’t just formulate the strategic plan and expect it to be successfully implemented by paid minions of the state because the vast majority of us are not that.

  121. Mr E says:

    You raise a very good quesiton regarding the cost of increasing the price of carbon. It is not considered at length like the cost of using carbon. I wonder why this is. Surely it highlight thoser selling carbon emitting or equivalent products are not hughely invested in protecting their industry has been suggested in the past.

    Rgarding you treasury comment and sea level comment – neither are relevant under the 50/50 hypothetical example we are disucssing. Under the 50/50 any negative scenario has 50% of scientists saying it wont happen. Treasury or sea levels have an equal cahnce of being right or wrong.

    So lets the 2 of us consider the cost of increasing the cost of carbon – lets say NZ wide as that is what the Green Party hope to influence. That dimiishes the impact of starvation – but it also changes how we consider the issue.

    Food production:
    Supply of food will be reduced as farmers find themselves facing increased cost inputs. Everything they use to create food will be more expensive – fertiliser, harvesting costs, animal health, capital equipment like tractors – are not only more expensive but less wanted as the will now be less likely to be used. Production growing oppotunities like growing new grass species will be dimisied as the they will be a lot more expensive sow with cultivation going up.
    The only way for farmers to offset their carbon is either grow trees or reduce production – both actions reducing their productivity and increasing the cost of operation. So their production goes down.

    Warmth – Heating options like coal will suddenly become more expensive. People will be forced to buy heat pumps which will be more expensive to transport to homes – and to run. Some people will not heat. With the cost of heating being higher – more people will chose not to. Families will be colder more will suffer.

    Other things NZ produces will be more expensive to make. Less competitive on the global market. Some producers will attract an international premium by marketing as low carbon. But only a small number targeting niche markets. Many products will go by the wayside. Businesses will close.
    Aluminium is a classic example. Tiwai has reduced its productivity as energy prices have reduced its global competitiveness. Increasing the cost of carbon will push this further. Tiwai may close all together

    Social – Families, in their cold homes will not afford to travel as easily as they could. Their travel will reduce. Instead they will huddle in their colder homes, missing the social past and hoping for a new future.

    As everything NZers produce is now more expensive – importing goes up. Instead of eating NZ beef milk and lamb – we buy housed canadian pork, or housed chinese Dairy milk. All of which was produced under higher carbon regimes than we used. The net environmental gain is neagtive.

    I could go on and on – But I wont. I think you get the picture. I think you know it would not be a positive for NZ.

    As you have said – carbon is intrinsic iin everything. Just like forcing the Greens not to use it will make the “hermits” and uncompetitive – So to will it make NZ on the global stage. NZ the hermit company. That is the future the Greens push for.

  122. Paranormal says:

    Dk, you’re exceptional at playing the man and not the ball. How about arguing the science instead of saying “oh that comes from the Heartland Institute”? Is it because you realise you can’t argue the science?

    On the other hand however you seem to complacently accept your chosen sources, even though they’ve been discredited in numerous ways, including by their own emails. Why is that?

    As real world data continues to diverge from the ‘97% agreed science’ at what point will you consider questioning the new religion? With the Pope getting involved (you know the same crowd that dealt to Copernicus and Galileo) surely it’s time to recognise it’s more about faith and control than science?

  123. Mr E says:

    Dave is now talking 50%. Don’t encourage him back to 97%

  124. Paranormal says:

    Sorry Mr E – quite right.

    Some more food for thought:

  125. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, remember if one supports the science behind climate change then adverse weather and drought would make farming even more difficult and there are alternatives to oil based fertiliser etc.

    Paranormal, in all the past discussions, and in this thread too, I have referred to the science and linked to science sites. When I ask for sources from you guys I generally just get more of your opinions or links to sites that do not have any recognised scientific credibility. 😉

  126. Will Dwan says:

    You actually think links to the internet have scientific credibility? I prefer a reasoned argument. You can find anything on the net.

    You keep implying that taking ‘action’ on on climate change will reduce drought and adverse weather. How? I get that you want a tax break – who doesn’t? And I understand you want struggling New Zealand farmers to provide it…but how does that alter the weather?

    Just a logical, detailed explanation will be fine, I don’t need a link to some rubbish from the Guardian or whatever.

  127. Dave Kennedy says:

    Wild wann, my wife is a GP and I generally bow to her superior knowledge when it comes to issues of a medical nature. Now my car needs a computer to diagnose faults I no longer do my own repairs and trust a mechanic to advise me. Admittedly there is a variation of competence amongst those in each sector but one can generally seek second or third opinions if necessary. I am no climate scientist and therefore I read widely and have to make a judgement call regarding the value of what I am told.

    I have after reading the worlds most recognised climate scientist’s book (Hansen) and many others, including Gareth Morgan’s journey as a skeptic to a believer, it seems fairly clear that the science is convincing. The book ‘Merchants of Doubt’ is a well researched work that tracked the skeptic and denier commentary to a number of right wing think tanks like the Heartland Foundation, who are largely funded by the oil and tobacco industries. Many of the responses repeated here originated from those sources. These are the same institutions that denied the ill effects of tobacco smoking and the depletion of the ozone layer.

    The latest book worth reading is Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’. It is basically a summary of where we are to date with the politics and the science around climate change.

    When I was studying at uni and recently doing post graduate study, I had to read wide ranging literature on given topics and support anything I wrote with evidence. It was generally reasonably easy to find out who were the most respected academics in a given field. The value of my assignments and research was supported through the quality of my sources and their relevance to my argument.

    Climate science is informed by a huge body if research over a number of fields and disciplines and by questioning small elements of that research and claiming the whole is flawed is nonsensical. I have constantly provided links to my sources and there is no way I can do justice to the complexity of climate science through my own answers.

    For me the arguments being used here are generally sweeping statements masquerading as fact (like millions dying if we reduce carbon emissions). It gives such statements credibility if there is a substantive research or informed opinion behind it and yet when I ask for the sources I get nothing, as if it is just stuff plucked from the heads of those commenting.

    Using the cancer analogy again it appears that I am a firm believer of the mainstream science and you guys would rather put your lives in the hands of the Milan Brych’s of the world. Or perhaps you actually can provide links to an institution that actually has widespread credibility. I won’t hold my breath 😉

  128. Will says:

    So I guess that is a long winded way of saying ‘no…you can’t or won’t answer my question about controlling the weather.’

    Well here we go…I ask doctors and mechanics for their opinion when I need some symptoms of some malfunction explained. The weather/climate is just doing what it has always done, no need for costly repairs or treatment thanks.

    Gareth Morgan, wants to kill all the cats and disenfranchise the elderly because they have no future. Or is it the other way around? His journey is from skeptic to complete nut-case. Some find it hilarious but I just think it’s sad.

    Naomi Klein…Raised on communism, has fought capitalism her whole useless, privileged life; do you really think this helps your credibility?

    “Klein was asked, ‘Even if climate change did not exist, would you still be calling for the same structural changes.’ Klein responded ‘Yeah.’
    Climate Depot asked Klein if she would support the same climate ‘solutions’ even if the science was wrong. ‘Yes, I would still be for social justice even if there was not climate change. Yes you caught me Marc’ Klein answered sarcastically as she abruptly ended the interview.”

    This is why you have no credibility Dave. We all know how to use the Internet. You keep linking to claims that have been demolished long ago. We all know how the 97percent consensus w as fabricated, furthermore we know it would mean nothing even if it was real. Even a 100percent consensus does not turn falsehood into fact. You confuse science with democracy, and democracy with tyranny.

    Even free people will submit to temporary autocracy during a State of Emergency, war, earthquake, etc. You people are obviously trying bring an end to freedom by bringing about a permanent State of Emergency, based on a fake ‘crisis.’
    You have failed.

  129. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, climate change was originally referred to as global warming and the term was changed, not because overall average temperatures aren’t getting warmer but because we are more likely to be aware of the more volitile weather patterns that will result. The severe weather (drought, rain, snowstorms etc.) are obvious symptoms.

    You dismiss Klein as a communist who wants greater equality and Morgan as a cat killer and these are just desperate ways of dismissing their arguments without acknowledging the points that they make. The most prominent champion for deniers is Lord Monckton and yet he is a genuinely crazy person who has made numerous claims about himself that are extraordinarily grandiose.

    You claim that the science has been found wanting when the points that I have seen here, now and in the past, have no substance. The sources you are accepting represent powerful corporates and industries who fear restrictions to their profits and tighter regulations. The oil industry especially records massive profits and yet is subsidised globally by $300 billion a year. It is the industries who have the most to lose from climate action who fund many of the think tanks you quote from.

    If you say that most governments are wrong, most scientists (NASA etc.) are part of a conspiracy and anyone the people who write the books I read are cat killers and communists, who informs your side?

    Is it just your own ‘commonsense’ that you as a nonclimate scientist use to critique their research? Is it the think tanks I have identified? Is it the odd scientist from the 3%? It appears that you believe that all countries meeting in Paris have been sucked into a huge hoax that is actually a ploy to reinstate communist system and redistribute wealth. To me this just sounds like fear mongering from those who profit most from polluting fossil fuel. Given the recent election result in Alberta, it seems that ordinary people are seeing through the agenda of the exploitive fossil industries.

  130. Dave Kennedy says:

    Please excuse the odd error above, am in Queenstown with my family and am just using my phone. It doesn’t feel as if the climate has changed much here as it is rather cold 😉

  131. Will Dwan says:

    I have no interest in think tanks. The failure of the models climate scientists use to predict climate trends is one problem for you. Another is the poor quality of the science, adjusted data, cherry picking, suppression of dissenting views, outright lies and so on. But the biggest problem I have with your position is the complete ineffectiveness of its proposals. You put such faith in these government representatives going to meetings in nice places, but emissions are not dropping at all. Useless!

    My point about Morgan and Klein is valid. I am demonstrating that they have ulterior motives (Klein) and judgement issues. (Morgan)

    I have some doubts about these subsidies the oil companies get. I know poor countries sell oil to their own people cheaply but that is not what I would call a subsidy. And you have to allow for the astonishing rate at which energy is taxed in rich nations. Over 50% in our case. So it is hard to get to the bottom of that.

  132. Paranormal says:

    DK at 7.10 – more wide sweeping and wildly inaccurate statements from you.

    You previously gave us the so called decades of climate science research in a summary bullet point. That was demolished by showing that the so called ‘climate science’ you listed had flip flopped worse than a stranded mackerel.

    Still that didn’t deter you.

    Your links have been discredited so often, and more often than not don’t relate to the subject your discussing, that I don’t bother wasting time reading them anymore. We have also shown where the likes of NASA have contradictred themselves. My links have been to original data and in many cases show the divergence from real world data the climate models that you base your belief in.

    All to no avail.

    Your belief in your new religion is so great you can’t see the irony in supporting the Pope because he is taking his religion into yours.

  133. Mr E says:

    “Is it the odd scientist from the 3%?”

    Dave you missed my above point. The 97% is an assessment from scientific abstracts. When a subsample of authors were emailed and asked to self assess their entire work, over 37% identified their work as :
    Not considering AGW
    Uncertain of AGW
    Rejecting AGW

    Blindly accepting 97%, provides sceptics and curious people an opportunity to question your motivations.

    Regarding you comments about the negative impacts on farming, you seem to be making up your own assessment here. Something you claim not to do, that you trust science not you own views. NIWA have looked climate change implications in New Zealand. It is expected that some will be positive and some negative. Nowhere do they make an overall assessment that it is bad for farming in NZ.

    To make my position clear on the matter. I believe that the climate is changing. I am yet to be convinced that humans are the driving factor.
    I am convinced that climate scientist have got it wrong in the past. The IPCC downgrading is clear evidence of this.
    Until I am convinced that AGW is occurring I don’t think mass forced mitigation is wise. As I believe climate change is happening I encourage many adaptation behaviours. But many mass mitigation behaviours will as you say make us into hermits. The cost is too great without absolute confidence.

    My personal behaviour deviates from this view point. I mitigate more than most. The Prius I drive, the energy efficient home I own, the numerous solar panels and low power bills are a testament to that.
    But I know, these developments I have spent money on, are not great fiscal decisions. And if applied to the average household they would simply make families significantly poorer.

    I give you this information to qualify my understandings of mitigations. I can tell you many will hurt society, financially and socially.

    I suspect you have accepted AGW hook line and sinker but cannot say for sure. My reasons for thinking you have, are based on your writings here, and your bicycling determination. But doubts arise from your status with the Green Party, your shameless mentions of air plane flights, and your inability to accept or recognise valid view points.

    Part of me wonders if your AGW acceptance is blinded by a political agenda.

    I think if you and other Green Party members maintained better mitigation credentials, my doubt would be less. An example is the flights you take, do you offset the carbon you use? Air New Zealand make it easy to mitigate where you can calculate the carbon used and offset it through a payment scheme.

    My challenge to you, if you have mitigated your carbon from flights, place evidence of this on your own blog. Show us that you really believe in mitigations. Show us that your acceptance of AGW is more than politically motivated.

    If you can’t, I guess people like me with simply treat your view point, the same way you treat the heartland society view point. As flawed.

  134. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will you keep stating things like the climate models have failed and don’t show how you come to this conclusion. Which models and how many, because heaps have been used and many have proven correct. The accuracy of most models is improving as the data that informs them becomes more accurate too.

    Oil subsidies vary, in NZ we currently tax oil companies less than other businesses to encourage exploration and state funded seismic surveys are provided for free.

    Paranormal, in your mind you have discredited what I have described in the past but only because you believe random websites and individuals over the likes of NASA. Again in this thread none of you have a link to a legitimate institution to support your fringe views.

    Mr E, as you know I am happy to down grade the numbers to 80 or even 70%, but even then the numbers are clearly in the majority. All national science bodies across the globe support the climate science and you guys have not produced one credible scientific institution that doesn’t. It appears as though you are members of some minority cult of deniers holding firm to the belief that our changing climate is such a huge issue it can’t be true and oil companies are obviously grateful for your support 😉

  135. Mr E says:

    How about you down grade it to the actual figure. 63% of the authors of scientific papers endorsed AGW. The other authors self assessed their papers into other criteria.
    I trust we will now never hear the 97% figure from you again, given that we have come to this conclusion?

    Now how about that Air New Zealand carbon offset. I noticed you completely ignored my question. Could it be you didn’t take up this mitigation opportunity? Should we make this assumption? Should we assume that you are not really serious about reducing carbon, but more interested in it from a political point of view?

  136. TraceyS says:

    “…heaps have been used and many have proven correct.”

    Can you please post references to the studies proving climate models correct? So we may all be more informed commenters.

    (Please no media articles, opinion pieces, nor political statements – there should be no need for it. Proof should stand alone)

  137. TraceyS says:

    “The accuracy of most models is improving as the data that informs them becomes more accurate too.”

    There is a name for this: It is hindsight.

    It would be more accurate to say that models are “evolving” due to incorporation of previously omitted variables. These omissions wouldn’t have been found if the earlier models were “accurate”.

    Will the inclusion of further variables improve models’ predictive power?

    I think that’s anyone’s guess. And guesses aren’t good enough sorry Dave.

  138. TraceyS says:

    “I think if you and other Green Party members maintained better mitigation credentials, my doubt would be less. An example is the flights you take, do you offset the carbon you use?”

    Mr E, the issue for Dave is the same for us all. It is WHEN do I need to stop enjoying the benefits of air travel (etc)? Some question if at all and that is all that sets the believers apart from the disbelievers.

    Dave says that time is upon us but his actions speak louder than his words.

    I would say that he, just like us, is enjoying the party for as long as he may.

    Science has not told us precisely when to stop using fossil fuels. No 97% agreement there. That is the real reason why conditions prevail whereby it is possible, acceptable even, to speak-the-speak without walking-the-talk.

  139. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, my down grading of the % of climate scientists in agreement is not my actual belief but an attempt to show that even if the percentage was a good deal less it still demonstrates enough to spark concern.

    Well done with you own efforts to reduce your carbon footprint and it is even more impressive when you actually doubt the effects of GHG on our climate. I won’t disagree with you regarding the fact that I do fly fairly often (but not as much as I used to). It is an unfortunate consequence of being politically active and although most of our Green Executive business is conducted through teleconferences and emails, there is no getting around the fact that F2F meetings are more effective for fuller discussions and getting more achieved. Air NZ is one of the greener airlines and our party does spend a lot on offsetting our carbon miles.

    For all the difficulties of flying, the three biggest (and growing) sources of GHG in NZ are from farming, all transport (mainly road) and the use of coal. World wide coal use is the most damaging source. Believe it or not our use of coal to support industry is growing here and Fonterra is one of the biggest users.

    Tracey, I would probably gladly fly less if we had an efficient passenger rail system and I will send you links regarding recent climate modelling when I get back to Invercargill, I am currently staying in Queenstown and am just using my phone.

  140. Will says:

    Well that’s that then. We don’t need food and we can’t have coal, but jets for Green politicians are a must.

  141. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, you do leap to extraordinary conclusions and wild exaggerations. Try taking a deep breath, read some mainstream commentary on the science (rather than the desperate fossil fuel inspired stuff full of communist threats) and write some rational responses 😉

  142. TraceyS says:

    “I do fly fairly often (but not as much as I used to). It is an unfortunate consequence of being politically active…”

    That flippant example of snooty-nosed arrogance should go down in history.

    To be balanced, this should include my (more widely representative) comment:

    “I do use rather a lot of fossil fuel in the process of providing services. It is an unfortunate consequence of earning a living and helping others do the same.”

    You can be politically active without using significant amounts of fossil fuel specifically for that purpose.

    Yet it is those who MUST use fossil fuel to earn their living whom you are arbitrarily saying need to change their ways and change them dramatically and right now (with both the timing and magnitude based on scant empirical evidence).

    Line up boys and girls, no pushing please, everyone will get a turn. Now when Dave says “jump”, then jump. One, two, three, JUMP!

    The problems for you Dave are these; this is NOT school, we are NOT kids, and you are NOT in control. Without the crutch of institutionalised followership you have to earn the privilege to lead.

    Seriously, I think you should send some time in the real world and then you might be a more effective political force – even without air travel. How about starting a home-based business and growing a network reaching hundreds of people who depend on you as clients, employees, and suppliers?

    Now imagine doing that with either no fossil fuel or highly constrained supply.

    You have chosen the easy path and for that earn no respect from me.

  143. TraceyS says:


  144. TraceyS says:

    “Will, climate change was originally referred to as global warming and the term was changed, not because overall average temperatures aren’t getting warmer but because…”

    Dave, plenty of studies acknowledge that global average temperatures from about 2000 are not getting warmer:

    “Despite a sustained production of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the Earth’s mean near-surface temperature paused its rise during the 2000–2010 period.” (Guemas, Doblas-Reyes et al. 2013, citing Knight 2009)

    The authors go on to suggest something we also hear a lot about nowadays; heat uptake by the oceans:

    “Most of this excess energy was absorbed in the top 700 m of the ocean at the onset of the warming pause, 65% of it in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Our results hence point at the key role of the ocean heat uptake in the recent warming slowdown.”

    Yet a more recent article (Feb 2015), also from a reputable journal, has this to say:

    “…ocean reanalyses of Ht {Heat content trends] in the early 2000s are inconsistent with observation- and model-based constraints on N [Net downward top of atmosphere radiation]. This helps to explain our inability to close Earth’s energy budget [Trenberth and Fasullo, 2010; Trenberth et al., 2014] and suggests that observed estimates of Ht covering this period [e.g., Lyman et al., 2010, Levitus et al., 2012, Abraham et al., 2013; Rhein et al., 2013] should be treated with caution. It also calls into question whether ocean reanalyses can be used to robustly attribute increased Ht below the ocean mixed layer in the early 2000s as an explanation for the onset of the recent slowdown in surface warming [Guemas et al., 2013].”

    The earlier study, published in Nature is titled: “Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade”

    Retrospective prediction? What??

    Is it any wonder questions are raised when there is reliance upon hindsight? The subconscious temptation to believe that historical data fit the present assumptions is just too strong. What is needed is continuous requerying by unbiased persons. This can, and should, include from persons outside the sciences. But it does effectively rule out “believers” I am afraid.

  145. TraceyS says:

    Hindsight, retrospective prediction, is convenient….and dangerous.

    Smith and Allan et al in Geophysical Research Letters have raised sufficient initial doubt in my mind that there may be another explanation for the surface temperature hiatus.

    Don’t we want to know what that could be? Might it be absolutely critical that we find out?

    I think so.

    Rather than remain open-minded and receptive to new information, will some people try instead to shut down the exploration and wrap us in political chains?


  146. Will Dwan says:

    I’ve seen that sort of thing referred to as ‘Hindcasting.’ I honestly thought they were taking the piss.

    I love the way Dave KennedyInternationalAirport uses those smiley face things. You can cut straight to the insults without wading through the rest of it.

  147. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, if you look at temperature graphs going back as far as they have been recorded then you will see plateaus happen at regular intervals. We have just completed another plateau and then 2014 was the hottest year on record. Mean while the sea was absorbing much of the extra heat and the surface temperature continued to rise over this time.

    It is sad that you feel so challenged when some one expresses an alternative view and has strong convictions different from your own. Your condescending suggestion that I join the real world is arrogance in the extreme. Teaching high needs children and working with their dysfunctional families certainly gives me an appreciation of what life is like out there for many. Being a parent and helping my kids navigate through their teenage years connects one to the real world pretty well. Governing a number of different organisations and managing much of the HR stuff is pretty connected with the real world. Helping people through employment disputes, and personal and budgeting issues is useful for getting different perspectives of people’s lives too.

    There are many ways people can contribute positively to our economy and society and to imply that I don’t is pretty arrogant assumption to make. Would you think that if was speculating in the property market and was making a mint from capital gain and renting dodgy houses to struggling families I may be a better person? From your comments I really feel it is you who doesn’t get it. Even the research you have linked to ate only small snapshots of the whole and you don’t appear to understand their significance. However at least you do try to find evidence from genuine scientists, unlike most here.

  148. Paranormal says:

    DK said “Read some mainstream commentary on the science”. So DK, define ‘mainstream’ and why is it that you choose what is “mainstream” and what is not? it could be said both Jo Nova and Wattsupwiththat are now both ‘mainstream’. Did you read the article I linked to above?:
    You may find it enlightening.

    However to show that you that ‘mainstream’ does not mean climate zealots;

    Click to access 50144.pdf

  149. Paranormal says:

    DK – you really don’t understand what Tracey was asking you to do. With your cloistered background you have no idea what it is like to run a business, which can be seen from your blinkered and ideological responses here and at your blog.

    Compare and contrast what Tracey said with your comments at 8:59 to Will.

  150. TraceyS says:

    Apologies for offending you Dave it was not meant to. But Paranormal gets it. I meant first-hand experience – not as a second or third party. Looking in from the outside is not the same experience at all. I know because I’ve done both in about equal quantities.

  151. TraceyS says:

    “Even the research you have linked to ate only small snapshots of the whole…” (ate, eh?)

    Dave, having been a post-grad recently you will understand the importance of using sources which are current. And current in this day and age of academia likely means less than a couple of years old especially in fast-moving fields like climate science. Also, it is important to check journal credentials and avoid non-peer-reviewed publications (like most books). I did all this because it is good practice.

    I think you will find the article is recent, the authors are qualified, the journal is reputable and peer-reviewed, and my reasoning following the authors’ conclusions and call for further research is logical, sound and acceptable. But as always, I am happy to be proven wrong.

    We can all find, and cite, something written 10 or even 5 years ago which fits our line of reasoning – or perhaps a book written by someone on a mission that particularly resonates with us. But it’s not a good practice. Someone is bound to catch you out and say “oh didn’t you know that Bloggs, J. (2015) refuted/added/expanded etc to that body of knowledge?” And then you look a bit of an idiot.

    You think my approach was too narrow? Yes, well it wasn’t exactly thesis! So you want to add something to expand the knowledge? Go for it Dave. I promise to receive it with an open mind provided you play by the rules.

  152. Mr E says:


    “I won’t disagree with you regarding the fact that I do fly fairly often (but not as much as I used to). It is an unfortunate consequence of being politically active and although most of our Green Executive business is conducted through teleconferences and emails, there is no getting around the fact that F2F meetings are more effective for fuller discussions and getting more achieved. Air NZ is one of the greener airlines and our party does spend a lot on offsetting our carbon miles.”

    I asked you if you offset your miles on your last flight and for evidence. And you respond with a general remark that doesn’t answer the question. Is there a reason why you seem to be dodging question.

    Is it fair for me to hypothesise that you didn’t offset your carbon miles? If that is the case, would it be fair to conclude that you don’t actually care about reducing carbon emissions?

    Why do the Green Party miss an easy mitigation solution and as you say not spend much? Is it possible that carbon tax is just a political goal?

  153. Paranormal says:

    DK refers to the disproven meme that 2014 was the hottest ever. NASA originally came out all hot about this – and then ran away from it:

    DK said “Tracey, if you look at temperature graphs going back as far as they have been recorded then you will see plateaus happen at regular intervals.”

    Well, lets look at some graphs again shall we (I know I’ve posted these before but DK seems to have a really good forgetory):

    Here’s the recorded satellite data compared to what the models said would happen: Certainly seems that the plateaus are there and were hotter than 2014.

    So rather then ‘cherrypick’ only recent data, lets see how that looks on a longer timescale. There’s this one that shows the temperature peaks that correlate with different civilisations. As you will note they’re all pretty much higher than now:

    Interestingly this graph was from a study provided referring to 65 million years of cooling: But lets not get too carried away, that’s only one study. A bit like Liarbours rogue polls before the last two elections…

    Then there’s temperature on a geological timescale, that shows the plateaus Dk mentions, but at much higher levels than current:

    What is interesting in this graph is the falling CO2 concentrations.

    As for DK’s claim these graphs are cherrypicked, they’re actually mainstream science. You’d have to go to a climategate CRU with altered datasets to get different graphs.

    DK time to get a new religion.

  154. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I do believe that mainstream science comes from our national science institutions and is less likely to come from magazines that claim the following about themselves:

    “In March 2008 the magazine was describing itself as sceptical of ‘unthinking Leftism, or political correctness, and its “smelly little orthodoxies”‘ ”

    Quadrant regularly publishes some pretty extreme articles that are strong on emotion and low on facts:

    The Express and the Mail used to mainly print climate denial articles but have now changed their position.

  155. Dave Kennedy says:

    You are very clever and shifting the debate from the substantive issues and making things personal so that rather than respond to the questions and challenges I have put forward I am forced to defend myself against all manner o accusations. This is clever but similar to the Government’s tactic of trying to find dirt on an opponent to shift attention from the weakness of its own position.

    I have been very open about my use of my car, my wood burner and I use numerous oil based products. I fly fairly often too and generally do pay money to AirNZ’s environmental Trust, I didn’t respond specifically fully to your earlier question not because i was trying to hide anything but because I couldn’t remember (it means going through past emails), I didn’t have time to check and didn’t want to lie. In checking I found I did the flight before but not the most recent. It is not often I don’t and was obviously an oversight so I guess that gives you ammunition to say that I am not really committed to personally reducing carbon. However this would still constitute a cheap shot and a diversion if you continue down this line as I could have easily lied and said I had and that would be the end of the matter. I don’t operate like that and am probably too honest at times, (to my own disadvantage).

    “Is it possible that carbon tax is just a political goal?”

    Definitely not, we have two major issues campaigns that we will be concentrating on for some time: climate change and inequality and for genuine reasons.

  156. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I have been very clear regarding my support of long established science institutions to support my arguments and have continually asked for your main sources and you have recently linked to Quadrant magazine that has strong conservative credentials, but no reputation in the science community, you have linked to articles in both the Mail and the Telegraph when both are known for their past denial (The Times is probably a more neutral source ).

    You even link to Monckton’s misleading graph when he is no scientist and has absolutely no credibility in the science community:

    Interestingly your other link is to Joanne Nova who is a scientist, but not regarding the climate (she is a microbiologist), with links to Shell Oil, the previously mentioned Quadrant magazine and the Heartland Institute. Her book, The Climate Skeptics Handbook, has been heavily discredited by climate scientists.

    Sorry, Paranormal, not one major science institution link but a tight circle of certain media, oil companies and individuals with little scientific credibility and similar agenda. The connections are easy to find. I’ll stick with NASA, NIWA and the Royal Society thanks.

  157. TraceyS says:

    “…I do believe that mainstream science comes from our national science institutions…”

    Mainstream…hmmmm. Surely you don’t swallow every fish you catch in the main stream though Dave?

    Because if you look at the literature there is the problem of important findings not being acknowledged, and discussed, let alone picked up and incorporated into ongoing research. At the very least, a conscious reader should expect, in subsequent studies, to find recognition of prior relevant findings, some critique of them (however brief), and for the authors to make their acceptance/rejection known. Instead, it seems to be acceptable to either miss or ignore work that is widely available, without any explanation at all.

    I suppose that at best this could be a result of arrogance and at worst a result of sloppiness or ignorance.

    Earlier I referred to Smith and Allan et al. (Feb 2015) who wrote “…observed estimates of [ocean heat content trends] covering this [2000-2010] period (e.g., Lyman et al., 2010, Levitus et al., 2012, Abraham et al., 2013; Rhein et al., 2013) should be treated with caution.

    Yet, latterly, Howes and Joos et al. (May 2015) write “[t]here is high confidence that 93% of the excess heat in Earth’s energy inventory from 1971 and 2010 ended up in the oceans.” relying solely on Rhein et al., 2013. (full article is accessible)

    So, in their comprehensive work, why did Howes and Joos et al. (2015) not once cite the work of Smith and Allan et al. (2015)?

    I note the cross-disciplines; meteorology (Smith and Allan) and marine science (Howes and Joos). But this is no particular impediment. Perhaps the huge amount of contemporary research being published on the topic of global warming is overwhelming. Or perhaps it is creative licence; to pick up or leave out whatever the authors wish. Which gives the general public every reason to be skeptical and to take up the role of quality control on their own behalf – where they can.

    Therefore, Dave (and others who criticise and malign those who make critical commentary on climate change topics), should be more tolerant. Who knows that one day we won’t be thanking the likes of Paranormal for their continuous, if imperfect, enquiry? I don’t.

    It is not as if the professional researchers are perfect either, as I have outlined above, and I am certain that this is not an isolated example. It was too easy to find!

    Read the articles and get ahead, Dave. You and your Party want to meddle in my life so I think that it’s only right that you stake the high ground.

  158. Paranormal says:

    So no critiquing of the science DK, just more character assassination. Standard modus operandi. Well if the Guardian says it about their competition it must be true.

    Why do you hold Hansen in high esteem when he is complicit in the climategate scandal, he is questioned by his fellow climate scientists at NASA, and even he admits to crusading rather than pure science. You stick with your religion and I’ll stick with the likes of Nova and Watt who have both consistently held your psuedo science to account.

    Sadly for you the graphs are accurate and show up your propaganda for what it is. “2014 warmest ever” – yeah right.

    Ultimately the real world data will blow your beloved climate change/AGW/warming (or whatever it will be called tomorrow) agenda with no amount of ‘hindcasting’ able to save it.

  159. Dave Kennedy says:

    “You and your Party want to meddle in my life so I think that it’s only right that you stake the high ground.”

    Or just save the planet from people who are determined to ignore the majority science and the everyday evidence of a rapidly changing climate. I actually am upset that you must be callous to ignore the 170+ farmer suicides that have occurred since 2007 (averaging over 20 a year), with many related to a changing climate. Extreme weather events (storms, floods and droughts) are occurring with increased severity and and more often too. This will only get worse and sitting on our hands and doing little is not an option.

    Tracey you can pick out random pieces of science and critique them as much as you like, but they are just minuscule elements in the big scheme of things and I personally do not have the time or specialist knowledge to do what you appear to be attempting. 40-50 years of research involving hundreds of thousands of scientists makes your task impossible, which is why I am prepared to trust all the following instead (I don’t believe that they are all part of some mad conspiracy):

    “…just more character assassination.”

    Paranormal, I would love to see you quote me with examples of character assassination 😉

    All I did was question the scientific credentials and political leanings of those you chose to believe over actual climate scientists. Surely you support peer reviewing and I have found a conservative scientist who has questioned convincingly most of Moncktons claims, it seems a fairly convincing rebuttal to me (he has linked to numerous sources to support his article):

    You are believing every conspiracy theory thrown out by the likes of the Heartland institute (climategate etc) and are just doing what the scientist I linked to above suggests that Monckton is doing:

    “Lord Monckton is a living symbol of the fact that many climate change contrarians will believe anything that seems to support their case, even if it’s coming from the most ridiculous source.”

  160. Paranormal says:

    Peer reviewing DK is something quite different to what you were doing there. Peer reviewing actually reviews science. just like what you did to Dr Roy Spencer – you know the NASA climate scientist you dismissed because he has a faith that isn’t climate change. At least he’s honest.

    Interesting line you’re trying to run on Climategate. Accusing the Heartland Institute of what – getting the dodgiest climate scientists to collude to fabricate data and misrepresent results and then publish their emails? Who’s running conspiracy theories now?

    BTW your links were crap again. Don’t know why I bothered looking at why newspaper readers were able to think for themselves when it comes to voting?

    Also interesting you linked to a 2009 article you purport to knock down a 2014 data presentation.

    Very well then lets ignore Monckton for a moment and just look at some other data that shows recent temperature trends that make a lie of your ‘2014 was hottest ever’ meme (and also show your vaunted institution is doing dodgy science):

    However you keep on with your climate lies. it doesn’t matter anymore as in the immortal words ‘the public have moved on’.

  161. TraceyS says:

    Dave had an opportunity to take the high ground but instead found a new low!

  162. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey you can pick out random pieces of science and critique them as much as you like…”

    Not random. I explained my selection criteria…recent, reputable, reliable etc. (and also interesting). Nor did I present this as proof but rather to raise questions. You may have noticed that many very good articles will call for further research to be done as part of their conclusions. Once again, good practice not to assume that any one work is the be-all and end-all. A red flag should be raised to any that do. Like this article (which has a distinct “we have all the answers” tone about it): It’s a tone you’ll well recognise.

    Being prepared to engage in objective, dispassionate, discourse does not make a person “callous”. But since it’s obvious that you’re “upset”, and maybe not up to the challenge right now, I’ll give you a break…for the time-being.

  163. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, it looks as if we have exhausted our discussion if we are visiting past arguments. We will leave it here: you support minority scientific view points and the Heartland Institute is one of your trusted sources. You also believe that all the science institutions and most Governments (including our own) are part of a global conspiracy. You also believe that a blog called Real Science, must be real science, even when the writer Stephen Goddard is the laughing stock of the science community (like Monckton), there is even a parody site dedicated to him:

    Tracey believes that she can assess individual pieces of environmental science with her level of knowledge and question the value of it all. That is well beyond most people, so she is one amazing lady.

    Good luck both of you 😉

  164. TraceyS says:

    Seriously Dave, who bothers to reads articles or studies without assessing them, at least in their own mind?

    When making a mental assessment why not share it in writing and invite comment from others?

    You’ve as good as stated that you don’t assess individual pieces of environmental science as it is “well beyond most people” and you “don’t have time” or “specialist knowledge”.

    So do you read them at all? Or simply read them and make no assessment meanwhile silently admitting to yourself that it is all a bit above and beyond you?

    The magnitude of changes that you and others* require in your self-acknowledged quest to “save the planet” justifies a very high level of rigorous enquiry. In my view, as in the link I posted earlier^, the general public play a critically important (albeit treacherous) role in this enquiry process.

    Zero net emissions by 2050 isn’t the Green Party’s strategy. It’s their policy. The strategy part is the bit which the Greens would put upon all of the citizens, if they could, in order to achieve the ostensibly arbitrary policy outcome.

    Is anyone kidding themselves that this would not involve significant government meddling in the personal lives of citizens and inside private institutions?

    * “The Green Party has a strategy and action plan to transition our economy to a (net) zero-emission economy by 2050.”

  165. Paranormal says:

    DK – so you can’t answer the science then, just more attack the man not the science. it’s clear that what you are playing is a political game, not science so thank you for the concession.

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