Rural round-up

Fonterra must evolve – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s structure must keep evolving, as farmers’ own businesses change through time, former founding director Greg Gent believes.

However, nothing in its structure was preventing farmers from getting the maximum available returns from world dairy markets in the downturn.

As big as it is, Fonterra could not control the milk price.

Fonterra remains silent on dividend impact – Eye to the Long Run:

The staggering hit to milk payouts – around 27% – is also a staggering reduction in the input costs to every product for which milk is an input.

The “model” is supposed to generate returns to suppliers of milk solids and returns to investors (and the two are one in the same for the majority) on sales of processed product. The reduction in input cost must by now be cumulatively very significant. . .

Fonterra overshoot on 2015 advance payment worsens 2016 farmer cash flows – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – Milk prices have dropped so dramatically that Fonterra Cooperative Group effectively overpaid farmers under an advance payments scheme last year, sapping funds available to pay out farmers at the end of the season and leaving them short of cash even before last week’s deep cut to the 2016 forecast payout.

“Last year, Fonterra came out with a higher advance rate schedule during the year, effectively almost overpaying for milk as they went,” Dairy Holdings chief executive Colin Glass told BusinessDesk. “That meant there was nothing left at the end of the year to come through. That’s effectively been the major impact on farm cash flows today.

“Those deferred payments for the previous year haven’t been there and that’s coinciding with what is now the lower advance rate schedule.” . .


Hard work and sacrifice reap stellar success – Kate Taylor:

A determination to buy their own farms has seen a set of siblings grow their businesses from 7000 stock units to about 37,000 in 14 years.

One of the partners, Bart and Nukuhia (Nuku) Hadfield, went on to win the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy – the BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award (sheep and beef).

In 2001 they had pooled resources with Nuku’s siblings – Eugene, Ronald and Marama – and their partners to lease Mangaroa Station in the Ruakituri Valley and neighbouring Ruakaka Station in Tiniroto. . .

El Niño explained as simply as possible – Weather Watch:

It’s been talked about for almost two years in the global scientific community and now it’s finally showing up on weather stations here in New Zealand – El Nino, the weather/climate event that often causes great concern in the rural sector.

But should be we concerned ?  Short answer – yes, somewhat – long answer, yes, but let’s not get carried away, NZ can buck the international trends and we are still not 100% sure how this will all pan out over summer. 

So saying things like “This El Nino will be worse than the drought creating one of the 1990s” is a bit like saying a newly developing tropical low is going to hurt NZ more than Bola did.  But until it fully forms and until we really get a good feeling as to how it’s going to impact New Zealand, then we need to take a deep breath and not talk about extreme worst case scenarios as if they are locked in with certainty…because we simply don’t know this early.  . .

Blair draws a line on farm trespass – Robyn Ainsworth:

TRESPASSERS will definitely be prosecuted under strict new penalties to be introduced to state parliament under the proposed Biosecurity Bill, industry stakeholders heard this week.

The penalties are one plank of the government’s NSW Farm Incursions Policy being rolled out, which NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair (pictured) hopes will be extended nationwide to protect farmers and crack down on the illegal practices of animal welfare activists and others who trespass on farms. . .

 MyFarm share trading shifts to Syndex – Syndex launches offering investors the opportunity to trade farm and orchard shares:

Syndex, the online investment trading platform, has launched today offering investors the opportunity to buy and sell shares in farms and orchards.

Farm investment company, MyFarm, is the inaugural partner for Syndex’s Agri Syndicate Market.

Syndex will allow people to buy and sell shares in MyFarm’s dairy and kiwifruit investment opportunities. It opened today with shares available for purchase in a new Bay of Plenty kiwifruit syndicate and an established Canterbury dairy farm. . .

Will a red hot beef market cool anytime soon? –  Texas Farm Bureau:

The cattle market the last two years is like August weather in Texas. Red hot!

More than 1,680 beef cattle producers gathered at Texas A&M to hear the latest about the cattle market and future trends at the 61st Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, held this week in College Station.

“I think there is a lot to look forward to down the road,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, conference coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife beef cattle specialist. . .

185 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. Gravedodger says:

    Starting when?

    Coal is the most reliable, cost effective energy source available any where it can be dug up nearby.

    Of course insisting Fonterra embrace more expensive energy costs is just fifth column propaganda in the desire to destroy it.

    What would the energy consumption by Fonterra be as a % of world coal use.

    Ideology trumps rational logic every time.

    Total energy consumption by the Green Party and their enablers produces zero but is promoted as laudable, why?


  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    1.17 million tonnes of CO2 a year (and increasing) is hardly a minor contribution to our GHG problem, GD.

    The argument that Fonterra’s percentage is small compared to the world coal use can be made by every other individual company, it isn’t a very good excuse. We all need to do our bit.


  3. Paranormal says:

    “We all need to do our bit” – could you ask Fonterra to turn it up a bit more then? It feels like we need a bit of Gorebull Warming this weekend.

    We had snow flurries at our place on Saturday and Sunday, although we didn’t have the white stuff sitting on the ground like you did GD,

    Hamish Gow, professor of agribusiness at Massey University doesn’t agree with you DK.


  4. farmerbraun says:

    Science doesn’t agree with those who think a disaster is in the making from the burning of fossil fuel.
    We all know that the Green Party has a particular view but that view attracts little support , especially from those with a bit of science.

    “..Increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent has not caused and is not causing catastrophic runaway global warming.
    Dishonest references to “97 per cent of scientists” – equate a mild warming influence, which most scientists agree with and more importantly can demonstrate, with a catastrophic warming influence – which most don’t agree with and none can demonstrate.”

    And those are the facts.


  5. Will says:

    1.17 million tons, seems like a lot. Of course more than two thirds of those tons are just oxygen, already up there aren’t they? But it sounds impressive.

    So cold in the Waikato hills at present. Will this winter ever end? One doesn’t like to complain in front of all the Southlanders, but I suppose it all depends on what you’re used to.


  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    This climate debate seems endless and you guys have rejected the opinions of NASA, the Royal Society and NIWA, while repeating the Heartland Institute’s propaganda. How about the Rolling Stone? This article actually sums it up pretty well. One of these days you may even learn the difference between climate and weather 😉

    And just incase I get told off for hijacking the thread, what do you guys think Fonterra should do?


  7. Mr E says:

    Fonterra competes against foreign entities, and added cost can mean reduced competitiveness.

    Can you point out Foreign entities that use energy other than coal to make the same products?


  8. Mr E says:

    What should Fonterra do?

    Given the predictions of a mini ice age, the answer is obvious. Burn more coal.


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Can you point out Foreign entities that use energy other than coal to make the same products?”
    You mean like this, Mr E?


  10. Will Dwan says:

    It’s not for me to say what Fonterra should do, I’m not a shareholder or a supplier, nor do I have much knowledge of global dairy markets. I’m always impressed that you don’t let such trifles slow you down Dave. But I’ve never been a fan of big lumbering co-op’s.

    So you’re reading Rolling Stone now, just the thing for us aging hippies. Although they have developed a reputation for printing sensationalist rubbish without bothering to check the facts. Like that fake rape scandal. What is it that makes overtly left wing, political publications experts on climate? Is it possible that a somewhat discredited scientific hypothesis has been hijacked by a totally discredited political movement in a last ditch, desperate attempt to remain relevant?


  11. Will Dwan says:

    Great, another horrendous frost in the Waikato, and I’m 900ft above sea level! Another lambing beat shaking with cold, muttering about global warming. Nice looking day though.


  12. farmerbraun says:

    Dave says :- ” you guys have rejected the opinions of NASA, the Royal Society and NIWA, ”

    Totally false Dave ; it is you who has misinterpreted the degree of certainty offered by your referenced authorities.
    We accept that your quoted authorities can no more predict the future than you can.
    The difference is that they publicly admit that fact.
    You need to catch up with the latest IPCC science reports ; not the Summary for Policy makers.


  13. farmerbraun says:

    Happy to report that lambing here has finished.
    The wool cover on a Drysdale lamb at birth is quite a life-saver.
    And with calving finished in May, it is now just a question of waiting for the clover to break through.


  14. Mr E says:

    Which of those companies doesn’t use coal?


  15. Paranormal says:

    DK with your ideologue Hansen now jumping the shark that not even Mann of Hockey Schtick fame can endorse him, how are you so sure that what you believe is not propaganda?


  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, you forget that the ideas that I express here are not just my own but what i glean from wide reading. All industries in NZ, and especially large influential ones, should be excluded from public scrutiny. How ever it does seem like commonsense that if other countries were substantially increasing their milk production that an increase in supply would impact on price. New Zealand had even been supporting China to grow its own dairy industry and we have Chinese owned dairy factories here competing against us.

    I agree that it would make more sense to have smaller, more nimble dairy companies but perhaps a collective marketing strategy. One of our Green small business policies is promoting cooperatives between smaller businesses so that they can collectively have the capacity to meet some larger markets.

    The Rolling Stone article was worth ago as you guys appear to reject mainstream science sites 😉

    FB, But you also appear to be rejecting the consensus and degree of accuracy from mainstream science. 97% consensus shouldn’t be ignored. Even if it were 60% consensus and a similar degree of certainty, that would be enough for me to want action. When you say that they can’t predict the future, this is disingenuous, as their climate predictions have largely been supported and changing weather patterns have been predicted too. Climate and weather are extremely complex systems, but we know enough to understand that we are dealing with some massive changes because of our activities.

    “Which of those companies doesn’t use coal?”
    Mr E, As far as I’m aware none of them do, unless you can find otherwise. I would be pleased to know if I’m wrong.

    “how are you so sure that what you believe is not propaganda?”
    Paranormal, I just don’t understand why you still have such a strong belief that the Heartland Institute and your TV weatherman (who are funded by oil companies) are not propaganda machines for the fossil fuel industry. If you don’t trust my links, for heaven’s sake do some research of your own.


  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    1st para “All industries in NZ, and especially large influential ones, shouldn’t be excluded from public scrutiny.


  18. farmerbraun says:

    Dave the 97% consensus does not exist: it never did. Most people now know what a fraudulent claim that was.
    If you are talking about the predictive accuracy of the climate models, then let us say that they have still some way to go. 🙂


  19. Dave Kennedy says:

    But FB, the numbers of skeptic scientists are extremely small. There have been three lists of them that I am aware of and they have been proven to be highly inaccurate and few are climate scientists. Even if it was 80% consensus or even 70% it would be enough for me to expect action (based on the number of skeptics I would say that 97% would be pretty close).

    Expecting total accuracy from climate models is unreasonable, but most have proven to be generally correct.


  20. Will says:

    What is your problem here Dave? I’d have thought the dairy dive would suit you fine. Unless there is a dramatic recovery in milk prices, we will see a significant drop in cow numbers, a massive reduction in bought-in feed inputs, reduced nitrogen use, high input farms will have to rediscover grass, you may see the end of off-farm grazing, which will mean far fewer stock trucks on the road, a lot less strain on soils and streams – a greenies dream come true. Our gross emissions will drop, NZ will be the envy of the carbon set….but all you do is grumble about Fonterra.


  21. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, what I am concerned about is the lack of planning and foresight and gold rush mentality. it is widely acknowledged that the the growth of dairying was faster than could be environmentally managed and now there is a crash that will be just as damaging in a social sense. We Greens opposed the abrupt closing of West Coast mines when many families were placed in difficult circumstances. Why should throwing families into stressful situations be considered acceptable collateral damage for any economic adjustment. Those at the top are generally protected (Don Elder placed on gardening leave for a year on $1.3 million) while the workers are given minimal redundancies and left to fend for themselves.

    You may be right that there will be an environmental reprieve when cow numbers drop, but the reduction is not based on what is sustainable environmentally but what is economically viable. The reverse will no doubt happen if milk prices improve again.

    I am also worried about how many farms will be sold to overseas interests, this is already happening in Australia:


  22. Will says:

    Some things are impossible to predict, like the Russian/EU trade ban, and getting good data out of China is very difficult. I think you will find there was plenty of planning all round, but planning is so often undone by a classic ‘black swan’ event such as this. The ‘gold’ in this ‘gold rush’ was not milk but easy credit from our ludicrously over-leveraged banking system. I would look there for the real crisis.


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, as I said in my blog post, what i can’t get my head around was why Fonterra were so focussed on being mainly a commodity supplier. New Zealand has a very limited brand presence in China as most of what we export has the value added by others and is sold under their brand.

    Conor English has found a profitable niche market:

    Here is the opinion of Mark Tanner who is based in China and knows the local market well:
    “I am a big advocate of selling a brand rather than a commodity in China,” says Tanner. “Commodities are price-sensitive and exporters can be doing so well – but then the backside can drop out of it.”

    Also don’t just blame the banks, the Government had a goal of doubling exports and was focussing heavily on quantity, not quality:

    Most of the Government’s investment was into greater intensification through more irrigation projects and loosening the RMA so that environmental restrictions could be limited. Our R&D spending is still around half of most OECD countries and although adding value was talked about, investment was lacking.

    Just like the crash of the coal market a drop in price of milk was inevitable. However Fonterra wasn’t looking at adding value but instead new plant construction was mainly about increasing drier capacity and accessing more coal to do it.


  24. TraceyS says:

    “Conor English has found a profitable niche market”

    How do you know Dave? I didn’t read anything in that article about profits.

    You might be confusing “price” with profit. The milk sells for a high price but that doesn’t mean you can assume the profit will also be high.

    Maybe the profit is also high (or potentially high). If so, the risk will be high too. That’s just the way it goes. High returns generally involve high risk.

    That explains why many farmers stick to producing commodities. There is always a market that you can sell into. Whereas niche markets can dry up or fail completely. With commodities you should always be able to convert a ‘thing’ into cash fairly fluidly. You mightn’t like the price but at least you can still sell.

    Every niche market will be connected to a commodity market in some way. For example, a company may develop a niche in specialised forest harvesting technology. No matter how clever the invention(s) the company will still be vulnerable to commodity markets for timber.

    Resilience might be more guaranteed if a company, industry, country etc. developed multiple niches. But it can also be achieved through producing multiple commodities – so that while the price is down on one, the price may be up on another. I think New Zealand has that sort of diversity as a country. We don’t have all our eggs in one basket.

    At the individual business level it should be left up to owners to decide whether they want to diversify or specialise. Neither option guarantees a bed of roses.


  25. Will Dwan says:

    It has often been observed that large co-op structures tend to discourage innovation. I don’t know why.

    Another frost. Game of Thrones severity. Firewood supply perilously low. A question has been asked in the house.


  26. farmerbraun says:

    As someone who has created and occupied a niche market in dairying for 25+ years, I can say that the key to success is a point of difference. And a strong brand.
    If that point of difference is not easily copied , then one may get a niche all to oneself as I have done.
    My customers do not change brands in response to discounting by other brands , because those other brands are not equivalent.
    With 100% of my milk going into an added -value product, and selling at a price just below the market “leaders”, I have been able to maintain a payout from the factory to the farm of ~ $20/Kg M.S. for over ten years now, while retaining a a few dollars/Kg of payout in the factory accounts for development.

    The question is – could the NZ dairy industry have a unique offer , if it had a consumer brand for use in the Asian markets for cultured foods, ice cream and UHT milk.

    We have enough milk in NZ to offer the wealthiest 5% of Asian consumers the grand total of ONE litre /person/week for all their dairy needs.
    It is not a huge amount, is it?


  27. Mr E says:

    Dave – You are making claims without evidence? Nothing to back up your claims? Even when your own links say things like this:

    “A 30MW coal fired boiler powers the plant, capable of producing 42 tonne of steam.”
    (Oceania – Glenavy plant)

    Have you even been through a Dairy factory Dave?


  28. farmerbraun says:

    Dave, is it possible that you have missed the recent finding that nearly 60% of climate scientists do not agree with the so called consensus position?
    That is, the majority do not take the view that there is a man made climate catastrophe which is imminent.
    The Green Party should be trumpeting this finding.
    Is it possible that Greens are now rightfully identified as the true deniers?
    That would not be good news for those with concerns about environmental management, and who believe that a political party that espouses such a cause could usefully get its facts right.
    Is that too much to ask?


  29. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, the Green Party learned a while ago that billboards designed by a committee ended up losing any impact when trying to cover all points of view. Perhaps some co-ops fail because because of decision making that tries to accommodate too many views and consequently becoming over-cautious.

    Employing the right people to do the job and giving them some latitude to push boundaries allows for innovation. Good governance then ensures that any innovation is fit for purpose in the end. Successful IT companies such as Google provide their leading staff space to explore their own ideas and successful ones are adopted. My thinking would be that co-operatives should ensure greater profit sharing and loyalty, but surely it is the quality of management and internal structures that will determine innovation rather than whether it is a co-operative or not.

    FB, I totally agree with you. People keep forgetting that Fonterra is not a big player when competing in dairy markets, the domestic output of the US and China far exceeds us. We just happen to export more.

    I believe that a strong brand is essential when going for higher end niche markets. This is why the likes of Icebreaker have done so well.

    If we could re-establish our credentials of being a clean green pasture based dairy industry then we immediately have a point of difference to most other milk producers. Our wine industry has done well by concentrating on quality and we are now getting recognition for our craft beer.

    Imagine the high end tourist growth and export branding potential if we were known as the ultimate destination for fine food and beverages. We have great wine, superb beer, internationally recognised good coffee, we just need a range of great cheeses, ice cream etc and we will have a useful package.

    Imagine if every region had a variety of cheese or other dairy product that was unique and all to be exported under a recognized brand. In Southland we had a dairy farm producing A2 milk and their own dutch style cheeses that had great support from our Farmers Market customers but they were essentially pressured out of business. Surely we should be encouraging such innovation. Perhaps Fonterra should be changing its management structure to one that is more regionally based and supporting satellite dairy factories that are producing higher end products like yourself.


  30. Dave Kennedy says:

    “the majority do not take the view that there is a man made climate catastrophe which is imminent.”
    Evidence, links?


  31. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, thanks for pointing out the existence of Oceania’s coal boiler, it does seem as if the industry as a whole is a major contributor to GHG emissions.

    You must admit it is pretty worrying that as Fonterra is rapidly losing its dominant position locally and that overseas interests are rapidly increasing production capacity here and the profits are being funneled off shore.


  32. Mr E says:

    It would really surprise me if they all didn’t use coal. I am quite sure Yashili does (evident from their plant), and who knows what Herun will do, they have a paddock at this stage.

    I am not concerned for Fonterra. If too much competition enters the local market, I am sure DIRA will change and the field will be levelled.

    Regarding “profit” funnelling. Fonterra is a cooperative, and such companies are designed to return maximum yield to share holder suppliers. Consequently few cooperatives make relatively large profits. Companies competing with Fonterra are also unlikely to be highly profitable. If they pay less for the milk, they will lose supply, and if they achieve more for the same product in the market place, that wont happen for long.

    If they are value add – good on them.

    So frankly speaking – I am not worried for Fonterra in the slightest.


  33. farmerbraun says:

    Dave Kennedy says:
    August 12, 2015 at 11:11 am
    “the majority do not take the view that there is a man made climate catastrophe which is imminent.”
    Evidence, links?

    Click to access pbl-2015-climate-science-survey-questions-and-responses_01731.pdf

    My pleasure Dave. I hope your request is a sign of things to come 🙂


  34. TraceyS says:


    You too focus on price and not profit. I may have picked things up wrong, but from the information given it appears you are processing your own milk into a retail or wholesale product and that’s why you have averaged $20/Kg M.S. for over ten years (please do feel free to correct my assumption).

    So is it a good business? Impossible to tell from what you wrote. What did you say your retained earnings per kg was again?

    I’m glad Dave mentioned A2 milk. When this research was first talked about I thought it would be an absolute boon. Has the Company since ever made anything other than an insignificant profit? What would the consequences have been if the whole industry, in a giant leap of faith, had converted to A2 and tried to convince consumers that A1 milk was bad like some people were promoting?

    “We have enough milk in NZ to offer the wealthiest 5% of Asian consumers the grand total of ONE litre /person/week for all their dairy needs.”

    So instead of trying to serving diverse markets why not narrow that down to serving just a small high-end corner of a market? What could possibly go wrong with that? Sounds like putting all the eggs in a smaller basket to me.

    There is a lot to be said for knowing the business you are in (like you obviously do FB). Those selling commodities should expect, and be ready for, ups and downs in price. Those selling niche products or services should be ready for paradigm shifts in customer preferences and to have competition constantly nipping at their heels. Those doing both are far too busy to worry about what everyone else is doing.

    Like I said, no bed of roses. Balance is best. Have lots of irons in lots of fires and accept that not all of them will always be hot!


  35. farmerbraun says:

    EBIT /Ha is on target for $3500, with just a couple of weeks till balance date. Yes I will pay plenty of tax.
    There has been no paradigm shift in consumer preference while I’ve been farming : it has remained clean, green and fresh. I see no sign that this will change among the affluent.
    Targeting the rich still leaves the option of selling to the poor for a lower margin; the product doesn’t need to change. And the principles apply equally to every market that NZ is in. It would be anything but putting all the eggs in one basket.

    We also have sheep and goats, have done potatoes and other vegetables , grown grain and produced bread.
    Good land has many uses.


  36. farmerbraun says:

    Retained earnings is about $5/kg M.S.


  37. farmerbraun says:

    Few people realise that a Kg of M.S. can be sold for $80-90 at retail.
    Even with the GST and retailer markup taken out , there is still plenty of room to make a good margin.


  38. Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, thanks for the link it actually supports much that I have said regarded the consensus that exists. Almost all agree that humans are having a substantial influence on our climate, 66.9% were very concerned at its long term effects and another 24% are somewhat concerned. Only 2.3% were not concerned. This is even greater consensus than I was promoting before. In terms of climate modeling 90% agreed or strongly agree that they are useful for understanding the global climate (only around 4% thought that they weren’t useful).

    I didn’t see anything in this survey that supports you statement unless you have a different definition of imminent and who you talk to. Some people have already experienced a climate catastrophe that is likely to have been much worse because of AWG.


  39. farmerbraun says:

    But Dave, you somehow missed the bit where only 43% agreed that it was very certain or extremely likely.
    That is , only 43% agree with the IPCC estimation of the degree of certainty.
    I fail to see that as consensus.


  40. Gravedodger says:

    Accepting your remarkable proclivity to redirect threads when things go awry you have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams this time.

    AWG??? is that a reference to Number 8 wire for so many years the basic input to much of the innovation of the NZ Farmer.
    The Association of Women Geoscientists which could be Machiavellian as your desperation dives deeper.
    Anglian Water Group or have you reached new levels of diversion and obfuscation and introduced Associated Wholesale Grocers.
    Maybe you have not jumped the shark but have in fact leapt over a ‘school’ of porpoise, with your education background.

    If raining confusion down on all of us was behind your exceptional vault then I concede defeat as I am totally lost.

    Haven’t been channelling Donald Trump have you, he is possibly the nearest thing to schizophrenic in the news cycle at present, maybe consult your pharmacist is about all I have left to offer as reasonable advice but then there is always Mitre Ten.


  41. farmerbraun says:

    I think it means Absolutely Worthless garbage – something like that anyway.


  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, you will have to tell me which question you are referring to. I read through the majority and kept finding confirmation of all I have been saying 43% certainty of what?

    “Accepting your remarkable proclivity to redirect threads when things go awry you have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams this time.”

    Gravedodger, I wonder if you are referring to a single individual who has the power to redirect the thread? I would have thought that it takes more than one person to have a conversation and if you look at my first comment, where it has gone and who has contributed then you may come to a different conclusion.

    How can one refer to the future of Fonterra without recognising the fact that the Company leads an industry that is possibly the largest single producer of GHG. A move away form fossil fuels and ever expanding production my actually serve the industry and the planet well 😉


  43. farmerbraun says:

    Only 43% of these climate scientists agree with the IPCC “97%” certainty.”


  44. tom hunter says:

    It has often been observed that large co-op structures tend to discourage innovation. I don’t know why.

    No one knows why, but the key word is not “co-op”, but “large”. In my other world of IT I’ve saw how bad large corporations can become, even if they start off well: IBM, Microsoft, HP, Nokia and so forth.

    Even companies like those listed begin to lose the innovation they were famous for, sooner or later. Same with large companies in other areas.

    It’s a mystery unsolved by untold numbers of business books and MBA case studies. A case like Apple, where they don’t just come back from the brink of death but explode to superstar status, is as rare as hell. Actually I can’t think of another like it and the industry suspicion (growing I should add) is that it was down to Steve Jobs and will never repeat. Even in that case it’s the Jobs 2.0 of 1997 onward: the earlier Jobs 1.0 was not able to lift Apple beyond niche status. The last decade plus has been lightning in a bottle for Apple.

    So where does this leave Fonterra? All my business experience tells me that the only way you can catch lightning in a bottle is to do a reasonable number of different things. Don’t gut or ignore your core business, but Venture Capital new ideas into startups owned by Fonterra. Not one Tatua, but 20 – of which perhaps only 2 or 3 will make it, but they might make it big.


  45. farmerbraun says:

    Yes you may be right about VC /startup, but can you tell me the last time Fonterra did a joint venture with another NZ dairy company?
    Did any NZ dairy company ever do such a thing , or did they only seek to destroy each and every startup?
    Did you ever wonder about that empty building out on the Hauraki Plains?
    That was a startup UHT company about 40 years ago.
    And guess what?


  46. tom hunter says:

    True. Just adds to the bad feeling about the industry. I assume you read Woodford’s latest on the various FMG possibilities in China?

    Corporate culture: the only thing that changes it is near failure, and sometimes not even then.


  47. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Only 43% of these climate scientists agree with the IPCC “97%” certainty.”

    FB, just tell me which question and which page you are referring to so that I understand the context. The fact that you are not makes me think that you are misrepresenting what is there.


  48. TraceyS says:

    There is something quite curious in the report found by following the link provided by farmerbraun at 12:38pm which both he and Dave may both have missed:

    To the question 4a (page 16), where participants were asked to give both a range and a best estimate of climate sensitivity (temperature response to a doubling of CO2), 800-odd of the “convinced” were prepared to answer the question whilst another 750-odd chose not to answer that question, in the main because they either “don’t know” the answer or think the answer is “unknown”.

    I’m in that camp; the one which considers CO2 important but don’t know to what degree (excuse pun!)

    It seems I’m not alone. It’s comforting to know that mine is hardly an outlier position – based on the results of this study.


  49. farmerbraun says:

    That would be a consensus then Tracey . . . surely?

    It is actually the truth; we do not know enough about the climate system to calculate the climate sensitivity.
    That is still the trillion dollar question.


  50. JC says:

    “That is still the trillion dollar question.”

    $1.5 trillion annually.. thats the estimate of the current costs of CO2 reduction.

    And applying criteria of what we “do” know it appears we are over-estimating the sensitivity to CO2.



  51. Dave Kennedy says:

    More reason to feel concern regarding our dairy industry if we are just competing in commodity markets, this 100,000 dairy farm being set up in China to meet the Russian market shows what we are up against:


  52. TraceyS says:

    Why couldn’t Russia set up its dairy farm in NZ instead of China? (would save having to send over so much feed).

    Oh that’s right…people like you, Dave!


  53. Mr E says:

    You are worried about NZs ability to meet demand? Or worried about our ability to compete with housed systems? What exactly is your concern Dave?


  54. Dave Kennedy says:

    Surely you can work it out for yourself Mr E, greater supply just means prices will remain low for sometime.

    Tracey, you will need to explain to me why it is better for other countries to supply their home markets by buying New Zealand farms than us to control our own industry.


  55. Mr E says:

    You think 100,000 cows will significant effect the global export trade?

    Oh dear.


  56. TraceyS says:

    I don’t have to explain anything to you Dave. The Russian company is not buying farms in China so why were you thinking I was suggesting they buy farms in New Zealand? The feed is being grown in Russia (predominantly), with the animals housed in China, so the farming is being done in both places.

    Like Mr E, I wonder what’s your point in posting this (other than your new-found role as an advocate for the dairy industry). New Zealand supplies just 1.1% of the world log market and we still have a place selling logs. Do we cry when someone in some other country plants a big forest? New Zealand is a small player in gold as well ( but do we moan when a new mine opens in another country? I’ll bet you don’t even take any notice Dave.


  57. TraceyS says:

    “More reason to feel concern…”

    If worrying was a commodity, Dave, you’d be set!


  58. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E & Tracey, you just argue for the sake of arguing.

    Due to a lack of foresight and vision we have an economy that is suffering from poor leadership. We now have dairy farmers committing suicide, Solid Energy crashing owing millions, $11 million dollar back room deals to angry Arabs that have served no purpose and a global reputation for being a loyal wee follower of the US.

    Your stubborn complacency is remarkable and against all reason 😉


  59. TraceyS says:

    Dave, Mr E and I hardly ever disagree!


  60. Mr E says:

    “We now have dairy farmers committing suicide”


    The Green Party wants to carbon tax them.

    Dave’s concern would almost be funny if it wasn’t about such a serious matter.

    So what say you Dave? Can you, reinforce your concern by ditching your carbon tax policy?


  61. Will says:

    I’ve been wondering about that one. More a question for Labour. Something dark inside me would quite like to see them try it. I’ve never seen a lynch mob and always been curious.


  62. Dave Kennedy says:

    “We now have dairy farmers committing suicide”


    The Green Party wants to carbon tax them.

    Typical attacking tactic, Mr E. What would be the point of that when the only only dairy farms doing really well will be those who have gone organic. Economics and common sense will force farmers to do the right thing anyway:

    The irony 😉


  63. Mr E says:

    “Typical attacking tactic, Mr E”

    Attacking? How? You think me pointing out your carbon tax-negative? Why because it will hurt the dairy farmers? Why because the Greens solutions for the dairy industry is to hurt them?

    Don’t blame me for you attacking, hurtful policies Dave.

    And it seems we are back to this question of organics again. It is as if you almost never listened to a single ounce of sensibility last time. It also seems that Tracey is completely correct. You confuse returns with profit. Something most 10 year olds would not do.

    So let us go back to the future on dairy returns vs organic returns.

    The organic vs conventional comparison Studied by MAF stated organic milk production was 60% of conventional. Considering returns alone, the organic premium would need to be $2.60/kgMS more to offset the lost production (@$3.85). With only 1.50 allowed for that, could $1.1/kgMS be saved in expenses like fertiliser and animal health? Considering typically animal health and fertiliser typically make up $0.73/kgMS on a conventional system, the answer is no.

    That is not to say some organic systems are not doing ok in the down turn, just that converting to organic is not a solution to profitability.

    I’d also point out that plenty of conventional dairy farms will do fine at this lower payout. They tend to be those that do not have high cost structures. Those who have not been pressured by environmentalists into expensive things like dairy wintering sheds.

    Dairy farmers have spent millions and millions on environmental management, and some of that ongoing cost is now hurting them.


  64. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Dairy farmers have spent millions and millions on environmental management, and some of that ongoing cost is now hurting them.”

    Are you saying this was a waste of money, Mr E? I know of a number of dairy farms where environmental planning was an important part of their conversion process and they seem to be doing well. Surely it just comes down to not overextending oneself, being aware of all the pressures on the industry and prudent management.

    As for organics, it appears to be a growing high value niche market and our pasture based farming has a distinct advantage. I guess farmers have the choice of producing milk to be converted to powder or producing a product that will be less likely to be affected by commodity fluctuations.


  65. Mr E says:

    “Are you saying this was a waste of money, Mr E?”

    Absolutely, some of it has been extremely wasteful.

    Now the Southland regional council looks to kick farmers while they are down. While you say we “have dairy farmers committing suicide” we have a council that “will trigger an oppressive consenting regime for farmers, with some looking to lose enormous value in their businesses.”

    I guess with your new found concern for Dairy farmers you will be condemning the Southland Regoinal Council? Doesn’t it seem thoughtless and careless to you?

    Regarding organics, you say ” I guess farmers have the choice”, but the Green Party is all about removing that choice, forcing farmers to convert to organic as it their policy. Right at this moment you sound like a National MP. Nah…


  66. TraceyS says:

    Dave, have you ever considered – even for a moment, that “organic” is not possible, let alone feasible, for a great many properties?

    “As for organics, it appears to be a growing high value niche market and our pasture based farming has a distinct advantage. I guess farmers have the choice of producing milk to be converted to powder or producing a product that will be less likely to be affected by commodity fluctuations.”

    Organic milk is still a commodity. How are you able to predict that the market for it will be “less likely” to be affected by commodity fluctuations? Do you have your crystal ball out again Dave?


  67. TraceyS says:

    See Figure19, Page 23:

    Click to access MarketReport-2015.pdf

    The average selling price for organic cow’s milk is a bit higher than for standard cow’s milk but it is also more volatile.

    Note the price growth for dairy alternatives. Perhaps, rather than policies which push farms towards ideals such as “organic” for environmental reasons, it would be better to encourage farms to diversify (where appropriate) and supply different types of “milk”?

    Policies which aim to force or pressure farms to be organic are actually narrowing them into to a small high-end commodity market. They have nothing to do with diversification and the intentions should not be trusted. Nor should Dave’s false concern for the industry. He’s clearly just looking for ways to use a market downturn to leverage Green Party policies, and in the process, completely missing the wood for the trees.


  68. Mr E says:

    Click to access organics-statsnotice-23jun15b.pdf

    Tracey, I wonder how confident Dave is in his predictions. Organic farming in the UK has reduced in area and the number of conversions. Hardly an exciting prospect.


  69. Dave Kennedy says:

    I think I’ll listen to some experts:

    “I believe that New Zealand farmers should take the initiative and lead the way towards green dairy rather than wait and see, and be at the mercy of regulators. A number of farmers are already doing this and running highly productive farms.”

    “Simmons reckons that New Zealand is probably the easiest place in the world to farm organically because the climate makes it easier to meet worldwide organic standards”.

    “The organic business relied on the cooperative for that initial investment but it is now on a solid footing,” he says.

    While organic remains a niche specialty product, Fonterra is committed to developing the business over the long term to meet escalating demand, particularly out of southeast Asia, China and the US. Asian consumers also favour organic milk powders, especially infant formula and fortified milk powders.

    Fonterra wouldn’t reveal the value or volume of its organic business for commercial reasons, though Federated Farmers indicated two years ago that Fonterra saw a 28% increase in demand over 2012 and 2013 and a 30% increase in prices for organic products.

    All sounds positive to me 🙂


  70. TraceyS says:

    “I believe that New Zealand farmers should take the initiative and lead the way towards green dairy rather than wait and see, and be at the mercy of regulators.”

    Jumping the gun aren’t you? Don’t you realise that doing the right thing environmentally is entirely possible without converting to “organic”? But thanks for giving additional weight to my statement at 12:06pm! With every post it becomes clearer what your game is Dave.


  71. TraceyS says:

    “…I wonder how confident Dave is in his predictions.”

    He’s very confident, it seems, Mr E.

    He can afford to be. It’s not his arse he wants to experiment with.


  72. Dave Kennedy says:

    The US can’t meet demand for organic dairy

    Strong demand in China:

    And this recent report from Europe:
    “Organic represents the primary trade-up opportunity
    at a time when significant price deflation is impacting
    retailer returns from the overall milk fixture”

    Click to access MarketReport-2015.pdf

    It seems that Fonterra has seen the light about organics, many international dairy experts agree and market research shows that organics is the sector within the industry delivering the best returns. Also New Zealand’s environment is better suited than most to go this way.

    Based on that pretty conclusive evidence, I’m confident.

    What other choices are there?


  73. Dave Kennedy says:

    If only people had listen to the Greens before, we wouldn’t be in this mess.


  74. Mr E says:

    The Greens solution:
    A small premium that doesn’t offset a greater loss in production.



    A carbon tax that should be applied to the dairy industry, because they ‘can afford it’. According to their expert, at a $7.10/kgMS payout 10% will be significantly hurt by their tax. $7.10!!!!!!???????.

    Wise smart Greens.


  75. Will Dwan says:

    He is not entirely wrong Mr E. Dairy has been massively production-plus driven, all on the presumption that demand would never falter. That bet has gone wrong and the consequences will be ugly. A much more conservative farming approach would have served better.

    But organics throws the baby out with the bathwater, it is religious in character and would leave us terribly vulnerable to diseases and parasites etc. I expect most of us would end up farming beef and working part-time in town. I would have to give up on the sheep, flies would kill too many. And beef is very prone to commodity cycle fluctuations, even organic.

    No Dave, we would not be in this mess, but we would be in a different one. I would like to see NZ develop a free-range brand. All grass. Dairy would have to adapt, the rest of us are already there except for oddities like goat milking farms and pork/poultry of course which have their own brand. Most people overseas make no distinction between organic and free-range, I’ve seen shops that sell both under the same label. But we make no attempt to market this rare attribute. It seems absurd to me that you can have ‘free-range’ poultry where the feed is trucked in and the livestock still live mostly indoors, permanently on antibiotics, but we grass farmers make no attempt the sell ourselves the same way.


  76. tom hunter says:

    A much more conservative farming approach would have served better.

    Which is what I’ve tried to do, focusing on a traditional grass-based milking system, with feed only bought in to supplement silage and the like through winter.

    Of course being conservative means casting a gimlet eye over the latest fads, one of which has been organic dairy farming. I noticed that in the last four years or so Fonterra had stopped pushing it on. For a while there it seemed I was always getting something in email or snail mail about how I should switch over, but every time I looked at the higher prices they did not compensate for the costs required to switch over – and as Will says, the vulnerabilities of the system to disease. Rather than just a drop in price you could find your entire business cut off.

    Then there’s the fact that the organic market is one of those classic cases of people saying one thing and doing another. For all the market research and focus group blather about the Western consumer increasingly demanding the stuff the fact is that it remains a tiny part of the whole and is still regarded as a life-style choice.

    As usual, from DK’s own links we get the opposite message to what he intended. From the NBR article:

    Federated Farmers dairy industry group chairman Andrew Hoggard says he doubts the additional payment to organic farmers will mean other dairy farmers switching over, given it’s usually a philosophical choice rather than a business decision.

    Ah yes: an organic sprayer in one hand and a copy of Nietzsche in another.

    He says the payment could make a difference to whether some daicry producers continue organic farming, citing the example of a Tararua organic dairy producer who has been planning to convert his farm back to normal dairying because he can’t afford to continue under new environmental regulations that, ironically, made it unsustainable to stay organic.

    I wonder how we will be “persuaded” by a Green-Labour government to switch to organic dairying, and I wonder how harsh will be the persuasive methods used?


  77. Mr E says:

    This is a redicluous statement “all on the presumption that demand would never falter”

    Production has gone up as demand and prices went up. ALL dairy farmers expected it to come down again, just not to the extent it has.

    Production will come down as a result, cow numbers in NZ and globally are declining at an incredible rate. Farmers will cut capital, fertiliser and feed all helping cost management and driving down production.

    The truth is, many just can’t cut enough to make profits. But it is not the end of the world. Farmers will make a loss, diminishing the profits and equity they made over the last decade. For many it will be tough to manage, and for some it will be too much. They will exit the industry. That is market forces. It is healthy for weak businesses to be cut from the industry from time to time.

    Regarding marketing grass fed, we have been doing it for as long as I remember. I just think others have marketed better than us. The wealthy seek locally grown. Why? – because Gordon Ramsay or some half nude dude said it was a good idea. European foodies have done a great job of hurting our values. ‘Eat locally grown’, ‘low food miles’ has been govt driven, and we have done little to counter it, despite science pointing out the flaws in their policies.

    What we need is a Govt that is willing to promote our products, that counters, where appropriate, critics. National is the best we have when it comes to that. Although I think they can do more.

    I think the Greens are the opposite. They seem to hate the systems farmers run, adding fuel to the foreign attacks.

    Largely, I think many of their views of agriculture are based on sheer ignorance. And largely, I think most of their agricultural policies would just hurt our country.


  78. farmerbraun says:

    As a long-time sustainable/organic farmer, I must say that I continue to be amazed by the negative opinions of those who obviously have not a clue what it is all about.
    It doesn’t stop them from having strong opinions though.
    Still there are those who have a better understanding.
    I recently gave a lecture on this topic at Massey , a lecture that was simultaneously streamed to MPI in Wellington.

    Not a single ignorant question was asked.
    Funny that.


  79. farmerbraun says:

    If you look dispassionately at the market overview in this report , you will see why it is that Fonterra is currently receiving prices for its organic products that support a payout to NZ organic dairy farmers of ~$14/Kg M.S.

    Fonterra actually pays the organic farmers less than that , for a variety of reasons which do not relate to market forces.

    Click to access dybdairyorganic.pdf


  80. Dave Kennedy says:

    I must admit I was deliberately trying to wind Mr E up with my last comment. I fully realize that organic farming is not always practical or the only solution, but i do believe that a more natural, less intensive, pasture based approach could have allowed us to develop a branding opportunity and have less impact on our environment.

    I also understand that mixed or more bio-diverse farming has merits. For instance mixing/rotating cow, poultry and deer are beneficial combinations and provide different income streams. Greed saw the money in dairy and too many farmers felt encouraged, or were encouraged to just focus on increasiong milk production.

    The present dairy industry is unsustainable, we are overstocked and are too dependent on imported feed and fertilizer.


  81. farmerbraun says:

    This paper is getting on for 20 years old now ; some of it is still relevant.


  82. TraceyS says:

    “I fully realize that organic farming is not always practical or the only solution…”

    Dave, you must also realise fully that the following policy statement is not practical:

    “Promote the target of half of New Zealand’s production becoming certified organic by 2025, with the remainder in the process of conversion…

    What do you think the costs would be to a farm stuck in the process of conversion in perpetuity? The mental health implications?


  83. Will Dwan says:

    Mr E my ‘rediculous’ statement was aimed at Fonterra’s strategists, not the farmers who are just responding to price signals. I hope you are right about recovery, but even if our production drops, others’ may not. A crash like this weeds out more than just the weak, it takes out the vulnerable, those exposed by short term debt or drought, it can happen to anyone. And the effects will be felt in the wider community, especially in the provinces.

    I don’t blame the government, these problems have more to do with problems in the world’s economies, all out of our control.


  84. Mr E says:

    I also don’t think your statement relates to Fonterra strategists. The word “volatility” has been commonly used. They knew full well things would also come down. But like farmers, not to the extent they have.
    Fonterra itself is in a healthy position, and this down turn has little to do with them.

    Dave claims his promotion of organics is to wind me up. But is is also their policy to have 50% of farms converted to organics upon election with the rest in transition.

    If his comments are a wind up he mustn’t have a lot of faith in his own policies, or ability to get elected.


  85. TraceyS says:

    This policy is ridiculous and Dave knows it. He has previously stated that he does not support it.

    It would put some excellent farms out of business for no good reason allowing the hills to infest with gorse and become unproductive disaster zones.


  86. farmerbraun says:

    The strategists of Fonterra are the directors ;f or the most part they are dairy farmers elected by the dairy farmer owners of Fonterra.

    The farmer electors therefore determine the strategy of Fonterra.

    There are regular elections at which directors not carrying out the collective will of the farmer owners can be removed.
    it is a reasonable conclusion that the farmer owners of Fonterra are the ones in control of the strategy.
    To suggest otherwise is to suggest that the farmers are being led by the nose by some unelected staff members.
    That does not seem to be the situation.


  87. farmerbraun says:

    ” A crash like this weeds out more than just the weak,” or the most exposed in terms of debt.

    But if the clearance results in falling land values then more farmers are at risk from deteriorating debt/equity ratios.
    The banks like their three Ps when allocating their lending . . . People , Payability and Property, but at the end of the mortgagee sale only the property value counts on the bank’s balance sheet.

    In 1987 I was one of those due for the chop . . . . debt servicing at 120% of Gross Income ; negative amortising (balloon) loan ; and reduced property value (from $1.3 Million to $975,000 ) virtually overnight.

    It’s not much fun , when the bank tells you they want to call the loan in , and you need some extraordinary luck.


  88. Dave Kennedy says:

    “What we need is a Govt that is willing to promote our products, that counters, where appropriate, critics. National is the best we have when it comes to that. Although I think they can do more.”

    This statement is so obviously rubbish, under National we have abandoned our clean green branding that around 75% of our exports depend on and they have promoted producing quantity over quality. They have not increased funding to R&D to a level that will make any substantial difference (even to the extent of dismantling research centres). Under National’s watch funding has been cut to bio-security and we had exports stuck at a Chinese wharf because their Ministry could not managing basic documentation.

    Remember it was National that killed Solid Energy with the blind belief that we could follow Australia’s coal success. I have heard Bill English’s speeches praising the mad lignite schemes in Southland and there are photos of him digging the beginnings the foundations for the failed lignite briquetting plant. There was no perfect storm, just delusion and greed.

    Wether it be organic, natural or biological farming a shift to less environmentally intensive management systems will reduce reliance on imported resources and make the industry more resilient. It is more likely that more environmentally sustainable practices will help farms survive drought and the extreme weather patterns that are becoming more common.

    I also worry about future mortgagee sales, it is unlikely that many New Zealanders would have the capital to buy up the farms and the same thing that is happening in Australia will occur. The Chinese and others will quickly move in and buy up property to supply their own markets. It is already happening.

    People don’t understand that although a small % of land is sold to foreign investors each year, it mounts up over time. 646,190 hectares has been sold to overseas buyers over the past five years and it is possible that more than 700,000 could be sold in the next five.

    Most of this has been sold for forestry but dairy farm sales have been growing recently. Adding the two figures above would mean the total hectares that would be foreign owned after 10 years will be around 1,350,000 (approximately 6,000 average farms) and the total land currently used for dairying is 1,600,000. I don’t know why alarm bells aren’t ringing.


  89. farmerbraun says:

    Dave , I suggest that you meant image, rather than branding, when you said “clean green branding “.

    NZ continues to mean clean and green to many outside this country because we haven’t filled the place up with houses and people yet.
    Does any of the political parties have a population policy?
    It seems there is a general reluctance to have this discussion about what NZers want.
    I see no difference between National and Labour in this regard, or in respect to promoting quantity over value.
    Lip service is given to growing the value of exports while reducing impacts but nothing ever happens except through the efforts of individuals.
    Provided that the playing field is level, then this seems acceptable to me ; entrepreneurs are free to get on with it in some areas, but not in dairying where the DIRA has tilted the field to a considerable extent.
    No political party proposes to repeal the DIRA to my knowledge, although I am sure that the TPP will have some influence on this , should it proceed.
    NZ is not the only coal exporter to be hit by the global recession ; the lignite proposal never made sense.
    It would have been better to ship it all to Canterbury’s stoniest soils as a carbon addition.

    The core problem is the indebted state of the country, whether it is housing , dairy, or government.
    Or people demanding lifestyle that they have insufficient money to pay for ; we all do it.


  90. Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, We used to have the 100% pure NZ brand which suggested clean and green, but we were relying on our Lord of the Rings Fiordland scenes to support it. In reality brand and image are much the same as the brand tries to create an image and the image can be encouraged through the brand.

    We possibly look greener because of our small population but I don’t think maintaining a smaller population is the key, we just need to be greener in our practices. Singapore has a reputation for being clean and is heavily populated.

    It isn’t quite such a silly idea to shift coal to Canterbury because research has shown that the lignite neutralises nitrogen. Farmland on top of lignite can be farmed more intensively without the same negative consequences through nitrogen leaching.

    Where do you see the DIRA fails?

    I agree that we have developed a culture of creating debt to maintain lifestyles but surely a good deal of that is due to banks encouraging indebtedness. I also attended a conference some years ago on superannuation and, while the need to increase savings was the main theme, when Bill English spoke he suggested the opposite. Presumably savings limits activity that boosts the GDP. This Government also increased its debt by $50 billion over their 7 year term and encouraged SOE to do the same to increase dividends. We lack leadership from the top in this area.


  91. TraceyS says:

    “…646,190 hectares has been sold to overseas buyers over the past five years and…[m]ost of this has been sold for forestry.”

    I’d like you to tell me why this is a bad thing, Dave. And then I, as someone involved in the industry (at a time when things are not exactly easy), will tell you why it is not.

    “Wairarapa forestry consultant Stuart Orme…says ultimately it should be good for the local economy if the forest assets are owned by larger companies able to support stable harvest and cartage infrastructure. “It’s a good thing for the market having good interest out there,” he says.”


  92. Dave Kennedy says:

    Because, Tracey, many of the profits go offshore to the owners, we will lose sovereignty over much of our resources, it will lift prices for property and farms beyond what most New Zealanders can afford and there is a risk of the ISDS being used against us.

    Many nations, including China itself, refuse to sell land to foreigners for very similar reasons. Surely our land and resources should be foremost for the use of those who are reside here as we are more likely to manage it for our long term interests. It is quite possibly that overseas owners will expect local tax payers to cover the costs of the external effects of their land use while what ever is produced serves external owners and markets.

    As regards the forest industry, that is short-term thinking because if we added value to the wood here it would increase employment opportunities and increase our export income. If it is profitable for overseas companies to own our forests what income stream are we missing out on?

    Given our resources and population we should be as well off as Norway, but we are squandering opportunities for a sustainable economy for quick profits and long-term poverty and indebtedness.


  93. Mr E says:

    You have confused and consequently rubbished my statements. I think incorrectly.
    I have talked about how the government promoted industry. You seem to be talking about how the government supports industry.
    Clearly the National party is great at promoting NZ to the world. I think we can probably both agree on that one.

    I think your concerns are around what the Government supports, are also wrong. Production gains that support sustainable environmental gains occur. I’ve never heard the government encourage industry growth at the cost of the environment. I’d love to hear any to the contrary that you think may exist.
    Supporting this point is the action the Government is taking on the NPS and the Water and Land 2020 programme.

    Your suggestion around lignite being relocated to Canterbury seems unusal. I guess you have been listening to you relation about learnings from the Physiographics in Southland. I’ll probe you though, out of curiosity for more information. Let’s hear more please.

    You might have missed recent news about DIRA. If so, this link might help, thanks to Ele.


  94. TraceyS says:


    “Given our resources and population we should be as well off as Norway, but we are squandering opportunities for a sustainable economy for quick profits and long-term poverty and indebtedness.

    When I see you use the word “we” I take it to mean “the public”.

    NZ Public Debt per person: $18,501
    Norway Public Debt per person: $58,217

    Who are you suggesting takes on new debt to fund the “value added” transformation Dave? “We” perhaps?

    Money doesn’t grow on trees you know.

    By all means invest your own cash in whatever you wish to. And I will do the same. If you want to have a say over what I invest mine in you first have to have my support. Neither you, nor your party, have the first clue how to go about getting this.

    All I’ve really seen from you so far is a pathetic attempt to coerce me into changing my vote by name-calling.


  95. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Clearly the National party is great at promoting NZ to the world.”

    “I’ve never heard the government encourage industry growth at the cost of the environment.”
    Proposed RMA changes, sacking of ECan, lignite mining, fracking, deep sea drilling, motorway building, Denniston Plateau, Victoria Forest Park…

    Regarding the lignite neutralising nitrogen, an Environment Southland scientist presented this at a Federated Farmers AGM I attended and I can’t find the link to research. However our lignite is better left where it is 😉


  96. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, you need to understand what you are presenting. Incomes are much higher in Norway than NZ and it is not just the total debt you need to look at but the ability to sustain it or pay it off. Norway has more invested than NZ and its debt is a much smaller portion of its GDP. Norway’s GDP per capita is also much greater than ours. You are not comparing apples with apples 😉

    “Money doesn’t grow on trees you know.”

    Oh yes it does, Tracey:


  97. Mr E says:

    Our relations with the Royals, China, and our logic and pressure to move unified climate efforts forward, all have never been greater. All great examples of the Great platform NZ is on. Well done pointing those out. There is hope for. yet as a promoter of NZ to the world.

    Regarding the RMA and ECan. I agree, they were both holding the environment at ransom. Thank goodness the ECan council was sacked. In terms of environment, they are now ‘head on tackling’ some of the toughest rules in the country.
    And I look forward to stream lining of the RMA. It is gross when individuals spend hundreds of thousands on paper work and nothing is left to spend on the environment. Well done on pointing that out.


  98. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E. says ;- “Farmerbraun,
    You might have missed recent news about DIRA.”

    I have , as a milk processor, been closely involved with the ComCom as part of the DIRA review.
    One only has to look at the number of value-added dairy companies that are offering a higher milk price than Fonterra , to conclude that there is still a woeful lack of meaningful competition for the raw milk supply in NZ.
    The DIRA was designed to encourage such competition. It has failed to date, mostly by design, and to a significant extent as a result of anti-competitive behaviour by the encumbents, who have consequently not had to develop added-value dairy themselves.
    NZ Inc. has been the loser.


  99. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, as you know the water quality in most Canterbury rivers has deteriorated over recent years.

    The changes the Government planned to make to the RMA would change the document from one providing environmental protection to an “economic development act”, according to the Environment Commissioner.


  100. TraceyS says:

    Dave, it is your typical style (and a fault I believe), to only look at one side of the coin. Norway has among the highest costs of living in the world:

    “Norway[s]…debt is a much smaller portion of its GDP…”

    Not according to the Global Debt Clock. Norway’s public debt as a % of GDP is currently 55.3%. New Zealand’s is 55.6%.

    0.3% is hardly “much smaller”. In fact, I would say the difference is so insignificant as to be equivalent.

    “Money doesn’t grow on trees you know.”

    Oh yes it does, Tracey:”

    I’m not sure what the point of your link is. Are you proposing that the NZ Government borrows a heap of money to invest in the forestry industry so as to increase our country’s GDP?

    Money for investment has to come from somewhere. You’ve already made it quite clear that you don’t like foreign investment. But increasing our country’s overseas debt is the same thing – just by another route.


  101. Mr E says:

    “Mr E, as you know the water quality in most Canterbury rivers has deteriorated over recent years.”

    No Dave – EVERY single variable being monitored in the region is being reported as stable according to LAWA, which you will know to be best review of water quality changes we have. That is not to say that some are not going up while others go down – Just the overall trend is stable.

    (click on the scientific indicators tab)

    I think the RMA is being used dangerously by over zealous Councils. Consenting requirements are getting so tough that large rifts are being created. Large sums of money are being paid by people to create bureaucratic solutions. Solutions that are ultimately costing the environment. I don’t believe that was every how the RMA was intended to be used.

    Part of the problem is the democratic system used is, in my opinion, flawed. It is not a very flattering phrase, but what comes to mind is ‘pay peanuts, get monkeys’. That is not to say all Councillors are monkeys, but low pay does impact the type of person that will stand.


  102. Mr E says:

    Dave seems to be suggesting that we turn wood into biochar or ‘green coke, and burn it, releasing all the carbon stored in the timber.

    So much for AGW concerns.


  103. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, the per capita GDP of Norway is twice that of NZ so it’s capacity to manage that debt is much greater. I am not saying that Norway is perfect (they do have high levels of private debt similar to NZ too).

    The real difference between Norway and NZ has been its wise use of resources to invest in a more secure future and to support public services. Also the ratio of the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10% is half that of New Zealand’s. New Zealand is a far more unequal country.

    “I’m not sure what the point of your link is”
    I just demonstrated that money can grow on trees, metaphorically speaking 😉

    Tracey nothing is wrong with foreign investment when it supports local industries and infrastructure, but when investment involves ownership of our land and resources and profits are sent off shore it reduces our capacity for self determination. We don’t want to become mere tenants in our own country. I would have thought you would understand this and why most OECD countries don’t allow the sale of property to nonresidents.


  104. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I dealt with your misrepresentation of the LAWA data sometime ago. Here is the current state of our lowland rivers according to LAWA:

    “….rivers in lowlands surrounded by pasture and cities are often of poorer water quality.”

    Trends show that in some areas and for some nutrients, river water quality is decreasing, with pressure associated with land cover likely to be the driver for these changes.”


    “More pasture sites had an increase in nitrate-nitrogen concentrations over the last 10 years compared to a decrease in concentrations”

    The worst concentrations are found in Canterbury according to LAWA’s map.

    Also could you provide links supporting your claim that the RMA is used dangerously by over zealous councils?


  105. Mr E says:

    You disagree with LAWA’s regional assessment of the Canterbury data? Where is shows all contaminants are stable?
    Do you think LAWA are wrong?

    There are plenty of links as evidence of my opinion. How many do you want?

    Here is a quote:

    “The consent cost us $500,000 and we went round and round in circles.

    “At the end of the day they granted us our consent and we virtually didn’t have to change any of the structure that we had went to them in the first place.”

    How many links would you like?


  106. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, I think LAWA’s overall assessment is correct, that’s why I quoted them.

    Mr E, I think you will actually need to properly read your own link, how is this proof of “the RMA being used dangerously by over zealous councils”?

    Please do provide more links, this could be very entertaining 😉

    Also to what degree do you think should farming work with the natural environment (soils, climate etc) and how much intervention should be supported (irrigation, nutrient applications). Southland’s topoclimate survey was largely ignored during the dairy boom and we now have water being used in Northern Southland at a level almost beyond what is sustainable.


  107. Mr E says:


    Focus- I know you have it in you.

    You said:

    “water quality in most Canterbury rivers has deteriorated over recent years”

    I provided evidence to show water quality has not deteriorated – rather it is stable in the Canterbury region.

    Now you are dancing around questions with what I would call misdirection. Rather than act like Winston Peters, avoiding all question, how about you directly respond.

    Do you think LAWA have got it wrong when they have reported that Canterbury’s water quality is stable?

    Regarding the link I provided – I am amazed that you don’t think $500,000 for a consent that delivered but a ‘yes’ isn’t dangerous overzealous council behaviour. Where is all that compassion that Greens are supposed have. Do you think hugely expensive consents don’t hurt the relationships, and credibility that the Council has? Is damaging credibility and relationships not dangerous?

    By the way – I never said that link was “proof”. That would be just stupid. I said it was “evidence” which I think it is. I’d say “nice try” but it wasn’t.

    Here is another link:

    “We have fallen out of trusting communities but fallen in love with expensive lawyers who weave their magic needing an army of bureaucrats and consultants to interpret.

    Five thousand bureaucrats in less than a decade.

    All of this breeds a climate devoid of common sense. A consent hanging in a cowshed does not make a farmer better compliant than not having the most recent version up. Yet that is a matter of ‘minor non-compliance’.

    This is nuts.”

    (let me know when you have heard enough, I can spit em out all day)


  108. Mr E says:

    “The council has jumped the gun by creating restrictive rules based on incomplete information and has pre-empted the community-led processes, intended under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.”

    “As a result the farming sector faces not only huge compliance costs but also huge costs in lost opportunity under the oppressive consenting regime proposed. This is not the evidence based community led decision making we were promised.”


  109. TraceyS says:

    “…the per capita GDP of Norway is twice that of NZ…” and it has 3.5 times the public debt of New Zealand.

    “We don’t want to become mere tenants in our own country.”

    And “we” don’t have to. We can buy shares in forestry partnerships or farm syndicates. It isn’t necessary to own whole farms or whole forests. I know that’s a mindset change when it comes to farms but few individuals are able to privately own sizable forests entirely on their own.

    “I just demonstrated that money can grow on trees…” Do you have any direct investment in forestry Dave? If you did, you might realise that there are also costs! It’s not the cash cow that you appear to think it is.

    If you don’t want to become a tenant then buy some New Zealand land or shares in land or land-based business.

    And if that doesn’t appeal you could always try Norway instead!


  110. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, your link did not provide proof that water quality is stable in Canterbury, we have covered this before. There are more sites showing a decline in quality than improving and many sites have not been recording data long enough to detect a trend. Also even if records are stable, the quality is so poor that remaining the same is not acceptable. It is more informative to read their overall assessment that I quoted.

    “I am amazed that you don’t think $500,000 for a consent that delivered but a ‘yes’ isn’t dangerous overzealous council behaviour.”

    You appear to be just looking at the cost rather than the process. This was a consent involving a significant change of land use that would have dramatic changes on the environment. The Council chose to provide a 10 year consent to ensure that they wouldn’t be locked into an environmental catastrophe. If McCabe had proved to be a wonderful environmental steward I’m sure a longer consent would have resulted. He chose to appeal and push for a 25 year consent, the costs incurred were his choice, not over zealousness on the part of the council.

    As for the speech from the Federated Farmers Chairperson, you need to compare that with the reality of what water storage really means, it actually isn’t that simple:

    Your last link is just about restrictions on stocking intensity and given the nature of most Southland soils, I think the Council’s stand is logical. I think you are looking at this issue through a narrow lens. If the RMA had been functioning properly we wouldn’t be in such an environmental mess, it probably needs to be strengthened.

    Tracey, you don’t appear to understand the real implications of losing the ownership of our land and resources. This loss of sovereignty has huge implications on our ability to pass and enforce laws in the best interests of New Zealand.


  111. TraceyS says:

    “… could you provide links supporting your claim that the RMA is used dangerously by over zealous councils?”

    Dave, Mr E is absolutely right about the RMA.

    For example, the Dunedin City Council is about to propose rules in it’s District Plan rehash that will require farms (and possibly other operations) within a very large geographical area to obtain a geotechnical assessment every time they need to disturb more than 20 cubic meters of earth.

    They have not even considered what the cost of a geotechnical assessment might be for, say, a 2km fenceline. It could be very significant indeed. And for what gain?

    Bureaucratic nonsense in the extreme.


  112. TraceyS says:

    “…you don’t appear to understand the real implications of losing the ownership of our land and resources…”

    Our land and resources? I see.

    My land and resources, Dave, are in safe hands. If you want to own land and resources, as I said before, go out and buy some (or shares in some). Put your money where your mouth is!

    As I’ve also said before, if you want to have influence over what people decide to do with their land, encourage your party to drop some of its silly policies.


  113. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I think you may be confusing the Dunedin City Councils rules with the RMA.

    As for land ownership, you do have a very simplistic economic appreciation of the implications of foreign ownership.


  114. TraceyS says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake Dave! Have you ever read the Resource Management Act?

    “District plan” appears 416 times in 82 sections.

    Have a look for yourself!


  115. TraceyS says:

    Dave at 4:39 pm:

    “…you do have a very simplistic economic appreciation of the implications of foreign ownership.”

    Not as simplistic as your appreciation of the relationship between District Plans and the RMA 😦


  116. tom hunter says:

    If the RMA had been functioning properly we wouldn’t be in such an environmental mess, it probably needs to be strengthened.

    Several weeks ago I laid out exactly what complying with the RMA had cost me in house renovations and extensions several years ago, as well as what it’s going to cost my little Scout group – and I got some obsequious response from you about how frustrated you’d been by city council regs as to how you went around fixing your house.

    I say obsequious because clearly you were trying to get across to me that you really did understand my frustrations – and others – with this godforsaken piece of legislation and rules and regulations in general.

    But Nooooooo….. Here we are, right back at the default Green position: not only is the RMA extreme now but you want to make it even more intrusive.

    Do you actually realise how bad you’re making yourself look here? Or does Homepaddock have some vast, quiet Green readership who you’re really appealing to?


  117. Mr E says:

    “Mr E, your link did not provide proof that water quality is stable in Canterbury, we have covered this before”

    I find it strange that you are trying to claim the best evidence of what is happening in Canterbury is what is happening in NZ.

    The LAWA data is not perfect but it is the best representation of Canterbury we have. NZ doesn’t represent Canterbury. Suggestions that it does are just stupid in my opinion.

    If we can’t agree let’s look at the next best data on trend then; the Ecan 2010 Water quality overview.

    Reading “meaningful trends” table I have calculated the following:

    Turbidity 83% stable 12% improving 5% deteriorating
    Nitrate 93% stable 5% improving 2% deteriorating
    DRP 91% stable 5% improving 4% deteriorating.
    pH “no meaningful trends”

    If you are not happy with the LAWA data, you must be happy with the ECAN data that pretty much says the same?

    I hope you are feeling bad about what you said about Canterbury right at this moment?

    Regarding McCabe, I understood he applied for a 25year consent and was given a 10year consent. This was overruled by the environment court $500,000 later. I suspect the attitude that $500,000 is acceptable and fair will frighten the public. Good luck with that.

    You’ll note the consent was granted in about April 2010, about the same time as Commissioners were instated.

    Can your explain why you think “stock intensity” rules are “logical”?


  118. Mr E says:


    Give the man a break for heavens sake. Its the job of the rest of us to feeding him rope and ‘kick me’ signs.


  119. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E it appears your summary and LAWAs summary of their own data that I quoted from conflicts. Who is correct, you, or it?

    So you are saying that the ECan were more reasonable and the environment court overruled them, hardly proof that the environment council was over-zealous.

    In a region that was largely reclaimed from swamp and has a high level of field tiles and other drainage, any increase in stock numbers has an immediate effect on the environment.

    Tom, are you talking about the RMA or local council rules? The intention of the RMA was to ensure there were protections for the environment and also ensure that those neighbouring any development were not unduly affected. I believe some people confuse rules imposed by councils after the shocking leaky building debacle as stemming from the RMA.

    “Give the man a break for heavens sake. Its the job of the rest of us to feeding him rope and ‘kick me’ signs.”

    Mr E, I’m definitely out numbered here (which doesn’t worry me in the least) but this gang bullying approach to debating is a little sad. I do notice that no one else has challenged me regarding LAWA’s summary, because it actually is what was concluded. You aren’t arguing with me you are arguing with the very source you link to. As for your other sources, you could at least link to a neutral one, referring to the farmers union is hardly convincing.


  120. TraceyS says:

    Dave says:

    “The intention of the RMA was to ensure there were protections for the environment and also ensure that those neighbouring any development were not unduly affected.”

    The Act says:

    “(1) The purpose of this Act is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.
    (2) In this Act, sustainable management means managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being and for their health and safety…”

    “Enables”, Dave. Didn’t see that word in your definition. Why not?

    This is an Act which is used, by some, to disable. I do not believe that was the intention.


  121. Mr E says:

    “Mr E it appears your summary and LAWAs summary of their own data that I quoted from conflicts. Who is correct, you, or it?”

    Dave, you are misdirecting, as is your tendency. You are trying to say the NZ summary represents Canterbury – which is transparent as stupidity. I would happily take on your challenge, and prove you wrong again, if I didn’t view your tactics as cheap political misdirection.

    Incase anyone missed the Canterbury data summary:
    (click on the scientific indicators tab)

    I can imagine you Dave holding you hand over you eyes when you open this link. And I can also imagine you putting your fingers in your ears singing “lah lah lah” when your read that ECANs state of the environment data corroborates this.

    I wont go on, cause I know your reaction will be to refer to the NZ national summary of water quality – which gets boring and predictable.

    You won’t listen to facts -So let’s more forward.

    Onto the stock intensity proposals.

    “any increase in stock numbers has an immediate effect on the environment.”

    What does increasing stock numbers do the environment? Positive or negative?

    I’m looking forward to these insights.

    Regarding my links are you telling me – you don’t and won’t listen to the Federated Farmers? Because of who they are? That must be fun when you go to their meetings. Hands over eyes, fingers in ears like two of the monkeys – but the other monkey is set free?
    Doesn’t really make you look very credible as a Govt contender does it?

    Nevermind – here is a test for you: Who said:?

    “The extensive criticism of the RMA is largely about process. The merits of advancing sustainable development and improving environmental management appear to be largely forgotten. The prime focus for criticism of the RMA is the time taken to process resource consents and the costs of so doing.”

    Ill give you a hint – starts with P then has a C then an E. Not F-E-D.


  122. Dave Kennedy says:

    “This is an Act which is used, by some, to disable. I do not believe that was the intention.”
    Examples please, Tracey and the extent of this.

    “While 97 percent of resource consents were processed on time in the last financial year, councils say they’re under a lot of pressure because of limited staff resources and the poor quality of RMA applications.”'lack'-rma-consents-funding

    You must be talking about the 3% that aren’t passed on time and is this enough to drive major changes to the act. It does appear that lack of funding and staff to process consents is a major concern.

    Mr E, again I looked at the wide data and saw a whole list of “no trends” because the data hasn’t been kept long enough to be able to say otherwise. In LAWAs map of the country showing where the concentrations of contaminates are, Canterbury seems to have more than its fair share. Rather than you interpreting the data I will let LAWA’s own summary stand thanks. As I said earlier, don’t argue with me, argue with the conclusions of your link. Do you want me to quote them again?

    You do get a little hysterical when I challenge you Mr E. Federated Farmers represent farmers interests as a good union should, that is their function. Of course I would listen to them but whatever they say should be regarded in that context. The only way to truly test the performance of the RMA is to canvas a range of interests or look at a review of performance that is impartial. Comparing me to monkeys rather than seeing the logic of what I say is just being childish.

    As for your wee test, please refer to my quote above.


  123. Dave Kennedy says:

    As for the stocking levels:
    “What this means for farmers is that if they increase stock units above fifteen per hectare, use more than 15 percent of a property for winter grazing on fodder crops, convert to dairy, or simply remain arable farmers they are all going to be breaching the permitted rules in the Plan. The council is limiting farmers’ future by taking away their choice.”

    Surely having some limit to spark a review and a new consent is necessary. It is not taking away farmers choice but assessing sustainability. Are you suggesting there should be no limits?


  124. TraceyS says:

    Dave at 10:45pm, just get out and talk to people. Listen with an open mind. I can’t answer your question in a few short sentences.

    I do note that several of my recent questions to you go unanswered.


  125. Mr E says:

    I hate pointing out the obvious, especially to a wannabe politician, but dots that represent concentrations say nothing about trend.

    There is no issue with the lawa data around length of time recorded, as you suggest. Data has been collected of long enough to represent recent trend.

    I am left wondering if you even followed my link and looked at the Canterbury data? Did you?

    I noticed you didn’t answer my question, what effect will increasing stock numbers have?

    In response to your question around limits – nitrates are the problem in some parts of Southland. Nitrate is a diffuse nutrient, and leaching is controlled by many variables. Setting limits on one variable won’t have an impact because other variables can change.
    The only way to achieve imrpovements through regulation is to control – limit all variables. That means the council has to control farm management. A massive task and completely unrealistic. That is why ECAN is using Overseer. A tool to control multiple variables. But even it is riddled with loopholes. Anyone worth their metal knows what they are.

    The main solution for Nitrate is therefore obvious. Trust the farmers and educate them to do the right thing. There is such a massive potential. Even you have been making suggestions with the knowledge you have gained around physiographics. As waky as they are, it is not silly to be thinking about wintering on soils located on lignite. It takes innovative partnerships to do this. Not restrictive rules.


  126. farmerbraun says:

    Dave says:- “Mr E, I’m definitely out numbered here (which doesn’t worry me in the least) but this gang bullying approach to debating is a little sad.”


    Argument from consensus is a logical fallacy – everytime 🙂


  127. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, the reason that I haven’t answered some of your questions is because my whole point in mentioning Norway was because it is widely known that they have used the money generated from their nationalised oil industry to benefit the whole country. Their wealth has been distributed across the population fairly well and there is greater equality in Norway than here. All Norwegians are millionaires based on the country’s oil investments. This is in contrast to the UK where the profits largely benefited oil companies alone (the richest companies in the world). That was my main point and this can’t be disputed (although I’m sure you will try) 😉

    New Zealand had a number of years when dairying was hugely profitable and the industry expanded massively. While I don’t think nationalisation would have been useful there was little effort to strategically manage the industry to avoid the boom and bust scenario we are experiencing. Almost all available funds were used to ramp up supply and feed a commodity market that was bound to collapse. The widespread suffering that will result from this shortsightedness will cause an economic recession that will go far wider than the farming community. We will see farmer suicides go up, farm sales to foreign interests will increase and a drop in government revenue will see cuts in funding to core services such as health and education.

    Mr E, farming is a complex business, we must both agree with that, but to claim that education and trusting all farmers to do the right thing has clearly failed in many circumstances. The classic was the Clean Streams Accord when it was discovered that most farmers in one area lied about the extent of their water protection efforts.

    Stocking levels may be simplistic but it is useful trigger to cause a reassessment of environmental loading. All farms should have management strategies so the process of gaining a consent for an increase in stock numbers and wintering load seems reasonable considering the environmental impact it would have.

    Of course I looked at your Canterbury link it is full of river catchments and the data from multiple sites. Most say that there are “no trends” but as we have discussed before that is largely because they don’t have data over 5 or ten years to be able to detect a trend as the comprehensive monitoring has not been going for long enough. Therefore I rely on the overall summary of water quality that was provided that you seem to object to. All you are doing is trying to manipulate your own conclusion from non conclusive results. Any way even if we accept that there is no increased degeneration of quality, the quality of lowland rivers is appalling overall anyway.

    Click to access combine-rwq-2013-2014.pdf,_New_Zealand

    FB, only there isn’t consensus with Mr E, there are a number of different threads often being discussed and there is not consensus with them all. It is entirely in his mind that there is a joint effort to engage with me to give me enough rope for a collective kicking. Andrei and I are in agreement on aspects of international politics, I have more in common with you over organics than Mr E and Tracey shares similar views on aspects of education as me. I haven’t noticed anyone leaping up to Mr E’s defense over his LAWA nonsense as I have just been quoting his own source back at him.


  128. Paranormal says:

    DK – your stats regarding the RMA compliance are just nonsense.

    The problem is all the council have to do is ask a question, regardless of what it is and even if it has already been answered, and the timer starts again. A resource consent for a simple thing can take years to process but still comes in the ‘within acceptable timeframe’ box because of the way the council planning department plays the game.


  129. Dave Kennedy says:

    For all that, Paranormal, the percentages seem fairly convincing, do you have contradictory evidence or just anecdotal? Surely a complex consent would take time when it involves a huge change in land use and a number of environmental impacts.


  130. Paranormal says:

    DK – Of course the percentages are convincing to those not involved with the process or aware of the frustration of ordinary New Zealanders being consistently mucked around by council bureaucrats. When you understand the council control of the process you may then gain an understanding of the nonsense that is your statistic.


  131. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, again you do not distinguish between what is a council issue or a RMA problem. Councils themselves admit that one of the big problems they have in processing consents is because of funding shortfalls and having enough qualified staff to do the work.


  132. Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, thanks for that, just more nonsense from a similar organisation to the Heartland Institute. I think you will find that whatever benefits that increased CO2 produces will be well and truly nullified by the effects of extreme weather events (including droughts, floods and storms) and rising sea levels.

    Here is the background on your source 😉


  133. farmerbraun says:

    ” I think you will find that whatever benefits that increased CO2 produces will be well and truly nullified by the effects of extreme weather events (including droughts, floods and storms) and rising sea levels.”

    I don’t expect any like that Dave. Those are routine events in my view , and I have in place the necessary resilience etc to deal with them.
    In any case they do not occur very often whereas increased photosynthesis is every day.
    Time will tell , and we will have to wait , unless science is able to make rapid progress on climate understanding.


  134. TraceyS says:

    Paranormal at 10:14am:

    “The problem is all the council have to do is ask a question, regardless of what it is and even if it has already been answered, and the timer starts again.”

    That’s not quite right. The clock doesn’t restart – it stops.

    The problem you cite should have been mostly fixed by the 2013 reforms:

    One of the problems I see is that there is little incentive for council staff to encourage people when they ring up with their project for some advice. It’s just more work to them. We desperately need competition in this space so that people can shop around to find someone they can work with to process their application and a profit motive in there wouldn’t go amiss.


  135. TraceyS says:

    Dave says:

    “New Zealand had a number of years when dairying was hugely profitable and the industry expanded massively. While I don’t think nationalisation would have been useful…

    Dave, if you did think nationalisation “would have been useful” would you have suggested/supported it?


  136. TraceyS says:

    …can you please also provide your definition of “useful” in this context?


  137. Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, your routine events are just occurring more frequently and with greater intensity 😉

    Tracey, as a cooperative Fonterra is a unique corporation and should have been operating in the best interests of its farmer shareholders. It obviously hasn’t and elements of its structure have failed when so many of the management were earning over $1 million a year and much more than the farmers they were serving.

    I disagree with some here that private enterprise always delivers the best outcomes when many countries have done well through nationalising key industries. “useful” in my mind is when a business or industry recognises the contribution of all of those who have contributed to its success and what they contribute to the wider economy. You just have to watch any of the “undercover boss” programmes to realise that many employees provide far greater value to the company that employs them than the remuneration they receive in return.


  138. Mr E says:

    Can you please tell me how you have concluded that farmers lied with regard to the following statement. Before you do it ask yourself how waterways were defined in the clean streams accord.

    “that most farmers in one area lied about the extent of their water protection efforts.”

    Given your support of stocking rate limits, can you tell me what the measured impact of stocking rate is on pollutants? Pick any water pollutant you want.

    You have also apparently not followed the link as I described. When you click on the link you need to select the ‘scientific indicators’ tab. That describes Canterbury regional trends, not catchment information.

    Are you also telling me you are not aware of any examples of where farmer education can help the environment?


  139. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E:

    Chris Glassy has researched how stocking rates impact on the environment, a Google search can find papers on this.

    “When you click on the link you need to select the ‘scientific indicators’ tab. That describes Canterbury regional trends, not catchment information.”
    I did this too and the main thing that this shows is that in 5 of 9 areas Canterbury rivers are amongst the worst 50%. The trends indicated mean little depending on the length of time they have been monitored and this isn’t indicated. Hence my trust in LAWAS own summary of overall water quality.

    Of course education is useful, but it depends where it comes from and that it can’t be relied as the only method of changing practice. i was told by someone within Dairy NZ that around 10% of dairy farmers let the industry down in terms of management and no end of education will change the way they operate. You are very naive if you think otherwise.


  140. Mr E says:

    Where is your evidence of lying?

    You are right Glassey produced evidence about the effects of stocking rate on the environment.

    “N leaching from the milking platform is driven by the amount of feed N/ha consumed not cows/ha.”

    “It is possible to reduce cows/ha and achieve higher DM intakes per cow which increases N excretion per cow. The result could be little change in DM consumed per ha and hence N intake, N excretion and N leaching/ha.”

    Regarding the LAWA data, the regional data makes no suggestion that period of consideration is effecting its accuracy. I think you’re are clutching at invisible straws because this independent assessment does not suit your agenda. That is sad. Particularly we ECAN data tested to be “meaningful” corroborates the findings.

    Sad Dave, sad.

    Regarding education, you realise the ES rules affect all dairy farmers not just the 10%? You also realise those that are hurt the most are those with low stocking rate, particularly organic farmers. A reasonable expectation is low SR dairy farms will have their land devalued, whilst high SR farms will increase in value.

    You might say those protecting the environment are punished, whilst those damaging the environment are rewarded. I’d not say this because like Glassey I think stocking rate does not predict pollution.

    I hope your support of these rules doesn’t lose you Greens votes.


  141. TraceyS says:

    “You just have to watch any of the “undercover boss” programmes to realise that many employees provide far greater value to the company that employs them than the remuneration they receive in return.”

    You actually watch Undercover Boss, Dave?



  142. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Where is your evidence of lying?”
    It is the only conclusion one can draw with such an extreme level of inaccuracy in the self reporting.

    Also remember that stocking levels are a trigger for a check on management, going through the consent process provides reassurance regarding the things you describe, but there is no guarantee that it will be the case.

    You are right that the SR is not an accurate predictor of environmental impacts because the farm environment can vary greatly and some can withstand higher SR rates than others (especially the lignite ones 😉 ). It is useful as a rough guide however and the original consent may have taken this into account.

    As for your crazy LAWA argument, you don’t accept their own summary and want me to extrapolate something quite different from the site data, which is lacking in detail. We covered this all before and I remember arguing sentence by sentence your version of the summary, you were clearly wrong then as you are now.

    You are also confused regarding what drives the profitability of farms, low stocking rates are only one of many factors. I know dairy farmers who reduced numbers and became more profitable, they needed to buy less supplementary feed and the cows produced more milk. A lot depends on the intensity of the SR before, the cost of previous inputs and the stress put on the animals. Other factors include the level of debt servicing and % of equity that is held on a farm. Some dairy farms are mixed farms and these have greater flexibility if the bottom drops out of one aspect. You have a very simplistic view of farm economics, Mr E.

    Tracey, yes I have watched the odd episode of different versions of undercover boss and am appalled at the way the bosses at the end often shower employees with gifts and money as if they are unique amongst all their thousands of other employees who actually may be more deserving of support. Believe it or not I find such programmes useful in a sociological way for understanding on how different businesses operate and what the employment culture is like in different countries. I guess if you view these in a one dimensional way they are tacky, especially the one you linked to. I am impressed that you went to so much trouble to find it so that you could say that 😉


  143. TraceyS says:

    “Believe it or not I find such programmes useful in a sociological way for understanding on how different businesses operate and what the employment culture is like in different countries.”

    Good grief Dave! You cannot get a good understanding of how businesses operate from watching this shallow rubbish any more than you can get a true understanding of the dairy industry by reading newspapers and selected online reports.

    Don a pair of gumboots (and a fake moustache if you fancy) for a decent period of time and I guarantee you’ll gain the depth of experience that you so desperately lack.


  144. farmerbraun says:

    Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, your routine events are just occurring more frequently and with greater intensity.

    To date there is no evidence to support your statement ; there has been no change in frequency or intensity of such events here, or elsewhere in NZ , to my knowledge.
    Given that the NZ record is a mere two hundred years , any statement of increased frequency and intensity cannot withstand scrutiny.


  145. Paranormal says:

    FB, that was yet another DK evidence free faith based statement.

    We are in a period of reduced climate based activity. Evidence of this can be seen in the current soft global insurance market awash with capital that hasn’t been spent on catastrophes.


  146. tom hunter says:

    We are in a period of reduced climate based activity

    I’ve had fun pointing out to Warmists that if their theory is correct and the increased warmth will present the most in the polar regions, then what one would expect from the resulting reduction in temperature differences between those areas and the tropics, would be fewer hurricanes and less turbulent storms – which is exactly what we’re seeing.

    Pity they predicted the exact opposite. 🙂

    In any case that aspect of the argument just shows up the myopic focus of the Warmist community, in that even if you fully accept all the initial links and consequences, you’re still left with adapting to the higher temperatures rather than trashing our fossil-fueled society in a desperate attempt to reduce 2100AD temps by 0.5C or whatever the projections might be. Human society has adapted to and survived far greater temperature changes in the past, and with far less wealth and technological capability than we have now or will have in the future.

    Having said that I’ll be more than happy with a future of solar-powered houses, Tesla-type cars, Tesla-type batteries in homes, and lots of nuclear power providing the baseload capacity our industrial society needs – if the transition to these things is handled in a cost-effective way that does not impoverish individuals or society.


  147. TraceyS says:

    “For the third consecutive year H1 natural disaster losses were below the recent 10-year H1 average (US$12 billion versus US$27 billion). Should this trend continue, the market may see no regions globally surpass their 10-year average in 2015. This benign loss environment is the major contributor to insurers’ strong profitability and, ultimately, the favourable market conditions for buyers.”

    Click to access 2015_InsuranceMarketMidYearUpdate_FINAL_300715.pdf

    This climate change stuff seems to be helpful for businesses keeping their costs down in otherwise challenging economic times (for some).

    I was able to negotiate a sizable discount this year.


  148. Name Withheld says:

    Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, your routine events are just occurring more frequently and with greater intensity.

    In spite of the cost to human life and property loss, warmists like Kennedy fervently want to believe that this is true. They positively rejoice in every disaster that they think will prove their case.
    The truth of course is just the opposite.
    Tropical cyclone frequency, global hurricane frequency, tornadoes, abnormally high rainfall etc, all show stable or downward trends.
    Aided more and more by the “weather pornographers”, who even in NZ, have created “warnings and watches” to further hype normal seasonal weather patterns into the terror category, as well as introducing psychedelic colours into graphics showing rain or wind or temperature to feed the hype swallowed by simpletons.
    Forget the anecdotes warmists, look at objective data.


  149. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, much that is on TV is commercial mush, I’m not disagreeing with you, but it doesn’t mean that nothing can be gleaned from them that may interesting or useful, apart from Mike Hosking, and given your obviously well refined radar for “shallow rubbish” you must avoid him like the plague 😉

    As for this on going climate change debate, I have to recognize the tenacity of you guys. You are on a hiding to nothing and yet you still brush aside all reason to repeat the mantras of your beloved (but discredited) Heartland Institute. You wheel out your elderly scientists and TV weatherman to counteract the majority of the world’s scientists and put your personal scientific understanding above the Royal Society and NASA.

    Your claims that the world’s leaders, scientific institutions, and even the Pope, are part of some communist conspiracy to take over the world are ludicrous once you realise that the main opposition to AGW is from one or two think tanks funded largely by the oil and tobacco industries.

    The only NZ political party that doesn’t support AGW as a reality is the ACT Party and given their % of the vote (0.6) I would say that is a strong statement in itself. I should also say that Colin Craig was a fence sitter on this issue, so you may have him as a potential ally 😉


  150. Mr E says:

    What to believe?

    1) Dave a list member for a party who relies on the existence of environmental issues, who claims:

    LAWA is incorrect to present NO TREND for the Region of Canterbury. Their data does not show this and the Cawthorne institute that review it have it wrong. Instead the data lacks in time period, so no conclusion can be drawn, even though the time period is not presented to the reader.

    Instead the trends in Canterbury are the same as New Zealand’s trends. And who knows why this is true – but it is “crazy” to think elsewise.


    2) LAWA (a collaboration of councils and other Institutes) have presented data that shows overall no trends in freshwater pollutants in Canterbury rivers. The have used the Cawthorne institute to validate data, and it is on that basis that no trend is concluded.
    Similarly ECAN in their state of the Environment report corroborates this in data from 1997 -2008 where they have considered “meaningful trends”.

    I have not discussed profitability or the economics of farming here so to suggestion of a simplistic view is baseless. I did discuss farm values but made no reference to profit or economics.

    But lets follow this misdirection this rabbit. A good easy to access database of profit stats are those from Malloch McLean.

    2014 Average SR 2.9
    2014 top 20% performer SR 3.21
    2014 payout $8.40/kgMS

    2013 Average SR 2.89
    2013 top 20% performer SR 2.91
    2013 Payout $5.80/kgMS

    2012 Average SR 2.64
    2012 Top performer SR 2.87
    2012 Payout $6.08kgMS

    2011 Average SR 2.72
    2011 Top performer SR 3.07
    2011 Payout $7.50kgMS

    2010 Average SR 2.58
    2010 Top performer SR 3.11
    2010 Payout $6.10kgMS

    More often than not, the top performer is a highly stocked farm. I think it is fair to say, high payouts support high stocking rates.


  151. Name Withheld says:

    yet you still brush aside all reason wheel out your elderly scientists and TV weatherman to counteract the majority of the world’s scientists
    As opposed of course to that great climate guru, the Pope?


  152. farmerbraun says:

    “the majority of the world’s scientists”

    We must tell the King.
    And so Chicken-Licken, Hen-Len , Duck-Luck, Drake -Lake . . . . .


  153. Dave Kennedy says:

    NW, I personally don’t follow the Pope (and disagree with him on some issues) but he is just one of the many world leaders who accepts AWG including our own PM.

    Tell me, who are the significant world leaders on your side? I think Tony Abbot may be one.

    FB, I think it is quite a stretch to find similarities between a chicken and the Royal Society but I’m sure you have the support of Lord Monckton in saying so 😉

    Mr E, you are very good at fabricating an argument and making stuff up to justify yourself. I don’t disagree with LAWA at all and am happy with their overall conclusions. I have no faith in your interpretation of the Canterbury data when “no trend” often just means that data has not been collected long enough to detect one. Perhaps you can save yourself by quoting a statement from LAWA regarding Canterbury alone, otherwise their national assessment stands. There is no reason to doubt that it doesn’t apply to Canterbury too, given that dairying has grown much faster there than most regions.

    As for your SR payout data from Malloch McLean what environmental impact assessments were included in that? 😉


  154. Paranormal says:

    Still evidence free I see DK. Carry on the mantra of your faith based religion. The rest of us who are capable of free thought will continue to monitor what is really happening in the environment.


  155. farmerbraun says:

    Fonterra could get all the organic milk it wanted simply by offering a price that was in line with the returns that it gets.
    As it stands the organic producers are subsidising the conventional , but the extent is trivial because of the relative volumes.
    The real problem is that Fonterra feels that its conventional product would be seen as less “clean , green and fresh”.
    The reality is that poor people cannot afford to make this discrimination : all food is good.

    Fonterra could pay double the current price for organic milk and still transfer a small profit to its consolidated milk proceeds.

    The thinking may be that there is no need to raise the price just yet , because in the present circumstances some conventional farmers may think that if they are going to reduce inputs then they may as well be organic, and get a premium. A further premium would be payable for winter milk , so an organic dairy farmer could receive double the conventional price for some of his milk.
    Autumn calving would be a very sensible move.


  156. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I put up heaps of evidence from NASA etc in the past and you told me you never read them, so what is the point 😉

    FB, certainly is and Michael Kelly is not the most knowledgeable about climate change and is an enthusiastic member of the 3% team. I also note it was the Mail that ran the story you linked to 😉

    The other link is to Richard Treadgold’s blog and once again we have the same old connections to the Climate Science Coalition and the Heartland Institute. These guys move in small circles, as you would have to when you champion 3% of the science community.

    Interestingly Kelly was chosen to be part of a panel to investigate the so called Climategate which found no wrongdoing on behalf of the scientists identified.

    While we disagree on AWG it seems that we are on the same page as regards organics.


  157. farmerbraun says:

    Dave I felt sure that you would approve of the Royal Society abandoning its founding principle of “Nullius in verba”.
    How else to justify argumentum ad vericundiam and argumentum ad populum?

    I am sure that if you took of your political hat , and put on a scientific one, then you would agree with me that we cannot say that atmospheric CO2 determines global average temperature , ceteri paribus ; neither can we say that it does not. We do not have the detailed knowledge of climate regulation to rule out either possibility i.e falsify the null hypothesis.

    But then AGW is now purely a political issue.

    Climatology will forever be science.


  158. farmerbraun says:

    I think that most here are on the same page in regard to sustainable agriculture, and also on the same page as MAF, who regard organic as just one type of sustainable agriculture.

    The confusion arises , I think, because a certified organic farm, has no special claim to sustainability.

    It is important to differentiate the two meanings.

    Organic certification is purely a quality assurance protocol.
    Organic farming is a form of sustainable agriculture.


  159. tom hunter says:

    You are on a hiding to nothing

    Chuckle. What has your side actually achieved in the last thirty years? Kyoto a busted flush. Copenhagen strangled at birth. We’ll see what happens at the next one, but given that the fundamental reasons for all those previous failures have not changed, I would not bet on more than the hot air of announcements. It’s only been a few months since Obama’s big standup with the Chinese Premier, and …… nothing different.

    Which is to say that the demand for Western lifestyles – food, housing, transport (cars), and all the rest – is going to overwhelm the whining guilt trips of Western Leftists like DK. Oil continues to plunge in price, driven by an American boom in fracking technology that is progressing faster than the Saudi oligarch’s can strangle it with their pumping. The reserves of North American natural gas unlocked by the same technology now amounts to hundreds of years of current usage.

    People stand around at dinner parties and nod their heads about all the wonderful science of AGW and how impressed they are by confident, large-brained Phd’s, or grimace, laugh or sneer at the tales of stubborn, poorly educated brutes who refuse to get with the program. But once the party’s over they sit down to book their next trip to Fiji and bask in the warm glow of the new Merc.

    At a pinch, aa few such Westerners might be willing to pony up for petrol at 2-3 times the price (and NG, and electricity), but nobody who lacks their wealth will go along with it, any more than they have to date.

    That public resistance, and the potential resistance, is why the “scientific” Democrats could not bring themselves to passing the Cap and Trade bill a few years ago when they had overwhelming control of all three sections of the US government. It’s why Helen Clark pushed for nothing more than the ETS, and also why Key chuckled and picked it up. He can claim he’s doing something, even while he’s not and people will accept the lie because it’s the same lie they tell themselves.

    That’s why DK hammers away about AGW here: for all his sneering and triumphalism he’s gagging to get National on board, so that when the prices are through the roof and the torch and pitchfork mob turns up at the door, he and the Greens can point at us and say, But they did it too.

    Nah. You’re so super confident that you’re willing to fuck over our current industrial society – you and Labou carry the political can sweetheart. 🙂


  160. farmerbraun says:

    Quite apart from that Tom , the climate carries on as if AGW does not
    even exist.

    Funny that.

    The chance of India or China agreeing to strangle their economies by discouraging energy usage is about zero, so Paris will be no more than greenwash.
    The good thing about greenwash is that while it is difficult to recycle , and slightly pongy ,it is totally bio-degradable . 🙂


  161. Mr E says:

    I am not interpreting the LAWA Canterbury claims at all. They suggest NO TRENDS. I am simply repeating it and considering it as evidence. It is you who is appling interpretation by doubting their presentation of NO TREND.

    Regarding the Mallochs data, it was not my intention to provide any environmental data (obviously). Your preferred expert Glassey did that quite well.

    What I have done is raise the question (with evidence) as to whether stocking rate rules will have any positive gains on the environment, when of course they will negatively impact farmer returns. I’ve also pointed out those who will be hurt the most will be your voters. I guess that means you’ll be against the rules? Yes?


  162. Name Withheld says:

    NW, I personally don’t follow the Pope (and disagree with him on some issues) but he is just one of the many world leaders who accepts AWG including our own PM.

    Tell me, who are the significant world leaders on your side? I think Tony Abbot may be one.

    The world leaders you allude to are all politicians, including the Pope.
    Your naive and childlike adherence to their utterances is touching but hardly surprising given the greens love of a big government needing to guide us in all things.
    Some of us, however can see through the spin and prefer to think for ourselves.
    Your every pontification on this blog indicates that it seems a bit late, however, for you to develop any vestige of independent thought.


  163. Mr E says:

    By the way Dave,
    You said:
    “There is no reason to doubt that it doesn’t apply to Canterbury too, given that dairying has grown much faster there than most regions.”

    You realise you are effectively saying, ‘they are the same because they are different.’

    It is comedy gold. You just could not pay for such entertainment.


  164. Dave Kennedy says:

    You are partially right, Tom that materialism and greed or the demand for Western lifestyles will possibly see the end of us. You are also very perceptive about those in the west who are responsible for much of the historical carbon emissions but then wanting to deny developing nations like China and India the ability to experience similar lifestyle aspirations. A just transition should be part of the process and I was involved in helping write a document along those lines regarding the phasing out of coal:

    Click to access jac_2015_final-low-res2.pdf

    The fossil fuel corporates are not going down without a fight. Most earn more than many countries and are major funders of political parties and presidential campaigns. Despite their massive incomes many still receive Government subsidies, such is their influence and power. No wonder previous attempts to get global support for strong action keep failing.

    However what you don’t seem to grasp is that we are actually seeing the end of the fossil fueled and unsustainable industrial revolution and heading towards a new era of alternative clean energy and technological sophistication. China has already recognised this and is building new green cities and so is the United Arab Emirates.

    We had an opportunity to rebuild Christchurch in a similar way, but didn’t. It’s not that i am wanting to “fuck over our current industrial society” but move the fossil fueled luddites into the next technological era. The current Government loves to describe how the streets will be full of horse shit again if the Greens got into power, but in actual fact many of our policies embrace the possibilities of new technology and the growing greentech markets.

    It is this Government that is desperately holding on to a dying era of coal and oil: Solid Energy collapsed, its oil dreams seem to be seeping away and when it does try to do some good with introducing ultra fast broad band, it stuffs it up.


  165. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, your manic laughter at my logic is a little sad. You once tried to convince me that LAWAs summary of the country’s water quality was the opposite of what it was and now you are trying to tell me that despite the growth in dairying in Canterbury is faster than most regions it has not impacted on water quality. You can’t produce a written summary of Canterbury’s water quality trends but insist that because pictorially represented data often shows “no trend” it isn’t getting worse. In actual fact it can mean that there isn’t enough data to show a trend (or perhaps missing data).

    To quote LAWA again: “…a minimum of 60 data points is required to calculate a trend and if one point is missing over the 5 year period, a trend cannot be calculated.”

    How many of your “no trends” exist because the data is lacking?

    The data could also be showing that water quality is pretty bad and it’s not improving.

    Here is a quote from ECans review of groundwater quality:

    “The abstraction of groundwater resources in Canterbury has
    increased substantially over the past 20 years, driven by land use
    change and intensification. This has contributed to a significant
    decline in groundwater levels and to reduced flows in spring-fed
    streams. Other recorded effects include an increase in contamination, particularly from nitrates, and severe reductions in in-stream ecological values in some waterways.”

    And ECan is struggling to meet its targets because of the politicising of catchment management:

    You can celebrate what is happening to Canterbury’s water based on your wee pictographs, but I will rely on the more convincing narratives thanks 😉


  166. Mr E says:

    Things are getting funnier by the comment.

    You doubt the LAWA regional data based on missing data, but your statements show you have no evidence on this at all.
    I.e “How many of your “no trends” exist because the data is lacking?”

    You’ve found a comment about water quantity in aquifers, which is nothing about quality. And the comment about stream water quality in “some waterways”, and is not an overall assessment.

    You went from inferring the NZ summary represented Canterbury, to “some” waterways in the region representing the region.

    It is funny-weird.

    What is most entertaining is when it comes to AGW, an issue that suits your agenda, you seem to blindly trust the science, but when it comes to an issues that doesn’t suit your agenda you staunchly refute the science and use what I consider to be silly explanations as to why.


  167. Dave Kennedy says:

    “You doubt the LAWA regional data based on missing data, but your statements show you have no evidence on this at all.”
    Mr E, and the fact that you don’t either is my point. That is why I am looking for a definitive narrative, not just your assessment. All my links, including the aquifer one, relate to recently written overviews of Canterbury water quality and all of them mentioned ongoing degradation.

    We also appear to have different views on what constitutes degradation, water quantity or reduced flow is a sign of overuse and is clearly degrading as it causes algae bloom and declining fish numbers.

    You also need to read all my ground water quote ((tch tch) as the last sentence read:
    “Other recorded effects include an increase in contamination, particularly from nitrates, and severe reductions in in-stream ecological values in some waterways.”

    As for your bizarre claim that I am refuting the science, I am clearly not. I support LAWA’s general conclusion based on their research:
    “More pasture sites had an increase in nitrate-nitrogen concentrations over the last 10 years compared to a decrease in concentrations”

    Both ECan and LAWA’s statements support my view that Canterbury water quality has degraded over recent years, both are based on scientific evidence and trump anything that you have shown me Mr E. It is also clear that ECan is struggling to apply the new water rules to turn things around.


  168. Mr E says:

    “Mr E, and the fact that you don’t either is my point”

    But I do Dave,

    “LAWA displays regional trends for the last five and ten years, however, some sites will only show a ten year trend, and not a five year trend. This is because a minimum of 60 data points is required to calculate a trend and if one point is missing over the 5 year period, a trend cannot be calculated.”

    Even if data points are missing LAWA represents a 10 year trend to get the 60 points it needs to draw statistical conclusions, rather than a 5 years worth of points. You know this – you must have read it, as you have quoted some of it. I noted you excluded the important bit. Did you do this to deceive?

    You now have the results (No trend) and the method. What more do you want? A narrative? Why because you don’t understand the words – “No trend”?

    I presume with your so called “definitive narrative” you have the data to back it up? Can you please post it?

    And I presume when you say “All my links, including the aquifer one, relate to recently written” you missed this:

    ‘Results for 2013/14 show 91% of monitored groundwater wells had concentrations at or below 11.3 milligrams of nitrate per litre of water, compared with 89% in 2012/13.’

    (From ECAN13/14 Annual report written after your so called “definitive narrative”)

    Also noted is your constant reference that the National water quality trend represents the Canterbury water quality trend. That is daft, I’d bet in anyones language but yours. It is like saying:

    Local Government thinks the same thing about RMA as Central Government – so no submissions are necessary.

    The Stags need not post game scores – they are winning at the same rate as the Allblacks.

    How many votes Dave Kennedy gets is not important – because what he gets is the same was what the Green Party gets.

    You can see how silly your assertion appears. The only trumping I think it does is “Donald Trumping” a new phrase used to describe someone making a fool of themselves.

    I don’t mind your apparent continued efforts to do so. I suppose you don’t need reminded that votes are important and this blog is public.


  169. Mr E says:

    If you don’t wish to trust the LAWA data Dave, this is the ECAN “narrative” from their last SOE report 2010. I’ll stick to nutrients as that seems to tickle your fancy.


    “There were four significant increasing trends in ammonia-nitrogen, two of which were meaningful, and five significant decreasing trends, four of which were meaningful. ”


    “There were seven significant increasing trends in nitrate-nitrite nitrogen (NNN), six of which were meaningful, and seven meaningful decreasing trends.”

    Total Nitrogen

    “Trends in total nitrogen (TN) were similar to those found for nitrate-nitrite nitrogen, with six significant increasing trends (four of which were meaningful) and seven decreasing trends (six of which were meaningful).”

    Dissolve Reactive Phosphate

    “There were three meaningful increasing trends for dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) and five significant decreasing trends, of which four were meaningful.”

    Total Phosphorus

    “There were very few significant trends in total phosphorus (TP) with just three meaningful decreasing trends detected.”

    There is a heap more narrative if you want it.


  170. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I presume with your so called “definitive narrative” you have the data to back it up? Can you please post it?”

    Good grief, Mr E, you are unbelievable 😛

    Presumably the narrative LAWA used to describe the general increase of nitrogen comes from the very data you are referring to. I am sure that ECan based theirs on scientific data too. I am comfortable with both their summaries relating to river quality nationally and what is happening in Canterbury.

    Just to completely stuff up your focus on the records of individual sites – what say all the sites showing increasing trends of ammonia-nitrogen and nitrates were from large volume water systems and all the decreasing trends were smaller ones. See how ludicrous your argument is 😉

    Just like your bizarre focus on stocking rates that had no environmental basis you are arguing yourself into a tiny little corner of irrelevancy over water quality. Also, as I have stated before, if the quality is generally bad (which is the case in most intensively farmed areas) even no trend isn’t good enough as it also means there is no improvement.

    Good luck with your next manic response (accompanied by desperate giggles at my supposed madness) and references to Donald Trump, you can’t even debate without including emotive nonsense.


  171. Mr E says:

    You say

    “I am comfortable with both their summaries relating to river quality nationally and what is happening in Canterbury. ”

    You are comfortable that the LAWA regional summary says “No trend”

    You are also comfortable that the ECAN SOE report 2010 says no trend.

    Good good. Glad we finally got there in the end. Now that you have refuted your statement about declining water quality, you want to see improvements in water quality.

    “even no trend isn’t good enough

    That is good, I reckon. When people are faced with an honest approach to the issues, they are more likely to make change. I’m pleased you are now facing reality because it makes it easier to discuss improvements.

    What is obvious is stocking rate rules are not improvements. You claimed SR impacts the environment and is a useful tool for regulation . I asked for evidence. The author you referred to, completely debunked your theory.

    Here it is again
    “N leaching from the milking platform is driven by the amount of feed N/ha consumed not cows/ha.”

    “It is possible to reduce cows/ha and achieve higher DM intakes per cow which increases N excretion per cow. The result could be little change in DM consumed per ha and hence N intake, N excretion and N leaching/ha.”
    Chris Glassey


  172. tom hunter says:

    However what you don’t seem to grasp is that we are actually seeing the end of the fossil fueled and unsustainable industrial revolution and heading towards a new era of alternative clean energy and technological sophistication.

    I always love it when Green Party people lecture me about science and technology, and with classic lines such as “you don’t seem to grasp”. So I’ll return the favour.

    What you don’t seem to graspTM is just how pie-in-the-sky a lot of this new technology is in practice. For example, over in the US, Mr Musk is building a battery factory, one of the biggest in the world, to build the most advanced battery packs (the type that power Tesla cars). It’s going to cost $5 billon and will produce more than all the other existing lithium battery factories in the world combined:

    …. that represents a quantity of batteries each year that can store 30 billion watt-hours of electricity. A big number. But the United States consumes about 4,000,000 billion watt-hours a year. Thus the entire annual output of the gigafactory can store about five minutes worth of U.S. electric demand.

    Five minutes of storage DK, for $5US billion. I’ll let you run the numbers. But it actually gets worse:

    The cost of a battery in a smartphone measured in grid terms is $1000 per kilowatt-hour of capacity. This illustrates the problem. The target price that grid-scale storage needs to reach, according to the Department of Energy, is under $100 per kilowatt-hour – and for a system far more complex than the power unit in your phone. And even that is still too expensive for commodity storage by at least 10-fold.

    A 100-fold improvement needed, and soon. We’ve seen a steady increase in battery efficiency over the last one hundred years – but that increase has not been marked by any great technological leap because of the physics involved. I’ve seen fantastic demonstrations of fast and significant power storage from graphene capacitors. But while graphene really is looking like a wonder material across a range of uses it’s barely in the laboratory stage, and any engineer will tell you that scaling up presents unique and sometimes unsolvable challenges. Based on these lab tests one could imagine a giant “graphene battery farm” connected to solar and wind power plants, steadily feeding out power to homes and factories at night or at times of no wind. But that’s a science-fiction story on a par with nuclear fusion: mid-21st century at least before we see even pilot plants of this type, if then.

    Here’s another thought experiment:

    Cushing, OK, is home to one of the nation’s preeminent, and numerous, tank farms to store oil. In order to build a ‘tank’ farm to store kilowatt-hours equivalent to the energy stored at Cushing, we’d need a quantity of batteries equal to 40 years of production from 100 gigafactories.

    Are you getting these hard figures yet, DK? Electricity is hard to store and the irony is that with the rise of IT in our lives, especially the Internet, it is more vital than ever to have power that is “always on”. For all that Google tries to ride the “Don’t be Evil” theme, most of their server farms are located where there is cheap, reliable power, often from coal and gas. They’re not willing to rely on solar and wind!

    The fossil fuel corporates are not going down without a fight. Most earn more than many countries and are major funders of political parties and presidential campaigns.

    Oh god! Another brain-dead, emotive, political slogan: To the barriers comrades!.

    What you don’t seem to graspTM is that most of the world’s oil and gas reserves are controlled by nations, not corporates. The days of The Seven Sisters lie decades in the past. The proportion of such reserves that are actually owned and controlled by fossil fuel corporates is a vanishingly small percentage, less than 5% now I think.

    Ironically your example of Masdar City is funded by one of those very nations, the UAE – which rather goes against your narrative of them wanting to fight against renewable energy. And of course when I read your link I found that we’re talking about a tiny test project of a 100% renewable energy town – not city – that has only just started. It will be very interesting to see what they can do – but it’s a quantum leap to extrapolate from that to a larger society, even of a small oil emirate like the UAE, let alone the West, China and India, and to do so on any timescale that would have a meaningful impact on CO2 production.

    In short – a fantasy land – and I say that as someone who’s very keen on all these technologies.


  173. Name Withheld says:

    Nice summary Tom.
    One could also trademark “You need to read”, which seems to
    crop as much as you don’t seem to graspTM.


  174. Mr E says:

    Hey you two!,
    You missed – “You have a very simplistic viewTM” and, “your bizarre claimTM”


  175. Name Withheld says:

    Obviously missed “ObviouslyTM”


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