Word of the day

01/01/2022

Respair – fresh hope; a recovery from despair; the return of hope after a period of despair.


Happy New Year

01/01/2022

We will open the book. It’s pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. – Edith Lovejoy Peirce


He’s devastated

30/12/2021

The DJ who has taken Omicron into the community says he’s devastated.

In a statement on his Instagram page late on Wednesday night, DJ Dimension – whose real name is Robert Etheridge – said he tested positive after 10 days of isolation.

“In line with the Government rules, I was in managed isolation for seven days followed by three days of home isolation,” Etheridge said.

“During this time, I received three negative tests and showed no symptoms. After completing my ten-day isolation, and of the understanding that I had completed my quarantine, I entered the community.  . . 

That was a misunderstanding.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson earlier told the Herald the infected person did not wait for a negative test result before they left the place they were self-isolating.

It was only a matter of time before Omicron crossed the border.

Now it has and the man who let it out says he’s devastated.

If he’s devastated how will so many other people be feeling?

This variant is highly infectious. It will be a miracle if he hasn’t infected people who will infect more people.

And among the others who will be devastated will be the tens of thousands of grounded Kiwis, stuck overseas at the mercy of the MIQueue lottery who will be asking how this man got into the country when they are locked out.


Word of the day

20/12/2021

Mochy – misty and muggy; unpleasantly warm and humid; moist, damp; mouldy.


New Platform is coming

18/12/2021

Sean Plunket has announced the upcoming launch of The Platform:

We are building a revolutionary, multi-media platform which will be free of political bias, dedicated to robust debate and not constrained by cancel culture.

We’ll hold the government, the opposition, the mainstream media, the twitterati, the woke and the wackos to account.

We’re not in the pocket of any corporate and we are not taxpayer funded – we are truly independent. We are the resistance, and we’ll be here real soon”.

Sean will host the breakfast show providing more competition for Mike Hosking on NewstalkZB and Tova O’Brien on Magic Talk’s new show.


Michael Nesmith – 30.12.42 – 10.12.21

11/12/2021

Michael Nesmith has died:

Monkees singer and guitarist Michael Nesmith, whose band topped the charts in the 1960s while the quartet starred in a lighthearted TV show, has died, his manager said Friday.

He died at his home in Carmel Valley, Calif. Nesmith was 78. . . 

The Monkees grew in popularity after the group starred in “The Monkees” TV show about a rock ‘n’ roll band. The comedy debuted on NBC in 1966. Nesmith was easily recognizable on the small screen because of a trademark wool cap. . . 

The band’s hits included “Daydream Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Valleri.”

Nesmith was known as a talented songwriter. His credits with the Monkees included “Mary, Mary,” “Papa Gene’s Blues,” “You Told Me” and “You Just May Be the One,” Variety reported. . .


She Looks Like Me

07/12/2021

Stifling free speech

07/12/2021

The Free Speech Union, of which Karl du Fresne is a member, asked him to write about the modern-day heresy trial initiated by the Royal Society of New Zealand following complaints about a letter written to the Listener in which seven respected academics very civilly challenged the idea that matauranga Maori – traditional Maori knowledge – should be given the same status as science.

He invited anyone interested in free speech to republish the article, and I am doing so.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in a liberal democracy – as important, even, as the right to vote, since people’s ability to cast an informed vote depends on them first being able to participate in free and open debate about political issues and ideas.

This is one of the crucial factors that distinguishes a true liberal democracy such as New Zealand from authoritarian “pretend” democracies such as Russia, where people are allowed to vote but are denied access to information and opinion that doesn’t conform to the agenda of those in control.

Accordingly, the Bill of Rights Act, passed by a Labour government in 1990, states that every New Zealander has the right to freedom of expression, “including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”. The wording is similar to that of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, except that the UN declaration goes a step further by asserting the right to “hold opinions without interference”.

Even before the Bill of Rights Act made it explicit, free speech was a right that New Zealanders took for granted. They exercised it (and still do) every day in letters to the editor and on radio talkback shows.

Yet a perception has grown in recent years that New Zealanders’ right to speak freely and to hear or read all shades of political opinion, short of those that incite violence and hatred, is under sustained attack. Concern at the fragility of free speech rights led to the formation this year of the Free Speech Union, which has drawn support from across the political and ideological spectrum.

One celebrated case involved the Canadian “alt-right” (so-called) speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who were barred from speaking at a council-owned Auckland venue in 2018. The excuse used for denying them a platform was that the event might be disrupted by protesters.

Activists quickly realised they could force the cancellation of speeches by people they didn’t like simply by threatening protest action – a tactic sometimes referred as the heckler’s or thug’s veto.

A similar pretext, fear of disruption, was used by Massey University to cancel a speech by former National Party leader and Reserve Bank governor Don Brash, although it’s hard to imagine anyone less likely to incite trouble than the unfailingly civil Brash. Emails released under the Official Information Act subsequently revealed that the real reason Massey’s vice-chancellor banned Brash was that she didn’t want the university to be seen as “endorsing racist behaviours”. In other words, she didn’t agree with Brash’s opinion on the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Southern-Molyneux controversy is still being played out in the courts, the crowd-funded Free Speech Union having gone all the way to the Supreme Court in a test case aimed at preventing public authorities from using the supposed threat of disruption as an excuse to “de-platform” speakers.

In the meantime, other developments have reinforced the perception that freedom of expression in New Zealand is imperilled. The feminist group Speak Up For Women (SUFW), which advances the unremarkable view that only people born female can call themselves women, has been barred from holding meetings in public premises and had a prominent advertising billboard taken down in central Wellington. Some newspapers refused to accept their ads.

SUFW’s struggle to get its message across in the face of determined opposition from trans-gender activists illustrates that the defence of free speech cuts across the usual ideological and political lines.

People who identify with the radical left have found themselves on the same side as conservatives and libertarians in pushing for the right to say what they think. The Free Speech Union’s supporters, for example, include veteran leftists Matt McCarten and Chris Trotter.

In the latest outbreak of the speech wars, the action has shifted to a new and worrying arena. Seven respected university academics found themselves blacklisted in July after they wrote a letter to The Listener challenging the notion that matauranga Maori – which can be defined as the traditional body of Maori knowledge – should be accorded the same status as science, as proposed by an NCEA working group preparing a new school curriculum.  

In an unprecedented pile-on, more than 2000 fellow academics, urged on by professors Shaun Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles, signed a letter denouncing the Listener Seven and implying they condoned “scientific racism”.

The response went well beyond legitimate disagreement. The sheer weight and vehemence of the denunciation sent an unmistakeable message to the academic community: express dissent at your peril.

More alarmingly still, two of the Listener Seven are now being investigated by the Royal Society – an organisation dedicated, ironically, to the advancement of science – and may be expelled.  

What started as an academic debate has thus taken on the character of a heresy trial. Even more ironically, one of the professors under investigation, Garth Cooper, is a Maori who has earned international acclaim for his achievements in Maori health.  

Once again, the Free Speech Union has stepped up by creating an academic freedom fund to help defend the two accused. If the complaint against them is upheld, union spokesman Dr David Cumin says, academics will inevitably feel less safe expressing honestly held views on contentious issues.

The union accuses universities and research institutions of trying to muzzle the very people whose job is to ask questions. “Academic freedom is under attack.”

The bottom line here is that science and academia need people who challenge accepted wisdom, otherwise we would be stuck forever in the status quo. But in New Zealand in 2021, the price for deviating from approved orthodoxy is punishment and ostracism.

Toby Young wrote about the witch hunt in The Spectator and concludes:

Remember, the only thing necessary for the triumph of intellectual intolerance is for believers in free speech to do nothing.

And John McWhorter, writing on more indigenous anger from New Zealand about real science concludes:

. . . I shouldn’t have to point out that scientists who defend their discipline and the knowledge it produces should under no circumstances be put in danger of their jobs, careers, or reputations simply for defending the toolkit of science as the best way to understand nature.

New Zealand is a wonderful place, and I love it, but many of its residents have got to stop pretending that there are multiple ways of knowing that can be taken as science! There is no special “Maori science”; there’s just “science.”

The irony of the indiganti’s cries of racism over science is that their indignation is racist.


‘I know that there is a massive difference between announcements and achievement.’

30/11/2021

Christopher Luxon’s first speech as National Party leader:

Tēnā koutou katoa and good afternoon everyone.

It’s an incredible privilege and honour to have been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party today and I thank my colleagues for putting their trust and confidence in me.

And it is fantastic to have Nicola Willis elected as our Deputy Leader. I can tell you she will do an incredible job and we will be a formidable team.

I’d also like to thank Judith Collins for her service to the National Party during a very difficult period, and Dr Shane Reti for the dignified way he has supported our team through recent days.

Much has been made of my relative newness to Parliament but to be honest, I see it as an advantage.

I bring a fresh set of eyes, and what I see is that this place and this country needs a shake-up.

Nicola and I are fresh new faces for a revitalised National Party.

We are the reset.

Today we are drawing a line under the events of the last four years, and we are putting them behind us.

If you are one of the 413,000 voters who moved away from us, my message to you is: from today, National is back.

I have built a career out of reversing the fortunes of under-performing companies and I’ll bring that real-world experience to this role.

Under my leadership, National will use our breadth of talent and real-world experience every day to deliver for each and every New Zealander.

We will be a new National Party for New Zealand.

There will be other opportunities for me to talk more about who I am, and National’s policies and plans.

But today I want to be very clear with you about one thing: New Zealand is at a critical cross-roads as we grapple with, and emerge from, a global pandemic.

We have a choice: a choice between our current road to mediocrity, or a pathway to a more confident, aspirational and prosperous future.

New Zealand needs an alternative now more than ever to take us in the right direction – because frankly, the country is heading the wrong way.

Inflation is soaring. We are paying more than ever before at the checkout and the petrol pump, and everyday Kiwis are struggling to get ahead.

There’ll be a million Kiwis missing at Christmas dinner this year because they can’t get home to see their loved ones.

After over 100 days in lockdown, Aucklanders are still utterly confused and directionless.

Our provincial heartland feels taken for granted. Our farmers are not villains!

I know that there is a massive difference between announcements and achievement.

Talking about something gets you a headline. Actually getting things done is what improves the lives of everyday New Zealanders.

For four years, New Zealand has had a government great at delivering good PR but woeful at delivering much else.

Nice ideas and good intentions don’t pay the rent or the mortgage, educate our children, keep us healthy, keep us safe from crime and gangs, improve our mental health, lower our emissions or keep us united.

I’ve seen the incredible things that people can accomplish when they are freed up and given the tools and the choices to seize opportunities.

I believe in a New Zealand that rewards hard work; a New Zealand that empowers Kiwis to take a punt and create prosperity for themselves and their families.

Most of all I believe in a New Zealand that while small in size is large in ambition. Let’s rediscover that!

Growing our economy and raising productivity are the single biggest things we can do to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.

I pledge now to those New Zealanders that I will give everything I have to this role.

I’m proud to lead a government-in-waiting that will work every day to represent all New Zealanders – a “national National Party” that earns back their trust and confidence, and actually delivers for them.

And the National Government I will lead will be a government of action.

We will bring the tide back in and lift all boats.

We need to seize the tremendous opportunities we have, rather than squander them.

As I often say, we’re all going to get the country we deserve – and I firmly believe that together we – each and every one of us – can achieve the very best.

Finally, can I say no-one can do this role without the support of their family and to my wife Amanda, and our kids William and Olivia, who are in lockdown in Auckland probably watching on TV, thank you for being so supportive, understanding and encouraging – I love you.

I want to again thank my Caucus colleagues for my selection as Leader and I thank Nicola for joining me in the leadership team.


Stephen Sondheim – 22.3.30 – 26.11.21

27/11/2021

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has died:

Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway history’s songwriting titans, whose music and lyrics raised and reset the artistic standard for the American stage musical, died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Conn. He was 91.

His lawyer and friend, F. Richard Pappas, announced the death. He said he did not know the cause but added that Mr. Sondheim had not been known to be ill and that the death was sudden. The day before, Mr. Sondheim had celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner with friends in Roxbury, Mr. Pappas said.

An intellectually rigorous artist who perpetually sought new creative paths, Mr. Sondheim was the theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century, if not its most popular.

His work melded words and music in a way that enhanced them both. From his earliest successes in the late 1950s, when he wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” through the 1990s, when he wrote the music and lyrics for two audacious musicals, “Assassins,” giving voice to the men and women who killed or tried to kill American presidents, and “Passion,” an operatic probe into the nature of true love, he was a relentlessly innovative theatrical force. . . 

 


The right of reply Stuff won’t publish

20/11/2021

An email from Taxpayers’ Union explains:

Last Sunday, Stuff and the Sunday Star-Times ran a piece from the Senior Journalist, Andrea Vance, accusing the Taxpayers’ Union and other groups opposing Three Waters of encouraging a “nasty undercurrent of racism”.

The column was clearly a smear, designed to shut down legitimate concerns over the proposed governance of Three Waters.

You have seen our advertising, and the Three Waters campaign. While we have pointed out the fact that the Government is proposing co-governed water entities, it has not even been our main point of criticism. Similarly, our questioning of Minister Mahuta on our recent podcast was respectful.

We cannot allow debate to be silenced by shrill calls of ‘racism’ just for mentioning, or asking questions about the implications of, co-goverance. We cannot let the media shut-down reasonable questions and debate by shouting racism. That sort of dishonest framing only leads to polarisation and distrust of the media. We need to make a stand.

We figured we deserve a right of reply, so I drafted an opinion piece in response. But Stuff refused to publish it, suggesting we write a short (no more than 150 word) letter to the editor instead.

No thanks. Vance’s piece (nearly 800 words spread across two pages of last weekend’s paper) contains serious accusations and sweeping statements about complex legislation. It deserves a proper response.

So we tried something different: we booked space to run my response, in full, as a paid half-page ad in the Sunday-Star Times. But when we submitted the design, we were told “we will not be publishing this” without further explanation.

It appears Stuff are quite happy to take money from the Government to promote co-goverance, but won’t take money from advertisers who want to respectfully respond to being accused of racism for opposing Three Waters.

This is what Stuff won’t publish:

Irresponsible to label Three Waters critics racist

In her drive to ram through the Three Waters reform package, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has been aided by commentators eager to write off opposition to reform as scare-mongering or even racist. There is perhaps no better example than Andrea Vance’s recent column.

Vance dismisses councils who have protested the theft of assets. She argues it’s not theft because – as the Government says – water assets will still ‘belong’ to local communities, just with some loss of control.

What does Vance think ownership means? Here’s how Gary Judd QC puts it: “Legal scholars argue about what is meant by ownership, but it is certain that if one has no rights in relation to a thing — e.g., no right to use it, to enjoy it, to gain a return from it, to dispose of it, to destroy it, to control it or to control its use — one does not own the thing.”

It’s like a car thief writing to say how much they’re enjoying ‘your’ set of wheels. Nice of them to say it’s yours, but that doesn’t fill the hole in your garage.

Vance’s relaxed attitude toward theft is not, however, what prompted me to write this column.

Vance makes a serious accusation: certain groups are exploiting fear by playing the race card. She even names the groups – Hobson’s Pledge, the Opposition parties (presumably National and ACT), and your humble Taxpayers’ Union are singled out as encouraging a ‘nasty undercurrent of racism’.

This demands a response.

It is true that these groups have highlighted or protested the co-governance model which will see iwi join with councils on a 50-50 basis to appoint the representative groups that form the ‘community voice’ under the new regime.

It is also unfortunately true that any debate over co-governance will spur a bitter minority of New Zealanders to voice anti-Māori rhetoric. (Credit to the interns who have to moderate such comments on the Taxpayers’ Union Facebook page.)

But it is not true that merely raising the issue of co-governance equates to race-baiting. Co-governance is an important aspect of the Three Waters proposal, and its implications require scrutiny.

Iwi will bring distinct values and interests to the water board table. What are the financial implications – which will be borne by all ratepayers – of iwi using their 50 percent input to advance these interests? What protections will there be from what economists call ‘rent seeking’?

To what extent will iwi have control over water pricing and investment under a model that confers iwi half the votes, while the other half are given to councils that are themselves introducing co-governance through Māori wards?

And doesn’t the requirement for a 75 percent vote on any major decisions result in an effective iwi veto right? It certainly looks that way to us, but Mahuta was at pains to deny it during an interview on the Taxpayers’ Union podcast.

There are major problems here that require attention in the media and Parliament. And none of the problems here have to do with the fact that iwi representatives are Māori. The problems lie in an elevated level of control exercised by a chosen set of interest groups above any other unelected entities.

In fact, conflating issues of iwi governance with issues of race only makes it easier for those best-connected iwi that are given seats at the table to claim that they represent all Māori, while less-connected Māori communities are shut out.

Co-governance is far from the only problem with the Three Waters reforms. Iwi representation is just one aspect of four levels of bureaucracy that will separate all ratepayers – including Māori – from the valuable water assets we’ve all paid for. But co-governance does seem to be the issue that sticks in the noses of liberal commentators weighing up which side of a policy debate is the side of virtue.

Whenever the Taxpayers’ Union mentions the words ‘co-governance’, we expect an instinctive lashing out from advocacy groups on the political left. But political journalists have greater power – the ability to set the boundaries of mainstream debate – and therefore greater responsibility to avoid accusations like that of racism, which serve to shut down substantive concerns over major reform from reasonable people who fear being branded bigots.

Stuff has insisted that its decision to accept funding from the Government’s Public Interest Journalism Fund does not make it beholden to the Government. That’s great to hear. But anyone who cares to check can read the Government’s five stated goals for the fund. The third goal: ‘Actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.

Vance’s column will have done little to mend perceptions that, at least when it comes to Three Waters, the media is influenced by Government funds.

Stuff’s refusal to print this right of reply as an op-ed of advertisement is an example of the lack of balance that gives credence to the growing belief in media bias.

It is a private business which has the right to publish, or not, as it sees fit.

But in playing the racism card, showing disdain for diversity of opinion and not allowing an organisation maligned by one of its columnists to argue back, it is doing its readers a disservice, damaging its own reputation and leading credence to the belief it has been bought by the government.

It is censorship like this that means, as Karl du Fresne says, no-one should be surprised by the backlash against the media.

 


Sowell says

18/11/2021


John Luxton 14.9.46 – 16.11.21

16/11/2021

Farmer, farming leader and former Minister, John Luxton has died:

Born into a Waikato dairy farming family, Luxton, CNZM QSO, was a Member of Parliament from 1987 until his retirement from politics in 2002. As a Cabinet minister he held many portfolios including housing, energy, commerce, industry, police, lands, forestry, food and fibre, Māori Affairs, agriculture and fisheries.

At the time of his death after an illness, he had recently retired as chair of the Asia NZ Foundation, was chair of the large-scale dairying Pouarua Farm Partnership, and Crown appointee co-chair of the Waikato River Authority, a role he had served in since 2011.

Luxton was chairman of dairy industry advocate organisation DairyNZ from 2008 to 2015, and had a long governance association and farming interests with blue-chip Waikato dairy company Tatua.

A former World Bank consultant, he was a co-founder of the Open Country Cheese company, formed after dairy industry export deregulation in 2001, and which has grown to become Open Country Dairy, New Zealand’s second-largest dairy processor and exporter after Fonterra.

Luxton chaired the Tatua board for several periods between 1978 and 1990, and was a director from 2001 to 2016 when he retired. . . 

National leader Judith Collins said:

On behalf of the National Party, it is with deep sympathy that I acknowledge the passing of former National MP John Luxton.

John succeeded his father, Jack, as the Member of Parliament for Matamata in 1987. It was a seat he held until 1996, before holding the reconstituted seat of Karapiro until his retirement from politics in 2002.

John was appointed to Cabinet when National won the 1990 election and served in the Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley governments.

He understood what mattered to New Zealanders, holding ministerial responsibilities for Energy, Housing, Maori Affairs, Police, Commerce, Industry, Fisheries, Lands, Customs and Agriculture. He was also an Associate Minister of Education and of Overseas Trade.

John was strongly committed to his constituents and displayed outstanding loyalty to his electorate and the National Party.

Affable and courteous to a tee, John will also be fondly remembered for his keen sense of humour and kindness.

My sincere condolences, and those of the New Zealand National Party, go to John’s family and friends.

He will be missed.

John was an intelligent man and an innovative thinker who made significant contributions to farming, the dairy industry and New Zealand.

He was also modest.

We once shared a table during a lunch break at a conference. When I was chatting to him about farming I asked him how many cows he had. He hesitated and seemed reluctant to answer. Only afterwards did I realise that was because he didn’t want to show off.

His death will leave a big hole in his family and wide circle of friends, to all of whom I offer my sympathy.


MIQueue not fit for purpose

30/10/2021

How will the tens of thousands people losing the MIQueue lottery feel about this?

A loophole in the troubled MIQ has been identified after an email was sent out by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise three days ago.

The door’s being opened for up to a dozen people to come back to New Zealand and stay in managed isolation if they book for lunch or dinner at the New Zealand Pavilion at the Dubai Expo.

They don’t have to begin their journey in New Zealand, they can travel from other countries to Dubai, they don’t even need to be engaged in the Expo nor do they need to have any commercial activity in Dubai.

They have to be an export customer which most of us are likely to be.

They have to return to New Zealand on an Emirates flight leaving on November the 21st. . . 

How will the people desperately trying to win a spot in the MIQueue lottery feel about this?

Just one guest stayed at the Grand Mercure managed isolation hotel in Wellington last week, where dozens of staff were working.

The person was involved in an emergency medical evacuation.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Managed Isolation and Quarantine confirmed the 102-room hotel had just one guest between October 21 and October 28.

It meant 88 isolation rooms went empty over that period, as well as 13 quarantine rooms.

Up to 50 staff were still working at the facility during that time, looking after the single guest.

“Other guests have not been staying at this facility to maintain the cohorting system between incoming and arriving guests,” the statement said. . .

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are stuck overseas wanting to come home.

Some have lost their jobs and with them visas making them effectively stateless.

Some are desperate to get back for births and deaths.

Some are elderly at risk of losing their pensions if they don’t get back in time.

Then there are New Zealanders who need to go overseas for business or personal visits but can’t leave while they can’t get a space in MIQ that will allow them to come back.

There are families who have been apart for months with some here and others stuck abroad. This includes a two year-old who has been separated from his parents for 17 weeks.

And there are essential workers whose skills and experience we desperately need who keep losing in the MIQueue lottery.

How will they be feeling about the hotel with only one occupant and the loophole that enabled a lucky dozen to come home via the Dubai expo?

They will be justifiably angry.

MIQ might have worked at the start but it’s no longer fit for purpose and the delay in allowing double vaccinated travellers who test negative at both ends of their journeys will give them little if any comfort.


Plank of the Week

29/10/2021

Mike Graham, Laura Dodsworth and Russell Quirk at Talk Radio UK awarded Jacinda Ardern Plank of the Week:

You can watch the whole programme here.


Thatcher thinks

25/10/2021


Thatcher thinks

19/10/2021


Nutrient density matters

16/10/2021

Nutrient density matters because not all carbon emissions are equal:

A lot of people make food choices based on what they think is good for the environment, and therefore also makes them feel good, but often their choices are hurting the environment unnecessarily.

This was the underlying message of Rabobank’s Netherlands-based managing board member, Berry Marttin’s talk at last month’s Farm2Fork summit, held at Cockatoo Island. . .

Today we talked a lot about world population – we have to produce more. But Paris is saying ‘no, no, we can only emit four megatonnes'”.

The Paris Accord also stipulated that emissions reductions must not come at the expense of food production.

He said the gap that our food producers will have to overcome is to lift from the current 13 trillion calories to “20-something trillion calories”, in 30 years time, which is an increase in the realm of 50-60 per cent.

At the same time, food production will have to go from 12Mt down to 4Mt of carbon output.

“Every calorie produced has to be four to five times more efficient,” Mr Marttin said.

“So we have to understand, what are we going to do? What are we measuring?”

He said a lot of current reports are measuring how much emissions per gram, or kilogram.

“But the issue is that we don’t live by kilos. We survive as humans by calories.”

He said if you look at it from a calorie point of view, it painted a clearer picture of the amount of carbon output along the whole supply chain versus what calorific value you obtained from that food – and also better reflected the amount of processing. . .

Milk production also represents 3-4pc of global carbon emmissions.

“And that brings us to the fact that people think that cows are polluters – it’s a big issue. That’s what people think about it.”

He said the Australia-New Zealand region did have the lowest output of carbon in the world per litre of milk produced.

“If you look at 100 grams of milk, it produces 100g of CO2. But if you look at the most important thing, which is actually the nutrition density of milk, it’s 50 (nutrients that we need daily).

“It’s a very high nutrition density.”

“Let’s look at the emission of soya drink – it has very low emissions (per unit of volume). But then let’s look at the nutrition density of soya drink, the problem is it has only one or two nutrients that we need every day.

“So are we measuring the right thing? Nope. Are we telling the right story? What’s better? Milk, or soya drink?

“Is the industry telling what is better for the environment?”

He said if you correlate the emissions with the nutrient density, you get a clearer picture of nutritional value against emissions output. . .

 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

29/09/2021

Farmers grapple with ‘significant emotional stress’ and community pressure over forestry conversion sales – Bonnie Flaws:

A Wairarapa farmer Steve Thomson says selling his sheep and beef station to forestry three years ago was a difficult decision but he had struggled for two years to sell to other farmers.

Tensions around the issue of farms converting to forestry has been increasing because of the impact it could have on rural communities. But most see the problem as stemming from Government policy rather than greed, farmers say.

Real Estate Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said there was no transparency about how much farm land was going to forestry because only the current land use is recorded at the time of the sale. . . 

Passion to serve rural New Zealand – Neal Wallace:

Wilson Mitchell is a young man on a mission. The University of Otago medical student is passionate about rural communities and the health and wellbeing of those who live there. He spoke to Neal Wallace.

Wilson Mitchell attributes the hours spent crutching and drenching sheep over weekends and school holidays for helping fuel his desire to work in rural health.

The satisfaction of an honest day’s physical toil is one reason for his infatuation but more so mixing with rural people and observing the dynamics of their communities.

He may just be 23 years old and five years through his studies, but Wilson’s commitment to rural health has already extended beyond good intentions. . . 

Daylight savings on the dairy farm: ‘The cows wonder why you’re an hour early’ – Bonnie Flaws:

Southland dairy farmer Bart Luton says his cows always notice something isn’t quite right when daylight savings hits.

“My cows will be wondering what I am doing in the paddock because I am an hour early or so. It takes them a couple of days to get used to it. They look around and think ‘you are too early’, and while you’re milking the cow flow will be a bit slower. They definitely need adjusting to it.”

Daylight saving time starts on Sunday when clocks will be turned forward one hour. Sunrise and sunset will be about an hour later than the day before and it will be lighter in the evening.

Canterbury farmer Alan Davie-Martin said cows were behavioural animals and knew when to gather at the gate. It usually took a few days for them to get used to the new timetable. . . 

Confident, not cocky: Uni student vows to run marathon in gumboots – Maia Hart:

A Marlborough teen who plans to run a marathon in her gumboots says the nerves are there, but she plans to “run it off”.

Emma Blom, who has moved to Christchurch to study at Lincoln University, is planning to run the Queenstown Marathon in November in her gumboots and overalls, to raise money for Outward Bound scholarships.

The scholarships would be aimed at people who work in the rural sector.

“I’m hoping to raise $10,000, so that four people can go on an 8-day discovery course,” Blom said.  . .

Deer industry to address emissions pricing – Annette Scott:

Deer farmers be warned, greenhouse gas (GHG) pricing is coming so get prepared, is the message from industry.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) is urging deer farmers to get up to speed with GHG pricing that will impact on the way they farm.

While Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb NZ and DairyNZ are holding consultation meetings over the next two months, the deer industry as a sector will not be officially involved.

Deer Industry NZ chief executive Innes Moffat says despite standing alone it’s important industry’s voice is heard and is not drowned out by views of other industries. . . 

LeaderBrand’s ambitious construction plans forge ahead despite ongoing lockdown interruptions :

LeaderBrand’s construction plans on their ambitious eleven hectare undercover farming project is forging ahead despite the ongoing interruption from lockdowns over the past couple of years.

In October 2019, Kānoa, Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, confirmed LeaderBrand was successful in securing a $15 million loan to help fund the construction of their undercover growing facility.

The project will accelerate crop growth all year round in a more sustainable manner, help to mitigate weather impacts, and create more consistent product which will secure more jobs across the year. The technology incorporated in the greenhouses is innovative and will revolutionise the way LeaderBrand will farm in the future. This includes significantly reducing fertiliser and water usage as well as protecting soil structure. . .

 


Opening safely

29/09/2021

The National Party has launched a plan to open the country safely, and let us get back to normal life:

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins today launched National’s comprehensive plan to tackle Covid-19, end lockdowns and reopen New Zealand to the world.

Titled ‘Opening Up’, National’s plan outlines a pathway to avoid nationwide lockdowns and then allow most fully vaccinated travellers to and from New Zealand to travel much more easily, either without any isolation at all, or with seven days at home.

“The Government has taken its eye off the Covid-19 ball in 2021,” Ms Collins says.

“New Zealand started the year in a good position but the slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world for most of this year and a lack of planning meant we were forced into a long lockdown in August and September, one that is still ongoing in Auckland.

“Instead of investing in contact tracing, ICU capacity and purpose-built MIQ, the Government frittered the Covid Response Fund away on art therapy, cameras on fishing boats, and Three Waters reform.

“The plan outlines ten steps we need to take, such as supercharging the vaccine rollout, buying vaccine boosters and next generation treatments, using saliva testing and rapid antigen tests and building purpose built quarantine.

“It is imperative we reach a milestone of 70-75 per cent of the 12 and above population to stop socially and economically damaging nationwide lockdowns.

“The Government has no real plan beyond a belated admission that vaccination is important. The Prime Minister says there is no vaccine target while Ministers throw around numbers willy-nilly.

“The Prime Minister also says her ‘reconnection’ ideas are still government policy while her COVID-19 Minister says they are being reconsidered.

“A 150 person trial for businesspeople to self-isolate at home before Christmas isn’t a plan, it’s an insult.

“Kiwis have done the hard yards. They have willingly followed harsh lockdown measures and other Covid-19 restrictions and, increasingly, they have been vaccinated for the common good. It’s time for them to be offered a vision and a plan about how their hard work will pay off.

“New Zealanders now have a clear plan from National. Delta is here, it may not be possible to eliminate it, and it would almost inevitably arrive into the community again. Whatever happens, we need to reopen to the world and National’s plan outlines how we can do that.

“Once we reach a milestone of 85 per cent of the 12 and above population, National believes we should start to allow fully vaccinated from low risk and medium risk travellers to come to New Zealand without going through MIQ. Non-citizens and non-permanent residents who are not vaccinated would be prohibited from travel to New Zealand.

“National’s plan would reunite Kiwi families split apart overseas, allow New Zealanders to travel overseas for business and pleasure, boost tourism and international education, and end the outrageous human lottery that is the MIQ debacle.

“Under National, Kiwis can come home for Christmas. Under Labour, they can’t.” 

The plan has 10 steps for suppression of Covid:

The time will soon come for New Zealand to pivot from an elimination strategy to one of vigorous suppression, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“New Zealand is at a tipping point. Delta is in the country right now and may never leave. Even the Government admits it may not be possible to get cases back to zero and if we do Delta will be back again anyway.

“The Government is being intellectually dishonest in maintaining the fiction that borders can reopen while New Zealand simultaneously maintains an elimination strategy. In a world with Delta, that is impossible.

“National is the only major party being upfront with New Zealanders. The time will soon come when we need to pivot to vigorous suppression of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

“This is a strategy where New Zealand aims to keep the number of Covid-19 cases very low, but not necessarily at zero. There will likely be cases of infection under this strategy, but the aim is to rapidly respond when they occur and minimise the number of people infected.

“Once we reach a milestone of 85 per cent of the country vaccinated, vigorous suppression becomes possible when supplemented with National’s ten steps to tackle Covid-19.

“National has outlined ten steps we urgently need to take to respond to Covid-19 and set ourselves up to begin to reconnect with the world. They are:

    1. Supercharge the vaccine rollout
    2. Order vaccine boosters
    3. Upgrade our contact tracing capability
    4. Roll out saliva testing at the border and in the community
    5. Roll out rapid tests for essential workers and in the community
    6. Create a dedicated agency, Te Korowai Kōkiri, to manage our Covid-19 response based in Manukau not Wellington
    7. Build purpose-built quarantine facilities
    8. Launch a digital app for vaccination authentication
    9. Invest in next-generation Covid treatments
    10. Prepare our hospitals and expand ICU capacity

“These 10 steps are important measures New Zealand needs to take to evolve our response away from lockdowns and help us open up to the world.

“If we implement these steps, we have options for our future. Kiwis can then look to reunite with family, travel overseas for business and pleasure and we can welcome tourists and students for international education.

“Once we reopen to the world, the future is in the hands of New Zealanders.” 

One of the reasons we keep having to lockdown is fear of overwhelming the health system. An important part of National’s plan is to strengthen the health system:

National’s Covid-19 Plan, ‘Opening Up’ includes a strong priority on improving our hospitals, expanding our ICU capacity and funding treatments for Covid-19, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health spokesperson Simon Watts say.

Dr Reti says New Zealanders did the hard yards last year to stamp out Covid-19 and expected the Government to invest wisely in the health system to prepare it for future outbreaks.

“Instead of investing in ICU capacity, the Government frittered the Covid-19 Response Fund away and has focused on restructuring the entire health system in the middle of a global pandemic.

“The number of ICU beds has actually fallen since the end of April 2020 through to September 2021, no new ICU bed spaces have been provisioned since Delta first appeared in MIQ and urgent alterations had to be made at the start of the recent outbreak to hospital wards in Auckland.

“In the first three weeks of the recent outbreak 62,829 inpatient procedures were cancelled. A delayed procedure can have a significant impact on a person’s health and their ability to recover once the surgery does proceed. In some cases, delaying a procedure is putting a life at risk,” Dr Reti says.

Mr Watts says National’s plan involves urgently implementing a specialist healthcare workforce migration plan.

“We would select the 3000 doctors and nurses out of the expression of interest pool and process them urgently. We would also prioritise and fast-track resident applications for critical healthcare workers, setting aside dedicated MIQ spaces if required.

“National would offer conditional residence class visas upon arrival to specialist, experienced nurses who have the qualifications and experience needed to immediately start working in New Zealand.

“We would also fast-track the building of new hospital wards to increase bed capacity. In Auckland, there are business cases for projects at Waitakere Hospital that could be progressed immediately,” Mr Watts says.

National’s Plan also invests in next generation Covid-19 treatments.

New Zealand is now well behind other countries in approving and ordering exciting new Covid-19 treatments like Ronapreve and Sotrovimab. These monoclonal antibody treatments are used to treat Covid-19 and have shown real promise in clinical trials.

“Ronapreve has been licensed for use in 20 countries and the EU has bought 55,000 doses. Sotrovimab has just been approved for use in Australia, which has bought 7700 doses,” Dr Reti says.

“New Zealand has not bought any doses of either treatment or approved them for use.

“National would establish a ring-fenced and dedicated Covid-19 Treatment fund from within the Covid-19 Response fund, and task Pharmac with negotiating purchase agreements with a variety of manufacturers,” Dr Reti says.

“National wants New Zealanders to enjoy more of the freedoms they have before the pandemic hit. To do this we must make sure our health system is robust enough to both deal with people who may fall ill with Covid-19 and continue day-to-day operations,” Mr Watts says.

New Zealanders can’t travel for fear they won’t be able to get back into the country and very, very few who want to return can. National’s plan allows vaccinated travel:

National’s plan to reopen New Zealand would reunite Kiwi families, allow New Zealanders to travel overseas for business and pleasure, boost tourism and international education, and end the depressing and outrageous human lottery that is the MIQ debacle, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Once New Zealand reaches a milestone of 85 per cent of the aged 12 and above population fully vaccinated, we should start to safely reopen to the world. 85 per cent would give us one of the world’s highest vaccination rates.

“Alongside the public health measures outlined in our plan, a milestone of 85 per cent means we can manage Covid-19 coming through the border.

“National’s reopening plan is based on a traffic light system and prioritises fully vaccinated travellers. Non-citizens and non-permanent residents who are not vaccinated would be banned from travelling to New Zealand.

“The low-risk (green) pathway is for travel from jurisdictions where there is either no or little cases of Covid-19, and where vaccination rates are above 80 per cent.

“Vaccinated travellers from these jurisdictions would be able to come to New Zealand with a pre-departure test and a rapid and saliva test on arrival at the port of entry. Assuming all tests are negative they would be free to enter New Zealand without any isolation.

“In the first instance we expect this to apply to travellers to and from Queensland, Western Australia, the ACT, the Cook Islands and possibly Taiwan.

“The medium-risk (orange) pathway is travel from jurisdictions where Covid-19 is spreading but under control, and where vaccination rates are above 50 per cent. Judgments would be made by National’s proposed dedicated Covid-19 agency, Te Korowai Kōkiri.

“Vaccinated travellers from these jurisdictions would be able to come to New Zealand with a pre-departure test and a rapid and saliva test on arrival at the port of entry.

“They would then be required to spend seven days in home isolation and encouraged to take rapid tests which would be provided for free upon arrival. Enforcement would be via spot checks, and the possible use of digital monitoring apps like Singapore’s ‘Homer’ app.

“We expect this to apply to travellers to and from NSW, Victoria, Singapore, the USA, the UK and many European countries.

“People who test positive either at ports of entry or in the community would either be required to isolate at home or in purpose-built quarantine, with assessments made by public health teams.

“Under this plan, Kiwis coming through the green and orange pathways would be able to come home by Christmas.

“Kiwis have done the hard yards, they’ve willingly followed harsh lockdown measures and other restrictions. It’s time they’re offered a vision for the future and a plan for how this hard work has paid off. National’s plan does just that.”

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders can’t come home, immigrants with essential skills can’t get residency and people whose skills we desperately need can’t get MIQ spaces. National’s plan seizes immigration opportunities:

Opening up to the world doesn’t just give Kiwis the opportunity to come home, but it also gives New Zealand opportunities to attract talent from overseas, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“As other countries gradually recover from the effects of Covid-19, a global bidding war for talent has emerged. Almost every advanced economy other than New Zealand has begun deploying aggressive tactics to attract skilled workers.

“Before New Zealand can do the same thing we must fix our broken immigration system.

“We currently have huge delays in processing visas resulting in a years-long backlog of residency applications, and a frozen residency pool is leaving many of our critical workers stuck in immigration limbo. They can’t access KiwiSaver or buy a house, they’re fed up and choosing to leave. It’s clear we’re in a crisis.

“Unlike the Government, National is planning for the future. Immigration will be critical to help resource our health system to deal with any future Covid-19 cases and help our economy bounce back from the effects of the pandemic.”

To resource our health system National would:

  • Instruct immigration officials to urgently reopen the frozen Skilled Migrant Category visa expressions of interest pool and prioritise processing residence applications for critical healthcare workers
  • Offer residence class visas on arrival to specialist nurses with the qualifications, skills and experience to allow them to immediately start working in New Zealand

To help our economy bounce back National would:

  • Create a pathway to residence for those migrants who have stuck with us through the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Reopen the expressions of interest pool and process these applications with urgency
  • Create a fast-tracked, streamlined process for residence applications to quickly clear the backlog
  • Offer conditional residence on arrival for highly-sought skilled workers
  • Implement a traffic light model for people arriving from overseas

Ms Stanford says National understands how important it is we rebuild the reputation of our immigration sector.

“With the world competing for global talent to help their fight against Covid-19 and support their economic recovery, we need to make sure we don’t lose our critical workers to other countries, while at the same time focus on attracting the best talent from overseas.

“If we want the best, we need to be the best. Offering a clear pathway to permanent residency will make sure New Zealand remains an attractive destination for skilled migrants to come and work at time when we need them more than ever.” 

Labour has spent 18 months saying can’t, National’s plan shows what we could do and how we could do it, and do it safely.

National’s Opening UP plan is here.


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