Rural round-up

March 13, 2020

The challenge for NZ food production is keeping up with the science while Fonterra restores its financial health – Point of Order:

Technology  is  opening  a  whole  new direction for  food production, reports  The  Guardian.

Robotics   and drones are reducing   the need for humans to be on the  land,  while  vertical  farming,  in which  vegetables  can be grown in sunless  warehouses using  LED  lighting, gene editing and metagenics are delivering new definitions of  food.

According to a  recent  report  by the think tank  RethinkX, within  15  years  the rise of  cell-based meat – made  of animal cells  grown in a bioreactor – will bankrupt  the US’s  huge  beef industry,  at the same time  removing the  need to grow soya  and maize  for   feed. . . 

Can new crops crack down on cow methane? Meet the scientists finding out – Alex Braae:

The debate about methane emissions from farming is both ongoing and polarising, and many are pinning their hopes on scientific advances to avoid both de-stocking and climate breakdown. But how effective can these measures actually be? Alex Braae visited a research lab on the front lines of this fight. 

At a sprawling campus on the outskirts of Palmerston North, research is taking place that could shape the future of New Zealand’s rural economy. 

It is here that the grasslands facility of crown research entity AgResearch is based. And it is here where one of the most important scientific questions in the country is being thrashed out – can science help meaningfully lower the methane emissions of cows and sheep?  . .

Wairarapa ‘heading into a drought’ – Fed Farmers – Marcus Anselm:

Wairarapa farmers are seeking central government backing as the threat of a drought moves closer.

Dry conditions in neighbouring Manawatū and Tararua and other nearby areas have led to Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor confirming a “medium sized adverse event” for the regions.

“Many parts of the country are doing it tough due to a substantial lack of rain,” O’Connor said. . .

Parched conditions in Hawke’s Bay hitting hard amid calls for drought declaration – Anusha Bradley:

Hawke’s Bay farmers and leaders are urging the government to declare a drought as parts of the region experience the driest period on record.

Central Hawke’s Bay and Hastings were the worst hit with farmers saying the lack of water had not only hit summer crops but winter feed was now at risk if it did not rain soon.

For some parts of Hawke’s Bay, the four months between November and February have been the driest in 50 years. . .

Drought for North Island, Chatham Islands, part of South unlocks $2m relief funding :

The entire North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands have been declared as being in drought by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

O’Connor said the large-scale adverse event declaration, announced this morning, would unlock up to $2 million of funding to help farmers and growers from now until June 2021.

Medium-scale drought declarations had already been announced in Northland, Auckland and Waikato, Gisborne, Manawatū, Rangitīkei, and Tararua – but this new classification covers the entire North Island along with Tasman, Marlborough, Kaikōura, North Canterbury and the Chathams. . .

Moves to make horticultural water available to Kaikohe residents – Susan Botting

Far North District Council is aiming to tap into new government-funded Kaikohe water storage to permanently supply the mid-north town.

Far North District Council (FNDC) mayor John Carter said the council had already been working with Government and Northland Regional Council (NRC) on using the water from storage to be built in the North through the region’s $30 million Provincial Growth Fund project.

Carter said FNDC wanted to set up a scheme like had been developed for Kerikeri in the 1980s. This had been developed with the dual purpose to permanently provide water for horticulture and Kerikeri township. . .

Straight Off The Tussock chapter 1 – Tim Fulton:

Broomfield in North Canterbury was a quiet pond, but Jack was the stone that skipped across it.

 I was constantly in trouble. My father Gordon was away most of the time, always busy, so I rarely saw him.

And my mother Winifred, well, she was 45 when I was born and totally incapable of looking after children, so during the day I was usually left to my own devices. One of the first things I did on the farm was paint one of our white calves red with house paint. I’d noticed how the calves got marked at certain times of the season so I painted the whole calf. Terrible job they had getting the paint off…nearly killed it. Another time, father had shorn about 20 wethers ready to go to market. Back in the 1920s you had to brand your sheep for shearing, but he’d left these ones alone because they were going to be sold about three weeks later. I decided they hadn’t been branded properly so I got the dog and away I went; mustered them into the top paddock, down the road into the yards, into the front pen of the shearing shed and proceeded to brand them. As far as I could tell there wasn’t a space left on them untouched. Well, that was the last time I was in the pen with a branding iron. Father was so ashamed of the sheep he kept them stuck out of sight in the paddock until they were ready to shear again. I could have only been three or four…

After the bushfires, what now? – Roger Franklin:

The usual controversy about fuel reduction burning in forested parks and reserves has erupted in the wake of the “Black Summer Bushfires” (as they have become known) in NSW, Qld and Victoria. Predictably, two broad camps formed up on opposite sides of the blackened and shrivelled no-man’s land that, until a few months ago, had been beautiful eucalypt forests and havens for wildlife.

On one side are the land and bushfire managers, land owners and volunteer firefighters, people who deal with fire in the real world. They are all calling for more prescribed burning, knowing that it will  mitigate bushfire intensity, making fires easier and safer to control.  Loud in opposition are the green academics and environmentalists, usually supported by the ABC, claiming that fuel reduction does not work, and even if it did, this would be a pyrrhic victory, because the burning would have destroyed our fragile biodiversity. . . 

Meat and dairy sales surge in December quarter:

Meat and dairy boosted the total volume of manufacturing sales to its strongest quarterly rise in six years, Stats NZ said today.

The volume of total manufacturing sales rose 2.7 percent in the December 2019 quarter, after a flat September 2019 quarter, when adjusted for seasonal effects. It was led by a 7.9 percent lift in meat and dairy products manufacturing sales, following falls in the two previous quarters.

“This quarter’s rise is the largest increase in total manufacturing sales volumes in six years,” business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 10, 2018

Lots of challenges for chief executive :

Terry Copeland says he is looking forward to his new challenge.

The New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) chief executive is set to take over as Federated Farmers’ new boss next month and admits dealing with the ongoing impact of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak will be a ”baptism of fire”.

”I’ve got a real passion for wellness and mental health and I plan to bring that to my new role.

”Through the fallout from Mycoplasma bovis there will be a lot of communities in severe crisis, so making sure communities are supported will be hugely important . .

Waitotara Valley farmer Roger Pearce aims for more diversity – Laurel Stowell:

A farmer way up the Waitōtara Valley plans to get carbon credits from his poplars and is planting mānuka and using cattle to open up the ground for regenerating native bush.

Diversifying appeals to Roger Pearce, who has been farming in Makakaho Rd for four years. His land is becoming a patchwork of bush, closely planted poplars, mānuka, pasture and green feed crops.

“I like the idea, and the overall picture, where it’s going for the long term – not just intensively farming livestock,” he said . .

Hawkes Bay farmers warned of impact of synthetic meat

Farmers are being warned the meat industry they could go the same way as the wool industry if they ignore the threat of synthetic proteins.

The warning comes in the Hawke’s Bay Farming Benchmarking Review by accounting and advisory firm Crowe Horwath which saids repeated failure of the wool industry to respond to the threat of synthetic fibres was a “clear and serious warning” of potential problems in the red-meat sector. . .

Spierings’ Fonterra has created two new food categories :

Fonterra’s performance since formation in 2001, especially since listing in late 2012, has been the subject of much discussion around farm house kitchen tables, in supplier meetings in country halls, among Wellington regulators and in the media.

More than 10,000 supplying shareholders and several hundred investors in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (FSF) have views on the giant’s performance ranging from laudatory to sceptical to dismissive.

Farmers Weekly has printed a range of views in a series called Fonterra’s Scorecard preparatory to the Government’s review of the dairy industry by the Ministry for Primary Industries this year.

Some conclusions are summarised here under subject headings and the report card is mixed. . .

 

Dreaded drought descends on paradise – Mal Peters:

The drought has its claws into the Peters farm after a run of good seasons but that does not make it any easier to manage while keeping yourself on top in the head department. In the last few years we had started on some long overdue capital improvements that now will have to be put on hold but the shock has been the rapid onset and time of year that has made the impact so severe.

My farm includes part of Wallangra Station that has some 120 years of rainfall records so it is interesting to look back on that admittedly short history to see what has happened. When looking at the November to April rainfall there are five standout crook times: 1902, 1919, 1965, 2007 and now this year. . . 

Drought is part of Australia’s DNA – John Carter:

Eastern Australia is in another major drought and the cattle industry is in big trouble. Mal Peters’ outstanding May column was a poignant description of what most cattlemen are enduring – very expensive or no feed, declining or no water and big price falls.

The stress is exacerbated by Indian and American inroads into our export markets and chicken into our domestic market. Drought is part of Australia’s DNA. No-one can predict when it will come to an area or when it will break. Talk of more money for weather forecasters to tell farmers when to plant their crops is Disneyland stuff-the next fortnight is all they can predict with any accuracy. . .

a


Rural round-up

February 5, 2018

Markets in danger – Annette Scott:

New Zealand is at risk of causing global market jitters if its biosecurity doesn’t stand up to international scrutiny, Anzco livestock and agribusiness general manager Grant Bunting says.

Lack of accountability, farmer confusion, inadequate animal traceability and too many pushing their own agendas were key factors contributing to a situation with potential to end in disaster for the meat industry. 

Bunting called for accountability and was not alone.

“There are wider industry stakeholders and other processing facilities that share the same concern.”

While Mycoplasma bovis and the Ministry for Primary Industries response was clearly the topic of the moment, the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) programme had much to answer. . . 

Camp vision brought to life – Tracey Roxburgh:

Almost four years to the day after United States philanthropists Debbi and Paul Brainerd bought a 1.6ha site in Glenorchy, the doors will officially open on their pioneering Camp Glenorchy project, which will be the most sustainable camping ground in the southern hemisphere, if not the world. Queenstown reporter Tracey Roxburgh got a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the project at the head of the lake is progressing.

It’s one thing to take a tour of a building site crawling with contractors erecting frames, digging holes and assembling roofs, and hear about what it will eventually look like — it’s quite another to go back 12 months later and see the vision brought to life.

In March 2014 Debbi and Paul Brainerd, United States-based philanthropists, bought the 1.6ha  Glenorchy Holiday Park and then  four surrounding properties which now comprise the “Glenorchy Marketplace Project”.

It will open to the public in March. In December  the first certificate of public use certificates were issued by the Queenstown Lakes District Council for five of the camp’s cabins ahead of the first guests arriving on December 20 — part of a “soft opening” to test everything and make sure it was up to scratch.  . . 

Greater penalties for stock thieves:

A Bill designed to deter livestock theft will be introduced to Parliament today under the name of National MP Ian McKelvie.

Mr McKelvie says his Bill intends to introduce stricter measures for sentencing judges to draw on when sentencing thieves caught stock rustling.

“The current law offers no deterrent and the penalties don’t reflect the gravity of the crime or the likely suffering of an animal being slaughtered by a rank amateur. . . 

Second Highest Karaka Yearling Sale result:

The National Yearling Sales has recorded its second highest turnover in its 91 year history.

Over 900 horses were sold at Karaka for a combined aggregate of $97,017,750, smashing last years total of $82,015,500.

The highest combined aggregate was reached in 2008 when $111,148,850 was spent at the iconic New Zealand Sale. . . 

Can Australia’s feedlots compete? -John Carter:

It is invariably said that most of a beast’s breeding goes down its neck. A tour of a feedlot, beginning at the inception pens, confirms the saying. “Genetics” improves with the days on feed. 

Good nutrition is essential in producing good meat. However, Australia is heavily handicapped in the world’s food production race.

Ours is, in general, a tired, burnt out, continent with soil poisoned by our eucalyptus trees. 

Our city-centric governments have allowed developers to cover some of our most productive land with concrete. . . 

 

French seed group says GMO protests could force R&D relocation:

Limagrain, the world’s fourth-largest seed maker, will consider moving its research activities out of France if field trials in its home market continue to be sabotaged by opponents of genetically modified crops.

The French cooperative group was targeted last month by protestors who invaded test fields southeast of Paris and scattered non-commercial seed. That was the latest in a series of actions by opponents of gene-editing technology, which they say will herald a new generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Limagrain said the incident ruined a 37-hectare trial of wheat based on conventional breeding and showed the risk of a repeat of virulent debate over GMOs. . . 

It’s all aobut inches in farming life and football – Andrew Osmond:

Do you ever wonder what NFL football coaches say to their players during a big game? That’s the challenge for Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles, the men whose teams will compete this Sunday in the Super Bowl.

Perhaps they’ll turn to the words of a fictional counterpart. In the 1999 movie “Any Given Sunday,” veteran Coach Tony D’Amato [Al Pacino] delivers one of the greatest inspirational sports speeches, ever.

Pacino challenges his team to win the game “inch by inch, play by play.”

This is a football speech, in a locker room, at half time.  For me, it’s also a speech about farming. And life.

Please hear me out on this and let me explain, the idea’s not as strange as it sounds.

Pacino’s character begins by calling the game “the biggest battle of our professional lives.” Then he makes an almost philosophical point: “You find out life’s this game of inches.”

The same is true for farming. . . 

 


Mike Sabin resigns as MP

January 30, 2015

Northland MP Mike Sabin has announced his resignation from parliament.

. . . There have been reports Mr Sabin was being investigated by police over assault-related allegations, although neither Mr Sabin, the police or Prime Minister John Key would confirm that.

Mr Sabin announced in a short statement that he had decided to resign “due to personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament.”

He succeeded long-serving National MP John Carter in 2011. He had been a police officer then worked campaigning against drug abuse.

A resignation under these circumstances is unfortunate but it is the right thing to do.

The resignation will trigger a by-election.

 


And the mayor is . . .

October 12, 2013

Lianne Dalziel has been confirmed as mayor of Christchurch with 70% of the vote.

Long-serving Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has a new job as mayor of Christchurch after securing around 50,000 votes more than her nearest rival.

In what many regarded as a foregone conclusion Dalziel convincingly won Christchurch’s mayoraty race with around 70,000 votes, preliminary results show.

Her closest rival, Christchurch businessman Paul Lonsdale, got around 22,000 votes. . .

Early results show that Auckland mayor Len Brown will be returned.

. . . A spokesman from Auckland Council confirmed the “progress result” had counted 148,944 votes in favour of Mr Brown.

His closest competitor, John Palino, had earned 98,930 votes. . . .

I will update this post as results come in and welcome your updates in the comments.

UPDATE:

Former Northland  MP John Carter has won the Far North mayoralty from Wayne Brown.

Mr Carter resigned as New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands in July to return to his home in the Far North and contest the mayoralty.

Defeated mayor Wayne Brown, who has served two terms, said he had phoned Mr Carter to offer his congratulations. He said he was sure the former MP would do his best for the Far North – and he is only a phone call away if the new mayor wants any support. . .

Former councillor Sheryl Mai is the new Whanagrai mayor.

. . . Ms Mai won 4897 votes in the preliminary count, more than 1100 ahead of her nearest rival, councillor Greg Martin. . .

Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker has won a second term, beating her nearest rival, Ewan Wilson, by 2770 votes.

Napier has a new mayor – Bill Dalton who gained  more than double the votes of this nearest rival, Roy Sye.

Rachel Reese has made history by becoming Nelson’s first woman mayor, taking the mayoralty by almost 1500 votes from Aldo Miccio.

3pm:

Gary Kircher has won the Waitaki District mayoralty. His biggest rival Jim Hopkins also stood for the council and topped the poll in the Oamaru ward.

Tim Shadbolt has been returned as mayor of Invercargill.

With six terms as mayor, and two previous terms in control at Waitemata City, Shadbolt is the longest-serving mayor in office in the country.. . .

Farmer Mike Havill is the new mayor of the Westland district.

Richard Kempthorne has been returned for a third term as Tasman District Mayor.

Brendan Duffy has won the mayoral race in Horowhenua.

Ross Paterson is Mayor of the Western Bay of Plenty again.

Radio NZ reports:

Matamata-Piako District new mayor is Jan Barnes.

Mayor of South Waikato District Neil Sinclair has been returned to office.

Max Baxter is the new Mayor of Otorohanga District.

Brian Hanna is back as mayor of Waitomo District Council.

Jim Mylchreest replaces Alan Livingston who retired after many years as mayor of Waipa District Council.

Mayor of Hauraki District John Tregidga has been returned for a fourth term.

In Rotorua, former MP Steve Chadwick will take over from three-term mayor Kevin Winters with more than 98 percent of votes counted.

Queenstown Lakes District incumbent Vanessa van Uden has been re-elected as mayor, beating hopeful Al Angus, of Glenorchy, by more than 4500 votes.

Central Otago mayor Tony Lepper has been re-elected.

It was a two-horse race for Central Otago’s mayoralty, and preliminary results show Mr Lepper garnered 4416 votes, while Lynley Claridge drew 2521.

The Southland Times has full results for the province including the news that Gary Tong is the new mayor of the Southland District Council.
Sitting mayor Tracy Hicks was elected unopposed in Gore and Bryan Cadogan was re-elected mayor of Clutha.
Timaru District has a new mayor – Damon Odey.
Claire Barlow has won a second term as mayor of Mackenzie District.
Andrew Judd is the new mayor of New Plymouth after beating incumbent Harry Duynhoven.
South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop and Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke both retained their chains with comfortable majorities.
Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman has been re-elected for a fourth term.
In the Bay of Plenty:

Tauranga’s Stuart Crosby looks set to return as mayor.

Ross Paterson is mayor of the Western Bay of Plenty again.

Mark Boyle has received 3672 votes while Don Thwaites got 2275.

Tony Bonne has been elected mayor of the Whakatane district.

Opotiki voted in John Forbes as mayor of the district council.

Don Cameron is Ruapehu District’s new mayor.

Dave Cull has been returned as mayor of Dunedin.

TV3 has a list of mayors elected from north to south.

Those not already accounted for above are:

GISBORNE: Meng Foon

HASTINGS: Lawrence Yule

WHANGANUI:: Annette Main
MASTERTON: Lyn Patterson (new)
UPPER HUTT: Wayne Guppy
HUTT CITY: Ray Wallace

GREY: Tony Kokshoorn (unopposed)

 


Carter to contest Far North Mayoralty

February 22, 2013

Former Northland MP and serving High Commissioner to the Cook Island’s John Carter plans to contest the Far North Mayoralty.

. . . On the top of his list of concerns is disunity among local body leaders in Northland and what he sees as resultant lack of progress.

“I love the Far North, I am deeply aware of what a wonderful place it is and how many talented people live here, and I know it should be doing better.

“I also feel that my many years representing the area have given me the knowledge, skills and contacts to provide the unifying leadership needed to achieve that.” . . .

He was a very popular MP which will give him a head start in the contest for mayor.


High Commissioner cements place

September 13, 2012

Talk of a High Commissioner cementing his place is not usually to be taken literally.

But Richard Prebble writes in the Listener* that it can be for our man in the Cook Islands:

John Carter told me he had spent the day repairing the residency’s pathway. The tenders for the job were outrageous, he said. So he purchased $250 worth of cement and did it himself. He was so pleased with himself I could not bring myself to ask what his hourly rate was . . .

Tim Shadbolt added to his notoriety as mayor of Waitemata by hauling a concrete mixer behind the mayoral car.

John Carter has now cemented his place in the Concreting Hall of Fame for doing DIY at the official residence.

* Not on-line yet, will be here next week.


Let MPs be real – John Carter

June 8, 2011

Let MPs be real. This was the heartfelt plea from John Carter in his valedictory statement to parliament yesterday evening.

The MP known for his colourful jokes said that while MPs needed to be serious they also needed humour.

MPs were coming under more and more scrutiny, particularly from the media who were trying to turn them into saints.

“We need to be real otherwise how can we represent real people? Let us be real,” he said in one of the few serious moments in a very funny speech.

John has been in parliament since 1987. He sought, and received, permission to table a paper on his superannuation showing how much of his own after-tax earnings he had paid into it.

He also had a message for the racing industry: “The people in racing are wonderful but until they realise that the change that needs to happen needs to happen from within it won’t. If the racing industry doesn’t change it is doomed.”

John said he had been proud to be part of the parliamentary rugby team and it held the Parliamentary World Cup. “The All Blacks could take a leaf out of our book.”

He has been an MP for nearly 24 years and in every election except 1993 he increased his majority.

When he finished speaking MPs from across the house went up to shake hands and hug him. It was a reminder for those of us watching from the gallery that although it is MPs’ differences that are usually highlighted, they also work together and their is respect and even camaraderie across political parties.

UPDATE: Keeping Stock has the video of the speech.


Foss takes over from Carter

June 7, 2011

Northland MP and minister outside cabinet John Carter delivers his valedictory speech today.

The NBR reports that Tukituki MP Craig Foss will takeover his portfolios: Racing, Civil Defence and Senior Citizens, and also become the Associate Minister of Local Government and Associate Minister of Commerce.


Leaders don’t win or lose alone

March 30, 2011

Election campaigns have become more and more presidential with most attention on party leaders.

That focus on the leaders continues between elections too but a leader doesn’t win or lose alone.

The seeds of National’s defeat in 1999 were sown before the 1990 election when Jim Bolger made stupid promises which were then not kept. Those seeds were fertilised before the 1996 election when too many MPs whose seats disappeared with the reduction in the number of electorates stayed on as list MPs.

Having failed to jump before the 1999 election many of those MPs were pushed in the 2002 one. Not only were many of them the tired face of National which the electorate had rejected three years before, many weren’t united behind the leader. The involuntary clean-out in the election provided the foundation for rebuilding which enabled the party to win in 2008.

Labour is following a similar path. It has had some refreshment but not enough.  Parties need a balance between experience and freshness and it hasn’t got it.

It’s led by one of the longest-serving MPs in parliament and too many of his caucus are associated with the people and policies which lost voters’ support over successive terms. Further more they have done too little to persuade the public they have new and better ideas for running the country again.

MPs will have many reasons for clinging to their seats, the good of the party isn’t usually one of them.

The influx of new MPs in 2005 and 2008 refreshed the National caucus. Involuntary resignations by Richard Worth and Pansy Wong and decisions not to stand again by John Carter, Wayne Mapp, Simon Power and Sandra Goudie has provided the opportunity for several new faces in the next term.

All the blame for Labour’s dysfunction is being laid at Phil Goff’s door. He’s made mistakes but his caucus members need to look at themselves too. Sticking with him because there is no viable alternative isn’t a resounding vote of confidence in him which the electorate shares. But a lack of unity and refusal to stand aside by some of the longer-serving or more ineffectual MPs is also part of the problem.

Ranking the list is never an easy job and the number of tired old faces among the sitting MPs will make it even harder for Labour this time. However, if its MPs and the party don’t make some hard choices about who stays and who goes themselves, voters will do it for them as they did for National in 2002.


John Carter not seeking re-election

November 8, 2010

Northland MP and Minister John Carter is not seeking re-election.

“It is time for me to relinquish my position as MP in Northland,” Mr Carter said. “After lengthy consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I will not seek re-election in 2011.  

 “This is my eighth term as MP for Northland, the region where I was born and bred. I believe I have represented Northland well for 23 years.  The investment I have made in the region for all of my constituents over this time has been hugely enjoyable and rewarding.  However, the time has arrived for me to move on in my life, thus giving an opportunity for new representation in Northland.

“I have had an incredible journey during my 23 years in Parliament, with many great experiences and an accumulation of achievements that I feel have steadily improved the lot of the people who have consistently put their faith in me to represent them.

“Being a Minister is the pinnacle of an MP’s career and I am enjoying the portfolios I have this term (Minister of Civil Defence, Minister for Racing, Minister for Senior Citizens and Associate Minister of Local Government).

“Civil Defence has certainly stood out and I hope I was able to give some assurance to the people of Canterbury in the early days after the 4 September earthquake.

 “I have also enjoyed being part of the team that prepared the legislation to set up the super city of Auckland.

“Politics is about people and as politicians we have to spend a lot of time listening to what people want. I chaired the Auckland Governance Legislation Committee and believe we reflected the views of the different interest groups involved with the legislation for a unified Auckland city in the best possible way.

“I have also seen first hand, how responsive our Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan is in securing the safety of people. We are leaders in the world in this regard.

“As anyone who knows me will know, I will be working hard for the people of Northland and for those whose interests I represent with my portfolios until the day I leave Parliament Buildings towards the end of next year.”

John has been a very popular and hard working MP in one of the North Island’s biggest electorates and one of the country’s poorest.

He is an enthusiast who loves his job and was thrilled to become a Minister two years ago.

This won’t have been an easy decision for him but it’s important to have renewal in caucus and his resignation will provide the opportunity for a new candidate.


Permanent disaster law better than legislation on the hoof

September 27, 2010

Radio NZ reports the government is considering permanent legislation to deal with natural disasters.

While the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act has been criticised for overriding existing laws, Civil Defence Minister John Carter says it’s already proving its worth.

And Mr Carter says the Government is considering whether new legislation is needed to deal with disasters, rather than having to rush through emergency laws, as has happened after the earthquake.

The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act was passed without dissent but has attracted a lot of criticism since then because of its all encompassing nature and the power it gives to the Minister.

Legislation made with public input and careful consideration will almost always be better than that made on the hoof.


One step back two steps forward

July 24, 2010

If the government had carried on with plans to investigate mining potential on schedule 4 conservation land it would have been accused of not listening to the people.

Now that it has taken heed of the vociferous opposition to the plan and not only said there will be no mining on this land but added more to it, it’s been accused of doing a u-turn.

It’s one of those damned if they did, damned if they didn’t situations but Trans Tasman has found some positives in it for the government:

. . . Brownlee says “NZers have given the mineral sector a clear mandate to go and explore that land, and where appropriate…utilise its mineral resources for everyone’s benefit.”

Therefore, on his analysis the biggest backdown since National came to office was “a valuable exercise” and he could be right. It hasn’t lost anything which really matters, it listened and it learned, and its opponents have been cut off at the knees. And the industry, far from being disappointed, says it’s getting what it has wanted for a decade-aero magnetic surveys of regions expected to yield deposits worth billions.

One step back from schedule 4 land has led to a couple of steps forward in other areas. Northland MP John Carter and West Coast Tasman MP Chris Auchinvole are showing a lot of enthusiasm for the possiblity of mining in their electorates.

And Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said city people shouldn’t use his region to ease their environmental consciences:

 . . . Aucklanders need to deal with what he calls “the mountain of carbon emissions” their highways are spewing out before blocking a small amount of mining on the West Coast.

He says it is not right that urban people should stop the region’s development.

Mr Kokshoorn says the area proposed for exploration was only “a few thousand hectares” out of the two million hectares of conservation land on the West Coast.

He said there is a currently a balance between eco-tourism and mining on the West Coast and further mining would not compromise the environment.

He said the Government’s decision not to mine on schedule four conservation land was hugely disappointing.

People who marvel at natural beauty as they drive through it at 100 kph or take a closer look on an occasional holiday have a right to their views. But while they stand up for the environment they forget the sustainability stool has two other legs – the economic and social ones.

Local people need work which mining could provide and the infrastructure and services which would come with it.

They have a far greater interest than visitors in ensuring mining doesn’t come at the cost of the environment because it will be done in their backyard, and no-one’s suggesting mining at any cost.

The Resource Management process will be able to ensure mining is done with minimal disruption and damage and the requirement to leave the land in the same or better state when the work is finished.



Another EFA breach?

September 7, 2008

A new blog botheyseopen purports to be:

…committed to the coming election being about parties’ real policies and real intentions, not personalities and spin…We are committed to the coming election being about parties’ real policies and real intentions, not personalities and spin.

That’s all part of the democratic process, and while I don’t agree with their obviously anti-National views they have a right to express them.

However, they are encouraging people to download and distribute posters and leaflets. These are authorised by John Carter, 77 Overtoun Tce Hataitai Wellington but he has no way of controlling the number and therefore accounting for the cost of what gets printed and distributed and so he’ll be breaching the Electoral Finance Act.

The website says:

We are committed to honesty, openness and transparency in politics… No, we are not from political parties – most New Zealanders aren’t – but we care about New Zealand and where we are going.

But the only name on the website is Carter’s so “we” are not being open, honest and transparent.

And of course it could just be a coincidence that it’s parroting Labour lines; and that like Labour and the other parties which rammed through the EFA, is ignoring it.

Hat Tip: Roarprawn


Govt forces up price of fuel & food

September 4, 2008

The bill requiring fuel companies to supply biofuel at a fixed percentage of their total sales passed last night.

They have to start supplying it in October this year at 0.5 percent, rising to 2.5 percent by 2012.

Decisions about which type of biofuel is supplied, how much of it is blended with fossil fuels and where it comes from will be up to the industry.

Should we be grateful for small mercies?

Energy Minister David Parker said during the third reading of the Biofuel Bill that the alternative fuels would have to be sustainable.

“We know all biofuels are not equal and sustainability is under increasing scrutiny,” he said.

“But because some biofuels are not good doesn’t mean all are bad.”

Yes, but how do we know we’re getting the good ones?

Mr Parker said the cost was frequently misrepresented and would depend on the price of oil, the cost of biofuels and the exchange rate.

Estimates ranged between a price increase of 1.3 cents a litre and a saving of 4 cents a litre.

Call me cynical but I don’t have a lot of faith in politicians estimates and think it is much more likely to cost us than to save us money.

National opposed the bill and MP John Carter said the Government was asking Parliament to support “a great big, unsubstantiated experiment” without any facts to back it.

He said the OECD, the G8 conference and many other world bodies had all said there was great doubt about the benefits of introducing biofuels.

“Why does it have to be New Zealand?” he asked.

ACT leader Rodney Hide interjected: “No one else is stupid enough.”

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said it was a small step but it would bring in investment that would create the infrastructure to produce biofuels that could be used when new technologies became available.

“The arguments against it are based on a mixture of mind-boggling ignorance by some and an absolute determination by others to ignore all the facts, no matter how many times they are put in front of them,” she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said biofuels had been used in Brazil for 40 years and were produced in many other countries.

And in many other countries they have replaced food crops leading to lower supplies and higher costs.

Biofuels have a place, they may have some benefit. But forcing us to use them before it is established that their production is better for the environment and they won’t be replacing food crops is yet another “we must do something” solution based on emotion rather than science.


%d bloggers like this: