Government must lead on climate

I have just had an opinion piece printed in Farmers Weekly.

Here is what I wrote:

As the list of regions being declared drought areas grows it’s distressing to see land and animals suffering from the lack of water.

This summer’s drought has cost the country $1 billion and counting and might even take us back into recession.

Farmers need relief and the short-term support offered to get through this drought goes part of the way. Rather than ad hoc measures to move feed up from the well-stocked South to the farmers who need it the government needs to play a part in securing a systematic approach to transporting the feed.

We shouldn’t make struggling farmers have to rely on importing more and more costly and unsustainable palm kernel. We also need to get real about debt relief and the impact huge levels of debt have on farmers at times like these.

But that’s just the short term. Droughts are not new – we have seen them time and time again.

Farmers and government know how to get through them. Taxpayers, in the most part, are happy to support our agricultural sector in these times. But what has changed is these droughts are happening more often. Farmers are getting hit with extremes of weather conditions, which follow on the heels of another drought, or another flood, giving farmers no wriggle room to recover. The “worst in 100 years” label comes almost every year as previous records are surpassed.

Despite what government ministers might think, the severe droughts wringing the life out of much of the country are part of an expected pattern of climate change. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) warned droughts would become more frequent and more intense under climate change.

The mainstream media, which usually don’t understand the real struggles for farmers, are covering the news of the drought but they are missing this key issue. The coverage does not deal with climate change.

And nowhere to be found is a plan from the National government to deal with climate change. That’s because it doesn’t have a plan. The government has plans to help farmers with relief from this short-term problem but it doesn’t understand the ongoing struggle our farming systems are facing.

In fact, the National government is ignoring climate change and is instead downgrading measures to tackle it, while also failing to future-proof key New Zealand industries.

The face of farming is changing with the climate. We have two challenges emerging from climate change for agriculture. The first is a challenge to reduce emissions, to play our part in the fight to avoid runaway climate change. The second is a challenge to focus our agricultural techniques and strategy on producing within the new reality and NZ’s changing climate and weather conditions.

The government will give farmers limited relief to alleviate the impact of droughts but it won’t act to control the increase of unsustainable intensive dairying or take other measures to protect increasingly scarce water resources.

We are as vulnerable as every other country but this government has given up. It has gutted the Emissions Trading Scheme and is not signing up to further binding commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

It’s not good enough for this National government to leave it up to other countries or future governments to pick up the slack. NZ needs to do its fair share on climate change if it wants anyone else to.

What we need is some long-term, focused action. What we have under the National government is a lack of strategy, a head-in-the-sand approach. As climate change worsens we will have more sand for it to do that in.

So what sort of farming can we do in a future that will have more frequent and more severe weather? Now is the time to look at which types of farming systems are holding up to the drought well and which aren’t.

My money is on farming systems that embrace diversity, that focus on resilience rather than highly geared systems that balance on a knife’s edge. Our agriculture sector needs to be moving to more diverse farming systems, with low external inputs, and certifiable (such as organics) sustainability measures – sustainable, resilient and valued.

Farm forestry, mixed swards, the use of fallows, crop and animal rotations, stand-off pads, and the use of measurable, sustainable soil carbon sequestration through nutrient cycling farming systems that use biological rather than synthetic fertiliser-based systems.

These are the sorts of tools that will contribute to resilient agricultural systems for the more frequent drought-or-drench weather patterns.

The twin plagues of droughts and floods affecting the way in which we can grow food and fibre in NZ are affecting the global markets. Other large producing nations, such as Australia and the United States, are feeling the effects of extreme weather on their ability to produce food in the same way. Drought struck 80% of agricultural land in the US last year.

NZ needs to start preparing for climate change. The effects are hitting now and we’re not ready because this National government wants to ignore the problem. The solution it is pushing is to rely on irrigation for the long-term, to build giant dams at huge cost.

The Green Party will continue to back better solutions, which work in the new reality of our environment and provide support to farmers without the debt. The future for NZ is not more and more intensive dairy.

A richer NZ won’t be achieved by lurching from drought to drought, flood to flood, but by having a long-term vision for the country about what we want to grow.

We don’t have an agricultural industry despite our environment, we have it because of our environment. This government is failing to lead and is intentionally turning its gaze away from the biggest problems we face.

Government must show the leadership that the “new normal” requires and take on these challenges.

113 thoughts on “Government must lead on climate

  1. Well said Steffan. I am also encouraged by the farmers that I meet that recognise this issue and whilst they not back an emmissions trading scheme know that they are going to have to change their farming practices somehow.

    This is one area in which the government could and should be leading the challenge. Making sure that investment is made in investigating and ecouraging changing farming practices. Once it is domonstrated that alternatives can be both profitable and beneficial I remain confident that a strong buy in will happen.

    Our farmers are not stupid but are understandably cynical when asked to consider changing the way they do things. You are doing a good job at ‘selling’a crediable alternative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 (+6)

  2. But what has changed is these droughts are happening more often. Farmers are getting hit with extremes of weather conditions, which follow on the heels of another drought, or another flood, giving farmers no wriggle room to recover.

    You’d have data to back this up, of course.

    The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) warned droughts would become more frequent and more intense under climate change.

    So, if we see more frequent and intense rainfall that means…what? What if we see the same amount? Let me guess – whatever the weather, that’s a sign of “climate change”. Name your counter factual.

    Our agriculture sector needs to be moving to more diverse farming systems, with low external inputs, and certifiable (such as organics) sustainability measures – sustainable, resilient and valued.

    Sounds good (except “organics”, which is a niche, high-risk market). Where are your numbers that show these practices won’t affect – and may boost – export earnings?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 15 (-6)

  3. The point is “sustainable, resilient and valued” – crisis management is not the intelligent way to deal with the long-term needs of farming. Even if your (increasingly shrill) denials of climate change were correct, what is wrong with improving the way that farming happens in this country?
    We depend hugely on it and a much more intelligent approach is needed. Apart from profitability, effects on waterways (whether by irrigation or pollution) are a concern that needs to be addressed right now.
    Water can be conserved by the means Steffan mentions above; pollution can be addressed also – these things should be happening anyway and are in some places. But not in too many others.
    Re droughts and data – I can only speak for my local area, but we have been keeping rainfall and temperature readings for 37 years for the Regional Council and the trend over that period is for more uncertain weather, longer dry periods, clusters of cyclones. This has always been a high-rainfall area, but this year we are officially in drought. Next month could bring rain – perhaps too much so we’ll get landslips on bare slopes.
    We’d be stupid not to think of how to manage things more efficiently – and we are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3 (+7)

  4. I always find it is man-made climate change deniers like Arana who don’t have the data to back their claims up (apart from stuff about growing grapes in England in Roman times etc).

    As for the government, it is comprised of people who were not put on this planet with the mental capacity and/or spiritual fortitude to deal with climate change. They are the Neville Chamberlains of our time (except I think that is being unfair to Neville Chamberlain)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4 (0)

  5. I agree – well said Steffan. We need to start working with progressive farmers to develop the mix of support mechanisms and regulations that will strongly encourage them to move their love of the land toward these more sustainable and thus more long-term profitable practices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  6. The point is “sustainable, resilient and valued”

    Those words could mean anything, and therefore mean nothing. Valued by whom and to what extent?

    what is wrong with improving the way that farming happens in this country?

    Nothing. I’m not sure why we’re bailing out farmers who can’t insure against weather events. We should end subsidies to farmers.

    temperature readings for 37 years for the Regional Council and the trend over that period is for more uncertain weather, longer dry periods, clusters of cyclones.

    It seems to be that a number of issues are being conflated.

    There is no question we could “farm better”. However, if we are to farm the way Steffan is advocating, then he’s going to need to come up with data to back it. If productivity is increased, I’m sure farmers will go for it. Either way, he’s going to need more than his opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12 (-8)

  7. Great stuff Steffan.After regularly watching posts on this blog I feel Arana is doing no good for themself, this blog, farmers, the nation, or those needing food security in the world. The continual stupid comments show a complete lack of understanding of the cyclic nature of systems, or the science being applied to try and support them. It is either an attempt to deceive those wanting to learn more, or a complete self deception, to divert from the real issues.
    Debates on these issues have been thwarted for years by those supporting vested energy, industrial, and large investor, interests as they have been investing in an unsustainable economic model.
    I have been involved with agriculture and natural production systems all my life, and things are out of balance.
    I challange Arana to disclose their background and present work and investment interests so that I can assess their credibility.
    One thing that leads me to say things are out of balance is the increasing acidity. The present balance on the planet that has allowed such a good climate and diversity for our human success, is based on the fact that plants, and sea organisms have kept oxygen and other atmospheric ingredients in a balance that our fossil fuel burning is now upsetting, just as comets, and volcanoes etc. has done in the past.
    The greatest source of O2 anions has been the photosyntheses that we are cutting back in many ways. This balance is crucial to human immunity and conscious ability to adapt. Early university modelling in the late 70’s predicted we cut our consumption by one third or two third of the population would perish. I think the Greens are doing a great job but I feel they are too soft on stating the stark realities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 (+6)

  8. Reliance on externally sourced fertilizers and feed supplements a big problem with the over intensified dairy industry. Most of our historical advantage has been that we did NOT have that, and abandoning that in favor of the “knife-edge” of productivity is quite… dumb. As is single-product dependence. We cannot and should not continue to try to produce more from the same land area when the only way to do that is to import nutrients and fertilizer and use external sources of energy to deal with waste. The land can give us only so much.

    The question eventually comes down to productivity per KWH consumed (in all forms including fertilizer). The efficiency/productivity of the natural methods will stand out in that form of analysis, but it is hard to see if one is blinded by a blizzard of bux.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 (+6)

  9. You were doing well, Steffan, until you got to, “A richer NZ won’t be achieved by…”. A satisfying sustainable way of life doesn’t need to be “richer”. “Richer” should not be a word in this kind of post.

    I think getting more people into “farming” is a key part of the future (whether we like it or not) but going for permacultural food forests seems the best approach to me. They create mini climates that use and retain water much better as well as requiring very little maintenance (except harvesting), once established.

    I see the trolls are about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  10. And I see unsubstantiated opinion.

    going for permacultural food forests seems the best approach to me

    Good for you. Others will not see it as anything but your opinion if you can’t articulate the costs and benefits relative to other farming methods.

    satisfying sustainable way of life doesn’t need to be “richer”

    Which state services would you like to cut? The more export revenue you give up, the less health, education and welfare you can service.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10 (-6)

  11. Steffan says “The “worst in 100 years” label comes almost every year as previous records are surpassed.”

    If the record weather event was a hundred years ago, the current event is not a record.

    Unfortunately in desperation to make things seem as bad as possible, we hear this nonsense after every unusual weather event – that it is a record, but there was one worse 40/70/100 years ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8 (-5)

  12. I suspect Steffan meant to refer to 100 year events, rather than “worst in 100 years” :-)

    Happening though. Just like Hansen explained that it would.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 (+4)

  13. …and the more tax paid by the wealthy, the more State Services we can afford. This is not exactly a new balancing act, and the effort on the part of this government to further advantage the well off at the expense of the rest of the country is not exactly a secret.

    The alternative to doing the right thing is to do things National’s way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 (+5)

  14. It’s pretty simple.

    If you decrease farm productivity, you decrease the tax take. You affect every business related to farming due to economic multiplier effects. The impact on the tax take would be significant.

    You can increase the tax rate to try to compensate, however your pool of rich people isn’t large, and you’ll drive much capital offshore.

    You could replace industry, but I’ve yet to hear any proposal on that front that wasn’t wishful thinking. There’s nothing stopping anyone doing it right now, but few people do. I am one who does, BTW. Tax me significantly higher than Australia, and others like me, and the result will be predictable.

    As Sir Paul Callaghan pointed out, we prosper economicly or we cut services.
    http://eureka.org.nz/spc/

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12 (-8)

  15. I challange Arana to disclose their background and present work and investment interests so that I can assess their credibility.

    How about you stick to the debate. For the record, I have no vested interest in this area, other than wanting to see the country prosper. Why don’t you ask Steffan about his interests in this area?

    a complete lack of understanding of the cyclic nature of systems

    If you mean the ability of a farm to keep carrying out farming activities well into the future, then you’d be wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10 (-6)

  16. photonz1 – I have already pointed out why this isn’t necessarily true:
    Steffan says “The “worst in 100 years” label comes almost every year as previous records are surpassed.”

    If the record weather event was a hundred years ago, the current event is not a record.

    If the records only go back 100 years, then an event may be a record, and the worst in 100 years. If the records go back 150 years, it is still true to say that an event is the worst in 100 years even if there is no worst event recorded – it is simply understating the reality.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 (+1)

  17. bj says “I suspect Steffan meant to refer to 100 year events, rather than “worst in 100 years” ”

    Yeah right – he put it in quotes, but actually meant something quite different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6 (-6)

  18. “Which state services would you like to cut?”

    The military, roading, higher state sector salaries, the GCSB, tertiary education that doesn’t produce collective benefits, state neo-liberal advocacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 (+3)

  19. You’ve shaved a few billion off. You’re going to need to cut 10s of billions more, depending on how much you want to reduce conventional agriculture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9 (-3)

  20. I always find it is man-made climate change deniers like Arana who don’t have the data to back their claims up (apart from stuff about growing grapes in England in Roman times etc).

    guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/11/fewer-farmers-turn-to-organic

    “The amount of land being converted to organic cultivation across the UK has dropped by two-thirds since 2007, according to statistics released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as falling sales of organic products mean fewer farmers are seeing a reason to change.”

    Grow it, if you want, but the export market for organics is dependent on the affluence of the middle class. Basing an agricultural export economy on it would be economic suicide as you’re vulnerable to economic downturns. You’ve also got significant barriers in that sector due to high awareness of food miles.

    Fine for the local farmers market, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7 (-4)

  21. I suspect Steffan meant to refer to 100 year events, rather than ‘worst in 100 years'”

    I’m sure you’re right, BJ. After all, the sentence in which the phrase occurs kind of makes more sense if our interpretation is correct, though it’s poor grammar, either way, it has to be said. It’s understandable that photonz1 was confused.

    The 100 year events are coming thick and fast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  22. Up until fairly recently we made a decent living using grass feed, no imported feed supplements and a relatively natural process which was far less energy intensive… one can use the word “sustainable”.

    It isn’t necessary to go to “organics” to go back to that, and it isn’t a big jolt to the sector… but it reduces our energy bill, reduces our carbon footprint and makes our resilience to changes in climate a lot deeper.

    It DOES mean a few less cows per hectare can be supported. It DOES mean a pull back to a smaller tonnage of exported milk solids. It isn’t that hard to understand that the national accounts don’t balance the way National would like if that is done, but they never will balance the way National would like, or plans, or intends. That’s why they have to sell assets. That’s why they believe in digging up coal and making climate change worse. That’s why they believe in destroying the agricultural “capital” of this country (its land and water) to squeeze a few more bucks out of the Chinese.

    They can’t balance the books by cutting taxes on the wealthy, raising them on the poor and cutting services to feed the insatiable appetite of the overseas banksters and the “consumption driven” economic model they oversee.

    The wrong model.

    Steffan has the right of this. He may not express everything perfectly, nobody does, but his meaning is quite clear. We’ve pushed the land to its limit and made ourselves more vulnerable to drought and flood in the doing. This is the wrong way to do agriculture, and having only one export and no manufacturing at all, is the wrong way to run an economy, and having foreign bankers controlling our money and encouraging loans and foreign ownership that jacks the price of housing up is the wrong way to run a country.

    One could scarcely DO worse than National has been doing. Almost invariably and perfectly wrong in every way. With the exception of English adopting some of Cullen’s thoughts on “Ring Fencing” the housing exclusions and perhaps NOT allowing Tiwai to be closed (if they are smart enough to do that), they’re perfect… as a negative example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  23. Tony says “The 100 year events are coming thick and fast.”

    They always have.

    With thousands of streams, rivers, and lakes, there are dozens of “one in a hundred year” floods and droughts in any one year, regardless of any change in climate.

    From statistics alone, there is almost certain to many “one in a hundred year” events in CONSECUTIVE years, just in high and low river, stream and lake readings.

    Add in high and low temperatures, add wind, high rainfall, low rainfall, high and low lake levels etc, and multiply all that by thousands of places, and of course they will happen all the time.

    Even in the 70s and 80s before anybody talked about climate change, engineering students were being taught that “one in a hundred year” events happen hundreds of times EVERY YEAR, because there are so many readings from thousands of different places.

    It’s like winning lotto – that’s may be only a one in a million chance, but it happens a couple of times a week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7 (-7)

  24. How much would you tax “the wealthy” and at what level would that tax cut in?

    We’ve pushed the land to its limit

    Where’s the proof?

    One could scarcely DO worse than National

    So, what would you do?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7 (-4)

  25. The type of argument coming back from those not wanting to talk or research the data available reminds me of the sort of crap you see in Parliament where little effort is being placed in content but more about image.I see that the type of nit picking is an indication of the respect that is really afforded the process. All the discussion about who looses what in revenue or tax cuts is a continuation of the blind faith in our present monetarist economy. The estimations of the losses to GDP from climate related extremes, already showing all around the world, are that if we don’t do anything, is so high that our economy growth models will never be met, and the Greens have effectively questioned Treasury models in the past, eg. the costs of peak fuel in past models. If we instead look at the present small gains to the majority and large gains for a small 10%, then a no growth model to deal with survival, and a serious attempt at better sharing productive resources would see large economic gains for a majority.
    Looking at the advice on Asset sales and the circus we see with Solid Energy and now the Tiwai Point smelter the present Government can’t claim any ability to look very far ahead, but can claim full points for idealogical blinkers to the reality. The detracting commentators on this blog show the same ability at analysis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  26. BJ says “We’ve pushed the land to its limit and made ourselves more vulnerable to drought and flood in the doing. This is the wrong way to do agriculture,”

    With thousands more acres in irrigation, many farms have never been LESS vulnerable to drought than they are today.

    BJ says “and having only one export and no manufacturing at all, is the wrong way to run an economy,”

    What about lamb, forestry, fish, fruit, wine, beef, gold, oil, cheese, milk, butter, chemicals, medical equipment, machinery, wool, carpets etc?

    You or anyone else is free to set up more export manufacturing plants, in a country with high wages and further from the markets than any other country on the planet.

    However for many companies it makes about as much sense as starting a business to supply Auckland with furniture and setting up your factory on Stewart Island.

    And every time the government gets trade barriers removed in other countries to help our manufacturing exporters, you have a great big whinge about it.

    Then claim to be on the side of manufacturers… how rediculous is that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6 (-5)

  27. Photonz – They can’t irrigate when there isn’t any water. I watched the crops turn brown and die here in the Waikato mate. They had irrigation equipment and irrigation arrangements and no fncking water, no way.

    If you have a store of water adequate to your farm demand somewhere, you don’t have a damaging drought, just a shortage of rain. Cost us over a billion quid and you reckon we’re protected?

    Right.

    lamb, forestry, fish, fruit, wine, beef, gold, oil, cheese, milk, butter, wool

    Farm products.

    chemicals, medical equipment, machinery, carpets

    AFAIK the only one of those able to make a buck at all is the med equipment. The rest of that lot is struggling because the dollar is higher than a kite and expecting to go higher still. I know because I work in one of those machinery export niches. The competition is eating us alive because our overseas customers can’t afford to pay for our stuff, and the staff hasn’t seen a raise in the past 4 years.

    You or anyone else is free to set up more export manufacturing plants

    I wasn’t talking about manufacturing for export, as you should expect by now. You assume it instantly. After all this time…

    We have one viable export which is farm products… you want to specify crops and call ‘em separate feel free, the only one you fool with that is yourself. This employs a small part of the population and a large part of the landscape. Everyone else is pretty much redundant. If they haven’t been told yet, all they have to do is wait a bit…

    We don’t manufacture much of anything we ourselves actually consume, so the farmers have to pay for every fncking thing we import.

    Which is wrong. Which is completely wrong per the person who invented the concept of comparative advantage.

    Our manufacturing of goods WE consume suffers because there is no barrier of any sort to the import of competing goods. Worse, there is no barrier to the import of debt, which requires us to bleed interest overseas… mostly to fuel a property bubble but also to buy the overseas products… the viciousness of this process is felt in the persistent litany of layoffs.

    No Photonz, you know better than that with me by now. Unlike Arana I do expect that you will remember our arguments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 (+6)

  28. Arana – The FIRST proof is the result of this drought. The second is the condition of the rivers and streams and lakes and estuaries. The third is the importation of feed from overseas. Most people look at these things and recognize that OUR land isn’t supporting the increased number of cows we’re running. If we were within the limits of the land we’d not be hammered to the tune of multiple billions of dollars. A drought like this would cause losses to be sure, but we’d have a bigger buffer both of water per cow in storage and land to provide the livestock from.

    Bigger population? Worse problem. Seems that that phrase works in a lot of places.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 (+5)

  29. Poor Arana.

    Swallowed the Neo-liberal religion hook line and sinker.

    (AND He claims to be a skeptic??)

    Along with the Laffer curve fallacy.

    The idea that more economic activity is finite and more State spending always displaces private spending and decreases economic activity. If that was true there would have been no economic activity at all in authoritarian States with no private sector.

    There is some truth in it with very high levels of State spending, but NZ is way below that. Our per capita dollar spend is very low compared with most Northern EU countries, for example. Evidence from countries with a big State sector is that the private sector does well also.

    In fact lifts in State spending lift all economic activity.
    Perfectly obvious all around the world as tax and spend, or even print money and spend, economies are getting out of the recession while those embracing austerity or, in the case of NZ, Ireland and Greece, reduce taxes, borrow and spend are hitting the skids.

    In a recession, in particular we need more tax and spend to replace the private sector who are sitting on the money.

    The lack of demand and investment from a wary private sector can only be filled by the State.

    Arana is correct about organics however. But the solution to many of our problems is to become less dependent on exports, and cut sending interest and profits offshore. .
    Steeply rising energy costs are going to make international trade less viable in future, anyway.

    No country has ever succeeded long term as a pure commodity exporter.
    Something that the oil producing States are, rightly, very concerned about.

    Talk about ignorant armchair commentators was obviously, “projection”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 (+2)

  30. What is our trade deficit with China, Again Photo.??

    We imported 7.1 billion of useless, short lived, junk so we could sell them 5.6 billion of, mostly, dairy products.

    1.5 billion of compounding debt for the privilege of exporting.
    PLUS. the farming sector went, how much? into debt offshore, so that a few more billions go offshore as loan repayments.

    At the same time we imported 7 billion worth of oil. A lot of which went to farming and trade uses.

    And now the Government want to enter into a trade agreement, with the USA, which gives away our remaining manufacturing, IT and creative industries in return for, wait for it, the possibility! that some time in the future the USA will relax agriculture protections.

    We are getting into an awful lot of debt just to stand still.
    And continue buying junk we don’t need, and paying a lot of money, to prop up farming exports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  31. Breaking the 100 year record for drought once in ten years is not significant.

    Breaking it 3 times in ten years, when previously it was a hundred year event, is!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  32. Arana – The FIRST proof is the result of this drought. The second is the condition of the rivers and streams and lakes and estuaries. The third is the importation of feed from overseas. Most people look at these things and recognize that OUR land isn’t supporting the increased number of cows we’re running.

    1. Some farmers planning poorly for drought conditions
    2. River water quality is an issue, although this cannot entirely be blamed on overstocking but poor practice
    3. They import feed from overseas because they failed to grow their own, if though they could have done so. Many farmers did so.
    4. We are supporting them, else most farms would soon become useless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4 (0)

  33. Breaking the 100 year record for drought once in ten years is not significant.Breaking it 3 times in ten years, when previously it was a hundred year event, is!

    I saw the same model of MG three times today. What are the chances!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 (-1)

  34. Kerry, any debater knows their arguments are hitting home when opponents resort to ad hominems. Most of my opponents use this fallacy.

    Along with the Laffer curve fallacy.

    The Laffer Curve is a simplistic representation of what happens, but the principle holds. Else why bother paying anyone anything? Tax at 100% and have the state redistribute it having churned it.

    You can’t tax your way to prosperity because you’re removing incentives, savings and investment capital, then reducing the pool via administration. If we could, I certainly advocate it.

    If that was true there would have been no economic activity at all in authoritarian States with no private sector.

    aei-ideas.org/2011/12/north-korea-vs-south-korea-a-natural-economic-experiment/nksk/

    Evidence from countries with a big State sector is that the private sector does well also.

    How is Europe doing these days?

    In fact lifts in State spending lift all economic activity.

    Some state spending is essential. The question is “how much”.

    or even print money and spend, economies are getting out of the recession

    No. Australia and NZ are prospering whilst the money printers are deep in the red having also partially destroyed the very thing that will lift them out faster: savings.

    Arana is correct about organics however.

    Damn straight.

    No country has ever succeeded long term as a pure commodity exporter.

    I agree. Curiously, when I’ve suggested our education system be reshaped to encourage engineers, developers and other much needed hgigh skilled IP workers, I’ve been shouted down.

    We don’t become a knowledge based economy just by liking the idea of it. It starts right back when Sam and Sophie start school. We also need deeper capital markets and foreign investment to take the risk on it, which will not come if you raise taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  35. The number of MG’s in the vehicle fleet in NZ.

    Divided by the proportion of the fleet which passes Arana daily..

    The probability of a hundred year weather event happening 3 times in ten years. By chance?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  36. Arana

    SOME is not a hit on the GDP that threatens us with a return to recession.

    The ones who fail to grow their own cannot, as there is a limit to how much grass one can grow in a single paddock which sets the limit for lifestock population in that paddock. Which is exceeded on a regular basis in the “intensive dairying” model. If they COULD they would have, as the importation of feed is an expense they could eliminate which would give them a better bottom line… except that they can “make more money” by importing the feed and running the extra stock. The land suffers as a result… and not just here in New Zealand.

    …and I have no qualms at all about supporting farmers. Just at the extremes of bias towards that sector to which we have committed ourselves. We have unbalanced our economy… quite severely now. The structural imbalance is now so gross that a child of 5 could see it and almost every Kiwi knows it is there.

    That the government has not even a plan after 4 years is an indictment. That the previous government was no better on this issue is no excuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  37. The ones who fail to grow their own cannot

    Cannot or will not? Because I know farmers who were growing trees specifically for this reason.

    Curiously, if we send the message to farmers that we will not bail them out during droughts, then they will grow sufficient feed to self-insure. Those who don’t will lose their farms, which will then be taken over by people who do.

    By bailing them out, you’re encouraging intensification, not tree planting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 (+1)

  38. If the laffer curve was true, Arana. How did the Soviet Union function, at all?

    Giving more capital to the private sector in tax cuts since 1984, has not resulted in greater productive investment. In fact it has halved.
    The private sector since has invested almost entirely into pushing up the prices of existing assets. Almost all our successful businesses still are either State owned or work for the State. Fletchers for example.

    Some of Europe, I. E. Norway is doing well with their sovereign wealth fund, as is Singapore and South Korea with their huge State involvement in business.

    NZ is doing so well, compared with high State spending Australia, Right!

    NZ education is well geared at producing creative people, technicians, engineers and scientists. As the Koreans, Chinese and Jpanese who come here to get their degrees acknowledge.
    Unfortunately the way our economic system rewards people they are better off becoming money shufflers.
    Why do engineering when you can earn more by doing a bullshit MBA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  39. “then reducing the pool via administration.”

    That is a laugh, given the disproportionate amounts private sector administrators are paid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  40. The fact is the private sector has not invested in the sustainable productive industry in NZ that we need.
    They have preferred to put money into financial schemes which we have had to spend even more on bailing out when they fail, and buying land. Pushing prices up way out of proportion to returns. (Which will lead to another failure and bailout from us).

    The only way we are going to get the sort of investment we need in new industry, import replacement, education and sustainability is through taxation and spending. Because sure as hell our millionaires/employers are not doing it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  41. If the laffer curve was true, Arana. How did the Soviet Union function, at all?

    It didn’t.

    Giving more capital to the private sector in tax cuts since 1984, has not resulted in greater productive investment. In fact it has halved. The private sector since has invested almost entirely into pushing up the prices of existing assets. Almost all our successful businesses still are either State owned or work for the State. Fletchers for example.

    It’s the way we’re taxing. If we want to encourage investment in productive companies, then we’re got to incentivise that risk relative to others. The Greens are not far off the ballpark in this respect, which is encouraging. If they resisted picking winners and instead focused on the general framework that encourages investment in these areas, they’d be onto something.

    NZ is doing so well, compared with high State spending Australia, Right!

    I think you mean mining Australia.

    Meanwhile, you’ve got people in this very thread saying prosperity isn’t the aim and we should slash farming revenue. It’s hard to redistribute money you haven’t got.

    NZ education is well geared at producing creative people, technicians, engineers and scientists

    No, we’re well behind. Go to Silicon Valley, spend a few months there, come back and tell me all about it. Silicon Valley does just happen – it requires specific inputs and investment conditions, and we have very few of them.

    As such, we don’t compete. The tragedy is – we could.

    Koreans, Chinese and Jpanese come here because we’re relatively cheap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  42. Arana. There is no way a farmer can grow enough feed to survive a drought on the current model of squeezing every drop of milkfats per acre.

    Even if their level of borrowing allows the extra cost.

    Dairying is a bubble, which will eventually burst. Especially when the EU ends their voluntary restrictions on dairy production, in 2016.

    It is funny that RWNJ’s, I have to give Arana some credit for recognising how much we prop up farming, are OK about the subsidies and support farming requires to be a successful exporter, but expect other export industry, to stand naked in the wind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  43. Kerry asks “The probability of a hundred year weather event happening 3 times in ten years. By chance?”

    You mean like our current “100 year drought” – claimed to be the worst in 30, 40, 50, 60, or 70 years, depending on who you listen to.

    Although for many regions the droughts of 07/08, 00/01, 97/98, 92, 87/88, 82, 76, and 72 were significantly worse than the current one.

    And if you look past the hysteria, you’ll see that scientists are saying that outside of the very worst hit areas, the drought is actually only a 1 in 10 year event.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  44. Arana – Sam and Sophie see their Engineer/Scientist/Tech-Savvy parents struggle to get ahead here while the Real-Estate speculators and banksters rake it in.

    They can EASILY see that working hard and knowing how doesn’t do it, to make serious money you have to cheat, and the feedback I get from my teen-year-old and her mates is SCARY. Much more nihilistic, disillusioned and bitter than I was, even though I was at the front of protests against the Vietnam War. Maybe its the crowd she hangs with, but I don’t remember any such crowd in my days.

    They know.

    They know that this generation is raping THEIR future, the landscape of New Zealand, the planet and the economy… they know that there is to be damned little left for them to work with… and they’re pissed to a degree I remember only a few of my peers achieving. If they hold to that course they’re going to kill the National party when they reach majority… figure about 20 years or so… There won’t be anything left but a smear of grease on the sidewalk.

    If you want people in the professions you have to pay them. You have to have jobs that pay properly when they leave school and you have to reward those who do the hard yards. Right now we horse around with the cost of their education and the payments on their loans and fnck them right, left and center for having the temerity to try to get qualified, finding there isn’t any work that pays in this country and leaving for foreign shores and opportunities.

    We don’t support any sort of manufacturing in THIS country, at all. We could build the Fridges and Freezers here. We could make the tires here. We could make a whole lot of wind generation equipment here. We don’t. We buy foreign wind turbines. We buy foreign fridges. We buy foreign furniture. We buy foreign rugs, clothing and wool products. We buy foreign fncking money to bid up the prices on drafty piles of random sticks we optimistically call houses.. and the foreign bankers encourage us to do that… throwing the money at us.

    …and that is only ONE side of the problem, there’s another. The increasing requirement for qualifications and intelligence to get into those few professional slots… because they aren’t growing in number. The requirements keep multiplying. The intelligence and skills that would have given you a middle class life 30 years ago don’t make it any more… the average person doesn’t stand much of a chance when it takes a +2 sigma IQ and a Masters to be able to do the available work, when computers, AI and machines of various design have taken up the bulk of the simpler work. They have done that, and they will continue to do it. This is somewhat separate from the way the government deals with manufacturing here, because it means that even WITH manufacturing here, we will still have unemployed and fundamentally unemployable people in growing percentages. Willing to work, honest and no longer of any use to an economy based on knowledge and machinery ever more efficient use of resources and energy. Maybe we put ‘em all on exercycles to run power generators (that is NOT serious, my youngest suggested it :-) ).

    The fact is that of the two the first is addressable, I have some sort of plan for it, and the second is not something I can answer. Human society was NEVER structured on any basis that allowed the least capable to just be drones. Even though it is now structured so that many of the talented have decided to become parasites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  45. Arana. There is no way a farmer can grow enough feed to survive a drought on the current model of squeezing every drop of milkfats per acre.

    They can and they do. Many don’t, because they know the taxpayer will underwrite them.

    It is funny that RWNJ’s, I have to give Arana some credit for recognising how much we prop up farming, are OK about the subsidies and support farming requires to be a successful exporter, but expect other export industry, to stand naked in the wind.

    Then you’ve misunderstood my position. There is no place for subsidy in established industry, like farming. I’ll entertain some – to establish new markets – when the market mechanism fails due to risk vs size.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  46. Silicon valley happened, firstly, because of State incentives to locate in California.

    I’m glad you’re using the term “incentives”. Shows we’re not that far apart, really :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  47. They can EASILY see that working hard and knowing how doesn’t do it, to make serious money you have to cheat

    Oh please. Some do, so that means everyone who has serious money cheated?
    I have no love of the finance, property and banking sector, BTW.

    If they hold to that course they’re going to kill the National party when they reach majority

    As most people grow up, they get more vested in society – mortgages, houses, savings – and grow more economicly conservative. They also get a lot less idealistic.

    Some hippies never grow up, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  48. BJ, it’s an interesting topic.

    I suspect we’re on the edge of a major shift when it comes to work. Due to high levels of automation, and lower cost, many types of workers aren’t needed. It’s not like many of these workers can make the shift to high skill occupations as not everyone is intellectually capable.

    Just how society adapts to this will be interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  49. Kerry says “What is our trade deficit with China, Again Photo.??”

    From Stuff news last week ” Exports of milk powder, logs and meat to China continue to rocket, with sales to that country alone up $259 million in February – 49 per cent – compared with the same month last year.

    The total value of all exported goods rose $290m (8 per cent) to $3.9 billion in February 2013, led by rising sales to China, Statistics New Zealand said today.

    As a result, New Zealand ran a trade surplus of more than $400m in February. ”

    Kerry doesn’t like the FTA with China that has led to a $4 billion increase in our exports in just three years (when it took over a decade to increase $1b prior to the FTA).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  50. Forgetting that Australia increased exports to Chinas, by a greater amount, in the same time period, without giving up their own manufacturing, with a FTA.

    How much did our debt and profit owed to offshore increase by in the same period, Photo.

    We are running ever harder just to stand still.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  51. Arana,

    By bailing them out, you’re encouraging intensification, not tree planting.

    Wow, you actually made sense this time. Well done.

    Now, I wonder if we can expect another hundred year event like this within the next hundred years!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  52. They know that this generation is raping THEIR future, the landscape of New Zealand, the planet and the economy…

    Go, BJ!

    Now you’re getting the idea. But it’s not just this generation. It’s been ongoing for several generations. Now, what was it about this civilisation that you wanted to propagate to the rest of the universe?

    At least both you an Arana are on the same ground in recognising that automation (as well as exporting manufacturing to other countries) is making it harder and harder for job seekers. Arana finds the situation “interesting” as this civilisation cares more about wealth generation (for the few) than about people. The result is fewer people able to support themselves and their families, lower paid work, trivial jobs, disillusionment. We’re farther away from a sustainable society than we ever have been. We live in “exciting” times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  53. Actually Tony, Arana, you make a good point that I will be keeping in mind in terms of “bailing out” the farming sector. I was only viewing it as a productive sector we do need to keep alive… but underwriting excessive risk-taking on their part is NOT wise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  54. Wow, you actually made sense this time

    It warms my (black, apparently) heart that you appear to understand incentives and unintended consequences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  55. Oh please. Some do, so that means everyone who has serious money cheated?

    Not what I mean. What I mean is that nobody who has serious money earns it by doing productive work. That is a highly visible phenomenon. They make money by owning houses, renting them out and making the rest of us pay the interest on their mortgages (for instance)… the rorts are highly visible. The balance required between owning and working is not struck because the “fractional-reserve-banking” system is distorted in favor of owners/lenders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  56. Tony… doesn’t matter how stupid, corrupt and dishonest with ourselves we are, this is still “my” species and I have to be in there battling for its continued survival. We can’t evolve or improve unless we survive and remember enough to learn from mistakes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  57. What I mean is that nobody who has serious money earns it by doing productive work.

    Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Larry Elison, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  58. Kerry says “Forgetting that Australia increased exports to Chinas, by a greater amount,in the same time period, without giving up their own manufacturing, with a FTA.”

    Kerry thinks Australia’s 60% increase since late 2008 is more than a New Zealand’s 300% increase.

    Prior to the FTA, our annual exports (in the boom years) to China increased by an average of 11% or $114m per year. On signing the FTA, (and in a recession), our annual exports jumped $1300 million in just one year – more in a single year than the previous decade. And they’ve averaged $1000m annual increase over the last four years.

    Prior to the FTA, for every $1 we exported to China, we imported $3. Our exports have gone up so much that now for every $1 we export, we import just $1.25.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  59. Arana,

    Thanks for the examples of people who made much of their money by not doing productive work. You’re on a roll, for making sense!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 (-1)

  60. Bill Gibbs, Fay, Richwaite, Brierly, Key, Elder, Shipley, Tony Gibson, Mark, Bob Jones, Brash, English, Banks. And far too many others.

    All made money by means that are morally equivalent to breaking into the next door pensioners house and taking the cash from under her bed. The only difference is they stole the money from thousands of us.

    Proving the adage, “steal a hundred get sent to jail, steal millions get a knighthood”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  61. Don’t get it do you, Photo.

    In the last 20 years Photo, Australia’ s exports to China increased at a much faster rate than ours. Without an FTA.

    There is a lot more happened between 2008 and now than the FTA. Steeply rising demand from China compared with that from the rest of the world for example.

    In the mean time. How much has the net cost of trade with China been. You like to ignore the increased debt farming has taken on and the costs of replacing short lived junk, jobs in NZ and other externalizes, but unlike RWNJ’s some of us prefer to look at the whole picture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  62. Photonz – it is a bit disengenuous to run on about a couple of summer month’s surplus in a farm produce based economy that in fact cycles between deficit and surplus annually.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/balance-of-trade

    That said I would accept an assertion that the balance of trade itself (which does not count debt service flowing OUT, our current account sucks and our debt is unlikely to ever be diminished) has been better of late, owing largely to the production and sale of foodstuffs, which we have been destroying the landscape to supply in increasing quantities to the rest of the planet… for money.

    We are destroying our islands for money.

    The price of food is rising… drought and shortage will push it up further… I doubt that in your wildest imaginings you can envision how high it will go relative to other products over the next 50 years. The incentive to self-destruct to produce more becomes ever greater.

    When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money

    That is why we CANNOT simply balance our trade by exporting more. We have to take control over our appetite for external debt and our dependence on foreign banks and our export of the money we bring in, our net is only 92% in that trade, 8% goes back to foreigners now and that is rising.

    If we limit our exports to what we can produce sustainably (shift that per hectare production back down to where the grass feedlots we have are adequate to the herds) we DO limit our income. Yet that income will increase in spite of the limitation. We can only produce what we can produce sustainably.

    This means that the other side, the manufacturing side, has to pick up some slack and we have to consume our own native manufactured goods where that is reasonable. It IS reasonable in a number of sectors. I am sure that the Chinese will not miss the volume of the NZ shirt market or its consumption of chinese made refrigerators.

    Working New Zealanders work harder for less money than most other people in the OECD. There is no shortage of talent, there is a shortage of money to pay that talent. The money flows IN through the agriculture sector, and the farmers are the ones who actually earn a Mercedes Benz.

    Anyone else in this country who is driving one is simply a suspect :-)

    The problem is that there is a limit to what that sector is able to produce. The market fails because it does NOT recognize that environmental limits exist. It can’t admit to them. I want to see economists find a substitute for land, or clean water, or a benign climate… their assumptions are idiocy when confronted with certain aspects of the real world, and they can’t and won’t accept it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  63. Thanks for the examples of people who made much of their money by not doing productive work. You’re on a roll, for making sense!

    You don’t think those people aren’t productive? Steve Jobs, who started in a garage, yet built billion dollar empires in a few decades, wasn’t productive?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  64. There are rogues and scoundrels in every field of endevour, but that doesn’t mean everyone who is wealthy stole it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  65. So. Your definition of productive is how much money someone makes?

    British bankers must have been extremely productive, Then!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 (+4)

  66. Proving the adage, “steal a hundred get sent to jail, steal millions get a knighthood”.

    I prefer Bob Dylan’s version:

    “Steal a little and they through you in jAil, steal a lot and they make you kIng.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  67. BJ says “The price of food is rising… drought and shortage will push it up further… I doubt that in your wildest imaginings you can envision how high it will go relative to other products over the next 50 years. ”

    You are confusing your fantasy nightmare for my “wildest imaginings”.

    Your fatalism knows no bounds.

    For the last half century food production has increased FASTER than population increase.

    See wiki
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Food_production_per_capita_1961-2005.png

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  68. So. Your definition of productive is how much money someone makes?

    There are many ways to measure “productivity”. In this instance, I’m talking about the value of production where the value of output exceeds the value of inputs by significant margin.

    British bankers must have been extremely productive, Then!

    Some will be, but with banking, it’s more an enabler.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  69. Arana,

    You don’t think those people aren’t productive? Steve Jobs, who started in a garage, yet built billion dollar empires in a few decades, wasn’t productive?

    I didn’t say that. I said “much” of their money was not made in this way or was made by exploiting others or by nefarious business practices or by being in the right place at the right time, or whatever. Productivity is part of it, sure, but not the whole. If wealth and productivity are synonyms, in your mind, then I guess they were or are highly productive but I wouldn’t hold them up as saints.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  70. They are not doing anything illegal. If you don’t like the rules of the game, that’s fine, but trying to dismiss the massive productivity he created is disingenuous.

    Jobs had the same things available to him as you do. Actually, a lot less. He was simply a lot better than most people at thinking and doing. As such, he was a highly productive individual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  71. So what’s stopping you being the Steve Jobs of the alt-energy world, Tony? You can make all the excuses under the sun, but it comes down to this:

    You’re not smart enough and you’re not driven enough.

    Don’t like me saying it?

    I would be delighted if you prove me wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  72. I have no problem your saying that, Arana. We aren’t all clever enough or lucky enough to make as much money as Jobs. Some people are tremendously productive but make less in their whole lives than others make in a few hours. It’s not a fair world, I know that, but let’s not elevate some to the position of gods, shall we?

    Actually, for an example of luck, I and a few others had a great idea for an Internet based product. I took a few weeks off and built a working prototype that worked with email, text messages , web and voice. Unfortunately, it was around the time of the dot com bust and we couldn’t raise enough venture capital to get it off the ground. There is still a hole for the type of product that we had but that was another time and I’m not into that sort of thing now. But a couple of years earlier and you might have been placing me on the altar with Jobs.

    No matter, some people are lucky, and smart, others aren’t. That’s the way it goes but wealth doesn’t equal productive or useful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  73. Oh dear! John Key’s caught with his pants well and truly ablaze. His untruths in the House, to the media and to us all were illuminated on tonight’s TV3 News and will be fanned further on CampbellLive at 7:00.
    Come on, Arana and photo – defend your hero (if you dare)tell us he’s not a liar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  74. So, Key suggests a qualified guy apply for a role, and the guy makes it through the selection process, and gets the job.

    And?

    This is a small country. Most major party politicians would know most high level state servants and many business leaders. If he wasn’t qualified, he wouldn’t make it through selection.

    Empty media beat-up by the empty heads at TVNZ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  75. The reason I bring it up, Tony, is it’s the answer to the Greens prayers. It suits me, too.

    NZ doesn’t need that many successful IP industry companies, based here, to change the entire ball game. What is missing is the framework to make it happen. It involves education reform, investment reform, tax reform, and business reform.

    Green’s being reformers, might be in a good position to make it happen, but they need to be a lot smarter. This is not about picking winners, it’s about creating a framework.

    This is the starting point:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  76. Forgive me if I didn’t watch the video, Arana. I saw the title and switched off. “Sustainable economic growth” is an oxymoron. So, as the basic premise (that economic growth is or can be made sustainable) is nonsense, the video would appear to be a waste of time.

    I don’t get too emotional about the nitty gritty of the economy or even of the vast differential between to richest 5% and the rest of us, because there are far more important issues to concern ourselves with, though I realise that you’re totally convinced that those important issues are not issues at all. However, this isn’t an infinite planet in any way, so the reality is quite a bit different from what most people want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  77. Tony, give it a go, then we’ll talk.

    It’s interesting to our discussion because it crosses over a number of points of agreement.

    It reveals why increasing tourism is a complete waste of time, how New Zealand could be desperately poor, and how New Zealand could become clean, green AND pay for every positive social issue you could name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  78. Some guy he knows didn’t get the job? Beltway issue, Greenfly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  79. Key’s lying through his teeth. Credibility issue, Arana.
    Re-election issue, Arana.
    Trust issue, Arana.
    John Campbell’s audience goes waaaaay beyond the beltway.

    Not concerned about the slithering, Arana?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  80. greenfly says “Come on, Arana and photo – defend your hero (if you dare)tell us he’s not a liar.”

    greenfly – if you can contain your excitement for a minute, please tell me if Ian Fletcher is a close friend of Keys as some conspiracy theorists claim, or is he a person Key last saw thirty years ago in the early 80s?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  81. Arana,

    I waded through the video. Oddly, I don’t think he mentioned “sustainable” once, or maybe once, so I’m not sure why he thought his idea was sustainble. He also appears to believe that New Zealand can exist in a bubble – just increase weird knowledge industries (that magically produce no waste, pollution or greenhouse gases) and the world will be a better place. Oh, wait, not the world, just New Zealand, which will live in a bubble and import everything through some kind of air-lock, I suppose, exporting our weird knowledge in bits and bytes.

    About the only thing I agreed on, but for different reasons, was that we shouldn’t try to increase our tourism industry.

    Maybe “we’re poor because we choose to be” isn’t really that bad.

    Oh, and like you, he seems to equate wealth to productivity. A waste of 20 minutes, I’m afraid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  82. Arana – Jobs was in California, not in New Zealand. If he had been here there wouldn’t have been an Apple II because he wouldn’t have had a Wozniak to work with, and then there wouldn’t have been a Mac because there wouldn’t have been a base to build on, and so no iPhone. The advantage that goes with being in the right place at the right time is important.

    You remember Wozniak? This is one part of the deal… critical mass.

    Ideas like neutrons in a nuclear reaction, do not produce meaningful power unless there are enough sources of them to give a chain reaction.

    … and for every Jobs there are hundreds and even thousands of brilliant, driven humans who work their butts off to get their ideas into the market and fail because it isn’t just work, or drive, or smarts…. it is also luck.

    It is MOSTLY luck for people who get that level of success as engineer-inventors. Mostly luck and the bulk of the population of people who will try aren’t skilled enough in the first place, or they have their ideas stolen, or they don’t have the business instincts to go with their inventive talents… or they are too honest.

    Jobs made a fortune. Gates. Ellison. Now look at the number of people who made similar amounts of money but didn’t actually give us anything but broken promises and bigger debts… people on Wall Street… people working at Hedge Fund Central… you can take that same comparison down the income ladder and it still holds. Jobs was an EXCEPTION.

    A really good engineer/scientist is worth 100-120K, that’s it. No more and the poor guy pays tax on every dime. A CEO who loses his company money is worth millions. A Real-Estate “wizard” the same. The guy who has 3-4 rental properties, a big debt and a half decent job doesn’t pay ANY tax, deducts the interest on the mortgages and gets Capital Gains on the houses. HE pulls down $400-500k perhaps at the end (not per year), untaxed. The “owners” pay LESS tax. Working for a living is for SUCKERS.

    But where was I going with this. Apart from trying to pry you loose of the notion that it is all about intelligence and “drive”. Gawd what a mistake that is. No mistake that unless there are those things there will be no success, but wrong to leave out good fortune when attributing cause to fortune… and even MORE wrong to take an EXCEPTION as the rule.

    The ones who steal from us all and the best liars are the wealthiest and most powerful among us. People who actually produce something are not well represented in that population. True that not EVERYONE who is wealthy stole it, but the exceptions are not the rule.

    New Zealand needs only a couple of things to get straight.

    Sanity in housing – which is going to take a miracle or a madman to fix, because a lot of people are going to be desperately unhappy to see it fixed – and their free ride ended.

    Sanity in monetary policy. Another job for someone with no fear at all, because that one makes the banksters unhappy. Ending the Fractional Reserve banking system wants the efforts of a couple of superheroes, or a decree from God.

    Acknowledgement that as an island far from everything and everyone we have to manufacture enough of the things we use to make import of the things we don’t manufacture possible with a current-account surplus.

    That is how we “rebalance” the economy. It isn’t done by selling assets at prices far lower than their actual value to us. It isn’t done by raping the land… and it isn’t done by taxing the middle class more than the wealthy. Those are the rules we have now and they aren’t working.

    ++++++++++

    What we could we make? Not necessarily what we can use to gain export advantage but what can we make here…

    Bicycles – Aluminium fabrication
    Disk Drives – Something we COULD export, low mass, Aluminium
    Furniture – Why ship logs and import furniture? Hello Ikea?
    Microchips – Something we COULD export, low mass, high tech…
    Pharmaceuticals – Why must we import drugs here?
    Rail Cars – Stupid to ship from overseas, manual processes
    Tractors and Farm Equipment – ditto
    Whiteware – F&P was breaking even until we lost control of the $
    Wind Turbines – WE have an INTERNAL market of no small size.
    Wool clothing & Rugs
    .
    .
    .

    Those are some of the things to MAKE here, not necessarily for profit, but in some cases to avoid loss. We can’t make iPhones, flat-screens and automobiles (well maybe Aluminium Automobiles) efficiently enough to be worth even trying, but we can make a raft of other stuff if WE rather than foreign bankers, control our currency

    I had a talk with Sir Paul once. He understood about Fractional Reserve and controlling OUR money, that money is “work done”, and I rather like him and his ideas, but he is missing a couple of things.

    He’s right… we CAN alter our economy in unique ways BECAUSE we are isolated. We can fix this country… and not the way National is trying to do things, which will break it further, and not the way Labour did things which was scarcely better.

    However, I am not in mind to make NZ a massively “prosperous” country through export. That is wealth transfer -MONEY- and when the real stuff moves from place to place it has implications that aren’t so obvious and are rather more ominous. Tony understands this better than most visitors, possibly too well :-)

    Prosperity through export is a TEMPORARY thing, and one we’d best not be planning to maintain more than fifty years… not unless the rest of the world gets a LOT better at producing green energy and controlling population, than it is now. That’s a longer view than Sir Paul is using, for the next 50 years his course looks to be viable. However, an economy based on export WILL crash with the rest of the world… and the rest of the world WILL crash.

    There is no moat around a niche in the market. They remain viable right up until someone in a larger economy decides to occupy the niche. At which point their advantages of proximity to market prevail and your company is screwed. Which means (in a nutshell) that we have to develop even more “niche manufacturing successes” to keep ahead of the attrition due to foreign opportunism.

    For a niche manufacturer to really succeed there has to be enough of a manufacturing base around it to make raw materials suppliers keen to keep some inventory rather than running up a batch of “whatever-it-is” just for it… and having to keep excess stock in house in order to meet demands in a timely way… and a larger pool of diverse skills around able to be drawn on. Those guys all went to Australia… What we have here are a bunch of Jobs without their Wozniaks and vice-versa. Isolated niches of capability… sub-critical mass… who note their isolation and leave.

    Hell, why people gather together in cities is related to this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  83. Photo – Key phoned Fletcher (“Oh, I had his number”) about the Very High Profile job but ‘forgot’ he’d done so when asked in the House.
    You’d believe anything.
    Anything.
    Key loves your sort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  84. Guys… the Key vs Reality show has even less to do with the government taking the lead on climate than the economic argument. ‘Struth… we must ALL be flogged… Bring on the wet noodles !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  85. Don’t forget Apple, or if not them the many US patent trolls, would sue the pants off anyone who does anything similar.

    Like anyone who tries to market a cell phone with rounded corners. :-(

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  86. We can be both more sustainable and have a decent life for everyone.
    If income was distributed more fairly, the economy was changed away from the infinite growth requirement, and we keep away from destroying our economy and environment to pay for endless imports of unnecessary junk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  87. BJ,

    what can we make here…

    Bicycles – Aluminium fabrication
    Disk Drives – Something we COULD export, low mass, Aluminium

    problem with fabricating in aluminium in New Zealand is that we dont have the bauxite raw material to create aluminium nor the rolling mills to create plate and sheet stock.

    Companies own extrusion presses, casting foundries, etc. but we as a nation don’t have a company with a rolling mill. Without which you cannot produce aluminium billet stock.

    Would not like to see even a bicycle crank made from extruded pipe or bar. For some things (eg. cranks, wheel hubs) you simply need plate billet stock.

    I would actually go the next step and forget about aluminium smelting (for that is the only capacity New Zealand has) and instead, (facilitated by the state) invite the setup of a carbon fibre manufacturing plant to utilise the Manapouri electricity (and retain the jobs in Southland).

    Reason for a glut of aluminium is the explosion of carbon fibre use.

    Making carbon spars now out off a matrix consisting S glass, low modulus carbon and high modulus carbon that out performs and outlasts aluminium.

    All we need is some research and development into locally produced epoxy resin equivalents, and you have a fully fledged industry that is not reliant on imported raw materials or expensive rolling mills.

    Great thing about carbon fibre is that it is low tech to fabricate high tech products.

    Simple large diameter steel pipes with flanges, some steam pipes wrapped around the outside fed by a wood burning boiler, a vacuum pump (human or animal powered is possible) and you have an autoclave. Very low energy and minimal impact on the environment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  88. The research into resin, and fibre equivalents is happening now, in the Waikato Uni engineering dept.

    NZ lead the world in marine composite engineering, until the main company, and patents, were sold to the USA.

    Car bodies of vegetable based resin and flax fibre, anyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  89. Those who say, “we cannot make cars” are thinking of cars like we have at present.

    No-one will be mass producing them for too much longer. they are too resource hungry. both in manufacture and running.

    Future cars will resemble golf carts, or bicycles with roofs. Built with organic composites. With printed parts.
    Well within our capabilities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 (+2)

  90. Water storage, water storage, water storage. It’s all you read about in every farming rag. This drought and the NIWA predictions of more to come mean we have to dam every where, as fast as we can. It’s for the prosperous future we all deserve!!!! So what if taxpayer money goes into building dams that benefit farmers? Prosperity is shared by all!! Oink!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 (+1)

  91. John Campbell’s audience goes waaaaay beyond the beltway.

    Campbell is talking to Labour and Green supporters. That’s why the polls don’t move as a result of his so-called “scandals” – he’s preaching to the choir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 (-2)

  92. Maybe “we’re poor because we choose to be” isn’t really that bad.

    I don’t accept that economic growth equals destruction of the earth. In fact, technology brings greater efficiency, it’s certainly not the problem.

    We once cut down entire forests to keep a village warm for the winter. We now run some water over a dam and power cities forever. In the UK, woodland forest cover is the highest it has been in 250 years:

    telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/8039667/Forest-levels-booming-as-UK-woodland-returns-to-highest-level-in-more-than-250-years.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 (-1)

  93. Arana – Jobs was in California, not in New Zealand. If he had been here there wouldn’t have been an Apple II because he wouldn’t have had a Wozniak to work with, and then there wouldn’t have been a Mac because there wouldn’t have been a base to build on, and so no iPhone. The advantage that goes with being in the right place at the right time is important.

    Yes, but why was that? They had a framework that enabled it.

    No reason we can’t do likewise. We can’t just expect seeds to grow because we think “it’s a nice idea”. We need to position the garden correctly, prepare the soil, ensure we have great gardeners, and then nurture the young sprouts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  94. A really good engineer/scientist is worth 100-120K, that’s it. No more and the poor guy pays tax on every dime.

    Watch the video. They’re “worth” millions. What they often get paid is a different question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  95. invite the setup of a carbon fibre manufacturing plant to utilise the Manapouri electricity (and retain the jobs in Southland).

    That is an excellent idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  96. Those who say, “we cannot make cars” are thinking of cars like we have at present.

    Yep, we can definitely make cars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  97. Arana,

    I don’t accept that economic growth equals destruction of the earth. In fact, technology brings greater efficiency, it’s certainly not the problem.

    I realise that you believe in infinite growth on a finite planet but that is hardly the reality. Of course technology can lead to efficiencies but when everyone wants a piece of it, it still leads to environmental destruction.

    We once cut down entire forests to keep a village warm for the winter. We now run some water over a dam and power cities forever. In the UK, woodland forest cover is the highest it has been in 250 years

    Dams degrade the environment; they destroy habitat. And they don’t last for ever. The story about increased woodland in the UK talks about its being due to increased ventures in forestry. I.e. it is not old-growth forest and is not intended to be. There is no restoration of environment in forests that are intended to be cut down within a few decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  98. Gerrit

    I am happy to get bauxite from Oz and turn it into a finished good here. Al is an energy intensive material. As Arana notes regarding the Engineers, it isn’t what we pay, it is what it is worth. The tip of the Washington Monument is made of Aluminium. Before energy was cheap and the processes developed it was a fairly precious material.

    Damned good notion putting together a Carbon Fiber manufacturing setup down there… and yes that is another thing we can make.

    Arana – If you want a framework that enables it you have to have some sort of manufacturing/industry/production of something besides milk to start with. That’s what they had in Silicon Valley, it wasn’t just Jobs…. as you note, it is an environment we’d have to create on purpose.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_Valley

    Note the huge influence of Stanford University in this development, and the military contracts and money supplying it… but beware

    Silicon Valley is the only place on Earth not trying to figure out how to become Silicon Valley. ~Robert Metcalfe

    __________________________________

    I don’t accept that economic growth equals destruction of the earth. In fact, technology brings greater efficiency, it’s certainly not the problem.

    Economic growth isn’t the same as technology. They are two very DIFFERENT things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  99. I realise that you believe in infinite growth on a finite planet but that is hardly the reality. Of course technology can lead to efficiencies but when everyone wants a piece of it, it still leads to environmental destruction.

    We have a finite planet, but that does not mean economic growth cannot be maintained. That’s only true if economic growth is coupled with increased scarce resource use that can’t be substituted.

    I’ve demonstrated how technology (a dam) leads to more trees, not less. It also supports greater economic prosperity, not less. The fact that a dam may change one habitat is irrelevant. It means another habitat i.e. any area that would otherwise be cut down for trees – is more plentiful than it would otherwise be.

    You argument is based on a false assumption. The truth is we can have economic growth and use fewer resources by being more efficient. We use technology to do so.

    You may choose not to be more efficient and poorer, but that is not something that appeals to me, nor does it appeal to most New Zealanders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 (-1)

  100. A dam lasts as long as it is designed and maintained to last. If sediment builds up one can remove it. The whole thing can be rebuilt if necessary. It is one of the few ways to get good quality energy that does not emit CO2, and we have to replace all the CO2 emitting energy sources BESIDES any demand growth due to shifting transport loads to electricity.

    Far from destroying and degrading the environment they are beneficial in the larger context… and you can water ski behind them :-)

    This is an argument we’ve had before. The reflexive opposition to new water power projects is one of the LEAST endearing “features” of environmental movement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  101. The dams in question (for water storage) and dams for electricity production are very different things, Monsieur LeChip.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  102. Fly… I haven’t noticed a lot of differentiation from either the party or the movement. I see Hydro not being COUNTED by several environmental organizations, when renewable power is discussed. Which is something I view with disgust.

    That said, you are correct, there are different reasons to have dams… water storage is a valid reason as well, but it has different excuses. My world is one in which things ultimately get arranged for the convenience of my species… that’s what engineers do. The only question is the degree to which that arrangement has long term costs due to changes in the balance with other species.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  103. Arana,

    We have a finite planet, but that does not mean economic growth cannot be maintained. That’s only true if economic growth is coupled with increased scarce resource use that can’t be substituted.

    Hah, so you think it’s possible to have economic growth without the resources it depends on not becoming scarce (nor, presumably, the extraction of those resources causing ANY environmental issues). I’m afraid that you’ll have a hard job justifying such a statement unless the whole world grows economically by simply talking to each other (sharing knowledge). Meanwhile, back in the real world …

    Of course technology can increase efficiency but but whether it does or not and how that efficiency is utilised are different issues. I’m afraid you’re living in a dream world. None of your assumptions has been proven and aren’t supported by historical data. It’s simply not possible to sustain economic growth on a finite planet. It’s physics.

    BJ,

    Dams harm the environment. As I’ve said many times, we should first figure out how to live without harming the environment (hint: it will require a lot less energy) and then figure out the best way to obtain that energy (probably primarily by eating sustainably grown food). If we had to dam a few rivers with a one-off environmental cost, then that’s fine but I’d rather we looked at the problem in reverse (lower the energy requirement first and then work out how to obtain that energy, rather than trying to maintain the energy level by other means).

    My world is one in which things ultimately get arranged for the convenience of my species…

    That’s fine, so long as you understand that we need a biodiversity of species, so, ultimately, the world needs to be “arranged” for the convenience of multiple species.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  104. A nice deversity of opinion but mainly Arana vs The Rest. So this comment is to (where are the facts) Arana and the rest of the “climate change not caused by mankind” pack. Lets just lay out some common sense (facts) here:
    Best estimate -(scientific) age of the earth 4.55 billion years
    Fossil fuel created in the Carboniferous period 360 to 286 million years ago – so approx lets say carbon accumulation over 60 mill years about 300 million years ago.
    Lets be generous and say the industrial society started 2500 years ago when they seriouly started cutting down timber to make charcoal in the Indus valley and elsewere.
    so for 2500 years humans have been both destroying vegitation and forestry and at the same time and increasingly digging coal and sucking out oil and gas and buring it in increasing volumes. I cannot find the source but I recently read that in the last decade the world had consumed as much fossil fuel as had been consumed in the last 1000 years.
    So, OK lets be generous and say that so far in the last 2500 years we have consumed just 25% of the carbon that was sequestered in the carboniferous period.
    Calculation – A quarter of the period of carbon sequestration from the carboniferous period is 15 million years verses 2500 years of consumption and release of that CO2 into the earths atmosphere. ….Um, just a tad difference. Would there would be a build up of atmospheric CO2 in the last 1000 years? Do you need a calculator or are you just stupid?
    Can earth and her atmosphere handle it – well of course, BUT some major adjustments in earth’s systems are required -and we are starting to see them and one (major) consequence of several of those adjustment is climate change. It doesn’t need science to work out; it just need a little knowledge and some common sense.
    So now we have a (pretty factual) basis for a strategy for the future of NZ farming – which has been as plain as the nose on your face to many farmers for some years now – one needs to manage operationally for drought – just as a few smart Aussie farmers have found. Do we all need to pay? The market will see to that won’t it. When supplies are short we will pay more so why should the government get involved in supply side subsidies?
    But, in the longer term, the question is; will the Kiwi farming (management) style maintain its world pastoral efficiency (superiority) or not? Indeed, will there even be a place for pastoral farming with climate change?
    Its my view that a) NZ Farmers need to take a leaf out of Aussie farmers books and adjust their farming style and plan for managing their stock through regular droughts – hopefully without the need for the importation of palm kernal and the like and b) we need to stop selling the land to foreigners who have no skill in either using it or interest in its preservation. – I am happy for them to lease it and profit from the proceeds of the production and we all know they can’t export the land itsself, but I feel that only resident Kiwis have and can have the knowledge, skill and experience of the land and local climate, needed to maximixe sustainable production. We need to retain full control (ie ownership) of our land to do this. Kiwis are in the best place to manage the land for what ever mother nature serves us n the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>