Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start

On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change. Frankly, the events were a bit of a shambles. The Government officials clearly weren’t expecting […]

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The high costs of weak environmental regulation

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment. At times toxic algal blooms make it unsafe to swim in and a danger to […]

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Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now

Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be done by establishing a sovereign wealth fund, he said. The Australian Government is now facing […]

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Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees

This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as overtly destructive as its gets. A number of remote communities threatened with closure are, perhaps […]

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Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it is being unduly restrictive by limiting submissions on the Long Term Plan to the traditional […]

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‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity related diseases

Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from Australia, using both education and community and local government involvement. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health […]

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Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders

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The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day on 21 May. The book authored by Marie Brown, Theo Stephens, Raewyn Peart and Bevis […]

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The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?

Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism. So when Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced a high level review of CYF last […]

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Return to Sender

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” as Benjamin Franklin is said to have said. For purveyors of funeral caskets, the truth of this makes for a reliable, recession-proof market. It also makes for pretty a lethargic attitude toward innovation – the caskets your great-grandparents were buried in […]

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Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer

At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides malathion and diazinon, both used in New Zealand. All three will be even more dangerous […]

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