Gareth Hughes: Budget 2016 – Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger

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This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once upon a time in our history they were events, where everyone tuned-in to hear how […]

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Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt I

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I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals to not just double New Zealand’s intake of refugees, but also double the funding we allocate to help them settle into life in New Zealand. The Government has signalled that it’s been thinking about the refugee quota, and the Budget would be an ideal time to announce that it’s prepared to invest a bit more so New Zealand can take a step towards doing its fair share to help the global refugee crisis.

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Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto

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New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system so we have a single provider, a monopoly called Transpower, which is meant to be […]

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Mega media merger is bad news

Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips paper” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Australian media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their New Zealand businesses (NZME. and Fairfax NZ) which could lead to what’s being […]

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RMA changes restrict public’s right to have a say

Restricting public participation under the RMA as the  Resource Legislation Bill proposes will limit the ability of individuals and organisations to speak out for nature  and protect areas such as the Denniston Plateau from coal mining and limit the ability of councils to consider the information submissions provide

The National Government’s Resource Legislation Bill has been described as making the most fundamental changes to the RMA since it was passed in 1991. It’s a complicated and technical bill which makes 40 changes to six different Acts, including the RMA. Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the original architect of the RMA has identified, “at least three […]

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Peering through the Huntly coal smokescreen

Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of renewable electricity. Was it ignorance or a smokescreen? Responding to Genesis Energy’s decision to backtrack […]

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Fonterra sticks with high pollution goal of increasing milk supply

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This week’s reported comments by Fonterra chair John Wilson that dairy “volumes were only going to keep increasing”  are troubling. Mr Wilson was supporting a potential renegotiation of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Under the FTA dairy products such as whole milk powder attract higher tariffs when volume thresholds are reached, often early in […]

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If your head’s in the sand, watch out for the rising tide

Melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet mean we need to move now to prepare for rising seas

Photo credit: Christopher Michel https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Old habits die hard. National’s knee-jerk response to experts who are forecasting unprecedented sea level rise caused by climate change has been to deny it’s a problem New Zealanders should be concerned about. Finance Minister Bill English said the National Government won’t be looking into this risk any time soon as “it’s a bit speculative” […]

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Milk and coal in South Canterbury

This week, Fonterra’s application to expand its milk-drying factory and burn more coal at Studholme, in South Canterbury, is being put to the test. The local council is considering the application and hearing from people who’ve asked to make submissions. It might come as a surprise to many people that Fonterra is one of New […]

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Trillion dollars wasted on coal

Huntly Power station - New Zealand's last big coal-fired power plant

If you had a trillion dollars to spend on energy, would you invest it in burning coal for electricity? Well that’s exactly what is slated to happen internationally, according to a new report. The report, published by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm, explains that coal-generating capacity equal to 1,500 coal plants is either in […]

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