Coromandel rallies against the TPPA

  On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). I went down to Waihi expecting a handful of people but in fact there were 50 locals, many of […]

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Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large increases in cow numbers are resulting in excess nitrogen and thus pollution in water ways. […]

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Smarter thinking, not bigger thinking, needed to manage our water resources

Right now there is a perfect storm for some farmers, but no rain. Drought and commodity prices are hitting hard and creating stress. This is not a new experience, but if drought in particular becomes the new normal, pressure on water resources will increase. It is a challenge to everyone but particularly in Canterbury and […]

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Dirty dairying: more cows at the expense of clean water

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Last week, another dairy farmer, this time in Taranaki, was fined $66,000 for recidivist water pollution when he discharged cow effluent into groundwater and a stream. The judge said the farmer’s offending was “wilful, blind and his attitude was negligent in the extreme”. Despite Federated Farmers saying this was terribly unusual, this farmer is not […]

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Miners oppose my rivers clean up Bill

Last week the Local Government and Environment Select Committee started hearings on my Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill. Most of the submissions support the Bill because it will clean up rivers and provide certainty, however not the mining industry. The mining and petroleum industries submitted against the Bill […]

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Christchurch schools – proposals or promises?

At the schools rally in Christchurch on Tuesday, Board Members and parents were talking about the promise broken by the Minister of Education. A number of schools such as Central New Brighton and Branston Intermediate had been clearly told they would have until the end of 2014 to prepare for merger or closure. The announcement […]

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Good, bad, and ugly: Exide to close

I feel quite conflicted about the announcement that Exide will close its controversial battery recycling facility in Petone next month because the Government is exporting lead batteries overseas and depriving them of business. On the one hand, the plant has a shocking history of resource consent breaches, dangerous waste disposal, and toxic pollution. It’s located […]

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Will Alasdair Thompson’s “damage control” help close the gender pay gap?

A Green-friendly employer and EMA member just sent me this (recipient details removed). I presume it has been sent to all EMA member employers today: If Alasdair Thompson has really had the epiphany he proclaims after a day to cogitate on the reaction to his outrageous comments, then perhaps he might like to reconsider the […]

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National Standards – fake it till you make it?

Some school principals have revealed that they are getting some interesting advice from the Ministry of Education about how to incorporate the National Standards into their school charters. The suggestion that they should essentially fake it – by inserting the words “national standards” into their charters, even if they are not actively using them – […]

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Quality public education – a public good

I spent the weekend at the Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC) Conference in Auckland. This conference had the strongest turn out of people from every level of the public education sector since I have been attending. There were powerful presentations from people active in early childhood issues, the compulsory sector and the tertiary sector. Everyone […]

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