Havelock North outbreak – what might have caused it

Tukituki River.
Credit: Ulrich Lange, Dunedin, New Zealand - Wikimedia Commons

The cause of the contamination in Havelock’s water remains unclear. It has been established that bacterial contamination from a ruminant animal (cow, deer, or sheep) resulted in people becoming ill. We also know heavy rain and surface flooding occurred just before the outbreak, and prior to that warm and dry conditions had caused cracks to form […]

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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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The Government’s fresh water reforms aren’t so fresh after all

Last weekend the Government put out a consultation document on cleaning up freshwater called Next Steps for Fresh Water. it has have to look like it’s doing something big, because we are now at a crisis point with water quality. However we are disappointed in the plans, which lack some fundamental and essential commitments to […]

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Indigenous action strong despite weak Paris climate agreement

In my maiden speech to Parliament I said that affirming indigenous rights and supporting our traditional wisdoms is ESSENTIAL to combatting climate change. With the signing of the Paris climate agreement I am surer of that than ever. Around the world indigenous people are at the forefront of the fight to shut down dangerous fossil […]

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The Old Economy is over, but National hasn’t got the memo

There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]

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London Climate March

Over the weekend, Green MP Julie Anne Genter took to the streets of London for the People’s Climate March. She was joined by over 100,000 people, including actress Emma Thompson. Talking proportional representation with THE Emma Thompson at #London#ClimateMarch today. We need more democracy! pic.twitter.com/089tvKeOPm — Julie Anne Genter (@JulieAnneGenter) November 29, 2015 Check out […]

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People Surge: the Philippines’ Climate Survivors

Yesterday I had the great privilege of hosting Efleda Bautista from People Surge at Parliament. People Surge is a group of 2o,ooo people who are survivors or supporters of communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. For Efleda and her communities, climate change is a daily threat as the consequences of this devastating event continue to impact […]

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Environment misses out under National’s science investment strategy

Environmental research continues to be the poor cousin in the Government’s National Science Investment Strategy (NSIS) receiving the least of the five major science sectors in 2014 with no commitment to increase future funding for the sector; in contrast with all the other major research sectors. The NSIS promises increased spending on research in manufacturing, […]

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Holding onto Pacific Culture and Language?

The Minister for Pacific Affairs is supporting the value of Tuvalu’s language and culture this week – but in words, not deeds. Despite Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga stating he’s “committed to creating opportunities to share and promote Pacific cultures,” the value of Pacific heritage is consistently being undermined. A single celebratory week does little to […]

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Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch

The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the people said. Hundreds came and people were still wanting to speak two hours later when […]

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Genetically engineered trees are an international concern

Recently, the Brazilian government was asked to approve commercial plantations of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. Worldwide protests were held to pressure the Brazilian government to turn them down, including here in Wellington. I went with protestors to the Brazillian Embassy to raise our concerns, and was graciously invited into the Ambassador’s office (pictured above). I […]

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Councils need to better protect our drinking water

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to the proposed Land and Water Plan and I popped along to listen. Variation 1 covers […]

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Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for Fresh Water: New Initiatives Fund. This was “to address the problem of poor freshwater quality […]

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The Waitaki River needs our help

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing a major change to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan. This change would reduce the river’s minimum flow by a third (from 150 to 102 cubic meters per second) for periods over the summer. A lower minimum flow risks even poorer water quality, more didymo infestation, increased predation of braided riverbed birds nesting […]

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Silver Fern Farms fails the Waimakariri River

[UPDATED] Silver Fern Farms Ltd’s recent application to Environment Canterbury to discharge treated meatworks waste(3500 cubic meters per day) including fat and faecal matter into the Waimakariri River highlights why we need change of Government . We need the stronger national bottomlines for water quality and a network of protected rivers as the Green Party […]

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