Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

628 Responses

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  • Warren Clark,

    The one thing this government seems to be unable of grasping is that there are some things that are more important then money. The environment is one of those things,

    In the Lower Hutt. • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Sacha,

    People do respond to announced intent, not just implementation - even lawyers.

    Announced intent seems the only notable difference between the previous and current governments, implementation being quite indistinguishable.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Sacha,

    You think that's bad? Russell's reply gave me a Greg Johnson earworm.

    I've got it now too, love it; Ballgowns & Small Towns... if anyone knows Greg, please tell him he should include Sydney in his 20th anniversary tour!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Announced intent seems the only notable difference between the previous and current governments, implementation being quite indistinguishable

    I will charitably presume you have not been paying attention. ETS changes alone have already skewed environmental impacts over the last few years.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Paul Williams,

    I’ve got it now too, love it; Ballgowns & Small Towns… if anyone knows Greg, please tell him he should include Sydney in his 20th anniversary tour!

    I heard the preview of this on the radio this morning and thought I'd love to go along. Sunday afternoon at the Paddington in Parnell, with Mr Crooner. I can think of worse ways to spend a lazy Sunday.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to James Butler,

    NOOOOO I'm never going to be able to get rid of that Isabelle earworm.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I know of no change to our environmental regulations under the current government that would make it easier for, for example, our agricultural sector to be more polluting of lowland waterways

    Besides abolishing democracy in Canterbury specifically to give farmers a free run contrary to the will of the voters?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    I’d be happy with the PM responding to the original BBC interview by saying “yeah, it’s a marketing thing, obviously we’re not 100% pure, we do have some serious issues

    Instead he had the gall to dismiss Dr Joy's data and merely one scientist's opinion and he could find other opinions if he wanted them.

    The problem of course is that data is different from opinion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Graeme -- how about the installation of commissioners at ECan primarily to increase water allocation? That's a change that has had negative implications for water quality and usage.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Many years ago friends of a friend from Belgium were visiting NZ. I told my friend to put his friends in touch with me if they were passing through Wellington, where I was trying to find a job. I showed them around for a couple of days. They wanted to try a local brew, so I took them to a pub and ordered them Speights. They said, "Wow, this is good stuff! But then again, we have just spent a month in Australia..." Then they said, "Y'know, this clean, green 100% pure thing is bullshit. If you guys had anything like Belgium's population density and still treated your environment the way you do, NZ would be a toxic waste dump". And all I could do is agree.

    I'm pretty sure I've told that story a gazillion times already, but what the hell, it shows an aspect of this issue that the government and all those hating on Dr Joy are willfully ignoring: Tourists ain't stupid. Or blind. They get to New Zealand, look around, and compare the reality they experience with the cowshit marketing they were fed back home. Then they tell their friends and families. Marketing fail.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2152 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Warren Clark,

    Exactly. We do not internalise our environmental costs, our 'externalities' and I’m not sure any nation does successfully, Germany and Sweden perhaps?

    Leading up to Mike Joy’s work and comments now, some excellent, strongly-backed research and findings going back to Morgan William’s days as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (and other sources e.g. the Business Council for Sustainable Development) invariably end up on the shelf gathering dust. Often they were hard hitting but even Labour took PCE reports with a grain of salt. Look how David Parker back-tracked in 2005 away from the proposed carbon tax. Too much of an imposition on business, as it is now. It was arguably a much better bet than the lousy diluted emissions trading scheme we have now but we’ll never know. As Sir Nicholas Stern has said (for climate change, but could be applied to range of environmental problems), the cost of doing nothing (20% above annual GDP) is going to exceed the cost of doing something (5% of annual GDP ), something now.

    Lincoln University’s public perception of the environment survey shows that management of farm effluent and runoff are perceived to be the least well managed of the environmental problems investigated (in their survey – covering all natural resources). The electorate does appear to notice (a random off the electoral roll audience) but are not challenging the government over it.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Sacha,

    I will charitably presume you have not been paying attention. ETS changes alone have already skewed environmental impacts over the last few years.

    Labour ennacted the ETS in late 2008 for phased implementation, but then lost office before any implementation took place.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    It was arguably a much better bet than the lousy diluted emissions trading scheme we have now

    I’d put a $ on it :) The ETS looks like an orphan child of ‘markets will always find the best solution to anything’ (tragically died in 2008, not missed :)) Let’s hope it gets scrapped for a carbon tax. It’s been ruinous for a lot of small forestry people.
    Re: Joy- “treachery” is an especially ugly word. NZ Inc is a bad enough idea just on economic, social and environmental terms, without strident nationalism.
    Saunders-Unsworth: 100% Eye of Mordor :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Claire Browning slams NZ's environmental story on pundit.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Warren Clark,

    …there are some things that are more important than money

    Can we make teeshirts of that and send them to every Parliamentarian…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5060 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Warren Clark,

    there are some things that are more important then money

    Sweet, where can I buy them?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I cannot see this this announcement can have caused dirty rivers.

    Others have mentioned ECan already, so I won't, but how about National's refusal to impose strict water quality standards for councils in the last term?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    Sweet, where can I buy them?

    most African villages (just ask Madonna)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Which was mangled in the editorial thus:

    So he never said to the Times that we were in the "bottom half of countries when it comes to green and clean" but he did say it to the Herald? Because, as you point out, he is a scientist and evidence is required. I haven't seen the evidence that puts us in the bottom half of countries on this stuff?

    Note that I fully support his calling out of our deficiencies and think the responses from the Unsworths, Keys, and that editorial are pigheaded and missing the point. But Joy has made a quantitative claim that I can't see being supported?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood,

    Pardon the exaggeration, but I'm beginning to think this stuff might be the Springbok Tour or No Nukes moment for this age. There's an aspect of the hideous treatment of our "natural environment", which so strongly defines our view of ourselves that is being viewed as a disgusting travesty by a lot of regular types who otherwise can't form a coherent argument around child abuse, bloody cyclists, binge drinking and the Asian invasion, and if the comments under that Herald editorial are anything to go by, there are a lot of "middle-class New Zealanders" who are actually, genuinely pretty pissed off by this shooting of yet another messenger. The comments are a straw (man) poll, yes, but given the state of the usual collection of bile and vomit that collects in that arena, I'm given to wondering if the kraken of Regular Kiwis might've been woken. Now, where's my motorcycle helmet?

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 76 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    I haven’t seen the evidence that puts us in the bottom half of countries on this stuff?

    I'm too tired to dig it out now, but I think he was referring to the PLoS study, which, as Mike points out earlier in comments, should not be read without caveats.

    FWIW, I think serious critiques of what Joy says when journalists call him (I gather he doesn't generally approach the media) are a good and valuable thing. Calling him a traitor or declaring that he shouldn't frighten the markets isn't. It's precisely the wrong kind of criticism.

    Also, Fran O'Sullivan has denied writing the Herald editorial. I'm not surprised by that. It has much more of the John Roughan but what if the experts are wrong? vibe about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It has much more of the John Roughan but what if the experts are wrong? vibe about it.

    I haven't read it, but the quotes in here immediately made me think of Roughan. He's so thoroughly anti-progress, anti-urban, anti-environment in his witterings about public transport and roads that he would be the perfect hatchet man to call for the execution of the messenger on this topic.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Also taken from the NYT story:

    In 2008, New Zealand ranked first among 146 countries in Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index , which ranks countries on the quality of their environmental policies. The report compares international data on criteria like habitat loss, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and protected marine areas.

    In 2012, however, the country slipped to 14th.

    That points to something in the policies, or lack thereof, of the current government. Even if it's just a solid track record of indifference and inaction.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Any talk about a 'natural environment' in Godzone is a little wide of the mark.
    Yes we do have relatively more of those assets fitting this description than most other countries and it is nearly all to be found in the conservation estate.
    But the fact is that we cut down the forests to establish pasture, and introduced the trout which destroyed the ecology of Lake Taupo a very long time ago.

    Farmer Green thinks that it matters little in the long run what tourists think of our agricultural practice, tourism being essentially recreational pollution. Tourism may become a thing of the past , or the pastime of only the mega- rich.
    A common view is that the lack of human population makes the destination attractive.

    It does matter what those offshore who buy our food think of the way we operate; the common view is that we are reliable clean operators producing safe nutritious food in a reasonably sustainable fashion , at least in comparison to what goes on elsewhere.

    The most important thing is that our exploitation of our environment is sustainable i.e. the resource base is not being depleted. And it is equally important that we residents are comfortable with the compromises that are necessary to maintain the altered environment, economy and society that we all wish to live in.
    In this regard it must be noted , as other scientists at Massey have repeatedly pointed out, that we cannot have fertile soils without having some enrichment of the waterways.
    No phosphorus added to the deficient soils of NZ = little or no production.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Farmer Green,

    The most important thing is that our exploitation of our environment is sustainable i.e. the resource base is not being depleted. And it is equally important that we residents are comfortable with the compromises that are necessary to maintain the altered environment, economy and society that we all wish to live in.

    It appears that the citizenry are only just becoming aware what compromises have been pushed through in shadow to this point, and they're far from happy. The ECan autocracy, where the government put in appointed patsies to ensure their farmer mates could continue to suck up water without impediment, was merely the most blatant instance of a "compromise" being forced upon the citizens over the top of their expressed wishes. The burghers of Canterbury elected the councillors, knowing the collective's stance on water rights issue, only to have someone else come along and force a different tack.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

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