Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

628 Responses

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  • Rod Snowdon,

    As someone who has avidly read Public Address from the outset but only very rarely made the time and effort to contribute to the discussions, I distinctly remember bringing up very similar concerns 10-15 years ago in a response to Russell on a Public Address post about GMOs in agriculture.
    Living in an extremely environmentally aware country (Germany) and working in agricultural research, I am often confronted by Germans who have visited NZ for longer than the average tourist and are astounded and shocked by commonly observed practices: burning paper and plastics, burying plastics, fridges, vehicles (whatever) in backyards or on farms, discarding batteries. electrical goods and other toxic trash in household waste, tipping solvents, paint waste or motor oil down household drains, or pesticide leftovers into farm runoff, washing cars on the street with soapy runoff into wastewater, and so on....
    For such activities Germans may fear being reported to the authorities by their neighbours, the result being a fine or possible court appearance. The culture is underpinned by a moral responsibility to preserve their environment, and a knowledge of how to do that, which I find to still be largely absent amongst the majority of New Zealanders I know.
    In comparison to some European countries at least, the "recycling culture" in NZ is extremely recent and nowhere near as ingrained. I think the point I made all those years ago was that the image of NZ that we and most tourists treasure is only "clean and green" because of a very low population density. Even if you live alone on a very big section your back yard will at some point start to stink if you continue to crap in it!

    Germany • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    .......and Sméagol emerged from the water clutching the ring. Unfortunately this was a New Zealand river and so after suffering severe bouts of Diarrhoea, Encephalitis, Gastroenteritis & Giardiasis, he took to bed and died. End of story.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Rod Snowdon,

    You're right Rod (when I first saw your name I thought, it's 'Rockin' Ron Snowden of Wellington cricket radio commentary fame :).

    BUT, a couple of things worth pointing out.

    1. Germany is a country of 357,000 sq km's and 82 million people.

    2. New Zealand is a country of 268,000 sq km's and 4.4 million people.

    You can't compare them. It's absurd.

    Germany has the tax/rate money to afford massive recyling plants and education and collection programs, along with (probaby more importantly) the population density.

    NZ doesn't.

    Hell, our biggest city struggles like hell to get people from one side of it to the other let alone plastic bottles.

    I went to google earth a while ago and was looking at France. It's astonishing. It is basically 100% developed. Farms, farms, farms, cities, tiny specks of forest here and there + the alps, and then more farms, and cities, farms, cities, towns, towns, farms, cities....farms.... and that's it.

    NZ is like the wild west by comparison.

    However, our pollution into our water ways is nothing short of a disgrace. Farmers will shit in it as long as they possibly can. I've been to many and the majority don't care about polluting it because it involves time, effort and some money that they aren't interested in spending. You see it on any highway in NZ, hundreds of kilometres of streams with no barrier whatsoever. I grew up on a life style block out west and we have sheep and some streams (start of tributaries to the Kaipara, and we have gradually fenced off and planted most of it. Yeah, it isn't a massive farm so we aren't talking about enormously long fences, but yeah, it wasn't a working farm either, we were all in full time work, so we were time poor, but have still managed to get it done.

    The reason farmers don't fence waterways and plant them up in flaxes, cabbage trees etc is because they don't give a shit. If you can't afford some fence posts and wire and a few weeks of your time (even if you do a bit each year), then you are a useless farmer and need to go do something else.

    The government needs to be way more pro-active and force every farmer to fence off every waterway on their property within the next 10-20 years, and offer financial assistance if necessary.

    There is NO FUCKING EXCUSE for not having it done by now.

    Hell, they should have all been fenced off by 1950.

    It's 2012 FFS!!!!

    Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Euan Mason,

    The culture is underpinned by a moral responsibility to preserve their environment, and a knowledge of how to do that, which I find to still be largely absent amongst the majority of New Zealanders I know.

    NZ suffers from Moral Hazard - A predisposition to take risks as the costs and harm that result are not met by the people profiting from the risk taking.

    Where can I go with old paint?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1174 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Leopold,

    The film Once were Warriors in its opening shot expressed concisely what Joy was trying to say,

    That opening shot was a photo taken by my esteemed neighbour Andris Apse - for which there was NO acknowledgment and NO fee paid. Bloody ironic eh?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Yamis,

    The government needs to be way more pro-active and force every farmer to fence off every waterway on their property within the next 10-20 years, and offer financial assistance if necessary.

    There is NO FUCKING EXCUSE for not having it done by now.

    Hell, they should have all been fenced off by 1950.

    It’s 2012 FFS!!!!

    I so totally agree!
    I have known West Coast dairy farmers cynically pollute local streams (whitebait havens) with shit&nitrates, and pay fines for the pollution - because it's cheaper than fencing off the polluted areas. Struth, I hate 'em- for their total
    selfishness-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    The government needs to be way more pro-active and force every farmer to fence off every waterway on their property within the next 10-20 years, and offer financial assistance if necessary.

    There is NO FUCKING EXCUSE for not having it done by now.

    Hell, they should have all been fenced off by 1950.

    It’s 2012 FFS!!!!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    The government needs to be way more pro-active and force every farmer to fence off every waterway on their property within the next 10-20 years, and offer financial assistance if necessary.

    There is NO FUCKING EXCUSE for not having it done by now.

    Hell, they should have all been fenced off by 1950.

    It’s 2012 FFS!!!!

    I totally agree.

    I know of local farmers who, cynically, continue to pollute local streams (whitebait havens) with cowshit & nitrates because, they say, the fines are way less than the cost of fencing.

    Community responsibility? RESPONSIBILITY TO THE WIDER WORLD?
    Forgedit.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Ooops. Forgive the quixotic postings...comething is not quite right with this machine (or maybe, me-)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Yamis,

    New Zealand is a country of 268,000 sq km's and 4.4 million people.

    I used to make a comparable excuse when told to tidy my room:

    "4x3 metres and just1 boy!"

    She'd just let me stew in it till I got tired of the pain of stepping on Lego pieces.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to DexterX,

    in reply to Euan Mason, About 2 hours ago

    Web

    “The culture is underpinned by a moral responsibility to preserve their environment, and a knowledge of how to do that, which I find to still be largely absent amongst the majority of New Zealanders I know.”

    NZ suffers from Moral Hazard – A predisposition to take risks as the costs and harm that result are not met by the people profiting from the risk taking.

    Where can I go with old paint?

    Actually that was Rod’s comment about Germany. It applies to some NZers too, thankfully, but perhaps not enough of us.

    People riven with an individualistic philosophy following the revolutionary 1980s tend not to acknowledge externalities until they are on the receiving end of them. For some “community” is a dirty word.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Muddle Earth...
    New Zealand 100% Pure Fantasy!


    Tolkien points...
    ...and now they are doing it to Chchch & Education
    they may call their new plans Precincts or Campuses
    but really what they want to do is 'Hubbit' all...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Rod Snowdon,

    1. Germany is a country of 357,000 sq km’s and 82 million people.
    2. New Zealand is a country of 268,000 sq km’s and 4.4 million people.
    You can’t compare them. It’s absurd.

    Obviously one cannot compare the demographic situations of Germany and New Zealand. This is why German waterways and air are much more heavily polluted than New Zealand's.

    But my point is a completely different one: when pointing fingers at obvious shortfalls in agricultural/forestry/enviromental legislation and practices, one should also question the way we ourselves think and act.

    Ask yourself if you apply the same environmental consciousness to your own lifestyle decisions: When was the last time I chucked something toxic in the trash without a care what would become of it? Do I sometimes leave my empty car running just to get the air-con cranked up, or because I'm just dashing into the dairy? The reasons why such apparently little things make a collective difference need to become part of our thinking if we want to live up to the image we'd like the world to have of us.

    Germany • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Roger Lacey, in reply to Yamis,

    Germany has the tax/rate money to afford massive recyling plants and education and collection programs, along with (probaby more importantly) the population density.

    We could have recyling plants and education and collection programs if we wanted them.
    The fact is that we don't want to put a price on our pollution. We are told it is too expensive to recycle properly, packaging taxes will increase inflation and making manufacturers take back their products when worn out will cost jobs.
    We just want our tax cuts so we can buy our flat screen TVs and throw our CRT screens on the verge for someone else to take care of.
    If it costs a few extra cents per dollar on our taxes and a few over-geared farmers to go broke to clean up our environment for our kids, then that's what it costs.

    Whatakataka Bay Surf Club… • Since Apr 2008 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to DexterX,

    Where can I go with old paint?

    Ring Resenes and see if they still take it. Pretty sure they do. I think Valley Rd did and Carr Rd also. Plus, the Council should be able to advise where the Hazmat drop off is closest to you or when it will be.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Anthony Behrens Esq,

    The great thing about the 100% Pure brand is the way it makes all this debate possible. It forces people to ask questions. It demands comparisons. It's patently ridiculous, but wonderfully confrontational.
    It's creators may not have done it on purpose, but they have left New Zealand with a gift. They could have come up with something less decisive..."New Zealand - it's really really nice". But where would we be with that?
    It's a Catch 22 brand too. As soon as it's dumped, the powers that be will be open to the criticism - "Oh...so New Zealand's not as shit-hot as you thought it was...what's wrong?"
    Long may it live...100% Brilliant

    Manawatu • Since Nov 2012 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Roger Lacey,

    I guess that you have little contact with agriculture where recycling plants and education and collection programs have been in place for several years.
    But then agriculture is the great recycler isn't it? Carbon and nitrogen cycles?
    Taking CO2 out of the air and sequestering it as hydrocarbons ; that's what we farmers do.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Islander,

    Fencing off streams and planting has the added advantage of preventing the regional councils coming in with their big excavators and absolutely destroying the ecology in order to enhance flood protection in the adjoining suburbs.
    If stupid townies build their houses in the natural floodways they can wear what is coming down : farmers have to.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Perhaps if we embarrass ourselves in this way in front of the entire world we might be shamed into doing something. Faint hope with our withdrawing from Kyoto and turning up to Doha claiming we've any climate credentials... *sigh*

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 544 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    However the science tells us that it is overstocking which is causing most of the damage to water ecosystems; specifically it's the nitrogen fron stock urine applied in excess of the anion exchange capacity of the soil.
    The only fix available at present is to reduce stock and raise the exchange capacity by increasing the depth and carbon content of the topsoil.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Tim Michie,

    It seems that you believe too much of what you read. The science of climate continues to develop, and there is no reason for despair.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Euan Mason,

    Really is Canterbury really that bad?
    Farmer Green continues to swim in the Manawatu and has done all his life.
    Bacteriological testing of the water that he has done himself reveals that it is normally perfectly safe.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Bacteriological testing of the water that he has done himself reveals that it is normally perfectly safe.

    Yes, that third eye is actually quite fetching, on an older man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to DexterX,

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rod Snowdon,

    As someone who has avidly read Public Address from the outset but only very rarely made the time and effort to contribute to the discussions, I distinctly remember bringing up very similar concerns 10-15 years ago in a response to Russell on a Public Address post about GMOs in agriculture.

    And yet Bart, a New Zealand scientist who is standing emphatically behind Mike Joy in this discussion, would have a very vigorous discussion with you on the issue of GMOs. Frankly, if our protocols on waste and waterways were as robust as our controls on GM research, the place would be in better shape. But I don't actually accept the two are even in the same category.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

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