NZ dairy industry’s biggest challenge is meeting methane gas emission targets

New Zealand dairy farmers are some of the most efficient producers of dairy milk in the world, and while the past year has been tough for many industries, the overall picture for dairy has been overwhelmingly positive.  Returns to farmers have been at record levels,. along with the economic contribution to NZ.

Dairy  export receipts are  nudging $20bn  a  year, up  from $4.58m  in 2000.

But  now  the  industry  is  facing  its biggest  challenge.

Dairy  cattle are  responsible  for  22% of  NZ’s emissions. Can  NZ  meets  its methane  emission  targets  without  slashing  the   size of the  national  dairy  herd?

The  threat of  global warming  has  become all too plain  to  New Zealanders  in recent weeks and the pressure  on   the  government to  act  is  mounting.

It  can’t   dodge  making  decisions  on  the  Climate  Change Commission  report  it  received   earlier this  year. But  its  proposals  could  have  a  severe  impact  on   the  dairy industry. Continue reading “NZ dairy industry’s biggest challenge is meeting methane gas emission targets”

While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post

Newstalk ZB broadcaster Mike Yardley, writing about his recent interview with Police Minister Poto Williams,  said he had been keen to learn why she was so dead against Armed Response Teams.

Good question.

But some of Williams’ replies during the interview raised another issue:   who does the Member for Christchurch East represent?

We emailed that question to her office last Wednesday.  We have yet to receive a reply.

In the Newstalk ZB interview, Yardley put it to Williams that – along with the Police Commissioner – she was placing far too much stock on the woke radical pressure groups who purport to represent the public pulse on policing issues.

He mentioned lobby groups such as Just Speak, Action Station and People Against Prisons Aotearoa, describing them as

“… a bit like the cycling lobby, highly organised, highly adept at capturing councils, flooding them with submissions, and courting favour.”

Yardley reckons these groups are driving the anti-cop agenda and fuelling the hostility to armed police. Continue reading “While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post”

Not all workers will benefit from new sick leave entitlements – and only some projects are favoured with Jobs for Nature funding

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood is braying about new labour legislation “bringing benefits to both businesses and employees” and “delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy”.

Actually, employers are doing the delivering.  If they don’t deliver, it is fair to suppose, they risk being prosecuted for breaking the law which – from today – doubles minimum sick leave entitlements from five to 10 days.

Mind you, as Wood, points out, employers benefit too:

“Having a healthy and well-rested workforce also helps businesses. Studies have suggested that people working while sick are 20 per cent less productive and the healthiest workers are up to three times more productive.”

On the other hand, not all workers will benefit.  Sick leave is available ONLY after six months of continuous employment.

Similarly, not everyone stands to benefit from the government funding provided under the Jobs for Nature programme.

Conservation Minister Kiri Allen has announced $14.9 million Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in “several projects” which “will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti”.

Four projects, actually, and each of them is being led by local tribes. This suggests race was a significant factor in determining who got money and who didn’t. Continue reading “Not all workers will benefit from new sick leave entitlements – and only some projects are favoured with Jobs for Nature funding”

It’s just the thing for reducing our leftovers and slops – a trough which has provided almost $1.6m for food waste and composting

The Government has announced funding aimed at reducing food waste, which – according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2021 Food Waste Index – is well on the way to becoming a billion-tonne problem around the globe.

In this country, we have a Love Food Hate Waste campaign run by Councils nationwide.  Its activities are  based on research that included surveying 1,365 New Zealanders, examining the contents of 1,402 household rubbish bins and giving 100 families diaries to record food disposal for a week.

Among the findings:

  • Kiwis spend an estimated $872 million a year on food that is thrown away uneaten.
  • We dump over 122,547 tonnes of food a year – enough to feed around 262,917 people.
  • The average household sends around 79 kilograms of edible food to landfills every year.

The UN environment agency’s 2021 Food Waste Index  found an estimated 931 million tonnes of food around the globe ends up in the trash every year.

Most of that figure, 569 million tonnes, falls under the category of household waste.  The food service and retail sectors account for a further 244 and 118 million tonnes, respectively. Continue reading “It’s just the thing for reducing our leftovers and slops – a trough which has provided almost $1.6m for food waste and composting”

Arming the police: Police Minister’s explanation about her stance triggers questions about representation

It has been a quiet week in The Beehive, since the Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau Andrew Little expressed New Zealand’s condemnation of malicious cyber activity by “Chinese state-sponsored actors”.

Ominously quiet.

What are they hatching now (we wonder) and when will they announce it?

Mind you, when we say it has been a quiet week in The Beehive, we don’t mean Ministers have been quiet.

Speaking as Minister of Police (for example), Poto Williams said she will not be backing down on her strong stance not to support the general arming of police because the Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents do not want it.

We kid you not.

And there we were thinking she was the MP for Christchurch East, a community of many ethnicities.

The graph we found on Parliament’s website suggests Maori and Pacific Islanders comprise a minority in the electorate and the substantial numbers of “European” residents comprise a bigger percentage of the total population (around 70,000 people) than they do nation-wide.

Source: Parliamentary Library using data from Stats NZ

Continue reading “Arming the police: Police Minister’s explanation about her stance triggers questions about representation”

How the govt’s ban on oil and gas exploration has tightened supplies – and resulted in NZ importing 2m tonnes of coal

New Zealand  has   been   facing some of the most challenging energy market conditions in over a decade, with simultaneous shortages in natural gas and hydro-electric generation. The  consequence  has  been  sustained  high  wholesale electricity  prices,   creating issues for  electricity retailers without their  own  generating  capacity, to the point  where Electric  Kiwi – for  example – says it  is turning to  focus on  the Australian market.

Some  market-watchers  contend the  problems  trace  back  to  the  decision  of  the  Ardern  government to  ban  any  further  offshore exploration for oil  and gas.  That  drove  away   not  only  oil exploration companies   but also  the offshore  rigs   needed   to  complete  planned drilling  programmes.

Whether  that  is the  case  or  not, some  of  the  big generators  like  Contact  Energy  and  Genesis  are  said by  critics to  be  creaming  it – but  from  their  point of  view,  they  are   doing  their  utmost  to meet  the  high  demand  for  electricity.  Their  shareholders certainly  should be  happy   with the  healthy  margins  they are  reporting  while  wholesale  prices remain very  high. Continue reading “How the govt’s ban on oil and gas exploration has tightened supplies – and resulted in NZ importing 2m tonnes of coal”

Grimes’ grouches with the effects of govt policies on Kiwis’ wellbeing may sting more than the Groundswell protest

The  Ardern  government may  have been  stirred,  but  it  wasn’t  shaken,    by  the  nationwide protest  by  farmers  last  Friday.  And no matter how  far  the protest may have  turned   heads   in  the  rest  of  the  population,   it  leaves  farmers  no  further   advanced  in  persuading  ministers  to  modify  or  revise  the  policies  which  their  action targeted.

So  if  ministers  won’t  back  down  on their  environmental reforms or their climate change  policies,  where   can  the  farmers  go?  Parade  through  Wellington  to  Parliament?   Mount a 24-hour  vigil  in  Parliament  Grounds?

So  far  there has  been   silence  from the  originators   of  the   Groundswell  and if  there  is  a  new  sense of  unity  in  the  rural regions,   it   has yet  to  be  channelled into the  kind  of  pressure that   automatically  achieves  change.

Farmers may be disenchanted with being  told  how to farm, but the  evidence of climate  change  has  been  rammed   home in  the  provinces  in  recent  days hard  enough  to  convince  churlish  sceptics  of  the  need  for urgent  climate  action. Continue reading “Grimes’ grouches with the effects of govt policies on Kiwis’ wellbeing may sting more than the Groundswell protest”

Climate change just got cheaper – or maybe not …

Britain’s fiscal watchdog – the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) – has some good news.  It thinks the cost for the UK of getting to zero carbon could be much less than anticipated:  

While unmitigated climate change would spell disaster, the net fiscal costs of moving to net zero emissions by 2050 could be comparatively modest.”

Under its ‘early action scenario’ government net debt would rise by a mere 20% of GDP in the years to 2050 from the current 105%.  That almost seems encouraging when compared with the near-30% of GDP increase responding to the Covid pandemic , and the roughly 50% surge which followed the global financial crisis.

Continue reading “Climate change just got cheaper – or maybe not …”

Brace yourself for the peddling of propaganda and try to relish the experience (because you have paid for it with your taxes)

We weren’t surprised, at Point of Order, to see the scant media attention paid to a statement issued yesterday by ACT leader David Seymour.  

Headed  Government’s questionable media funding, the statement notes how the Government

“… is extending its tentacles into nearly every area of media with an offer too good to refuse for each outlet, and it has rapidly reached absurdity with taxpayer money spent on journalism to check on Government expenditure of taxpayer money”.

The statement was triggered by the announcement of the first tranche of the government’s $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund.

As RNZ’s Mediawatch reported,  Māori journalism projects and a new training initiative are the major beneficiaries of the first $10m, but some of the money goes to things already funded from the public purse.

Mediawatch further noted

“… this is the biggest single public investment in journalism for decades and takes the total annual spend on media to over $300m. (There’s another $20m up his sleeve if Cabinet thinks the media need that too.)  

“Media companies big and small, local and national, public and private alike can all apply to the fund – including those which have never had public money before.”

Oh – but let’s not forget the need for recipients of this lolly to push a highly political ideological barrow:

Guidelines issued in April also said the fund ‘must actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.”  Continue reading “Brace yourself for the peddling of propaganda and try to relish the experience (because you have paid for it with your taxes)”

While Hipkins gets more vaccine for war on Covid-19, Little fires verbal shots to stem cyber attacks (but China is riled by “smear”)

The government was battling on several fronts yesterday, just a few weeks after Defence Minister Peeni Henare acknowledged a $20 billion spend-up on defence had become a casualty of budgetary measures to deal with Covid-19 and its consequences.

The Defence budget was now much tighter, and defence would look different under Labour than it did under its coalition with New Zealand First, he said.

No matter.  A well-armed defence force is not all we require to keep us safe, keep our enemies at bay, or fight the wars the government wants to wage.

The Department of Conservation’s war is against predators and Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says the government is throwing $4 million into a project aimed at eradicating predators from the three main peninsulas in the Bay of Islands.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, in the vanguard of the war against the pandemic, has been freshly supplied to fortify our defences against Covid-19.  The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived in New Zealand two days ahead of schedule.

Doses are being delivered to vaccination centres around the country.

On the diplomatic front, Phil Twyford, our Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, addressed a bunch of diplomats to spell out the government’s position on disarmament and weapons control.

Success with this policy – the disarming of all foes and potential foes and a global declaration of a commitment to eternal world peace- obviously would enable the government to cut its Defence budget back to zero.

But as we learned from Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau, we have more to worry about than the firepower other countries might bring to bear against us. Continue reading “While Hipkins gets more vaccine for war on Covid-19, Little fires verbal shots to stem cyber attacks (but China is riled by “smear”)”