What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in decades, facing depleted petrol reserves, food shortages and a chronic lack of medical supplies.

More than a month of mainly peaceful protests against the government’s handling of the economy turned deadly last week when supporters of the former prime minister stormed an anti-government protest site in the commercial capital Colombo.

For New Zealanders, the troubles being experienced by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people might trigger humanitarian concerns but – at first blush – have little to teach us about good policy.

Kiwis therefore may shrug  off Sri Lanka’s plight as the consequence of incompetence by the governing Rajapaksa brothers, one of whom has resigned as prime minister, the other whose job as president is under threat.

But the policy blunders that precipitated the crisis should be studied by policy wonks in this country  Continue reading “What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic”

Greenpeace gripes at govt’s greenhouse gas agenda but agriculture leaders welcome it (and push genetic technologies)

Despite   pouring  $2.9 billion  of  taxpayer funds  into  the  battle against  climate  change, the Ardern  government won few  plaudits  from  climate  change lobbies – and  copped a  severe  caning   from  Greenpeace for refusing to cut  dairy herds.

As  Radio  NZ  reported,

“Climate activists say the government’s landmark plan to curb emissions is light on detail, full of fluff, and lets the worst polluters off the hook”.

Government  ministers were  nevertheless ebullient   about their  package, believing  they  had  delivered a  master stroke  in  earmarking $569 million  to help low-income families get  cleaner  cars  while winning  over  farmers  with a  new  agricultural emissions centre.

Greenpeace  saw  that  rather  differently.  As  their  spokesperson put it:

“The Emissions Reduction Plan gifts $710 million to the agricultural industry – a quarter of the entire Climate Emergency Response Fund which it has not contributed towards”. Continue reading “Greenpeace gripes at govt’s greenhouse gas agenda but agriculture leaders welcome it (and push genetic technologies)”

NZ’s economic outlook is given a lift as dairy prices rise again

Dairy prices have  hit  a  new  peak at  Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade  auction.  The GDT index shot up 5.1% to an average price of US$5,065 (NZ$7,509). Whole milk powder rose 5.7% to US$4,757 a tonne while cheddar rocketed up 10.9% to $6,394.

Butter prices gained 5.9% to an average US$7086/tonne, anhydrous milk fat 2.1% to US$7048/tonne and butter milk powder firmed 5.8% to US$4217/tonne. Skim milk  powder was  up 4.7% to US$4481/ tonne.

“This train isn’t slowing down,” said NZX dairy insights manager Stuart Davison.

Other  business-sector commentators  see  the  boom in the dairy  sector   injecting  new  strength into  the  economy at a  time  when it is badly  needed, with  other sectors  like international tourism  and  hospitality hard hit  by the Covid pandemic.

Bidding at  the  auction was  fierce, driven by the  tight supply   position,  as well  as  Russia’s war  on Ukraine. Continue reading “NZ’s economic outlook is given a lift as dairy prices rise again”

Capital restructuring is one big issue for Fonterra farmers – but they must respond to environmental challenges, too

Just  as  the  dairy  season  hits its  peak, Fonterra   farmer-shareholders   are  confronted with a  key decision on the  capital  structure  of the  big co-op. The board is  asking  them to  vote on the  proposal  at the annual meeting next month.

Consultation on the proposal with farmer-owners has been ongoing throughout the year, with some tweaks announced in September before a second round of discussions.  But Fonterra leaders have been clear they wouldn’t put the reform forward for voting if they believed the support wasn’t there

Farmers have  had  little  time to  enjoy  the  news  that  the  co-op  has  raised  its  forecast  payout  for  the current  season  to  a  record level.  Nor  is the  capital structure the  only  issue triggering  worry in the  cowshed.

The  government’s  focus  on climate  change, particularly methane  emissions, is  another matter weighing on the  industry, exacerbated by outfits like  Greenpeace shouting  the  odds  about “industrial  farming’’  and  “dirty dairying”. Continue reading “Capital restructuring is one big issue for Fonterra farmers – but they must respond to environmental challenges, too”

Greenpeace is grumping at winter grazing decision which gives farmers more time to address environmental challenge

Our Beehive bulletin

Oh dear.  Greenpeace is grumping at the farming sector’s agreement to make immediate improvements to intensive winter grazing practices for the coming season with help from the Government.

The problem for Greenpeace is that – in return for the farming sector’s commitment – the Government has deferred the introduction of intensive winter grazing (IWG) practice regulations until May next year while these improvements are made.

Rules preventing the expansion of IWG will still apply but Greenpeace wants a much earlier halt to the farming practice whereby stock are confined to outdoor feeding areas planted with fodder crops.

The Government’s announcement of its decision on winter grazing was one of several decisions posted on the Beehive website since Point of Order’s previous Beehive report. The others are- Continue reading “Greenpeace is grumping at winter grazing decision which gives farmers more time to address environmental challenge”

Agriculture Minister is missing in (in)action while climate change warriors harry NZ’s dairy industry

The  world stands  on  the  brink of a  food crisis worse  than  any seen  in the last  50 years, the  UN has  warned  as  it  urged  governments to  act swiftly to avoid  disaster.

So what  is the  Ardern  government  doing about  it?   Shouldn’t   it  be working  to  ramp  up  food production?  After  all,  NZ   prides  itself  on being  among  the world’s  leaders  in producing  high-quality  food.

Instead,  Climate  Change  Minister  James  Shaw is celebrating  being  “ ambitious” in tackling  what he calls the climate crisis with,  he   says,

“ … necessary rule changes that will incentivise NZ’s biggest polluters to invest in the transition to a clean, climate-friendly economy”.

This  includes putting a price  on  farming  emissions.   Shaw  reckons it’s great that this puts NZ further ahead on climate action than many other parts of the world. Continue reading “Agriculture Minister is missing in (in)action while climate change warriors harry NZ’s dairy industry”

Promising gas find is reported without much hoopla – Taranaki will welcome the boost but the Greens are coy

In  another  era,  it  would have  been the  lead story  on  every  news channel.  But in a  country  brainwashed  into believing  it’s  apocalypse now,  either  from  global warming or  Covid-19  (and possibly  both),   news  of   a  “significant”   oil and gas  discovery offshore  in Taranaki  barely  registered   in the   mainstream  media,  although the   New Zealand  Herald    did   record  it   in the  business  pages.

There  has not  been a  major energy   find  in NZ  since  2006, and given  New Zealand has  only 11  years  of  gas  reserves left,  the discovery could be an exciting  outcome     at a  crucial   phase for the  NZ  economy.

Austrian giant  OMV reported  the Toutouwai-1 wildcat, drilled to a total depth of 4,317m some 50 km off the Taranaki coast in 130m of water, encountered several hydrocarbon-charged reservoir zones during drilling. Continue reading “Promising gas find is reported without much hoopla – Taranaki will welcome the boost but the Greens are coy”

Drilling  programme  is vital in  ensuring  NZ does  not   become  dependent  on  imported   oil and gas

The  arrival  of  the   self-propelled, 34,500-tonne  offshore  drilling  rig COSL Prospector in  Taranaki   heralds   an  important  stage  in  the exploitation of  NZ’s oil and  gas  resources.

The first task  for  the  rig is to  drill three side-track wells  for Malaysian-based Tamarind  at  the  Tui offshore field, in the  expectation it  can  extend  the life of the field  beyond    next year and  lead  to the extraction of  6-8m  barrels of  oil.

Then the  rig   is  contracted  by  OMV, operator of the offshore  Pohokura  and Maui   fields, to  drill an exploratory well in the Great  South Basin.

OMV, which also operates the offshore Maui and Pohokura gas fields, expects to begin drilling towards the end of the year – potentially using the COSL Prospector if  consents  are secured.  OMV’s first well lies in about 1,200 metres of water 130 kilometres south-east of Balclutha.  If successful, the programme potentially could involve drilling 10 wells, up to two further exploration wells and up to seven for appraisal. Continue reading “Drilling  programme  is vital in  ensuring  NZ does  not   become  dependent  on  imported   oil and gas”

Fonterra and farm leaders gripe at O’Connor’s DIRA decision – Greenpeace is even more grouchy

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor didn’t win too many new friends  (and may have lost some) with his  decision  on the review of  the  Dairy Industry Restructuring  Act, the  2001  legislation  which set up  Fonterra  supposedly to   become  a  “ national  champion”.   

We  all know  how  that  has turned out.

So   what were the reactions to  O’Connor’s  latest  move to improve the  legislation  which initially had the  objective of  “promoting  the efficiency  of  NZ  dairy markets”?.

Fonterra  chairman  John Monaghan  said  the company was disappointed it still has to supply milk to large, export-focused businesses. Continue reading “Fonterra and farm leaders gripe at O’Connor’s DIRA decision – Greenpeace is even more grouchy”

Climate change and environmentalists – it’s time they gave the green light to GE science

PM  Jacinda  Ardern  has been  making waves  in  the  Swiss Alps,  we   are informed   by  Amanda  Larsson  of Greenpeace  NZ, writing  in the  Dominion-Post.  It’s  a feat   to command  worldwide attention.

Moreover, Larsson  believes  Ardern  quickly  emerged as a “star of the show”  at the World  Economic Forum and a  leader on climate change.

We  should be proud that, with the eyes of the world on us, we’re returning  to our rightful  place  on an issue of  great  moral fortitude”.

But, wait for it,

“ … before  we  bask too much, we  must  also turn our eyes closer to  home  and make sure   that  what  we’re doing to tackle  climate change matches our  bold global  stance”. Continue reading “Climate change and environmentalists – it’s time they gave the green light to GE science”