Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A voice of reason and authority

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    Yes. We have brains.

    Apparently only 35.9% of you :P

    The informal votes (spoilt) seem to have gotten a fair bit of coverage given they were under 10,000.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • James Green,

    @Chris -- an interesting trend. The closest I've seen to a curvilinear trend in ages. However, I think you're right not to interpret it that way. The negative correlation you refer to is a tripartite relationship: high yes vote, low turnout, high informal votes. The first seems a conscious endorsement of the present law, and I think the latter two are for the most part symptomatic of that as well.

    The low_low turnout group are better interpreted away from that trend -- as electorates that have low turnout not because of dissatisfaction with the question.

    Limerick, Ireland • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report

  • James Green,

    In semi-related news, the proportion of yes voting correlates with proportion of green vote in same electorate at last election at .76, labour .47, nats -.27, nzfirst -.52, act -.06.

    Incidentally, I can confirm that the low-low group that ChrisW noted before ALL had a noticeably lower turnout at the last election.

    Limerick, Ireland • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Other parts of NZ should be ruled on a colonial basis, with limited autonomy to decide on garbage collection and parking rules.

    Auckland has a job for you. From where you are now, if you like - it's the traditional way.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Just thinking,

    James, the risk of cancer for Ozzie Uranium mine workers is 1-1250, ten times that of a fatal accident in other Ozzie industries.

    Ozzies not returning the tailings to the ground & so the radioactive dust is spreading & so will the deaths etc.



    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report

  • Just thinking,

    Excuse me, James Bremner.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,

    Go on Holiday for a couple of weeks and miss so much. Sorry this is long and late to the discussion.

    Couple of thoughts on global warming and it's consequences for NZ.

    Skipping any questions about its reality because enough evidence now exists that it is probable if not certain. And as has been pointed out the cost of doing nothing is much worse than the cost of doing something unnecessary.

    The issue for me is why the hell not do smart things to reduce CO2 emissions. There are a bunch of things we could choose to do that would be good for NZ regardless of whether the globe is warming mostly involving becoming completely energy independent or at least selling renewable energy to pay for the oil we do use.

    It is entirely true that changing NZ’s emission will do stuff all to change the planet. However it is also true that by doing smart stuff we can improve NZ’s economy at the same time as reducing emissions.

    But the flip side is we shouldn’t do stupid shit. Current rules are dumb, chop a tree down and plant a new one = no carbon cost. Chop a tree down and plant one a kilometre away and you pay carbon cost. This isn’t smart and doesn’t help one of our best industries, forestry. Forestry isn’t perfect but using Pinus radiata to make paper is a shit load better than using a rainforest tree to make paper.

    More stupid shit. Burn coal in NZ pay carbon cost, ship same coal to China so they can burn it pay no cost. This stuff is political stupidity.

    Equally if we screw over our farmers we can actually destroy NZ’s economy and yes NZ’s economy is still mostly dependent on farmers – which isn’t the worst that could happen but it isn’t necessary either. It really doesn’t make sense to count a cow that eats grass and burps as a net carbon emission – the CO2 was fixed from the atmosphere by the grass and although methane is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2 it is still a relatively neutral cycle. Sure engineer the rumen bacteria so they don’t produce methane but don’t ban the cows or tax the farmers. Yes genetic engineering of rumen bacteria is possible and potentially could both reduce emissions and improve yield – but it will take time and a lot of science to make it work and field trials. We can also engineer the grass itself to make it easier to digest. How committed to the planet are you? Are you willing to use GE to save the planet?

    We can make huge changes to our fossil fuel usage.
    NZ is energy rich.
    Renewable energy rich.
    We can generate energy using hydro, wind and novel technologies better than most countries. We could, if we wished to, essentially stop using fossil fuels completely and run everything on electricity generated from renewable sources and still have energy left over to sell. But to do that would require a serious retooling of our manufacturing economy and also a will to have wind farms and hydro lakes, and not just in some else’s back yard but actually in our own back yards. Do you really care about your pretty hillsides more than you care about the planet?

    We could develop technology and use technology to make small/medium scale energy production feasible and economic. And we could change our electricity supply and distribution to make local energy production easier. We could electrify public transport and our whole fleet of cars if we chose to and still have energy to spare.

    The really stupid thing is all the above can be done at a profit. Not for those currently selling non-renewable energy of course. But still at a profit for NZ.

    As for China – well I’m not as pessimistic as some about China. They have demonstrated a remarkable will to use innovation and science to advance their lives. It seems very likely that they will skip past fossil fuel dependence much quicker than the Western world did. In short they are much keener to build and use the best technology to generate power than to use NZ coal long term. But yes for now they are bad and I suspect that will continue for a decade or so. But I kind of think China will end up leading the world in “green” energy production simply because it’s good economics for them to do so. If we are smart we could develop some of that technology for them instead of using China as an excuse to do nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Jeremy Eade,

    That should be a post Burt. Fantastic views and almost certainly the way out.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report

  • ChrisW,

    Thanks Jeremy for bringing this thread back to the surface, rescuing Bart's post for the airing it deserves, especially the positivity of

    by doing smart stuff we can improve NZ’s economy at the same time as reducing emissions.

    I'd emphasise too that the cost of taking action to reduce net emissions must in all cases be assessed relative to a baseline not of business as usual, but one of increasing climatic adversity and difficulty in marketing our products in a hostile world if we were perceived as not pulling our weight.

    This applies especially to farm production, so Bart, I'm uneasy on your reference to the danger of screwing over our farmers. Sure there's plenty scope for debate on the mechanisms, but successive governments have bent over backwards to avoid and delay impacting farmers. FedFarmer leadership is lacking, or totally mis-directed - the literally backward-looking "fart tax" bullshit is always just under the surface.

    And I kindof think China will end up leading the world in green energy and just about everything else, based on the economics and energy of their numbers and their harnessing the US’s historic advantages of huge internal market-empire-frontier.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,


    I'd emphasise too that the cost of taking action to reduce net emissions must in all cases be assessed relative to a baseline not of business as usual, but one of increasing climatic adversity and difficulty in marketing our products in a hostile world if we were perceived as not pulling our weight.

    So far the usual denialists are taking a see/hear/speak-no-evil stance on the American Clean Energy & Security Act. Only Fran O'Sullivan has name-checked it, even if I don't agree with her views on the matter:

    The American Clean Energy and Security Act, or Aces for short, is Congress' first go at tackling the growing problem of climate change. The problem in the legislation - which President Barack Obama acknowledges - is a provision that would enable the US to impose tariffs on goods produced in nations that do not commit to greenhouse gas reductions. Obama says at a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and there has been a significant drop in global trade, the US has to be "very careful about sending any protectionist signals out".

    Unfortunately that genie is already out of the bottle.

    China and India have signalled they will take World Trade Organisation cases if the US proceeds with Aces.

    In fact, ACES may actually be within WTO rules. And even business figures are starting to understand the ramifications.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

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