100 – Nil

This one has been fermenting in my mind for a while and I know that DPF is just feeding his trolls but I haven’t seen/heard anything that actually address my perspective. Now I didn’t play Saturday Rugby as a young lad, I played hockey. I had experience being on both sides of the divide, one season we used to regularly win games by a double figure margin that’s probably more than 50 points in rugby terms. The following season we were put up a grade and faced things from the other perspective. Personally I think the whole yeap there is no way you are going to win lets mix things up swap some players around for the younger age groups is great. Sure some care about winning and losing and this recognises this but it basically equates to you guys are way better than us. Lets concede defeat then set up another game where it might actually be fun. It’s no fun spending your time repeatly trudging back to half way for the restart and you don’t grow as a player if you are walking over your opposition. So kudos to the NZRFU, it is not often I agree with you. And to the knockers out there, this isn’t namby pamby PC gone mad it’s a great idea that supports children having fun!

Green Jersey, Green Cycleways, Green City?

CyclewaySo Stevedore bet me to the punch celebrating the Highlanders new look although I don’t know if I’m a fan ever since the whole stadium debacle but something else is turning green in our fair city – Cycleways. NZTA have put a “skid resistant” green coating on some of the cities cycleways (the ones they control anyway) but not always in the right place. I wish my camera was working so I could post a photo but while as intended they have covered some hot spots they have also put random little bits in down the one way – at least on Great King Street north of Albany St. I’m slightly bemused.

Your Majesty

I was somewhat outraged when National Radio covered the return of the nobility with no single reference (that I heard) to anything apart from the effect this would have on the people who got to choose if they wanted a title. While the conversations raised some interesting issues which I think needed addressed I wanted to know what this mean to New Zealand’s creeping republican movement, and what kinda of review had been carried out. Nationals Policy was to review the situation with respect to honours, how in depth was this review? A discussion around the cabinet table? Will this same reviewing technique be applied to other items on National’s Policy Platform? When Nick Smith says he will review ACC does he mean chat with a couple of mates over a beer and then act? Or talk to ordinary people that depend on the scheme?

Big ups to the ODT editorial today. Looks at the Honours question and pulls out an opinion poll from 1999 that suggested that 54% of people favoured abolition while 37% where for retention. It also points out that Canada and Australia have already walked this road. Australia have a website that shows that they have one less level than us, Canada has a 3 level system.

The main thing I took from the media stories was that the honoured didn’t feel acknowledged, they wanted that title. And why not. We don’t have to return to Sir and Dame, with as norightturn points out there are plenty of alternatives. I have some proposals, Good Bastard for the person that really sums up what it is to be kiwi. Good Bloke and Good Shelia for the next level down and simply Good for the lower level of honours. There would also be a Maori equivalent system, but I don’t know enough about Maori Culture and Language to pick out the phrases that would work best, and as a really white guy from the south it is not my place to. Inclusion in the history curriculum at school of all the Good Bastards and why they were awarded their distinction would be a way of remembering their sacrifices. Okay, it might not be totally appropriate but it would reflect part of NZ culture much more than Sir and Dame.

Drinking Liberally Dunedin Launch

Finally someone in Dunedin has organised a drinking liberally details below. Might see you there! Tuesday, 7pm 3/3/09 at Velvet Underground (cnr Stuart St and Octagon); The maths geek in me can’t help but think this is an auspicious date!

I wanted to let you know that a new Drinking Liberally chapter will start in
Dunedin on Tuesday March 3. Drinking Liberally is an informal, progressive
drinking club with hundreds of chapters across the world.

Here is an email announcement about our new chapter. We’d love to have
interested members from your organization join us.


Come raise your spirits as you raise a pint as New Zealand’s network of
progressive drinking clubs arrives in Dunedin. Drinking Liberally is an
informal, non-programmatic gathering of like-minded left-leaners, an
opportunity to share you ideas while you share a drink. You don’t need to be
a seasoned activist or policy wonk to join us in meeting new friends,
reconnecting with old ones, and enjoying a stiff mix of socializing with a
dash of politics.

Our first special guest is Green MP Keith Locke.

Drinking Liberally has become a fast-growing phenomenon, now offering social
space for progressive pint-pourers in all major centres in New Zealand.

Come and raise a toast to some bottoms-up democracy!
The Revolution begins at Happy Hour.

Tuesday, 7pm
The Velvet Underground

Hosted by Chris Baxter, Taryn McGarry, Matthew Stephen and Luke Stewart.
Questions? Email dunedin@drinkingliberally.org or call 021 253 9308.

One Nat who got it

I have just been reading some speeches by Simon Upton made back when he was Minister for the Environment and it has really blown me away. Despite the fact that sum of them pre date signing of Kyoto they sum up the situation really well. In fact if they outlined the dithering following the ratification then they would be amazingly prescient. The advisor’s at the time had not predicted the dairy boom though.

Fortunately, the removal of agricultural subsidies and the concomitant reduction in stock numbers means that over this decade our methane emissions are expected to decline by around 10%. The indications are that selective breeding could permit an on-going reduction in emissions even if stock numbers stabilised. Other economies will have different emission ‘signatures’ to our own. It makes sense for each country to make progress on whatever gas for the time being holds the most promise. It just happens that New Zealand’s biggest contributing gas (methane) happens to hold some excellent emission reduction prospects. It would be foolish not to follow them up as a priority

Yes sheep and beef cattle numbers have declined. If it wasn’t for the massive increase in dairy cows then we would possibly be in a better position. However one has to wonder why hasn’t money been directed towards a breeding programme though yet?

One option was “Economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.” Some 12% of respondents supported this proposition.
A second option was “Protecting the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of slowing down economic growth.” Some 77% of respondents supported this statement.
‘Neither option’, ‘Depends’ or ‘Don’t know’ accounted for 17%.

Wow! I would love to see the result of the same question being asked today. Would be especially interesting in the shadow of the current gloomy economic pontification currently dominating the news. It does lead to an interesting question. What happened? 77% public approval in 1997 for action on climate change. I knew that various sector lobbies had done a lot of damage, and that this had been magnified by the National Parties quest for re-election. But 77% in some ways I hope that was an optimistic figure as if not it underlines a serious failing in the Green movement to capitalise on that support and turn it into action.

While Anita over at kiwipolitico hopes that Labour will not resort to whispering campaigns I hope that Labour do not regain control by the divisive tactics reminiscent of the national parties 2005 campaign.

Feeling the heat?

John Armstrong over at the Herald must be taking a working holiday somewhere tropical. I don’t think he understands what cold means. Perhaps he should come live in my flat – we might even have a room for him if he is quick. His latest story suggests that we are having an on again off again relationship with national

Having slammed the door shut to working with National a mere three months ago, the Greens now want to reopen it.

That doesn’t sound right, what does google say? Well my first few searches turned up a lot of press releases from the industrial relations portfolio and nobody is going to pretend that we often agree with National around these types of issues. A simple change from work to “work with” however and the top hit is a NZ Herald article which says Greens offer to work with National. Hmm. Okay but he did say three months maybe he missed that and was talking about something during the election campaign. Well hit number four is an nbr article which is titled, “Greens prefer Labour but could work with National” and that was for the 19th of October. Well I can’t understand this. When did we “Slam the door” am I not interpreting this literally enough did one of the MPs slam the door on John Key as they left the chamber after seeing National scrap many green labour initiatives at the end of last year?

So I am about to pop over to the comments section of the herald article and ask John to indicate how/when we slammed the door. Cause I am sure that our line has always been, we will work with anyone in parliament to enact our policy. I invite you to join me.

[Hat tip norrightturn]

Conscientious Policy

DPF over at Kiwiblog disagrees with Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns that alcohol should be party policy. Interestingly he suggests:

I respectfully disagree. I think more issues should be conscience votes, not less. I love conscience votes – you get true debate. MPs lobby each other, amendments are considered on their merits, you get great passionate speeches etc.

Respectfully DPF I disagree. I feel that in an MPP environment where parties have to negotiate to get their policy though that this process can happen with party policy. An example of this that springs to mind is the Green MPs private members bills like the Waste Minimisation Bill.

When you vote for a party I think that you should be getting that parties policy not the policy of the people that the party has chosen to work for them in parliament. In cases where party policy is not available the Party’s MPs should debate how the issue aligns with other party policy and party principles.

Electorate MPs when faced with an issue that is not a clear party of the policy platform they were elected should attempt as best as they can to judge the mood of the people of their electorate.

Making Work

Over at The Standard IrishBill has shared his top three ideas for the Jobs Summit. Nice to see him crediting the Green’s Insulation scheme, and also another top Green Favourite rail. I thought I would share some ideas of my own. They would be balanced to cater to our existing infrastructure in the short term with long term projects based around shifting our economy to more sustainable measures.

Obvious the Insulation scheme would be top of the agenda. Since it has been announced there have been some thought put into implementation. The Dunedin City Council has a proposal to insulate street by street. Maximising gains from the bulk nature of the project, for instance buying container loads of insulation and ‘parking’ them on the side of the streets getting done. This would make use of the faltering building sector. Also like IrishBill I would look at investment in the Railways, due to the centralised nature it would be another area that could be fast off the ground.

My points of difference would be IT and the rural/agriculture sector.

A revolution in software in New Zealand, as the government goes open source. Take all the money paid in license fee’s to Microsoft that vanishes off shore and instead invest in local software companies. This would start a massive boom in the local software industry. Ensure that care is made to enable resulting software to be suitable for developing countries. This would be combined with the installation of ducting in urban areas to carry fibre/cables, and progressive installation of fibre. To prevent an urban rural digital divide, satellite combined with wireless Internet for rural areas, following up on the initiatives started by Fonterra.

For the rural regions, funding to set up regional research centres. These are to be the front line in keeping NZ on the top of agricultural science. Their mandate would be to talk and learn. Concentrating on the practical. on farm trials would be encouraged, they would be funded to in addition to research completed providing resources to farmers so that each farmer can keep on the forefront. Organics would be a focus, as would be making the most of the new data connectivity. A major theme would be adapting to a changing climate. This would be tied in with massive investment in bio-security to prevent further invasions. Reinstating the bio fuel quota with inclusion of a clause excluding fuels made that direct compete for resources essential for food production. Shift all 1080 application to areas that can’t be accessed on foot, for all accessible areas pump trappers and shooters in, this would include targeting rabbits.