About zacharydorner

I'm an 18 year old running as a candidate for the Green Party this election. This is because I care deeply about the world around us - the planet and the people who live on it. I also care deeply about the fact that young people - especially those under 18 - are so poorly represented in our "democratic" institutions. My personal blog is zackarateisland.blogspot.com, but I will contribute here as I see relevant to keep all you beautiful readers of gblog informed.

No-Hopenhagen? COP-out? The UN FCCC-ed up?

It’s now just over a month since I got back from Copenhagen at what was the experience of a lifetime. The COP15, the event that was built up to be where world leaders decide whether to save us all, or sign a suicide pact. So, I’ve had some time for reflection.

Here are the main things I learnt from the mad house of the UNFCCC:

1. Every country is in it for themselves – they just have differing analyses of what that actually means. In the case of China, it appears they believed their economic growth to help them become a superpower in the future was more important than the climate which that will be based on. The US was similar in terms of the minor cuts they were willing to commit to. And countries like the Maldives realised that they needed a deal in Copenhagen to stop from drowning under rising seas. Capitalism is no small player in creating these differing world views, and as always the poor and vulnerable loose out, the rich and powerful who win, no matter how stupid they actually are. We need to keep pushing for a recognition that the collective good being put first will increase all our prosperity.

2. The UNFCCC process could work, and work well, if countries were not subject to the gross illogicalities I just described.

3. Carbon trading is worse than I thought. It could work well if it wasn’t subject to the political process – but that’s the case with most things! There are so many outs for rich but selfish countries like New Zealand to exploit (Clean Development Mechanism, REDD, and other such flexibility mechanisms) depending on the system (ie the one that the current NZ government supports) emissions could continue to sky rocket. No wonder Minister for Climate Change Issues Nick Smith is so keen on many of these things.

4. The solutions are out there, but it’s up to the people to lead. And they are. This is too big to give up on, so lets keep working towards climate justice, and keep coming up with ideas. We’re closer than we think, and there’s a massive global movement on what Desmund Tutu called “the winning side” – the side where we get to keep a stable climate, and make a more equitable world! It was fantastic to see so many thousands of young people and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Copenhagen supporting this winning effort.

5. There’s a lot of smart people out there, but there’s also some wackos… Climate change deniers can join the many other crazy conspiracy theorists and retire to their tight-knit communities of nonsense!

6. The Copenhagen Accord said and achieved very little. However, it is political will that is most important if we are to ever reach an agreement for a stable climate. Is there political will? More than we’ve ever seen. Is this enough? No.

7. But, with the Copenhagen Accord being the only thing to come out of Copenhagen, there seems to be even more uncertainty than there was before Copenhagen – and that was a huge amount. This uncertainty is bad for the climate, bad for us, and bad for business. Who knows what will happen this year?

8. The Green movement is needed now more than ever before.

To see some my most cherished pictures from Copenhagen see the original post on Zackarate Island.

One more day to go for the COP15

(A post by a New Zealand Youth Delegation participant in Copenhagen)

Hello people,

Just thought I better give you all a quick update.

It’s very cold. Snow starting falling on Tuesday, and it hasn’t let up much since. It’s -4 with a windchill of -11.

Went to Sweden today as we’ve been completely locked out of the conference. They accredited 45 000 people with entry for a venue with 15 000 capacity… Welcome to the UN. Long queues, chaotic, hard to figure out what’s going on. They started limiting numbers on Tuesday, with our delegation of twelve being allowed to bring in 5 people. Then today NGO numbers were limited to 1000 (allocated through constituencies – my one being YOUNGO or Youth NGO, and I don’t think NZYD got any. There are nine NGO constituencies) Tomorrow they are limiting NGOs numbers to just 90 people, with 10 going to each constituency, because of the shear number of world leaders (120 to 135ish, including Mugabe) and their entourages who are going to be at the venue. So many NGOs are very unhappy. There was also a protest going on yesterday, which was my last day at the venue, where they tried to storm the building (without hope – there were so many police, and Danish police are very brutal, so we’ve steered well clear of them, and kept our conference badges well visible. They did manage to arrest a French Green MP, who they released once they realised who he was.)

Anyway talks don’t sound like they’re going too well… We’ll have to see what world leaders can do when they talk tomorrow. Did the march last Saturday with about 100 000 people at it. It was an incredibly uplifting experience, and we carried the massive NZYD sail (signed by young Kiwis about what they think about climate change) the whole 3 hour walk, which gave us a great reputation – see the photo.

Other things we’ve done is hijacked the NZers in Copenhagen party when we presented the NZYD sail to Ministers Tim Groser and Nick Smith, and then gave a long speech that really challenged their policies (not being cute youth as they were hoping we were). There we met Simon Upton and Major Kerry Prendergast too (though she didn’t react much to the speech…). We got a really long applause at the end though, even though the crowd was a mix of Kiwi NGOs, business people and delegates.

Other famous people I’ve seen include Desmund Tutu, Senator John Kerry, Helen Clark and almost Ban Ki-Moon (but he couldn’t make his side-event due to negotiations). Also went to a Global Greens talk and saw a bunch of cool people talk including Elizabeth May (Canadian Green Party Leader) who absolutely rubbished the Canadian Government (which as of yesterday had the most Fossils of the Day, slightly ahead of the US). The current Canadian Government – which does not have majority support at all but is in power due to First Past the Post – is absolutely abysmal. She also said “Things may be better now that the US has a new administration, but unfortunately they are still the United States,” to rapturous applause. Good ol’ Canadians…

For the last day we will continue to send love letters to John Key, and try and get a meeting with him. Let’s hope he commits to stronger targets – a conditional 10-20% by 2020 is not good enough – especially considering the strong conditions will not be met (such as other developing countries committing to stronger targets…). Plus we’re trying to get the message out that the new Emissions Trading Scheme is crap – contrary to what our Government is saying, given it has no cap on emissions and thus will allow them to increase…
Anyway, it’s being a crazy ride, and can tell you other things later, but should probably go. Will have to see how the final day of the talks go – which are likely to continue into Saturday before they wrap up – for better or for worse.

Original post on Zackarate Island as part of the NZYD reporting from Copenhagen.

Flight of the Kiwis

(A post by a New Zealand Youth Delegation participant in Copenhagen)

“New Zealand stakeholder briefing meeting number one. Negotiators?”




“Right. Item one. What should we talk about?”

And thus the first New Zealand briefing of day two of COP15 began, just like an episode of Flight of the Conchords. Small office, laminated sign, faded flag, not many people. The only thing missing was a poster saying “New Zealand – ewe should come,” or something of the like.

New Zealand really shows its importance at the UNFCCC by having a tiny office positioned strategically in the far corner of the delegation offices (and being told to pay $24 if the wanted another chair). The stakeholder briefing meeting I went to this morning was small and informal – but should get bigger and more detailed as things go on. Nothing much has happened at COP15 yet, just openings of negotiations. The meetings really are a great opportunity though; an incredible advantage of coming from such a small country that basically all Kiwis are welcome to come and talk details with the bureaucrats about what’s happening, and even argue about policy every day.

But we do have to remember that we’re not that big a player, but we can have a great positive impact. However, currently our 10 to 20% emissions reduction (below 1990 levels by 2020) targets will not help the developed world reach the 25 to 40% cuts necessary to stop dangerous climate change – and they are highly conditional.

For New Zealand to go to a 20% target, it wants to see global targets set at a level where temperature rises are limited to 2°C (which New Zealand itself wont be going far enough to reach). There are four other demands, including wanting to be able to purchase offsets to be able to reach most of those emission cuts off shore – meaning we’d be paying others to do what we don’t want to do, even though ultimately everyone needs to substantially cut emissions. We also want to be able to grow lots of trees tat home to achieve these offsets. Without these, and other conditions being met (many of which having a low level of probability of success) New Zealand’s target will be much lower than 20%.

So New Zealand is very demanding for such a small player. In reality we should actively be a positive voice for climate change to protect ourselves, our Pacific neighbours who are drowning under rising seas, and everyone else from the worst effect of climate change. There is so much more we could do, and that would be a huge business opportunity for us – already being well and truly seized by countries like Norway who have experienced strong economic growth recently, and plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. What ever happened to Helen Clark’s desires for NZ to become carbon neutral too?

There’s so much we could do, we’ve got a really talented negotiating team here, and New Zealand has a good reputation of purity to live up to. Let’s hope John Key has (another) change of heart and directs the New Zealand Delegation to push for a deal we could truly be proud of. That’s what COP15 should be about for the humble but talented Kiwis.

Original post on Zackarate Island as part of the NZYD reporting from Copenhagen.

Dear mum, I’m having a great time at camp!

img_18811This last week’s been a pretty crazy, full-on one, starting with Waitangi weekend. It was the second annual Young Greens Summer Camp at Jeanette Fitzsimons’ farm and it was awesome.

The camp was an action pack time of meeting load of cool people, having workshops on many interesting topics and making decisions about the future of the Young Greens. We came from all over the country, ranging in ages from mid-teens to the “old people” who tagged along and it was great to be on the same wavelength with everyone and to have all our massively intelligent brains working together in harmony. Over the weekend we talked about topics ranging from taking a shit and watching the sun set in the brilliant three-sided composting toilet that looked out over the river (and was still very private) to economics and politics to the meaning of life. Our constant interesting conversations started in the medium hours of the morning (8am) and went till the small hours of the morning (3:30am for some).

Then we got down to business. After probably the strongest election campaign for the Young Greens ever we felt we really needed to build on that momentum and get something concrete down for the Young Greens. So at our AGM on the Saturday we decided on a structure for the Young Greens which will see us moving forward at a brake-neck but environmentally sustainable pace. We now have a Young Greens Executive, which has a representative from each province and is headed by two Co-Convenors. As a particularily inovative feature anyone who considers themselves a Young Green is welcome to attend the conference calls which it uses to meet – even those who are not Green Party members. How’s that for oppenness and inclusiveness! The first meeting of this Executive happened just a few hours ago, and went really well. Anyone interested in becoming involved check us out a little more at www.younggreens.org.nz, and/or email me at zachary.dorner@younggreens.org.nz.

Why email me instead of someone else I hear you say? Well, although we elected our first two Co-Convenors ever at the last camp (before we had our Executive) we now have two new Co-Convenors – and I am one of them. It’s quite exciting, but a lot of work. A Co-Convenor is like the equivilent of President of the Young Greens, but power hungry people need not apply. It’s the Green Party after all, and we believe in real democracy! So it’s more of a facilitation role than a “this is how it will be. The end.” role. The female Co-Convenor is Georgina Morrison and she’s way cooler than I could ever hope to be.

So to end this post a big thank you to all that made the camp awesome, especially Jeanette and Harry who gave us their camp ground on their farm for a few days, and to Gareth Hughes who organised the whole freakin’ thing, both this year and last. It was free, which was great, and it’s made the future of the Young Greens solid like a tree.

(Photo explanation: I was too busy having a good time to bother taking photos. So out of the twenty I took this was the best one. O well! At least they’re gorgeous people.)

Original post on Zackarate Island.

Getting it off my chest


It has now been about two weeks and three days since election night, so plenty of time to reflect, recuperate and ignore my blog. It really is time to do what I’ve been avoiding and record my post election-musings.

First things first. Me. It was the first general election for me that I could vote in (after having made up my mind a long time ago) and the first time I ran as a candidate. I felt it had to be done. Not to get into Parliament – it’s far too soon for a serious run like that – but to increase the Green Party Party Vote, creatively vent my frustration at lack of youth participation and representation in politics, and I guess have a good time, learn a lot and see whether it was a role I could see myself in in the future – as either a lowly-ranked candidate again and/or a serious candidate.

I felt I did make a difference, and most importantly for myself, felt I did as much as I could have hoped to do to increase the Green’s Party Vote. I had a good time. I learnt things across the board, from creating event ideas, organising them and organising media to honing my public speaking skills (something I really enjoy) and talking to strangers one on one about issues that they’re passionate about, and I’m passionate about. I’ll tell you the biggest thing I’ve noticed since November 8 though. I thought that I might burn myself out on the election trail and then go on hiatus for a little while afterward. But that’s not the case. It’s put a fire in my belly that’s stronger than ever before, and it’s not going out. And every time Rodney Hide says climate change is a hoax, or John Key champions the free market over simple social and environmental logic it will only get stronger. Because if there was ever a time to dither over climate solutions, it is not now – I think there’s been enough of that since Kyoto was signed in 1997.

Which brings me on to my next subject for my pre-bed muse. The election result. Boy was I nervous on election day – the worst I’d felt the whole campaign. I’m learning to trust my instincts a little more now, and my nervousness gradually morphed into the inevitable disappointment as the results rolled in. I said a few months ago that I would be disappointed with anything less than 8% for the Green Party, and so I was disappointed. I also wasn’t expecting the result to be so decisive for National.

So what happened? Well Labour were punished for running such a crappy campaign. Weren’t they watching the US elections, and seeing how John McCain was punished for running such a negative campaign against someone who was running such a positive and inspiring one? Labour gave us plenty of reasons not to vote National, and to vote for Labour in the last three elections, but I still haven’t figured out what they would have done if they were elected again (other than go into coalition with the Green Party and implement a whole bunch of our brilliant ideas because they had none and ours are so intellegent and needed). Nationals campaign wasn’t very inspiring either, but at least they offered something, which was change, some positive messages and a nice guy as their front man. Since Brash disappeared, Key got better and better at saying either “Don’t worry, we’ll keep what Labour did” or “We’ll keep what they did, just change it a bit” which completely took the wind out of Labour’s sails. Then he just had to come up with a few issues that struck a chord with the public and voila, he romped home in the end.

As for the Green Party, I think we can count it as a pretty successful campaign. It’s so difficult to sell our message when we got so little media coverage compared to the big parties, given that our message is a whole new way of looking at things. But of course, it is a very necessary and logical way, we just need to keep working on getting it accross. We had by far the best billboards and advertising campaign, which got to the heart of our message and our voters. And so we increased our vote against what was a big swing towards a National-led Government. We now have 9 MPs, solidifying our place in Parliament as the third largest Party and a major political force. This is a great base to build on. But the challenges ahead are immense – for both the Green Party and every citizen of Earth. We, along with all the groups and individuals fighting on our side, are the only ones that have the solutions for the future. But we do have the solutions, so we’re half way there. All we have to do is make sure the left side of the brain wakes up the right side so that we can all move forward – not just those with the same ideologies. We’re all in the same boat.

In the meantime, ponder this: What were those things that National promised to do before the election again?

(PS You’re hoping for an explanation about the photo right? Well, on the final day of the campaign we had a bit a fun with some sumo suits. Can you guess what their underpants might be a symbol of? Anyway, after the two fought it out in many battles it turns out they both fall over time and time again whenever faced with a challenge. When it comes to having a positive long term vision that everyone should be a part of, the Green Party was the winner of the day – the only ones that could stand on their own two feet. Below is some more of the action.)




Original post on Zackarate Island.

Freakin’ sweet!

A brilliant website has emerged out of the Green Party campaign, and I must resist using it too much. It is voteforus.co.nz and allows you to create your own billboard. The image I chose was the closest one of myself to the image our star girl Aila, but unfortunately at the old age of 19 I don’t quite have to appeal of a child any more. I’m glad they didn’t choose this design.

Incidentally, that’s me in the Amazon, with the Rio Negro behind me. So not quite a kiwi background either, but one that is definitely under threat, and one that we definitely need to protect with the help of the Greens.

Original post on Zackarate Island.

This one’s for the workers

Another weekend’s wizzed by, and now it’s only two and a half weeks to go! This weekend I spent with fellow young candidates Gareth Hughes and Xavier Goldie. It included handing out fliers, trying to get the media’s attention and another pub crawl. The above picture is some hard working women wearing our “I only date boys who vote Green” stickers and serving sausages to the hungry partying masses on Saturday night.

On Saturday we, with the help of another Young Green (and tireless campaigner called Alexis – he always hands out way more fliers than anyone else!) went around downtown Auckland. Our main focus was, as pictured above, handing out our leaflets aimed at young people, and especially Saturday workers (with Gareth on the left). We wanted to inform them of their right to paid time off work on election day to vote if they don’t have another reasonable chance. No one knew this fact that we came across, and they were grateful to find out. More info at here if you or someone you know is in that boat. Don’t let anything stop you from voting!

That night we did the pub crawl. Although we were few in numbers we had a good time and got a very good response from everyone. It’s a great way to campaign.

The next couple of days consisted of more leafleting and trying to bait the media (with some small results, but no big fish).

The next few days I am catching up on some work, then next weekend the Young Candidates are hitting Hamiltron! After that the last two weeks will be the final hard push. So stop watching the American elections (what a bore, a forgone conclusion) and get involved in what is by no means a done deal. The Greens have shown yet again that we are the only fully-honest Party in Parliament, so we will see how that plays out.

And remember, every vote counts.

Original Post on Zackarate Island.

Takin’ one for the team

You may have already seen the (slightly inaccurate) article in todays Herald, but yes, I did dress up as a daredevil to highlight how unsafe cycling in Auckland is. Fellow Green Party Candidate (placed seventh on the list, so a very likely future MP) Kevin Hague joined me on my ride from Newmarket, along with four others.

It was before the launch of the Auckland Transport Strategy the Green Party has put together, putting much more cost effective and sensible options on the table than any other Party to date. It can be seen here. All our MPs and a number of candidates made a Green pilgrimage to Britomart due to the importance of getting Auckland moving to our economy. Each MP used a different non-car method, including walking, cycling, ferry, bus and train, and tenth place candidate David Clendon rode an electric scooter.

An integrated and affordable public transport system, based on three major rapid transport loops around the city, plus much better connections and more frequent services will be money much better spent than on a couple of new roads to nowhere. Plus safe walking and cycling facilities. So let’s go Green!

Meanwhile, unfortunately you have to be a daredevil to cycle in Auckland.

PS take this weeks poll about public transport on Zackarate Island.

Original post on Zackarate Island.

Financial crisis explained with lines

Confused about the financial crisis? Never fear, this slideshow is much more authoritative then anything I’ve seen so far (warning, contains rude words).

Of course this is just a small glitch compared to the problems the global economy is beginning to face due to more and more scarce resources. Could the price of oil have helped to start this financial crisis (even though it was pretty inevitable by the sounds of things)? And, as the Green Party has been saying, we need to use the lowered prices of oil, caused by recessions, as a window of opportunity to invest in sustainable infrastructure, such as better public transport, so that we are insulated from the next, inevitable rise.

It’s funny how now that financial markets are plummeting, everyone’s forgotten about the record high oil prices earlier this year.

Original post on Zackarate Island.

The Great Green Pub Crawl Auckland report

On Friday 26 September the Young Greens of Auckland embarked on one of the most epic and original nights of campaigning this country has ever seen. We went on a pub crawl.

The popular feature of said pub crawl was our “I only date boys/girls who vote Green” stickers, coasters and badges. Yes, that’s right, it says “I only date girls who vote Green” not a girl. Hence the above photo…

We had a good team, shown in part above, though some other left early. We had a good reception overall as well, though of course it depended on the venue. A few drinks and people can get quite rude and direct! We went around about 12 or so bars. We our message out, and had some good conversations in the process, in some cases changing perceptions of the Green Party and winning over voters.

So we got our message out, and had a whole bunch of fun doing so. Perfect. Thus, this week’s poll on Zackarate Island is about the effectiveness of innovative campaigning. Do you think it makes more of a difference if it’s clever and fun? I believe it made one for the above backsides and their respective partners, if any. They are sporting our “I only date boys who vote Green” stickers.

Keep your eyes peeled for more great Young Green campaigning coming very soon to a place near you!

Original post on Zackarate Island.