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Government Risks Billions

The multi-billion-dollar fair trade deals (FTA) with the UK, and the EU, both heralded for their strong environmental commitments, are now jeopardised by government policies intent on sacrificing our natural heritage for short-term gain. The FTAs contain the strongest environmental pledges New Zealand has ever negotiated, including commitments to take steps to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, promote sustainable agriculture and address climate change. They have clear mandatory obligations that the Parties must comply with. For a government prioritizing economic growth, jeopardizing trade...

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From moo to microbes: Is this the end of NZ Dairy?

By 2030, identical dairy proteins made in a vat could be 5 times cheaper than those from a cow, and 10 times cheaper by 2035. Demand for traditional dairy products could drop by 70%. Will New Zealand’s dairy industry adapt or join the ranks of bankrupt giants like Kodak who thought they were immune to innovation? This isn’t about demonising dairy farmers or scaremongering, it’s a call to action. It’s about recognising a massively disruptive global force unfolding beyond our control overseas, and its grave consequences for dairying and our economy. Imagine fermentation vats located in China...

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Sunlit Hope: Renewable Revolution Pierces Climate Gloom

Solar, wind, and battery technologies are growing exponentially, their prices tumbling like dominoes with further cost declines yet to come.  Forget magic bullets like exorbitantly expensive nuclear plants which take 40 years to commission in the USA and must remain off limits in our earthquake-prone islands.   Entire countries are already powered by 100% renewables, and cloudy Scotland just achieved 113%, proving it’s not a future dream, but a present reality. Globally renewables increased by 50% in 2023 with all-time highs in Europe, USA and Brazil.  China commissioned more solar PV than...

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Transparency blues across society

I can almost get a park in town and I don’t get so many fizz boats and gin palaces roaring past within 30 metres of my little sailboat, creating large uncomfortable, illegal wakes. Anyway, I was anchored at Peach Grove on Great Mercury over new year gazing at the hills covered in flowering Pohutukawa and watching in awe as large bronzies cruised under the boat. What a paradise we live in. In the afternoon it started raining, so I curled up in the cabin for a little light reading on Google and came across a group who call themselves the Atlas Network. Well, this looks interesting...

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A look outside the ‘home’ box Affordable homes – Part Two

An example of community-based housing is a place called Earthsong in west Auckland. It is a legal entity of 32-unit owners, designed to manage and pay for shared property in a Unit Titles situation. Residents enjoy cost savings of shared laundry, internet, common room, gardens and the like, while still maintaining private living units. Their vision is “to design, construct and maintain a co-housing neighbourhood based on a principle of permaculture, that will serve as a model of a socially and environmentally sustainable community.” Check out their website for more info. This model...

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Affordable housing we can’t afford – Part One

This was in response to the rising cost of housing in New Zealand, and rejection of the concept of going into debt to buy a house and spending the rest of time paying it off. Ohus: Some groups, during the government of Norm Kirk, who thought disaffected youth could participate in the building of this country, were even leased marginal and often inaccessible crown land, using the ohu system, under which they agreed to live on, and try to make the land partly economically viable. Eight ohu were established, but met opposition and red tape from the Lands and Survey Department, local authorities...

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Changing times

This week we narrowly lost a controversial world cup rugby final and had to bear the brunt of ex-tropical cyclone Lola. The rugby was very close and could have gone either way. Not so the election. The victory for the right was expected but the margin was surprising to many of us. Then there was the drama of Winstone’s possible inclusion in a governing majority, dependent upon special votes, the Greens and Te Pati Māori out-performing expectations, and a diverse group of young women in their twenties and early thirties who won electorate seats. How good is that. I must say...

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