Climate Change: What we can do.

Climate Change: What we can do

According to the OECD the contribution of New Zealand’s agricultural sector accounted for 49% of our climate change emissions in 2014. The highest share in the OECD. This is for a sector that, in 2016, accounts for roughly 5% of our GDP.

That is a problem.

We can remove 95% of our economy and we would still have only cut our emissions by 51%. Or, we could remove 5% of our economy and cut our emissions by 48% which looks like a no brainer until you remember that food is more important than cars and this sector includes not only farming but other business as well.

Looking closer at it,  76% of the agricultural emissions (37% of our gross emissions) come from livestock and out of that 73% (35% gross) comes from cows and sheep.

So we could remove 35% of our emissions by stopping the farming of of cows and sheep. This would remove roughly 4% of our GDP.

That is a huge sector of our economy. Removing the agricultural sector overnight would make things 4 times worse than they were in 2008 when we were in recession from the GFC. It should also be pointed out that our recession would have been a hell of a lot worse without the farming sector which for various reasons was going through a commodity price boom.

We also don’t want to interfere with the food intake of New Zealanders. We eat  21kg of red meat a year.  I haven’t been able to find the current dairy consumption but according to Te Ara we were eating 6kg of butter, and 4kg of cheese, per person in the early 2000’s. In the 80’s we drank 155L of milk per person.

Climate Change: What can we do?

We could stop exporting dairy and red meat.

In 2012 we exported 741787 tonnes of red meat and ate 92568 tonnes at home. So this would cut the red meat market to 12% of it’s size. Dairy exports 95% of it’s output so that would cut it to 5% of it’s size.

Obviously, destroying these industries overnight is economic suicide. And yet continuing on our current path of emissions will help destroy these industries in the long term.

Why not do it over 10 years?

If we take the GDP size of these industries at 4% then restricting them to zero exports over 10 years  would be a 0.4% drop in GDP per year and with an average GDP growth of around 2% we could achieve that without going into recession.

What about the people?

There were 108,220 people employed in agriculture in 2012.  That is a huge amount of people to change employment on. What happens to their businesses and employees. How would the banks deal with their debt?

To put it simply, I don’t know. There would have to be huge restructuring. The people of New Zealand would have to invest in changing farms and communities to other forms of business.

There are a number of ways this could be done. Identifying the most unproductive farms and transitioning them to non ruminant farming, horticulture, forestry, and tourism would be a start. Free retraining would be another good idea and covering their debt (perhaps proportional to the time left) would be needed.

In the end these people would need to be helped. We would be taking their livelihoods. Unfortunately, not doing anything is taking their livelihoods in the long term as well.

It would be a massive and sudden change even over the course of 10 years but the benefits to the country and the world would be huge. It would mean a 30% reduction in our emissions.

A little about this article…

I can point out a lot of holes in the information here so please don’t point that out to me. Things have been rounded at times, different data sets and methodologies used. There is no way I can say that it is accurate. And I am not. If you can point out errors and provide better sources of reference then please do.

This, in the end, is to make you think. Currently we have to reduce our climate change emissions by 24% to reach our Kyoto targets. This is the only way I can think to do it.

Climate Change emissions





How New Zealand should annex Australia

Annexation of Australia

It struck me with some humour the other day that the same laws causing the resignation of Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam from the Australian Parliament could be used to paralyse the country in a time of crisis.

The law in this case is Section 44 of the Australian Constitution which disqualifies anyone from representing the country who

“is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”

In this case. Both these MPs found out they were citizens of other countries as well as Australia.

What would happen? I don’t know really but to be a state according to the 1933 Montevideo Convention,

  • You must have a defined territory.
  • You must have a permanent population.
  • You must have a government.
  • Your government must be capable of interacting with other states.

I imagine that they would instantly come under the control of the Queen again since hers was the previous government. Perhaps step three should be get along really well with the Queen.

So next time Australia gets on our nerves, why don’t we just make them all dual citizens and then sit back with a beer to watch them trying to get their heads around how to change the law when nobody  is able to be an MP.  🙂

Updating Australia’s national anthem

New Zealander all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours,
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine To Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.


GCSB – Who watches the watchers?

One of the main problems with our surveillance system, especially with the GCSB,  in New Zealand is oversight. Who watches the watchers, in a system where the information cannot be revealed to the general public?

Is there a problem?

We don’t know. But we do know that people with access to others information use it for un-intentioned purposes.

An example of this can be found in recent events with the prosecution of Jeremy Malifa in the Auckland District Court. Mr Malfila pleaded guilty to 21 counts of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose “where he viewed the victims’ personal information, including contact details and their interactions with police, in order to establish sexual relationships with the women.”

And this is with oversight. If he had of been an employee of the GCSB then it is likely that no prosecution would have followed. The public would never have known.

And this problem isn’t new. In 2013 Darren Ian Hodgetts was one of two non-sworn staff arrested for making unauthorised National Intelligence Application checks relating to the drug-ring probe.

Between 2011 and 2015 there were 113 Police Officers and employees of the Police that were caught accessing information without authorisation.

So who watches the GCSB?

The GCSB is given external oversight by both the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Unfortunately the ‘Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996’ states that,

The functions of the Committee do not include—
(a) inquiring into any matter within the jurisdiction of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security appointed under section 5 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996; or
(b) inquiring into any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information; or
(c) originating or conducting inquiries into complaints by individuals concerning the activities of an intelligence and security agency that are capable of being resolved under any other enactment.

Leaving it solely the jurisdiction of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security,

to inquire into any complaint by—
(i) a New Zealand person; or
(ii) a person who is an employee or former employee of an intelligence and security agency,— that that person has or may have been adversely affected by any act, omission, practice, policy, or procedure of an intelligence and security agency:

So the oversight is now in the hands of one person but there is a catch.

(4) Except to the extent strictly necessary for the performance of his or her functions under subsection (1), the Inspector-General shall not inquire into any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information.

No oversight at all?

So, unless you know that you have been adversely affected, the oversight of the GCSB has no power to see if anybody has been unfairly targeted unless it is at the request of the Prime Minister or the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence  services.

That is a giant hole in the system. I guess you could say there is internal oversight like the one that caught 133 people in the Police but I am not aware of anybody in the security services ever being disciplined for misconduct.

Even when they were found to have breached NZ law 85 times in the Kitteridge Report no-one was charged or disciplined. Perhaps because the Prime Minister (John Key) was also the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence  services?

When they were found to have illegally used mass surveillance in New Zealand, nothing happened.

There is no internal oversight apparent to any of the levels which should be required by a government organisation.

Any illegal doings of the GCSB are a black hole that can only be pierced by knowing that you are under surveillance by an organisation that does that surveillance in secret.

That isn’t oversight.

So, who watches the watchers?


Waihopai Spy base - GCSB
Schutz. Media released under the terms of the Cc-by-sa-3.0 and GFDL licences


Te Henga to Muriwai on the Hillary Trail

Te Henga(Bethells Beach) to Muriwai is a nice day walk that I do fairly often. It starts on Bethells Road just after you have crossed the bridge and then crosses a bridge over the Waitakere River.

The Waitakere River isn’t so big now. Most of the water is send to Auckland. As you travel out to Bethells there is the Te Henga wetland to the right. This swamp wasn’t so large when the full river flowed but now is one of the most important wetlands in the Auckland region.

Te Henga

On the other side of the bridge there is a tap for water and a gate to keep livestock in and then you walk towards the sea gaining height along the way. It isn’t hard and it has great views across the beach and back inland to Lake Wainamu.

Near the top there is a good resting spot looking down on the lagoon and the beach. People have carved their names into the sandstone. If you know the area they are a bit of a who’s who of the children. Below there, near the lagoon is tapu though so please avoid it.

At the top of the peninsula there are some views down into Ihumoana Island and Waitakere rock which the whole region is named after. Originally the river turned right near the sea and went around the island and past Waitakere rock but it changed its course after the dam.

Te Henga - Looking down on the Surf Club

O’Niells bay

The trail then goes down to the old kumara fields and O’Neills Bay. Just before you see the sea along the kumara fields there are the old pits for cooking.

Further on a small spring flows across the trail. The water is good although it tastes of the irons that runs through the sandstone above. The trail then runs in behind the sand dunes before rising steeply up to the end of O’Neills.

That is pretty much the end of any hills until you reach Muriwai. The trail winds around the edge of the cliffs with fantastic views down to the crashing waves. At the other end is a series of steps that take you up onto the ridge. After that, it is all downhill to Muriwai. Or, you can continue to Goldies bush.

New Zealand ranked 34th out of 41 developed countries for child well being!


This is disgusting. Why the government hasn’t resigned or been thrown out on mass over this is beyond me. New Zealand is 34th out of 41 developed countries for child well being!

Does the exclamation mark and bold accurately portray my anger? Because I am defiantly fucked off and you should be too.

And what will the country do about it. We will do nothing at all about it. We will continue to vote for the Labour or National Parties. Swinging from one to the other in the full knowledge that they brought us to this dizzying point of stupidity. Too scared to change.

Maybe Pencilsword was writing about this in his last cartoon, Denial.

“We’re wired to believe that doing something and it turning out to be the wrong choice is worse than not doing anything and having an identically bad result. It’s called omission bias and it’s why people often choose inaction when they are under pressure.”

And why am I blaming Labour and National for child well being?

Because since 1935 the government has been either Labour or National. Even the advent of MMP hasn’t changed this to any huge extent.

I am blaming them because Labour introduced us to modern capitalism and National ran with it. I am blaming them because since 1984 they have essentially been the same party.

So what does the report say about us?

The report measures nine child relevant goals and ranks countries from 1-41 with 1 being the highest.

  • No Poverty – New Zealand gave insufficient data.
  • Zero Hunger – Average.
  • Good Health and well being  – Bad.
  • Quality Education – Average.
  • Decent work and economic growth – Bad.
  • Reduced Inequalities – Average.
  • Sustainable cities and communities – Good.
  • Responsible consumption and production – Bad.
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions – Bad.

I shudder to think what we would have ranked if we had of given sufficient data on poverty and that is something the reports authors were critical of saying,

“New Zealand is clearly capable of reporting against Innocenti’s measures for multidimensional poverty, but hasn’t, and has instead broadened the definitive lines of measurement for multidimensional poverty when reporting internally to New Zealand audiences.”

In other words, we are lying out pants off. To make it worse the Deputy Prime Minister cast doubts on the metrics in the report,

“I do question some of the data and the way that they’ve collected that”

And Anne Tolley refused to answer questions in the house saying,

“I understand that the temptation to mix the indexes that were used in this report is great, but I have no responsibility for the health issues that were part of the report that addressed child health issues.”

That is the Minister for Children, Anne Tolley because some children’s health issues make them not children’s health issues?

Who took responsibility? No one. Amazing the news cycle rolled on and in two days it was all over…again….unless you’re a child.

Webslice adds Lets Encrypt across the board!

Lets Encrypt logo

I was playing around with one of my sites the other day and I realised it was running under https:// which was strange because I never bought a certificate or set it up.

After a bit of playing around it appeared that two other sites worked under https:// as well. None of which were configured by me. All were running WordPress. At this point I thought they had buggered up a setting so I raised a support ticket with my hosting provider Webslice.

The quick reply was,”We are offering free Let’s encrypted SSL for all the domains now.”

Lets Encrypt

For those of you who don’t know what Lets Encrypt is then its best to start with SSL. SSL is the encryption that protects your data on websites such as banks and Facebook. Anywhere where you login with a password should be encrypted otherwise your login and password just got sent and anyone in the middle of you and the website can read it.

This used to rely on certificates that were provided by trusted certificate authorities such as GlobalSign, Comodo and Symantec. The problem was, this was expensive. I saw a price yesterday of $150NZ for a two year certificate for one domain.

In comes Lets Encrypt. They “give people the digital certificates they need in order to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS) for websites, for free, in the most user-friendly way we can. We do this because we want to create a more secure and privacy-respecting Web.”

And they recently issued their 100,000,000th certificate.

What this means is that now everybody can be encrypted using a trusted provider that is free. Our data just got safer. Our privacy just got private. It also means that hosting companies can roll out free SSL across their infrastructure which is exactly what Webslice have done.

Lets Encrypt logo
The Lets Encrypt logo is a trademark of the Internet Security Research Group. All rights reserved.


If you are using WordPress you may need to make a couple of changes.

How Etihad Guest tarnished a good airline experience.

This is a story of how Etihad Guest tarnished my good experience flying with Etihad.

My Etihad Experience

In March I booked a return flight to Paris on the website of Etihad and on the 4th of April I travelled to France with Etihad and returned on the 17th of May.

It was my first flight overseas for a while and they made it easy with reminder emails and an app I installed on my phone to keep me up to date. The staff were nice, the aircraft was clean and well maintained and the food was good. I was happy and would have favoured them in future travels (of which it looks like I am going to be doing quite a few).

At this point I had received three emails from Etihad.

  1. Electronic ticket receipt, April 04 Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, France for …
  2. Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (going to Paris)
  3. Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (returning from Paris)

My Etihad Guest Experience

On the 20th of June I received my first email from Ethihad Guest.

Partial Etihad Guest email screenshot

OK. That’s great I thought. I am going to be travelling again so I can use the miles to get a cheaper ticket or upgrade or something. So I clicked on “Claim My Miles”. This took to a place I could register (remembering that they know I don’t have a Etihad Guest account yet) and again repeated the promised 500 bonus miles. So I registered.

It Starts To Go Wrong

At this point it should have all been done. I have registered on the link they gave me and my name matches my ticket etc…. I should have my miles. And for a minute I though I had. Until I realised that at the top it said,“0 Miles Etihad Guest”.

Where are my miles? Oh, OK. I have to apply for them now. But didn’t you just tell me that,

“To claim your miles, simply enrol in the Etihad Guest programme before 28th of June 2017. “

Oh look, there was fine print in the Email.

“Terms & Conditions: To receive Etihad Guest Miles for flight(s) taken with Etihad Airways in April 2017, you need to enrol in the Etihad Guest programme and activate your new account before 28th of June 2017. Etihad Guest Miles will be awarded to your new account by 30th June 2017 as long as the first name and last name of your Etihad Guest membership account match the first name and last name on your Etihad Airways ticket and passport.”

But I had done that. So I went to use their Claim missing miles page.

Etihad - Claim missing miles

Claim Missing Miles Doesn’t Work

All very simple except the “From” form is mandatory and won’t accept the Airport I flew from. So I emailed them and they replied with an unhelpful email stating,

“To help us to process your claim for missing miles, we kindly request you to email a copy of the boarding pass and e-ticket number to”

Which boarding pass? I received six during the entire journey and I don’t keep them. Why would I keep them. For that matter why would they need them? They sent me the initial email, they know I have flown with them, they know I am me. They have my passport number, they registered me on the flights. So why exactly do they need the extra information?

Remember, they have already told me, ” You’ve earned 2217 miles from your recent Etihad flight” and that there would be,“500 bonus miles – on top of the miles you’ll receive for your flight”.

Are they a scam? Why are they lying? Why do they want information they obviously already have otherwise they couldn’t have sent me the initial email?

Why would they screw up a perfectly satisfactory customer relationship for no reason?

The Result

Etihad Guest put me off Etihad. They spoiled a good customer relationship and they flat out lied in order to get me to sign up. Thank you, Etihad Guest.


Mt Heale Hut to Harataonga Beach

It was cold and clear when I woke up at Mt Heale Hut. I probably should have been more proactive and gone to the summit for sunrise but instead I cleaned the hut. There had been a rat the night before. Probably because of the food people had left behind.

Really, on the bench there was an egg, and open UHT cream, 1/10th of a bag of chips, a little bit of cider, and some butter. A little note beside them proclaimed that the egg and cream were good on the 15/06/17. What a wonderful person to leave their rubbish behind for others to carry out. There was probably around 3kg of left overs as well.

Rubbish at the Mt Heale hut.

Hirakimata (Mt Hobson)

After leaving the hut you skirt around the base of Mt Heale and then up a large old slip (same big storm) to the start of the stairs that lead to the summit of Hirakimata (Mt Hobson). There are quite a few of them.

Hirakimata is home to a Black Petrel colony but you don’t see much of them. You might be better to sit down in Whangapoua at sunrise or sunset? That’s the only time I have seen them. There are the usual calls of Kaka (demented parrot) and Pīwakawaka (fantail).

The upper part of Hirakimata was one of the only places on the Island that wasn’t logged or burnt off so it still has original bush. From the summit you pretty much have a 360 degree view of the Barrier and surrounding landscape. Nice place for a break.

Palmers Track

Taking Palmers Track away from Hirakimata you follow the ridgeline to Windy Canyon. There isn’t much full bush which means you get really good views down into the Whangapoua basin and Kaitoke, Awana valleys. The track is good and clear but can be slippery in the wet.

Halfway along is an arch made of tree trunks. This was part of a logging system. It is incredible how valuable logs must have been back then. It is also incredible how few remain.

Further on is Windy Canyon. It is worth stopping at the top of the stairs and looking back down the valley at the columns rising from it. There is a triptych in the waiting room of the Claris Health Centre. It’s worth looking at. 🙂

Whangapoua Basin from the top of Windy Canyon.

Palmers Track winds through Windy Canyons steep slopes and then carries on until you reach the road. I was going to The Harataonga Coastal Walkway tracks northern end so I turned left on the road and started down Okiwi Hill.

Harataonga Coastal Walkway

Strangely, when you get to the start of the Harataonga Coastal Walkway the sign says there  is cellphone coverage. This isn’t actually true. Probably the last cell coverage you will have will be as you leave the Whangapoua Basin at the end of the peninsula.

The Harataonga Coastal Walkway is stunning. It isn’t steep, the track is well maintained, it has great views of Rakitu (Arid Island), and small beaches. Unfortunately, you can’t go to the beaches as it is private land. Both sides of the track are private land.

When you get to Harataonga it will more than make up for that. As will the camp ground with sheep and geese wandering around. Eels in the stream and no one there.

Internet Party presents #UpdateNZ live

Internet party 2017 banner

In a first for a New Zealand, if not world, political party the Internet Party presented #UpdateNZ live last night. An 8:01pm broadcast on Youtube where they promised to reveal their campaign plan.

There were a few glitches at the start with plenty of good natured humour in the chat panel and chants of #ipcatforpm!

Time 00:12

At around 8:10pm things got underway with an introductory video introducing the IP Executives who would be speaking followed by a welcome by Party President Chris Yong and a brief back history of the Party post 2014 election. At first I thought they were using special effects but it was actually just a microphone left on. Sounded good though. 🙂

Time 03:24

He then swapped over to Party Leader Suzie Dawson who spoke briefly about a recent Wikileaks release where it appears New Zealand spies were dispatched to France on the orders of the NSA (curiously, I was in France at the time although that was not how I paid for it).

Suzie then led everyone watching through the various parts of the Strategic Proposal 2017.

  • Context
  • Strategic Overview
  • Tier 1 Breakdown
  • Campaign Management
  • Principles for Success
  • Funding
  • Notes

Time 39:37

After Suzie came Jo Booth the Tech Director who gave a brief history of himself with the Internet Party and then launched into the tech. His favourite subject.

Some of the tech is;

This gives them a very important end to end encryption structure to build on.

Time 48:00

Then Sarah Illingworth, the Communications Director. Sarah said this was her first time working in a political campaign  and that formally her background is in media and academic research. After a brief call to for people to volunteer in the media team she was back to madly tweeting.

Time 51:06

Next was Bill Urale , Volunteer and Candidate Manager. Bill was on the last campaign and said he was there because he cared for his people, his country and gave a damn about community and he felt the Internet Party team felt the same.

He then talked about some of the differences between the IP campaign and other campaigns with one of the major ones being,”You have a say” in the policy and workings of the Party. He finished with a call for volunteers and solidarity.

Time 55:45

Suzie then wrapped up with a brief look at what lies in the future and then another call for peoples support and donations.

Time 58:05

The live stream then ended with Chris extolling how much they want to make a change in the political system and believe they can.

In Hindsight

In hindsight I think the event went really well. There was upwards of 80 people that I could see and later Suzie said they had over 30 new volunteers. That isn’t a bad strike rate (I have no idea how many there eventually were. I wasn’t watching that).

Everyone spoke well. Sarah was probably the worst spoken but then she had been madly tweeting in the background and everybody had taken all her points already so as was said,”Look at the website“.

The one who surprised me was Jo Booth. I was surprised at how well Jo speaks. It’s probably just the Wellington accent, but he sounds a little like Peter Jackson.  Also, he is obviously very into his tech.

So, not that I am qualified, but I’d give a 7/10. Good introduction for people to some members of the Executive. The bulk of it was a little boring in parts but then making a strategic plan exciting is hard. There was some good stuff though and it was a good continuation from their launch. I look forward to seeing more.

#UpdateNZ live

Forest Road to Mt Heale via Southfork

One end of Forest Road starts at Port Fitzroy and the other at Whangaparapara Road. I started at the Whangaparapara end. It was closer.

Forest Road

The entire track is supposed to be 13km and it can feel that long.  It follows the ridge line at either end but there are three deep valleys and, especially heading south, a hill that seems to climb forever. Forest Road can be quite slippery at times. You definitely have to keep an eye on where your feet are going when it is wet. Not so much muddy, just slippery.

Little barrier in the distance from Forest Road


Halfway along is one of my favourite places on the Barrier. Maungapiko lookout. Sitting on the junction of Forest Road and Kiwiriki Track, with a nice little table, is a short ten minute track that leads up to Maungapiko.  There is also a piece of railway line stuck in the ground at the entrance. The track can be a little slippery but it always amazes me how far you can see from the look out and how few houses there are in view.


Near the end of Forest Road is the start of Southfork Track. It got pretty nailed in a storm a couple of years ago and you have to walk up the Kaiarara Stream for 500m or so before picking up a ridgeline that takes you up out of the valley. In the stream you will see the devastation that can be caused by weather on the Island.

The track rises fairly steeply at first but then levels out a bit before coming to a wire bridge. It must have been one of the first DOC wire bridges on the Island. Maybe even a Forestry Service one? It isn’t to far from the end where Southfork meets Peach Tree. Take a left and you’re only a hundred meters from the Mt Heale Hut.

Wire bridge on Southfork.

Mt Heale Hut

Nice hut. No heating but there are mattresses for about 20 people, gas burners, water, and toilets. It does call itself a serviced hut although that hasn’t really been true when I have passed through. Twice the gas wasn’t working, once the water had to be got from the outside tank, and generally there was no toilet paper. This time was the exception with everything working.

There are electric lights in the hut but no wall socket. Cell phone coverage can also be intermittent.