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?

Nobody…

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

Addition: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/335324/police-officer-revealed-as-stalker

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

A New Zealand Policy Party?

A Problem with Policy

I believe there is a flaw in the New Zealand* political system with the slim range of policy that gets enacted. We end up with a dominant party in Parliament due to the major issues of the the electorate at election time and lose the input of the other parties.

On the face of it, possibly this doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. But what happens is that one or two issues cause the election of a party and/or the failure of another party’s representatives politically .

If you look at the 2014 General Election in New Zealand these both happened. The National Party won the election due to the failure of Labours leader politically and the economy being the prime concern of the electorate due to the Global Financial Crisis.

Nearly all the policies of Labour, Green, and New Zealand First were lost in a single day. Not the major policies. That was after all what New Zealand decided on. We chose Nationals economic policy over Labours. But nearly all the other policies were lost.

To show you what I mean (and I admit this isn’t the best issue as it is usually voted in a conscience vote) a survey done by Massey University in 2003 showed that 73% wanted assisted suicide legalised if it was performed by a doctor. Another in 2015 showed almost the same level of support yet because this is not a National Party policy the Prime Minister stated,“There is no chance of it being a Government bill,”.

This seems insane. On an issue that seven out of every ten people agree on the government of the day will not enact legislation? Why? Because National was not elected on the entirety of its policies. It was only elected for one or two of them.

The same point could be made using the legalisation of cannabis, or the TPPA to a lesser extent. Policies that New Zealanders want are not being enacted due to the other objectives of the government of the day.

A Solution

There seems to me to be a simple solution to this. We need a party that doesn’t create its own policy but instead allows New Zealanders to vote for each parties separate policies and then is bound to back them in Parliament.

This party would only be on the “List” and would not stand in the electorates. It would in no way represent its own political views but would instead exist to enable a wider range of publicly backed policy to be entered into law.

Some Problems and Possible Solutions

What would happen if the public voted for two policies that conflicted such as increase tourism and protect the environment?

I would suggest in this case that the party should vote for both. If they are economically nonviable then it would be the job of the Finance Minister to “veto any parliamentary bill which would have a significant impact on the government’s budget plans”.

What would happen if this supposed party held the balance of power?

OK, this would be an incredible achievement for a party that doesn’t even exist yet but, I would suggest that they not enter into any agreements with any other Party (such as confidence and supply). If the election results in a hung Parliament then it will have to be held again.

If the government enacted binding referendum then wouldn’t that have the same result?

Yes, in some ways it would. However, referendum are only held a few times a year and only where the government of the day has been forced to hold them. They are also very expensive.

How would this party get any votes?

There is a position both the major parties try to hold in New Zealand. The centre. This is actually part of the problem as because everybody moves to the centre on a few major issues to get votes they appear to do so in order get enough power to enact their non central policies. The true centre of New Zealand politics isn’t just one issue though. It is a wide range of views that cut across party lines.

Isn’t making MP’s in this party just vote for other parties policy wasting input into Parliament?

In one way yes. They would have no other input into legislation except supporting what the party members had voted for. However, as up to 51% of the elections total set of policies may be rejected by the current government. This would hopefully improve the situation.

To further improve participation I would suggest that MP’s in the party should be able to stand for only one electoral cycle and should be taken from the ranks of the young in proportion with ethnicity and sex. It would be a good training ground.

*Your usage of New Zealand throughout this proposition was insulting

Possibly. It is reader dependant and I vacillated on it for a while and then decided to call it it’s European name instead of Aotearoa. Personally I don’t think of it that way. To me it is a series of landscapes and people…with a fair amount of mud at this time of year.

Your Views

This is a possible suggestion and would rely on peoples support. There would need to me at least five hundred members of any such party before it could register with the Electoral Commission and that, if it ever happened, would be a long way off.

I would like to ask for your views though and start a discussion about it so if you have any input or questions please ask them in the comments below. If you would like to support such a party, and you are registered to vote or can be,  then please email and if there are enough people interested I will take it to the next stage. at the website we have set up to investigate the viability and possible effects of a policy party.

http://policyparty.nz/

Parliament House New Zealand

Image provided by Michal Klajban under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

 

 

Internet Party

So, the Internet Party is back again. Well, not really back. It never really left, but after the drubbing it got in the last election it appears to be making serious progress once more.

And drubbing it was. Approaching the last election  the Internet party was the darling of the media but the shine started to go of it in the week leading up to the “Moment of Truth” and post that…..well, all the media concentrated on Kim Dotcoms failure to to provide a smoking gun instead of concentrating on the New Zealand government spying on it’s citizens and being complicit in the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.

The GCSB was spying on New Zealanders. Why? Well, you tell me. There have been five so called terrorist attacks in New Zealand. The Huntly rail bridge bombing (1951), the Vietnam War protests (1969-70), the Wanganui Computer Centre bombing (1982), the Wellington Trades Hall bombing (1984) and the Rainbow Warrior bombing (1985).

There had been no attacks worthy of the label ‘terrorist’ in New Zealand for almost 30 years and yet now, in the interests of security, the GCSB is able to spy on New Zealanders legally. No charges for the illegal surveillance of at least 85 people during the period of 2003 to 2012. No comeback on the department or the Prime Minister (At that point the Minister Responsible for the GCSB) over lying to New Zealand people from 2012 till 2013 as he said that the agency, “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,”

But I rant…..

That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.

And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.