Author Archive

Guest Author: An Open Letter to John Key – Why should the PM be any different?

– Tim O’Shea



Up Yours, New Zealand




Dear John

This is a message for you – please refer to the attached photo.

I just wanted to make it clear that this is from me personally, as an individual, as a person, as someone’s brother, cousin, father and uncle. I’m not going to hide behind a weak excuse that I am instead doing this as an employee, as a professional, or any other weak as piss argument.

We are all accountable for our words and actions – we can not, with any credibility or integrity, even half-reasonably suggest that we can somehow separate or distance ourselves from inappropriate actions and behaviour on the basis that we did it as an individual, or “in the line of duty”, or vice versa!

We expect high standards from our All Blacks, or for that matter, anyone representing New Zealand. Would we accept the excuse that “I got pissed the night before a test match as an individual, not as an AB”?

Why should the PM be any different? This is the most important and prestigious (and in theory, most honourable and respected) position in the country. Why should we accept such low standards of behaviour and integrity from you, Mr Key?

I’m quite surprised that Bill Clinton didn’t just say “I put my willy where I shouldn’t have as an individual, and not as the President”. Of course, no one would have accepted this as a reasonable defence, and Bill Clinton wouldn’t dare to insult people’s intelligence with such a farcical argument.

However, Mr Key, you expect us all to accept much lower standards. You treat all New Zealanders like idiots.

What goes round comes around. Your time will come.


– Tim O’Shea

Guest Author: The Rock Fuels NZ Roastbuster Rape Culture

– by Jessie Hume




This is making me feel pretty uncomfortable.

Here we have an instance of Jono and Ben posing like “exposed celebrities”. But do you know what I’m seeing? I’m seeing two dudes who basically “roasted” a woman online (exposed pictures of her without her consent) just like the Roastbusters did, who are then making fun of the situation, just like the Roastbusters did. I know they are not condoning rape. They are, however, knowingly condoning this kind of without-consent behaviour toward women, specifically, posting photos of women online without permission.



The Rock, like many other Radio Network and Media Works radio stations yesterday posted illegally stolen and explicit photographs of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities. They did so with full knowledge that lawsuits were under way, they did so knowing that Jennifer granted NO CONSENT. The original photos were very obviously private and completely inappropriate for public distribution. They were stolen, and it is not her fault they were stolen, she had reasonable expectations of privacy.

Consent. It’s simple.

Despite complaints and rapidly increasing public concern The Rock continues to publish the images and laugh about how funny this kind of without-consent behaviour is. The rock alludes to masturbating to the images. I spoke with Leon from Media Works who assured me the images would be removed from other Media Works sites, but The Rock appear to be updating their links. What is interesting is not only publishing the images a without-consent act, it is considered amusing.

People here we have it. If you ever thought rape culture wasn’t a thing it’s right here, in action. Is doing stuff to chicks without consent funny? Are women “asking for it” if they take photos of themselves naked with their partners and store that on private, password-protected spaces? No. People are actually using that phrase “asking for it” including the radio DJs. Do you realise how that sounds? Can we stop it? A woman taking private photos of herself, for her partner, is not asking for global humiliation. She is not “asking” for anything.

Remember, these organisations have been contacted by the public, some of them removed photos, some tried to post “tamer” photos or link to hosts elsewhere, some continued to laugh about posting the images because ratings are money and money is cool. It would be nice, if we did something, to stop men who have no concept of consent controlling New Zealand news media. It is 2014. The time to act is now, let’s do something. Your action matters.

Action Alert (Please share this blog): 

The Rock are still publishing the images on their website and updating links. Let them know what you think. School them on consent and that acting without consent isn’t actually a laugh: You can also do so on their Facebook page:

You can email Jennifer’s representative and report anyone who has distributed the images here: attention Liz Mahoney.

– Jesse Hume

(Re-pubublished by kind permission.)




= fs =

Guest Author: A Cry of desperation from Christchurch

–  Sarah O’Brien




I spoke to my father (84 yrs old) and asked.. ‘are you going to watch Hope & Wire”?

His response… ‘No, it hardly represents what the people here are still going through. It misrepresents Christchurch all together, and the language is unacceptable.  All this intermittant rubbish the writer has crammed into it… represents us as a group of badly educated, sex driven white supremists’!!!

YES.. I couldn’t agree more…

Having now lived through over 13000 earthquakes, and dealing on a daily basis with my own paper war to have my insurance contract with IAG (via the ASB) honoured, living with black mold in the ceilings, no carpet, gib off bedroom & living room walls and having had raw sewerage in the house for 2 years as EQC refused to fix this under ’emergency repairs’ (while my insurers didnt want to know until I was deemed ‘Over cap with EQC, not able to get it fixed myself or ‘I’d loose my insurance claim’!!!)’.

Now I witness see daily ‘fletchered cosmetic repairs failing’, and elderly / disable persons having to shift from their homes for the 2nd or 3rd time, as their floor boards were ‘propped up’ (Jack and Packed) with bits of MDF / Malamine / Gib board and even an old chair leg!!!

Entry doors and windows still cannot be secured, water ingress every time it rains, and drive / pathways inaccessible to those who are elderly or disabled in small ways.

Why?? Because Gerry & his army of twats has decided its OK for up to 20% of structural repairs (replacement of piles) under houses , are able to be completed without consent!!!!! Therefore, we have cowboys being paid millions and their work is not requiring council building inspection!!!! Is this what our insurance is paying for???

YES: the government led (CERA) Fletcher repair scheme has cost the taxpayers three times more than it ever should, caused hundreds of deaths, illness (mental and physical), and this whole Government orchistrated genocide and complete ignoring of the plight of the Christchurch people is criminal….

But do YOU know how I felt at the end of Hope & Wire??

I shed a blubbery tear and felt…



Because I have pleaded with you all to listen, protest, become involved and support us.. You get out there to save the dolphins. You rally to stop fracking. You rally to have emergency houses built in Auckland. You rally to help North Island flood victims or Wellington storm / earthquake victims.. you rally to stop wars in other countries.

Yet you leave the victims of this city for four years to survive sub-zer0 degree nights, relentless floods, living in 3rd world conditions. Many still living in tents and garages…. and STILL STUCK WITH EQC / FLETCHERS AND INSURERS STAFF WHO RELENTLESSLY BULLY AND THREATEN ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE VICTIMS OF THIS. OUR NATIONS TRAVESTY.

Yes… BUGGER YOU. If this was rugby… another springbok event.. would you take a day off work and protest??? THIS IS GENOCIDE HERE!! WAKE UP!!!

Sarah O’Brien
Christchurch resident, July 2014



Previous related blogposts

Interview: Angie, the Earthquake Angel

A tale of two tragedies


Fairfax media: Christchurch rent crisis ‘best left to market’

The Christchurch Fiasco : the Insurance Aftershock and its Implications for New Zealand and Beyond



National's trickle down policy is a frozen tap

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



= fs =


Guest Author: So John Key, a man can’t be a feminist?

Bennett Morgan



Comedian Louis C.K. John Key, David Cunliffe. 

The hillbilly minority in this country has entered another week in wasted anger over David Cunliffe’s “sorry for being a man” quote. A new Facebook page has risen from the depths of hate as “Labour’s war on men” – attracting close to 700 lost rednecks to join up in a matter of days. It includes, from the observation of the naked eye, truckers expressing their distaste in Cunliffe’s use of words.

Those who know me will know; this is something I just can’t stand. Men, insisting they are an oppressed minority.

OK, for goodness sakes – you are a WHITE MAN! Let me use Louis C.K’s scenario; if you had a time machine, you, as a white man could go anywhere, at any point in time, and be welcomed with open arms and rights. If you are a woman – that’s not the case. Anywhere before 1970 and you’ll get Women saying – “No thanks, don’t feel like being patted on the backside in the workplace” or “I have better things to do than staying at home all day, doing the ironing”.

Men have it great. I know this. And every man knows this. What no man understands is the despicable discrimination and hatred which still exists against Women in our modern, supposedly liberal society. Women are still underrepresented in boardrooms, council rooms and offices of high power. We still have existing stereotypes that Men do one thing and Women do the other. We still use phrases like ‘are you man enough?’ as if Women are lesser when it comes to bravery.

So, Men aren’t discriminated against in our society. Men are incredibly focused on in popular culture; for example, why are we so interested in the All Blacks and not the Blackferns? Do you even know who the Blackferns are?

Then there’s violence. Violence against women. Whenever someone tries to raise the point of this completely ignored and horrifyingly common violence, you’ll always get someone saying “It’s not OK to hit a man too!”. Oh poop. Are you man enough?

We are discussing Women’s violence. You know, the one we ignore but counts for 85% of all violence at home? Yeah, that’s the violence we are trying to discuss here. This is the violence the media has ignored every time a politician has tried to address this serious problem. Then there’s the audacity from our manliest beast of a man John Key, who laughs off Cunliffe’s comments.

This is not a joke. One woman calling a helpline or the police every nine minutes because she is being beaten by a man she loves is not a joke. It could hardly be interpreted as such, and I’m sorry men, but for once – this isn’t all about you. This is about saving lives, relationships and families. This is about saving young women from being scarred for life – this is about being defenders of the vulnerable  and a voice for the voiceless.

What the media should have focused on is what Cunliffe said after “I’m sorry for being a man”. But we didn’t hear a word. Had we heard a word, and had New Zealanders been willing to listen and willing to care, David Cunliffe would not only be respected, but would be labeled a hero for speaking out.

The fact the media was up to it’s old tricks, trying to spot a gaffe, the fact our Prime Minister and various other politicians used his comments for their gain is disgusting. They used it without even checking nor accepting the crisis which exists within the country they govern. The country they could fix.

Key laughed offed the comments and gained reputation for being the voice of ‘oppressed men’  – all the while, he watched as the Christchurch Rape Crisis Centre closed it’s doors, leaving dozens in a broken city without hope.

$30,000 to leave that open. The next day he spent $80,000 on re-designing bank notes.

That is how our government values women. That is how our government values abuse.  That is how our government values rape. A joke, and less important than a banknote. $50,000 less important than a banknote. Keep going Mr. Key, you’re doing Abbott proud…

So if men can’t be feminists, I guess there never should have been whites speaking out against apartheid. I guess there shouldn’t be Jewish people right now fighting the actions of a Zionist government in Palestine. And I guess no straight person should celebrate a gay couple being happy.

And if men never act on issues which help Women; then there would never be the right for Women to vote.

So in that respect, laughing off Cunliffe’s comments as ‘feminist bullshit’ is un-Kiwi. It goes against who we are and why we are all here; to fight for the equality of all our people.

B. Morgan, 2014. 

Re-printed by kind permission from Bennett’s blog, InsightNZ


Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



= fs =

Metiria Turei’s Waitangi Day speech on Te Tii Marae at the powhiri for party leaders

– Metiria Turei, Green Party Co-Leader

Metiria Turei.


Tēnēi au e tū whakaiti nei i raro i a Ranginui, i runga i a Papatuānuku, e titiro kau ana ki ngā maunga whakahi me ngā tini uri o Tane.

Ki a koutou o Ngati Rahiri, o Ngā Puhi-nui-tonu, e rere haere ngā mihi o mātou Te Rōpū Kākāriki ki a koutou mō tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi wiki.

Kua tae mai mātou ki te mahara, ki te maumahara, ki te whakanui i tēnēi taonga o a tātou, Te Tiriti o Waitangi me He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga.

Ko te whakahonoretanga o Te Tiriti tētahi wāhanga whakahirahira rawa atu o te kawenata o ngā Kākāriki.

Mihi mai i runga i te kaupapa e whakakōtahi nei i a tātou, arā te oranga o a tātou whānau me te whenua o a tātou tūpuna.

Kua tatanga ahau me tōku pāti ki te noho ki te tepu o te kāwanatanga mō te huanga o tātou te iwi Māori.

Kāore e mutu ngā mihi ki a koutou i tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi rā.

He honore nui mōku ki te korero ki a koutou i tēnēi rā ki te whakanui i tēnēi rā.

It is an extraordinary honour to speak here today.

This is an historic opportunity for me, as a Māori woman and political leader and for the Green Party, the most consistent voice in parliament for the interests of Maori over the past 15 years.

Getting our kids out of poverty; protecting the moana from deep sea oil drilling; warm healthy homes for every whānau; honouring te tiriti o waitangi; this is the Green kaupapa, my kaupapa.

And it’s urgent. For every day that goes by more of our kids are being robbed of their future.

Deep sea oil drilling robs our kids. It robs them of a clean ocean, of safe food, of sustainable jobs when they grow up.

The Greens are the leading political voice in the fight to protect our oceans.

The Treaty guarantees our children the right to clean and oil free seas.

The education system still denies rangatahi an education and traps them in poverty, robbing them of a fair future.

The international results showed that only 4.5 per cent of Māori 15 year olds achieved in the top two levels in 2012.

We could gather up the first hundred kids we see running around this atea; we take just five and say “you will achieve and do well”.

The rest, well, some will struggle through. And many will not make it at all.

And it’s getting worse. Our kids are now much less likely to achieve at the top levels of school than they were before National came to power.

National refuses to do anything about the reasons for educational underachievement: inequality and poverty.

And when they are challenged on this failure, they make personal attacks.

But offer no solutions for our kids.

The Treaty guarantees our children the right to an education.

The Greens put kids at the heart of everything we do. And that’s the difference we bring.

We know that if the most vulnerable kids have what they need to do well, like healthcare, free lunch, after school care, then every single one of our kids will have the best chance to be the best they can be.
We will protect our workers, increasing the minimum wage and making industries like forestry safer, so men stop dying trying to make ends meet for their whānau.

We are committed to honouring the treaty, honouring our people and honouring our whenua.

The Green Party will sit at the heart of the next progressive government.

We will have a big role to play in that government.

For Maori, it’s worth remembering that a party vote for the Green Party is the best opportunity you have to have a say at that table and change the government on behalf of our kids.
A vote for the Green Party will not be a wasted vote, like it could be for some of those other parties.

Soon, I will be the only Māori woman leader in parliament.

I help lead a whole team of MPs who are all committed to addressing inequality, righting the wrongs of the past, fighting for clean water and fighting for all our whānau to lead good lives and have a fair future.

The message this election year is clear.
National’s time is up. The time of the radical right making laws for their rich mates is over.

This is the message the country is sending, that Maori are sending.
My presence here today is evidence of that.
The time for our children, for our whānau, for our whenua is here.

National may not like it. They will lash out with venom and bitterness.

They will reduce the most pressing issues our kids face to being about the colour of my suits, but to do so they let all New Zealanders down, particularly Maori, and particularly kids.

But whether the message is delivered by a Maori woman standing in jandals or a Maori woman in a suit, make no mistake, change is coming.

And that change is Green.

Kāore e mutu ngā mihi ki a koutou i tō manaakitanga ki a mātou i tēnēi rā.

He honore nui mōku ki te korero ki a koutou I tēnēi rā. Tena koutou katoa.





= fs =

Guest Author: A Citizen’s Submission on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme

– Paula Fern


milk prices-pollution


Plan Change 6 and RWSS Submission


Paula Fern


My name is Paula Fern and I am a resident of Waipawa, where I’ve lived with my family since December 2011. My family ties to this area go back to my great great grandparents, James Davey and Susan Stubbs who originally settled in Dannevirke after the birth of their first child, my great grandmother Minnie, in Havelock North. This is my 9 year old daughter Marni who wanted to come along today so she could see for herself who would be responsible for deciding the fate of our river, the Waipawa. Your decision directly impacts the future of my children, and all the other kids in our community.

“Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au – I am the river, the river is me” is a true description as our water is daily a part of us; our townships water supply comes from two shallow bores adjacent to the Waipawa River. As such maintaining a healthy river is essential for our community.

According to the latest published compliance (1) our water supply is ungraded, and it doesn’t comply for E.coli or Protozoa, and no official P2’s, such as nitrates, are even tested for. In light of the current situation in Canterbury it would be appropriate to know what else we’re actually drinking.

As a family we spend a lot of time in and with our river, whether it’s walking with our dog, swimming, or fishing. Marni’s older brother is becoming quite the expert at enticing trout onto his line, and releasing them afterwards.

We realise how fortunate we are, being able to walk just down the road to what is a vital asset. It gives so much to us, and we believe that it should be protected and enhanced, not turned into a toxic dumping ground and over allocated for irrigation, which has been the fate of so many of our waterways. It will be the fate of many more if we don’t stand up and say no, and that’s the message I want to convey to you all; the risks of this particular proposal outweigh any perceived benefit.

Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme

The first part of my submission I’d like to speak about concerns the RWSS.

I am opposed to the dam in its entirety because of the unacceptable risk it exposes my community to, and other matters.

The first time this scheme impacted on me was when I went to see a local business to see if they had any part time work available and within 5 minutes I was told that if I didn’t support the dam then I wouldn’t be employed, and that the dam would be the saviour of businesses and retail in Waipukurau township. I was then shown a large map of the dam site. To say that I was left a little perplexed by the experience is an understatement. Apart from knowing that I couldn’t work there, I also knew that I would have to find out more about this golden goose.

It’s been a slow process as information hasn’t been overly forthcoming.

I was reading the Assessment for Environmental Effect in July 2013 when I read about the risk assessment for the dam. It made me take notice, and then I found the final draft of the Dam Break Analysis dated March 2013. Some facts that I instantly grasped were the Potential Impact Category (PIC) is High, the Population At Risk (PAR) is approximately 1000, so roughly half the population of Waipawa. But of course the location of those at risk isn’t exclusive to Waipawa, it includes those that are in the potential inundation path directly below the dam who wouldn’t have any warning or time to evacuate, and includes people in the Lindsay Road area of Waipukurau, and other low lying areas which are pointed out in the maps. It would affect the lower part of Waipawa, with depths up to 5 metres in some parts; there is no real difference between the Sunny Day failure as opposed to the Rainy Day.

There have been lots of words bandied about since, like the chances of failure are small, they build on fault lines all the time. From one now ex regional councillor when I asked his opinion of the potential dam failure, and pointed out the population at risk and that there is actually a fairly good chance that it will fail, his response was,

Well I guess they’d be dead, but we need the water.”

There are several questions that need to be asked; how would insurance be affected for those that own property in the zone? Will premiums go through the roof, or could insurance companies refuse to cover properties completely? Will house values fall, and will homeowners be able to sell with the potential risk hanging over their property? These are all unknowns because QVNZ and insurers won’t comment until a decision is made.

However I did contact a cousin who has been working in insurance on the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery. He asked if this will be noted on the district plan in the future, and noted against the property titles as being in a hazard zone. He also noted that a low-level flood would cause more damage from sewerage overflow and spread.

So why would it fail?


The Dam is being built approximately 800m from the Mohaka Fault, which according to Kyle Bland of GNS is a “very, very active fault”. For a geologist charged with looking for oil and gas deposits that is probably a very good thing, but for building a major piece of infrastructure that can potentially kill a thousand people or more it’s not such a fantastic prospect. The Mohaka Fault, which is what the Makaroro reservoir would sit directly on top of, is classed as a 1 on the Recurrence Interval Class along with the Alpine and Wellington faults, which means a recurrence of under 2000years. The scale goes down to 6 which is a RI of between 20,000-125,000years.(2&3)

On the Civil Defence Hawkes Bay page there’s also some very clear information on potential earthquakes on the Mohaka fault(4) situated in the proposed dam site area over a 475yr return period, and 5000yr return. The 5000yr return represents the Maximum Credible Earthquake which has a Modified Mercalli Intensity(MMI) of 11, and a peak ground acceleration(PGA) of 1.1.

The description of a MMI 11 is that it’s Extreme. Few if any structures remain standing. There would be numerous landslides, with cracks and deformation of the ground.

A PGA of 1.1 is violent shaking and the potential damage is very heavy.

I’ve read the evidence of Trevor Matuschka, Philip Carter and Maria Villamor Perez. The specifications that they are quoting don’t appear to be of the degree of MCE that we are expecting. In Mr Carter’s evidence, 3.3

(a) The dam site is located around 750 m from the primary active Mohaka Fault which has an average recurrence of fault movement of around 1300 years and this together with other active faults in the vicinity, pose a credible shaking hazard to the dam site. GNS has recommended a maximum credible earthquake (MCE) of magnitude Mw 7.5, equivalent to 7.1 on the Richter scale. This would produce an estimated 84th percentile peak ground acceleration at the dam site of 0.77 g.

(b)The MCE is defined as the largest earthquake that can reasonably be expected to be generated by a specific source on the basis of the available seismological and geological evidence. It represents the earthquake hazard level used for design and evaluation of critical features of high hazard projects.

(c)Modern dam design guidelines, including the New Zealand Society on Large Dams (NZSOLD), adopt a two level design approach. A dam must be able to withstand the effects of earthquake shaking that could reasonably be expected to occur in the life of the dam with none or minimal, easily repairable damage. This level is known as the Operational Basis Earthquake (OBE) and is taken equal to earthquake shaking with an average return period of 150 years. The dam must also be able to withstand, without uncontrolled release of the reservoir, earthquake shaking associated with the earthquake source capable of generating the highest level of ground shaking at the site (in this case the Mohaka Fault). This is known as the Maximum Design Earthquake (MDE).

As the 5000yr return is considerably larger than this and could occur within the life of the dam then surely that is what should be the MDE, not what Mr Carter is quoting that GNS have recommended?

Can a dam be built to withstand an earthquake of this size?

How can the dam designers be confident their finalised design would survive such a catastrophic event?

As far as I know, there are no examples of a dam in this fault scenario surviving an earthquake of the magnitude expected. In fact I found a paper penned by the current and two former chairs of ICOLD, Martin Wieland, A. Bozovic and R.P Brenner (Mr Wieland is someone that Mr Matuschka refers to in his evidence several times) that also supports my assumption. In it they state,

As a general guideline, if significant movement along a fault crossing the dam site is accepted as a reasonable possibility during the lifetime of the dam, the best advice is to select an alternative site, less exposed to geodynamic hazard. Such standpoint is supported by the fact that no dam, foreseen to successfully survive the shearing action of a fault slip in its foundation, has ever been exposed to actual test under such event(10).”

This appears to contradict the evidence of Mr Matuschka, 2.2(iii) I consider a CFRD is a good option for the site. This type of dam is inherently capable of withstanding high levels of earthquake ground motion, the design can accommodate displacements, and even if the upstream concrete facing is damaged the embankment will not fail. Also in his evidence it is stated in a letter to Tonkin and Taylor under site selection, “there are no ideal dam sites in the project area.

There seems to be contradictions at every turn.

There has been an attempt by HBRC to show the effects on Waipawa should the dam fail and breach in the kind of earthquake which comes along once per century in these parts, but their downplaying publicly of the risk is irresponsible in my opinion. In the event of an earthquake we’re fortunate that our townships are small in that we have no high-rise buildings, and the majority of dwellings are wooden structures on raised foundations.

They crack but don’t tend to collapse like brick or concrete buildings. An EQC research paper I read from Dec 1995 reaffirms this,

Fortunately, except for the Wellington area these faults lie mostly on the eastern margin and within axial ranges. They pass mainly through farmland, areas of forestry and the Ruahine Range. It is possible that some farm houses in close proximity to the faults will receive damage but structures built on the fault may be ruptured or buried if in the path of any earthquake triggered landslides (7).”

The chances are that those in the identified inundation zone would survive, some may be trapped and/or injured in collapsed buildings, but they’d be alive. Add a wall of water to the scenario and the chances of survival lessen.

A more likely scenario than dam failure and inundation is that Reservoir Triggered Seismicity will cause an earthquake. Mr Carter, and Mr Matuschka refer to the Zipingpu Dam as being an example of a CFRD that has withstood a catastrophic earthquake. What they both failed to mention was that the Zipingpu, or specifically its reservoir, is held by many to be the cause of the Wenchuan Earthquake that it survived (5&6). Over 69,000 people were confirmed dead and over 18,000 were never accounted for as a result of the Mw7.9 earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008.

It wasn’t the dam failing that killed these people; the area that the Reservoir Triggered Seismicity destroyed was far wider than a projected inundation path and as a consequence far more deadly and destructive.

The effects of this go much wider than just people in the way of a rush of dam water.

An earthquake from RTS is certain to be very shallow because of the way the fracture is triggered, so the surface shaking would be very intense and will certainly kill people.

Living in fear of a random dam break is one thing – why should we live in fear of an earthquake caused by the dam as well? It’s not right. I don’t think the risk has been investigated at all, and the risk is very real, no matter how much the promoters of the dam wish to downplay it. Who are these people to say we have to have it? Even if they are ok to be personally at risk they don’t speak for me, and for the sake of my family and my community, I’m not okay with this. Many of the people involved with this process do not have to physically live with the consequences, and I wonder how their perspective would alter if they did.

Why are we being used as guinea pigs?

Other Issues

Emergency Action Plan:

It hasn’t been written yet. Are there going to be sirens along the river? Is it going to be the volunteer fire fighters that would be expected to take on this duty too?

Final Design:

The fact that the design wouldn’t be completed until after consent was granted, and that HBRC and CHBDC would have the final say adds to my total lack of confidence that the design would come under enough scrutiny.

Creating a Low Wage Economy:

John Hayes National MP for Wairarapa column from June 5th,

Australian workers will get a 2.6 per cent rise to $A622.20 a week or $NZ750.50 at the prevailing exchange rate. That’s $A16.37 ($NZ19.75) an hour for Aussies’ 38-hour working week compared with $NZ13.75 an hour or $NZ550 for Kiwis’ 40-hour working week. I note that the Labour Party spokesperson on Labour issues is wringing her hands in despair at this news.

I think we should celebrate because a rise in the minimum wage in Australia makes our labour force more competitive and will be helpful in attracting investment and jobs to New Zealand. About 18 months ago CHB Mayor Peter Butler and I approached Australian based food processors with the suggestion of moving across the Tasman to establish plants in New Zealand to process food produced under newly irrigated areas.

We established that Australian food processors are interested to do this when our new irrigation is in place. A driver from the Australian perspective is that the New Zealand labour force is well educated, more productive and less unionised than their Australian counterparts. Getting our new irrigation schemes up and running is vital for our collective wellbeing. Irrigation and energy development will be real game changers for New Zealand.”

My interpretation of this column is that the local Mayor and the current MP both are promoting a low wage economy for Central Hawke’s Bay. If they were looking to the best interests of the community and wanted to revitalise retail then they should be encouraging innovative businesses here that pay their employees at the bare minimum a living wage. People on the minimum wage of $13.75 an hour are struggling to afford even the basics, there is no discretionary income, so supporting the flagging retail in Waipukurau definitely wouldn’t be on the agenda.

Other issues that concern me are the following, but have been covered extensively and very well by others so I’ll keep it brief:

Flushing Flows

Flushing flows imply to me that it’s moving the problem downstream, but it won’t make it magically disappear. Would the algae be carried all the way to the coastline, or would it end up being pushed into the bends in the river along the way?

I can see the increased amount of flow will create a danger for recreational users of the river, the swimmers and anglers. I’m also concerned about the birds like the Banded Dotterel that nest on the gravel islands.

Loss of Forest and threat to terrestrial ecology

Losing another piece of lowland forest and its biodiversity, which Central Hawke’s Bay is pretty much devoid of, is a tragedy. One of the things that I noticed when we moved to CHB was a lack of native bird life. When we lived in Napier, a stone’s throw from the city centre, it was a common occurrence to have several Kereru in the backyard at once, Bellbirds, Tui etc. I had a bellbird that used to land outside our home office window everyday when the Echium was in flower which to me was special as I’d never been that close before. Here we see Tui and fantails very occasionally because of a lack of habitat.

Dam Decommissioning

The cost of decommissioning a dam is more than the cost of construction, so if you allow this to be built you’re not only burdening this generation with the cost, you’re inflicting a bigger debt on Marni’s children and grandkids. The life expectancy of a CFRD is 50 to 100 years, depending on silt and gravel build up, maintenance, earth movement from seismic movement etc. So if you allow this to proceed it will return to public ownership just in time for it to be decommissioned.

Increasing Debt and the Associated Risk

With land values on the increase, and the added pressure of paying high prices for irrigated water, traditional farming is becoming unaffordable. According to an article from Stuff 14-11-2013,

Loans by registered banks to dairy farmers this year totalled $32.37 billion. Total agriculture on farm loans $49.2 billion and agriculture as a whole owed banks $50.5 billion.”

That’s a lot of risk being carried by dairy, and what happens when it falls over, because it will eventually. It’s only a matter of time that a “scare” becomes a reality, and that will decimate the industry. Bringing in supplementary feed from countries with foot and mouth for example increases that likelihood, not to mention financing the decimation of another countries ecology, but that’s another story. It’ll be the small guys with the big loans that get hit first, and the corporates will walk away.

One last thing which may seem really trivial to some, but if Dairying increases in this area there’s another side effect, increased danger on our country roads from tankers. I had actually forgotten what it was like to see so many milk tankers until recently when I was in the Manawatu, and from Dannevirke, suddenly they’re everywhere.

Plan Change 6

The second part of my submission that I would like to speak about is Plan Change 6. I am opposed because nitrate levels are set too high and other matters.

In my opinion this is a management plan that ignores a major contributor of degrading water quality in our rivers. With levels of Nitrogen, or nitrates exceeding safe drinking water standards in Canterbury and Waimea(8), and to learn that this is an accumulative problem should raise alarm bells with everyone. HBRC’s admission that site’s they have tested in the Ruataniwha catchment will exceed safe drinking standards by 2052 should also make everyone realise that existing practices need to halted, and farming intensification will speed up the degradation of our water.

Why are levels being set at the bottom-line? Why are they not being set instead at the optimum health for the whole aquatic system? I understand that allowable Nitrogen levels will be increased by almost 500% from what they are currently. I’m not a scientist, and I’ll leave the experts to their qualified explanations, but what I can say is what I’ve witnessed for myself.

During last summers drought we were frequent visitors to the river. We swim upstream of Waipawa, well upstream of the town sewerage treatment plant. The water levels were very low and green algal growth covered large parts of the remaining water in the slower flowing parts of the river. I heard an interview with someone from Federated Farmers blaming townships, and sewerage outfall specifically and its phosphorus content, as being a major cause of algal blooms. North of Waipawa, to my knowledge, there is no township that discharges anything into the water, so where do you think the nutrients are coming from? Green algae isn’t the problem though; Cyanobacteria is the main concern when you have children and dogs in or around the river. We were unaware that it was in the Waipawa as the signs were beside the Tukituki at Waipukurau, but we’ve since found out it is here too.

Last summer provided perfect conditions for algal growth; high temperatures, low water levels and the high nutrient levels. Climate change, bringing higher temperatures and increasing the frequency of drought and flood events will only make this worse.

The way water is allocated needs to be addressed, which means looking at land usage (9).

In 2010, 78% of allocated water was used for irrigation, 11% for Industrial use, 8% for drinking water and 3% for stock, which I perceive to mean drinking water for livestock.

Out of that 78% for irrigation, 76% was used for pasture, 13% Horticulture, 4% for both Arable farming and Viticulture, 2% was other and not specified, and 1% Recreational.

Estimated actual water use from consented takes in Hawkes Bay from 1999 to 2010, went from approximately 23,000 hectares to 47,000 hectares. Canterbury in the same period went from 400,000 hectares, to just under 700,000. Irrigation is a greedy consumer of water, and especially pasture irrigation. For areas that will experience drought in ever increasing cycles is it really the best choice for our finite resources?

When it comes to producing effluent cows are extremely gifted; 1 cow equals 15 people, so with 6.5 million cows approximately that’s the equivalent of 90 million people. That’s a rather mountainous pile. What sort of impact do you think unrestricted increases of dairy herds are going to have on this areas water catchment? If we want to care for our water then we definitely do not want intensification, and we need far better controls in place to handle what we do have.

We do need a comprehensive water plan that protects water quality for the ecological health of the river; unfortunately Plan Change 6 as it stands is not it. We need proven, robust science in place that puts the environment first, not measures that put commercial interests above the health of our river.

It’s interesting to me that Iain Maxwell has changed his opinion from the days when he was employed by Fish and Game. From an article that he wrote concerning the Taharua river at the headwaters of the Mohaka, that appeared in the August 2009 issue of BayBuzz he stated,

In the late 90’s large areas of the valley were converted from light pastoral farming and forestry to intensive dairy platforms. Since the conversion of land to dairy farming, the quality of water flowing down the Taharua River has declined, with increasing levels of nutrient (mainly nitrogen) in the water. The initial evidence suggests that this is not a coincidence and the changes are related.”


It’s always a good thing to try and identify a positive from any situation you find yourself in, and mine from all of this is it has started me on a journey. I’ve learned a huge amount over the last few months, met some wonderful people, and discovered this discussion has raged in other parts of the country for quite some years while I, like others, have been blissfully unaware.

So what specific outcomes would I like to see happen for the good of my community and district? Plan Change 6: I would like the health of the river and its ecology put to the forefront, optimum levels set, rather than just bottom lines which if detected have already been crossed.

I would like our water protected and enhanced, so dual management of both Phosphorus and Nitrogen.

Riparian planting has to be wide enough, and this along with the fencing of waterways needs to be actioned without delay; we also need more wetland areas.

Planning and resource consent need to be looked at so a broad mix of agriculture is encouraged and implemented. Large tracts of farm land being sold to corporate
concerns for intensive farming needs to be discouraged as it will not benefit this area economically, socially or environmentally.

Our changing climate and the strain it will put the river and aquifers under needs to be recognised.

My request for the dam is that you do not allow it to proceed. The risk is too great.

There are other alternatives for water storage, and they are small scale and locally controlled without the huge risk involved. They also don’t involve transferring what is held in commons for all being privatised for the financial benefit of a very small minority.

I have heard certain people say that this is a fait accompli, although I believe that you, the board, are approaching this with an open mind, and once you have heard all opinions you will come to a very different conclusion, that this isn’t the magic pill to cure all ills, or a golden goose. It’s more of a dead duck. There are other options without the negative impacts.

Works Cited













= fs =

Another “satisfied” WINZ client…

– Peter


I ran a blog called Aotearoawolfing, but stopped posting after I ran out of things to say. Obviously I did it anonymously, as like everyone I have things to hide i.e. my life off the internet.

Basically have left New Zealand for good to the United States (where I also have citizenship – though my family live here). I got out while I still could.

In my case I was depressed and I could no longer could work at my job like I used to, and I couldn’t get a job again at a decent wage. By the time I got through the W&I process I had full-scale clinical depression. No support exists, and the whole experience made me think the sole focus of W&I right now is make young people homeless (which aren’t counted on unemployment statistics) or force the burden of care onto the family.

Hopefully National gets turfed out next election, but if it doesn’t then I am no longer in New Zealand – even if I have to pay off a big student loan with interest (no thanks to the cut to the student loan holiday while overseas). But on that story, most don’t pay it off as John Key has no jurisdiction in places like Canada or the US – only in Australia. In fact most never want to go back to New Zealand, John Key threatening them with prison if they return will only ensure that the best and brightest never return.

Really I don’t understand the government’s paranoid obsession about the unemployed, and student loan borrowers. As the reason there is a shortfall in the budget is due to stagnant wage growth, the richest 10% avoiding tax, and everyone with qualifications leaving the country as they can’t get work in New Zealand. It is the worst crisis since the 1980s-1990s and the government isn’t doing anything to fix it.

Hope I didn’t go on too long, hopefully I can find the time to start blogging again – even if it is from the other side of the world.




Previous related blogpost

Student Defaulters – to be arrested on sight at all borders



= fs =