Posted by On 8:18 AM

New Zealand Is Giving Environmentalists a Reason to Be Hopeful

New Zealand Is Giving Environmentalists a Reason to Be Hopeful News Abroad
tags: New Zealand, environmentalism, carbon tax

Dr Catherine Knight is an Honorary Research Associate at Massey University. Her book Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics (Canterbury University Press, 2018) was released in May this year. Her previous books are New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history and Ravaged Beauty: An environmental history of the Manawatu. Catherine works as an independent policy and communications consul tant and lives on a farmlet with her family in rural Manawatu (website).

Monument to the Save Manapouri campaign in Manapouri, New Zealand

In the environmental sphere, people often talk of tipping points, the point at which the environment changes from one stable state to another new state, often abruptly, causing significant disruption. I believe that New Zealand could be on the cusp of a tipping point â€" not in the state of its environment, but rather, in terms of New Zealanders’ awareness of the gravity of environmental issues we face and the need to make meaningful interventions.

Despite is much vaunted ‘clean, green image’ (now somewhat tarnished by the scrutiny it has been subjected to both nationally and internationally, including by the BBC curren t affairs show Hard Talk, New Zealand faces some major environmental challenges. Many of our indigenous species of animals and plants remain under serious threat in spite of ongoing efforts to control introduced pests. Many of our rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers are under severe pressure, caused on the one hand by the discharge of a growing volume of pollutants into waterways, and, on the other, the increased extraction of water, mainly for intensive agriculture. Our response to climate change over the last quarter century has been characterized either by inaction (the wait-and-see approach) or potentially effective measures (such as an emissions trading scheme) considerably weakened by the tampering of subsequent governments. As in many western countries, past governments have been reluctant to alienate big industry â€" particularly the energy and resource extraction industries, and more recently the agricultural sector, which is still seen as the backbone of New Zealand’s ec onomy.

But just in the last few years chinks of light have been starting to penetrate through the stubborn reluctance of successive governments to risk political power for the sake of the environment. Partly this is generational â€" the new leadership of both political parties are in their thirties and forties, and so represent a generational shift in which the environment is central to government policy rather than being seen as peripheral to the ‘real’ concern of economic prosperity. But there has also been a growing realization on the part of New Zealanders that environmental values that we hold dear, such as the ability to swim at our local swimming spot, or to drink water from the faucet without falling ill, are in jeopardy. There is also a growing recognition that there is in an inherent unfairness in ordinary New Zealanders shouldering the burden of environmental degradation (whether it be the cost of remediation of degraded environments or the reduced ability to en joy the environment) while others profit from the exploitation of public goods such as fresh water.

Nevertheless, as a recently colonized nation, the pioneering mentality remains strong in New Zealand, where private property rights and personal freedoms predominate over values such as the collective good or social license. (By way of contrast, this writer is familiar with Japan, where rice farmers were traditionally compelled to cooperate with each other in order to guarantee an equitable and ongoing share of the limited freshwater resource, so vital to wet-rice agriculture.) For instance, when the government proposed a policy a few years ago to prevent landowners from removing or damaging areas of rare biodiversity such as wetlands or forest remnants on their land, there was an intense backlash from farmers in some regions, claiming that this was another land grab, and rather tenuously comparing it to the government’s confiscation of indigenous peoples’ land in the 1800s, an action later found to be in breach of New Zealand’s founding treaty. The proposal was subsequently abandoned.

In my recently published book, Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand, I trace the history of environmental politics in New Zealand since the national campaign of 1969 to stop the government from raising the level of one of the country’s most scenically spectacular lakes, Manapouri. Without doubt, since that time, when environmental policy wasn’t even a “thing,” environmental governance in this country has progressed markedly. Whereas 50 years ago there was no government body dedicated to environmental issues, there are now three agencies with responsibilities in this area. And there is a body of law relating to environmental decision-making and governance, central to which is the Resource Management Act 1991, which was hailed internationally as ground-breaking at the time of its enactment. Furthermore, scientific knowledge, p ublic awareness, and the public’s ability to participate in environmental decision-making have all grown exponentially.

But at the same time, environmental issues have grown significantly more complex, making them vulnerable to obfuscation â€" whether deliberate or inadvertent. This was manifest in the case of a government proposal in 2017 to make 90% of the country’s rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. Following the announcement of the new policy, some of the country’s top scientists admitted that they were somewhat bamboozled by what was being proposed â€"in these circumstances, the general public had little hope of deciphering the techno-jargon and policy-speak. This has serious implications beyond this issue, because we cannot claim to have a healthy democracy when even informed and engaged sections of the public struggle to understand what the government is proposing to do to address an issue of such high public concern.

The signs of a growing impetus for me aningful change to address our most pressing environmental issues are tentative but nevertheless offer hope. In June this year, the leader of the more conservative opposition party (the National Party) announced that the party would support the government’s proposal to introduce a Zero Carbon Act and establish a Climate Commission, modeled on Britain’s, albeit with some not insignificant caveats. If the National Party holds to this commitment, then it will be the first time in recent history that there has been bi-partisan support for a major environmental policy. (In September 2017, a new coalition government was voted in, led by Labour leader Jacinda Adern, replacing the previous National government, which had been in power for nine years.

The government has also announced that it intends to introduce tougher regulations on agricultural land use to curb water pollution. Of course, this triggered the usual protests that ‘tougher regulation is not necessary â€" farmers a re already doing lots of good things like planting trees along streams’, but the protests were more muted and less emphatic that in the past. And from being an obscure, ‘greenie issue’ less than a year ago, the concern about the proliferation of plastic waste (particularly its effect on our oceans) is teetering on the edge of becoming a ‘mainstream’ public concern.

To make inroads into our most pressing environmental challenges, the current government not only needs to capitalize on newly emerging public concerns, but also to take up the mantle of leadership and not be afraid to lead public opinion through awareness-raising initiatives to encourage New Zealanders to take more responsibility for the environmental impacts of their everyday behavior and decisions.

My hope is that a future historian will be able to reflect back on this period, and identify it as a watershed era in terms of environmental awareness and action â€" a ‘tipping point’ in environment al history, much like the Save Manapouri Campaign was half a century ago.

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Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand


Posted by On 6:37 AM

USA men and women knocked out of Rugby World Cup Sevens

Rugby sevens USA men and women knocked out of Rugby World Cup Sevens

  • NZ Black Ferns concede first points before beating US Eagles
  • USA men beaten by England in sudden-death overtime
Ruby Tui scores for New Zealand against USA.
Ruby Tui scores for New Zealand against USA. Photograph: Jeff Chiu/AP

America’s women fell in the semifinals of their own Rugby World Cup Sevens, losing an entertaining game to New Zealand at AT&T Park in San Francisco, 26-21, after leading 14-12 at halftime. The men followed them out of the competition, losing their quarter-final to England 24-19 in sudden-death overtime.

Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco will be a knockout â€" guaranteed Read more

In the women’s event New Zealand went on to face France, surprise conquerors of the world series champions, Australia, in the final on Saturday evening. New Zealand won that game at a canter, 29-0, to be crowned World Cup champions.

The USA and Australia met before that, in the bronze medal playoff. The Eagles wing Naya Tapper scored two tries â€" reaching seven in the tournament â€" but the Australians ran out 24-14 winners.

Before meeting the US in the last four the Black Ferns had not conceded a point. They duly went ahead with a slashing try from Michaela Blyde, who ended the tournament the leading scorer with nine. Two tries by Tapper turned the scoreboard around, the second involving a neat step past Portia Woodman, one of the leading players in the world game.

As American errors and infringements increased, Ruby Tui, Gayle Broughton and Woodman scored the next three tries, Tui and Broughton from long range, securing New Zealand’s passage to the final. The USA fly-half Lauren Doyle got up from a tackle for a smart try that closed the gap to five as the clock ticked to zero.

In the other semifinal, Australia led France 12-0 at halftime, then conceded three tries, the last by Anne-Cecile Ciofani, who scooted around Emma Tonegato on the final play. Chloe Pelle and Fanny Horta had earlier lifted France back into the game.

In the first half, Australia’s Evania Pelite scored a fine solo try to take her tournament tally to five and Ellia Green scored the second after Marjorie Mayans had been shown a yellow card for a deliberate knockdown.

Martin Iosefo of the United States looks to evade a tackle against England. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Martin Iosefo of the United States looks to evade a tackle against England. Photograph: Lachlan Cunningham/World Rugby via Getty Images

The Australian men’s team were also upset by France, in the first round on Friday, leaving them to play for minor placings.

In the men’s quarter-finals on Saturday, South Africa crushed Scotland 36-5 and Fiji strolled past Argentina 43-7. New Zealand then had a narrow in over the French, 12-7, before the USA and England played a thriller.

Captain Madison Hughes put the Eagles ahead after a pass by Maka Unufe, before two England tries made it 12-7 at the half, both by Dan Norton, the second a video referee call. Ollie Lindsay-Hague put England 19-7 up straight from the kickoff for the second seven-minute half before Folau Niua and world player of the year Perry Baker hauled the USA back to 19-19. The decisive try f or England came from Phil Burgess, after a kick by captain Tom Mitchell.

The USA will now face Scotland in a placings game on Sunday, the best they can finish now fifth. England will play South Africa in one semifinal while New Zealand and Fiji play the other.

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Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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Posted by On 6:06 AM

As it happened: New Zealand Warriors v Melbourne Storm

All the action as the Warriors took on the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Warriors have suffered a blow with a rib injury ruling five-eighth Blake Green out of tomorrow's NRL clash against Melbourne at Mt Smart Stadium.

Back-up half Mason Lino will replace Green in the No 6 role alongside halfback Shaun Johnson, to make his sixth appearance of the season and first since the 24-14 win over Parramatta on May 18.

Green will miss his first game of the season and Peta Hiku also drops out of the reserves due to a hand injury, but both are expected to be back for next Sunday's away game against the Titans.

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Prop Bunty Afoa remains in the extended reserves and is still in contention to make his return from an elbow injury suffered in the loss to Cronulla three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Melbourne have moved 24-y ear-old Wellington-born Jahrome Hughes into halfback with Brodie Croft and Tui Kamikamica dropping out of the extended squad.

The visitors are strengthened by the return of State of Origin stars Billy Slater, Josh Addo-Carr, Will Chambers, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi, while Dale Finucane remains in the extended reserves after a stint on the sidelines with a fractured thumb.

The seventh-placed Warriors are looking to build some consistency following last week's big win over Brisbane, while the second-ranked Storm arrive searching for their seventh straight victory.

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21 Jul, 2018 5:00am 4 minutes to read Source: < a href= target="blank">Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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Posted by On 3:22 AM

New Zealand earthquake of 5.2 magnitude rattles Kiwis who describe 'short, sharp jolt'

By Charlie Parker22nd July 2018, 10:09 amUpdated: 22nd July 2018, 10:57 am

MORE than 8,000 Kiwis felt the "sharp jolt" of a large earthquake as it rattled through New Zealand today.

The "terrifying" 5.2 magnitude quake hit the centre of country in Picton at about 3:15pm local time.

Locals said they felt a sharp, short, shake as the earthquake rumbled through

Locals said they felt their hearts race as the shake rumbled through the country and hit both sides of the Cook Strait.

New Zealand Civil Defence said it affected residents in Nelson in the South Island and in Hawkes Bay in the North Island.

The Ministry of Civil Defence warned people to "drop, cover and hold" and find shelter if another quake hit.

Locals reported feeling the quake, which was recorded as a magni tude 5.2 by GeoNat, on Twitter.

One person said: "Jeepers don't expect shakes like that when I'm not in Wellington. Got the heart racing in Motueka."

Another person tweeted that the earthquake "seemed to come out of nowhere".

"Sharp jolt that seemed to come out of nowhere here in Wellington, then a long tail of gentle rocking as the wave passed through."

A Picton resident said they felt the quake on Sunday afternoon.

The shake was felt in Nelson, New Zealand

They told Stuff: "It just rumbled through, didn't do any damage. It just rattled the bottles."

Elswhere the shaking was described as "moderate" as the quake struck 20km east of Nelson at a depth of 73km, GeoNat reported.


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Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand


Posted by On 2:51 AM

Tesla Model 3 Spotted In New Zealand

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Published on July 21st, 2018 | by Kurt Lowder

Tesla Model 3 Spotted In New Zealand
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July 21st, 2018 by Kurt Lowder

A Tesla Model 3 was recently spotted in New Zealand. New Zealand is one of 18 countries where the driver’s side is on the right (India and Japan are the largest). The right-side-driver Model 3 will begin deliveries in 20 19. The spotted Model 3 has the driver’s side on the left, so it is likely being used for testing purposes. The southern island of New Zealand has some of the windiest, curviest, snowiest roads in the world.

Moisture from Antarctica slams against the steep volcanic mountain ranges of New Zealand. The southern island is home to Milford Sound. which gets an amazing 6.4 meters or 252 inches of average annual rain. As such, it is not surprising that New Zealand gets 57% of its power from hydroelectric dams.

On its website, the New Zealand Ministry of Transport states, “More than 80 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources and there is enough supply for widespread adoption of EVs. Even if every light vehicle was electric, there is sufficient generation capacity to charge these provided the majority are charged at off-peak times.”

Previously, < em>CleanTechnica has documented New Zealand’s leadership in renewables and smart energy systems. The country has a stated goal of selling 64,000 EVs by 2021 and some moderate incentives. They have reduced fees for EVs until they reach 2% market penetration and the country will allow EVs to travel in HOV and bus lanes. Additionally, over the course of 5 years, New Zealand is spending NZ$1,000,000 annually to promote EVs and to inform the public about the benefits of EVs.

Currently, Tesla has 6 Supercharging stations in New Zealand, but another 6 are coming soon. Tesla recently opened a store and service location in the capitol of Auckland â€" one of the largest built to date. New Zealand has a massive tourist industry, which makes up 17% of its exports. This makes for a compelling possibility for early adoption of self-driving taxis. Kiwis are among the friendliest people in the world and the country is famed for hitch-hiking. Hopefully, this culture translates into mor e shared rides.

While Tesla has indicated it will not be reusing EV batteries for stationary storage, it is not stopping other companies from doing so. I can foresee a future where used EV batteries help to provide the storage needed to make one of my favorite countries carbon neutral sooner than than its Paris Treaty commitments indicate.

Check out the article in Driven for the spy shots of a white Model 3 in New Zealand.

Notably, this is not the first time a Tesla Model 3 was spotted in New Zealand. Back in July 2017, a Tesla Model 3 was spotted there.

Support CleanTechnica’s work via donations on Patreon or PayPal! Or just go buy a cool t-shirt, cup, baby outfit, bag, or hoodie.

About the Author

Kurt Lowder I am a jock turned wannabe geek. I fell in love with science later in life thanks to the History Channel show the “Universe.” Having taught middle school science, I strongly feel Astronomy should be taught every year because nothing excites students more than learning about the cosmos. I became an avid cleantech fan because it gives me hope about the future. My wife, my dogs, and I live simply because we love to travel the world backpacker style.

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