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Dr Muriel Newman

Home Fire Scaremongering

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FireBanThe Green Party had a significant impact on government regulation and legislation during the nine years Helen Clark was Prime Minister. Many radical environmental initiatives were introduced by Labour as a result of their influence and while some were eventually dropped or terminated by the National Government, others, like the ban on household fires and older wood burners, remain in place.

The Sustainable Development for New Zealand Programme of Action, launched by then Minister of the Environment, Marion Hobbs, in 2003 was one of the main catalysts for action. The document explains, “Sustainable development was brought to international attention by Agenda 21 and the Rio Earth Summit, which focused on the pressures that will need to be resolved if the environment, the economy and communities are to flourish in the 21st century. At a global level and here in New Zealand, we need innovative solutions for the complex issues we face.”

A key focus of the programme was to ensure that “each individual, household, institution and business uses energy, water and clean air more efficiently and with less waste.”

For Labour, the preferred way to make sure that New Zealanders complied with their agenda was to regulate. As a result, regulations were developed to cover an array of measures including energy efficiency, water conservation, and air pollution.

In fact, the Greens’ push for sustainable development led Labour into a frenzy of over-regulation. It seemed that the government was not only determined to tell New Zealanders how to live their lives, but by 2007, it appeared they were planning to enter the household bathroom to dictate what sort of shower head a family could and couldn’t use.

Until then there had been no controls on the water flow of showers and rates ranged from 5 litres per minute to around 24 litres a minute. The average was 13 litres a minute.

The new regulations, which were to take effect from 1 February 2009, were part of a range of amendments to the building code. Under the changes to NZBC H1 Energy Efficiency, which covered hot water systems, any building consent for a new home or an alteration would have required a 6 litres per minute shower head for larger homes over 150 square metres and 7.5 litres a minute for smaller homes. Repairs or replacement of existing hot water systems would have been allowed – just so long as they did not make the shower less efficient.

Labour also proposed that carbon dioxide emissions should be part of the equation when deciding on the choice of hot water systems. They said, “This is groundbreaking for New Zealand, as it is the first time these emissions could be considered as part of the performance measure in the Building Code”. Under a range of new hot water system proposals, the government expected the country to reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 1,500 tonnes, compounding each year.

But just three weeks out from the 2008 General Election, public anger over the plan to impose low-flow shower heads onto the country forced Labour to pull the plug and the proposed regulation was dropped.

Then there was Labour’s plan to ban traditional light bulbs.

In June 2008, New Zealanders were told that the traditional incandescent light bulb was on its way out – as part of the government’s strategy for more energy efficient lighting.  They said: “It is intended that from late next year, these inefficient incandescent bulbs will be phased out because they waste so much energy. There’s a whole new generation of lighting coming through that is more cost-effective, saves energy and is better for the environment.”

The Efficient Lighting Strategy aimed to reduce lighting energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2015. Key to this was the need to ‘help’ Kiwis embrace more efficient and affordable lighting technology through “phasing out the least efficient lighting products by setting minimum energy performance standards”.

Labour’s then Energy Minister David Parker and the government’s spokesman on Energy Efficiency and Conservation, the Green Party’s co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, argued, “Technology is moving quickly in this area. There’s already an excellent range of modern, stylish energy efficient light bulbs on the market that save money and power for New Zealanders. Each year we spend approximately $660 million on electricity for lighting in this country, generating about 2.65 million tones of greenhouse gas emissions. New Zealanders will be able to save almost $500 million by 2020, just by changing the lights”.

As could have been expected, having the government dictating what sort of light bulbs families could use in their homes aroused a strong response. The resulting accusations of ‘nanny state’ contributed to Labour’s defeat in the 2008 General Election.

Just six months after the light bulb ban was announced, the new National government scrapped it. The Minister of Energy Gerry Brownlee explained that while they too were committed to energy efficiency in the home, they believed that lighting was a matter of consumer choice: “People need good, credible information about the different lighting options that are available to them, and then they can decide what is right for them in their homes. Lifting the previous government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs simply means we are allowing their continued sale, and I am confident the consumer trend to energy efficient bulbs will continue.” Mr Brownlee said it was up to householders to decide which light bulb they used.

But while National strongly opposed the intrusive plans to regulate shower heads and light bulbs, they left another of Labour’s insidious sustainable development environmental regulations in place – the ban on open fires and older wood burners in New Zealand homes, even though this too crosses a line by intruding into the private lives and decision-making of householders.

The home fire ban is based on the socialist ideology of the United Nations, which uses computer modelling through the World Health Organisation (WHO), rather than hospital data, to issue air quality guidelines.

New Zealand’s first national air quality standards under the Resource Management Act (RMA) were introduced by Labour’s Environment Minister Marion Hobbs in July 2004. These National Environmental Standards for Air Quality set Ambient Air Quality Standards based on WHO guidelines to regulate outdoor air quality to protect human health and the environment.

Under the RMA, regional councils and unitary authorities were required to identify areas, or ‘airsheds’, where the air quality was a cause of concern. Where an airshed breached the environmental standard, the regional authority was required to develop a plan to ensure compliance by a deadline of 2013[i]. If the standard was exceeded after that time, no new air discharge consents for that pollutant could be granted, and anyone seeking land use consents would face constraints.

According to the Minister, “the standards are based on comprehensive consultation, research and scientific evidence and were developed by the Environment Ministry in consultation with local government, business and the community”. The problem is that not all of the standards that were adopted are scientifically based.

The ambient air quality standards set maximum levels for the amount of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and fine particulate matter of less than 10 microns in size (PM10) in the air. While setting safety standards for individual gases is relatively straight forward, that is not the case for particulate matter. PM10, which is generated by household fires, motor vehicles, outdoor burning, industry, as well as natural sources, has been labelled as a killer of thousands of New Zealanders a year.

The Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand study, which is sponsored by the Ministry for the Environment, states that “the primary health impact resulting from air pollution is premature mortality in adults. More than 2,300 New Zealanders are estimated to die prematurely each year due to exposure to PM10 pollution from all sources, with just over half associated with anthropogenic sources”.

Of the reported 2,315 premature deaths a year, household fires are claimed to be responsible for 655 deaths a year, motor vehicles for 256 deaths a year, outdoor burning for 140 deaths a year, and industry for 123 deaths a year. That makes a total of 1174 deaths a year due to human sources.

Natural sources are said to account for the remaining 1,141 deaths a year: “The main natural sources of PM10 in New Zealand are sea spray (referred to as ‘marine aerosol’) and windblown dusts (referred to as ‘soil’). Other sources such as volcanic eruptions and trans-Tasman emissions from bush fires and dust storms in Australia can be significant but are infrequent occurrences and are difficult to quantify. Only marine aerosol and soil were considered in this update.”

In other words, the research that is being used to ban open fires and older wood-burners in New Zealand households claims that a proportion of the 1,141 people who die prematurely each year from exposure to natural sources of PM10, die from exposure to sea spay! This really does show the absurdity of the claims that have become the basis for the regulations.

The reality is that our air quality standards are based on overseas studies that predict harmful health effects through assumptions based computer modelling, not actual hospital and health data. The scaremongering that surrounds this issue, which claims that hundreds of people a year die prematurely from inhaling wood smoke, is scandalous. The data should be the subject of a full government inquiry, since these regulations are having such widespread effect on families throughout the country.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator and researcher Mike Butler, has been investigating the claims that PM10 is a major cause of death in New Zealand:

“A simple request to the Ministry of Health under the Official Information Act in April of this year brought a response that ‘we cannot identify whether a death was caused by exposure to PM10’. In other words, there is no evidence PM10 has caused any deaths at any time in New Zealand.

“My request sought all advice received on PM10 from fires and woodburners, along with full details of the numbers of respiratory illness deaths throughout New Zealand. The reply said that although mortality figures includes coded causes of death, and although respiratory illness deaths may be identified, the information does not record what may have caused the illness.

“Therefore, the over-hyped PM10 issue is not so much an actual safety issue; it is problem that has been defined into existence. Without busy body bureaucrats the issue would simply not exist.”

Mike is not the only one to recognise that the fire ban is flawed.

Dr Pat Palmer, an independent scientist based in Christchurch, has been fighting the false claims that the smoke from fires causes premature deaths for years. He explains that the scaremongering that smoke from home fires are causing deaths is based on computer estimates, not clinical records, mortality statistics, nor coroners’ reports. He points out that while the restrictions on the use of domestic fires has reduced the concentration of PM10 from smoke in the atmosphere, the number of deaths from respiratory causes has not reduced.

In fact, two studies from Denmark last year looked into the impact on wood smoke on human health finding, “if people are exposed to large amounts of wood smoke… it is certainly uncomfortable and it irritates the lungs, but it has no long-term effect on the lungs’ ability to function, or on our cells or any of our other bodily functions”.

In other words, the dire claims that open fires and old wood burners are killing us are bogus.

It is time elected officials throughout the country stood up against socialist doctrine being passed off as scientific research. They could start by asking themselves if they accept the claims of their Ministry for the Environment that 2,315 adults a year die prematurely from inhalation of PM10, when their Ministry of Health has no such evidence.

[i] The 2013 deadline has now been extended to 2016 for some councils and to 2020 for others.


Do you accept the claims that 2,315 adults a year die prematurely from inhalation of PM10 (that is, particle matter of less than 10 microns in size)?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


Scaremongering and control, that’s all. Greg
Utter rubbish !!!!! More climate change bull we will all pay for eventually. Alan
Why does NZ belong to the UN? We are just to eager to adopt the recommendations of Agenda 21! Elizabeth
Absolutely such ‘commercial’ charities should pay tax. The charities regulations need changing and to separate out the “blatantly commercial” entities calling themselves ‘charities’, from the small community organisations that operate non-commercially. Bryan
I think it is just a joke. Karol
No, it could well be utter unsubstantiated rubbish! New Zealanders should question the validity of this kind of Greenies propaganda at every opportunity! Paul
NZ is surrounded by sea and winds . Maybe a couple of times a year the smoke may settle in the sky. people should act accordingly and stay indoors. Martha
No proof. Roy
Scientific data should be the criteria to set regulations. Dennis
This is just another area where the bureaucrats are taking over. The only way we can stop this nonsense is to make binding referendum part of the law of the country. It works just as well in Local Government as it does nationally. People who are concerned about these issues need to study Direct Democracy as practised by the Swiss for well over 100 years. The Swiss do not put up with this sort of socialist garbage. Ronmac
I have always felt the restriction on household fires was ill founded Ormond
Its most absurd time wasting non necessary control I have come across for a long time. Spencer
More lies and statistics to justify a stupid claim. Fraser
Probably more die from dust off our unsealed rural roads than are even affected by smoke from a warm fire. Get real! Russ
It is completely ridiculous. People dying of exposure to PM10,, yeah right!! I now know for sure the lunatics are running the asylum. Lynn
No Neil
Socialism gone mad! David
Where did that statistic come from? Did you know that 99.9 % of people who have car accidents wear wrist watches? Clark
Biggest load of bull I have heard in a long time. John
Load of Socialist rubbish. Graeme
The usual nonsense. Bill
I am extremely sceptical about ALL gummint statistics. You know the old quote – “Lies, damned lies and statistics”? Well statistics is a science whereby anything you wish to promote can be “proved” to be true beyond any doubt by the evidence produced by careful selecting of the appropriate data and subjecting it to statistical analysis. Perhaps the greatest example of this is where deaths are attributed to various causes. The alarming magnitude of these numbers – such as those attributed to smoke from open fires can be truly alarming. But the falsity of all these alarms can easily be disproved by summing the total fatalities from all causes. The total will suggest that the whole population must certainly be dead – with the obvious exception of statisticians and politicians. Ron
Wood fires probably improve health by keeping homes dry and warm. Judith
Completely unproven and economically disastrous for all those with fire boxes. Eric
I cannot accept any claim that is not based on clear, reproducible, controlled research. Peter
This claim can not be validated. Similarly, how can so many deaths be attributed to passive smoking when motor vehicle exhaust fumes are far more lethal. The citizens of Tokyo don’t wear filter masks in the street to keep out second hand cigarette smoke. Mitch
What New Zealanders die from is chronic diseases which are caused by chemicalised, denatured foods, polluted city drinking water, medical drugs and vaccines which neither can heal nor protect. The whole draconian paradigm is based on the Depopulation Agenda 21 and Codex Alimentarius which aims not for sustainable development but for depopulation by denying the masses the freedom to look after themselves. Every day our country is adopting fascist ideas from abroad and we do it at our peril. Look at the mess the USA and Europe are in. Our politicians are at war with us and we must fight back or be enslaved. Emanuel
There is no evidence to support this. It is a load of B..S.. Lisa
Bullshit Jim
Mother lived to 110 yrs. Always had open fires til 1980 w hich is were the early years would have a huge impact on her health. graham
Bunkum John
Unless there is some credible scientific evidence then it’s just another guess by the scaremongering bureaucrats. Brian
Where is the proof or evidence of that? Rob
No, no, no. It is just more scare-mon gering bull…t. Graeme
If objective science cannot validate such claim, the claim should not be made. Isabel
How can ANYONE believe ANYTHING that is spewed out by these repugnant despots!..This government MUST toss this down the loo with the rest of ‘clarkies’ rubbish. Pepper
And where is the extra power generation going to come from if people install heat pumps or electric heaters ? Keep your hands off my wood fire burner ( also doubles as a stove in the case of power cuts). Noel
More untruths from lying bureaucrats to regulate our lives. Monica
Don’t know where these so called experts get their info from I have been in the engineering industry for 45 years and sucked in more than the average person and I don’t believe the average New Zealander would have had nearly the same amount Al Gore has lots to answer For starting all this crap. John
Tests on wood smoke use in Denmark prove to me that this proposal to ban wood fires of any sort has no ‘weight’ at all and should not be pursued. David
NO, this is just more nonsense and out right lies coming out of the UN, like man made global warming, there is NO scientific evidence for either of these, It’s called agenda 21, Google it. Athol
Wood fires are one of the most sustainable forms of energy. NZ can grow trees quicker than most other nations. Kevin
NZPR is now for the early termination of New Zealanders. Science is ion and scaremongering from NZCPR is out. David
Dry wood is clean burning. George
It’s only 2311 deaths per year. And based on the above, 503 deaths would be saved per year if no-one was allowed closer than 147 metres to any body of sea-water if there is an on-shore wind. Sailing should therefore be banned unless suitable respirators are worn. Geoffrey
This has not been, and cannot be proven; the only one that was killed by bonfire smoke was Guy Fawkes! QED. Antony
We in Auckland are fortunate to be in the long narrow portion of the country and due to having a lot of wind east to west and from the south, most pollution is not around long enough to cause any health problems of significance. Charles
No I definitely do not. This is pure garbage and has been since day one. E-Can have been frightening and bullying little old ladies among others since the inception of this c..p and it’s way past time it was stopped. Widows and widowers on only a single superannuation simply don’t have the wherewithal to fund new,expensive and unnecessary heating appliances. The Government sacked the elected members at e-Can…it may have been better to get rid of some of the beaurorcrats who are driving this nonsense. Jim
Evidence highly problematical. Jim
NZ has a westerly air flow this keeps that kind of thing clear. Murray
Don’t allow the truth get in the way of the contrived goal. Stuart
when the industrial revelution was on with all the coal smoke the human race should have died out but it didnt so get rid of the wood burners and get back to using coal as this country has some of the best type of coal in the world and should keep the greenes and labour happy to hug a tree. Richard
Like climate models, tweak the assumptions and get the answer you want. “Scientific – Yeah Right! Steve
This is another money making local body RMA gravy train! Peter
We are going from dumb to dumber! Helma
Has anyone measured the smoke from burnout competitions? What about poorly tuned diesel vehicles, seems to be way too many on our roads… ever had to close the windows when following one?? Leave my open fire alone! David
The sooner real Kiwis rebel against these loony bin legislators the better place NZ will be, for I often ponder how many people die from the effects of loony bin legislation. Brian
Absolute garbage. I am an asthma sufferer. Lenise
Face facts and look at the evidence, the greens and lobour parties have a lot to answer for. Murray
This seems to be in the same category as Human creation of climate change. Perhaps the protagonists will be able to enlist the support of the UN also. Michael
Just more regulation to keep useless civil servants in unnecessary jobs. Peter
This claim is in the same category as global warming – a load of @#&% Maurice
Benzene in petrol & diesel are by far the worst pollution hazards, especially as WHO defines benzene as one of the 6 worst carcinogens. Petrol & diesel should be banned as a fuel long before wood is. All NZ Governments serve Corporate Business & international bankers. Banning wood fires will just make a whole lot more money for some of their buddies (especially the power companies!), while leaving the population dying of cancer from more fossil fuel use! LA traditionally had the worst smog problems in the world – no wood fires there, but they’ve had unleaded petrol since the 1970’s. This year Paris & London have had the worst smog ever…once again, not too many wood fires there either, but now both countries have unleaded petrol! It just shows how bogus the Greens really are…we still have GE, more chemicals than ever, more fake food on the shelves than ever, a higher cancer rate than the rest of the world, the worlds dirtiest fuel, actually we’re in a far worse state than before the so-called Green Party came into being! But they did manage to bring about initiatives to embrace new (& more expensive) technologies & to ban everything traditional such as wood fires. Oh and of course they also brought us gay marriage etc…no wonder none of them can think straight..LOL…and why it was so easy for Auntie Helen to ‘lead them up the garden path’ so to speak! Dave
Having lived in Scotland e mail address says it all auld (old) reek (smoke) was the name given to Edinburgh, Coal and Smoke from wood does cause deaths from chest problems, my father being one. Mary
I have thought this an absurdity,so thanks for confirming this. In Auckland the spores in the air are the main problem for asthmatics and some pollution from exhaust fumes. Christchurch may have had a problem.. Laurie
It is high time the national Party stopped all local and regional councils form doing anything but look after the basics such as rods, rubbish etc Nick
Cobblers. Mike
Rubbish. Mark
A country controlled by dickheads! Graeme
A highly unlikely cause of death and high time left wing parties devoted their efforts toward more worthwhile policies. Peter
Even if it is a few hundred less it’s still bad. Gerhard
Ridiculous !!!! Ngaire
Absolute BULL SHIT Harry
Phoney baloney explains it perfectly. Govt was replacing fireplaces in State Houses with heat pumps for years. Who pays to use – the tenant. Di
If there was anything like this number it would be talked about by the Medical profession. Wynn
The main reason for death is people getting old. Will our government introduce measures to prevent people getting old? Selwyn
Absolute Bull. Typical Green Nonsense How many Fires are lit in the coramandel area.  A green stronghold! Barry
Another method of controlling the ratepayers – and at great financial cost – BIG brother is at it again. Sandra
This article clearly shows why it costs so bloody much to build a new house or even maintain compliance with an old one in this country. Murray
If that was the case then human kind would not be so successful (in numbers) as most of the world lives and cooks with natural fire! Andrea
It is utter nonsense and extremely poor science to make claims such as this. I consider that such claims are pure emotive, political claptrap designed to obtain maximum media attention. Brian
As an ex nurse I met quite a few people who had been exposed a variety of substances that they were not aware of or didn’t know the dangers. A number of things produce fine particles that are easily inhaled without realizing especially in the workplace. Not sure about the fine sea spray though! Dawn
Not common sense. David
Utter nonsense. Don
Because if this was true the hutt city council could be sued for totally failing in its duty to take action against a former employee who not only flouts the bylaw relating to fires but loves chimney fires periodically. The same arguments about the greens and wood fires and climate change and health effects in some ways can be applied to electric cars. Maybe using electricity to run them is an option but what about the waste used batteries and their safe disposal? The greens never talk about this and now that exide battery recyclers is closed we practice nimby and waste money and energy on shipping them to another country. Patsy
Ridiculous and unproven assumption. Gordon
These regulations are going to result in the deaths of far more people than the so called estimates, as thousands of people live in homes they cannot afford to heat adequately. Cold kills people! Particularly the very young and aged. Allan
The scaremongers in the wood fire bureaucracy are the same as the climate change lot. Repeat a lie big enough and often enough it will become the truth. Joseph Goebbels would be proud of them. Colin
Blah blah your experts are too young to know what “Smog” is the ones I remember you really could not see you hand in front of you. John
Another load of hogwash. Margaret
As an Asthmatic and a wood burner, I have found that heating the house with wood, gives a dryer and warmer house, thus reducing the effects of my asthma. Terry
In the case of fires, wouldn’t more elderly die from the cold if they didn’t have access to this type of heating. Ross
Scandalous scaremongering that adds another cost to home ownership and in the case of rental properties, landlords! Walnetta
I have no idea but there was no ‘Don’t know ‘ box as usual. These council idiots are banning the burning of coal and older fires. They should just ban the smoke but they are too stupid to correctly identify any problem and so always try to solve the wrong problem. K
What lot of rubbish what next! Ted
I live in Picton & watch the ferries spewing exhaust into the air all day every day, but I bet the Govt. wouldn’t ban those. Denis
How ca n this assertion be verified? It cannot! It’s another case of the “Do Gooders’ at work again!! Jim
Sea spray what a joke!! Clean air approved flues are not the answer neither are heat pumps or pellet fires. Robbie
What about the smoke and dust thrown into the air by nature’s own world wide volcanic eruptions and geothermal activity? Add to this is the self inflicted smoke wafting around smokers! Oh. And let’s not forget about natures own carbon consumers – grass and trees and their pollen dust! Stuart
It is bollocks! Barrie
Mankind developed into modern man sitting around smokey fires in caves. If it was so harmful we wouldn’t be here. Margaret
Like climate change, just more rubbish, remember k2 more nonsense… bill
More PC Rubbish. Greg
Those who celebrated the clean sweep re-election of the Key led government, should by now be starting to realise, that the Clarke policies are still being implemented, be it slightly more slowly & with more stealth. National has no intention of scrapping the ETS, & have you not noticed the persistent ‘energy wise’ TV advertising, & the fact that old style filament light bulbs are now almost impossible to procure, apart from the low watt examples. Allan
Its Tealeaf science. Simon
Computer modelling is based on assumptions by the programmer and therefore very suspect. Gareth
There is another factor in this as well. Just suppose that some people do die from the inhalation of PM10; – how many of them have been smokers for most of their lives, or worked in dusty environments? Ted
It is impossible to produce statistics which prove these figures. In Nelson we have been forced to remove perfectly efficient woodburners and at a cost well over $3,000 install a less efficient burner which doesn’t heat the house as adequately. Many residents now have colder homes as they cannot afford to run their heat pump to the extent that they used cheap or free firewood often available near Nelson. Admittedly Nelson’s air is slightly less smoke laden but it is at the cost of cold homes and increased costs. The crux of the solution is no wood burner smokes unless it is operated with a closed damper or burns wet wood. What a simple solution compared with the costs we have had to find. Now the City Council is considering a back track due to the complaints from beneficiaries and those less well off. Chris
It’s nanny over state-ment if ever there was anything more stupid than the light bulb regulation. Tim
More people used to dye from smoking but no mention that the thousands who have given it have reduced the number of people dyeing. Greenies please grow up… John
“How problems get solved “If left to the ingenuity and preferences of individual members, society tends over time to naturally evolve answers to the problems confronting it. For example, if there is a shortage of food, families tend to limit themselves to live within their incomes. But when government begins to dictate choices, it prevents individuals from adapting and evolving solutions. Society loses the resilience it required to solve problems. “People have to be vigilant to make sure that doomsayers are not allowed to dictate public policy.” About face!: Why the world needs more carbon dioxide; the failed science of global warming, Arthur Middleton Hughes and others, end of chapter 1. Gary
Please stop over regulating our lives. David
Total rubbish. Peter
I think more people die from the large amounts of bovine fertilizer dust that is being generated by parliamentarians than by fireplaces and if we do away with chimneys how will Santa Claus be able to visit me and bring my pressie. Arthur
As long as the wood is dry it burns beautiful and clean. How many politicians have shares in the Power Generation companies?? Kevin
Cigarette smoking and many many DIY jobs are far more likely to cause health problems than, “sea spray” (we are a coastal country for goodness sake) or home fires could possibly cause. Jean
Another myth among many, prevalent in New Zealand. Dave
Government and council stress cause more deaths than smoke. Edward
Another case of fitting creative statistics to a political agenda. Lee
Dreaming again. Lance
Again you publish important info. However “Yes Minister” seems to operate in that nothing happens. You just get blithely ignored. Expecting National to find a back-bone and do something constructive is naive in extreme. Peter
Not proved. Myra
Left leaning United Nations .Their aim is to control the world population. Charles
Am 88 and have spent all my life on farms, burning off scrub, gorse and farm rubbish, more often than not enveloped in thick suffocating smoke. Has it affected me? No. Their stats are like the stuff I burnt, a lot of rubbish. Albie
Naivety abounds at all levels however. Catherine
Don’t you just get sick of the EXPERTS telling us how to behave and live our lives. Peter
What they have said is that they can’t identify how many deaths have been caused by fires, so why is Auckland Council pushing for bans? it’s just amazing how these looneys get away with their nonsense, and to a large extent there is nothing most people can do about it. Lorraine
Our European (and probably our Polynesian) ancestors inhabited wood smoke filled dwellings for centuries and, it seems, survived. Alan
More deaths would be from Hypothermia. Claire
UN madness – yet again. Why does the govt listen? Ian
It is another of those “Studies have shown…” dubious pieces of information stated as facts .I would love a political party to stand up and say “We will remove from rules and regulations, anything that cannot be proven and subject it to peer review. Might take more than my lifetime, but I live in hope! Dick
We die for all sorts of reasons, in fact death is the only guarantee that we get upon conception! Why anyone would spend time extracting the sort of figures touted above, is beyond me. So what if people do die from inhaling unwanted particles, that’s life! Look at how many people live on or at the base of active volcanoes on this planet; are we going to slap emission controls on volcanoes? Not only is human society being subjected to “Nanny” state regulations these days, but it is also allowing those who control the “Nanny” state, to play God! It is clearly time for humanity to grow up and realise that we are all just a few elements thrown together for a very short space of time, so why not just get on with enjoying the moment, rather than living in fear of what might or might never be! Charles
There is no evidence to this claim! This is untrue and unnecessary scare mongering and law enforcement against logic. Judith
What utter rubbish. Margaret
Churchill said, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”. Nothing’s changed. Jean
The real facts don’t seem to back this at all. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of a person dying of this. Given that 99% of people are indoors when it’s cold and the fires are going how can you even get some exposure to this minute risk. Andrew
Just the notion of this is absurd. Aphrodite
These scare tactics are being used to force people to heat their homes from the National Grid, as opposed to sustainable firewood production which people may harvest themselves at very low cost, or at a reduced cost compared to the Grid. One of the advantages of living in Tararua is the abundance of sustainable firewood, coupled with year round rainfall and limited population, making home & water heating via firewood attractive from a range of angles. Any suggestion by the Council that new regulations (as outlined) will be implemented in this district will be met with strong and sustained opposition from our sensible population. Ron
Show us the real facts and until then let us live as we choose. Socialism is too expensive for a poor country such as ours and is holdings us back!! Peter
Reputable Danish research supports “NO”. Alan
I would think a lot of New Zealanders have been dying from damp-related conditions inside their homes, caused by shocking house building, NOT from using wood burners and open fires. Liz
It is complete bollocks. How many people have to die as a result of living in cold and damp houses because they can’t afford to heat them with electricity before sense is seen? What happens when the power goes off? Kerry
But not necessarily from open wood fires or contained wood burners – I have both and am still here!!!! Andrew
All council claims should be treated with the contempt they deserve. Colin
Too much control, too many attempts at control. Now they want to security check us onto domestic flights! Geoff
Its just another gravy train theory much like the Global Warming? Climate Change pseudo science. It provides well paid “jobs” for bureaucrats and their lackey scientists employed to substantiate this garbage. In heavily polluted countries still populated greatly rather than scarcely as this delusional theory suggests, demonstrates direct contradiction to this pseudoscience. Zoran
And Russel needs to put his manacles back on and return to the penal colony from whence he crawled. He can take as many of his tree-hugging comrades as he likes with him. Mark
What ridiculous nonsense. The politicians need to stand up for their ratepayers not cede to the planners driving this sort of nonsense. Dave
I certainly don’t accept that wood fires are killing 2,315, kiwis, nor do I accept these figures of nearly a thousand killed from sea spray, just as ludicrous, these figures are bogus statistics, being applied fraudulently and the fact that a Govt Department is making that claim demonstrates the depth to which Govt Departmental and indeed Ministerial integrity has fallen under the influence of ideologically driven politics coupled with plain grass roots ignorance of the science involved. Whilst wood fires may not be a great idea for down town Auckland CBD nor Christchurch with high densities, the fact is across NZ wood represents a significant safe pioneer resource for many families and its low cost is a factor in good family life. The low density population outside of the main centers is not only not ready for such change, it is at this time absolutely unwarranted. NZ does not have to bend to the knee jerk dictates of the WHO or Agenda 21 or any other UN busybody ruling. It is a disgusting revelation that National have not seen to nip this socialist stupidity in the bud but have foolishly perpetrated it probably because they listened to ideological plants offering ideological advice. With a raging Tasman wind and a drop zone all the way to chile, why would this tiny land mass ever need to restrict a few logs of wood fires. I call on Key to replace the dunderheads who dreamed up this clunker and appoint someone who can think with their brain not just parrot agenda 21 tripe. Richard
No I do not! Yet again we find the Agenda 21 and the stinking fiddling fingers of the UN are responsible for pushing this ideological fairy thinking onto our country! Our Government must be making money out of the power companies so it is just the perfect excuse for those mongrels to enforce it. When I first learnt of Christchurch banning fire places I straight away said to my partner ” So what the hell are people to do if there is a massive disaster and they have no power or access to gas for their heaters and cooking?” Then, some months down the track after I discussed this gripe with my partner the earthquakes hit! For lords sake, hunger and cold will kill more people quicker than any PM10! Give people back their bloody fireplaces and wet-back systems so they can have hot water, heating and a fire box to cook their food on or in should the need ever arise. If burning wood was that bad for us then how the hell did humans ever survive the stone-ages?! Trina
Just another dose of U.N. fed b/s. Mike
All these “EXPERTS” obviously want us all to be just like them ie. have our heads stuck up our bums and breathing too much of our own flatulence! Steve
In the same way that the progressive anti-smokers would ban any smoking in images and movies, I would suggest that all images and movies now ban any depiction of an open fire, thereby reinforcing the thoroughly nasty nature of such things. John
Nah! – more Greeniefreak lies and garbage – pity help the country if these ineptizoids ever get control of things! Scott
“A simple request to the Ministry of Health under the Official Information Act in April of this year brought a response that we cannot identify whether a death was caused by exposure to PM10. In other words, there is no evidence PM10 has caused any deaths at any time in New Zealand.” There is no evidence. FULL STOP. Terry
Regulations based on false evidence – it sounds like the whole climate change scam once again. Graeme
No way should this fire ban go ahead. Councillors should stand up for ratepayers instead of being a puppet to socialist lies. Wendy
The fire ban is absolutely crazy and the statistics they quote are ridiculous. It should be scrapped ASAP. Jim