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Dr Muriel Newman

Dr Muriel Newman

Questions of Credibility


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Serious concerns are now being raised about the Prime Minister’s credibility. Allegations of gross misconduct by a staff member who had worked in her Parliamentary office have been circulating for months, yet she continues to claim that she was unaware they were of a sexual nature.

Those prepared to challenge the PM, now believe she has been misleading New Zealanders. This is a very serious issue, especially for Jacinda Ardern who has built her reputation on sincerity.

In spite of sacrificing the Labour Party President, the questions have not gone away and her credibility is now on the line.

It is little wonder that the ‘stardust’ is beginning to fall away from Jacinda Ardern.

Questions of credibility and competency are also emerging over policy decisions.

Just last week we raised concerns about the Government’s lack of action over New Zealand’s shocking suicide crisis – 685 people took their own lives in the year to June 30 2019, almost double our dreadful road toll of 372 deaths over that same period.

While May’s Budget allocation of $1.9 billion for mental health included $40 million for suicide prevention, we found that virtually no progress had been made.

The Prime Minister has now stepped up and announced her strategy. She has continued to refuse to adopt the suicide prevention targets recommended by her Mental Health Inquiry, and has instead created  a new Suicide Prevention Office – that will not be fully operational until 2021. Another big government bureaucracy, with no targets and no accountability is her solution.

This is similar to her approach to KiwiBuild – Labour’s flagship answer to New Zealand’s housing affordability crisis. Their disastrous promise to build 100,000 new cheap homes over 10 years has now been officially “reset” – all targets have been scrapped, and with no goals and no accountability KiwiBuild is now being buried within a new government bureaucracy. 

The Prime Minister is seriously out of step with reality if she thinks more committees and new offices will achieve anything.

Questions are also being raised about her plan to “reboot” the Taranaki region to fill the economic void created by her decision to close down the oil and gas exploration industry.

In March Jacinda Ardern announced a “roadmap” for a clean energy future for Taranaki. This was followed in May, by a pledge of $27 million for a ‘clean energy’ centre and $20 million for ‘clean energy’ research. With millions of taxpayers’ dollars already allocated to investigate ‘green’ hydrogen, the PM is signalling that this highly experimental technology can be a replacement for oil and gas.

The commercial use of hydrogen is, of course, not new. It became very popular in the 1930s when it was used for air transportation. The German airship the Hindenburg was perhaps the most famous of these pioneer airships. In fact, it was about to start using hydrogen not only for ballast, but also as a fuel to drive the rudder engines, when it suddenly burst into flames killing passengers and crew. This event contributed to public wariness over the use of hydrogen for transportation.

Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance on earth. It is highly flammable and when combined with oxygen, releases energy and water, making it attractive as a green fuel.

Broadly speaking, there are three main ways of producing hydrogen. Brown hydrogen is manufactured from fossil fuels using steam under high temperature and pressure, while grey hydrogen is similarly produced from natural gas. If the carbon dioxide by-product is ‘captured’, it is called blue hydrogen.

Green hydrogen, however, is produced by electrolysis – passing an electric current through water (H2O) splits it into its component parts of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen(O2). If renewable electricity from solar and wind is used in the process, the resulting hydrogen is a zero-emission fuel.

While some see green hydrogen as the holy grail of future energy production, manufacturing, storing, and transporting it on a commercial scale is still experimental.

Although hydrogen can be stored as a gas, liquid, or solid, it’s low energy density creates difficulties. If it is stored as a gas in reinforced high-pressure tanks, up to 20 percent of the energy content of the hydrogen is required for compression. If liquified, up to 40 percent of the energy content is used to pressurise then cool the gas to −253°C in order to store it in special cryogenic tanks. To store hydrogen in solid form, it is usually combined with other compounds, but again energy is needed to extract out the gas.

A discussion paper on the Government’s plan for green hydrogen has just been released and explains, “for hydrogen to succeed in New Zealand there are numerous significant challenges that need to be managed successfully – overcoming economic and policy uncertainty, attracting demand from a broad range of end users while technology matures and because costs are high, addressing investment and infrastructure needs, setting policy that stimulates demand, establishing standards and regulations, analysing lifecycle costs and changing public perceptions around safety.”

Their aim is to use renewable energy for electrolysis, to produce enough green hydrogen to “create significant export revenue”.

However, the discussion paper also points out, “There is currently no international market for hydrogen, and no common price.”

The paper, which lists hapu, iwi and Maori Trusts as partners in the scheme, explains there are significant risks: “Similar to natural gas, safety considerations are central and standards need to be developed to ensure wide-scale adoption of hydrogen can be achieved in a regulated and appropriate manner. Hydrogen is a non-toxic gas, but its high flame velocity, broad ignition range and low ignition energy make it highly flammable. This is partly mitigated by its high buoyancy and diffusivity, which causes it to dissipate quickly. It has a flame that is not visible to the naked eye and it is colourless and odourless, making it harder for people to detect fires and leaks.”

The Government is calling for public feedback on their hydrogen proposal, with submissions closing on Friday 25 October – full details can be seen HERE.

Let’s be honest about this – speculative technology is no substitute for an established and lucrative industry that is being destroyed by government policy.

Another industry that is being destroyed by government policy is farming.

Labour’s first salvo in their war against farmers came in the form of unattainable emissions targets in their Zero Carbon Bill. If passed in its present form it will seriously undermine the viability of the sector. Like the oil industry, the justification for their attack on farmers is the Prime Minister’s fixation with being seen as a global leader in climate change.

Labour’s latest offensive is through punitive new freshwater regulations.

A discussion document shows the potential cost of the proposed freshwater restrictions for dairy farmers is around $150,000 over ten years, for sheep and beef farmers almost $200,000, and for market gardeners $100,000.

All up it’s been estimated that Labour’s new regulations and compliance requirements would cost farmers an astonishing $1 billion over ten years – at least.

Labour wants all wetlands protected, new irrigation schemes banned, and land use changes – including for vegetable cropping – strictly controlled through resource consents.

All farmers will be required to have a ‘farm plan’ – estimated to cost the industry over $100 million – with regular inspections and monitoring of water quality.

The proposed changes appear to be fuelled by the demands of environmental extremists. They want every waterbody in New Zealand to be swimmable. That ridiculous standard conceals their real motivation which is to rid the planet of methane producing livestock.

The truth is that most Kiwis do not want to swim with eels in farmers’ streams, but instead prefer their local swimming pool or beach. But as a result of this green lunacy, hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent fencing livestock out of waterways on land that has been sustainably farmed for generations.

The new stock exclusion requirements cover wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and even drains, requiring a fencing setback of one metre minimum for smaller waterbodies and 5 metres for anything larger than a metre across. It will result in the effective confiscation of vast areas of productive farmland.

Labour claims that nitrogen run-off is the main problem and they are proposing an 85 percent reduction in nitrates in some catchments. Experts point out that this is unachievable and will essentially lead to the end of farming in many rural areas.

However, new research undertaken by a group including scientists and academics from NIWA, Ag Research, and Waikato University for Local Government New Zealand challenges Labour’s nitrate modelling. They say it’s not a reliable indicator of stream health and shouldn’t be used. They believe the presence of invertebrates in waterbodies is a better guide.

The hypocrisy of Labour’s attack on farmers is that the major polluters of New Zealand’s waterways are councils through urban stormwater run-off and sewerage spills.

Labour’s discussion paper foreshadows the introduction of a Resource Management Amendment Bill later this year that will include a new freshwater planning process: “Government-appointed freshwater commissioners with specialist skills would form a panel with local councillors, and tangata whenua-nominated representatives to consider council plans, hear submissions and make recommendations. There would be restricted avenues for appeal.”

This approach underlies the fundamental problem with the Ardern Government – it is more about politics than solutions.

Appointing Maori representatives onto freshwater commissions would not produce better outcomes. It would simply embed racism into the RMA.

This would conflict with New Zealand First’s election commitment to remove separate rights based on race from the RMA, not introduce them.

Public feedback on the Government’s proposed regulation of freshwater closes on Thursday 17 October – full details including the schedule of public meetings can be seen HERE.

Labour’s freshwater proposals came hard on the heels of the Waitangi Tribunal’s final report into Maori claims for freshwater. The inquiry, which began in 2012, found that Maori had rights to freshwater akin to ownership, that they should be given a percentage of all water rights allocations around the country or royalties, and that the RMA should require all freshwater bodies in New Zealand to be co-governed and co-managed by Maori.

The Tribunal also recommended that iwi leaders take a claim to the High Court to determine whether native title to freshwater exists in New Zealand’s common law.

For the record, as retired Judge and former Law Lecturer Anthony Willy explained: “At common law land including the land underneath water was regarded as a commodity that could be owned and transacted. Water was never regarded by the common law as a commodity in that sense. The courts recognised that water like air is not only vital to the survival of all species on the planet but is something in which humanity has no hand in creating. It therefore, like air, occupies a unique status in the eyes of the common law – it cannot be owned by anybody.”

The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding reinforces the fact that since its establishment in 1975, this taxpayer funded commission of inquiry exacerbates racism and division. It should be disbanded and its gravy train shut down.

Finally, the Prime Minister has just announced that New Zealand history will become compulsory in schools, to enable children to better understand the influences that have “shaped the nation”. 

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Auckland-based freelance writer Michael Coote, provides a tribute to someone who played a major role in shaping our nation – New Zealand’s “founding father”, our first Governor Captain William Hobson, who died 177 years ago this week:

“No other person has so singularly influenced the course of modern New Zealand history. Hobson stood for equal rights in law and public policy. Yet in the 21st century Hobson seems to have become ungratefully forgotten by the very country that owes him so much.” 

Let’s hope the new curriculum not only teaches children the importance of Governor Hobson’s legacy of equal rights for all citizens, but that it also protects them from the propaganda of tribal supremacists who continue to push for race-based rights in law and public policy.

THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:

Should Maori tribal groups be involved in decision-making over the control of fresh water?

*Poll comments are posted below.

 

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

 

Click to view x 120

THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS

Of course not. Especially if it’s about if they then say they own the water. Which means they own the rain and the clouds and hence the weather. Where does it end ? Andrew
I agree that water like air is owned by no body Yvonne
Most definitely not! Terry
Absolutely not.. Maori are just settlers like the rest of us living here in NZ albeit they arrived here a few hundred years before the English did. Water belongs to NO one. Wayne
Racism again Michael
Everyone in New Zealand should be involved – as we are ONE New Zealand. I see the potential, in the long term, to claim ALL and control ALL of New Zealand’s fresh water, just as they are doing to our foreshore and sea bed. Have a good look at Robert Mogarbi ‘s track record. There-in lies the answer. Stuart
NEVER,NEVER,NEVER,You get the picture? Clark
Absolutely not. Nobody owns the water. It’s long overdue for us all to be treated the same and a stop put to the racial racist divisions that seem to be growing by the year. There should be no special anything for Maori. We are all citizens of this once great country which is going downhill as we speak. Helen
no race based politics ever we are going to end up like Rhodesia with all this pandering to Maori, Dump the Waitangi Tribunal. treaty said we are all equal under the crown Nigel
This separatism has got to stop or this country will continue to stagger from one race based disaster to the next, and we will never be able to present a single face to the world. All this racially inspired rubbish does is create anger on the part of the bulk of non-maori New Zealanders. Roy
Another step toward division and separatism based on race and driven by greed. Lawrie
Of course not. Water belongs to us all. But it will happen with our current House of Clowns , sorry, representatives. The printed media, T.V. news and National Radio are having their decisions made for them by the current mob so just add water to the list. Bruce
But I do think a group should be set up to work out how to fix them from pollution. The Maori’s should apply to be on that group the same as everyone else. We have a lot of Maori”s who do go into groups like council’s etc so why do they want special rights. Bet if we the “White’s” said the same we would be called racist I can never see the difference Cherryl
When will this racial division stop next the Iwi supremacist will be staking claim to the air we breath because only colonialists create air pollution as Maori don’t drive cars vehicles and emit zero emissions. Once again the minority run the country. Mike
No more than anybody else, in a democratic society. Chris
all nzers Helen
It’s apartheid! There should be no ‘special’ status extended that is based upon race or culture. If any additional ‘influence’ is to be conceded it should only be done on the basis of credible expertise (e.g. scientific, supported by empirically validated data). Christopher
All reference to race should be removed from any legislation. Wayne
Like the Europeans, they are immigrants, who showed no mercy to the people that were here before them. It’s about time this poisonous COL were removed never to be seen in the beehive again. Merryl
Appropriately educated water management personnel are required on a central authority (national body). NZ is too small to have this done effectively at regional level. We need many reservoirs for when there are fewer rainy days. Stan
Just more Racist demands by non democratic Maori supremacists. Anon
Racism should be illegal. No special treatment for anyone based on race. Definition of Maori should be changed to be more rational and most of these problems would vanish. Laurie
Maori want to own all land, water, air and next the moon. They are greedy and will keep coming back for more gravy until a government has the guts to stop them Kevin
When ever they are involved in any decision making there is chaos, all because their motive is money and control David
In a recent hui I was wanting to extend my jetty on Lake Rotoiti and was asked to fill out a 15 pages on how by putting two poles in the Lake bed I was going to upset the eco system etc. Fish life, bird life. Hone
Maori can get involved in the same manner as ALL OTHER KIWIS Kelvin
no way owen
Absolutely not, what’s happened to our one people? Graeme
they should take part in the process of cleaning up our fresh/sea water under the same rules as everybody else in this country. We are one people….or should be!! David
Definitely not. Geoffrey
never paul
Not at the expense of all nz citizens Jeff
If they did that we will be wearing meters on our faces so we can pay for the amount of water drunk and air breathed Colin
They will only obstruct the process for their own greedy purposes. Graeme
It is public policy issue and race based John
That would be racially prejudicial to people other than maoris. John
Most definitely not.In fact I would recommend that the present Government be kept well away from it too. One is as trustworthy as the other. Terry
NO! The Treaty of Waitangi gave Maori rights and privileges EQUAL to those of other British citizens. What part of EQUAL don’t they understand? Joyce
No more than any other elected representatives Hilary
This government is ruining the country the sooner we have a change the better there are 2 articles in this letter that are bang on Peter
‘We are one people ‘ – nothing more needs to be said nor attention to any arguments raised paid. Dick
Unless specifically qualified, Maori groups should be consulted on nothing. Just like the rest of us. Rod
The Labour Government is advocating continuing segregation as a requirement and way of life in this country. This must make us the last country in the developed world to insist on racially based decision making while claiming to be equal under the law. Max
Apartheid in NZ. No one group should have more or fewer rights than any other. Geoff
If I wanted NZ to fail……… Fiona
Is this a labour gov or a Maori gov this gov seems to be giving to Maori left right and center will it rewrite history to suit the maori Jimmy
Water belongs to man! Any group involved in decision making must be free of making race based policies. Chris
Any ‘tribal groups’ are no more representative of NZ than any other so-called ‘groups’ Coral
Certainly not! Maori Tribal groups should not be involved in governmental decisions any more than Jo Blow in the street. When is Col3 going to wake up and realise to the destructive damage they are doing to this country of ours? Robyn
More money to the tribal elite at a cost to ordinary hardworking New Zealanders Laurie
Maori (Iwi) should not have separate and special rights under any NZ laws. Any such laws based on ethnicity are simply racist and are in most civilised countries unlawful. Obviously this country is uncivilised and is being pushed back to the savage stone age era of pre-European settlement! Alan
I am 1/8 Ngaphi. I do not believe in Racism, even if it benefits me to do so Tony
Absolutely not – as already said, the water, like the air, belongs equally to all – thus there should not be any special decision making by any racially biased group. Suzanne
No! – they should not be involved in anything – particularly where a resource, which we all depend on for our very survival, is concerned. Scott
New Zealanders need to take back the country from these racist zealots before it%u2019s too late. All we get in the media these days is maori this and maori that. How long will it be before the name New Zealand is tossed on the racist bonfire? Chris
A big NO! They should not be involved as tribal groups in anything that can be labelled Separatist or any likely to lead to Separatism! Pre-European tribalism is simply not compatible with living in contemporary New Zealand society! Frank
Never we are all entitled to fresh water and nobody owns it. Laurel
I think most control of resources should belong to the vast majority as it is democratically decided then. Ray
Definitely not. Maori are taking over by stealth. Our country New Zealand is now being maorified and i’m all haka ed out. Now they want to teach our history which appears to be how bad maori were treated by new settlers. History today will depict only one side and not both sides. Unfortunately its too late to stop all the fake stories. Carol
Definitely not as tribal groups. This would be another divisive racist ploy which Labour appears to encourage and embrace in a very unhealthy manner. This country and it’s people are suffering inexcusably under Arderns leadership. Never has it sunk to this level. Anon
We are past “caveman times”…decision for all New Zealanders on an EQUAL BASIS. H2O is one the fundamental molecules of Human Life . CTH
To provide some balance, to be fair. JOHN
Separatism – racism. Anti New Zealand as a country of many races living in harmony for the good of the Country and its people equally. Adrian
No way. No one should be appointed to any governmental committee based on race. Robert
Would Maori be suitably qualified to make informed decisions or would it become just another farce extorting into the tribal elites greedy paws money Trevor
Definitely not Marinda
We are all New Zealanders. This just creates a racist society Kate
Are we not “one people”! Jim
why introduce racism again and again?? Gerard
We New Zealanders should all be involved/included in talks about our fresh water. It is remiss to not involve all in a fresh water referendum. David
Absolutely not! Maori do not own water. No-one owns water. They should have the same rights over control and allocation as everyone else.   Chris
Labour’s plan for water is extremist. They have become stooges for Greenpeace. And on hydrogen – they are bonkers. They will waste so much taxpayers’ money on the mad scheme until one day sanity will prevail and the whole man-made climate change campaign will be seen as a big con and scrapped.  Susan
Labour’s pandering to Maori rights activists is pathetic. They need to stand up for equal rights. Andrew
Michael Coote’s article is spot on – good luck with the commemoration on Saturday! I suspect Maori rights activists will take over the curriculum and equal rights won’t get a look in! Murray
No to Maori control of fresh water. No to hydrogen. No to a Labour Government.  Brian